Technology That Sucks CO2 From Ambient Air is Already Used Commercially in Switzerland and Iceland

This sucks. And is also great for the environment. 

Technology That Sucks CO2 From Ambient Air is Already Used Commercially in Switzerland and Iceland
Hellisheidi Power Plant / Photo by Arni Saeberg / Climeworks


As you’re reading this, a power plant in Iceland and a waste recovery facility in Switzerland are sucking CO2 from ambient air and selling it to other businesses. The plant in Iceland even claims to be the first in the world with negative emissions. Behind both projects is a technology developed by the Swiss company Climeworks

Climeworks, founded in 2010 by two mechanical engineers, has developed a CO2 collector with a novel CO2 filter, that has already been deployed commercially in several world firsts.

Able to manufacture plants that are modular, scalable, and can be located independently of emission sources, Climeworks is ready to be one of, hopefully, many commercial and technological solutions that will help meet climate targets. In fact, the company's mission is “to capture 1% of global emissions by 2025.”

Climeworks founders Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher in front of a CO2 capture module in Switzerland / Credit: Climeworks

Earlier this year, Climeworks technology was used for the first time in a waste recovery facility in Switzerland. The carbon capture system is powered with the waste heat of the plant and the 900 tonnes of CO2 captured annually are sold to a nearby greenhouse.

CO2 is a valuable agricultural fertiliser that can increase the growth of vegetables such as tomatoes and cucumbers by up to 20 per cent. Before the installation of the new technology, a truck had to cover large distances to fill up a CO2 tank and ensure the supply of the greenhouse.


Credit: Climeworks

In another first this year, in collaboration with Iceland’s multi-utility company Reykjavik Energy and funding from the European Union, Climeworks launched the CarbFix2 project.

The project, which is still in trial phase, equipped one of the world’s largest geothermal power plants in Hellisheidi with a direct air capture module, thus combining CO2 air capture with safe and permanent geological storage - injecting and mineralizing CO2 in basalt rocks at an industrial scale. 

By capturing CO2 from ambient air and storing it permanently underground, the CarbFix2 project is effectively creating a carbon removal solution by imitating natural processes but speeding them rapidly. 

Credit: Climeworks

CO2 is collected from the air via a patented filter. Once the filter is saturated, it is heated by waste heat from the power plant and the CO2 is released and bound to water. The carbonated water is then pumped more than 700 metres underground, where it reacts with the basaltic bedrock, forming solid minerals. A permanent, safe and irreversible storage solution is created. 

The technology developed by Climeworks can be utilized for achieving negative emissions by storing the collected CO2 underground. It can also be used commercially by selling the extracted CO2 to the food and beverage industry, or for the production of renewable fuels and synthetic materials. 

The current capacity of Climeworks is 150 CO2 collectors per year equal to 7500 tonnes of CO2. This could offset the annual carbon footprint of 375 average Americans. 

‘Designer baby’ book trilogy explores the moral dilemmas humans may soon create

How would the ability to genetically customize children change society? Sci-fi author Eugene Clark explores the future on our horizon in Volume I of the "Genetic Pressure" series.

Surprising Science
  • A new sci-fi book series called "Genetic Pressure" explores the scientific and moral implications of a world with a burgeoning designer baby industry.
  • It's currently illegal to implant genetically edited human embryos in most nations, but designer babies may someday become widespread.
  • While gene-editing technology could help humans eliminate genetic diseases, some in the scientific community fear it may also usher in a new era of eugenics.
Keep reading Show less

Octopus-like creatures inhabit Jupiter’s moon, claims space scientist

A leading British space scientist thinks there is life under the ice sheets of Europa.

Jupiter's moon Europa has a huge ocean beneath its sheets of ice.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute
Surprising Science
  • A British scientist named Professor Monica Grady recently came out in support of extraterrestrial life on Europa.
  • Europa, the sixth largest moon in the solar system, may have favorable conditions for life under its miles of ice.
  • The moon is one of Jupiter's 79.
Keep reading Show less

Lair of giant predator worms from 20 million years ago found

Scientists discover burrows of giant predator worms that lived on the seafloor 20 million years ago.

Bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois)

Credit: Rickard Zerpe / Flickr
Surprising Science
  • Scientists in Taiwan find the lair of giant predator worms that inhabited the seafloor 20 million years ago.
  • The worm is possibly related to the modern bobbit worm (Eunice aphroditois).
  • The creatures can reach several meters in length and famously ambush their pray.
Keep reading Show less

FOSTA-SESTA: Have controversial sex trafficking acts done more harm than good?

The idea behind the law was simple: make it more difficult for online sex traffickers to find victims.

Has FOSTA-SESTA really lived up to it's promise of protecting sex trafficking victims - or has it made them easier to target?

Credit: troyanphoto on Adobe Stock
Politics & Current Affairs
  • SESTA (Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act) and FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) started as two separate bills that were both created with a singular goal: curb online sex trafficking. They were signed into law by former President Trump in 2018.
  • The implementation of this law in America has left an international impact, as websites attempt to protect themselves from liability by closing down the sections of their sites that sex workers use to arrange safe meetings with clientele.
  • While supporters of this bill have framed FOSTA-SESTA as a vital tool that could prevent sex trafficking and allow sex trafficking survivors to sue those websites for facilitating their victimization, many other people are strictly against the bill and hope it will be reversed.
Keep reading Show less
Videos

What is the ‘self’? The 3 layers of your identity.

Answering the question of who you are is not an easy task. Let's unpack what culture, philosophy, and neuroscience have to say.

Scroll down to load more…
Quantcast