Scientists say cost of sucking carbon from thin air could tumble

Scientists say cost of sucking carbon from thin air could tumble

After conducting a full process analysis and crunching the numbers, Keith and his colleagues claim that realising direct air capture on an impactful scale will cost roughly Dollars 94-232 per tonne of carbon dioxide captured, which is on the low end of estimates that have ranged up to USD 1,000 per tonne in theoretical analyses.

The research was led by David Keith, a Harvard Professor and founder of CE, and published by Joule, a leading scientific journal dedicated to ground-breaking energy research.

Scientists from Harvard University in the U.S. and Carbon Engineering, a Canadian CO2-capture and clean fuels enterprise, is already achieving both CO2 capture and fuel generation.

Previous researches have shown that the idea is plausible but costly, however, in the latest work, a group of researchers from Canadian firm Carbon Engineering has demonstrated that it can be executed in a scalable and cost-effective manner. The first can pull 900 tons of Carbon dioxide from the air each year for use in greenhouses.

There's a way to kill climate change for good: recycle the carbon dioxide in the air and then reuse it instead of adding more. "This paper provides that transparency".

"The carbon dioxide generated via direct air capture can be combined with sequestration for carbon removal, or it can enable the production of carbon-neutral hydrocarbons, which is a way to take low-priced carbon-free power sources like solar or wind and channel them into fuels that can be used to decarbonize the transportation sector". That could drive a market for DAC plants that would likely drive costs down further, Oldham says. "That's the design choice we made". Doing that on a large scale would nearly surely require significant cost reductions, a high price on carbon, or other public policy support.

In the Carbon Engineering system, a remodeled industrial cooling tower containing a liquid hydroxide solution captures CO₂ and converts it into carbonate. After capturing the Carbon dioxide in solution, the plant transfers it into a solid, which when heated releases it in a pure gas stream.

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"Our low-carbon fuel is entirely compatible with any automobile, any truck, any airplane that exists today", He said.

Set up in 2009 with funding from Microsoft's Bill Gates and Canada oil sands financier Norman Murray Edwards, their pilot plant has been running since 2015, capturing about one tonne of Carbon dioxide per day. This represents a great game-changing development in the field of carbon removal from the air. It's now seeking additional funds to build a larger facility that will begin selling fuels, though still on a relatively small scale.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reported in 2016 that electrolysis using wind power could provide hydrogen at a cost of about $4.50 per kilogram.

In addition, the technology is location-independent, which should add to its allure, said Joe Lassiter, retired Senior Fellow and Senator John Heinz Professor of Management Practice in Environmental Management at the Harvard Business School.

To date, Keith and the Carbon Engineering team have raised about $30 million. Prof Keith said that if their fuel gets the same subsidies as other carbon neutral approaches then they will be able to raise funds and build plants very quickly.

"I hope this paper will launch 1,000 master's students to figure out how to create an even better future using this technology", said Friedmann.

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