Climeworks has launched what it says is the world’s first commercial plant that captures atmospheric carbon dioxide for supply and sale to a customer. The Swiss company’s commercial-scale Direct Air Capture plant, features patented technology that filters carbon dioxide from ambient air. The plant, at Hinwil, is now supplying 900 tonnes of CO2 annually to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables.
Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks developed its technology to capture atmospheric carbon with a filter, using mainly low-grade heat as an energy source. In Hinwil a DAC plant has been installed on the roof of a waste recovery facility – operated by the municipal administration union KEZO – with its waste heat powering the Climeworks plant.
During the Climeworks capture process, carbon dioxide is chemically deposited on the filter surface. Once the filter is saturated, the CO2 is then isolated at a temperature of about 100 °C. The pure captured gas can then be sold to customers in key markets, including: commercial agriculture, food and beverage industries, the energy sector and the automotive industry.
The Hinwil plant will operate as a three-year demonstration project in co-operation with the partners Gebrüder Meier and KEZO, and with a contribution towards non-amortisable costs by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).