It’s been a banner week for hydrocarbons made from waste gases. Earlier this week, a company announced that it had delivered 4,000 gallons of jet fuel made from steel-plant waste gases to Virgin Atlantic. Now, Swiss company Climeworks has announced the opening of a new plant in Italy that will collect carbon dioxide (CO2) from ambient air and pair it with renewably made hydrogen (H2) to make methane fuel that would add little or no CO2 to the atmosphere.
The plant in Troia, Italy, was completed in July and went into operation this week as part of a research program funded by the European Union.
This will be Climeworks’ third carbon-capture plant. The first captured carbon out of ambient air using a filter of base amines that would bind with more acidic CO2. The captured carbon was sent to a greenhouse to speed plant growth. The second was based in Iceland at a geothermal plant that released some volcanic CO2. Climeworks’ small plant captures that carbon and injects it back into the ground, where mineral reactions help the CO2 bind with basalt, essentially storing the gas as a rock.