Commerce announces grant to support expansion of clean tech startup with a mission of decarbonizing buildings

CarbonQuest hopes expansion will create more than 100 jobs over time in the City of Spokane Valley

OLYMPIA, WA — The Washington Department of Commerce today announced a $350,000 grant to support expansion of an innovative clean tech company that captures carbon emissions.

CarbonQuest, headquartered in the City of Spokane Valley, has developed a patent-pending technology called Building Carbon Capture System that can capture, separate, liquefy and store carbon that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere when a large building is heated. The CO2 gas is converted to liquid that can be used for manufacturing of concrete blocks or used in wastewater treatment or in e-fuels.

In Washington state, buildings are the second largest source of emissions behind transportation. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says that in large cities emissions from buildings range from 67% to 76% of total city emissions.

“When we talk about net-zero buildings and economies, this is the kind of technology that will get us there. And when we talk about Washington state helping lead the way, it’s because of companies like CarbonQuest,” said Lisa Brown, director of Commerce. “These clean tech sector jobs will be created somewhere, and we want them here.”

Spokane County added over 4,000 green jobs over the last five years – representing a growth rate nearly three times that of the overall Spokane area job market (Source: O*NET).

CarbonQuest currently employs 12 people at its headquarters in Spokane Valley, with satellite offices in Seattle and New York. The $350,000 grant from the Governor’s Strategic Reserve Fund to Greater Spokane Incorporated will support CarbonQuest’s plans to significantly expand operations and square footage in early 2022. The clean tech startup hopes to grow to more than 100 well-paying jobs over time as demand grows alongside efforts to decarbonize the economy.

photo of carbon capture system at CarbonQuest in Spokane Valley

CarbonQuest’s first BCC system is operational in a 378,000 square foot multi-family building in New York City. The company estimates the technology will eliminate approximately 25% of the building’s total CO2 emissions.

“On behalf of the city, we are excited CarbonQuest is being recognized and rewarded for the innovation they have demonstrated,” said Spokane Valley Mayor Ben Wick. “Manufacturing and innovation have seen significant growth in Spokane Valley and we are excited to see CarbonQuest’s footprint expand.”

“Our mission is to lead the quest for decarbonization, and it’s a mission that aligns with the emphasis on climate tech innovation and forward-thinking of the leaders of Washington state and Spokane. We’re grateful for the partnership with Greater Spokane Incorporated and Commerce so we can grow our team and take our business to the next level,” said Shane Johnson, CEO of CarbonQuest.

“The momentum we’re seeing in our region around clean tech innovation and entrepreneurship is exciting,” said Gary Ballew, Vice President of Economic Development at Greater Spokane Inc. “CarbonQuest’s expansion will bring new opportunities for our workforce and we thank Commerce for providing this funding and working with us to recruit and retain promising employers that strengthen our region’s economic future.”

Reducing emissions from buildings has been a major focus for Gov. Jay Inslee and legislators. Washington state passed a first-of-its-kind Clean Buildings performance standard in 2019. Gov. Jay Inslee this week unveiled additional policies aimed at further decarbonizing the building sector.

In recent years the Spokane region’s clean energy and technology sector has exploded. Urbanova, with help from Commerce’s Clean Energy Fund, helped put Spokane on the map with partners such as Avista, Washington State University and McKinstry and developments like Catalyst Spokane. Most recently, Avista and McKinstry formed Edo, an energy services firm that enables building-to-grid integration and decarbonization of the grid and is now part of the groundbreaking South Landing Eco-District.

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