We have known for years that CO2 is the number one enemy of the planet (along with other greenhouse gases); and even if its emissions have stabilized over the last two years, their level remains alarming. Despite the awareness of the world’s population to the ecological issues related to carbon dioxide emissions; changing behaviors takes time, a lot of time. Unfortunately the environment does not have much time…
Fortunately, some companies have decided to act to limit their contribution to global CO2 emissions. Others have chosen a different path; and are thinking of ways to recycle or reuse the CO2 they emit. And these initiatives, more and more numerous, may well revolutionize the fight against pollution.
The First Plant Capable Of Recycling CO2 Has Been Built In Switzerland
This relatively simple plant was developed by the company Climeworks; whose objective is to develop technologies capable of capturing carbion dioxide from the air and recycling it. This revolutionary project is the brainchild of Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher; two Swiss researchers who have been working for over 10 years on the problem of direct air capture.
This revolutionary plant would be able to process 900 tons of CO2 per year, the equivalent of what 200 cars produce over the same period. To achieve its goal of capturing 1% of global CO2 emissions by 2025, Climeworks will have to market 750,000 plants. At 2 million euros per unit, this project seems very ambitious.
How does it work?
Although it took several years to develop the technology, it is easily understood: ambient air is drawn into the plant, where a filter is located that traps CO2 particles through a chemical process. Once stuck on the filter, the CO2 is heated to 100°C to be solidified. It is then transportable and can find a second home.
What To Do With Recycled Carbon Dioxide?
Once isolated from the other components of the air and solidified and therefore transportable, CO2 can be used in the food industry (especially for carbonated drinks), to synthesize chemical or energy products but also, and especially, to serve as an agricultural fertilizer. According to Climeworks, the use of CO2 could increase the growth of vegetables by 20 to 30%.
A Bike That Cleans the Air
The project of the Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is to create areas of clean air in large cities, free of CO2. For this he has developed a “Smog Free Tower”, a tower capable of capturing the CO2 contained in the air of cities to release only clean air, thus depolluting a large area around this area.
Based on the same principle, he is now launching a project for bicycles capable of cleaning the air breathed by users and thus reducing the risks of health problems linked to pollution. The double advantage of this ecological means of transport: not only does it clean the air breathed by the cyclist, which makes cycling more attractive to the inhabitants of polluted cities, but it would also reduce the congestion of large cities if it were to be developed.