Emerging CCUS Technologies

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Despite decades of cries to combat climate change from scientists and the general public alike, the global response to this looming crisis has been far too inadequate to halt its progress (1). As such, simply reducing our emissions is no longer an option, and we must look to actively remove CO2 from the atmosphere (1). Technologies that are able to do this fall under the umbrella term of Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS), and despite the controversy that surrounded early CCUS developments, it is now clear to nearly all in academia, industry, and the government how necessary CCUS is going to be to tackle climate change (1). 

This necessity has also spawned a tidal wave of media attention and financial investment. In fact, over 2,800 articles on CCUS have been published just in the Globe and Mail (2). Additionally, in 2022 alone, over $6.4 billion was invested in CCUS projects, and this is just a drop in the bucket of what is expected to come (3). These investments come from a variety of sources, including governments, many of which offer generous tax incentives for companies who are able to implement CCUS, and corporations, which often invest in CCUS as a means of working towards Net-Zero emissions (4,5). This is done in the Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM), where companies looking to offset their emissions can purchase credits from numerous different companies that capture CO2 in a variety of different ways (6). Some examples of these companies include the following:

1. One of the older and more publicized companies currently working on CCUS is the Carbfix project (7). Carbfix is an Icelandic company that was founded in 2007 to work with the Hellisheiði geothermal plant to capture carbon dioxide from their operations. Since then, Carbfix has grown massively, expanding to multiple projects that work in both emissions capture and direct air capture (7). While each of their projects operates slightly differently, the main step for all of their carbon capture is the dissolving of CO2 into water, and the subsequent injection of that water into reactive rock formations under the surface, where the CO2 turns into solid rock. Since starting their operations in 2014, Carbfix has captured over 92,000 tonnes of CO2 (7).

2. Another example of a large-scale carbon capture project is the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line (ACTL). Developed by Enhance Energy and Wolf Midstream, the ACTL is a 240 km long pipeline running from the Alberta Industrial Heartland, North of Edmonton, to the oil fields near Lacombe (8). This pipeline is used to transport compressed CO2 that is captured from the industrial processes and inject it into the sedimentary beds near Lacombe for permanent storage. This process also leads to enhanced oil recovery, which is a boon for Alberta industry. Construction on this project finished in July of 2020 and it has an estimated capacity of 14.6 Mt (million tonnes) of CO2 each year, with a current license for 5.5 Mt of CO2 per year (8).

3. A third company currently innovating in the CCUS space is UNDO. Based in the United Kingdom, UNDO captures CO2 directly from the air through a process known as Enhanced Rock Weathering (ERW) (9). ERW works by amending ground-up silicate rocks to agricultural fields. Once amended, these rocks react with CO2 in the atmosphere and rainwater to capture CO2 and trap it in the soil water and in secondary carbonate minerals (9). This process also provides great benefits to the farms, as the silicate rocks can act as a natural pH amendment and fertilizer (10). Despite only being founded in 2022, UNDO is approaching its first million tonnes of CO2 captured, with goals to capture over a billion tonnes of CO2 before 2030 (9).

These are just a few of the hundreds of CCUS projects and companies that are currently operating around the world, and while none of these companies will be able to inhibit climate change alone, working together they may be able to make a sizeable dent in our global CO2 problem, while providing great financial returns for those who use them to improve their environmental performance (11).

At YellowYellow, we understand that not every company specializes in Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage (CCUS). However, we firmly believe that we all have a role to play in combating climate change and building a sustainable future.  Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at hello@yellowyellow.ca so that we can help you with your sustainability and climate change goals.

Historic Acknowledgment of Fossil Fuels and Balancing Interests: COP28 explicitly addressed the need to transition away from fossil fuels for the first time, marking a significant shift in global climate policy. This development reflects a delicate balance between the ambitions of island nations that are impacted by climate change the most and the oil-producing and fossil fuel economies, with a focus on transitioning energy systems in a just and equitable manner, aiming for net zero by 2050.

Significant Climate Financing Commitments:  At COP28, a major financial pledge was made towards global climate solutions, totaling $30 billion. In addition, multilateral banks committed to adopting principles for nature-positive finance, promising to allocate $100 billion by 2027 for such initiatives. This includes approximately $2.7 billion specifically earmarked for nature-based solutions. These commitments represent a substantial increase in funding for climate action, underscoring the urgent global need for substantial financial resources to effectively combat climate change. 

