​First micro carbon capture unit installed as part of FortisBC's pilot program

Image: FortisBC Energy Inc.

FortisBC Energy Inc.’s first CleanO2 carbon capture unit was installed this week at LUSH Cosmetics headquarters in Vancouver, with the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) in Abbotsford scheduled as the next install as part of FortisBC's carbon capture pilot program.

The pilot program uses first-of-its-kind carbon capture technology that takes the extra heat and emissions released from commercial-sized boilers and furnaces and turns it into something useful.

The unit captures carbon that would otherwise be vented into the atmosphere and turns it into sodium bicarbonate (soda ash), a versatile mineral used to make pharmaceuticals and manufacture glass as well as soap.

The unit enables energy savings by taking the extra energy produced and redistributing it for heating needs around the building.

"This innovative technology helps our customers manage their energy usage and aligns with our province's goals for carbon reduction," Jason Wolfe, director, energy solutions at FortisBC, said in a statement.

"Our commercial customers are receiving the benefit of using natural gas and through this technology they are reducing their emissions and also being more efficient in their energy use."

The carbon capture process can allow customers to reduce up to 13 tonnes of carbon emissions per unit per year. The technology also decreases energy consumption by up to 10 per cent depending on the boiler or furnace size, according to FortisBC, which owns and operates approximately 49,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines.

Other organizations signed on to the carbon capture pilot program include Cadillac Fairview Richmond Centre and the Blue Horizon Hotel, the company said.