Canadian company captures CO2 from air, turns into storable pellets
A Canadian company has big plans for the future of fuel, and it involves capturing carbon dioxide from the air. The start-up, backed by Bill Gates, has opened a pilot plant to test its ambitious plans, which it believes will help conquer climate change.
Carbon Engineering’s first plant, located in Squamish, Vancouver, was unveiled on Friday. The $9 million plant has already captured 10 tons of CO2, according to AFP.
“We must do something about the rising levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. We can and must transition to sustainable sources of low carbon energy,” Carbon Engineering founder David Keith said in a video released by the company.
The environmentally-friendly process involves taking in air through giant fans and filtering out the carbon dioxide. The CO2 then goes through a series of chemical processes, ending in pellet form. When heated to between 800 and 900 degrees Celsius, those pellets will release pure carbon for use as fuel. Until they are needed, the pellets can be stored underground.
Carbon Engineering’s chief executive, Adrian Corless, said the process is attractive because it deals “with emissions from sources you just can’t otherwise capture.” For instance, while current methods capture CO2 that pours out of smokestacks, the Carbon Engineering process deals with everyday carbon emissions from buildings, transportation and agriculture.
The company admits that trees do the same thing, but that planting enough trees in the numbers needed would require “diverting vast amounts of agriculturally productive land.” However, air capture plants can be installed on land that isn’t worth cultivating.