SPX Cooling Technologies and Carbon Engineering Ltd. combined forces to build what is reportedly the world’s first air contactor system, say the companies.

Based on the engineering concepts used in evaporative cooling towers, the system was installed at Carbon Engineering’s direct air CO2 capture demonstration plant in Squamish, British Columbia. The facility removes approximately 1 ton of CO2 from the air every day.

The patented Carbon Engineering technology for CO2 removal integrates two processes: an air contactor and a regeneration cycle. The air contactor utilizes a strong alkaline hydroxide solution to trap CO2. This capture liquid is pumped to the top of the air contactor, where it flows across a series of corrugated PVC “fill” sheets.  Large fans pull air through the contactor, where CO2 in the air is captured as it comes into contact with the sheets covered with the capture liquid. The liquid flows into a large basin and moves to the regeneration cycle, where pure CO2 is extracted. The capture liquid is then returned to the sump to repeat the process.

Calgary-based Carbon Engineering plans to produce high-energy carbon-neutral transportation fuels by combining atmospheric CO2 with hydrogen produced from renewable or nuclear power.