CO₂CLEANUP

There are presently a lot of initiatives running aimed at capturing CO₂ (carbon capture). Many of these are expensive, short-term solutions. With CO₂CLEANUP we go a step further: not only do we capture CO₂, we permanently store the CO₂ captured in valuable raw materials. This results in what is called negative emissions. And those raw materials replace products produced in ways that release CO₂ from fossil fuels. Replacing these raw material makes an even greater positive climate impact by cutting CO₂ emissions even further.

So, our goal is: achieve 1 megatonne of negative emissions in the Netherlands in 2030.

How does it work?

At its core, this technology revolves around binding gaseous CO₂ to rocks (minerals) that are available worldwide. We have basically taken a natural process that normally takes centuries to play out and reduced this to a few seconds. We call it CO₂ CLEANUP.

During the process, powders with the CO₂ bound to them are created, and these powders then form the basis for many useful products. The technology is also efficient, circular and clean: we convert all input into useful and valuable products. The bottom line is, with our technology the CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere decreases, meaning we really do clean up CO₂. Permanently!

What goes into it?

We use two CO₂ streams: green CO₂ from organic material and CO₂ from the ambient air. The latter is called direct air capture (DAC).

We want to achieve negative emissions with CO₂ CLEANUP, that’s to say remove CO₂ from the atmosphere permanently. We use two streams of CO₂ for this: green CO₂ that is released during the conversion of organic material, and CO₂ extracted from the ambient air. The latter is called direct air capture (or DAC), a process where we capture CO₂ from the air, put it through a special washer, and use it for our CO₂ CLEANUP process.

For the process we also need minerals like magnesium or calcium to which we can bind the CO₂. We can obtain this from waste streams – from metal manufacture for example – but also from rocks such as olivine. These rocks can be found across the globe, right on the surface, and so are available to permanently capture the current global CO₂ emissions for more than 300 years. We recover and reuse the products we use in our process for the chemical reactions. It’s a circular and efficient process.

What’s the result?

By cleaning up CO₂ we generate negative emissions: the CO₂ is permanently removed from the atmosphere. This way we help cool the earth.

In addition, we convert CO₂ into three types of valuable green powders: carbonates, silicas and metals. These are important raw materials for industries like cement and concrete, papermaking and plastic. They can be used directly in various applications and replace existing polluting products.

A good example is the direct application in the production of cement and concrete. This way the cement produced is ‘green cement’, and it is even possible to make carbon-negative concrete. And that’s no small step, either, given that the current production of concrete accounts for 9% of global carbon emissions.

So, in simple terms…

…we store CO₂ in useful products and this way prevent products from being made that release a lot of CO₂.

One of the targets included in the Dutch Climate Agreement is to see that 2 megatonnes of negative carbon emissions are generated in the Netherlands per year from 2030.

The advantages at a glance:

  • CO₂ is stored permanently
  • decreasing the total CO₂ in the atmosphere
  • which is referred to as negative emissions
  • we produce valuable raw materials…

…to be used as:

  • building material
  • filler in plastic
  • filler in paper
  • and much more

Questions we commonly
get asked

What are negative emissions?

That’s a good question. This article gives you the answer.

Why is CO₂ a problem?

A lot of studies have been carried out into this matter. The European Council has the following to say on this topic (https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/climate-change/):

The latest data from leading scientists show unprecedented changes in the world’s climate. According to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global warming is causing increased, and in some cases irreversible, changes to rainfall patterns, oceans and winds in all regions of the world.

For Europe, the report predicts an increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, including marine heatwaves, and warns that a 2°C increase in temperature will have critical effects for nature and people.

Higher temperatures and intensified weather events will also result in huge costs for the EU’s economy and hamper countries’ ability to produce food.

However, according to scientists, human action can change the course of events. Immediate, rapid and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and reaching net-zero CO₂ emissions have the potential to limit climate change and its effects.

When will you be producing on a large scale?
We first developed and demonstrated the CO₂ CLEANUP process on a lab scale in our research department. We then went on to build a pilot plant that uses this process to store a large volume of CO₂ on an annual basis and to make a wide range of products with the captured CO₂. Based on the results of this pilot plant, we are now working on the design of the first industrial-scale demonstration facility.

With this industrial-scale CO₂ CLEANUP facility we can permanently trap approximately 10,000 metric tonnes of CO₂, about the same amount of carbon emissions that are cut by getting energy from 100,000 solar panels instead of fossil fuels. With this envisioned 10,000 metric tonnes of CO₂ we permanently trap, we can make a multitude of products that can be used as valuable raw materials.

What can be done with the output?

We produce three categories of products: carbonates in which we have permanently stored the CO₂, and silica and metals. We can use the carbonates and silica for cement and concrete applications and as a filler for paper, rubber and plastics.

Our CO₂ CLEANUP powders can replace those produced using existing fossil sources 1 on 1. For example, for each kilogramme of silica produced in the traditional way about 1.25kg of CO₂ is released; for cement this comes to about 1kg of CO₂ per kilogramme produced.

The production of our high-quality CO₂ CLEANUP nano powders is completely circular and CO₂-neutral. Every kilogramme of traditionally produced silica or cement you replace with CO₂ CLEANUP powders helps reduce the carbon footprint.

The metals produced via the CO₂ CLEANUP process can be used directly as circular metals in the metal industry.

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What exactly is CO₂?

Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO₂) is a chemical compound that occurs as an acidic colourless gas. Carbon dioxide consists of 1 carbon atom and 2 oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in the Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas. The air we breathe consists for the most part of nitrogen (N₂), oxygen (O₂), argon (Ar) and a very small amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂), about 0.04%.

So what is green CO₂?

At CO₂ CLEANUP we use CO₂ that has been extracted from the air by plants or CO₂ that we have extracted from the air through direct air capture (DAC). We call this green CO₂ because it reduces the amount of CO₂ in the atmosphere. It’s important to distinguish between green CO₂ and fossil CO₂ that is released during the burning of fossil fuels. When you burn fossil fuels, if you capture and permanently store all the CO₂ emissions, the process becomes CO₂-neutral. Negative emissions can only be achieved by using CO₂ that has been extracted from the air by nature through photosynthesis or using DAC.

Can I help too?

By all means! Check out our Careers page.

News and more

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Supervisory board member
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