The planned system will capture carbon from the atmosphere using a clean and renewable energy resource
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Spotted: As the United Nations (UN) highlights, on the whole, commitments made by governments to cut emissions haven’t been fulfilled, meaning we are falling short of net-zero goals for 2050. And, energy consumption and corresponding carbon emissions are only set to rise with the growing global population. Changes to existing energy-heavy practices are unlikely to be enough to stop or significantly slow climate change, which is where carbon capture comes in. However, direct air capture (DAC) technologies – where CO2 is extracted from the ambient air – often rely on energy sources like fossil fuels to work, making them unsustainable long term. Enter Fervo Energy.
The US-based company is already a leader in the next generation of geothermal power, and earlier this year announced plans for a fully integrated geothermal and DAC facility with financial support from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI).
In DAC facilities, large fans are used to blow ambient air over carbon-dioxide-capturing materials. The sequestered CO2 is then heated, refined, and generally stored deep underground using a pump. In Fervo’s proposed designs, all of these processes would be fueled by geothermal power, in which heat from the Earth’s core is used to produce clean and renewable electricity. This makes it possible to clean our atmosphere of carbon without emitting any further pollution. As well as being a renewable source that is available 24/7, the company also emphasises that the use of geothermal power would allow DAC technologies to be operated at lower costs.
The recent grant from CZI will help make Fervo’s designs a reality, allowing the company to explore local geothermal reservoirs for underground carbon sequestration projects. Fervo aims to have a pilot facility up and running in three to five years, according to reports in the Washington Post.
Written By: Keely Khoury and Matilda Cox