Carbon Engineering – Capturing CO2 from ambient air

The Problem

The main driver of Climate change is the increase in atmospheric Greenhouse Gas concentrations and the single most influential GHG is Carbon Dioxide (CO2). High concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are the propelling force behind climate change.  If we wish to not only stop climate change from getting worse, but actually revert climate change and return the plant to a healthy state we must remove the majority of CO2 humanity has dumped into the atmosphere in the last ~200 years.

Category: This issue is at the foundations of climate change and its overarching implications affect multiple categories from health and safety to pollution.

The Technology – Capturing CO2 from Ambient Air

  • Carbon Engineering is a Canadian company that is currently developing a system that will capture Carbon from ambient air and then transform the captured CO2 into fuel.
  • The proposed system is based on an array of fans that push ambient air through a large surface-area mesh coated with a proprietary solution onto which the CO2 bind. The air leaving the system has ~80% less CO2 than the air entering the system.


  • The company extracts carbon from its proprietary solution, once extracted the carbon is purified until it equals the purity of “pipeline carbon”. With the carbon removed the proprietary solution is clean and re-introduced to the system.


  • Carbon Engineering has been testing and improving its prototype system since 2011 through a multi-stage pilot project.
  • The company hopes to reach commercial scale by 2020*.


Many organizations and companies could benefit from installing Carbon Engineering’s product; nonetheless, I believe the following stakeholders would benefit the most from implementing the product:

  • High density cities and cities with severe air pollution
  • Industrial and manufacturing facilities
  • Fossil fuel based power generation facilities


Step 1: Carbon Engineering must reach commercial scale while optimizing their solution (Smaller size, increased efficiency, low O&M cost etc.).

Step 2: Partner with large cities and create urban pilot projects to demonstrate the product’s benefits and reliability.  the company should also work with architects and urban planners to integrate the system into buildings and the cityscape.

Step 3: Continue to expand while Developing a market for ambient-air based fuels and develop a business model that either also Carbon Engineering or the system owner to generate revenue from or use the captured carbon.



  • Geoffrey Holmes, Kevin Nold, Tylor Walsh, Kenton Heidel, Matthew A. Henderson, Jane Ritchie, Paul Klavins, Arvinder Singh, David W. Keith, Outdoor Prototype Results for Direct Atmospheric Capture of Carbon Dioxide, In Energy Procedia, Volume 37, 2013, Pages 6079-6095, ISSN 1876-6102,

Article Link

Company’s website – Link


2 thoughts on “Carbon Engineering – Capturing CO2 from ambient air

  1. The prototype contractor is manufactured from PVC rather than stainless steel which lowers cost and provides a much lower pressure drop on a per-surface-area basis. The PVC packings absorb CO2 just as effectively in comparison to stainless-steel once wetted properly. The surface is wetted through a brief period of pulsed liquid flow, followed but cut flow for a couple of minutes to let the liquid slowly ract as CO2 is absorbed. This cuts average liquid flow to 10%, retaining the 80% of CO2 from air.


  2. 3 thoughts on “Cleaning Our Oceans”

    omriklag says:
    SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 AT 11:55 AM
    This is a very interesting project. One of the things that I really like about it is that the collected plastics will be recycled and sole, thus becoming a source of revenue.


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