Turning CO2 to a high-tech resource: carbon black

At Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the NECOC research project is aimed at building a unique test facility for active reduction of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). The world’s first container-scale facility of this type is to convert CO2 contained in ambient air into highly pure carbon black powder that can be used as a resource in industry. Project partners are INERATEC GmbH, a spinoff of KIT, and Climeworks, a spinoff of ETH Zurich. The research project, scheduled for a duration of three years, is funded with a total of EUR 1.5 million by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).

To reach the Paris Agreement climate goals, global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will have to be complemented by solutions for removing already emitted CO2 from the atmosphere. “Our project approach consists of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and converting it into carbon black, i.e. highly pure carbon in powder form,” says Professor Thomas Wetzel of the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering (TVT). “In this way, a hazardous greenhouse gas will be converted into a raw material for high-tech applications. Carbon black can be used in electronics, printing, or construction.”

The test facility to be set up within the NECOC research project will combine the following process steps: By means of an adsorber, CO2 is first captured from ambient air (direct air capture, DAC). Together with renewable hydrogen, it is then converted into methane and water in a microstructured reactor. The methane produced serves as a carbon carrier in the downstream process and is passed into a bubble reactor filled with liquid tin. In the ascending methane bubbles, a pyrolysis reaction takes place, by means of which methane is decomposed into its constituents. These are, on the one hand, hydrogen, that is directly fed back to methanation and, on the other hand, solid carbon in the form of microgranular powder, i.e. carbon black.

“Solid carbon is far less difficult to handle than CO2 and can even be used as a resource. So far, carbon black has been produced mainly from fossil petroleum. That is why our process represents a technological approach for a sustainable future in several respects. It combines the direct contribution to solving the climate problem with a process for post-fossil resource supply”, says Dr. Benjamin Dietrich (TVT), project coordinator of NECOC.

For the full English press release, see here.

For the full German press release, see here.

Greta Thunberg at our direct air capture plant in Hinwil

On 10th March 2020 we had the honor of welcoming the inspiring Greta Thunberg to our direct air capture plant in Hinwil. The Swedish environmental activist was curious about our solution and wanted to learn more about it. She was accompanied by her father Svante as well as a BBC Studios film crew who, for a year, will be following Greta around the world to create a documentary. Our co-founder and CEO Jan Wurzbacher showed Greta round our direct air capture plant, explained how the technology works and what role it could play in solving the climate challenge.

We thank Greta for the time she took to visit us and for her strength and determination in fighting the climate crisis! Just like her we will continue doing everything we can to contribute to a climate-positive world.

Global Carbon Capture Technology Leaders, Svante and Climeworks, Agree to Collaborate On Solutions for a Net Zero-Emissions World

VANCOUVER, ZURICH, January 27, 2020 – Global carbon capture technology leaders, Svante Inc. (formerly Inventys Inc.) and Climeworks AG, today announced an agreement to collaborate on the development of carbon capture technology solutions to enable customers transition to a net-zero emissions future. Both companies share the goal of preventing climate-relevant amounts of CO2 from going into our atmosphere or removing them from air.

Today’s Joint Development Agreement (JDA) will enable Svante’s and Climeworks’ respective carbon capture technology solutions to be scaled-up faster and effect a transition to a net-zero-emissions future sooner. The combination of Climeworks’ revolutionary DAC solutions with Svante’s source capture technology will support further development of climate-positive carbon solutions for both carbon removal and industries with unavoidable emissions.

“We strive to deliver the world’s most robust and scalable DAC solutions,’’ said Christoph Gebald, the Climeworks co-founder. “By combining our cutting-edge DAC solution with Svante’s filter technology, we create a potentially game changing DAC solution.”

 

Will Climeworks & Svante remain financially independent?

Yes. Climeworks will not invest in Svante, or vice versa.

 

Why the collaboration?

Climeworks strives for fast innovation cycles and this collaboration will contribute to moving us down our cost reduction roadmap. Svante wishes to supply net zero solutions for unavoidable emissions, to which Climeworks will contribute.

 

Is Climeworks now doing point source capture?

No. Climeworks’ business remains direct air capture only.

 

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For the full English press release, see here.

Climeworks Deutschland GmbH has opened its offices in Cologne

Climeworks AG established its subsidiary Climeworks Deutschland GmbH, that has opened its offices in Cologne, Germany, as a competence center for the application of Climeworks CO2 capture plants in the renewable fuels and materials (“Power-to-X”) segment.

