According to Bloomberg on August 10, a fund of $ 3.5 billion has been set aside for the development of working machines. Projects proposed by Occidental Petroleum Corporation (Texas – USA) and Climaworks (Switzerland) are considered top candidates for the first funding (around USD 1.2 billion).
Direct gas capture (DAC) technology involves using machines to capture CO2 from the surrounding air and store it using a variety of techniques. Climateworks operates the world’s largest DAC plant in Iceland, with an annual capacity of 4,000 tons of CO2 capture, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of a few seconds of humanity. The company is currently investing in a plant with a capacity of 36,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. Many startups have similar ideas, but the biggest hurdle is that DAC technology is expensive and requires a lot of operational power.
A landscape destroyed by wildfires in the city of Lahaina, Hawaii, US, on August 10. Photo: Reuters
According to Bloomberg, the rapidly expanding world will need technologies like DACs in the coming decades. According to scientists, the world needs to remove billions of tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere every year by the middle of this century to meet the target set in the Paris Agreement on climate change. In the short term, the industry needs to abate 1 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2030.
There are currently about 18 direct gas capture projects underway around the world, said Sasha Stashwick, director of policy at environmental organization Carbon180 (USA). However, the projects selected to be funded by the US Department of Energy will be the first commercial scale projects in the country.
The above step has been taken in the context of severe wildfire disaster in the state of Hawaii in the United States of America, in which at least 55 people have died till August 11. According to Clack University (USA) climatologist AB Frazier, Hawaii turned into a fire due to climate change, which weakened La Nina and caused minimal rainfall. About 16% of Maui County, where the wildfires are raging, is in severe drought, with another 20% in moderate drought, drying out vegetation. Many native crops and vegetation have been replaced by invasive, highly flammable grasses.