Banks of fans blow air through a carbon dioxide-capturing solution in this rendering of a direct air capture plant. It started converting carbon dioxide into fuels previous year.
But such technology is expensive-about $600 per ton of CO2, by one recent estimate. But that would still way better than what experts had assumed it would cost to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it elsewhere.
Carbon Engineering claims that by burning the company's gas in the auto, no fresh carbon-dioxide is released from the tailpipe and into Earth's atmosphere as this carbon dioxide came from the air in the first place.
By doing it this way, however, companies argue that once the atmospheric Carbon dioxide levels have been brought back down to safe levels, it could potentially provide an unlimited clean and renewable form of fuel, which would likely attract significant investment. "This is real", he said. The results: Their technology can capture Carbon dioxide for between $94 and $232 per ton, they report today in Joule. Scientists in a new study found a way to keep costs down and achieve the same goals in the future.
In an interview this week, Herzog complimented the detailed analysis in the new study, but said he remains skeptical of some of its financial assumptions.
The Carbon Engineering facility is far smaller than the Climeworks operations, now removing just one metric ton, or 2,200 pounds, of CO2 from the atmosphere each day. That could drive a market for DAC plants that would likely drive costs down further, Oldham says. "I still think a final number could be several times as much". Those include the use of horizontally rather than vertically stacked structures, lower energy demands due to improved heat integration in the process, and the power sources selected to run the plant. The findings were based on three years of research at a pilot plant in Squamish, British Columbia.
Direct air capture is pretty much what it sounds like: a large fan draws in lots of air and essentially filters it through a liquid solution which captures any Carbon dioxide it comes in contact with.
Carbon Engineering, which has about 40 employees and produces about a tonne of carbon dioxide a day from an experimental plant.
It has always been thought however that Carbon Engineering's methods just weren't financially viable. It's now seeking additional funds to build a larger facility that will begin selling fuels, though still on a relatively small scale. Climate scientists say countries will need to drop Carbon dioxide emissions to near zero by midcentury and then remove more Carbon dioxide than they emit, if the planet is to avoid a catastrophic 2°C warming.
Mr. Oldham said the air-to-fuel process could reduce the need to electrify the transportation system by providing a carbon-neutral alternative to traditional fuels. This funding would help improve electric grid security, create more energy choices for businesses, and advance the development and deployment of low-carbon, clean energy technologies-all in rural communities throughout the country. They can produce fuel at a cost of about $1 per liter.
So, let's just say it: we are not on track to meet the ambitious goals of the Paris Accord, the ambitious worldwide agreement meant to limit global warming.