“Germany has been a pace-setter when it comes to renewable fuels and materials made from CO2, which is known as Power-to-X” says Jan Wurzbacher, Co-CEO of Climeworks AG. “With the opening of Climeworks Deutschland GmbH we plan to establish ourselves as key partners and suppliers of CO2 from air for the emerging Power-to-X sector.”

Climeworks Deutschland GmbH will support its Swiss parent with engineering, design, and construction services specifically tailored towards the Power-to-X sector. The core DAC technology will continue to be manufactured by Climeworks AG in Zürich, while the interfaces to the Power-to-X applications will be designed, installed and commissioned by Climeworks Deutschland GmbH.

“We are excited about the opportunities that are offered to Climeworks at our new location in Cologne,” says Dr. Dirk Nuber, Head of Climeworks Deutschland GmbH. “Being in the heart of Europe in one of the major industrial centers, we intend to connect from here with potential customers, partners and employees alike. We are currently engaged in four key projects in the Power-to-X field and we intend to grow our portfolio over the next few years. We plan to continue growing the team over the next 2 years in numbers and strength.”

The office is located at Unter Krahnenbäumen 9, 50668 Cologne, 5 minutes walking distance from Cologne’s main station.

Kickstarter campaign featuring Climeworks carbon dioxide removal launched

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlines it in its most recent special report on 1.5 degrees: in order to limit global warming to safe levels, not only global emissions have to be reduced to zero, but also it will be necessary to remove “substantial” amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere. These so-called “net negative emissions” are projected to be in the range of an eye-watering 100 to 1000 gigatons by 2100.

 

So, to reach not only net zero but net negative emissions, it won’t be enough to just stop new fossil CO2 entering the atmosphere and reuse CO2 captured from air. We also have to remove historic CO2 from the atmosphere safely and permanently. Therefore, San Francisco-based Impossible Labs is on the way to do both, by launching NEGATIVE: as part of a Kickstarter campaign they launched a bracelet made from CO2 captured from air. Additionally, campaign backers can remove 5, 10 or 50 times the bracelet’s production emissions through Climeworks carbon dioxide removal.Each bracelet gives the wearer the opportunity to underpin their stand on fighting the current climate crisis and can send an important signal in support of negative emissions solutions.

Climeworks AG and Antecy B.V. are joining forces & thereby boosting technology portfolio

Climeworks AG, Switzerland and Antecy B.V., the Netherlands share the same goal of removing climate-relevant amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere and joining forces renders this goal more achievable. The combination of their technologies will result in even more powerful solutions for both carbon dioxide removal, as well as direct air capture and CO2 utilization.

The two DAC companies have been discussing a collaboration since mid-2018 and in April 2019, an agreement was reached to join forces and fully merge teams, technology development, brands and business activities. Antecy’s relevant assets have been acquired by Climeworks and the business activities of both Antecy and Climeworks will be conducted through Climeworks AG, Switzerland.

Joining forces strengthens and broadens the Climeworks technology portfolio, and will speed up the further development of Climeworks’ DAC technology.

Climeworks co-founder and CEO Jan Wurzbacher:

“Our DAC products are designed to be technology agnostic; our sole purpose is to deliver the most transparent and most scalable DAC solutions possible. By complementing

our portfolio with new technologies such as those developed by Antecy, we can further strengthen our offerings to the market.”

Antecy Managing Director Paul O’Connor:

“We are delighted about this joint undertaking and strongly believe that the combination of our technologies will result in even more powerful products for both carbon dioxide removal, as well as direct air capture and CO2 utilization.”

For the full English press release, see here.

World’s first integrated Power-to-Liquid test facility to produce carbon-neutral fuels from air and green power

On the premises of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), a new test facility – within the German government-funded P2X Kopernikus project – combines all four steps required to produce synthetic fuels from air and green power. On top of being carbon-neutral, synthetic fuels function as a storage for surplus renewable energy, allowing coupling the sectors of power and mobility.

“Worldwide, wind and sun supply a sufficient amount of energy, but not always at the right time,” says Professor Roland Dittmeyer, KIT. “Moreover, a few important transport sectors, such as air or heavy-duty traffic, will continue to need conventional fuels in the future, as they have a high energy density.” Hence, it is only reasonable to store the so far unused green power in chemical energy carriers.

The test facility demonstrates the whole process chain from green power to fuels with high energy density. Climeworks direct air capture technology secures the supply of the core element of this process: CO2 from air.

For the full English press release, see here.

For the full German press release, see here.

Renewable jet fuel from air

The aviation industry is an emitter of CO2 and air travel continues to increase. Unlike cars, airplanes cannot switch to electric or hydrogen propulsion in the short-term.

