How it works

How we do it

Climeworks Direct Air Capture technology captures CO₂ from air. We then mix the CO₂ with water used by a geothermal energy plant and pump it deep underground. Through natural processes, the CO₂ reacts with the basaltic rock – and turns into stone within a few years, permanently and safely.

Iceland is one of several locations around the world that provide ideal conditions for our pioneering process.

Our technology is super climate-efficient: after subtracting our technology footprint (raw materials, manufacturing, energy, etc.), more than 90% of the CO₂ captured from air is permanently put underground.

What is carbon dioxide and why is it important?

Climate change is driven by human activities such as burning fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide (CO₂) into the air, causing global warming.

The 2015 Paris Agreement aims to keep the increase in the global average temperature to “well below” 2°C above pre-industrial levels, in order to significantly reduce the risks and impacts of the climate crisis on the planet.

Although strides have been made in renewable energy and energy efficiency, it is not enough to meet the critical 2°C target. Additional CO₂ removal from the atmosphere will be required.

Climate change mitigation therefore urgently needs CO₂ removal technologies. 78% of all IPCC climate scenarios conclude that negative emissions are absolutely necessary in order to keep global warming below 2°C.

Importantly CO₂ removal is not only needed to enable negative emissions but also to achieve zero CO₂ emissions globally. Sectors such as shipping and aviation do not yet have viable alternatives to fossil fuels. Traditional mitigation measures such as renewable energies can – even in the optimum scenario – only reduce CO₂ by around 80%. The rest must come from removing CO₂ from the air.

Climeworks has developed the first commercial CO₂ removal technology on the market today, allowing us to physically remove any organisation’s or individual’s past, present and future CO₂ emissions.

Are there any alternative approaches to carbon dioxide removal?

Are there any alternative approaches to carbon dioxide removal? Carbon dioxide removal, also known as negative emissions technologies, covers a number of technologies which reduce the levels of CO₂ in the atmosphere.

These include:

  • Bioenergy in combinations with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
  • Afforestation: large-scale tree plantations to increase carbon storage in biomass and soil
  • Enhanced weathering: distribution of crushed silicate rocks on soil surfaces to absorb and bind CO₂ chemically
  • Direct air capture of CO₂ from ambient air through engineered chemical reactions

Our direct air capture approach has several advantages: it does not require water or depend on arable land; has a small physical footprint; and is can be scaled to capture billions of tons of CO₂.