Carbon Engineering inks Shopify as its first partner for carbon removal as a service

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Emissions refinery
Image Credits: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg / Getty Images

Carbon Engineering is moving ahead with its carbon removal service business, allowing customers to buy the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using its direct air capture technology.

The launch of the service, and the announcement that Shopify will be the company’s first customer, comes as the company’s most direct competitor, Climeworks, made moves of its own — striking a deal with the Swedish sequestration services company Northern Lights to move forward with its own direct air capture as a service offering.

Two European companies are mapping a future service for direct air capture to sequestration of CO2

With the Shopify agreement, Carbon Engineering has the first paying customer for 10,000 tonnes of permanent carbon removal capacity from a large-scale DAC project. The removal and sequestration will be done by CE’s plant development partner, 1PointFive — the U.S. development company that’s currently engineering CE’s first industrial-scale facility, the company said. That facility is due to be completed in 2024. 

“Early customers for direct air capture (DAC) — especially companies with ambitious climate goals — can have outsized impact today: not only does procuring DAC services enable companies to hit ‘net-zero’ pledges faster, but it helps DAC technology come down the ‘learning curve,’ driving cost reductions and making DAC services more affordable and accessible for a wider customer base in the future,” said Noah Deich, president and founder of the climate focused advocacy group Carbon180. “I’m very excited to see Carbon Engineering announce a way for early corporate leaders — and hopefully a wave of fast followers — to devote more of their climate spend toward DAC.”

Their timeframe puts the Carbon Engineering timetable on roughly even footing with Climeworks for getting to market. Luckily for both firms, given the billions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions that need to be captured and sequestered it’s a market that’s definitely big enough for both of them. 

With its commitment, Shopify becomes the largest publicly announced purchaser of direct-air-capture-based carbon removal.

“Carbon Engineering’s mission has always been to deliver a highly scalable and affordable solution for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere,” said CE CEO, Steve Oldham, in a statement. “We’re on the brink of large-scale deployment of our technology and the next critical step is accumulating market interest and securing customers. This new service allows us to do that. It also makes it easy for companies and governments to include permanent carbon removal in their net-zero plans. We’re thrilled to expand our relationship with Shopify and welcome them as our first carbon removal customer, and we look forward to supporting others so we can collectively make large-scale carbon removal a reality.”

Carbon removal unit purchases will be fulfilled by distributed air capture facilities deployed by 1PointFive, Carbon Engineering’s development partner, which is backed by deep-pocketed investors including Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC, a subsidiary of Occidental, and Rusheen Capital Management.

Carbon Engineering is also working with Pale Blue Dot Energy out of the U.K. to bring its direct air capture technology across the Atlantic.

“We welcome this news and applaud Shopify on their climate leadership position,” said 1PointFive Chairman Richard Jackson. “Alongside climate experts like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we recognize that permanent carbon removal is going to be necessary to achieve our vision of a sustainable low-carbon world. 1PointFive looks forward to bringing large-scale carbon removal capability based on CE’s technology to the market, helping customers worldwide to achieve their climate goals.” 

Corporate sustainability initiatives may open doors for carbon offset startups

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