Environment

Rooftop CO2 capture system pipes greenhouse emissions to a greenhouse

Rooftop CO2 capture system pip...
Climeworks has opened its first Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, which captures CO2 from a waste recovery facility in Zurich, Switzerland
Climeworks has opened its first Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, which captures CO2 from a waste recovery facility in Zurich, Switzerland
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The facility, complete with the DAC plant on the roof, as seen from the nearby greenhouse
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The facility, complete with the DAC plant on the roof, as seen from the nearby greenhouse
While the current DAC plant pipes the CO2 it captures to a nearby greenhouse, Climeworks says the gas could be used for a variety of industrial applications
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While the current DAC plant pipes the CO2 it captures to a nearby greenhouse, Climeworks says the gas could be used for a variety of industrial applications
The DAC plant collects CO2 from the facility its on top of, and deposits it onto a filter, and when that's full, it will isolate the CO2 to be sold or piped away 
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The DAC plant collects CO2 from the facility its on top of, and deposits it onto a filter, and when that's full, it will isolate the CO2 to be sold or piped away 
Climeworks has opened its first Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, which captures CO2 from a waste recovery facility in Zurich, Switzerland
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Climeworks has opened its first Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, which captures CO2 from a waste recovery facility in Zurich, Switzerland
Christoph Gebald (left) and Jan Wurzbacher (right), co-founders of Climeworks
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Christoph Gebald (left) and Jan Wurzbacher (right), co-founders of Climeworks
While its current DAC plant can capture 900 tonnes of CO2 every year, Climeworks eventually wants to capture one percent of the global CO2 emissions, which will require 250,000 units
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While its current DAC plant can capture 900 tonnes of CO2 every year, Climeworks eventually wants to capture one percent of the global CO2 emissions, which will require 250,000 units

Last year, the Paris Agreement saw almost 200 countries pledge to cut greenhouse emissions, in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2° C (3.6° F) above pre-industrial levels, before the end of the century. But just curbing the rise in emissions won't be enough – technologies that actively pull more CO2 out of the atmosphere will also be vital. To that end, a new CO2-filtering plant has just opened up near Zurich.

Climeworks, the company behind the technology, calls it a Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant. From its perch on the roof of a waste recovery facility, the DAC plant collects CO2 that the facility pumps into the air, and chemically deposits it onto the surface of a filter. When each filter is completely full, it's heated to about 100° C (212° F) to isolate the CO2, which can then be purified and sold.

In the case of the plant in Hinwil, the pure CO2 is piped to a greenhouse 400 m (1,312 ft) away, where it's used to grow vegetables. But Climeworks says the gas could also be used for a variety of industrial applications, like creating other climate-neutral fuels, carbonating beverages, or simply being stashed away underground.

The DAC plant collects CO2 from the facility its on top of, and deposits it onto a filter, and when that's full, it will isolate the CO2 to be sold or piped away 
The DAC plant collects CO2 from the facility its on top of, and deposits it onto a filter, and when that's full, it will isolate the CO2 to be sold or piped away 

To make it as efficient as possible, the DAC plant is powered by the excess heat from the facility underneath it. In its current form, the system can capture as much as 900 tonnes of CO2 every year, and to demonstrate its effectiveness the Hinwil plant will operate as a pilot project for three years. After that, Climeworks has outlined some pretty ambitious plans.

"Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the two degree target of the international community," says Christoph Gebald, co-founder and managing director of Climeworks. "The DAC technology provides distinct advantages to achieve this aim and is perfectly suitable to be combined with underground storage. We're working hard to reach the goal of filtering one percent of global CO2 emissions by 2025. To achieve this, we estimate around 250,000 DAC plants like the one in Hinwil are necessary."

The Climeworks team describes the DAC system in the video below.

