Japan’s Asahi Set to Trail CO2-Absorbing Vending Machines

The soft drinks arm of Asahi Group Holdings is to launch a trial of vending machines in Japan that it claims are capable of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

From next month Asahi will begin a proof-of-concept demonstration of its new CO2 resource recycling model that makes use of vending machines. In this experiment, Asahi Soft Drinks will install new vending machines that are capable of absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere.

The company then plans to utilise the absorbed CO2 as an industrial raw material in fertilizers, concrete, and other products.

This initiative is the first of its kind in Japan and Asahi said it aims to contribute to the decarbonising of society through expanding the scale of this initiative utilising the vending machines beginning from 2024.

Patents are pending for both the vending machine design that enables the absorption of atmospheric CO2 as well as the CO2 resource recycling initiative that makes use of these vending machines.

Absorption of CO2

Conventional vending machines draw in ambient air and convert it into cold or hot air through an air conditioning system in order to cool or heat the products stored within.

These new vending machines are internally equipped with a special material that will enable them to filter out and absorb atmospheric CO2. Asahi says absorbing CO2 does not affect the operation of the vending machines.

The volume of CO2 absorbed by each vending machine is expected to offset up to 20% of the CO2 emissions generated in producing the electricity used to operate the machines, and this amount is equivalent to the annual absorption volume of approximately 20 Japanese cedar trees (56-60 years old).

Roughly 30 vending machines will be installed, mainly in the Kanto and Kansai regions in Japan, to conduct this proof-of-concept demonstration.

Utilisation of Absorbed CO2

The volume and speed of CO2 absorption by the machines will be compared and verified by installing them in a variety of different locations, both outdoors and in indoor venues, where CO2 concentrations are said to be high.

Asahi also aims to develop completely carbon-neutral vending machines, in which CO2 emission and absorption volumes are equal, by continuing to develop materials with high CO2 absorption capacities in the future.

The company plans to utilize the CO2 absorbed by these vending machines as a raw material in various industrial applications, through co-creation with local governments and businesses that endorse this initiative.

For instance, in addition to boosting soil carbon sequestration rates by blending absorbents into fertilizers sprayed onto soil, Asahi is also considering using it as an additive in concrete to immobilize CO2 and form submerged seaweed beds as a means of restoring blue carbon ecosystems.

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