Foresight and Sasol Went DAC to the Future With Recent Challenge:
Here's Who Won

March 31, 2023

March 31, 2023: Meet the company whose solution could extract 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually!

If GHG emissions are one of the biggest drivers of climate change, then Direct Air Capture (DAC) could be the key to a green future. Through DAC, carbon dioxide (CO2) is captured directly from the atmosphere, giving these technologies the potential to play a critical role in achieving a net zero future, and Canada has the opportunity to be at the forefront of DAC innovation with exciting, emerging ventures in this space.  

To find innovative, cost-effective DAC solutions that would help them meet their ambitious climate goals, South Africa’s Sasol — a global chemicals and energy company — teamed up with our carbonNEXT team at Foresight Canada to go…DAC to the Future with our recent Innovation Challenge. And now — after a rigorous review process of several compelling submissions — we’re thrilled to announce that a winner has been chosen. An enthusiastic congratulations goes to…Gaia Refinery! 

Gaia Refinery‘s technology aims to improve DAC efficiencies, while ticking off Sasol’s requirements of; 

  • integrating into Sasol’s Secunda complex;  
  • offering integration of captured CO2 into the feedstock value chain to produce sustainably sourced carbon products like green chemicals, green petrol/diesel, and Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF); and,
  • cost-effectiveness.

At full scale, Gaia Refinery estimates that their solution could extract 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 annually from Sasol’s Secunda facility’s GHG emissions, in conjunction with some coal feedstock replacement and CO2 sequestration — the equivalent of removing almost 740,000 vehicles from the road per year.   

As for next steps, Gaia Refinery will have a 1:1 scoping call with Sasol to explore further opportunities to integrate their solution and help achieve Sasol’s goal of ‘Innovating for a better world.’

This SDG Connect Challenge is supported by the Trade Commissioner Service of Canada and is presented as part of carbonNEXT, a partnership between Foresight and Carbon Management Canada, powered by Scotiabank and Prairies Economic Development Canada. 

Direct Air Capture technologies have enormous potential to create a sustainable, livable future on our planet. It is exciting to facilitate Challenges like this that directly connect major companies like Sasol with made-in-Canada cleantech solutions that will drastically reduce GHG emissions and help meet aggressive net zero targets. Congratulations to Gaia Refinery on winning this Challenge!

Jeanette Jackson CEO of Foresight Canada

“Technology and innovation has defined Sasol’s success in the past seven decades and we are excited about leveraging our heritage and expertise in advancing sustainable energy technologies. This development is a promising step towards further exploring direct air capture as a promising decarbonisation pathway of our operations and removing carbon from the atmosphere,”

Thembakazi Mali Senior Vice President for Research and Technology at Sasol.

“Direct air capture (DAC) technology plays an important and growing role in net zero pathways. Gaia’s proprietary technology is a cost effective solution that creates a synergy between DAC and co-firing power. We understand that each incremental action taken today will get us to net zero faster. This Challenge presented a timely opportunity to show how our innovation moves us ever closer to a green and sustainable future.”

Qinhong (Tammy) Cai CEO, Gaia Refinery

“Connecting Canadian cleantech innovators with local industry opportunities is what drives our organization. The ‘DAC to the Future’ challenge is proof that with the right platform and support through strategic partnerships, future industry challenges related to climate impact can be mitigated through the connections made now.” – Chris Cooter, High Commissioner of Canada to South Africa

About the Challenge: 

Sasol has significant experience in CO2 point source capture, handling of chemicals (including hydrogen), and integration of processes. However, Sasol does not have proprietary DAC processes, and would therefore need to form strategic partnerships with companies that offer licensing of such processes.

Sasol’s existing operating facilities offer excellent breeding grounds for studying the integration aspects of emerging cost-effective DAC technologies. Sasol’s vast experience in the field of process engineering, integration of processes into complex facilities, and handling a multitude of chemicals and processing facilities can offer insight into the challenges of integrating a DAC process into a (petro)chemical complex and will enable optimization of all aspects of such an integrated complex.

The winner has the chance for a 1:1 scoping call with Sasol to explore further opportunities.

About Sasol

Sasol is a global chemicals and energy company. We harness our knowledge and expertise to integrate sophisticated technologies and processes into world-scale operating facilities. We strive to safely and sustainably source, produce and market a range of high-quality products in 22 countries, preserving and creating value for stakeholders. 

Sasol has a proven track record in developing, commercializing, and integrating new technologies into existing value chains. Its existing, well-established research and technology facility in Sasolburg, South Africa is earmarked to serve as a center of excellence for technology demonstration through international collaborations, knowledge, and skills development. It will showcase the integration of emerging technologies like DAC into complex industrial operations – an essential first step for the decarbonization of several South African industries – enabling Sasol to meet its GHG reduction ambition by 2050. 

About Foresight Canada

Foresight is Canada’s cleantech accelerator. Foresight supports the identification and validation of cleantech opportunities and the successful commercialization of solutions. We bring together industry, government, academia, investors, and innovators to address today’s most urgent climate issues and support a global transition to a green economy. 

Find out more at | Follow on Twitter @ForesightCAC