TECH
08/06/2018 15:30 BST

Company Makes Breakthrough By Affordably Removing Harmful CO2 Out Of The Air

Human CO2 emissions have to be stopped, and this could help.

A Canadian company claims to have made a major breakthrough in affordably removing vast quantities of harmful CO2 from our atmosphere.

Carbon Engineering, which has financial backing from the likes of Bill Gates, has been striving to find a way to artificially remove CO2 from the atmosphere in vast quantities.

It has long been thought however that Carbon Engineering’s methods just weren’t financially viable. Now though the company has produced a peer-reviewed paper which claims it has reduced the cost from $600 per tonne to just $100 per tonne.

Carbon Engineering

While scientists have endeavoured to come up with numerous methods for removing CO2, by far and away the most effective process is Direct Air Capture (DAC).

DAC quite simply involves using a capture solution that’s sprayed into the air as it’s sucked through giant fans. The CO2 is then captured through a complex chemical process that produces just two waste materials: pure CO2 that can be used to create fuels, and water.

What makes DAC so useful is that it’s completely scaleable - so rather than having to develop new technologies to make it bigger, you simply build lots of them.

In one example, Carbon Engineering claim that eventually just one of their proposed plants could remove the CO2 produced by 300,000 cars every single year.

If we’re to avoid breaching the 2°C global temperature increase climate scientists believe every country will have to cut its carbon emissions to zero by around 2050 and to start taking away more CO2 than we produce.

At present by far and away the biggest source of CO2 emissions are fossil fuels such as cars and power stations with the two biggest contributors being China and the United States.

While it’s probably a few more years until we start seeing this technology be used en-masse what Carbon Engineering have done is show that technically as well as theoretically, it is very much possible, and affordable.