Vacuum

Carbon capturing captures corporate interest, from Exxon to Shopify

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

The race to zero... In recent years, companies have pledged billions to reduce their carbon emissions: from Amazon pledging to become carbon-neutral by 2040, to Microsoft pledging to become carbon-negative by 2030. To cut emissions, companies generally invest in renewable energy (like: wind and solar) and carbon offsets (like: paying for tree plantings). But a less common way is gaining traction...

  • Carbon capture: It's kind of like vacuum cleaning, for CO2. Carbon dioxide is captured from the air, then moved to a storage site deep underground. Generally, CO2 gets injected into rock formations (#NoEscape).

Counterintuitive... The most common commercial use for captured carbon has been... using it to squeeze oil and gas out of the ground. But now, companies are making moves to sell carbon capture for green purposes.

  • Shopify will be the first customer of Carbon Engineering's capturing solution. The Canadian startup will remove CO2 on Shopify's behalf.
  • Occidental Petroleum and BHP have also invested in Carbon Engineering, and Chevron invested in carbon capture startup Blue Planet.
  • Exxon, once a skeptic, just created a new biz unit to commercialize carbon capture — and sees it as a potential profit puppy.
THE TAKEAWAY

There's never been a greener time... to sell carbon-removal solutions. President Biden has pledged $2T to clean energy innovation, partly through subsidies for green tech (and his admin has supported carbon capturing). Oil giants are blamed for climate change, and Big Tech companies are also carbon-spewers. Their desire to change, combined with government incentives, could make carbon capture a big biz: Exxon says it'll be a $2T market by 2040, and that it's the cheapest way to address emissions.