In a demonstration based on research conducted at the University of Calgary in Canada, climate scientist David Keith and a team of researchers showed that they can scrub carbon dioxide from the air, using a relatively simple machine. They have filed two provisional patents on their simple, reliable and scalable technology for an air capture system.
This is a significant breakthrough because air capture technology is the only way to capture carbon emissions from transportation sources such as vehicles and airplanes, and such burgeoning new threats such as tar sands mining.
The U of C team has devised an adaptation of a chemical process used by the pulp and paper industry using near-commercial technology, that cut the energy cost of air capture in half.
"At first thought, capturing CO2 from the air where it's at a concentration of 0.04 per cent seems absurd, when we are just starting to do cost-effective capture at power plants where CO2 produced is at a concentration of more than 10 per cent," says Keith, Canada Research Chair in Energy and Environment.
"But the thermodynamics suggests that air capture might only be a bit harder than capturing CO2 from power plants. We are trying to turn that theory into engineering reality."
Keith and his team showed they could capture CO2 directly from the air with less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per tonne of carbon dioxide. They were able to capture the equivalent of 20 tons a year of CO2 from a single square metre of air.
That is the average carbon emissions that one person produces each year in America.
For Matter Network