Project Bison

Carbon capture: a new solution to an old problem

Climate change is a dangerous and pressing issue that Los-Angeles based company CarbonCapture aims to tackle through their newest initiative: Project Bison.

Project Bison is a large-scale direct air capture (DAC) plant, which extracts carbon dioxide, a substance known to greatly contribute to climate change, from the air. Project Bison uses 40-foot modules of filters to remove CO2 from the air. In each module are 16 reactors and 16 cartridges that act as filters that pull in and process CO2 (1). When air passes through the modules, the cartridges collect about 75% of the CO2. After 30 to 40 minutes, the reactors heat the cartridges to 85℃ to separate CO2 which is then removed and sent to storage, 12,000 feet below the surface of the earth (1).

Project Bison is not operational, but its first launch phase is set to take place in 2023. The first phase will begin with removing 10,000 tons of CO2 annually, an amount which through later stages is projected to reach 5 million tons of CO2 by 2030 (2). The reason for this exponential growth is its modular design, which allows for rapid expansion. “It’s just this idea of being able to build something off-site, ship it easily on-site, and then assemble them kind of like a Lego system on the site itself,” said Adrian Corless, CEO of CarbonCapture (1). This manufacturing ease allows the company to begin to install such modules almost immediately after they are shipped onsite.

While Project Bison is the most ambitious carbon capture project, it is certainly not the first. The title of the first large-scale DAC plant goes to the Texas plant developed by the petroleum company Occidental. This plant is expected to be able to remove one million tons of CO2 from the air by 2024. Occidental uses the DAC plant to advertise environmentally friendly “carbon-neutral” oil, and utilize CO2 for “enhanced oil recovery” which involves shooting carbon dioxide into the ground to extract oil reserves (1). Corless, on the other hand, said he had no interest in using their carbon dioxide to extract oil: “Our company is just about carbon removal” (1).

CarbonCapture is an expensive company to run. It could cost Project Bison $600 per ton of carbon dioxide extracted due to the intensive heating needed for the process. Ironically, Project Bison plans to use natural gas to power the modules, as it is the cheapest energy source. However, these prices are expected to drop as CarbonCapture continues to improve the efficiency of its technology. The way CarbonCapture earns the money it needs for operation is by selling carbon credits (2). In some states, by purchasing carbon credits, companies are permitted to emit more carbon dioxide than they would usually be permitted (3). The idea is that, because CarbonCapture removes carbon dioxide, other companies are allowed to emit more if they pay.

Though a beneficial idea, carbon capture is not a permanent solution. Currently, all DAC plants remove only 0.01 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and even with Project Bison’s projected 5 million tons by 2030, the removals will still be insignificant compared to the U.S.’s annual emissions of about 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide (4). Such projects cannot solve climate change by themselves, but they can still help, even if only a little.


  1. Calma, J. (2022, September 23). The world’s largest carbon removal project yet is headed for Wyoming. The Verge. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from The Verge website:
  2. Project Bison. (2013). Carbon Capture. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from
  3. Carbon Credits and How They Can Offset Your Carbon Footprint. (2022). Investopedia. Retrieved October 5, 2022,,to%20reduce%20their%20carbon%20emissions.
  4. Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. (2017, February 8). US EPA. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from


A machine lifts a DAC module shaped like a shipping container onto a stack of more modules. There are several rows of module in view.

A rendering of a group of Project Bison’s modules.