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article imageB.C. company uses huge fans to suck carbon from air to make fuel

By Karen Graham     Sep 9, 2019 in Technology
Squamish - A Canadian company plans to open a plant in Texas where giant fans will suck carbon dioxide from the air so it can be permanently stored underground. Set for completion in 2023, the plant will likely be able to capture 1-megaton of CO2 annually.
Vast amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG) are being pumped into the atmosphere every minute of the day and night - and there is no indication it will be halting anytime soon.
It seems only logical that if the carbon in CO2 could be removed before it reaches the atmosphere, we would basically be reducing the amount of the GHG responsible for the climate crisis. The perfect solution would be to not only capture the carbon - but turn it into a useful product.
This negative emissions solution is the promise of carbon capture technology - to not only reduce the amount of carbon being emitted but actually remove the gas from the atmosphere - turning it into a useful product instead of just storing it someplace.
A rendering of Carbon Engineering’s pilot plant in Squamish  BC.
A rendering of Carbon Engineering’s pilot plant in Squamish, BC.
Carbon Engineering
In response to the rising CO2 emissions, Carbon Engineering - a Squamish, British Columbia, Canada-based clean energy company, founded by David Keith, a professor of applied physics at Harvard, and funded by Bill Gates, has figured out a way to pull carbon straight from the atmosphere and convert it to a useful fuel.
Carbon capture covers a number of different technologies. One technology stops carbon from entering the atmosphere by "filtering out" the carbon dioxide en route to the smokestack of a facility such as a power plant or factory. The other technology involves "direct capture."
While both methods make use of a solvent to absorb the carbon - the end result is still the same. The carbon can be permanently stored underground (carbon capture and storage) or converted into a carbon-containing product (carbon capture and utilization). Carbon Engineering uses a combination of the two methods.
David Keith s carbon capturing machine uses a three-step process (and some chemistry know-how) to fi...
David Keith's carbon capturing machine uses a three-step process (and some chemistry know-how) to filter air and suck out the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Carbon Engineering
The company uses massive turbine technology to literally suck the carbon out of the air through a structure filled with corrugated sheets soaked in a solution that absorbs C02.
The absorbed carbon-rich solution is then turned it into tiny white pellets, which in turn can be treated at high temperatures to release the carbon dioxide as a gas. It can then be stored permanently underground, or turned into synthetic liquid fuel, reports CTV News Canada.
The company says the byproduct could work for cars, ships and planes. "We’re using a material we’ve treated as waste for years as something that we can reuse,” said engineer Jenny McCahill.
Concepts like Carbon Engineering’s fans are all about damage control now, said Simon Fraser University professor Mark Jaccard. “We are still in a struggle to move forward with policies that reduce the burning of fossil fuels, so now we’re moving to technologies that have to reverse the damages,” he said.
Carbon Engineering CEO Steve Oldham says, “If you believe there is a cost to climate change, there is a value in eliminating carbon now."
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