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Missoula company lands federal grant to advance carbon capture technology

Jordan Lind
Posted at 6:50 PM, Apr 28, 2024

MISSOULA — A tech company based in Missoula landed a share of an $8 million federal grant on Friday from the U.S. Department of Energy to advance carbon capture technologies in the nation's pursuit of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

CLEARAS Water Recover Inc. will receive $1 million in funding, according to the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management.

It's one of 14 projects selected nationally to advance new technologies capable of capturing carbon from industrial facilities and power plants, and convert the emissions into valuable products.

“Industrial processes are responsible for approximately one-third of our domestic greenhouse gas emissions,” said Brad Crabtree, the assistant secretary of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management. “The projects announced today will develop alternative feedstocks and technologies for critical products like chemicals, steel, and paper, and provide significant reductions in carbon and methane emissions to address climate change and create a healthier future for all Americans.”

CLEARAS, located off Clark Fork Lane in Missoula, uses a plant-based approach to recover nutrients from municipal and industrial wastewater, which delivers water quality that meets or exceeds current and future regulations.

The company secured capital funding as far back as 2009 and, in 2017, landed a milestone contract with South Davis, Utah, to deploy a non-chemical method of recovering phosphorous and nitrogen from the city's wastewater treatment plant.

The company was chosen as a federal partner this week to capture CO2 from the flue gas of water treatment facilities. The process will then produce algae as feedstock for polyurethane production.

Other project participants will use a similar approach to convert algae biomass to asphalt, to reduce methane emissions, or to create animal feed. The Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory will manage the projects.

“Advancing the development of these technologies will help decarbonize industrial processes and establish the foundation for the development of a successful carbon conversion industry in the United States,” the Department of Energy said in a statement. “It supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious climate goals of achieving a carbon-neutral power sector by 2035 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.”