2nd June 2017
World’s first commercial plant that captures atmospheric CO2 for supply and sale to a customer
by Marco Casini
The global increase of carbon dioxide emissions, whose values, equal to over 32 Gigatonnes per year in 2016, exceeded over 50% of those in 1990, caused the increase of CO2 concentration levels in the atmosphere, by now stably higher than 400 parts per million (which has not been occurring for 300 millions of years).
Climeworks, a zurich-based CO2 extraction startup company, founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, just opened its first direct air capture plant in Zurich Switzerland.
The plant can filter around 900 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere annually and supply it through an underground pipeline to a nearby greenhouse 400m away to help grow vegetables.
This “negative emissions technology” captures atmospheric carbon with a filter. Once the filter becomes saturated with CO2, it is heated, released from the filter, and collected as a concentrated gas to supply to customers. The filter can be reused many times, and lasts for several thousand cycles. Next months, climeworks plans to launch additional projects, with the goal to remove 1% of the earth’s carbon dioxide.