These companies are sucking carbon from the atmosphere

The race for reduce carbon emissions are heating up up, Very like the planet itself is. But reducing emissions alone will not be enough to stop what is happening.

It is not even enough to achieve the goal of the Paris climate agreement, which is to limit global in This century 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

There is, however, a technology which is advertised as a way get us there faster – sucking carbon from the atmosphere – and now major investors are hoarding in.

Just outside Zurich, more of a massive dozen fans are fast in work, cleaning the air of carbon dioxide. so-called direct air capture and the leading edge of what could become the largest environmental industry aimed at saving the planet.

The company behind it, Climeworks, is one of the few who offer the technology to basically suck the atmosphere of carbon. The plant in Switzerland removes around 900 tons of carbon dioxide for year, according to Climaworks policy chief Chris Beuttler. To put it in perspective, globally we are emitting 40 billion tons.

Beuttler calls the plant a “drop in the bucket “, but the bucket is getting bigger fast, how new companies like Climeworks, as well as governments, seek to monumentally expand what is called direct carbon capture.

“This has to reach several gigatons in terms of scale and not just technologies like direct air capture, but all carbon removal solutions combined. We need everything, ”Beuttler said.

Carbon Engineering with headquarters in Canada worked on direct air capture since 2015. Arizona State University and Silicon Kingdom Holdings are implementing proprietary carboncapture technologies technology acting like a tree. “[It’s] thousands of times more efficient in removing CO2 from air, “ASU website says. “The ‘mechanical trees’ allow the captured gas to be seized or sold for re-use. “

Climeworks’ system it’s a box with a big fan on one fine and a filter inside that attracts only carbon dioxide. The fan pulls the air through the filter, and once the filter is saturated, the box is closed. It is then heated to 100 degrees Celsius and pure carbon dioxide is released and collected. The captured carbon can be buried in depth or sold for other uses.

Climeworks has installed the Zurich system in 2017 and 2020 had raised $ 100 million from the likes of Microsoft, Audi, Shopify and Stripe. And now building a much larger plant in Iceland.

“It has to become a trillion-dollar market. And I think these are the types of investors who see that there is a long term Return on this, “Beuttler said.

He compares it to the fast rise of electric vehicles, solar panels and wind farms. Now the state of California is working on plans for use carbon capture to reach her aggressive goal of carbon neutrality.

“We have to try to move forward. There is no choice. We have to sequester carbon at a high level rate”said Ken Alex, director of Climate Project at the Center for Law, Energy and Environment at the University of California, Berkeley.

Carbon-capture technology has been in tour for a little, he noted, but it was also considered considered expensive.

“The price has already come down dramatically, and as it climbs up, I think it’s not unrealistic to think this is a viable opportunity, “he said.

Alex estimates that the world needs about 50,000 carbon-capture plants by 2050, which would be cost about 10 trillion dollars. It is undoubtedly a colossal investment, but with large potential returns – beyond of course save the planet.

The carbon dioxide captured can be used to make fuel, plastics, and even bubbles. Climeworks sells something of its carbon captured at Coca-Cola. Ironically, the oil producers like Exxon and Chevron are investing heavily in carbon capture because carbon can be used to release oil trapped underground.

“These opportunities are part of the dynamics of investments, “said Alex.” It’s a new industry and is just get your feet wet, but I think the possibilities are pretty great. “

Carbon removal also offers a new opportunity for carbon credit market. At this time, companies can get credits for emissions avoided, or lower emissions, but in a net-zero world, They do not have to just lower but remove the carbon.

Now they can buy those credits from the moving companies like Climeworks. Here because big names like Microsoft, which has said it wants to eliminate its emissions by 2030, is buying this.

“To stay within safe levels of global heating, we have to expand it, “Beuttler said.” That’s not a question of we can? Is it a question of we have to.”

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