Carbon capture leaders team up on net-zero emissions technology

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Two companies with different climate technologies — trapping emissions from industrial plants and removing CO2 already in the atmosphere — are teaming up.

Driving the news: The Canadian firm Svante and the Swiss company Climeworks AG have a new "joint development agreement" to pilot the combination of the former's industrial capture system alongside Climeworks direct air capture (DAC) tech.

Why it matters: As this recent post from Norway's Center for International Climate and Environmental Research points out, almost all modeled emissions scenarios consistent with meeting the Paris agreement goals envision some level of carbon capturing and negative emissions technologies.

The big picture: "By working together, the two companies can accelerate the development and adoption of both technologies for customers across industries and applications," yesterday's announcement states.

  • Per Bloomberg, Climeworks' goal is to "cut costs for capturing CO2 from ambient air to about $100 a ton from around $600 now."
  • One potential benefit, they said, is that waste heat from Svante's industrial capture process, which is designed for industries like cement and steel, can be used to power Climeworks' DAC machines.

Where it stands: The DAC industry is in pretty early stages and only occurs at a very small scale. Climeworks opened a plant in Switzerland in 2017.

  • Bloomberg notes that Svante "has a plant online that captures 30 tons of CO2 a day at a Husky Energy Inc. facility in Saskatchewan."
  • They're also working with cement giant LafargeHolcim, Total, and Occidental Petroleum to explore a potential project at a cement plant in Colorado.

What they're saying: Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180, tells me there's a logic behind the pairing and called the effort "pretty novel."

  • "Atmospheric and point source capture are both essential for meeting climate goals, and there are a lot of ways that atmospheric and point-source projects can share costs (permitting, infrastructure, financing, etc.) by developing in tandem," he said via email.

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