Climeworks is excited to play a major part in a study initiated together with Rotterdam The Hague Airport researching the production of renewable jet fuel from air. This study will pave the way for the implementation of a plant capable of creating 1000 liters of renewable jet fuel per day. This would be the first time ever that production of renewable jet fuel from air exceeds laboratory scale.

The goal of the study is to define the concept & basic engineering of onsite production of renewable fuels. Further, it will enable a cost estimate for both the actual construction of the plant and the fuel itself, which will be decisive for further project development. The consortium is coordinated by EDL Anlagenbau Gesellschaft GmbH.

A combination of highly innovative technologies has the potential to enable a carbon-neutral future for the aviation industry. Here is how it’s done:

  • Climeworks secures the supply of the core element of renewable jet fuel production: CO2 from air.
  • CO2 is then transformed to syngas with electrolyser cells from Sunfire GmbH (Dresden, Germany).
  • By means of Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, Interatec GmbH (Karlsruhe, Germany) turns the syngas into synthetic hydrocarbons.
  • EDL Anlagenbau GmbH (Leipzig, Germany) converts those hydrocarbons into jet fuel (as well as taking care of the overall process and plant integration).

The project will be realized on Rotterdam’s Innovation Campus. The entire process is set to run sustainably, with renewable energy provided by the airport’s onsite solar panels. The first potential customer has announced itself: Transavia has committed itself to the plan and indicated it intentions to reduce its CO2 emissions with renewable jet fuel from air.

For the full English press release, see here.

Sustainability that everyone understands

With ALIGAL 2 airmade® gas bottles for sparkling water dispensers, companies can make their commitment to an ecologically sustainable world refreshingly understandable – for their employees and their customers.

Climeworks, together with Carbagas (the Swiss subsidiary of the Air Liquide Group), is launching the ALIGAL 2 airmade® gas bottle for sparkling water dispensers – the first gas bottle to actively reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere by removing more CO2 than is used for the production of sparkling water.

Many sustainability measures are very complex and difficult for many to grasp. However, CO2 reduction measures are most effective when they are understood and implemented by everyone – customers, employees and corporate management alike.

This is precisely what the ALIGAL 2 airmade® gas bottle contributes to. Sustainability becomes part of everyday life, it can be grasped and drunk: through CO2, which is captured from the air and reused.

In short: with every glass of water that is carbonated with the ALIGAL 2 airmade® gas bottle, CO2 is removed from the atmosphere. Not only is the amount of CO2 contained in the gas bottle captured from the air and fed in liquified form into the Carbagas supply chain to be reused, but the same amount of CO2 is also turned into stone underground in Iceland.

A glass of water might be a small contribution. But together, these small contributions can have a big impact. On the one hand by making sustainable changes to everyday working life, and on the other hand by making Carbon Dioxide Removal known to everybody, which in turn will make it possible to carry out on a larger scale in years to come.


(Photo by Julia Dunlop)

In Hinwil, Switzerland, CO2 is captured from the air with Climeworks Direct Air Capture technology to be reused.

(Photo by Arni Saeberg)

In Hellisheidi, Iceland, the same amount of CO2 is additionally captured from the air and turned into stone underground.

The ALIGAL 2 airmade® gas bottle is currently only available in Switzerland. A roll-out to the DACH region is planned for 2020.

Climeworks’ response to the IPCC report

The latest IPCC report published on Monday 8th October made clear that in addition to reducing worldwide emissions, we need to actively remove CO2 from our atmosphere. This is the only way to protect humanity against the worst consequences of global warming.

 

 

For the past decade, we have been working on developing and deploying our Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology and now have several operational plants all around the world.

The global potential for developing DAC technology, combined with underground mineralization – often refered to as Direct Air Capture and Storage (DACS) – is enormous: Climeworks plants can be built anywhere basalt rock and renewable energy sources are available. More importantly, DACS has minimal impact on land and ecosystems and requires no water.

In October 2017, we launched a pilot plant in Iceland as part of the Horizon 2020-funded CarbFix2 project. After a successful year-long demonstration of Direct Air Capture and Storage as a safe, permanent and scalable technology, Climeworks and the CarbFix consortium is now ready to start the project-planning phase for expanding its DACS capacity.

With this expansion, the plan is to offer individuals, countries, businesses and institutions the opportunity to reverse their past, present and future emissions, permanently and safely.

We are using our social media channels to keep everyone informed on future developments. Stay tuned on our Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn channels, or subscribe to our Newsletter.

Read the English press release here.

Read the German press release here.