Stainless steel helps new carbon reduction plants

November 2019

With global temperatures rising every year, and multi-country efforts to reduce carbon emission to prevent global temperatures rising more than the 2°C set by the Paris agreement, it’s not surprising that some enterprising companies are looking to tackle the problem from the other side of the equation.

Many scientists are predicting that reducing carbon emissions simply doesn’t go far enough to reduce global warming, so the other option is to start removing the excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere instead. According to Chris Field, director of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment:

“We really only have less than 20 years left at current emission rates to have a good chance of limiting emissions to less than 2°C”

That is the approach that start-up company Climeworks is taking with its new Carbon Capture Plants, which are designed to extract CO2 directly from the air, and then sell it on to industries that utilise it as part of their production processes.

The first of such commercial plants opened in May 2018 in Switzerland at a waste incineration facility, and Climeworks says it is already in talks with other industries such as carbonated drink manufacturers, where is CO2 extraction plants offer an economically viable alternative traditional methods of obtaining the necessary carbon dioxide.

The Carbon Capture Plants use a special sponge structured filter than collected the CO2 in high concentrations over a period of 2-3 hours. These filters are then heated to 100°C to reverse the process, and the carbon dioxide is released in pure form and captured ready for resale. In the case of the Swiss plant, the CO2 is re-used by an adjacent greenhouse based agricultural producer who uses the CO2 to enhance the growth of cucumbers and tomatoes.

The Carbon Capture Plants use stainless steel throughout their entire construction, as can be seen from our image – the stainless steel casing and parts ensure that plants have a very long life, minimising their own carbon footprint, and also prevent any reaction with the concentrated CO2. Climeworks estimates that the use of their plants could result in a 1% reduction in the global CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, by 2025.

As DSM we care deeply out the environmental impact of our products, which is why our stainless steel products are made from 60% recycled material and are also fully recyclable at the end of life. All our off-cuts of stainless steel and wood are also all sent off for recycling. It’s one of the many reasons our customers love to use our polished stainless steel worktops – knowing they can have the highest quality kitchen worktops, with the lowest possible environmental impact.

Resources for DSM INDUSTRIAL ENGINEERING LTD