Global Thermostat unveils design with top engineering firms for a Direct Air Capture system that can scale to capture millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide per year

December 11, 2023
What's New
Completes two years of Department of Energy-funded work with engineering firm Sargent & Lundy and other industry leaders to scale its technology and provide a low-cost, globally deployable solution for carbon removal and utilization that can meaningfully address climate change

COMMERCE CITY, COLORADO, December 11, 2023—Global Thermostat today unveiled a design for Direct Air Capture machines that can be grouped to capture over 1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide per year from the atmosphere, in line with its mission to unlock new, air-based sources of carbon for the global economy and address climate change at a magnitude the latest science makes clear will be required. 

The U.S. Department of Energy awarded funding in 2021 to develop an initial engineering design for a Direct Air Capture carbon dioxide removal system with an annual capacity of at least 100,000 tonnes. The prime contractor partnered with Sargent & Lundy and Global Thermostat to develop the scaled-up design of Global Thermostat’s Direct Air Capture technology.

Building on more than a decade of research and development, Global Thermostat has been operating its kilotonne-scale K-Series plant – one of the largest in the world – at its headquarters near Denver, Colorado, since 2022. According to CEO Paul Nahi, “Global Thermostat’s technology is inherently scalable with stackable contactors. Our new M-Series design leverages the unique advantages and proven capabilities of our core solution while putting it into an even larger, more efficient, and more cost-effective form factor that can be deployed at the megatonne scale and beyond.”

Now that the initial engineering work is complete, Global Thermostat is finalizing the detailed technical specifications needed to obtain fabrication and construction bids for large commercial projects. The company is actively engaging with potential customers to deploy the M-Series for a diverse array of applications around the world. 

“The completion of the M-Series module design is another milestone in Global Thermostat’s progress,” Nahi said. “Not only do we have a uniquely cost-advantaged and advanced core Direct Air Capture technology, the M-Series design also allows us to harness economies of scale.”  

“This represents a quantum leap in how much carbon dioxide our customers can remove from the atmosphere for their needs,“ Nahi added. “We see significant and growing demand for big commercial projects in carbon sequestration, sustainable e-fuels, and building materials, among others. The M-Series enables us to address those markets at a scale that is both climate-relevant and uniquely cost-competitive.”

A rendering of how a large-scale deployment of Global Thermostat's M series Direct Air Capture technology will look.
A rendering of how a large-scale deployment of Global Thermostat’s M-Series Direct Air Capture technology will look, based on the overall project design developed by engineering Sargent & Lundy and other top engineering firms with Department of Energy funding. (Credit: Sargent & Lundy)

According to the latest report by the scientists of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Carbon Dioxide Removal is necessary to achieve net zero CO2 and GHG emissions both globally and nationally, counterbalancing ‘hard-to-abate’ residual emissions. CDR is also an essential element of scenarios that limit warming to 1.5°C or below 2°C.” Delegates from nearly 200 countries are now convened in Dubai for the COP28 climate summit to accelerate progress towards these critical targets.

Direct Air Capture refers to technologies that directly capture CO2 from the atmosphere to help achieve net zero and eventually net negative greenhouse emissions, as sources of existing emissions are drawn down. Direct Air Capture is highly scalable and has many advantages as a carbon dioxide removal solution: it enables permanent sequestration, is directly measurable, and does not interfere with natural systems. It can be used in combination with underground storage or mineralization to permanently remove past carbon dioxide emissions. Or, the captured carbon can be substituted for fossil-based carbon in critical, everyday products such as fuels, cement, and plastics.

The kilotonne scale "K series" direct air capture unit at Global Thermostat's HQ near Denver, CO
The kilotonne-scale “K-Series” demonstration unit at Global Thermostat’s headquarters near Denver, Colorado. (Credit: Global Thermostat)

Global Thermostat’s patented Direct Air Capture solution consists of high-efficiency fans that pull air through ultra-high surface area contactors where the surface geometry and embedded solid sorbent have been custom-designed to optimize the capture of CO2. Low-temperature heat then rapidly releases the CO2 for long-term storage or reuse.

The M-Series module design uses the same patented air contactors and capital advantaged process as Global Thermostat’s proven kilotonne-scale K-Series modules. The most significant difference is its size, architecture, and scalability. The M-Series design features larger, circular Direct AirCapture modules that contain over 600% more contactors per module than a single K-Series unit. Each ring is made up of 10 individual wedges that can be efficiently mass-produced, shipped, and then rapidly assembled at a project site.

These rings are then aggregated in “4-Packs” that share a central gas processing area that uses standard, widely-available industrial components and is skid-mounted for easy fabrication, shipping, and installation. The overall plant CO2 capture capacity can scale from tens of thousands of tonnes to millions of tonnes per year by simply increasing the number of 4-Packs. 

A blueprint of Global Thermostat's M-series direct air capture unit
Global Thermostat’s circular “M Series” Direct Air Capture module and a “4-Pack” of such modules surrounding a central gas processing area, part of its design capable of removing a million metric tonnes or more of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. (Credit: Sargent & Lundy) 

“Direct Air Capture represents yet another advancement in our role in empowering a more sustainable, decarbonized energy future,” said Sargent & Lundy Vice President Kevin Lauzze this week.“Growing the technology to commercial scale is a critical step toward wide deployment. It continues our journey from connecting thousands of megawatts of renewable energy to the grid, to scaling up carbon capture technology, to now being able to remove carbon from the atmosphere to help reach net-zero goals and beyond.”

Over the last year, Global Thermostat has grown its team, scaled its facilities and capabilities at its new headquarters in Colorado, and launched one of the largest operating Direct Air Capture plants to date.

According to Nahi, “Today we have a full suite of Direct Air Capture modules for our customers’ diverse needs for on-site generation of CO2 from air, from our containerized T-Series mobile modules for small-scale applications in the tens of tonnes per year to our K-Series modules for kilotonne-level needs, and now our M-Series for climate-scale projects, for all of which we are seeing growing demand in the market.”

“The M-Series enables large additional economies of scale while leveraging our proven technology and maintaining modular constructability, which translates into significantly lower cost per tonne of CO2 for our customer.”

“With this new design, we’re on track to start delivering carbon dioxide removal and sustainable sources of carbon at a size and on a timeframe that the world needs, and that positions us to be the world’s leading Direct Air Capture provider.”

About Global Thermostat, PBC

Global Thermostat’s mission is to continually innovate and globally deploy the world’s best direct air capture technologies. Over the past decade, we’ve gained unparalleled experience about the critical drivers of performance for direct air capture, proven our technology at multiple scales, and secured over 100 patents. We have unique, advanced testing and analytic capabilities at our state-of-the art facilities near Denver, Colorado that enable us to continuously improve our solutions for deployment at increasingly larger scales. The PBC in our name stands for “Public Benefit Corporation,” a status we have held since 2022. With our multi-patented portfolio of solutions for capturing and removing CO2 directly from the atmosphere, Global Thermostat is working to help restore Earth’s climate by reducing carbon dioxide at a global scale for the benefit of all. Follow Global Thermostat on LinkedIn and X and for more information see