Carbon capture technology firm Climeworks AG, says it will construct and operate an industrial-scale CO2 capture plant that will be operational by mid-2016 and annually capture 900 tons of CO2.
Climeworks says the carbon capture plant will, for the first time worldwide, sell atmospheric CO2 to a customer: Gebrüder Meier Primanatura AG. Gebrüder Meier will use the CO2 to enhance the growth of lettuce and other vegetables in its greenhouse by up to 20 percent, the company says.
The plant, located in Hinwil, Canton of Zurich, Switzerland is part of a three-year pilot and demonstration project with Gebrüder Meier and Zweckverband Kehrichtverwertung Zürcher Oberland KEZO, a municipal waste disposal company, as project partners. The project is supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE).
The main goal of the project, with development and building costs of 3 million to 4 million EUR ($3.4 million to $4.5 million), is to industrialize Climeworks’ Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology and continuously operate an industrial scale plant that captures CO2 from ambient air.
Another goal is to determine the plants’ operational costs — a point of contention in the research community. This is an important finding to define business models for implementing the technology internationally.
The plant will be installed at the waste recycling facility of KEZO, which is powering the DAC plant with heat and electricity. The high purity CO2 product is then delivered to a neighboring greenhouse operated by the Gebrüder Meier.
Based on the results of this project Climeworks’ product will be further industrialized to eventually supply air captured CO2 to power-to-gas/power-to-liquids technologies to efficiently store renewable electricity by producing synthetic fuels. These fuels, produced from atmospheric CO2, water and renewable electricity are carbon-neutral and not in competition with food production for agriculture.
Climeworks’ technology enables a closed carbon cycle, where CO2 emitted from any source or even the past can be captured and re-used for the production of carbon-neutral fuels. In the short-term Climeworks’ technology shall be used to supply CO2 for beverage companies, currently receiving its CO2 majorly as waste product from industry, in turn stemming from the combustion of fossil fuels.
Earlier this month carbon capture tech firm Ion Engineering completed the first pilot scale testing of its proprietary solvent and process technology for the removal of carbon dioxide from large-point sources including natural gas and coal-fired power plants.