Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company funded by Bill Gates and Canada oil sands financier Norman Murray Edwards, revealed that is has developed a new technology in order to remove CO2 from the air, reaching a new and important threshold in this field.
Toronto. 8th. June, 2018: Carbon Engineering has issued a study proving that it is possible to capture carbon at a cost of $100 per tonne, which means a cost that is 6 times lower than the current cost of $600 per tonne. This represents a great game-changing development in the field of carbon removal from the air.
The company also shared that its short-term goal is to use carbon as well as renewable energy in order to create synthetic liquid fuels.
Scientists have always been skeptical towards the technological advances allowing for carbon emissions and thus climate change to be reduced. They consider such initiatives as a mere distraction from what really needs to be done: urging people to reduce their CO2 emissions. They believe that building solar shields in space, etc. will not help.
However, this time, the plan resembles the action of trees. And seems feasible as well as realistic. The projects consists in capturing the CO2 from the air directly. It is scientist Klaus Lackner who is at the origin of that concept. In the mid 1990s , he first developed the idea. Following that, several tech firms have built prototypes of devices that will remove carbon from the air.
Climeworks, a Swiss company, recently designed a technological device to absorb carbon and supply it to a greenhouse, thus fertilizing vegetables. Carbon Engineering was founded in 2009, and its pilot plant has been running for three years now. It captures one tonne of CO2 on a daily basis.
The air cleaning process consists in absorbing air into a cooling tower equipped with fans. In that tower, the air comes into contact with a substance that reacts with the CO2. After each step, the CO2 gets cleaner and the substance reacting with the CO2 is returned to where it belongs: the air contractor.
In 2011, the American Physical Society published a research showing that the costs to remove CO2 from the air would be $600. Carbon Engineering proudly says that cutting the costs to such an extent is a “real step forward”. Prof David Keith, who is one of Carbon Engineering’s founders and a professor at Harvard University, says that it is not just Carbon Engineering saying that this is a real step forward.
Prof David Keith further added: “I hope this changes views about this technology from being this thing which people think is a magic savior which it isn’t, or that it is absurdly expensive which it isn’t, to an industrial technology that is do-able and can be developed in a useful way.”
By useful way, Prof David Keith implies the utilization of the extracted CO2 by turning it into a synthetic liquid fuel when combined with green energy. Such a fuel would be better than biofuels, insofar as it requires less land and less water to be produced.