The Times – Carbon plan captures big companies’ imaginations

The Times By Emily Gosden 4 February 2019

A company founded by a chemistry professor has secured investment from both BP and Drax to develop its novel technology for capturing carbon emissions.

C-Capture, which was spun out of the University of Leeds in 2009, said that it had raised £3.5 million in an equity funding round led by the oil major, the power plant owner and IP Group, the technology commercialisation company.

It said that it would use the cash to further develop its method for removing carbon dioxide emissions from power stations and industrial facilities and to conduct more trials.

Carbon capture and storage has long been touted as a key innovation that could help to tackle climate change. It involves capturing emissions of carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas that causes global warming, and disposing of them in permanent storage such as disused gasfields. High costs have stymied its deployment.

C-Capture promises that its technology could make the process “significantly more economic” by using solvents first developed at Leeds by Chris Rayner, 55, the company’s co-founder.

Companies that produce fossil fuels, such as BP, have a particular interest in carbon capture since it could legitimise the continued usage of their products. The company is expected tomorrow to report underlying annual profits of almost $12 billion, primarily from producing and selling oil and gas. While its investment in C-Capture is tiny by comparison, it is one of a string of investments that BP is making via its Ventures division to explore new and greener technologies.

C-Capture’s technology is already being used in a small-scale trial at Drax’s power plant in North Yorkshire. Drax argues that burning sustainable biomass wood chips could produce “negative emissions” if carbon capture is used.

C-Capture’s solvent is fitted into an emissions flue and reacts to absorb the carbon dioxide from the gas passing through it. Then the solvent can be removed and heated up, releasing the carbon dioxide so that it can be compressed for storage. The solvent can be re-used. C-Capture said that this was safer and less expensive than existing technologies, which use chemicals derived from ammonia.

C-Capture has received more than £2 million in UK government funding.