Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are at their highest ever, leading scientists to warn of disastrous potential consequences. Meanwhile, sales of carbonated water are up double-digits and fizzy water is now a $2.2 billion industry. In a perfect world, wouldn’t there some machine exist to turn the CO2 in our atmosphere into bubbles for our LaCroix? A European company says it’s possible.
Climeworks, a Zurich, Switzerland-based company that creates technology to capture carbon from the air, is working with Coca-Cola HBC Switzerland to use CO2 from the air to carbonate Valser-brand water. “The beverage industry is among the only existing markets currently using CO2,” Christoph Gebald, cofounder and director of Climeworks, tells Fast Company. (Greenhouses also need large quantities of CO2 to do their work.)
According to Climeworks website, its process involves drawing air into its plant, where CO2 binds to special filters; when those filters are heated above 212 degrees Fahrenheit, they release the gas, which may then be captured and sold to Climeworks’ customers. The company says filters can be reused thousands of times. At the end of the process, Climeworks releases CO2-free air back to the atmosphere.
Fast Company notes this method is typically more expensive than the way beverage companies currently obtain CO2, either from chemical companies that use natural gas as a feedstock or from underground sources. But for manufacturers in remote locations or who pride themselves on sustainability, buying CO2 from a large-scale plant with such filters could make sense. It’s ambitious, but Climeworks tells Business Insider the company hopes to capture 1 percent of global carbon emissions.
If that means I have to drink more fizzy water for the cause, well, I guess I can muster the strength.