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The 11 Leading Carbon Capture & Storage Companies to Save Us [2024 Update]

When it comes to climate change and global warming, we all support a global shift towards clean, renewable energy. We also endorse protecting rainforests and planting more trees.

The problem is that these solutions will take time – decades – to reach the scale and efficacy needed to combat climate change and stop global heating.

We don’t have years to spare, and we must reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere before we reach the critical point of no return. So, what is the solution?

Carbon capture companies are leading the fight against climate change and global warming.

They’re developing and deploying new, scalable carbon capture technology that will enable us to stop the flow of carbon into the atmosphere and even remove the historical carbon dioxide that we’ve already emitted.

Let’s look at carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology and some of the best carbon capture companies that are leading the way toward achieving our climate goals.

What is Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage?

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), also referred to simply as ‘carbon capture’, is the process used to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and prevent them from being released into the atmosphere.

CCUS involves capturing carbon, processing it into a suitable form, and transporting it for re-use or transferring it to suitable underground storage or sequestration sites. These sites vary, and different technologies use different geologic formations as storage sites.

Common types include oil and gas reservoirs, coal seams that are unsuitable for mining, or deep saline reservoirs. The structures used to store carbon underground are the same ones that have naturally stored carbon, crude oil, natural gas, and other substances for millions of years.

Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) is sometimes used interchangeably with the term ‘carbon capture’ but the two terms refer to different things. Carbon capture is about preventing emissions from causing warming in the first place, whereas carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is about reversing the emissions that cause warming.

Carbon storage is a safe and permanent solution, which removes carbon from the atmosphere and negates the greenhouse gas effect that drives global heating and climate change.

Check out this short video by Freethink on carbon capture technology and how it works:

The Economics of Carbon Capture

Currently, the cost of capturing carbon exceeds the cost of emitting carbon. However, the EU Carbon Permit hit a record price in Feb 2023 of 105 euros ($112) per ton of CO2, while according to EIA, capturing carbon costs $15-25 per ton of CO2 for industrial processes like ethanol production or natural gas processing. It costs $40-120 per ton of CO2 for processes with dilute gas streams like cement production and power generation.

IJmuiden industry sunset

The oil and gas industry is one of the global leaders in developing and deploying CO2 capture technology. One way to scale up the carbon capture industry would be to boost demand for captured CO2. Offering carbon capture as a means of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) may provide enough revenue for continued investment, innovation, and technology development.

The idea is that carbon capture and utilization (CCU) can be used as an “on-ramp” for eventual carbon capture and storage (CCS), pushing down the costs of carbon capture and laying down some of the foundational infrastructure, like pipelines, needed for eventual CCS at scale.

Why Carbon Capture is Critical for Our Climate 

Most people are already aware of the need to switch to renewable energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions at the source.

The problem is that we can’t do that quickly enough, at the scale needed to power the whole world and the ever-increasing demand for electricity and fuel.

In 2016, the Paris Agreement came into effect, intending to prevent global heating from increasing our temperature by more than 1.5 to 2C. If we had decades to achieve this, a steady shift to renewables would be the solution.

However, the harsh truth is that we are rapidly running out of time, and at the rate we currently produce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide, we simply cannot meet that target.

Surpassing the 1.5C and even 2C rise in global temperatures will have catastrophic consequences for every form of life on earth. It will impact everything we, as a planet, rely on to survive.

As global populations increase and economies grow, the demand for electricity and fuel is also increasing.

This, coupled with the challenges of establishing renewable energy plants at the scale needed to meet demand, means we will need to rely on fossil fuels for energy and transportation for many years to come.

So, what is the solution? How do we continue to power the world and all its essential processes for humanity without pumping out so much carbon? How do we deal with all the carbon that is already in the atmosphere after decades of negligence?

Accelerating the development and implementation of carbon capture technology is possibly our only viable option for stemming the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and removing historical carbon to lessen the impact.

Carbon capture technology has existed for decades but has not been widely adopted due to its high cost and other limitations.

However, many great carbon capture companies have developed and refined their technology to create safe, effective, clean, and, most importantly, scalable solutions.

The 4 Main Carbon Capture Methods

Various carbon capture methods have emerged in the quest to combat climate change.  Each approach plays a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Let’s explore the 4 main methods:

Bioenergy with Carbon Capture & Storage (BECCS)

BECCS, short for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. BECCS begins with growing organic matter (biomass), commonly wood or compost. This biomass is subsequently converted into renewable bioenergy—electricity, liquid or gas fuels, or heat. BECCS is currently considered more cost-effective and scalable than other methods of carbon capture.

