Svante Inc. has raised US$318-million from a group of investors led by a unit of Chevron Corp., securing a new round of financing to speed up the rollout of its carbon-capture technology.
Svante, based in Burnaby, B.C., has developed patented technology that captures carbon dioxide from smokestacks. Under the proprietary design of “adsorption beds,” CO2 molecules from flue gas adhere to a system of rotating filters.
“We are proud that Chevron and a group of existing and new strategic and financial investors have demonstrated their confidence in Svante to be a key player in building a commercially viable, carbon management industry,” Svante chief executive officer Claude Letourneau said in a statement.
Thursday’s announcement on the Series E fundraising round didn’t provide details on the impact of the financing on Svante’s estimated value. But Mr. Letourneau said earlier this year that he was optimistic about Svante heading toward “unicorn” status, in which a private technology company achieves a valuation of at least US$1-billion.
A pilot project of Svante’s, “solid sorbent” technology for reducing CO2 is being conducted at Chevron’s Kern River facility in California. The testing involves capturing CO2 from equipment used to generate steam in an aging oil field.
Hurdles facing carbon-capture companies include finding ways to drive down the enormous costs of capturing and storing CO2. There is also the challenge of persuading customers to sign up for emerging technology to decarbonize in industrial areas such as the production of cement, steel, aluminum and petrochemicals.
“We are working to remove the biggest barriers to rapid deployment of industrial carbon capture,” Mr. Letourneau said.
Svante’s Burnaby headquarters will have a wing for manufacturing specialized carbon-adsorption filters. The filters go inside a rotary adsorption machine, which would be constructed at industrial plants striving to reduce their carbon footprint.
Houston-based Chevron New Energies is the lead investor in the financing. It is a division of Chevron USA Inc., whose parent is based in San Ramon, Calif.
“Svante is poised to be a leader in enabling carbon-capture solutions,” said Chris Powers, Chevron New Energies vice-president of carbon capture, utilization and storage. “Innovation is key to enabling these types of breakthrough technologies and lower-carbon solutions.”
Jeff Gustavson, a former president at Chevron Canada Ltd., is now president of Chevron New Energies.
Besides Chevron New Energies, participants in the latest financing include existing Svante shareholders Temasek Holdings Ltd. and OGCI Climate Investments, as well as new investors 3M Ventures and GE Vernova.
Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc. and Vancouver-based Chrysalix Venture Capital were among the participants in last year’s Series D fundraising round of US$100-million for Svante.
Founded as Inventys Thermal Technologies Inc. in 2007 before changing its name in 2019, Svante previously raised more than US$175-million toward developing its carbon-capture technology.
Two of Svante’s executives trace their technology roots back more than two decades in the Vancouver region. Karen Miller and Brett Henkel formerly worked at gas purification company QuestAir Technologies Inc.
Ms. Miller is Svante’s vice-president of finance and internal controls and Mr. Henkel is company’s vice-president of strategic accounts and government affairs.
After Mr. Henkel left QuestAir, he would later co-found Inventys, working out of his Vancouver garage.
While Svante has been focused on the capture of CO2 from emissions at industrial sites, the company is also looking at applications for direct air capture, including collaborating with Climeworks AG of Switzerland.
Another B.C.-based company, Carbon Engineering Inc. of Squamish, has been developing technology to directly remove CO2 from the atmosphere and store the colourless gas underground.
Earlier this year, Chevron Technology Ventures made a further carbon-capture investment in British-based Carbon Clean Solutions Ltd.