WATCH | Climeworks hopes to capture one percent of global CO2 emissions by 2025
President Trump may have withdrawn the United States from a historic and landmark global environmental pact, but that's not stopping one particular Swiss-based organization from continuing the fight.
Climeworks introduced to the world on Thursday the first commercial plant to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air.
As a greenhouse gas, CO2 absorbs warmth from its surroundings and then re-radiate some of it back to the Earth's surface, which slows the rate at which the planet loses heat--thereby contributing to global warming, according to the NOAA.
The Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant features patented technology that filters carbon dioxide from ambient air. The captured emissions are then supplied to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables.
With this evolving technology, Climeworks aims to help limit a global temperature rise of 2 C--a goal earmarked by the Paris climate agreement.
“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the two-degree target of the international community,” said Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks. “The DAC-technology provides distinct advantages to achieve this aim and is perfectly suitable to be combined with underground storage. We’re working hard to reach the goal of filtering one per cent of global CO2 emissions by 2025. To achieve this, we estimate around 250,000 DAC-plants like the one in Hinwil are necessary.”
So how does the technology work? First, the carbon dioxide is chemically deposited on the filter surface. Once the filter is saturated, the CO2 is isolated at a temperature of roughly 100C. The captured CO2 is then solder to clients operating in the agriculture, food, beverage, energy and automotive industries.
In the coming months, Climeworks hopes to launch additional commercial pilot projects in other key markets. It also aims to test the technology's capacity to deliver negative emissions by combining it with underground storage.
“With the energy and economic data from the plant we can make reliable calculations for other, larger projects and draw on the practical experience we have gained," said Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks co-founder and managing director.