This article will discuss carbon capture in Canada, and investigate the ambitions, strategy, and challenges behind deploying this technology at scale. It will shed light on the key projects launched by the Canadian government and key players involved in the sector. Carbon capture is a way to reduce carbon emissions by capturing carbon dioxide emanating from industrial processes and storing it deep underground. The technology will enable Canada to reach net zero status by 2050.
As per the budget of 2021, the Canadian government is investing $319 million over the next seven years for research, development, and projects to explore the commercial viability of carbon capture, utilisation, and storage technologies. The government also launched an investment tax credit for those investing capital in carbon capture technologies to reduce emissions by 15 megatonnes annually.
In April 2022, Canada introduced a 60 per cent tax credit for equipment to capture carbon from the air and 50 per cent for other capture technology. In addition, 37.5 per cent of credit is for transportation and storage.
- The great challenge with deploying carbon capture technology is due to the capital-intensive nature of the technology. It will hinder the country's attempt to scale this technology in the short term or until the cost comes down.
- The second obstacle is the need to monitor the expansion of carbon capture technologies, especially concerning pore space and monitoring. Injecting carbon in deep aquifers requires monitoring to ensure carbon does not
escape into the air.
- The third problem is that carbon capture suffers from a chicken and egg problem. For instance, users will not adopt carbon capture until they are sure that it will benefit them, and producers will not build the technology until they are sure that there is a demand for it.
- Shell Canada's quest project is led by Shell Canada, Chevron Canada, and Marathon Oil Sands at the cost of $1.35 billion. It is near Fort Saskatchewan in the Alberta province. The purpose is to store carbon emanating from oil extraction in the region. Construction started in September 2012, and operations began in November 2015.
- The Alberta Trunk Line project was developed by Enhance Energy in partnership with Wolf Carbon Solutions at the cost of $1.2 billion. The project will capture carbon dioxide from the industrial heartland in western Canada and transfer it to reservoirs across Central and South Alberta. Construction began at the end of 2018 and became fully operational in June 2020.
- Boundary Dam Power Station near Estevan is a coal power plant that has been infused with carbon capture technology to reduce emissions. Through the project, about 1 million tonnes of carbon are captured annually.
- Carbon Upcycling, based in Calgary, captures carbon dioxide and combines it with industrial wastes and natural materials to build new materials with improved performance and lower emissions.
- Carbon Engineering, based in Squamish, is engaged in the commercialisation of direct air carbon capture technology. For example, it converts captured carbon to build new products like carbon-neutral jet fuel, among other things.
- Co2 Solutions, based in Montreal, is developing technologies to capture carbon dioxide. For instance, it captures carbon through an alternative technique with liquid anime enabling it to produce zero toxic waste.
- Inventys, based in Burnaby, is engaged in carbon capture and removal solutions. They are building a carbon capture plant in Saskatchewan to capture carbon for oil recovery.
- Pond Technology, based in Markham, uses carbon captured from power plants, refineries, and cement plants to build algae cleaning impurities from the exhaust and algae used for other things such as animal feed and biofuels.
In this article, I have delved into the Canadian government's ambitious goals, strategic initiatives and leading obstacles. The country has initiated significant projects to capture and store carbon underground, leading to a remarkable reduction in emissions. I have also talked about the companies engaged in the carbon capture and storage market. The final view is that much work remains.