Our client Climeworks has launched the world’s first commercial device that captures CO2 in the atmosphere, which can then be sold on. The Swiss company used a Direct Air Capture (DAC) installation with patented technology that filters carbon dioxide from the air. The invention now supplies 900 tonnes of CO2 each year to a nearby greenhouse, which helps the vegetables grow.

Commercial CO2 capture installation

Set up by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks has developed the technology to capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with a filter, using low-grade heat as a source of energy. The DAC installation is set up on the roof of a waste recovery company managed by local authority body KEZO in Hinwil, where the residual heat drives the Climeworks DAC installation.

During the Climeworks capturing process, carbon dioxide is chemically deposited on the surface of the filter. When the filter is saturated, the CO2 is separated at a temperature of about 100°C. The pure CO2 gas can then be sold in markets such as commercial agriculture, food and beverages industry, the energy sector, and the car industry. Climeworks uses a 400 m underground pipeline in Hinwil to continuously supply the carbon dioxide to a greenhouse owned by Gebrüder Meier Primanatura AG to help grow crops such as tomatoes and cucumbers.

The supply agreement makes Climeworks’s Hinwil installation the first direct air capture facility in the world with a commercial customer – a momentous step towards the future of negative emission technologies. The Hinwil installation will serve as a three-year demonstration project in cooperation with partners Gebrüder Meier and KEZO, with a contribution for the non-depreciable costs to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).

Climeworks project

Negative emissions to reach the two-degree target

“Highly scalable negative emission technologies are essential for us to remain within the international community’s two-degree target,” says Christoph Gebald. “The DAC technology offers clear benefits to help achieve this goal and it can be perfectly combined with underground storage. We are working hard to achieve the target of filtering out one per cent of global CO2 emissions by 2025. And to do that, we need approximately 250,000 DAC installations like the one in Hinwil.”

Raw material for drinks, fuel, and materials

The carbon dioxide captured by Climeworks can be used to make carbonated beverages, climate-neutral fuels, and other materials. Using locally captured CO2 for industrial purposes allows customers to reduce their emissions and dependency on fossil fuels, as most industrial CO2 is currently transported by truck. Compared to other carbon capture technologies, a modular Climeworks system can be used practically anywhere.

Over the coming months, Climeworks is planning to launch several commercial pilot projects in key target markets and wants to test the potential of the technology to deliver negative emissions in combination with underground storage. Jan Wurzbacher said, “With the energy and economy data gained from the installation, we can make reliable calculations for other larger projects and build on the practical experience acquired.”

Source: AGF.nl