In the spirit of National Clean Air Day, this article highlights 4 Canadian Companies whose operations work to clean the air we breathe in Canada, and around the world.
Written by: Thomas Tinmouth
Today, June 2nd is national Clean Air Day. In 1999 the Government of Canada established Clean Air Day in an effort to emphasize the importance of clean air for humans and the environment. The clean crisp air is synonymous with the great Canadian landscape of mountains, fresh water, and thick green belt of boreal forest gracing our land. Though Canada definitely exudes these features in some areas, cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are large contributors to greenhouse gas emissions which reduce the quality of our air. Luckily Canada has many bright and innovative minds working to combat climate change and improve air quality across the country and the world. The following are four of the most promising Canadian-based companies that are bringing forth innovative technologies in an effort to keep our Canadian air crisp and clean. These ideas started in Canada but are now well on their way to introducing their sustainable ideologies to the world. They have goals of becoming an integral piece of the transformative process of removing greenhouse gases from both industrial operations and our atmosphere.
This Vancouver-based company is one of Canada’s most promising organizations in the fight against climate change. Carbon Engineering brings forth innovative processes to capture and remove CO2 from the atmosphere, and store it in either the ground or be kept as a near carbon neutral fuel for reuse. This process works by using their Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology which sucks in air from the atmosphere and brings it through a series of chemical reactions that separates the CO2 from the air. The captured CO2 is then compressed into a liquid almost as dense as water and sent down a well to be stored in rock underground. The CO2 can also be captured as a purified compressed gas that can be reused as fuel. Refer to Figure 1 for a visual representation of this process.
The Carbon Engineering plants are continually operating this process with the only inputs being air, water, and energy. Their plants are emission-free as any natural gas used to power the DAC process is captured and either reused or stored in the ground. The current pilot plant in Squamish, BC, captures 1 tonne of CO2 per day. The company is currently in the process of building its first large-scale industrial plant in the Southwestern United States, which will capture 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year. This is equivalent to 40 million trees photosynthesizing for a year, or the annual emissions of 250,000 cars.
CarbonCure Technologies is a Nova Scotia-based company that is transforming the concrete industry with a quality product that helps fight the climate crisis every time it is used. CarbonCure turns buildings into carbon traps as their cement is injected with captured CO2, making it stronger and beneficial for the climate. This process starts with the collection of CO2 that is sourced from industry emitters and delivered through suppliers to the CarbonCure facility where it is stored. This stored CO2 is precisely injected into the concrete during mixing. This creates mineralized CO2, causing the cement to be up to 10% stronger with no performance flaws. Refer to Figure 2 to see a visual representation of the process, and how the CO2 becomes chemically converted into a mineral.
Figure 3 shows the different uses of CarbonCure cement along with the amounts of CO2 that are saved for each use. To date, CarbonCure has saved 97,898 tonnes of CO2 with 1,354,463 truckloads delivered.
Effenco is a Montreal-based company that has created a hybrid power system that can be attached to new or existing transport trucks which reduces emissions with no effect on performance. Effenco installs ultracapacitors into new and existing trucks which is a system that stores energy and electrifies the vehicle. This technology is able to resist temperature increases or decreases, has a service life of 10+ years, and acts as a battery for the vehicle. Greenhouse gas emissions are reduced through Effenco’s technology by stopping the engine and supplying 100% electric power when the truck is stationary. This is very effective when in traffic or making a delivery. Based on the amount of charging stations on the vehicle’s route, CO2 emissions are cut by:
Effenco’s technology can work with over 1 million vehicles that are sold every year. They currently have their products deployed in Canada, USA, Norway, England, Chile, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Italy.
Headquartered in Burnaby British Columbia, this Canadian-based company uses carbon capture technology to offer a viable solution for large-scale industrial companies to remove their CO2 emissions and fight climate change. Carbon capture and storage is a technology that captures up to 90% of CO2 emissions that come from industry emitters. Svante has developed technology that does this process in only 60 seconds. Their technology captures CO2 from flue gas, which is generated from the production of cement, steel, ammonia, aluminum, methanol and hydrogen. This CO2 is prevented from entering the atmosphere and can be reused or stored away. Svante’s plant in Saskatchewan captures 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, targeting major emitting industries – cement, steel, oil, and gas. Svante uses a highly absorbent nano-material that has the same surface area as a football field but is the size of a sugar cube. The system is attached to factory flues where the CO2 is captured. Refer to figure 5 to see a visual representation of how this process works. Svante is looking to expand past its two Canadian facilities and enter the American market by working with a large cement plant in Colorado. At this plant, Svante would capture 2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year and permanently store it underground.