Switzerland-based Climeworks has just launched another of its second-generation Direct Air Capture plants (DAC-3) in Troia, Apulia in Italy.

Climeworks has been developing the technology since 2009 and commissioned its first industrial-scale CO2 capture unit in late 2014 dubbed the ‘CO2 Collector’, which captures 50 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Its plants capture atmospheric carbon with a filter; air is drawn into the plant and the CO2 within the air is chemically bound to the surface of a sorbent (the filter). Once the filter is saturated with CO2 it is heated (using mainly low-grade heat as an energy source) to around 100°C. The CO2 is then released from the filter and collected as concentrated CO2 gas, which can then be purified and delivered as high purity CO2 for carbonating beverages, for example.

Climeworks then pioneered and launched the world’s first commercial-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant in Hinwil, Switzerland in 2017, featuring the patented technology that filters CO2 from ambient air.

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Now, the company has installed the second such plant in Italy. The plant consists of three DAC collectors that use Climeworks’ latest technology and require less energy than the plant installed in Hinwil.

Installed in July and now in operation, this new 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.

The plant will filter up to 150 tons of CO2 from ambient air per year. Simultaneously, an alkaline electrolyser (1.2 MW) locally generates 240 cubic meters of renewable hydrogen per hour by making use of excess on-site photovoltaic energy.

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

Aside from Climeworks, industrial partners of the STORE&GO project are ATMOSTAT as project coordinator, ENGINEERING, HYSYTECH, IREN Energia SPA and studio BFP. Research partners are the CEA and Politecnico di Torino.