Decarbonisation ambitions: Sultanate’s innovation-driven start-up 44.01 to collaborate with Climeworks of Switzerland in exploring carbon capture utilising geological formations in the Sultanate
Switzerland-based Climeworks, a global leader in direct air carbon capture, has announced a partnership with Omani decarbonisation start-up 44.01 to harness the potential of the Sultanate’s unique geology to remove carbon dioxide – the greenhouse gas chiefly responsible for global warming and climate change.
44.01, set up by pioneering Omani innovator and environmentalist Talal Hasan, is already collaborating with Climeworks in the delivery of a first-ever project: the construction of a demo-scale direct air carbon capture (DAC) plant at Khazaen Economic City near Barka just outside the capital city.
This time around, the joint venture will explore the commercial viability of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) using peridotite rocks prodigious quantities of which are found in the northern parts of the Sultanate. By combining the direct air carbon capture technologies of Climeworks with the domain expertise of 44.01 in decarbonisation, the partnership aims to unlock the massive CO2 storage potential of Oman.
“We are excited to explore the potential to store CO₂ from Climeworks’ direct air capture in Oman together with 44.01. The geological conditions as well as the high availability of renewable energy make this a perfect location for testing prior to expanding our technology portfolio,” said Christoph Gebald, co-CEO and co-founder of Climeworks, in a statement.
Talal Hasan (pictured), founder and CEO of 44.01, added: “We are excited to be working with Climeworks on such an important project. Climeworks is a pioneer in the field of direct air capture and brings in a lot of expertise. The launch of this direct air capture plant is a major step forward for the region which has some of the highest CO₂ emissions per capita in the world.”
The landmark project, which has global implications for the goal of reversing rising CO2 levels blamed for climate change, will capitalize on peridotite’s well-known ability to store CO₂ as part of a natural mineralization process. Atmospheric CO₂ naturally reacts with peridotite rocks rich in magnesium and calcium to precipitate carbonates.
“Oman has great potential to remove CO₂ permanently and safely in peridotite formations. Additionally, 44.01 powers its process with solar energy and biofuel produced by local circular economies,” Climeworks explained in a press statement.
The partnership seeks to leverage the combination of their individual capabilities to speed up the carbonisation process with the goal of decarbonising Oman in line with the Paris Agreement. This process of geological storage of CO₂ is seen as not only safe but permanent as well, offering a practical and cost-competitive solution to the threat posed by global warming.
The Sultanate, given its vantage geographical location and its abundance of renewable energy resources, such as solar and wind, is seen as ideally placed to support this initiative. Climeworks noted: “One location in which suitable rock formations occur is Oman. This is why Climeworks and 44.01 are jointly testing the combination of Climeworks’ direct air capture technology with geological storage of CO₂ in Oman,” the company stated.
“Oman is party to the Paris Agreement and needs to decarbonise. Our partnership with Climeworks is a massive step forward for Oman and the region in the fight against climate change,” added Talal.
Carbon mineralization in peridotite rocks