Removing CO2 By Train

The University of Toronto has recently carried out a study suggesting using trains to capture CO2 from the air could help us with the fight against climate change.

Impression of a train used to capture CO2. (Source:
Impression of a train used to capture CO2. (Source:

These special systems that are built to capture CO2 from the atmosphere using chemical reactions are called ‘direct air capture systems.’ The CO2 is then stored in liquid form until it can be stored back underground in porous rocks! While this technology has been around for a while, it typically takes up a lot of space and is stationary. This has meant that people living near proposed sites for the stations are against their construction.

With this move to rail-based air capture, there’s no need for zoning or building permits, and the public barely even sees them! Scientists are designing the direct air capture systems to fit to existing trains. This will save money and make it more efficient than stationary systems that use large fans.

Researchers say that one freight train could remove as much as 6,000 tonnes of CO2 per year – the same amount emitted by 250 medium sized cars over their lifespans.

Source: BBC Science Focus Magazine.

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