Pilot plant demonstrates low-priced conversion of Carbon dioxide into fuel

Pilot plant demonstrates low-priced conversion of Carbon dioxide into fuel

Pilot plant demonstrates low-priced conversion of Carbon dioxide into fuel

"Direct air capture technology offers a highly-scalable pathway to removing carbon from the atmosphere".

"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", explained Professor Keith.

Those numbers are "real progress", says Chris Field, a climate scientist at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Currently, Carbon Engineering, the company behind the new research, plans to use its captured carbon to synthesize new carbon-neutral fuels. "This opens up the possibility that we could stabilize the climate for affordable amounts of money without changing the entire energy system or changing everyone's behavior". It works by pulling air into cooling towers, where it then comes into contact with a solution of potassium hydroxide, which reacts with the Carbon dioxide to make potassium carbonate. Finally, the carbon pellets are heated in a kiln originally designed for roasting gold, and transformed into pure carbon dioxide gas, which can be turned into synthetic fuel. One of the most compelling, known as direct air capture (DAC), uses giant banks of fans to blow air through a solution that contains a CO2-capturing chemical.

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By useful way, Prof David Keith implies the utilization of the extracted Carbon dioxide by turning it into a synthetic liquid fuel when combined with green energy. The last comprehensive analysis of the technology, conducted by the American Physical Society in 2011, estimated that it would cost $600 per tonne.

The project was the brain-child of David Keith, a Harvard professor and founder of CE. This research was also supported in part by the British Columbia Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Sustainable Development Technologies Canada, Natural Resources Canada, the Industrial Research Assistance Program, Western Innovation Initiative, and the U.S. Department of Energy.

"It's unlike Carbon dioxide capture that's created to work from a power plant".

The "direct air capture" process starts with common industrial cooling systems and a solution that draws carbon from the air, according to a paper published Thursday in the journal Joule. Once that's done, heating and a bunch of other chemical reactions are used to re-extract the gas and employ it as a carbon source for the generation of valuable fuels such as gasoline, diesel or jet fuel.

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This technology could be a way to clean the air by reusing the carbon dioxide from the air and not extracting it from the ground. The H2 is then combined with Carbon dioxide to make liquid hydrocarbons using conventional chemical engineering technology.

Carbon Engineering, a British Columbia-based company that has the financial backing of Bill Gates, has released a peer-reviewed study that demonstrates how the company's technology is capable of capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at a cost of less than $100 per ton.

That's more expensive than most fuels today, but not by much. When the air-capture plant is optimized for fuel production, they were able to bring costs down to as low as $94 per tonne of CO2.

"Until you really can confirm the costs and performance at scale, you've always got to take those costs with a grain of salt", he says.

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