Rocky Mountain

A bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) project combining renewable materials production with permanent carbon removals

The BECCS Potential

Carbon dioxide removals (CDRs) permanently remove carbon from the atmosphere

Canada’s BECCS CDR potential exceeds 50 million tonnes per year

CDRs can decarbonize emitters in Canada and abroad

The lowest cost GHG reduction approach for hard-to-decarbonize sectors, like aviation, shipping, technology, aluminum, and steel.

A 1 Mt CO2/yr BECCS project equivalent of permanently removing 215,000 gasoline cars from the road

Equivalent to:

Making 11,000 roundtrip flights between Vancouver and Halifax zero emissions every year

Build on Canada’s existing human resources and energy sector expertise

Affordable decarbonization to keep economies and communities moving

BECCS enables Climate Smart Forestry and active forest management

Climate Smart Forestry reduces wildfire risk, improves forest health,
and maximizes stored carbon in the forest over time

Project Snapshot

Rocky Mountain Carbon

Location: West Fraser unbleached Kraft pulp mill in Hinton, Alberta

Carbon Dioxide Removal: 1.0 - 1.3 million tonnes per year

Primary Product: Renewable materials used for packaging, specialty products, and the replacement of single use and other plastics.


Phase: Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) Study is underway. Ongoing engagement with potential suppliers and CDR buyers.


CDRs for Hard-to-Decarbonize Sectors

Rocky Mountain Carbon would permanently remove over 1 million tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year. This would make it one of the world's largest removal projects.

For every tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere, a carbon dioxide removal (CDR) certificate is generated. These can be purchased by emitters in hard-to-decarbonize sectors, such as aviation, shipping, technology, aluminum, and steel, to reduce their emissions. In many cases, purchasing a CDR will be a lower cost approach to decarbonizing these essential sectors than any alternative. It also means these sectors can decarbonize now instead of waiting for new technologies to develop or become affordable.

Rocky Mountain Carbon would be Canada’s first BECCS project, but not the last. There is no Net Zero without carbon removal technologies. Canada is the world leader in certified sustainable forests. By combining Climate Smart Forestry with BECCS, we can increase the stored carbon in Canada’s forests while permanently removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

A Complementary Climate Approach

It is highly desirable for companies and organizations to reduce emissions from their internal operations. However, in some cases, this is simply not practical or affordable with existing technologies. CDRs can complement internal decarbonization efforts. Since high-integrity CDRs have a notable cost – much more than temporary offsets – they do not reduce the incentive to reduce emissions internally.

A CDR is a permanent removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. It is not a temporary offset or a pass for continued emissions. Decarbonization efforts must consider the costs of different approaches to provide the goods and services society needs to function. There are economic limitations to what consumers are willing to pay for zero carbon products. This is where CDRs can accelerate decarbonization rapidly and in a practical, affordable manner.

All pathways to meet the Paris Agreement commitments require CDRs. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that up to 15,000 Mt CO2 per year from BECCS will be required by 2050 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 celsius. Rocky Mountain Carbon is approximately 1 Mt (Million tonnes) CO2/yr, but it is an important precedent-setting step.

Canada’s Climate Goals and Forests

It is hard to believe, but Canada’s forests have become the country’s largest source of GHG emissions. The net emissions were over 250 Mt CO2 in 2018, which is more than the total GHG emissions of Spain. Canada’s massive forest GHG problem is not due to forestry operations. Forestry emissions are being driven by disturbances: wildfires and insects. We know that timber harvest is not the reason for the emissions because even if timber harvest were completely eliminated, Canada’s forests would still be an enormous source of emissions. Timber harvest has been reduced by 1/3 since 2004 due to the pulp and paper production downturn. During that time, Canada’s forests shifted from a net sink of greenhouse gas emissions – storing more each year than released – to a net source.

But there is a solution. Research shows that the Nordic countries of Sweden, Finland, and Norway, which are home to a northern boreal forest like Canada, have only 2% of the disturbance rate of Canada per forested hectare. In other words, Canada has 50-60 times the disturbance rate of these countries. At the same time, the Nordics are storing more and more carbon in their forests each year. How do they do it? By actively managing their forests using Climate Smart Forestry. This means thinning out forests and reducing risks. It also means using the low-grade material generated from those thinnings for bioenergy, thereby reducing fossil fuel consumption. For example, bioenergy supplies 40% of the energy consumed in Sweden. You can read more about the Swedish approach in this report by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Canada cannot meet its climate goals without reducing emissions from its forest. It cannot meet its climate goals without reducing fossil fuel consumption and using CDRs in hard-to-decarbonize sectors. Canada needs BECCS projects like Rocky Mountain Carbon to meet its climate goals. And the world needs BECCS project like Rocky Mountain Carbon to affordably reduce global GHG emissions while maintaining reliability of the energy and products that fuel our lives.

Rocky Mountain Carbon Vault

The storage site for CO2 emissions from Rocky Mountain Carbon is called Rocky Mountain Carbon Vault. The site is located northeast of Hinton, Alberta.

Vault 44.01, a project partner for Rocky Mountain Carbon, was awarded the CO2 storage evaluation rights for this site by the Government of Alberta.

