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Government announces $25M loan for Squamish's Carbon Engineering

Company to build new innovation centre on Squamish's oceanfront
Jonathan Wilkinson announces a $25-million loan for Carbon Engineering to build a new innovation centre in Squamish. Photo: KEILI BARTLETT

Carbon Engineering received a loan of $25 million from the federal government to help create a new innovation centre in Squamish.

On June 25, Jonathan Wilkinson, the federal Minister of Fisheries, Oceans, and the Canadian Coast Guard, was at the company's Squamish headquarters to make the announcement on behalf of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains.

"This new project will, over time, create 450 new jobs, maintain over 50 existing jobs, will promote further cleantech innovation and will protect our environment as Carbon Engineering will use this funding to develop and deploy clean technologies that will help to mitigate the impacts of climate change," he said.

There are currently 62 Carbon Engineering employees. Susan Koch, Carbon Engineering's CFO, said that number will rise to approximately 100 people within two years.

"Today's announcement is about attracting investment. It's about creating high skill jobs, it's about developing Canadian expertise and making sure innovation is something that happens here in communities like Squamish and across this country," Wilkinson said.

The new Newport Innovation Centre on Squamish's oceanfront will include a research and development facility, lab and offices as Carbon Engineering continues to develop its direct air capture and Air to Fuels technology for commercial use. The centre will act as a model for commercial plants to be built in Canada and internationally.

David Keith, the founder of Carbon Engineering, told The Chief that the centre will be operational in two and a half years. The project is currently in the late stages of engineering, and contracts will be issued early next year. In an email, communications person for Carbon Engineering, Tara Bojdak, said the loan repayment will begin at a favourable interest rate once the company's commerical operation is running.

"In the end, the prize is deployment," Keith said at the announcement. "The prize is making a real difference to the global environment, making a real difference to the economy of this country. That work, to be honest — despite all our success — is still in the future. That work doesn't come from little incremental funding like this. In the end, that work, in the long run, comes from systematic rules that governments impose that put a price on using the atmosphere as a waste dump."

He called for transparent rules, continued support for innovation, and incentives for cleaning up the atmosphere.

This funding will be used with the $91 million Carbon Engineering raised earlier this year in a private investment round. It will go toward the commercial deployment of the technology at full scale, up to one million tonnes of carbon annually, Keith said.

Please note the amount of carbon tonnes removed when the tech is at full scale has been updated to one million tonnes. This story previously incorrectly stated 100 tonnes per year. This story has also been update with new information about loan repayment.

This article originally appeared here.