Australia’s Calix snares backing for carbon capture technology

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By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s Calix Ltd has lined up an investor to buy a stake in its carbon capture technology unit, valuing the business at A$350 million ($256 million), it said on Wednesday.

Calix’s shares rocketed 20% to a record high after the company said Carbon Direct, a New York-based investor, had invested 15 million euros ($18 million) for a 7% stake in Calix’s LEILAC Group to back the scaling-up of its technology.

LEILAC, which stands for Low Emissions Intensity Lime and Cement, is focused on commercialising Calix’s patented kiln which captures carbon dioxide (CO2) from limestone in the production of lime and cement.

The International Energy Agency and the UN’s climate panel have said carbon capture is essential to curb global warming. Cement manufacturing accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions, producing more than 4 billion tonnes of CO2 a year, two-thirds of which comes from heating limestone to produce lime and cement.

Calix CEO Phil Hodgson said capturing emissions was a huge business opportunity given the royalties LEILAC could earn as a percentage of carbon prices. In the European Union, the carbon price currently averages around 55 euros per tonne.

“As the world puts emissions trading schemes in place … it does start to look like a multibillion dollar addressable market,” Hodgson told Reuters.

Carbon Direct backed LEILAC after Calix completed a two-year pilot test of its kiln at a Heidelberg Cement plant in Belgium in June. Based on the success of that test, Heidelberg Cement and the EU have agreed to fund a scaled-up trial at one of the company’s plants in Germany.

“We are very impressed by the technical and commercial rigor of the LEILAC team, and plant partners are outspoken in their excitement about LEILAC,” Carbon Direct CEO Jonathan Goldberg said in a joint statement with Calix.

Calix aims to complete construction to retrofit Heidelberg’s plant for the larger trial in late 2023 or 2024.

($1 = 1.3674 Australian dollars)

($1 = 0.8475 euros)

(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)