The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum to suck climate pollution out of the air just opened. Here’s how it works

The ‘world’s largest’ vacuum that aims to suck pollution out of the environment is essentially a large-scale carbon capture machine, developed by Swiss company Climeworks.

Here’s how it works:

1. Air Intake: The machine has numerous fans to draw in the ambient air.

2. CO2 Absorption: Once the air is drawn in, it passes over a highly selective filter material that has been designed to capture CO2. The filter material binds with the CO2 molecules, effectively trapping them. This process continues until the filter is fully saturated with CO2.

3. Heating Process: The CO2-saturated filter is then heated (using mainly low-grade heat as an energy source) to around 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat causes the filter to release the trapped CO2, which is then collected and stored.

4. Use or Storage: The collected CO2 can either be reused as a raw material for various industries, including the production of synthetic fuels and fertilizers, or securely stored underground, thus removing it from the atmosphere permanently.

This process essentially mimics what trees do naturally: they take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. But this machine does it in a more concentrated way and faster.

However, it is worth noting that while such technologies can help to get us the reductions in CO2 that we need, they don’t negate the need for us to reduce our own emissions. We should continue to strive to produce less carbon and consume less

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