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Deep Sky to trial U.K.-based Airhive’s DAC tech

Pilot project targets capturing 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

Deep Sky's fourth direct air capture partnership is with Airhive. (Courtesy Deep Sky)

Deep Sky will be testing a fourth direct air capture (DAC) unit at its Quebec pilot facility, continuing its search for carbon removal technology that can be deployed at scale.

The Montreal-based carbon removal company announced it has partnered with London, U.K.-based Airhive to pilot its DAC unit in 2024. The test unit will have the capacity to remove 1,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, this morning's announcement states.

Airhive has developed a type of DAC that agitates tiny, carbon-absorbing minerals in the air, which the firm says allows for rapid carbon capture.

The method will be tested at Deep Sky’s pilot facility to monitor its performance and energy consumption, among other factors, for potential use in Deep Sky’s planned carbon removal site in Quebec.

“Together, we will collect learnings to share with the world, as we prepare to remove gigatons of CO2 from the air for our premiere carbon credit customers. We’re advancing the carbon removal industry, one DAC unit at a time,” Damien Steel, Deep Sky’s CEO, said in the release.

About Airhive

Airhive makes use of a process called fluidization, which uses a gas or liquid to make solid particles behave like a fluid. Minerals that naturally capture carbon are broken down into smaller sizes to boost their carbon capture capacity.

The particles are subject to fluidization to develop a turbulent environment where they can collide with the CO2 particles in the atmosphere, mimicking a natural process. Airhive can speed up this process significantly, it claims, removing almost 100 per cent of the CO2 in less than 0.1 seconds.

Steel told Sustainable Biz Canada in an email exchange Airhive caught Deep Sky's attention for the speed of its process and because it is 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.

An Airhive demonstration unit with the potential to extract 80 tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere is already being tested at Teesside University in Middlesbrough, England.

It plans to operate a commercial facility that can remove 4,000 tonnes of CO2 per year in mid-2025, and reach megaton-scale removal in 2035.

Airhive has already passed some milestones, including being selected by Frontier in a pre-purchase cycle of carbon removal credits in September.

“We have been incredibly impressed by Deep Sky’s vision, speed and capability, and we’re delighted to be working with them to deliver on their vision,” Rory Brown, Airhive’s CEO, said in the release.

“At 1,000 tonnes annual capacity, our system will be one of the largest installed end-to-end DAC systems in the world, and a demonstration of our commitment to scaling low-cost, energy efficient DAC as rapidly as our climate needs and deserves.” 

Deep Sky’s roster of carbon removal technologies

Airhive is the latest entrant into Deep Sky’s portfolio of carbon removal technologies being tested at its pilot facility.

Its partners include California-based direct ocean capture firms Captura and Equatic, Mission Zero Technologies of the U.K., and Montreal’s Exterra Carbon Solutions.

The company, which has raised $75 million in Series A funding to date, plans to build a network of carbon capture sites across Canada that can each pull 200,000 to 300,000 tonnes of carbon per year from the atmosphere. Energy would come from renewable, clean sources and revenue would be generated by selling carbon removal credits.

Steel said Deep Sky's pilot facility will have the capacity for 12 DAC reactors and five direct ocean capture units.

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