Removing CO2 from the atmosphere isn’t science-fiction

ENGLISH / NORSK

GreenCap Solutions AS and Bellona have initiated a collaboration to reduce CO2 emissions from food production in Norway. The overall ambition is to develop a regulatory framework for carbon capture and minimize the carbon footprint from Norwegian greenhouse production.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important carbon source for plant growth, however from a climate perspective it doesn’t take long before the carbon is released back into the atmosphere as CO2. The carbon capture company GreenCap Solutions, based at Forus outside of Stavanger, has developed a technology that can capture CO2 from ambient air to be used in greenhouses.

-Bellona is proud to be entering this collaboration with GreenCap Solutions. Reducing emissions is the biggest challenge of our time. Developing more technologies and increasing the number of players will most likely lead to a reduction in costs and more carbon capture, says senior advisor Eivind Berstad in Bellona.

Replacing fossil fuel CO2

Greenhouses today primarily use fossil CO2 from burning propane or natural gas, alternatively other bi-products from the industry. GreenCap Solutions has developed a technology which captures CO2 from ambient air, stores it and releases the correct concentration of CO2-enriched air into the growth area of the greenhouse. What makes GreenCap’s capturing technique unique is that it requires no chemicals in the process, as it uses zeolites as adsorbent material. Results to date demonstrate that the technology has a positive climate effect, whilst generating higher yields and reducing water and energy consumption.

-Growth conditions for plants improve when we double the CO2 concentration in the greenhouse, but the origin of the carbon is what is decisive for the positive climate impact. If we can succeed in exclusively utilizing atmospheric CO2, food production in greenhouses can become climate neutral, says Tor Christensen, head of R&D at GreenCap Solutions.

The Norwegian Government aims to phase out the use of fossil fuels for energy purposes by 2030. Natural gas and LPG used by the greenhouse industry is still exempt from CO2 taxes.

-It makes no sense that the greenhouse industry is being exempted from CO2 taxes when emission-free alternatives are available. If we are to succeed in reaching the target of 50% reduction in emissions by 2030, we will need to deploy new technology and impose stricter emission controls on the greenhouse industry, says Berstad in Bellona.

Captures CO2 from ambient air

GreenCap has demonstrated that it can capture CO2 from ambient air. Capturing CO2 from the atmosphere and permanently storing it underground will reduce CO2 concentration and achieve “negative emissions.”

In order to reach the goal of being carbon neutral by 2050, “CO2 -removal” will play a significant role in order to compensate for emissions that cannot be avoided. The regulatory framework in this area is in its infancy. The EU aims to develop a framework by 2023.

-We will collaborate on defining what constitutes CO2 removal and what does not, and support the development of a regulatory framework for this important area, says Christensen.

-Our task is to prove to the world that we’re not in the realm of science fiction. We are here to ensure that the discussions in this area advance and we’ll be setting rigorous scientific requirements for the definition of “carbon negative solutions,” says Berstad.