Climate scientists have found a way to convert Carbon Dioxide (CO2) to stone in an effort to lower greenhouse emissions - and it seems their endeavour is a success.
It’s called direct air capture and the machines in question work like trees, capturing large quantities of CO2 from the air.
Over 40 trillion kilograms of CO2 is produced each year and estimates suggest we will cross an important emissions threshold that will cause global temperatures to rise past the two degrees Celsius limit set by the Paris Climate Agreement.
A group of entrepreneurs, including Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Warner Music’s Edgar Bronfman have worked alongside three companies to help build affordable machines that could capture CO2 from the air, Quartz reports.
Switzerland’s Climeworks, Canada’s Carbon Engineering and the US’s Global Thermostat are all involved in this venture.
Climeworks, in partnership with Reykjavik Energy has succeeded, and the startup unveiled the first system that does direct air capture in a geothermal power plant in Iceland.
At present, the machine captures 50 metric tonnes of CO2 from the air each year - the equivalent of CO2 emitted by a single US household, or 10 Indian households.
Though it may seem small, it’s the first of its kind to convert emissions into stone, which safeguards them getting back into the atmosphere.
One of the main problems related to this venture is price. There is a minute 0.04 per cent concentration of CO2 molecules in the air, which means the machine would require more energy to capture them.
This makes the process expensive, and can cost between $600 and $1,000 (£450 and £750) per metric tonne of CO2 captured in the air.
Capturing at a factory or plant would minimise the costs, because the percentage of CO2 in the air is much higher, therefore less energy is needed.
However, there is yet no way to properly capture CO2 emissions released by cars, ships and planes, which poses a big challenge.