Soletair Power has developed a solution for extracting carbon dioxide (CO2) from building ventilation systems to help achieve carbon net zero and even carbon negative building projects. The company employs temperature vacuum swing adsorption (TVSA) to segregate CO2, before regenerating the adsorbent by ‘swinging’ to a vacuum. Soletair’s TVSA is able to capture CO2 with 99.9% purity, using less than 100 Deg C as the regeneration temperature. The process is reliant on accurate, reliable measurement of temperature, humidity, and CO2 using Vaisala technology.
Buildings and construction are responsible for 37% of the world’s CO2 emissions, so ambitious goals have been established to lower this figure during both construction and operation – the ultimate aim is to achieve carbon net zero buildings. There is also pressure from local and industry-specific regulations as well as broader, global requirements like the Paris Agreement, which requires a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030.
CEO Petri Laakso explains the multiple benefits of Soletair Power’s solutions. “Capturing CO2 from a building’s air, whether that be its inlet, exhaust, or circulated air, reduces its overall CO2 emissions. Our system also delivers cost-reduction, employee well-being, and sustainability benefits. For example, with CO2-lean air coming into the building you can reduce ventilation levels – which saves on heating, cooling, and energy, further reducing operational CO2 emissions. Lower CO2 levels inside offices and residential buildings also contribute to better health, well-being, and employee performance.
“To capture CO2, the air needs to be moving and ventilation systems do this work for us, and the air in buildings also tends to be around 20 °C, which is the optimum temperature for our process.”
In addition to capturing CO2 from the air passing through heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, Soletair Power has also developed an indoor CO2-filtering air purifier for meeting rooms and smaller office spaces, and an outdoor CO2 capture system. “Our outdoor device is very similar to the HVAC-integrated one, but with a housing around the unit,” says Petri. “We have one such unit in Duisburg, Germany, which is installed outdoors to capture as much CO2 as possible. The CO2 is then used by the company as a raw material for various industrial processes.”
A major additional benefit of Soletair Power’s solution is that the captured CO2 can be used for other applications, including concrete production. “For concrete, the captured CO2 is used to create calcium carbonate, so you have the potential to achieve negative emissions when the CO2 is locked away from the atmosphere. This is one way we can help building owners to achieve net-zero emissions for the building’s lifetime by compensating for construction-related and operational emissions,” says Petri. “Carbon-negative buildings will also offer significant cost savings, meaning our systems can provide a return on investment within just a few years.”
Achieving net zero is no mean feat though, and the ability to do so can depend on various local factors, including how the power and heating for the building is generated. “To make a building into a carbon sink you need its electricity to be renewable and the heating from a source that minimises emissions,” Petri explains.
Soletair Power is currently working on several projects to create carbon net zero buildings. “These projects are using various advanced measures to reduce CO2 emissions during building construction and operation; in some cases, our solution is the final touch that tips the emissions over onto the negative side, and we should have some exciting results to share in the coming years,” Petri states.