Swiss company Climeworks has launched world’s first commercial plant to capture atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) from air for supply and sale to customers. The Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant featuring patented technology to filters carbon dioxide from ambient air.
The plant is now supplying 900 tonnes of CO2 annually to a nearby greenhouse to help grow tomatoes and cucumbers. The plant is a historic step for negative emissions technology – earmarked by the Paris climate agreement as being vital in the quest to limit a global temperature rise of 2°C.
Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks developed its technology to capture atmospheric carbon with a filter, using mainly low-grade heat as an energy source. In Hinwil the DAC plant has been installed on the roof of a waste recovery facility – operated by the municipal administration union KEZO – with its waste heat powering the Climeworks DAC plant.
During the Climeworks capture process, CO2 is chemically deposited on the filter surface. Once the filter is saturated, the CO2 is then isolated at a temperature of about 100°C. The pure captured CO2 gas can then be sold into key markets, including commercial agriculture, food and beverage, energy and automotive.
The Hinwil plant will operate as a three-year demonstration project in co-operation, with a contribution towards non-amortisable costs by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).