(FOX40.COM) — A groundbreaking and historic facility that seeks to improve the planet’s air quality opened in Tracy on Thursday.
The San Joaquin County city is now home to the nation’s first Direct Air Capture (DAC) facility that will pull carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and store it in limestone rocks.
U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm joined Heirloom Carbon Technologies, the operator of the DAC facility for the grand opening ceremony on Thursday.
Heirloom, a Bay Area-based company, is working to create low-cost CO2 removal technology that scales quickly in order to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change.
This Tracy facility is anticipated to remove 1,000 tons of CO2 per year. Heirloom’s goal is to have removed one billion tons of CO2 from the atmosphere by 2035.
Heirloom also plans to sell its CO2 removal credits to companies in order to offset their carbon emissions.
“This first commercial direct air capture facility is the closest thing on Earth that we have to a time machine, because it can turn back the clock on climate change by removing carbon dioxide that has already been emitted into our atmosphere,” said Heirloom’s CEO and Co-Founder, Shashank Samala.
In order to not add to the pollution problem, the DAC will be fully powered by renewable energy supplied by Ava Community Energy.
The process for capturing the CO2 includes using a limestone mineral powder that is spread onto stacked trays.
This powder absorbs the CO2 and is then brought into a renewable-energy kiln to extract the CO2 in order to reuse the powder again.
The captured CO2 can then be stored underground or embedded into concrete.