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Out of the atmosphere and into your gas tank.

If the cause of global warming is too much carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, what if we could just capture that CO2 from the air and put it somewhere else? It’s a simple concept but one that actually stretches into the experimental science-fiction edge of clean innovation.

That’s where you’ll find Carbon Engineering, a Squamish, B.C.-based company that is currently demonstrating a technology that pulls CO2 out of the air and repurposes it as heavy-duty engine fuel. In other words, less of a bad thing and more of a useful thing.

Wait, but how?

Carbon Engineering is one of a handful of firms in the world that are competing to turn the atmosphere’s excess carbon dioxide into a fuel source. The technology started out as the brainchild of researcher David Keith at the University of Calgary (he’s now at Harvard). From early public-supported research and development, Keith then secured the funding to build the Squamish demonstration facility.

Where did the money come from? On one hand from smart government funders like Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) and B.C.’s Innovative Clean Energy Fund. And, on the other hand, from smart private investors like Bill Gates and Murray Edwards, who see big-time profit potential in this technology.

Crossing the “valley” and into the market.

Now Carbon Engineering needs help to grow. It’s on the precipice of going to market, but between demonstration stage and the market is the so-called “Valley of Death”, where many budding clean innovations wither on the vine because of a lack of investment.

Accelerating clean innovation in Canada means helping Canadian companies cross the Valley of Death and get to market, where profits are earned and good-paying jobs are created. Government has a role to play - by providing timely grants and loans that crowd in much bigger private investments.

Find out more through Smart Prosperity's latest work on Accelerating #CleanInnovation.

ALSO: See the demonstration facility in action in this video shot by the Globe and Mail.