ClimeWorks, a Swiss company working to commercialize carbon sequestration technology, has opened its third carbon dioxide capture site, located in Troia, Italy. The new plant will suck 150 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year — the equivalent of taking 32 cars off the road — and convert it to methane to be used in natural gas-powered trucks, Quartz reported.
Scientists have long argued that reducing greenhouse gas emissions isn’t enough by itself to combat climate change. The world must also lower existing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 by removing carbon dioxide from the air. ClimeWorks launched its first carbon sequestration plant in Zurich in May 2017. The facility captures 900 metric tons of CO2 annually, which is then pumped into the greenhouse of a Swiss farm.
ClimeWorks’ second direct air capture plant opened in Hellisheidi, Iceland last year, sucking 50 metric tons of CO2 from the air annually and pumping it underground, where it reacts with water and basalt rocks to turn into rock less than two years later.
The company’s new Italian facility uses hydrogen, produced by splitting water using solar-powered electricity, and the captured CO2 to generate 240 cubic meters of methane every hour. That project is being funded largely by a grant from the European Union, Quartz reported. Such projects are just the first small steps in larger CO2 air capture initiatives, which ultimately must have the capacity to remove billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.