Climeworks CO2 air-capture technology has been developed at ETH Zurich, Switzerland and is based on a cyclic adsorption-desorption process.
Climeworks’ first of a kind commercial plant, Hinwil (Canton of Zurich, Switzerland), launched May 31st, 2017. Image by Julia Dunlop, courtesy of Climeworks.
Atmospheric CO2 is chemically bound to a sorbent. Once saturated the CO2 is reclaimed from the material by heating it to between 60-100°C, delivering high-purity (>99.3%, the rest being air) gaseous CO2. Climeworks indicate that over 90% of the system’s energy demand can be supplied by low-cost, low-grade heat.
Video courtesy of Climeworks AG.
Climeworks’ CO2 collector test unit in Q2 2016. Images courtesy of Climeworks AG.
In addition to the long term potential of the system to enable the net removal of carbon from the atmosphere, Climeworks have identified range of key near-term markets and applications:
Food and Beverage Industry
CO2 is used for the carbonation of soft drinks as well as for bottling sparkling wines and beers. Bars and restaurants use CO2 as carrier gas for draft beer or soft drinks.
CO2 is also used for packing of fresh meat and vegetables as it prevents growth of bacteria and oxidation. Solid CO2 (dry ice) is used for freezing or chilling food during production or transport.
Climeworks atmospheric CO2 can easily be post-processed to comply with the highest purity standards. Why not switch your CO2 supply to atmospheric CO2 and profit from the competitive advantage of using a renewable source!?
CO2 is often injected into greenhouses to keep the indoor CO2 concentration constant, increasing crop yields by up to 30 %. Todays common CO2 sources include the flue gas of natural gas-fired boilers or liquefied industrial CO2 which is stored on-site in a high pressure tank.
Climeworks offers a new attractive method of supplying CO2 for greenhouse fertilization. The Climeworks CO2 capture plant can be located directly next to the greenhouse and supply CO2 continuously from the atmosphere.
Renewable Fuel Production
Burning fuels creates mainly CO2 and H2O. This reaction can be reversed with available industrial technology and synthetic fuels can be produced from CO2, water and electricity as the only inputs (“Power to Gas” / “Power to Liquids”).
By supplying Climeworks atmospheric CO2 and renewable energies for fuel synthesis, the resulting fuel has the potential to be (i) carbon-neutral, (ii) less intrusive to and impactful on biological systems, and (iii) an efficient means of storing and transporting renewable energy.
The storage of renewable energy in synthetic liquid fuels is therefore an alternative to storing it by means of batteries or hydrogen. With concepts such as this, some transport systems can rightly go fully electric, while others could be supplied with cleaner fuels, and help the existing hydrocarbon fuel infrastructure in our societies and economies further enable renewables, rather than working against them.
Image by Julia Dunlop, courtesy of Climeworks AG.
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