Our goal is ambitious, but you have to think big: An interview with Climeworks


Switzerland-based Climeworks is re-writing the script in carbon dioxide (CO2) recovery and reuse. The company has been developing its Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology since 2009 and commissioned its first industrial scale CO2 capture unit in late 2014, dubbed the ‘CO2 Collector’ and capturing 50 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Its plants capture atmospheric carbon with a filter, with air drawn into the plant and the CO2 within that air then 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 100ºC, the CO2 is released from the filter and collected as a concentrated CO2 gas which can be purified and delivered as high purity CO2 for a range of applications.

Now patented, this technology has continued to develop in the last half-decade and Climeworks launched its first commercial plant in Hinwil, Switzerland back in 2017. This historic site on the outskirts of Zurich is now supplying 900 tonnes of CO2 annually to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables, providing a continuous and renewable source of product.

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