Cooling Tower Technology Is Used To Capture Greenhouse Gases

Demonstration plant removes about one ton of CO2 from the air each day

Carbon Engineering Ltd. has been working with SPX Cooling Technologies, Inc. on a groundbreaking development to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere. SPX Cooling Technologies helped Carbon Engineering successfully build the world’s first “air contactor” system for Carbon Engineering’s direct air CO2 capture demonstration plant in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. The air contactor design is based on proven engineering concepts used in evaporative cooling towers.

The demonstration plant, which became operational in late 2015, removes approximately one ton of CO2 from the air each day. The direct air capture process is an innovative approach for managing the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere which drives climate change.

“Our Squamish plant is an important milestone in the development of direct air capture and the only air capture plant using process technologies that could be readily scaled to a million tonne-per -year industrial plant,” according to Adrian Corless, CEO of Carbon Engineering.

“CE’s goal is to produce high-energy carbon-neutral transportation fuels by combining atmospheric CO2 with hydrogen produced from renewable or nuclear power. These fuels can provide a crucial pathway for decarbonizing transportation without use of land-intensive biofuels, and will help reduce CO2 emissions and avoid dangerous climate change.”

Carbon Engineering, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, has been working to develop direct air capture technology since 2009. Their patented technology for carbon dioxide removal integrates two processes: an air contactor and a regeneration cycle, for continuous capture of atmospheric carbon dioxide and production of pure CO2.

The air contactor utilizes a strong alkaline hydroxide solution to trap carbon dioxide. This capture liquid is pumped to the top of the air contactor where it flows across a series of corrugated PVC “fill” sheets. Large fans pull air through the contactor where CO2 in the air is captured as it comes into contact with the sheets covered with the capture liquid. The liquid flows into a large basin and moves to the regeneration cycle, where pure CO2 is extracted. The capture liquid is then returned to the sump to repeat the process.

“We are excited to work with Carbon Engineering on such a pioneering project, which has the potential to make a profound impact on the global climate”, said Andjelko Piskuric, Global Product Manager for SPX Cooling Technologies.

To learn more about SPX Cooling Technologies, click here.

More Information