Climeworks removes CO2 from the air

01 June 2017 | updated 01 June 2017

Hinwil ZH – The world’s first commercial plant is now capturing CO2 from the air and using it as a raw material. Run by the Zurich-based start-up Climeworks, the plant in Hinwil filters 900 tonnes of CO2 annually and is supplying it to a greenhouse.

From greenhouse gas to commodity: the Zurich-based start-up Climeworks invented a process that can capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere. On Wednesday, it made history when it launched the world’s first commercial Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant featuring its patented technology on the roof of a waste recovery facility in Hinwil in canton of Zurich operated by the municipal administration union KEZO, according to a statement.

The plant will filter 900 tonnes of CO2 each year using 18 collectors in 3 shipping containers. The waste heat from the waste recovery facility will help keep the energy costs down.

The CO2 is being sold at market prices to a nearby greenhouse, operated by Gebrüder Meier Primanatura AG, to assist with growing vegetables. The partnership allows Gebrüder Meier to do away with fossil industrial CO2. It also plans to use the CO2 captured by Climeworks for marketing its products. The Swiss Federal Office of Energy is supporting the Climeworks plant with a contribution towards non-amortisable costs.

Climeworks was founded in 2009 by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurtzbacher, both graduates of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. Climeworks calls the world’s first direct air capture plant with a commercial customer “an important step for the future of negative emissions technology”. Their objective is to filter one per cent of global carbon emissions by 2025.