Carbon Engineering: Carbon-Capture Plant Extracting CO2 From The Air
This is Direct Air Capture technology and it’s slated to accomplish the work of 40 million trees with some serious CO2 removal from the air – thanks to the modern innovation of Carbon Engineering, a Canadian-based clean energy company. This game-changing advancement is accomplishing this feat by using carbon-capture plants to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) – the main greenhouse gas and culprit of climate change and take it directly out of the air. Dissimilar to industrial flue stacks, once the CO2 is captured from the atmosphere, it delivers the CO2 as a purified, compressed gas. It does this by using only air, water, and energy upon entering.
This specialized process mimics the everyday miraculous nature of plants as they photosynthesize. Yet Direct Air Capture technology reportedly does this quicker and with less of an impact on the earth because it continuously delivers the CO2 in a pure, compressed form. Subsequently, this form can be stored underground or reused.
Direct Air Capture technology requires four main pieces of equipment. An air contactor, which is a big structure modeled after industrial cooling towers, jumpstarts the process. Then a massive fan extracts air into this structure, where it passes over thin plastic surfaces that are showered in a non-toxic potassium hydroxide solution. This safe solution chemically binds with the CO2 molecules, removing them from the air and trapping them in the liquid solution as a carbonate salt.
The CO2 encompassed in this carbonate solution then undergoes a series of chemical processes to up its concentration, purify and compress it. These processes enable the CO2 to be delivered in gas form and be ready for use or storage. The next step involves separating the salt out from the solution into small pellets in a structure called a pellet reactor. The third step involves heating the pellets heats in a calciner so as to release the CO2 in pure gas form. Additionally, this particular step leaves behind processed pellets that are hydrated in a slaker and recycled back within the system to reproduce the original capture chemical. The company hopes to build industrial-scale Direct Air Capture facilities in the near future.
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