Climeworks becomes world's 1st certified carbon removal service provider

The company captures and transforms excessive CO2 emissions into rocks, and buries it underground.
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Illustration: 3D rendering of Climeworks carbon capture plant.
Illustration: 3D rendering of Climeworks carbon capture plant.

Climeworks 

The world's first company to successfully absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and permanently store it underground for a paying customer has announced success. 

It is the first time a business provided a permanent carbon dioxide removal (CDR) facility to a client, according to the Switzerland-based Climeworks press release on Thursday. 

"Providing our first corporate customers with CDR services is an exciting milestone we're proud to reach with the rigorous validation of a certifying 3rd party," said Christoph Gebald, co-CEO/founder of Climeworks. 

"Scaling our operations fast is only one part of the Climeworks mission. The other part is that this scale-up follows high standards, guaranteeing our customers they can trust our CDR to be of [the] highest quality, meaning additional, highly durable, and safe."         

The certification 

The procedure, known as direct air capture and storage (DAC+S), has been certified by independent auditor DNV, a leader in independent quality and security for quality assurance. 

Through this process, excessive carbon dioxide is successfully removed from the atmosphere and buried underground, where it will eventually solidify into rock. 

Climeworks becomes world's 1st certified carbon removal service provider
Climeworks and CarbFix's joint carbon capture facility Ocra, in Iceland.

This development is regarded as a big step forward in the fight against climate change since it has the potential to dramatically reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

Climeworks offers its first corporate clients, Microsoft, Shopify, and Stripe; third-party verified CDR services carried out at Orca (carbon capture plant). Following a successful audit, Climeworks CDR Services received certification from DNV. 

The certification-based DAC+S method was jointly developed by Climeworks and CarbFix, one of the world's top firms for quick underground mineralization of carbon dioxide, and confirmed by DNV in 2022.

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CarbFix mixes basalt rock formations with water that has been used to dissolve carbon dioxide. In around two years, natural processes transform the substance into solid carbonate minerals.

Corporate carbon capture facilitation 

The price for removing and storing carbon dioxide emissions for corporate clients has been kept a private affair, although determined by how much and for how long the corporations want the dioxide removed.

However, the average cost to remove carbon is several hundred dollars per ton. Anyone can pay Climeworks to remove carbon dioxide to balance out their individual emissions.

"Developing a rigorous methodology and sharing it publicly is a critical step to build trust with carbon removal buyers like Shopify - it gives us confidence that what we're paying for is actually happening," said Stacy Kauk, Head of Sustainability at Shopify. 

"Climeworks is tackling this challenge head-on with its DAC+S methodology, and we are ecstatic to take delivery of our first batch of carbon removals from Orca knowing that we are getting exactly what we expected when we partnered with Climeworks in 2020."

The company has raised more than $780 million to scale up from a number of investors, including venture capitalist John Doerr and insurance company Swiss Re, in addition to convincing corporate clients to pay for further removals.

"Microsoft is proud to be one of the first corporate customers to receive Climeworks-certified carbon dioxide removal services," said Phillip Goodman, Director, of Carbon Removal Portfolio, Microsoft. 

"As both an investor in and customer of Climeworks, we know it is imperative to continue growing the carbon dioxide removal and storage markets for the world, as well as for achieving our company's own ambitious climate targets: to be carbon negative by 2030."

The second commercial-scale facility, which will capture and store 36,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, is being built in Iceland, Climeworks revealed in June 2022.

This still represents a negligible portion of the annual world emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. International Energy Agency reported in 2021, CO2 emissions reached a record high of 36.3 billion metric tons.