Scientists Find Cheap Way To Suck Air And Make It Into Fuel

Scientists Find Cheap Way To Suck Air And Make It Into Fuel

But many experts say that even if all emissions stopped tomorrow, the planet would continue to warm and seas would continue to rise.

Carbon Engineering, which has financial backing from the likes of Bill Gates, has been striving to find a way to artificially remove CO2 from the atmosphere in vast quantities.

"This isn't a PowerPoint presentation", said Steve Oldham of Carbon Engineering.

A new application of old technology may be the answer. Keith and his colleagues claim their direct air capture plant costs roughly $94 to $232 per tonne of carbon dioxide captured, which is on the low end of estimates that have ranged up to $1,000 per tonne, but are more often listed as $600 per tonne.

The pilot plant handles just 1 metric ton of CO2 a day- to make 2 bbls of fuel- but could be scaled
The pilot plant handles just 1 metric ton of CO2 a day- to make 2 bbls of fuel- but could be scaled

The research was led by David Keith, a Harvard Professor and founder of CE, and published by Joule, a leading scientific journal dedicated to ground-breaking energy research.

"The carbon dioxide generated via direct air capture can be combined with sequestration for carbon removal, or it can enable the production of carbon-neutral hydrocarbons, which is a way to take low-priced carbon-free power sources like solar or wind and channel them into fuels that can be used to decarbonize the transportation sector", says lead author David Keith, founder and chief scientist of Carbon Engineering, a Canadian CO2-capture and clean fuels enterprise, and a professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard University. "This analysis demonstrates the potential for Carbon Engineering's technology to fall to a cost that would drive significant investment and corporate adoption in the near future".

The paper could have major ramifications across the industry.

Keith said an industrial-scale plant could make fuel at a dollar a litre.

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CO2 molecules make up only.04 percent of the air - that's one in 2,500 molecules.

Scientists say the high cost of collecting greenhouse gases from the air in the upper atmosphere may be reduced by new technologies that can help fight climate change. "This paper provides that transparency". The company has developed a process it calls Air To Fuels, which uses water electrolysis and fuels synthesis techniques to turn that pure Carbon dioxide into liquid hydrocarbon fuels.

Those involved with Carbon Engineering are acutely aware of the challenges.

"We think this is very scalable and will have world-wide markets", says Oldham. "That's the design choice we made".

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For decades, carbon capture has seemed like a promising solution. The carbonate is then converted into pellets in equipment originally created to extract minerals in water-treatment plants.

The idea of direct air capture is hardly new, but the successful implementation of a scalable and cost-effective working pilot plant is. This represents a great game-changing development in the field of carbon removal from the air. "We're ready to build a much larger plant".

The implications of CE's proven DAC technology on climate strategy are twofold - it allows the removal of existing Carbon dioxide from the air to counteract emissions too challenging or costly to eliminate at source, and enables the production of clean fuels that can significantly reduce transportation emissions.

In addition, the technology is location-independent, which should add to its allure, said Joe Lassiter, retired Senior Fellow and Senator John Heinz Professor of Management Practice in Environmental Management at the Harvard Business School. The market will get a further boost as the Canadian government and USA states adopt clean fuel standards that will provide incentives for marketers to purchase low-carbon alternatives.

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This type of fuel can be produced at a low cost and will not raise the prices to consumers at the pump, and the result will be completely carbon-neutral fuel.

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