What is Direct Air Capture (DAC) ?
By moving air through a big machine, DAC may be able to get rid of carbon dioxide from the air. As air flows through the device, the chemicals react with the carbon dioxide to get rid of it. The rest of the air is left untouched. Chemicals called “traps” are used to get rid of carbon dioxide. Once they have done their job, the chemicals are separated from the carbon dioxide and used again. At the same time, the separated carbon dioxide is also stored.
The direct air capture devices will pull CO2 out of the air. They will then soak it up with solid sorbents and heat it to make concentrated CO2. Then, the CO2 can be buried in other ways or turned into minerals in deep rock formations. On the other hand, companies that use clean CO2 to make things like fuels and next-generation concrete can also get CO2 from DAC.
Current commercial applications
Last year, Switzerland’s Climeworks started up operations at Orca, a facility that can absorb 4,000 tons of CO2 annually, making it the largest direct air capture plant in the world at the time. This year, Climeworks started building Mammoth, a second, bigger facility that will be able to take in 36,000 tons of CO2 per year.
Climeworks plans to grow in order to remove CO2 on a megaton scale, which is millions of tons. This will help reduce the 30 billion tons of CO2 that humans make every year. The key to meeting these goals is a modular design that lets its direct air capture devices be stacked.
The largest direct air capture (DAC) plant for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will soon open in the US state of Wyoming. The facility, known as Project Bison, is going to start operating early next year if everything goes according to plan. They will expand their activities by the end of the decade to absorb five million tons of CO2 annually and safely store it underground.
CarbonCapture, on the other hand, calls its solution “deeply modular.” The reactors fit into tier-stackable modules the size of shipping containers. This lets you do things like upgrade certain reactors or use different types of plug-and-play sorbent cartridges for different climates or seasons. To share resources like power and heat, these modules can be arranged in clusters. Those clusters can then be scaled up to create enormous arrays.
CarbonCapture says that there are no practical limits to growing the operation, and it plans to do so to get rid of 200,000 tons per year by 2026, 1 megaton per year by 2028, and 5 megatons per year by 2030. Operation Bison is aiming to become the biggest atmospheric carbon removal project in the world at this time.
In order to make its carbon capture technology commercially feasible, CarbonCapture will depend heavily on the outcomes of the Biden administration’s newly passed Inflation Reduction Act. The act raises tax credits for carbon capture plants from $50 per ton to as much as $180 per ton if the carbon is stored underground. This is meant to encourage new ideas in the carbon removal industry.
Several companies have begun to construct DAC plants.
In addition to Climeworks’ efforts in this area, Australian firm Southern Green Gas and London-based Brilliant Planet have also described intentions to deliver gigaton-scale carbon capture using algae. The US government is also pouring billions of dollars into carbon capture, hoping to create regional hubs that will aid in bringing down the expensive technology’s high cost.