For years, the Swiss company Climeworks has been experimenting with a system to purify air by adsorbing atmospheric CO2, which can then be recycled. Now it is building the world's largest carbon recovery and storage facility in Iceland, which will collect an estimated 4,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Climeworks has developed a technology to collect atmospheric CO2, which can then be stored or recycled. Having built an initial plant in Hinwil in Switzerland, The company is now building a much larger scale project in Iceland, which, once it is completed, will recover 4,000 tonnes of atmospheric CO2 every year.
But how does it work? The company has developed a system of filters that use a specially developed adsorbent to bind CO2. Once these are full, they are heated to 100 degrees to produce concentrated gas, which can then be stored or recycled. Naturally, all of this machinery relies on green energy, in the case of the Icelandic project, waste heat from a geothermal facility, to power this adsorption-desorption process.
Once it has been collected, the CO2 can be sequestered underground and sold to companies as a carbon credit, or alternatively converted into carbonic acid, which is used by the beverage industry to make sodas.
In the summer of this year, Climeworks raised an impressive 70 million euros with its latest call for funding. It has also entered into partnerships with the automaker Audi and the airline Lufthansa to develop non-polluting synthetic fuels.
In the long term, Climeworks is hoping to be able to collect up to one percent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions.