Heirloom Carbon Technologies opens the first US commercial plant for direct air capture of carbon

Heirloom Carbon Technologies has opened the first US commercial plant for direct air capture of carbon, which is a significant milestone in the effort to scale up nascent carbon removal technologies and hit global climate goals. The new facility, located in Tracy, California, uses crushed limestone to capture 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. The rock naturally absorbs CO2, and Heirloom has treated it to do so in a few days. Rock that has captured CO2 is heated with renewable energy to release the gas, and then reused. The CO2 captured by the new plant is stored in concrete by Heirloom’s partner CarbonCure.

Heirloom Carbon Capture

U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in an interview “We’ve got to scale. Scale is the only way we’re going to be able to move that quickly”.

  1. Heirloom Carbon Technologies, a Bay Area startup, has established the first commercial direct air capture (DAC) plant in the United States.
  2. The facility, initially capable of removing and storing 1,000 tons of CO2 annually, plans significant expansion to reach a capacity of millions of tons per year by constructing additional factories.
  3. Already having secured a deal with Microsoft to remove 315,000 tons of CO2, Heirloom intends to sell carbon removal credits to offset emissions.
  4. Despite the current industry cost for carbon removal by DAC ranging from $600 to $1,000 per ton, Heirloom aims to reduce expenses through a ramp-up strategy, addressing the US government’s target of $100 per ton in a decade.
  5. The US Department of Energy is heavily investing in carbon capture and storage research, while California relies on such methods to eliminate approximately 100 million tons of CO2 annually, aiming for carbon neutrality by 2045.
  6. Heirloom’s new plant signifies a noteworthy advancement in the fight against climate change, showcasing the potential of DAC technology to contribute significantly to mitigating its effects.

What is the cost of heirloom carbon technologies’ direct air capture technology?

  1. Heirloom Carbon Technologies, while not disclosing the exact cost of its direct air capture (DAC) technology, acknowledges expert estimates placing current DAC costs at $600 to $1,000 per ton of CO2 removed.
  2. Claiming the lowest peer-reviewed, at-scale cost among DAC technologies, Heirloom asserts its technology’s competitiveness. Using current electricity costs, the company estimates a net removal cost ranging from $46 to $159 per ton.
  3. Initial sales in 2021 by Heirloom for capture and storage exceeded $2,000 per ton. The new Tracy, California facility, utilizing crushed limestone, captures 1,000 metric tons of CO2 yearly as part of Heirloom’s cost-cutting ramp-up strategy.
  4. Despite current industry prices, Heirloom is committed to reducing costs. The US government’s goal to lower DAC costs to $100 per ton within a decade aligns with Heirloom’s expansion plans to reach a capacity of millions of tons per year through the construction of additional factories.

What is the significance of heirloom carbon technologies’ first commercial direct air capture plant in the us?

  1. First US Commercial Plant: Heirloom Carbon Technologies’ Tracy, California facility is the inaugural commercial plant in the United States utilizing direct air capture (DAC) technology. This marks a pivotal achievement in advancing carbon removal technologies to meet global climate objectives.
  2. Greenhouse Gas Removal: DAC involves extracting greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, a crucial process in mitigating climate change. Heirloom’s innovative approach contributes to reducing the levels of these gases, addressing a key factor in climate change.
  3. Combatting Climate Change: Although currently capturing 1,000 tons annually, Heirloom plans substantial expansion, aiming for a capacity in the millions of tons per year. This ambitious scale-up initiative is promising in the broader fight against climate change.
  4. Affordability and Scalability: Heirloom claims to have developed the world’s most affordable and scalable DAC technology. Offering high-quality carbon removal credits, the company strives to enhance the viability and practicality of DAC as a solution for climate change mitigation.
  5. Government Support: The Biden administration’s allocation of $1.2 billion, including support for Heirloom, to establish larger DAC plants in Texas and Louisiana underscores significant governmental backing. This financial support is a substantial stride toward addressing climate change on a broader scale.
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