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posted by mrpg on Wednesday June 13, @04:31AM   Printer-friendly
from the hot-on-the-heels-of-fresh-water-from-air dept.

Sucking carbon dioxide from air is cheaper than scientists thought

Siphoning carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere could be more than an expensive last-ditch strategy for averting climate catastrophe. A detailed economic analysis published on 7 June suggests that the geoengineering technology is inching closer to commercial viability.

The study, in Joule, was written by researchers at Carbon Engineering in Calgary, Canada, which has been operating a pilot CO2-extraction plant in British Columbia since 2015. That plant — based on a concept called direct air capture — provided the basis for the economic analysis, which includes cost estimates from commercial vendors of all of the major components. Depending on a variety of design options and economic assumptions, the cost of pulling a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere ranges between US$94 and $232. The last comprehensive analysis of the technology, conducted by the American Physical Society in 2011, estimated that it would cost $600 per tonne.

Carbon Engineering says that it published the paper to advance discussions about the cost and potential of the technology. "We're really trying to commercialize direct air capture in a serious way, and to do that, you have to have everybody in the supply chain on board," says David Keith, acting chief scientist at Carbon Engineering and a climate physicist at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A Process for Capturing CO2 from the Atmosphere (DOI: 10.1016/j.joule.2018.05.006) (DX)

Direct Air Capture of CO2 with Chemicals (2011)


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 3, Disagree) by jmorris on Wednesday June 13, @06:05AM (11 children)

    by jmorris (4844) <jmorrisNO@SPAMbeau.org> on Wednesday June 13, @06:05AM (#692244)

    Won't matter if the cost is $1/ton. What do you do with it once you have it? Unless you can find a market for the stuff that doesn't involve it being rereleased you are left stacking it up in some unsalable form. And if you CAN find a market, that will drive the supply. As others already have noted, plants consume carbon and store it in stable, useful forms. Even raising fast growing stuff, compressing it into blocks and dropping the blocks into the ocean is probably more efficient than any sort of direct extraction. And is anyone actually doing an all in carbon cost of building, operating and eventually decommissioning these plants? An industrial plant consumes energy, most of which still comes from burning stuff. Using "green energy" is simply an accounting trick that displaces someone else's use to carbon based energy. And using waste heat is also bullcrap, better to use the excess heat for co-generation and avoid the need to generate more electricity by burning fossil fuels.

    Bottom line, a non-solution searching for a government subsidy and lots of ego-boo.

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  • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @06:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @06:11AM (#692247)

    The problem is one of scale and time. If we covered the entire fertile ground with forest, we still couldn't offset the carbon excess before the temperature rise became a problem. Also, while biosequestration is a great idea, it's too slow - on the order of decades. We need much more prompt, effective action to preserve our existing coastlines and biosphere. Thus, something which can be scaled as an industrial process might offer a better, faster solution.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @06:46AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, @06:46AM (#692250)

      We should do both: short term solution and long term solution. Not to mention trees provide habitat for animals and prevent soil erosion (just ask Iceland [skogur.is]) and they can be planted even in remote areas and not require any maintenance.

      Also, if we did more at the pollution sources that would be a lot more effective and cheaper, wouldn't it?

  • (Score: 2, Touché) by anubi on Wednesday June 13, @07:25AM (6 children)

    by anubi (2828) on Wednesday June 13, @07:25AM (#692254)

    Won't matter if the cost is $1/ton.

    Wouldn't it have been a helluva lot easier to have not burned that ton of coal in the first place?

    oh yeah... economics... who pays and who gets paid thing, eh?

    --
    "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday June 13, @11:07AM (5 children)

      Economics aren't something you get to say with derision unless you're willing to assume the living costs of everyone whose livelihood depends on what you're currently against. They're both far more serious to those affected and far more immediate than any climate change worries.

      --
      "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
      • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday June 13, @11:17AM (4 children)

        by anubi (2828) on Wednesday June 13, @11:17AM (#692298)

        The economics of broken windows.

        --
        "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]
        • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday June 13, @03:40PM (3 children)

          I find it very interesting that the regressive left are so concerned about poor people but have no problem whatsoever with forcing people into poverty in the first place.

          --
          "Buzzy, you're probably the dumbest person I've ever encountered. Well, there is aristarchus, so make it 2nd dumbest."
          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Wednesday June 13, @04:21PM (2 children)

            by Thexalon (636) on Wednesday June 13, @04:21PM (#692390) Homepage

            I find it very interesting that die-hard free market supporters insist on letting their theory go completely awry by not factoring in all the costs of producing a good to be included in the price. They do this largely by pretending that the costs not included in the price don't exist.

            Also, forcing people to pay the costs of producing whatever they're selling shouldn't reduce anybody to poverty, unless you're telling me that the entire energy industry functions solely as a scam.

            --
            A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of bad gravy.
  • (Score: 2) by frojack on Wednesday June 13, @07:51AM (1 child)

    by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 13, @07:51AM (#692261) Journal

    Even raising fast growing stuff, compressing it into blocks and dropping the blocks into the ocean is probably more efficient than any sort of direct extraction

    So depleat your soil for 20 years, cut it down, waste a bunch of energy to compress it then haul it to the sea, and toss it in the ocean and call it a day?

    All for $94 dollars a ton? I don't think you've done the math. I know you've not done the science.

    Or use solar energy to remove CO2 from air? More solar power to break it down to carbon, and oxygen. Let the oxygen float away, or use it industrially. Bury the carbon.

    What's the point of any effort at all if you think Green Energy is all just an accounting trick?

    --
    No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
    • (Score: 1) by anubi on Wednesday June 13, @11:20AM

      by anubi (2828) on Wednesday June 13, @11:20AM (#692299)

      This is the kind of suit-talk that drives engineers out of their mind.

      --
      "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21]