• Claudia Schreier

What’s the Deal with Carbon Capture?

What is it, and why should we talk about it?

Fighting climate change is one of the biggest challenges the human race is facing and will be battling in the coming decades. One large contributor to climate change is the emission of greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. Methane has a higher greenhouse effect, but carbon dioxide accounts for most of these emissions, and it is much less regulated, making it difficult to manage. Something we can do to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions is limit the amount of CO2 in a system though carbon capture efforts. These technologies include processes that capture CO2, either for storage or reuse, preventing emissions from entering the atmosphere. Carbon capture is known to be an effective way of reducing CO2 emissions that can be applied all over the world to address global warming and climate change. In fact, carbon capture is included in the United Nations’ plan, in addition to mitigation and adaptation, because at this point removing CO2 from the atmosphere (not just limiting emissions) is necessary to maintain global warming of less than two degrees Celsius.

Removing CO2 from the air is necessary to maintain global warming of less than two degrees Celsius.

Direct Air Capture

Carbon capture technologies that can capture CO2 from ambient air are called direct air capture (DAC). DAC typically operates on an industrial scale, moving large quantities of air through a system and using membrane or solution-based processes to pull CO2 from the air. The CO2 is then stored underground or reused in other ways. A challenge associated with direct air capture is that large fans are required to move the air, requiring an enormous amount of energy and space to operate on a scale that makes the price of carbon cost-effective (around $100/ton on the low end). One way to utilize direct air capture technology without having to move air would be focusing on carbon capture at smaller point sources where ventilation systems already push the air around: for example, within commercial buildings.

There are about 4 gigatons (that’s 4,000,000,000 tons) of CO2 pumped through the five million commercial buildings in the United States every year, and building owners are paying to move and condition the air to keep building occupants healthy and comfortable. Existing ventilation is not designed to remove CO2, and over-ventilating the buildings can increase energy costs. The carbon dioxide in these commercial buildings is a contributor to climate change, and it can also have an impact on occupant health and cognitive ability. A 1999 study showed that “CO2 concentrations in office buildings typically range from 350 to 2,500 ppm,” and it has been reported that “effects on cognitive performance begin at 1,000 ppm during short-term exposure.”

The Carbon Capsule

Carbon Reform’s capture device, the Carbon Capsule, is an answer to the challenges associated with decentralizing direct air capture technology, because the air it uses to capture CO2 is already moving through commercial building ducts. It is self-contained and can be installed just as any other appliance could in a building, and the device can also be scaled to fit any HVAC system. Additionally, implementation of the Carbon Capsule will deliver better air quality all around, resulting in increased health and cognitive ability in building occupants. At scale (within 10 years), using 200,000 units of the Carbon Capsule, we can capture 100 megatons of CO2 per year. Our entire process, including cradle to grave production, is designed to be carbon negative, all the while delivering massive energy savings for building owners who will no longer have to over-ventilate to decrease CO2 content in their buildings.

"Effects on cognitive performance begin at 1000 ppm during short-term exposure."

Clean Air for People and Planet

Our mission at Carbon Reform is to address both a climate problem and human health problem with an innovative solution. In order to develop a greener future by reducing emissions, we need to implement carbon capture, both on a large scale with DAC plants as well as in a decentralized fashion as a commodity appliance. According to the International Environmental Agency, global CO2 emissions, as well as the cost of tackling climate change, could be significantly reduced if we pursue carbon capture efforts. Implementing this shift to sustainable technology could play a major role in addressing the climate crisis on a global scale.

To learn more about carbon capture technology, The Carbon Capsule, or the Carbon Reform mission, please explore our website or send us an email at team@carbonreform.com.