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posted by mrpg on Wednesday June 13 2018, @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: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13 2018, @06:11AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13 2018, @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.

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13 2018, @06:46AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13 2018, @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 []) 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?