Realizing that using renewables will not help in reducing carbon emissions accumulated over the years, there is an uprising need for carbon capture facility on large scale. Thus, Heirloom has begun its first commercial DAC (Direct Air Capture) facility in America which is entirely powered by renewable energy. Located in Tracy, California, this facility has the capacity to capture 1,000 tons CO2 annually from the atmosphere. The company plans to increase the operation scale and aims to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 by 2035.
California is now home to a new weapon in the fight against climate change. In Tracy, California, Heirloom Carbon Technologies opened a carbon capture facility on Thursday. According to the company, it is the 1st carbon capture commercial plant in the United States. The plant is capable of capturing around 1,000 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere annually. This amount roughly equals the emissions released from 200 cars.
By using readily available materials like limestone, employing algorithms to enhance its capture capacity, and utilizing a modular approach, Heirloom’s technology offers one of the most cost-effective pathways to permanent CO2 removal. The company’s mission is to remove 1 billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035. It is equivalent to 20% of current annual U.S. emissions and meeting 10% of the global carbon removal target set for 2050.
CEO and Co-Founder of Heirloom, Shashank Samala said, â€œThis first commercial direct air capture facility is the closest thing on Earth that we have to a time machine, because it can turn back the clock on climate change by removing carbon dioxide that has already been emitted into our atmosphere.â€
CEO further added, â€œThe capacity of Heirloom’s limestone-based technology to capture CO2 from the air has gone from 1 kilogram of CO2 to up to one million, or 1000 metric tons, in just over two years. We owe it to every climate vulnerable citizen to continue to deploy our technology at the urgent pace required to reach billion-ton scale and beyond in time to stop the worst of climate change.â€
Jennifer M Granholm, Secretary of Energy said at the official unveiling ceremony, â€œHeirloom Carbon Technologies, right here in Tracy, California, is the blueprint for how America can beat climate change.â€
Gavin Newsom, Governor of California, said, â€œWe’ve set ambitious, nation-leading climate goals to cut pollution and accelerate our transition to clean energy. Projects like this Heirloom facility is exactly the sort of big and innovative ideas that we’re embracing – using renewable energy to directly remove pollution from our air, all while creating good-paying jobs in the Central Valley. California is creating the model for expanding the economy and fighting climate change.”
The facility is constructed with union labor and the partnership with CarbonCure Technologies will continue to permanently sequester CO2 in concrete. The Tracy facility is completely powered by renewables supplied locally by Ava Community Energy.
The facility is capable of capturing huge amounts of CO2 per year and will supply early, catalytic buyers of Heirloom’s CO2 removal credits, such as Microsoft, Stripe, Shopify, and Klarna, with net removals.
Though the scale of operations and output is relatively small right now, the company is planning to expand it further. Shashank Samala said in a statement, “We want to get to millions of tons per year by building more factories like this.”
Efficiently Capturing Carbon Emissions
Heirloom begins its first commercial DAC facility in America which uses direct air capture technology to remove carbon dioxide from the air, as stated on its website.
The company employs a unique method described as utilizing limestone as a sponge. At their state-of-the-art facility, they process limestone and ingeniously extract carbon dioxide from it, transforming it into a refined fine white powder known as calcium oxide.
According to the Heirloom’s website, the process entails adding water to calcium oxide, and then spreading the resulting mixture onto metal trays in the open air. During this exposure, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and undergoes a transformation back into limestone.
This newly produced limestone can be used to initiate the process once more, comparing it to the act of repeatedly wringing a sponge. Heirloom claims that the captured carbon dioxide is either stored in concrete or permanently injected into the ground.