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Climeworks launches direct air capture plant in Italy

Key take-aways

  • Climeworks launches second-generation direct air capture plant (DAC-3) in Italy as part of the Horizon 2020 research project STORE&GO

  • The plant will filter up to 150 tons of CO₂ from ambient air per year and will be used as a key resource to produce carbon-neutral fuel for lorries through a process called Power-to-Gas

Climeworks' direct air capture facility in Italy
Climeworks' direct air capture facility in Italy

What do energy storage and direct air capture have in common? They are both essential to reach a carbon-neutral economy and to limit global warming to pre-industrial levels. They can work hand in hand. We are proud to announce that we have just launched one of our second-generation direct air capture plants (DAC-3) in Troia, Apulia (Italy). Installed in July and now in operation, this plant is part of the Horizon 2020 research project STORE&GO.

This project will demonstrate the viability of large-volume energy storage through Power-to-Fuel technology in real-life applications and will be operated for 4,000 hours over the next 17 months.

Our new plant consists of three direct air capture (DAC) collectors that use Climeworks’ latest technology and require less energy than the plant we installed in Hinwil. The plant will filter up to 150 tons of CO₂ from ambient air per year. Simultaneously, an alkaline electrolyzer (1.2 MW) locally generates 240 cubic meters of renewable hydrogen per hour by making use of excess on-site photovoltaic energy.

The captured CO₂ and renewable hydrogen are then catalytically methane (a process called Power-to-Gas) in modular reactors by French company ATMOSTAT. The methane is then liquified and used to fuel natural gas lorries.

Toward a climate-neutral economy

The Horizon 2020 project is not our first involvement in Power-to-Fuel/Power-to-Methane work. Such work was first demonstrated in 2015 during a project consortium led by the Institute for Energy Technology and with partners Audi, the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil, the Swiss Competence Centers for Energy Research, the Swiss Commission for Technology and Innovation, Energie Zurichsee Linz, Erdgas, EWJR, and Climeworks.

Switching to renewables is a mandatory step to achieve a carbon-neutral economy and mitigate climate change. The complete adoption of renewables will only be possible with sufficient large-volume energy storage, which at the moment is scarce in Europe. However, as the European Union plans to use 43% of renewable energy by 2030 and 50% by 2050, more energy storage is certainly needed.

Making use of the Europe-wide natural gas network in conjunction with STORE&GO technology thus holds considerable potential. Aside from Climeworks, industrial partners of the STORE&GO project are ATMOSTAT, ENGINEERING as project coordinator, HYSYTECH, IREN Energia SPA, and studio BFP. Research partners are the CEA and Politecnico di Torino.

For the full English press release, see here.

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