Back arrow
Home page

An Introduction to Carbon Dioxide Removal

Learn about the various carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies available today, from natural approaches like afforestation and reforestation to high-tech solutions like direct air capture and carbon mineralization. Explore the benefits and drawbacks of each technology, and find insight into how CDR projects can be financed via Sequestr. Discover the challenges facing CDR companies, including high costs and a lack of public awareness, and how future offtake agreements from Sequestr can help these projects thrive.

An Introduction to Carbon Dioxide Removal

Introduction to Carbon Dioxide Removal

Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies are becoming increasingly important in the fight against climate change. CDR refers to the process of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in a way that prevents it from contributing to global warming. There are several different CDR technologies currently available, ranging from natural approaches such as afforestation and reforestation to more high-tech solutions like direct air capture and carbon mineralization. We will explore the different types of CDR technologies, their benefits and drawbacks, and how future offtake agreements through Sequestr can help these companies thrive.

Carbon Dioxide Removal vs Traditional Offsets/Avoidance

Carbon offsets and avoidance measures have been widely used in recent years to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, with much success, and some scandal. While these measures have been effective in reducing emissions, they do not directly remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Instead, they rely on projects that reduce emissions elsewhere, such as the use of renewable energy or forest conservation, to offset or avoid emissions from a particular source. While these projects can be valuable in reducing overall emissions, they do not address the underlying problem of the excess carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere.

In contrast, carbon dioxide removal technologies are designed specifically to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These technologies offer a more direct and permanent solution to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas concentrations. By actually removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, these technologies can help to restore a more balanced carbon cycle and reduce the risk of dangerous climate change.

While traditional offsets and avoidance measures can play a role in reducing emissions, they should not be seen as a substitute for carbon dioxide removal technologies. Instead, these measures should be seen as complementary tools in the broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Taxonomy of carbon offsets

Types of CDR Technologies:

  1. Afforestation and Reforestation: This involves planting trees and other vegetation to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis and store it in their biomass. [See: Sequestr's Biochar-Infused SeedBall ARR Project in Saskatchewan]
  2. Soil Carbon Sequestration: This involves modifying land use practices to increase the amount of carbon stored in the soil. This can be achieved by reducing tillage, using cover crops, and applying compost and manure.
  3. Ocean Fertilization: This involves adding nutrients to the ocean to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton, which absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. However, there are concerns about the potential negative impacts on marine ecosystems.
  4. Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS): This involves producing energy from biomass and capturing the resulting carbon dioxide emissions for storage underground.
  5. Direct Air Capture (DAC): This involves using technology to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air and store it underground. This is a relatively new technology and is still in the early stages of development.
  6. Carbon Mineralization: This involves reacting carbon dioxide with naturally occurring minerals to form stable carbonate minerals, which can be stored underground.

Benefits and Drawbacks of CDR Technologies:

The benefits of CDR technologies are obvious: they help to mitigate the effects of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, there are also some drawbacks to consider:

  1. Cost: CDR technologies can be expensive to implement, especially for more high-tech solutions like direct air capture.
  2. Scalability: Some CDR technologies, like afforestation and reforestation, require large amounts of land to be effective, which can be difficult to obtain.
  3. Negative Impacts: Some CDR technologies, like ocean fertilization, can have negative impacts on the environment if not implemented carefully.

Financing Landscape for CDR Projects

CDR projects are currently being financed through a variety of sources, including private investment, venture capital, government grants, and philanthropic funding. However, it is worth noting that the financing landscape for CDR projects is still in its early stages, and there are several challenges that these projects face when seeking funding.

One challenge is the high cost associated with developing and deploying CDR technologies. Unlike traditional carbon mitigation technologies, such as renewable energy, which have seen significant cost reductions in recent years, CDR technologies are still relatively expensive and require significant capital investment. This high cost can make it challenging for CDR companies to secure financing, particularly in the early stages of development.

Another challenge is the lack of a clear regulatory framework for CDR technologies. As CDR technologies are still relatively new, there are few established regulations governing their development and deployment. This regulatory uncertainty can make it difficult for CDR companies to secure financing, as investors may be hesitant to invest in projects that may face regulatory hurdles down the line.

Finally, there is a lack of public awareness and understanding of CDR technologies, which can make it difficult for CDR companies to attract funding. Many investors may be unfamiliar with the concept of CDR and may not see it as a viable investment opportunity.

Overall, while there are several funding sources available for CDR projects, the high cost of development, lack of regulatory clarity, and limited public awareness and understanding of CDR technologies can make it challenging for CDR companies to secure financing. However, as the importance of carbon removal becomes increasingly recognized, it is likely that more funding opportunities will become available for CDR projects.

Financing CDR Projects via Future Offtakes

Offtake agreements, like those offered by Sequestr, can provide a crucial source of revenue and stability for CDR technology companies, particularly those that are in the early stages of development. By securing commitments from buyers to purchase a certain amount of carbon removal services or products at a fixed price over a set period of time, CDR companies can generate a more predictable income stream, which can help them attract investment and continue to develop their technology.

Additionally, offtake agreements can provide CDR companies with the assurance they need to scale up their operations. With a guaranteed market for their services or products, they can invest in equipment, infrastructure, and personnel necessary to increase their capacity and meet the demand from buyers. This can result in lower costs, increased efficiency, and a stronger competitive position.

Furthermore, future offtake agreements can help CDR technology companies thrive by facilitating the creation of new markets for carbon removal. By demonstrating a demand for these services or products, CDR companies can attract new buyers and investors, and help to create a more favorable regulatory and policy environment that supports the growth of the industry as a whole.

Overall, future offtake agreements can provide an essential lifeline for CDR technology companies, enabling them to generate revenue, scale up their operations, and contribute to the fight against climate change.

Over the coming weeks, we will be announcing partnerships with some exciting projects and technology partners in the CDR space. Reach out today to learn more
Written by
Stewart Orr

Stewart leads sales and go-to-market at Sequestr.

Stewart Orr

This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Sequestr Carbon Inc.