New tech cuts carbon removal costs in half, startup says

By Corbin Hiar | 06/05/2024 06:46 AM EDT

Climeworks unveiled a new design that it says will use less energy while soaking up 1 million tons of climate pollution.

An artist's rendering of a Climeworks "Gen 3" plant.

An artist's rendering of a Climeworks "Gen 3" plant. Climeworks

A leading carbon removal company on Tuesday unveiled the first renderings of the sky-scrubbing facilities it plans to build in Louisiana as part of a $1 billion megaproject backed by the Energy Department.

Climeworks claims that its new five-story cube structures, arrayed in a grid, will filter carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at half the cost of its current direct air capture technology — a move that could expand its customer base and accelerate the reduction of climate pollution. The networked cube design, which the company has dubbed “Gen 3,” is a visually significant departure from the stacked shipping container-look of its current commercial plants.

Direct air capture facilities use fans, carbon-absorbing materials, heat, electricity and piping to pull CO2 from the air and store it permanently underground. The improvements Climeworks announced are mainly due to design changes that have increased the durability and contact surfaces of its carbon absorbing materials. Its new facilities are expected to use half as much energy.


“We have, over the past five years, been developing our Generation 3 technology,” Jan Wurzbacher, co-CEO of Climeworks, said in a press release. “This development is based on real field data, enabling the scale-up to megaton removal capacities.”