Source: Climeworks

10 comments
ThomasEdwardMiller
Could the carbon dioxide be used to filter grey water? See http://newatlas.com/princeton-water-purification-filterless-c02/49534/
Bob Stuart
Piping CO2 to a greenhouse reminds me of the Boy Scout whose good deed for the day was helping a young woman across the street. We've tried that underground storage here in Saskatchewan, at great expense, and it killed some cows as it all leaked out. Making limestone is the most promising solution, but anyone can produce charcoal for soil improvement.
Nik
Atmospheric CO2, at less than 400 ppm, is the lowest it has been since the Permian extinction. CO2 is not a pollutant, is is essential for plant growth, and therefore all life on Earth. If it falls below 150 ppm, all plant life will start to die from CO2 starvation, closely followed by all animal life dependent on it. Reducing it from its present level is paramount to committing mass suicide, contrary to all the opposing Carbon Tax propaganda. A recent New York Times article commented that scientist studying ice cores in the Antarctic had found that since CO2 had increased slightly from its lowest at the beginning of the industrial revolution, plant growth world wide had increased. Whoopee! Thats why its pumped into greenhouses! The times of most prolific plant growth was when atmospheric CO2 was high, like the Carboniferous age. The Earth is presently in an ice age, and has been for several million years, demonstrated by the fact that there are ice caps. Normal global Earth temperature between ice ages is 25 deg C, not the present 10-12 deg C, and NO ice caps. CO2 has had NO effect on climate in 600 million years, first because it is one of the weakest of greenhouse gasses, and second because presently there is so little of it, at 0.04%. Over the last 600 million years there has been four precipitous drops in global temperature, [geologically speaking] 450 million years ago, 300 million years ago, {The Permian Extinction}, 150 million years ago, and NOW! Prior to 600 million Years ago, the Earth was in an event referred to as the ''Snowball Earth.'' The Earth orbits the sun, and the sun orbits the centre of the galaxy, every 600 million years. During that orbit the sun passes through the arms of the galaxy, during that passage, the suns radiation reaching Earth is partially blocked by interstellar dust and debris. There are also other effects, like increased meteorite and meteor impacts, and increased volcanic activity, due to gravitational effects, as happened during the Permian Extinction. There are other extinction events, as the sun, in its sinusoidal path, passes through the plane of the galaxy, every 30 million years approximately. As it is now 600+ million years since the Earth exited the Snowball Earth event, this event is a repeat of that event, and may well mimic it in its entirety. The earth is also approaching the end of the inter ice age, that is a result of Malenkovitch cycles. One of the paradoxes of the approaching end to the Inter ice age, is that it first get warmer. During the inter ice age, which lasts between 10-15,000 years, of an approximately 100,000 year cycle, the nutrients left behind by retreating ice sheets, get washed deeper into the soil by rain, and eventually are too deep for tree roots to reach. Trees cause cooling, lack of them from deforestation, often results in deserts, when they are stressed, by lack of nutrients, they become weak, more susceptible to disease, forest fires and die. This removes cooling and consequent causes climate heating. So does deforestation. There have recently been exceptional forest fires, worldwide. The heating caused by deforestation, also causes more evaporation, which in turn causes more precipitation, and heavier snowfalls. These have also been experienced world wide. The thicker snow layer melts more slowly, and year by year the temperament snowline advances. Snow reflects sunlight, which causes cooling, and therefore the snow stays longer, and cools more. This is a positive feedback effect and is asymptotic. From deep sea, and lake core drillings, it has been shown that the change from inter ice age back to full ice age can occur in as little as 20-50 years.
DFrancis
CO2 is one of the two main building blocks of all plant life that has ever existed on Earth. Studies have shown that 1000 ppm would be better for plantlife than the current paltry 400 ppm. We all know that the perverse notion that CO2 is a pollutant is the central pillar of Anthropogenic Global Warming. But AGW is a political movement that was devised to devalue fossil fuels in order to reduce any political bargaining power of oil-exporting nations. It has nothing to do with meteorology or the environment.
Nik
P.S. At present, ice in the Antarctic is advancing, because it is over a land mass, Arctic Ice is still melting because it is over water, and it takes longer for the Oceans to cool. Three years ago, a team of scientists set out, from Australia, to prove that Antarctic ice sheets were disappearing, their ship became icebound, so did one of the two icebreakers sent to free them. Eventually all were removed by helicopter. They were iced in a location that had been reported as 'free of ice' which it obviously was not. Also, it was summer, so there should have been no ice at all, if reports to that effect had been true. They were not. Article here; http://www.express.co.uk/comment/columnists/leo-mckinstry/452238/Global-warming-brigade-lose-the-plot-on-a-ship-of-fools
ljaques
Overtly missing is any mention of cost, but I am guessing that these guys are getting millions for their devices + installations. Thank you, Nik, for providing some interesting data showing the folly behind the concepts which drove development of these companies. Although I'm an AGWK denier, I have been diminishing my footprint on the planet since 1971, but all of the alarmist woo woo stuff since 1995 is just asinine.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Equatorial deserts serve as a safety valve for the Earth. They are light colored and reflect substantial amounts of visible light. The T**4 law assures that they radiate most of the thermal infrared. A small increase in humidity will greatly reduce this. This can be produced by a small amount of vegetation, which also lowers the reflectivity. A crude calculation shows that this outweighs CO2 by a factor of several.
Nik
PPS. Apologies for the weird typo;'''temperament'' should read ''permanent.'' Also several sites I visited, claimed ''Nobody knows why the Earth came out of ''Snowball Earth.'' Perhaps they are asking the wrong question. If the question was rephrased as, ''What caused the earth to become a snowball.'' the answer then becomes obvious. The reason it became a snowball was because it entered the arm of the galaxy, and solar radiation reaching Earth was reduced, drastically. Then when it eventually exited the arm of the galaxy, solar radiation reaching Earth would return to normal, and the snow an ice would melt. No other effect would be necessary. As the oldest Homo Sapiens fossils found to date are only 200,000 years old, and this major Ice Age, has several million years to run its full course, Humans will have plenty of time to prepare, should they live that long!
piperTom
This is as silly as it is useless. The only technology you need to permanently remove CO2 is a clam (or any sea creature making a shell of calcium carbonate). The shells drop to the sea bed and become part of the next generation of sedimentary rock. That's the way it's been done for the last billion years.
Rann Xeroxx
Nik, thank you for such a well thought out comment regarding CO2. Even if you are not a AGW skeptic, the absurd idea that "the debate is over" and that it is all "settled science" is ludicrous. Being a AGW skeptic does not mean you are pro-coal or oil. They are not related. It simply means you do not believe that human released CO2 is driving the Earth's climate. Fact is the #1 GH gas on Earth is water vapor in the form of cloud formation or the lack thereof. The Sun with solar wind coverage of the Earth has proven a far more important source of climate change as it increases or decreases the amount of cosmic radiation hitting the Earth that, in turns, creates clouds.