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This Swiss Company Is Paving The Way To Slow Down Climate Change

A draft U.N. scientific report, due for publication in October about ways to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, is likely to boost such "carbon dioxide removal" (CDR) technologies.

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Climate, Carbon removal
A facility for capturing CO2 from air of Swiss Climeworks AG is placed on the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. VOA

A small Swiss company won $31 million in new investment on Tuesday to suck carbon dioxide from thin air as part of a fledgling, costly technology that may gain wider acceptance from governments in 2018 as a way to slow climate change.

Climeworks AG, which uses high-tech filters and fans to extract carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a cost of about $600 a ton, raised the money from investors including Zurich Cantonal Bank.

“It’s all about cost reductions,” Jan Wurzbacher, a co-founder and co-CEO of Climeworks, told Reuters of how the company would use the funds.

Extracting vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere could help to limit global warming, blamed for causing more heatwaves, wildfires, floods and rising sea levels.

The company says it has a long-term “vision” of capturing one percent of man-made carbon dioxide emissions by 2025.

But that is a far off. Its capacity is just 1,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year while global emissions totalled 32.5 billion tons in 2017, according to the International Energy Agency.

And costs are now too high.

In June, however, Climeworks’ main rival, Canadian-based Carbon Engineering, outlined the design of a plant that it said could extract carbon dioxide from the air for perhaps as little as $94 a ton.

That could make the technology more feasible if governments jack up penalties for carbon emissions this century. In a European market, carbon emissions prices are now about 21 euros a ton.

Climate, Climbwork
A facility for capturing CO2 from air of Swiss Climeworks AG is placed on the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland. VOA

Climework’s industrial plant in Switzerland now sells carbon dioxide to nearby greenhouses as an airborne fertilizer for tomatoes or cucumbers. It also has a project in Iceland where the gas is buried deep underground.

After the new round, investments in Climeworks’s technology total about $50 million, it said. The company has expanded to 60 employees from 30 since the start of 2017.

A draft U.N. scientific report, due for publication in October about ways to achieve the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, is likely to boost such “carbon dioxide removal” (CDR) technologies.

Also Read: Cold, Dry Climate Responsible for Neanderthal Disappearance

Until now, such CDR has often been bundled with other more exotic and risky “geoengineering” technologies such as spraying chemicals into the upper atmosphere to dim sunlight.

But the draft by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, seen by Reuters, categorizes CDR for the first time as “mitigation,” the mainstream term used for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

($1 = 0.9957 Swiss francs) (VOA)

Next Story

World’s First Green Concrete Being Used in a Road Trial in Sydney

Projects like this geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions

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World, Green, Concrete
Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor. Pixabay

 In a world’s first, ‘green’ concrete” which is made using industrial waste from coal-fired power stations and steel manufacturing is being used in a road trial in Sydney.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales, Sydney and research and innovation hub called CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) would use results from the trial to create the first set of industry guidelines for “geopolymer” concrete.

Nine sensors have been positioned under the concrete to monitor and compare how the ‘geopolymer’ concrete performs.

“Projects like this geopolymer trial can result in new products that make a real difference in slashing carbon emissions.

World, Green, Concrete
CRC for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) would use results. Pixabay

“Local governments are responsible for maintaining local roads, so if we can purchase more environmentally sustainable materials, we can fight climate change,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

Made from fly ash and blast furnace slag, ‘geopolymer’ generates just 300 kgs of CO2 per tonne of cement, compared with the 900 km from traditional cement production — saving the equivalent of the electricity used by an average household every two weeks.

The low-CO2 concrete has the potential to put the 400 million cubic tonnes of globally documented waste from the coal and steel industries to good use.

UNSW Sydney researchers will monitor the road performance for up to five years.

Also Read- Australia’s State of Victory, The First in the Country to Leagalize Euthanasia for the Terminally Ill

“Research into geopolymer has been undertaken since the ’90s, but it’s only now that it’s starting to be commercialised,” said Professor Stephen Foster, Head of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney.

Concrete contributes 7 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and in 2018, the world produced about 4.1 billion tonnes of cement which contributed about 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2.

“Low-CO2 concrete materials offer potential benefits in reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional concrete,” said Professor Foster. (IANS)