Climeworks AG, a Swiss company that specializes on Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies, has begun construction of its new and largest direct air capture and storage facility, called Mammoth, according to a press release issued Tuesday. This is the second such facility built by the company.
A truly ambitious agenda
Mammoth represents a demonstrable step in Climeworks' ambitious scale-up strategy: multi-megaton capacity by 2030, on track to deliver gigaton capacity by 2050, according to the company.
Climeworks was founded in 2009 by Dr. Jan Wurzbacher and Dr. Christoph Gebald. The two mechanical engineers met while studying at ETH Zurich and developed the DAC technology as part of their doctoral studies.
The company is well-known for itsOrcafacility, the world's first large-scale direct air capture and storage facility, which opened in 2021, which boasted eight air collectors with a nominal capture capacity of 4,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Climeworks' DAC process consists of modular CO2collectors that may be stacked to create machines that capture carbon emissions quickly and effectively and transform them into benign substances for commercial use, as described in our exclusive interview with the company. First, the air is sucked into the collector by a system of high-powered fans where highly-selective chemical filters capture CO2.
The collector is closed once carbon dioxide is removed, and the temperature inside is increased to between 176 and 212 F (80 and 100 C). This allows for the release of carbon dioxide, which is used to create highly-concentrated CO2that goes into the manufacture of biofuels or carbon-neutral materials.In Iceland, the sucked-out carbon is mixed with water and pumped underground, becoming carbonate rock within a few years of reacting with basalt.
Powered by renewable energy
Better yet, the entire process is powered by renewable energy (in the case of Orca geothermal), meaning that for every 100 tons of carbon dioxide captured, at least 90 tons are permanently removed from the atmosphere.
DAC is an extremely efficient technology compared to other carbon removal methods such as afforestation and reforestation. It requires the least land and water use, making it an attractive alternative to natural methods of addressing climate change.
That's a good thing because we need all the help we can get when it comes to climate change. This facility, along with other mitigation strategies, may be the key to preventing a catastrophic climate catastrophe.