Nature-Based Solutions and Biodiversity: COP28 saw a breakthrough in nature protection, with significant finance allocated towards nature-based solutions. The inclusion of oceans and blue carbon in many countries’ NDCs(National Determined Contributions) and initiatives focused on mangrove conservation underscore the importance of biodiversity in climate action.

Stalled Progress on Carbon Markets: COP28 witnessed a significant impasse regarding Article 6.4 of the Paris Agreement, a crucial element for advancing international carbon markets. This article was anticipated to establish a new mechanism for trading greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions between countries, under the supervision of the Conference of Parties. The failure to reach a consensus on Article 6.4 creates uncertainty that can hinder the establishment of a clear framework and incentives for countries and businesses to invest in emission reduction projects. 

Methane Emissions and Oil and Gas Decarbonization: The Oil and Gas Decarbonisation Charter (OGDC) saw fifty leading companies, including major oil and gas players, commit to net-zero operations by 2050. This voluntary commitment includes pledges to eliminate routine flaring and achieve near-zero methane emissions by the end of the decade.

1. Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S.L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M.I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J.B.R. Matthews, T.K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu, and B. Zhou. Summary for Policymakers. Cambridge University Press ICPP, 3-32 (2021).

2. Globe and Mail (Various Authors). Search Results for “Carbon Capture”. Globe and Mail (2023).

3. BNEF. Carbon Capture Investment Hits Record High of $6.4 Billion. Bloomberg (2023)

4. U.S. Department of Energy. Biden-Harris Administration Announces Over $2.3 Billion Investment to Cut U.S. Carbon Polution. Energy.Gov (2022).

5. Bass, D. Microsoft to invest $1 billion into carbon capture with pledge to go carbon negative by 2023. LA Times (2020).

6. Carbon Credits. What is the Voluntary Carbon Market? CarbonCredits.com (2021).

7. Carbfix. How it works. Carbfix.com (2023).

8. ACTL. The Alberta Carbon Trunk Line. Enhance Energy (2013).

9. UNDO. Enhanced Weathering. UNDO.com (2023).

10. te Pas, Hagens, and Comans. Assessment of the enhanced weathering potential of different silicate minerals to improve soil quality and sequester CO2. Frontiers in Climate 4 (2022).

11. Trendafilova, P. The Top 10 Carbon Capture Companies In 2023. Carbon Herald (2023)

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Jeff Garcia-Seminario

Associate

He holds a Bachelor of Anthropology from Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Peru) and a Masters in Science in Sustainability and Responsibility  (Ashridge Business School, UK).   As a lifelong learner, he recently completed a Global Business Management (High Honours) at Seneca College in Toronto. 

Jeff brings global experience in leading corporate social responsibility (CSR) and community engagement projects in the extractive sector.   Jeff excels in stakeholder mapping, community engagement, and conflict resolution.   Applying his private and public sector experiences, Jeff can bridge cultural and historical divides between extractive industries and their communities.  His areas of focus include food security, sustainable procurement, and good governance. Most recently, Jeff contributed to the development of an ESG strategy for a multi-national company.  

Jeff’s native language is Spanish. He enjoys morning runs in the neighbouring parks.

Kaitlyn D'Lima

Associate

Kaitlyn D’Lima holds both a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Science and Sustainability Management degree from the University of Toronto.   She is also trained in greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting.

She brings extensive experience in sustainability and business transformational projects. She is known for her ability to execute projects of any size with both urgency and accuracy.   Kaitlyn has a natural talent for improving stakeholder engagement. She’s a real trailblazer when it comes to benchmarking and research.

Kaitlyn is a runner who participates in outdoor adventure races.

Arun Balu Pazhayannur

Advisor

Arun B Pazhayannur holds a degree in mechanical engineering and is a Chartered Accountant. He also has an MBA from the Ivey Business School at the University of Western Ontario. Along with his academic achievements, he has a thorough knowledge of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, which he incorporates into his consulting work. 

Arun is well-known for his leadership abilities as well as his strong skills in data analysis, financial modeling, and operations management. He has been recognized for his ability to identify practical solutions and deliver value to clients ranging from banks to payment companies to software providers. Arun is also a past President of Toastmasters Club. 

