Swiss firm Climeworks has signed several historic contracts for its new Carbon Dioxide Removal solution, marking the first time a company is commissioned to permanently remove the carbon dioxide (CO2) of its customers from the atmosphere.

During last year’s international climate talks in Bonn, Climeworks announced the creation of a new market mechanism using Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology to help achieve the world’s climate goals. Customers can now reverse the effect of unavoidable emissions and achieve carbon neutrality through Climeworks removing an equivalent amount of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and storing them underground via the CarbFix process in Iceland.

The first customers to sign up for the Carbon Dioxide Removal solution are Robert Charles Swan and his son Barney (below), who recently completed the South Pole Energy Challenge - the first polar expedition using only renewable energies. The pair skied 965km using a NASA designed ice melter, passive solar vacuum flasks, and advanced biofuels for survival. The expedition signed up with Climeworks to reverse emissions stemming from flights and associated logistics to make the expedition net positive.

Swans at south pole with cw flag preview

Source: Climeworks

The second customer is ClimateWorks Foundation, an NGO that works globally to strengthen the philanthropic sector’s response to climate change.

Programme manager Jess Lam said, “Investing in diversified portfolios of clean energy technologies today will create new markets and opportunities that accelerate decarbonisation and help the world meet its climate goals.”

ClimateWorks signed up to the Climeworks solution to reverse the impact of so-called Scope Two and Three emissions, which according to carbon accounting standards, are the indirect emissions created by services and products purchased by an organisation, including office electricity use, business travel, and employee commuting.

Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks’ technology involves scalable DAC plants that capture atmospheric CO2 with a filter, using mainly low-grade heat as an energy source.

Last May, Climeworks made history by opening the world’s first commercial DAC plant in Hinwil, Switzerland which supplies captured CO2 to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables.

Last October the company also announced its participation in the CarbFix project in Iceland, where its DAC technology is capturing CO2 to be mineralised and permanently stored underground.

Climeworks Co-Founder and Co-CEO Jan Wurzbacher said, “Unlike compensation schemes, where emissions are offset through the trade of pollution rights, the Climeworks solution involves the direct removal of the same amount of emissions from the atmosphere as the customer is creating. Climeworks offers a metered and permanent approach to Carbon Dioxide Removal.”

Christoph Gebald, Climeworks Co-founder and Co-CEO Christoph Gebald, added, “Once the test phase of our pilot project in Iceland is complete, our goal is for larger amounts of CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere and made available for purchase by individuals, organisations and companies. In order to achieve climate goals we need several Carbon Dioxide Removal schemes working together on a gigaton scale. Consider investing 5% of your offset efforts in DAC in order to grow this industry and create a strong Carbon Dioxide Removal portfolio.”