This technique not only serves as an alternative to fossil fuel energy but also actively removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While burning biomass is considered carbon neutral, BECCS captures and sequesters the emitted carbon underground, making it carbon-negative.

Balancing environmental benefits with economic feasibility remains a critical challenge for widespread BECCS

Direct Air Capture (DAC)

DAC  or Direct Air Capture involves directly capturing carbon dioxide from ambient air. Unlike BECCS, which relies on biomass, DAC doesn’t require organic matter.

It’s a promising piece of the CO₂ removal puzzle, alongside nature-based solutions, soil sequestration, and marine initiatives.

DAC currently operates on a small scale, although its potential impact is significant. Continued policy support and market mechanisms are essential for realizing its full effectiveness.

Post-Combustion Capture (PCC)

Post-combustion capture focuses on capturing CO₂ after combustion in power plants or industrial processes. It’s a crucial technology for retrofitting existing facilities.  Implementing post-combustion capture faces economic and energy efficiency challenges, but it’s essential for reducing emissions from existing infrastructure.

PCC plays a crucial role in reducing emissions damage as we transition away from traditional energy processes.

That said, although this method of carbon capture is considered cost-effective as it can be adapted to existing infrastructure, it may not prove to be a long-term investment.

 

Biological Carbon Capture and Utilization (BioCCU) or Nature-based Solutions

Nature-based solutions leverage ecosystems to capture and store carbon. The benefit of these solutions is that there is no need to invent them; they already exist and do their job effectively.

This takes advantage of the biological mechanisms through which natural systems process and store carbon and other harmful gases. For instance, many sustainable agricultural practices long used by farmers absorb and store carbon dioxide in productive soils.

These solutions fall into four categories: forestry practices, wetland-related practices, restorative agriculture, and ocean-based practices. Nature-based solutions not only combat climate change but also support biodiversity and ecosystem health.

11 Leading Carbon Capture and Storage Companies

These carbon capture companies are championing the fight to reduce carbon emissions from current sources of emissions and combat the problem of historical carbon emissions that are already in our atmosphere.

These experts in carbon capture and storage (CCS) play a crucial role in creating modern technology and carrying out ambitious initiatives aimed at lessening the effects of climate change.

They aid in the carbon reduction of important economic sectors and empower the shift to a more sustainable energy future by taking in and preserving carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, industrial processes, and other sources.

Let’s look at them in more detail:

Carbfix logo

Carbfix

HQ Location
Reykjavik, Iceland
Founded
2006
Num. of Employees
51-200
Carbfix Homepage

Carbon capture (in tonnes of CO2): 1 billion/lifetime

Carbfix is based in Iceland, where they have been operating at the Hellisheiði Power Plant since 2014. In 2019, they were established as a subsidiary of Reykjavik Energy (OR) and have been operating as a separate entity since January 2020.

Their mission is to become a “key instrument in tackling the climate crisis by reaching one billion tons of permanently stored CO2 (1 GtCO2) as rapidly as possible”.

(BECCS) Carbfix captures carbon emissions at the source from the emitter (power plant or other industry). Carbon is then dissolved in water and injected underground into naturally occurring reactive rock formations of suitable composition (basalt).

Here, the carbon reacts with elements that are naturally present to form stable minerals. These stable minerals provide a permanent carbon sink, and over time, they turn to stone.

This process was thought to take hundreds of years to occur, however, the Carbfix pilot project undertaken in 2012 showed that they were able to achieve the desired result within two years.

This makes their technology unique and highly effective in capturing carbon and storing it in a safe, stable, and permanent manner.


Global Thermostat logo

Global Thermostat

HQ Location
New York, United States
Founded
2010
Num. of Employees
11-50
Global Thermostat Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 4,000

Global Thermostat was established in the US in 2010. Its patented technology captures and concentrates carbon directly from the atmosphere and/or industrial emissions. The carbon is then sold to various industries, which can reuse it in their manufacturing processes.

This approach makes carbon capture a profitable endeavor rather than a financial liability for the emitting body. It also makes it a potential business operation for those who wish to capture atmospheric carbon and sell it to industries that need it.

