Value of polluted air

According to a recent report, Co2 emissions in the Netherlands increased by 2.5 percent in the first quarter of this year compared to the first quarter of last year. The increase is due to higher gas consumption of households and services. For example, the first quarter of this year was much colder than last year, so the CO2 emissions of households rose by 5 percent in the first three months. CO2 emissions also increased in the transport, agriculture, industry and construction sectors. Aviation emissions increased due to the growing number of flight movements. Despite far-reaching attempts to cut Co2 emissions, the addiction to fossil fuels is stubborn.

Nevertheless, various techniques exist to ‘capture’ Co2 emissions from the air. For example, the port of Rotterdam recently presented plans to capture Co2 from power plants and to store it underground in empty natural gas reservoirs.

The Dutch tech artist Daan Roosegaarde also showed that polluted air can be of value. By sucking polluted air through the cleaning filters of his Smog Free Tower, they purify the air and the Co2 residue that is left on the filters is transformed into diamond rings that are popular worldwide.

In Canada, they take it one step further. Last week, the Canadian company Carbon Engineering presented a study that showed that they can capture CO2 from the air at a relatively low cost. ‘It is different from the CO2-capturing technology at power plants,’ says the founder of Carbon Engineering, David Keith. ‘We capture CO2 from the atmosphere and make low-carbon fuels out of it, using renewable energy. Our research ensures a huge breakthrough in the re-use of air waste. Direct air collection technology is now not only economically viable, but we also generate a completely new low-carbon fuel from the captured CO2. In the future, this carbon-neutral fuel can be used with the existing infrastructure and will allow us to drive cars and fly aircrafts in a much cleaner and cheaper way.

‘Although solar and wind energy is getting cheaper, it does not allow us to fly planes and run trucks,’ says Keith, ‘but Carbon Engineering has shown that by using hydropower to get the CO2 out of the air and turning it into a synthetic fuel, we can now compete with traditional fossil fuels.’

This post is also available in: Dutch

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