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Canadian start-up aims to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere

Credits : Carbon Engineering

Across the Atlantic, Carbon Engineering hopes to construct a huge central plant that is able to absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  The plant will be able to absorb the same amount of CO2 as 40 million trees!  

Is this a miracle solution?

There are a many companies that aim to reduce there carbon footprint.  The Canadian start-up Carbon Engineering was mentioned in an article in from the Calgary Herald, published on 21 March 2019.  This company aims to commercialize Direct Air Capture technology that can directly absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The start-up imagines a factory design concept which covers an area of 120,000 m² – with the capacity to absorb as much CO2 from the atmosphere as 40 million trees!  The proposed plant is expected to be installed in the city of Squamish, British Columbia (Canada) although the precise date is still to be set. In 2015 Carbon Engineering installed a fan wall in the city that is capable of absorbing carbon dioxide present in air (see main image). The start-up has also built a inital pilot plant to evaluate the commercial viability of this technology.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, who has already participated in ecological and charity projects in the past is a supporter on this initiative.  Not long ago, he recently helped to boost the collection of no less than $ 68 million to allow Carbon Engineering to develop under optimal conditions.

The first pilot plant of Carbon Engineering. Credit: Carbon Engineering

What happens after they have absorbed CO2?

In addition to reducing the presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Carbon Engineering wants to store its “crop” underground in liquid form, and thus create a “closed loop”. Steve Oldham, the CEO of the start-up, said they could synthesize CO2 into a fuel via a process called Air to fuels. The company aims to reduce pollution in the transport sector, which is the second largest contributor of greenhouse gases behind the production of energy and electricity!

Carbon Engineering believes their investors who backed the development of this innovative concept could also be their future first customers. For example, Chevron, the second largest oil company in the United States, has announced plans to work with the Canadian start-up to reduce its own carbon emissions.

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