Carbon sequestration is the capturing and storing of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Is Direct Air Capture (DAC) machinery for capturing carbon economically feasible?
There are biological and geological carbon capture and sequestration methods.
Biological methods include oceans, soil, forests, and grasslands. These methods occur naturally. Geologic methods involve capturing the CO2, converting it into a liquid or solid, and storing it in caverns or other geologic formations. These methods come with a cost.
CO2 can be captured with methods built into industrial processes like oil refining, power generation, and cement manufacturing. Some companies are building machinery that pulls CO2 directly from the air and can be located just about anywhere. These would be considered Direct Air Capture (DAC) carbon-capturing machinery.
Carbon Capturing Machinery
ClimeWorks, a company based in Switzerland, has developed machinery that captures CO2 directly from the air. Fans push air through a filter system that captures the CO2. It is then separated and the CO2 is ultimately used to help grow vegetables.
On an annual basis, they say the machinery can capture CO2 at a rate similar to what about 200 cars emit. For reference, there are currently about 1.4 billion internal combustion vehicles in the world.
In the article, a MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) research engineer stated the total cost of this system is about 10 times what it costs to remove carbon at fossil fuel plants. The engineer does not think the system is economically feasible.
Occidental Petroleum and its subsidiary, 1PointFive, are building a large DAC plant in the Texas Permian Basin. Start-up is expected in late 2024. The CO2 will be stored in saline formations. They seem to indicate that tax incentives help to make the machinery economically feasible.
Related: How Some Oil Companies are Protecting the Environment
The Direct Air Carbon Capturing machinery does not seem to be economically feasible at this time. However, the costs on new technologies seem to decrease over time.
Perhaps we should bio-engineer a new tree that can really suck the CO2 from the air.
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