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In a groundbreaking move, the United States has welcomed its first commercial Direct Air Capture (DAC) plant, marking a significant stride in the battle against climate change. Operated by Heirloom, this facility in Tracy, California, utilizes limestone to extract carbon dioxide directly from the air, storing it deep within concrete structures. Explore more about the US introduces climate solution to suck carbon from the air in this article.
Once deemed a far-fetched concept, capturing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere is now recognized as vital in addressing the climate crisis. The Biden administration, demonstrating commitment, has pledged $3.7 billion to kick-start DAC projects nationwide, acknowledging the urgency of such endeavours.
Heirloom’s groundbreaking process, part of the US introduces climate solution to suck carbon from Air initiative, harnesses the power of limestone, the Earth’s second most abundant mineral. Industrial kilns heat the limestone in a meticulously designed sequence, breaking it down into carbon dioxide and calcium oxide. This captured carbon dioxide finds a secure home in concrete structures, while the residual calcium oxide continues its cyclical process of absorbing more carbon from the air. This innovative approach marks a pivotal step in the journey towards carbon neutrality, highlighting the significance of leveraging readily available resources to combat climate change.
Unlike traditional DAC systems that rely on massive fans to pull air, Heirloom leverages the natural carbon-absorbing properties of limestone, reducing energy consumption. Shashank Samala, Heirloom’s CEO, emphasizes the company’s commitment to meaningful climate impact and the avoidance of investments from oil and gas companies.
The US introduces a climate solution to suck carbon from the air through the Heirloom facility, presently capable of absorbing 1,000 metric tons of CO2 annually. The ambitious goal is to remove 1 billion tons by 2035. However, the scaling-up process poses challenges, demanding a threefold increase in capacity each year to achieve these impressive targets.
Recognizing the financial aspect of expansion, tech giants like Microsoft have entered the arena, signing long-term contracts with Heirloom to offset their emissions. The company has received a $600 million award from the Department of Energy to establish a hub in Louisiana, indicating further growth.
While the path to effective carbon reduction remains challenging due to the energy-intensive nature of DAC, proponents like Samala stress the importance of pursuing diverse solutions to combat climate change. As the world shifts its focus to pay for removing produced carbon, the Heirloom facility stands as a beacon of innovation, offering hope for a more sustainable future.