Swiss Startup Climeworks’ latest facility can collect carbon dioxide and then combine it with hydrogen to make methane gas which can be used the same way any other natural gas is used.
Climework had first made the carbon capture device that could collect CO2 from the air and unlike the latest facility, buried it instead of making methane out of it. In 2017, Climework had launched what it called the world’s first ‘negative emissions’ plant, by equipping an existing geothermal plant in Iceland with the equipment for collecting CO2. That equipment utilized the excess heat and electricity from the geothermal plant to capture CO2 from the air and then bury it in the ground. However, CO2 itself had little commercial value. Thus, the latest facility which converts the captured carbon dioxide into methane gas (CH4) was designed.
Conversion of CO2 to methane instead of burying it has thus made the process a viable business case. The latest plant can pull an impressive 150 tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. The plant can also be easily expanded by simply adding more collectors to the plant and increase its production.
The facility is great news for the environmentalists in particular and the world in general. To keep the global average temperatures from rising by more than 1.5°C or 2°C, we will need more negative emission technologies. Climework’s facility will be particularly useful for countries trying to reduce their carbon footprint.