Climeworks, a Swiss company, is proposing to get rid of greenhouse gases by feeding them into greenhouses.
The firm is aiming to open a new plant in Zurich later this year. The idea is that plant can suck CO2 out of the ambient air, then process it for sale to agricultural industry to use in accelerating the growth of plants like lettuces, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Small scale CO2 extraction is already done routinely for vehicles like submarines or space modules. The plant will use a process called direct air capture (DAC) which is similar.
DAC works by pushing normal air through a sponge-like fibrous filter material which is soaked with chemicals derived from ammonia (amines) which can bind of the CO2 and remove them from the atmosphere.
Industrial-scale capture of CO2 from ambient air
Long Term Plans
Long term, Climeworks wants to use the technology (along with renewable energy and water) to create a synthetic, carbon-neutral fuel.
Dominique Kronenberg, COO at Climeworks said “we have a fundamental belief that things can’t go on the way they’ve been going on—more and more oil pumped out of the ground. There will be an end sooner or later”. He hopes that by creating fuel they will also start to make an impact on global carbon levels.
The company, however, has dismissed plans for storing carbon. Kronenberg believes that the market price for utilisation 10 or even 50 times lower than existing carbon taxes.
The plant will act as a proof of concept for the companies business model. If it works then plants using the same technology could produce cheap, renewable energy anywhere in the world.