The Israeli startup High Hopes Labs that has designed balloons capturing carbon dioxide from the air, achieved a milestone – a step forward towards implementing its climate change solutions.
The United States Patent and Trademark Office informed the startup that its innovation will be receiving a patent. That would accelerate the startup’s ambitions to bring its offering to market.
The balloons work by collecting frozen CO2 that is found naturally 15 kilometers (nine miles) above sea level. They are made of a special material, that, filled with hydrogen, can reach this altitude, carrying a payload.
As the wind blows through the payload, the carbon in it is separated and stored in a kind of freezer compartment. The weight of the carbon then brings the balloon back down to earth and the solid carbon is transformed into carbon dioxide gas as it descends. Then, the gas could be collected for storage or sold to the industry for utilization.
The invention is designed by the chief technology officer of High Hopes Labs, Eran Oren – a physicist and an alumnus of the army’s elite Talpiot program. His vision involves optimizing the CO2 capture balloons to be able to catch one metric ton (2,205 pounds) of carbon, per balloon, per day which would make the technology scalable.
The balloons could fly near carbon sequestration sites where the emissions could be buried underground for permanent storage or sequestered at high pressure, where they will eventually turn into limestone.
According to Mr Oren, the cost of the capture process could be lowered to below $40 – $50 per ton of CO2 which would make it the world’s first affordable and scalable method for carbon capture. The CEO also adds that the timing for reaching that target would depend on available funding.
“For our first milestone, we’re aiming for $100 to $250 per ton… For the second milestone, we’re hoping to get to below $40 to $50… The physics is working and the scientific aspects are validated. There’s a question of engineering that depends on the level of resources we will have,” said Mr Oren.
Relevant: What Is Carbon Capture Technology?
The carbon capture balloons invention promises innovative and reliable way of capturing carbon emissions directly from the atmosphere and thus reducing the greenhouse gases humanity emits every year. As a working technology, it could scale exponentially to help the world meets its net zero ambitions.