Their modular system allows for individual plants to be erected in any location without the geological limitations that carbon storage technologies face.

This company utilizes Direct Air Capture (DAC). Their impressively engineered machinery captures carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere with a capacity exceeding 1,000 tons per year.

Global Thermostat uses specialized equipment and proprietary amine-based (dry) chemical ‘sorbents,’ which are bonded to honeycomb ceramic ‘monoliths.’

The ceramic monoliths, coated with the dry amine-based sorbents, soak up or absorb carbon from the surrounding atmosphere. This may be directly from the open-air or concentrated emission sites like flues or smokestacks.

The carbon is then stripped back out of the monoliths and collected using low-temperature steam (85-100C). This results in 98% pure carbon, which can be transferred to locations where other industries need it.

Ideally, the steam used is generated by residual or process heat from the operation of the site where carbon is being collected, which means that no new energy is required for the process and reduces the cost of operation.


Co2 Solutions

CO2 Solutions by SAIPEM

HQ Location
Quebec, Canada
Founded
1997
Num. of Employees
10,001+
CO2 Solutions by SAIPEM Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 11,000

Co2 Solutions by SAIPEM is based in Quebec, Canada. They were established in 1997 and have since developed a unique carbon capture technology inspired by the human lung.

Their technology uses an industrial form of the natural enzyme carbonic anhydrase (CA), which is present in all animals and plants. The enzyme allows us to breathe by managing the carbon we breathe in.

Over the last 20 years, they have perfected and patented their technology to allow up to 99.95% of carbon to be captured from industrial smokestacks and power plant emissions. The carbon is then transferred to nearby operations that need carbon, such as agricultural greenhouses.

This company uses Post-Combustion Capture (PCC) along with its patented carbon capture process. The decarbonizing process uses an “industrial form of carbonic anhydrase, a natural enzyme that enables respiratory carbon management in all living organisms.”

CO2 Solutions process allows for carbon to be captured from installations or sites that produce it as a waste product and then re-used or converted for the industries that need it.

Operations that need carbon to operate but also produce carbon emissions can use the technology to capture their own emissions and then re-use the carbon, which eliminates their greenhouse gas emissions and saves money in the process. The technology is efficient and economical and produces no toxic waste or emissions.


Net Power logo

Net Power

HQ Location
North Carolina, United States
Founded
2010
Num. of Employees
11-50
Net Power Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 85,000

Net Power is based in Durham, North Carolina in the United States. It began technology development in 2008 as an exercise in developing low-cost power that produced no carbon emissions.

They developed a new power cycle called the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle and from that NET Power was born in 2010. NET Power aims to meet all 2050 power goals with natural gas power plants that are semi-closed loop and CO2-powered with the Allam-Fetvedt Cycle.

This company uses Post-Combustion Capture (PCC) along with its patented carbon capture process. The decarbonizing process uses an “industrial form of carbonic anhydrase, a natural enzyme that enables respiratory carbon management in all living organisms.”

CO2 Solutions process allows for carbon to be captured from installations or sites that produce it as a waste product and then re-used or converted for the industries that need it.

Operations that need carbon to operate but also produce carbon emissions can use the technology to capture their own emissions and then re-use the carbon, which eliminates their greenhouse gas emissions and saves money in the process. The technology is efficient and economical and produces no toxic waste or emissions.


Shell Oil logo

Quest Carbon Capture and Storage by Shell

HQ Location
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Founded
2010
Num. of Employees
10,001+
Quest Carbon Capture Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 7.7 million

Quest is Shell Global’s carbon capture installation at their Scotford Upgrader power plant in Alberta, Canada. It is run and owned by the international energy conglomerate, who use it to remove the carbon generated at the power plant when converting bitumen from sand into oil.

The carbon is then piped to a separate location and injected 2km underground into permeable geologic formations, where it stays permanently.

This facility’s oil-making process requires hydrogen to make the oil lighter, but this also produces carbon dioxide emissions. To combat this, Quest by Shell uses Post-Combustion Capture (PCC) to capture the carbon and pipe it away in liquid form to be injected and stored underground.

Quest’s technology is fairly simple and uses an amine to absorb carbon. The carbon is then separated from the amine and compressed. This turns the CO2 gas into a liquid, which is then piped away to be injected into porous underground rock formations.

