16:30 GMT +322 January 2019
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    Global warming

    World’s First Commercial CO2 Capture Plant Opens in Switzerland

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    Swiss-based company Climeworks on Wednesday is opening the world’s first Direct Air Capture (DAC) commercial plant, aiming to suck carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the air and turn it into a useful product.

    The plant is comprised of several shipping containers and carbon collectors set atop a municipal-run waste recovery facility in Zurich. Powered by heat from the incinerator, the collectors use fans to suck ambient air, and filters then absorb CO2.

    Compressed carbon dioxide can be pumped to a nearby greenhouse through an underground pipeline and used as a fertilizer to grow crops. Climeworks claims it can supply 900 metric tons of captured carbon annually, equivalent to the annual volume of greenhouse gases emitted by 190 passenger vehicles.

    The company plans to install additional 250,000 DAC plants in order to meet its goal of capturing one percent of global annual carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. That is essential, given that climate scientists predict dangerous 2°C (3.6°F) of global warming within the next 22 years due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

    "Highly scalable negative emission technologies are crucial if we are to stay below the 2°C target of the international community," said Climeworks co-founder Christoph Gebald.

    "The DAC technology provides distinct advantages to achieve this aim and is perfectly suitable to be combined with underground storage."


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