Swiss Company Begins Sucking Up CO2 From The Air


Swiss Company Begins Sucking Up CO2 From The Air

Swiss Company Begins Sucking Up CO2 From The Air
Swiss Company Begins Sucking Up CO2 From The Air – image via

A Swiss company by the name of Climeworks has opened the first commercial plant whose business is that of sucking up CO2 from the air in an effort to reduce global warming. The Swiss company has opened its first plant in Hinwil, near Zurich, but at the current moment, it’s not producing any money.

Nevertheless, Climeworks said that they’re expected to be able to lower the cost of one tonne of CO2 being sucked from the air from $600 as it is today, to $200 in three to five years. The longterm plan is to be able to lower it to as little as $100.

Also part of the longterm plan is to capture one percent of the annual global carbon emissions by 2025. But this ambitious project would involve building and deploying hundreds of thousands of these devices. What is being captured is being sold to an actual man-made greenhouse in order to grow fruits and vegetables. This captured CO2 can also be used to make fizzy drinks, as well as renewable fuels, or as a last case scenario, to be stored underground.

Christoph Gebald, one of the company’s founders, told Carbon Brief: “With this plant, we can show costs of roughly $600 per tonne, which is, of course, if we compare it to a market price, very high.

“But, if we compare it to studies which have been done previously, projecting the costs of direct air capture, it’s a sensation.”

Previous research into the idea had assumed a cost of $1,000 per tonne.

“We are very confident that, once we build version two, three and four of this plant, we can bring down costs,” Mr Gebald said.

“We see a factor [of] three cost reduction in the next three to five years, so a final cost of $200 per tonne. The long-term target price for what we do is clearly $100 per tonne of CO2.”

He also mentioned the fact that carbon capture could start to have a major impact on emissions on a global scale if governments would be more willing to put a higher price on carbon emissions in the first place. The EU, as well as other nations, already tax CO2 emissions coming from some big emitters, but many critics say that this is too little in the grand scheme of things.

“The vision of our company is to capture [one] percent of global emissions by 2025, which is super ambitious, but which is something that is feasible,” Mr Gebald said.

“Reaching one per cent of global emissions by 2025 is currently not possible without political will, without a price on carbon, for example. So it’s not possible by commercial means only.”