The liquid CO2 is piped 65km away from the plant through various well sites and then injected over 2km underground into suitable porous rock formations. Here, it will remain for thousands of years and is considered a permanent solution.


Carbon Engineering logo

Carbon Engineering

HQ Location
Squamish, British Colombia, Canada
Founded
2009
Num. of Employees
51-200
Carbon Engineering Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 1 million

Carbon Engineering was established in 2009, in Calgary, Canada. They moved to Squamish in 2015, where they built their pilot plant to capture carbon directly from the atmosphere and either store it safely underground or convert it to synthetic fuel.

Carbon Engineering has since partnered with companies in the US and the UK to collect and sequester atmospheric carbon, as well as several other companies worldwide to produce clean fuel from the carbon they collect.

This company uses Direct Air Capture (DAC) in the form of an air contactor, where a huge fan pulls in the air and this air passes over thin plastic structures coated in a potassium hydroxide solution.

This solution removes carbon from the air and binds it to a liquid solution, where it remains as a carbonate salt. The air is then released minus the carbon.

The carbonate salt solution is then run through a series of chemical processes that purify, concentrate, and compress it.

Carbonate salts are separated from the solution into pellets, which are then heated in a calciner to release a pure carbon gas that can be reused or stored underground.

The remaining pellets are then hydrated and recycled back into the system to make the original capture chemical.


Climeworks logo

Climeworks

HQ Location
Zurich, Switzerland
Founded
2009
Num. of Employees
201-500
Climeworks Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 4,000

Climeworks is a carbon capture company based in Zurich, Switzerland, established in 2009. However, their technology has been in development since 2007.

Climeworks is the largest company offering carbon capture services that capture carbon directly from the air. They’re currently building a new direct air capture plant called Orca in Iceland.

This company is using its own technology to capture CO2 and then using Carbfix’s technology for underground storage. The plant aims to capture 4000 tons of CO₂ per year – making it the world’s biggest climate-positive facility to date. In addition to Orca, they have over 6500 smaller plants in operation with various partners.

Climeworks uses modular Direct Air Capture (DAC) CO2 collectors that capture carbon dioxide and remove unavoidable CO2 emissions, as well as historic CO₂ emissions. The collectors can be stacked to create machines of various sizes as suited to the location and end-use of the carbon collected.

Climeworks’ carbon collectors use a two-step process. The air is drawn into the collector by a fan and collected on the surface of a special filter material inside the collector. The next step occurs when the filter is full, and the collector closes. Once it is closed, the temperature is raised to 80-100C, which releases the carbon.

It is then collected in its pure and highly concentrated form, ready to be piped away for reuse or underground storage.

The Orca plant in Iceland uses the storage technology by Carbfix, where CO2 is mixed with water and injected into basalt rock formations. There it is mineralized and forms rock, locking the carbon in place within a few years.

Climeworks collectors are powered using renewable energy or energy-from-waste. Their grey emission is under 10%,  a very low level of re-emission.


Aker Carbon Capture

Aker Carbon Capture

HQ Location
 Lysaker, Norway
Founded
2008
Num. of Employees
51-200
Aker Carbon Capture Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 400,000

Aker utilizes Post-Combustion Capture (PCC). Their technology focuses on capturing carbon dioxide (CO₂) in various industrial processes, such as power plants, cement factories, and steel mills.

Aker Carbon Capture employs a proprietary amine-based technology that is energy-efficient and scalable, making it suitable for various industrial applications. The captured CO2 can be utilized for many purposes or safely stored in geological formations, reducing the overall carbon footprint.

Even though the carbon capture unit of Aker is newly developed, the technology is mature and carries 20 years of Aker Solutions’ carbon capture experience, experts, and project references.

Aker Carbon Capture ASA is a leading Norwegian company developing advanced carbon capture technologies. Their mission is to provide efficient and cost-effective solutions to capture CO2 emissions from various industrial sources, including cement factories, waste-to-energy plants, and power generation facilities. Aker is one of the few and largest publicly traded carbon capture companies, listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in August 2020.


LanzaTech logo

LanzaTech

HQ Location
 Lysaker, Norway
Founded
2005
Num. of Employees
201-500
LanzaTech Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 150,000

LanzaTech  is a carbon refining company founded in 2005 and headquartered in Skokie, Illinois. The company specializes in transforming waste carbon into chemical building blocks for consumer goods, such as sustainable fuels, fabrics, and packaging.

