Global Thermostat unveiled on December 11th a design for a Direct Air Capture system that can be grouped to capture over 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere. That is in line with its mission to unlock new, air-based sources of carbon for the global economy and address climate change at a magnitude the latest science makes clear will be required.
The U.S. Department of Energy awarded funding in 2021 to develop an initial engineering design for a Direct Air Capture carbon dioxide removal system with an annual capacity of at least 100,000 metric tons. The prime contractor partnered with Sargent & Lundy and Global Thermostat to develop the scaled-up design of the Direct Air Capture system.
Building on more than a decade of research and development, Global Thermostat has been operating its metric kiloton-scale K-Series plant – one of the largest in the world – at its headquarters near Denver, Colorado, since 2022.
According to CEO Paul Nahi, “Global Thermostat’s technology is inherently scalable with stackable contactors. Our new M-Series design leverages the unique advantages and proven capabilities of our core solution while putting it into an even larger, more efficient, and more cost-effective form factor that can be deployed at the metric megaton scale and beyond.”
Now that the initial engineering work is complete, Global Thermostat is finalizing the detailed technical specifications needed to obtain fabrication and construction bids for large commercial projects. The company is actively engaging with potential customers to deploy the M-Series for a diverse array of applications around the world.
“The completion of the M-Series module design is another milestone in Global Thermostat’s progress,” Nahi said. “Not only do we have a uniquely cost-advantaged and advanced core Direct Air Capture technology, the M-Series design also allows us to harness economies of scale.”
“This represents a quantum leap in how much carbon dioxide our customers can remove from the atmosphere for their needs,” Nahi added. “We see significant and growing demand for big commercial projects in carbon sequestration, sustainable e-fuels, and building materials, among others. The M-Series enables us to address those markets at a scale that is both climate-relevant and uniquely cost-competitive.”
Global Thermostat’s patented Direct Air Capture solution consists of high-efficiency fans that pull air through ultra-high surface area contactors where the surface geometry and embedded solid sorbent have been custom-designed to optimize the capture of CO2. Low-temperature heat then rapidly releases the CO2 for long-term storage or reuse.
The M-Series module design uses the same patented air contactors and capital advantaged process as Global Thermostat’s proven metric kiloton-scale K-Series modules. The most significant difference is its size, architecture, and scalability. The M-Series design features larger, circular Direct Air Capture modules that contain over 600% more contactors per module than a single K-Series unit. Each ring is made up of 10 individual wedges that can be efficiently mass-produced, shipped, and then rapidly assembled at a project site.
These rings are then aggregated in “4-Packs” that share a central gas processing area that uses standard, widely-available industrial components and is skid-mounted for easy fabrication, shipping, and installation. The overall plant CO2 capture capacity can scale from tens of thousands of tonnes to millions of tonnes per year by simply increasing the number of 4-Packs.
“Direct Air Capture represents yet another advancement in our role in empowering a more sustainable, decarbonized energy future,” said Sargent & Lundy Vice President Kevin Lauzze this week. “Growing the technology to commercial scale is a critical step toward wide deployment. It continues our journey from connecting thousands of megawatts of renewable energy to the grid, to scaling up carbon capture technology, to now being able to remove carbon from the atmosphere to help reach net-zero goals and beyond.”
Over the last year, Global Thermostat has grown its team, scaled its facilities and capabilities at its new headquarters in Colorado, and launched one of the largest operating Direct Air Capture plants to date.
According to Nahi, “Today we have a full suite of Direct Air Capture modules for our customers’ diverse needs for on-site generation of CO2 from air, from our containerized T-Series mobile modules for small-scale applications in the tens of tonnes per year to our K-Series modules for metric kiloton-level needs, and now our M-Series for climate-scale projects, for all of which we are seeing growing demand in the market.”
“The M-Series enables large additional economies of scale while leveraging our proven technology and maintaining modular constructability, which translates into significantly lower cost per tonne of CO2 for our customer.”
“With this new design, Global Thermostat is on track to start delivering carbon dioxide removal and sustainable sources of carbon at a size and in a timeframe that the world needs, and that positions us to be the world’s leading Direct Air Capture system provider.”