Swiss firm Climeworks has signed several historic contracts for its new Carbon Dioxide Removal solution, marking the first time a company is commissioned to permanently remove the carbon dioxide of its customers from the atmosphere. During last year’s international climate talks in Bonn, Climeworks announced the creation of a new market mechanism using Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology to help achieve the world’s climate goals. Customers can now reverse the effect of unavoidable emissions and achieve carbon neutrality, through Climeworks removing an equivalent amount of CO2 emissions from the atmosphere and storing them underground via the CarbFix process in Iceland.
The first customers to sign up for the Carbon Dioxide Removal solution are Robert Charles Swan and his son Barney, who recently completed the South Pole Energy Challenge – the first polar expedition using only renewable energies. The pair skied 965km using a NASA designed ice melter, passive solar vacuum flasks, and advanced biofuels for survival. The expedition signed up with Climeworks to reverse emissions stemming from flights and associated logistics to make the expedition net positive. Robert and Barney comment: “Our expedition is committed to showing the world how important reducing carbon emissions is for the future of our planet. The answers are simple: tangibly remove CO2 through emission solutions like Climeworks technology, reforestation projects, and carbon policy. Through engaging with big and small commitments surrounding sustainability, we intend to clean up 326 million tons of CO2 over the next 6 years.”
The second customer is ClimateWorks Foundation, an NGO that works globally to strengthen the philanthropic sector’s response to climate change. Program manager Jess Lam said, “Investing in diversified portfolios of clean energy technologies today will create new markets and opportunities that accelerate decarbonization and help the world meet its climate goals.” ClimateWorks signed up to the Climeworks solution to reverse the impact of so-called Scope Two and Three emissions, which according to carbon accounting standards, are the indirect emissions created by services and products purchased by an organization, including office electricity use, business travel, and employee commuting.
Founded by engineers Christoph Gebald and Jan Wurzbacher, Climeworks’ technology involves scalable DAC plants that capture atmospheric CO2 with a filter, using mainly low- grade heat as an energy source. Last May, Climeworks made history by opening the world’s first commercial DAC plant in Hinwil, Switzerland which supplies captured CO2 to a nearby greenhouse to help grow vegetables. Last October the company also announced