Capturing CO2 from the Air
There is a growing consensus that we are simply not going to be able to slow down our carbon emissions fast enough to mitigate climate catastrophe.
With this in mind, many are searching for answers on how to rapidly and efficiently clean the air of CO2 that is already present.
There are many natural solutions available to us, from woolly pigs (that request carbon in the soils through their natural foraging process) to rocks like basalt that can be crushed and sprinkled across agriculture land, requesting their own weight in CO2 while also helping combat open acidity.
The Center for Microbial Ecology and Technology (CMET) is even developing microbial proteins that convert methane (10x worse than CO2) into proteins based foods for livestock and human consumption.
There are many other examples of natural and semi-natural solutions, including concrete that encourages moss to grow on walls, like this from Respyre.
Technology Solutions – Direct Air Capture (DAC)
However, many also see that even though technology is heavily responsible for much of our climate problem today, it can, and should be part of the solution.
One such solution is the notion of using technology to suck the CO2 directly from the air, capture it and lock it away safely – normally underground. This carbon capture and sequestration technology is know as Direct Air Capture.
One of the biggest names in this space is Swiss company, Climeworks.
However, Climeworks et al, suffer from an ironic challenge – the amount of energy consumed to operate the machinery can often generate more emissions than are captured. With this in mind, Climeworks’ Orca plant in Iceland leverages the planet’s geothermal energy to offset the energy requirements, making the plant carbon-negative.
An Alternative – Passive Direct Air Capture
Taking a different approach, Irish direct air capture startup Carbon Collect, has developed a novel approach that requires significantly less power, powering the actual sequestration process using wind.
Their technology, MechanicalTrees™️ recently saw them attract €10 million from a plethora of investors across Europe, South Africa and the US.
Their novel technology consists of large columnar structures, called Tiles, that extend 10m skywards, spend 20 minutes becoming saturated with CO2, before descending back into the base to have the CO2 sucked out of the tiles. The company says that they use a standard process to remove CO2 from the tiles, resulting in 95% pure CO2 and some nitrogen by-products.
Find out more about their technology here: