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Climeworks Carbon Removal Summit spotlights innovation and collaboration for the race to zero

Key take-aways:

  • Experts gathered at Climeworks’ fifth annual Summit to discuss the latest findings from climate science, policymakers, sustainability professionals, and Climeworks’ pioneering R&D to accelerate climate action.

  • Speakers reaffirmed the urgency to scale both nature-based and engineered carbon removal approaches to remove the required gigatons of CO₂ by 2050, alongside drastic emissions reductions.

  • Climeworks revealed its Generation 3 technology at the conference. This breakthrough in innovation confirms that direct air capture could follow the same scale-up and cost-reduction path as solar energy.

  • By doubling down on their support for carbon removal, the private and public sector accelerate such R&D advancements and subsequent field deployment, which can create tangible benefits for local communities, power economic growth, and future-proof business operations.

Bringing nature and tech together

2023 was the hottest year on record and 2024 will likely increase the global average temperature even more. On top of deep and rapid emission cuts, carbon removal is indispensable to reach global climate targets. At the fifth edition of the Climeworks Carbon Removal Summit, formerly known as the Direct Air Capture Summit, the industry’s foremost experts explored what it takes to gain speed in the marathon race to net zero.

In keeping with the conference’s name change, the program emphasized the vast potential and benefits of nature-based carbon removal solutions, which need to scale in tandem with technologies like direct air capture. Such a holistic approach to carbon removal is bound to generate the most benefit for the climate and communities while balancing the risk-reward profile of buyers’ portfolios.

Hundreds of guests attended the fifth edition of Climeworks annual flagship event in Zurich.
Co-CEO Christoph Gebald took the stage with Mary Yap (Lithos Carbon) and Diego Saez Gil (Pachama) for a panel discussion on bringing nature and tech together.
This year, the Carbon Removal Summit took place at The Circle Convention Center.
Kaya Axelsson reviewed the Oxford Principles for net-zero aligned carbon offsetting.

The next wave of demand

Speakers highlighted that corporate buyers will continue to lead the “next wave” of demand for carbon removal before sizable public procurement becomes possible. To incentivize this demand, monitoring, reporting, and verification remains a top priority, in addition to cost reductions and continued policy support.

The development of the EU’s Carbon Removal Certification Framework, as well as the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act and the DAC Hubs program in the U.S. were noted as early success stories throughout keynotes and panel discussions.

A breakthrough in innovation

As a main highlight of the conference, Climeworks introduced its Generation 3 direct air capture technology. It is set to be first deployed in the U.S. in 2026 as part of the megaton DAC Hub Project Cypress in Louisiana and will lower Climeworks’ capture cost to USD 250-300 and total carbon removal production cost to USD 400-600 per ton by 2030. Now, investors, corporate buyers, policy makers and suppliers need to pull in the same direction to help make this a reality.

Together with co-CEO Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks' engineers introduced the Generation 3 technology with a model of the new cube design.
Oliver Geden (SWP) in conversation with Maria Leis (Breakthrough Energy).
Sebastian Kaczynski from SAP Switzerland gave an overview of how carbon can be treated like currency.
Riddhima Yadav (Brookfield Asset Management) shared her insights about scaling capital-intensive climate technologies like direct air capture.

How the summit has evolved over the past years:

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