COP22: Climeworks presents direct air capture technology

News | 10.11.2016

Climeworks chosen as one of 20 startups to present their technologies at the “Low-Emissions Solutions" conference

During the COP22 Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, for the first time ever a “largescale technical-solutions conference” for senior delegates by UNFCCC and experts of technology of the 196 states will take place. The focus during the three-days “Low-Emissions Solution Conference” is a presentation by 20 chosen cleantech start-ups that introduce their scaleable technologies. Climeworks will show its efficient solution to filter CO₂ from ambient air and share the potential for climate protection.

The Climeworks CO₂ direct air capture (DAC) technology is based on a cyclic capture-regeneration process and a novel filter. During the capture process, atmospheric CO₂ is chemically bound to the surface of the filter. Once the filter is saturated, the CO₂ is released by heating it to a temperature of about 100 degrees Celsius, thereby delivering high-purity gaseous CO₂. The CO₂- free filter can be re-used for thousands of capture-regeneration cycles. DAC allows for significant emissions reductions through the production of low-carbon fuels and eventually enabling negative emissions when combined with a permanent carbon storage solution.

The Climeworks founders have set themselves an ambitious goal: to inspire 1 billion people to remove CO₂ from the air. Simply by changing the number of modules, Climeworks’ DAC technology can be freely scaled to meet the demands of any application and has a carbon removal potential that is relevant for achieving climate targets agreed upon in the Paris Agreement.

Climeworks’ technology has several commercial applications: In the short-term the company targets large merchant markets by selling air-captured CO₂ to customers like greenhouse operators or the beverage industry, which currently receive their CO₂ primarily as an industrial waste product and often from the combustion of fossil fuels.

In the mid-term, Climeworks seeks to close the carbon cycle by providing atmospheric CO₂ for the production of low-carbon fuels, which allows large-scale storage of renewable energies and which further allows to address CO₂ sources which are otherwise hard to capture, e.g. emissions from the past or mobile sources. By that reason, the company is in a close partnership with car maker Audi.

In the long-term and in combination with storage technology, DAC is one of only few technologies with the potential to capture and permanently remove several gigatons of atmospheric CO₂ per year. The usage of so-called Negative Emission Technologies (NET) is considered necessary in more than 85% of IPCC climate scenarios consistent with the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius.

Learn more about direct air capture