The solar-powered machines could help fight off climate change by extracting carbon dioxide from the air and storing it underground. (Image Credit: AspiraDAC)
AspiraDAC, a carbon dioxide capture company, developed a machine that could pull CO2 from the air, helping in humanity's fight against climate change. It also received a $700,000 contract for capturing and storing carbon in Australia. AspiraDAC wants to install approximately 180 of these systems collecting 500 tonnes of CO2 by 2027 at $1,000 per tonne.
Stripe, the first customer behind this CO2 removal solution, plans on deploying the solar-powered machine sometime this year. Stripe bought the system through Frontier, an Alphabet, Shopify, McKinsey, and Meta partnership. Over the next three years, Frontier expects to invest $925 million in carbon revival technology for carbon removal developments.
The CO2 capture machine features a sponge-like substance developed at the University of Sydney that catches the CO2 molecules as air passes through the system. Fans then extract the air, placing it into sponge-filled canisters. Heat removes pure carbon dioxide that gets piped into underground storage. Even better, this machine relies on solar panels installed on the units like an A-shaped tent to provide power. AspiraDAC's goal is to compress, transport, and store under $20 per tonne of CO2.
It has not yet been verified where the storage or machine deployment takes place. Even then, it's considering the oil and gas reservoirs in Moomba, South Australia. Currently, the project's demonstration phase is being finalized, and construction is expected to start this year. Although the contract only offers a small amount of carbon dioxide removal, the company says it's a giant industrial leap that could contribute to growth in Australia.
However, solving the climate crisis needs more than just carbon capture technology. The U.S. Center for International Environmental Law referred to carbon capture as a "dangerous distraction" that could delay our transition away from fossil fuels. It's still very much possible that solar-powered carbon capture machines could help address climate change.
However, such systems could also experience accidental CO2 leakage. Even if this were to occur, a lot less CO2 would leak than the stored amount. That's because most of the CO2 stays trapped forever, regardless. Each natural trapping mechanism keeps up to 98% of CO2 stored underground for 10,000 years. It's still completely safe in the worst circumstances because up to 78% would remain in storage.
Have a story tip? Message me at: http://twitter.com/Cabe_Atwell