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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)


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  • (Score: 1) by DeVilla on Wednesday June 13, @06:11AM (3 children)

    by DeVilla (5354) on Wednesday June 13, @06:11AM (#692246)

    "Closer to Commercial Viability" What's the commercial angle?

    From an environmental angle this is cool. Pull carbon from the air on the cheap. Then stash it somewhere. Maybe dump pellets down the Kola Superdeep Borehole.

    Is the commercial angle to pull from the air and burn it again? I guess if it's cheaper then coal, oil, etc then great. But it seems to miss it's potential if that's all we do with it.

  • (Score: 2) by MostCynical on Wednesday June 13, @07:57AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Wednesday June 13, @07:57AM (#692262)

    I think it means viability, when compared to other carbon offset schemes.

    --
    tau = 300. Greek circles must have been weird.
  • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Wednesday June 13, @12:10PM

    by inertnet (4071) on Wednesday June 13, @12:10PM (#692306)

    Indeed, to the people who came up with the idea that it could be commercially interesting: I have a bridge for sale.

    Those who are going to pay for this will be taxpayers. As long as you can blow smoke in their eyes, the middlemen could make it commercially viable though.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Scottingham on Wednesday June 13, @02:51PM

    by Scottingham (5593) on Wednesday June 13, @02:51PM (#692350)

    A pure source of C02 could be used for many commercial processes.

    An example of tech available now is supercritical C02 extraction. Plenty of processes benefit from that cleaner form of solvent. Even some dry-cleaners are using it now as an environmentally alternative.

    A bit farther out you could see this as a source of organic chemistry feedstock. Instead of a petrochemical source, this pure C02 plus some energy/catalysts could yield many valuable resources. The precursors to plastics and epoxy resins or liquid fuels for instance.

    There is a process I read an article about recently that used lithium carbonite cells with a C02 feedstock to produce carbon nano-tube wool that could be spun into strong carbon fibers. The process is still in its infancy, but the potential is huge.

    What if carbon sequestration also equated to cheap building materials (carbon fiber / epoxy resins)??