Swiss CO2 capture plant to help grow vegetables

A commercial-scale plant which captures CO2 will be built in Switzerland, with the greenhouse gas to be used to improve vegetable growth. It will be operated by Zurich-based Climeworks, a spin-off company from the […]

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A commercial-scale plant which captures CO2 will be built in Switzerland, with the greenhouse gas to be used to improve vegetable growth.

It will be operated by Zurich-based Climeworks, a spin-off company from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH Zurich).

It will use a so-called Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, which relies on a novel filter to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and is a claimed to be a world first.

The plant works using gas which binds to the surface of the reusable filter. When the filter is filled to its capacity, it is heated to 100°C to release the CO2.

Image: Climeworks
Image: Climeworks

It is expected to be operational by mid-2016 and capture 900 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere a year. The firm aims to enhance the growth of vegetables by up to 20% in a nearby greenhouse.

The plant is part of a three-year pilot and demonstration project and is expected to cost up to €4 million (£2.94m).

It will be built in the village of Hinwil, at the site of a recycling facility, which will supply it with heat and power.

Climeworks said the project is a “crucial milestone” towards closing the carbon cycle, where CO2 emitted from any source can be captured and re-used to produce carbon-neutral fuels.