A 30+km pipeline and multiple sequestration and monitoring wells would be required to meet the project's needs. Community and First Nations peoples engagement will be conducted as part of our study.

Meeting climate goals, including the objectives of the Paris agreement, requires carbon dioxide removals (CDRs). There is no Net Zero without CDRs.

Interested in learning how you can purchase CDR certificates?

The Rocky Mountain Carbon team is engaging with large volume potential CDR buyers. If your organization has a significant climate commitment to eliminate more than 10,000 t CO2 per year, please reach out.

Buy Carbon credits

Rocky Mountain Carbon, a collaboration of leaders in decarbonization.

Vault 44.01 is a highly experienced carbon capture and storage (CCS) project development team with extensive expertise in secure geologic sequestration of CO2.

West Fraser is a diversified wood products company with more than 60 facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.  From responsibly sourced and sustainably managed forest resources, the Company produces lumber, engineered wood products (OSB, LVL, MDF, plywood, and particleboard), pulp, newsprint, wood chips, other residuals, and renewable energy.

TorchLight Bioresources is a decarbonization strategy advisor and project developer working at the interface of the energy, forestry, agriculture, and waste sectors.

A Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) Study Supported by:

Emissions Reduction Alberta

What is Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS)?

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CCS is an important emissions reduction technology that can be applied across the energy system and to emissions sources such as forest products facilities. CCS technologies involve the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The CO2 is separated from other emission gasses and transported to an injection wellhead via pipeline where it is injected deep underground for permanent storage in geologic formations between a basement rock and a caprock formation.

What is CO2?

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas generated during fuel combustion, but it is also the same gas that is exhaled during breathing by humans and animals. The CO2 that is being captured at the Hinton renewable materials facility is formed during combustion of biomass and lignin, a component of wood removed to produce renewable materials such as packaging. At Hinton, CO2 is also generated from the lime kiln, which is used in the chemicals recycling process at the facility.

What is BECCS?

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BECCS stands for Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage. This is the combination of energy production from biomass – biological fuel – combined with carbon capture and permanent storage. Unlike direct air carbon capture and storage, which is a major energy consumer, BECCS generates large amounts of energy, even after accounting for the energy required for CCS.

How is BECCS carbon negative?

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When CO2 emissions from a biological source, called (biogenic CO2,) are captured and stored, a permanent carbon removal from the atmosphere occurs. This is because CO2 was removed from the atmosphere by the plant, such as a tree, during photosynthesis. BECCS harnesses the power of nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere during plant growth. By injecting the CO2 permanently underground, BECCS can be used to reach Net Zero – and then actually lower the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration back to historical levels.

Is “utilizing” better than storing?

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Storing biogenic CO2 permanently underground results in a removal from the atmosphere. While utilizing using CO2 to fertilize plants in a greenhouse or to produce transportation fuels can reduce consumption of fossil fuels, it does not change the amount of carbon in the biosphere. There is also the issue of volume – Rocky Mountain Carbon will remove 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere, whereas a typical greenhouse will need 10,000 to 25,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Is CCS safe?

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Geological storage is safe for many reasons. There are natural barriers such as the multiple containment formations made of impermeable rock, and substantial pressure over the formation which keeps the CO2 in a dense state. There are also manmade, engineered barriers such as the specialty cement around the casing that resists chemical degradation and multiple casings over the center pipe that contain the CO2 within the authorized injection well and injection zone.

Formations beneath the various layers of caprock have contained naturally occurring liquids and gases for millions of years.

This project will be permitted by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) following a thorough technical review by the agency which includes analysis of the caprock and identification of any natural fissures, faults, or breaks, as well as consideration of any wells within the area. In addition to being overseen and regulated by a variety of regulatory entities at all levels of government, Vault 44.01 has assembled a team of technical experts to collectively design, develop, construct, and operate this system to the highest safety specifications.

What Keeps the CO2 deep underground?

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The geology is carefully selected to ensure there is a very low permeability caprock above the injection zone where the CO2 is stored. The CO2 is unable to pass through the caprock. The well itself is constructed with a cement casing around the steel pipe that runs the entire length of the well, which protects the pipe from CO2. A good comparison is to natural gas – until we extract it, natural gas stays trapped underground for millions of years.

How is CO2 stored underground?

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The CO2 is captured and separated from other emission gasses then compressed into a near-liquid form and injected and stored in deep formations like sandstones and limestone. The CO2 occupies the small pore spaces that are interconnected within the formations deep below multiple layers of solid caprock.

Will the CO2 remain underground?

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Part of the construction and injection permit parameters from the AER and our contracts with our customers is to ensure that the CO2 in the storage formation, stays in the storage formation. Monitoring systems will be put in place that continuously tracks flow, temperature, and pressure to ensure the CO2 stays where we put it.

What is the proposed project timeline?

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CCS is an important emissions reduction technology that can be applied across the energy system and to emissions sources such as forest products facilities. CCS technologies involve the capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere. The CO2 is separated from other emission gasses and transported to an injection wellhead via pipeline where it is injected deep underground for permanent storage in geologic formations between a basement rock and a caprock formation.


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