Today in Hinwil, Switzerland, is the grand opening for the world’s first commercial plant that captures atmospheric CO2 for supply and sale to customers. 

Climworks, the Swiss direct air capture company, launched the commercial-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant, featuring its patented technology that filters carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air. The plant is now supplying 900 tonnes of CO2 annually to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables.

The plant is a historic step for negative emissions technology – earmarked by the Paris climate agreement as being vital in the quest to limit a global temperature rise of 2 °C.

Christoph Gebald, Co-founder and Managing Director of Climeworks, said, “Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the two-degree target of the international community.”

Gebald continued, “The DAC-technology provides distinct advantages to achieve this aim and is perfectly suitable to be combined with underground storage. We’re working hard to reach the goal of filtering 1% of global CO2 emissions by 2025. To achieve this, we estimate around 250,000 DAC-plants like the one in Hinwil are necessary.”

The CO2 captured by Climeworks can be used to carbonate beverages or produce climate-neutral fuels and other materials. Capturing CO2 locally for industrial uses enables customers to reduce their emissions and lessen their dependence on fossil fuels, as currently most industrial CO2 is transported from fossil point sources via truck to industries on site. In comparison to other carbon capture technologies, a modular Climeworks plant can be employed almost anywhere.

In coming months Climeworks plans to launch additional commercial pilot projects in key target markets and wants to test its technology’s potential to deliver negative emissions by combining it with underground storage.

“With the energy and economic data from the plant we can make reliable calculations for other, larger projects and draw on the practical experience we have gained,” says Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks Co-founder and Managing Director.