By Shaun Boyd, CBS Colorado - The world's top climate scientists warn we are not moving fast enough to rein in greenhouse gases. The only way to stop temperatures from rising above the point of no return is to remove carbon already in the atmosphere. Global Thermostat has developed among the most advanced technology for doing just that.
"There's no reason Global Thermostat can't be, won't be that next generation industrial revolution," says Paul Nahi, CEO of Global Thermostat. The revolution is already underway at a warehouse in Brighton, where the company is operating one of the most energy-efficient, cost-effective direct air capture systems in the world.
Speaker Emeritus Pelosi said, "When humanity wins the fight over the climate crisis, today will be an important day, landmark in that action."
High efficiency industrial fans draw air through series of honeycomb-like filters coated with a chemical mixture that binds to carbon dioxide. The filters are then injected with steam that pulls out the carbon and releases carbon free air back into the atmosphere.
"The amount of energy is de minimis," says Nahi. "This design does something in such a way that air flows very smoothly through it."
As for the carbon that's captured, Nahi says, there are companies using it for fuel, fertilizer, and even carbonating beverages. Other companies are interested in it as a way of reaching net zero emissions.
"We are in discussions with multiple customers and interestingly customers all over the world," says Nahi. "Direct air capture represents a massive potential industry, an industry on the scale of what oil and gas is today."
Ironically, Global Thermostat will need oil and gas wells to sequester carbon that's not used, as well as oil and gas chemists and engineers to grow the company, making Colorado a perfect location for its global headquarters says Nahi, "There are very few states, very few areas, with that level of talent available within a couple zip codes."
Nahi admits the task ahead is daunting. Scientists estimate we need to remove 10 gigatons of carbon per year by 2050 and 20 gigatons a year by the end of the century to lower the global temperature.
Global Thermostat may be our best hope for reversing climate change, "We are already in discussions with multiple partners about moving from kiloton to hundreds of kilotons in the next couple years and then shortly thereafter move to the megaton scale," says Nahi. "We can avoid this. There is still time. But we have act now."
Not everyone can say they're helping save the planet. Nahi says there's nothing he'd rather be doing, "There's so much bad news about the climate - and it's real and it's bad - but knowing there's a path is very heartening... and it starts in Colorado."
Governor Polis said, "To see these planet-saving technologies move from concept to actual existence is just exciting. It gives me optimism for the planet."
While Global Thermostat's direct air capture technology is essential to avoiding the worst impacts of climate change, scientists say it can't do it alone. In addition to pulling carbon out of the atmosphere, they say, we must continue to prevent it from getting there in the first place.