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In Depth: Audi and Climeworks Store CO2 From The Atmosphere Underground

Audi is partnering with a Swiss company Climeworks to build the world’s largest direct air capture and storage facility. The facility will convert the atmospheric carbon dioxide to mineral rocks underground in Iceland. The companies are planning to filter over 4,000 metric tons of CO2 from the air and mineralize it underground. The Zurich-based startup will filter/remove 1,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere on behalf of Audi.

Tech Used in the Swiss CO2 Filter

Climrworks is using the direct air capture technology to extract the atmospheric carbon dioxide. The CO2 filter will capture the carbon dioxide from the ambient air and then release the CO2-free air back into the atmosphere. The new facility of the Swiss company in Iceland transports the captured carbon dioxide below the surface of Earth that that is then mineralized naturally. It is currently the most effective method to remove the CO2 from the atmosphere.

How the Air Filtering Facility Works

Audi and Climeworks Filter CO2 From The Atmosphere, Store Underground
Image Courtesy: Audi Mediacenter

The filter first draws in the air from the atmosphere and then feeds it into the CO2 collector. The CO2 collector contains a specially developed absorbent which binds the CO2 from the air. After the filter gets saturated with CO2, it is heated up to 100⁰C to release the CO2 molecules from the absorbent. After this, the water transports the carbon dioxide to approximately 2,000 meters below the surface of Earth. The dissolved CO2 is now let there to naturally convert to carbonates through various mineralization processes with the basalt rock. The facility will filter 4,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year, working 24 hours a day, every day.

Audi has been working with Climeworks since 2013 to support the development of CO2 capturing technology. The two companies had also built a facility in Hinwil, Switzerland two years ago. Audi and Climeworks had built it to filter atmospheric CO2 and provide it to the beverage industry two years ago. Audi is now extending its partnership with the environmental startup in Iceland to take it to the next level.


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