Mar 7, 2022 - Economy

Industrial pouring $100M into carbon capture in Asia

Illustration of cloud dollar sign disappearing into the air

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

SK Group is pouring $100 million into 8 Rivers Capital, which bills itself as “a full-service Net Zero solutions provider.” The move will also establish an 8 Rivers-SK joint venture that will focus on decarbonization in South Korea and other Asian markets.

Why it matters: The announcement reflects how major corporations are willing to spend big to find ways to decarbonize beyond renewables and storage.

  • The $100 million from SK Group will go toward developing and deploying carbon capture, hydrogen production, direct air capture, and other technologies CEO Cam Hosie told Axios.

Between the lines: The announcement comes as leaders in Western Europe grapple with how to rapidly reduce their reliance on Russian natural gas exports. Meanwhile, countries in Asia are building hundreds of new coal-fired power plants to meet surging demand.

  • "Natural gas and LNG is an incredible tool for energy abundance globally," Hosie said. "Companies are going to want to know that they have security of supply."

Zoom in: In addition to investing $100 million in 8 Rivers, SK will also launch a joint venture, focused on Asia-Pacific markets, that aims to leverage the SK's industrial and engineering capabilities with 8 Rivers’ project development expertise.

  • The Asia-Pacific region is the world’s largest source of heat-trapping carbon emissions — 52% in 2020, according to BP’s annual Statistical Review of World Energy.
  • The share of electricity in Asia that's generated by coal is twice the global average.

Of note: 8 Rivers has a footprint in the U.S.: It’s developing two "zero-emissions" natural-gas power plants in Illinois and Colorado, which together are expected to cost more than $1 billion. They reportedly aim to capture all of their greenhouse gas emissions and bury them underground.

  • The startup Net Power, using 8 Rivers technology, built a functioning pilot plant in Texas in 2018.

What they're saying: "A lot of the focus of the last 10-15 years has been on renewables and other lower hanging fruit. And this is a commitment — a major commitment — from the private sector into the harder problems of decarbonization," Hosie says."

Go deeper