LanzTech employs a Biological Carbon Capture and Utilization (BioCCU)  or nature-based approach. This company’s technology captures and processes carbon-rich gases before they enter the atmosphere, transforming them into valuable and sustainable new products.

The company’s bio-recycling approach turns pollution, such as emissions from steel mills or landfill sites, into usable fuels and chemicals through a process akin to retrofitting a brewery onto an emission source.

Their innovative technology converts carbon using bacteria, creating a sustainable alternative to virgin fossil carbon in consumer goods and aviation fuel.


Carbon Cure Logo

Carbon Cure Technologies

HQ Location
Nova Scotia, Canada
Founded
2012
Num. of Employees
51-200
Green Concrete - Carbon Cure Homepage

Carbon capture (in tonnes of CO2): 250,000/ Lifetime

CarbonCure Technologies is a renowned innovator in sustainable concrete production. Their groundbreaking technology enables the integration of recycled carbon dioxide (CO2) into concrete mixes, transforming CO2 into a mineral that enhances concrete strength. Headquartered in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada, CarbonCure has revolutionized the concrete industry’s approach to sustainability.

 

The company’s technology works by injecting CO2 into concrete mixes during the mixing process. A chemical reaction occurs between CO2 and calcium ions present in cement, resulting in the formation of calcium carbonate. This process helps to sequester CO2 and also enhances the concrete’s compressive strength.

Concrete production is made more sustainable by decreasing its carbon footprint and improving its performance. This makes it an ideal solution for sustainable construction, as it benefits both the environment and the quality of the material.


Carbon Upcycling Technologies logo

Carbon Upcycling Technologies

HQ Location
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Founded
2014
Num. of Employees
11-50
Carbon Upcycling Technologies Homepage

Carbon capture per year (in tonnes of CO2): 22,000

Carbon Upcycling Technologies is a Canadian company focused on turning CO2 emissions into valuable products. Their innovative approach captures CO2 emissions and combines them with solid feedstock to create enhanced nanoparticles.

 

This company uses Biological Carbon Capture and Utilization (BioCCU). Carbon Upcycling Technologies employs a process that captures CO2 emissions and combines them with solid feedstock to create enhanced nanoparticles.

These nanoparticles can be used to improve the properties of materials such as concrete, plastics, and batteries. The technology not only helps reduce CO2 emissions but also adds value to a wide range of products.

Final Thoughts 

It’s evident that there are many companies doing great work to prevent current carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere, as well as removing unavoidable and historic carbon directly from the air.

While eliminating carbon emissions by replacing emitting activities with renewable energy technology is the ideal solution, this will undeniably take decades to achieve. Decades that we do not have in the race against global heating.

Carbon capture and storage is a viable and essential current solution.

These companies can help us combat historical emissions and stem the flow of current emissions as we prepare to transition to renewables and scale those operations to meet an ever-increasing global demand for energy.

References and Useful Resources

2021 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: The Paris Agreement

Center for Climate and Energy Solutions: Carbon Capture

The Guardian: Carbon Storage Technologies Critical for Meeting Climate Targets – IEA

The Guardian: What Is Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage – And Can It Trap Emissions?

NASA’s Global Climate Change Website: A Degree of Concern: Why Global Temperatures Matter – Part 1 and Part 2

Scientific American: Carbon Capture Technologies Are Improving Nicely

Future Bridge: The Allam-Fetvedt Cycle Infographic

Frequently Asked Questions

What is carbon capture, utilization and storage?

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) involves capturing carbon dioxide (CO2), processing it into a suitable form, and then either transporting it for re-use or transferring it to suitable underground storage or sequestration sites. These sites vary and different technologies use different types of geologic formations as storage sites. Read the full article for more info.

Why do we need carbon capture technology?

Carbon capture technology allows us to capture CO2 emissions and either transform them into useful CO2 to use in industry or transfer them back into the earth, where they are safely stored deep underground. Carbon sequestration happens in nature all the time but we need carbon capture technology to speed up the process so that we can stop climate change in the little time we have left to do it. Read the full article for more info.

What are the best carbon capture companies?

There are loads of great, innovative carbon capture companies in operation. Seven of the best are:
1. Carbfix
2. Climeworks
3. Quest
4. NET Power
5. Global Thermostat
6. Carbon Engineering
7. CO2 Solutions
Read the full article for more info on each of these great companies and the carbon capture technology they use.

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