Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis Joins Secretary Granholm for unveiling of America’s First Commercial Direct Air Capture CO2 Removal Facility
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, November 9, 2023
Contact: Press@ltg.ca.gov, (916) 445-8994
Tracy, CA – Today, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis joined U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm, Heirloom CEO Shashank Samala, and other local and state officials to unveil America’s first commercial direct air capture (DAC) CO2 removal facility, Heirloom, in Tracy, California.
Heirloom, a San Francisco-based startup, unveiled the first-of-its-kind facility that uses limestone rocks to remove already-emitted CO2 from the atmosphere. This facility will capture carbon from the atmosphere by harnessing natural processes and permanently storing it. This technology represents a significant milestone for California’s global leadership in the fight against climate change, helping to lead the nation toward President Biden’s 2050 net-zero goal and California’s 2045 net-zero goal.
California has a long history of being an innovation powerhouse as the home of Silicon Valley and the digital revolution. California is the number one state in patents produced and number one in venture capital raised. Under Governor Gavin Newsom’s leadership, California also has one of the world’s most ambitious climate action agendas. This includes a goal of carbon neutrality by 2045 and a historic $52 billion investment in climate action, including clean energy technologies like electric vehicles, offshore wind, green hydrogen, cutting pollution, and transitioning away from fossil fuels. California’s adoption of innovative climate change policies and major investments in clean energy technologies has fostered a business climate that supports the creation and success of cutting-edge companies like Heirloom. With this new technology, the City of Tracy, the State of California, and Heirloom will write the next chapter of innovation in climate solutions by pioneering carbon removal technologies.
How Heirloom’s Technology Works
Heirloom’s technology uses limestone, which is abundant, easy-to-source, and inexpensive, to pull CO2 from the air. Using a renewable-energy-powered kiln, the limestone is heated to extract the CO2, leaving a mineral powder thirsty to absorb more CO2. This powder is then spread onto vertically stacked trays, where it acts like a sponge to pull CO2 from the air. Once saturated with CO2, the material is returned to the kiln, the CO2 is extracted, and the process begins again. The captured CO2 gas is then permanently stored safely underground or in concrete.
By using easy-to-source materials like limestone, harnessing the power of algorithms to increase the capture capacity of that material, and scaling with modularity, Heirloom’s technology represents one of the lowest-cost pathways to permanent CO2 removal at gigaton scale.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING:
CALIFORNIA LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR ELENI KOULANAKIS:
“California continues to lead the world toward a clean energy future. With the opening of Heirloom’s facility, California is the first state in the nation where CO2 will be permanently and durably removed from the atmosphere through Direct Air Capture and the first among nations to store atmospheric CO2 in concrete, supporting construction projects across the state. As a California-born company, Heirloom has helped us achieve an incredible milestone that further cements our state as a global climate leader and brings us closer to achieving our goal of carbon neutrality by 2045.”
MAYOR OF THE CITY OF TRACY, CA NANCY YOUNG:
“Tracy is no stranger to the impacts of climate change, so we are excited to make history by welcoming Heirloom’s first commercial direct air capture facility to our community. Not only have they brought innovative technology to Tracy to scrub our air of pollution, but they have also sponsored the planting of additional trees to enhance our urban forest. We are proud to be part of the solution when it comes to the impacts of climate change, as advancing ‘green projects’ and supporting climate initiatives are consistent with the goals set by our City Council to improve our quality of life here in Tracy.”
CEO OF PG&E CORPORATION PATRICIA POPPE:
“Here in California, our customers and hometowns are experiencing the impacts of climate change now. All of us need to be a part of the solution to not only help reach net zero emissions but to begin to heal the planet. That’s why we’re proud to enable innovative projects like Heirloom’s direct air capture facility in Tracy, supporting our shared, statewide goals for a decarbonized future.”
CALIFORNIA SENATOR ANNA CABALLERO:
“Last year, I authored Senate Bill 905 to power the deployment of carbon removal projects, enable its infrastructure, and develop smart regulations. Today, we bear witness to how such projects are coming to life in California, removing greenhouse gas emissions from our atmosphere while ensuring our state’s strict environmental standards,” said State Senator Anna Caballero. “What’s on display in Tracy, underscores that California’s climate policy is catalyzing private-sector-led and government-enabled solutions, which honor the scientific consensus that we must cut emissions and remove climate-harming carbon. We can achieve our goals, create environmental and economic benefit because of the partnership between our local communities, government, and industry.”
CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR JOSH BECKER:
“As I represented our state delegation at COP26 in Glasgow, and COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh, it was abundantly clear that California has a vital role to play when it comes to enabling the very carbon removal markets & clean-energy transformation we need to meet our local and global climate goals. While I’m beyond proud of what the Heirloom team has done to build high-tech, good quality, green jobs in our state to move us to net-zero, my colleagues in the Legislature cannot rest on these laurels alone; we must continue passing and enacting the type of legislation that accelerates the carbon removal markets so we can get to gigaton scale of carbon dioxide removals required to preserve a planet that we can be proud to pass on to a new generation.”
PRESIDENT OF THE CALIFORNIA STATE BUILDING TRADES CHRIS HANNAN:
“Building Trades’ craftspeople brought this groundbreaking facility to life and our skilled and trained members are leading the way in building and supporting carbon capture innovation across the state and country. We are meeting the climate crisis by supporting technology like Heirloom’s direct air capture as well as hydrogen, biofuels, offshore wind and battery storage. We are training the next generation of skilled construction worker in these exciting technologies. California is renowned worldwide for both our innovation and our hard working, highly trained construction workforce—both of which you see reflected in this important project.”