In his free time, Arun enjoys scuba diving.In his spare time, Arun likes to scuba dive. 

Gregory Donovan

Senior Advisor

Gregory  Donovan is a Chartered Accountant. He is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Credential Holder.  He obtained an Honours in Business Adminstrations (HBA) from the Ivey Business School (Western University) and a Master or Laws (LLM) from the London School of Economics. Gregory is the CEO of Avondale Private Capital, a sustainable finance firm focused on energy transition finance and carbon markets.  He has presented on these topics at conferences in Canada, the US and UK.  

Greg participates in the occasional triathlon and loves to go skiing and sailing with his two young children.

Margaux Loptson

Associate & US Operations Lead

Margaux Loptson holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology) and a Bachelor of Arts (Criminology) from Pennsylvania State University. In addition, she holds several research certifications, including Ethical Conduct for Research Involving Humans

She has been an essential player in AI-powered teaching and learning projects as a User Experience (UX) lead.  Margaux is known for applying her design thinking, problem-solving and analytical skills to make a positive impact. She is a native French speaker

Margaux is a fitness enthusiast who can be found hiking around Central Park in NYC.

Ritika Jain

Associate / Responsible Supply Chain Lead

Ritika Jain holds a Masters in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management from Lund University (Sweden)  and a Bachelor of Technology from Indraprastha University (India). As a lifelong learner, she is pursuing a Graduate Diploma in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability at the University of Toronto.

Ritika is a recycling and responsible supply chain specialist.  Through her work, she collaborates with organizations to implement circular economy focused policies to ensure compliance with regulations.  

Her proficiency in data analytics and with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) enable her to manage complex sustainability data. Ritika also volunteers with the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, engaging with youth to drive positive change.  

Ritika is a native Hindi speaker.  She is a certified hiking leader who enjoys travelling.

Jonathan Spence

Associate & Western Canada Operations Lead

Jonathan Spence holds an Honours Bachelor of Integrated Sciences (Earth and Environmental Sciences) from McMaster University and has his certification in Geographic Information Sciences from the ESRI Canada Center of Excellence at McMaster University. Jonathan worked as a research analyst in the environment and sustainability group for a TSX listed company.  

He is pursuing his Ph.D. in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Alberta, where he is researching the development of carbon capture techniques and their applications to the mining industry.  Jonathan is focused on helping companies to minimize their carbon footprint while supporting their economic growth.   

Jonathan is an avid water polo player and coach. He plays for the local National Championship League team. 

Gurnoor Gandhi

VP Business Development & Strategic Partnerships

Gurnoor Gandhi holds an MBA from Ivey Business School (Western University) and a postgraduate diploma in Maritime Energy Management (Sweden). Gurnoor brings experience with sustainability frameworks including TCFD, GRI, and CDP and is pursuing FSA credential (SASB). 

Gurnoor has global leadership experience in the shipping industry managing assets worth millions of dollars on the high seas and has led diverse teams worked in Monaco, Singapore, and India. Most recently, he led organizational development and client partnerships at CARD, a non-profit focused on rural development and renewable energy.

Gurnoor brings a blend of technical and leadership skills. He applied his knowledge of greenhouse gas accounting and carbon capture to support clients with niche energy transition projects. He is known for putting his problem-solving, stakeholder management, and project management skills to work to help firms expedite their ESG Journey. 

Gurnoor is a certified BMW adventure motorcyclist who finds off-road rides rejuvenating for body and spirit.  He enjoys hiking with his family.

Lisa-Annabel Ellis

Founder & CEO

Lisa Annabel Ellis holds an Honours Bachelor of Science (Environmental Science) from the University of Toronto and an MBA from the Ivey Business School (Western University). She is a certified Project Manager Professional (PMP) with a Six Sigma Green Belt. Lisa is a Fundamentals of Sustainable Accounting (FSA) Level II Candidate. Applying her deep expertise in business and operational strategies, she has led award-winning transformational initiatives.

Drawing on her well-rounded science and finance expertise, she launched YellowYellow to help clients advance their sustainability practices. As an advocate of transparency and good governance, she partners with clients to understand their risks and opportunities to generate superior long-term value. Stakeholders across the value chain recognize the impact of this effort. She has been called upon to be a keynote speaker and lecturer.

Lisa is an advanced scuba diver who enjoys most water-related sports.