Climeworks was founded in 2009 by Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher. These two young minds knew that CO₂ was harmful to the atmosphere and in turn the world needed to find a way to remove it from the air, or as much as they could. ETH Zurich and Swiss Federal Laboratories provided collaboration for the filtration process.
With a proven track record for capturing CO₂ from ambient air, the capture plants employ a modular design, key panel, touchscreen display, and is fully automated to ensure 24/7 operation. The Direct Air Capture (DAC) plants are developed and assembled in Switzerland.
The plants extract CO₂ from the air, which then adheres to the filter material inside the plant. The atoms adhere to the filter until it reaches capacity. At this point the filter is heated to 95 degrees Celsius and the molecules are released. The molecules are ready to be collected and made ready for other uses such as soda carbonation, alternative fuels and several others.
Climeworks has built the first commercial plant in Hinwil, at the waste facility, with a 900 ton capacity per year. The captures from this plant will be sold for vegetation enhancement, up to 20%. This plant will be part of a three year project supported by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.
The plants utilize a closed carbon cycle, discovered by Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, goes a little like this: the oxygen, carbon dioxide and sunlight within the air are converted into new plant material using photosynthesis and then this plant material is harvested/burnt again releasing carbon dioxide back into the air.
The cost for the project runs between 3 and 4 million Euro and the company has received start-up funding from several different companies. This plant is putting more significance on the environment, for the public. The founders want to remind us that it is important for us to continue to practice environmental consciousness – we must continue ethical emissions practices.