Since then, the company has grown from 63 employees to more than 100. They’ve also launched a subscription service for carbon capture and sequestration on their website. And now, they’ve announced $75 million in new investment from private investors.
The company calls this the largest-ever private investment into direct air capture technology and says this brings total investment in the company to about $124 million.
The company’s plant in Iceland draws in air with industrial-size fans, blowing it over filters that scrub the CO2 from it. Once the filters are full, the Climeworks website explains, they get heated to around 200 degrees Fahrenheit, which releases the CO2. From there, an Iceland-based company, Carbfix, mixes it with water and pumps it underground, where, over a period of years, it turns to rock through chemical interaction with the basaltic rock there.
It all uses clean energy from a co-located geothermal power plant for a net reduction in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere of 90% of the CO2 captured, according to Climeworks.
Climeworks co-founder and co-CEO Christoph Gebald says the new investment will help the company reach an ambitious goal. “We aim to inspire 1 billion people to remove carbon dioxide from the air – and this investment will contribute to achieve that goal,” he said today’s press release.
What’s particularly inspiring to me about the Climeworks technology and vision is that it provides a one-to-one interaction for customers seeking to reduce or even eliminate their carbon impact.
According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we’ll need to remove anywhere from 100 billion to a trillion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere this century to ward off the most catastrophic effects of climate change.
“All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) on the order of 100–1000 GtCO2 over the 21st century.”IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels
Individuals, not just countries and businesses, can and need to contribute to solutions. Yet, carbon offset projects often rely on rather abstract methods to reduce carbon emissions, for example, by protecting forests. This indirect approach can leave room for doubt. Would those trees really have been cut down if I didn’t contribute to their protection? When? And how much carbon would have been released? How does that directly relate to the carbon I want to offset?
Climeworks offers a much more direct approach. Want to offset your monthly carbon emissions? Subscribe to their service to have them sequester that much carbon. Simple. No intermediary or fancy accounting required.
You can estimate the amount of carbon dioxide your household emits using a calculator from The Nature Conservancy at https://www.nature.org/en-us/get-involved/how-to-help/carbon-footprint-calculator/. The calculator also allows you to adjust transportation, food, and energy usage choices to see their effect on your emissions. Then, you can head over to the Climeworks subscription page at https://climeworks.com/subscriptions to order up the amount you want to offset on a monthly or annual basis.
I’ve asked the company for details about its roadmap for scaling up to those 1 billion customers. I’ll update this post when I hear back.