Cheap Carbon Capture Technology Might Make Our Climate Goals Possible

Maybe we can afford to suck CO2 out of the sky after all

Scientists in a new study found a way to keep costs down and achieve the same goals in the future. By using a little magic - and some limestone and hydrogen - that an alchemist would be proud of, the process can then yield new hydrocarbon fuels, such as gasoline or jet fuel.

But those carbon-neutral fuels won't directly help to reduce carbon in the atmosphere (unless they're used in systems that capture carbon as well).

Dr. Keith acknowledged that scaling up to a commercial-size plant can prove more costly than anticipated, but insisted the technology is largely proven.

The paper says the same technology can be used to remove carbon dioxide from burning gasoline and that it would cost between $1 and $2.50 to remove the carbon dioxide released by burning a gallon of gasoline in a modern vehicle.

The paper's primary researcher was David Keith, Founder of CE.

While Keith has admitted that there are "hundreds of ways in which we can fail", the technology developments at Carbon Engineering are promising. It is already operating a pilot plant in Squamish, less than an hour's drive from Vancouver.

While previous theories indicated that performing this task on an impactful scale would come to around $1,000 per ton of the gas captured, according to the estimates from Keith and team, it would cost just around $94 to $232 per ton.

Maybe we can afford to suck CO2 out of the sky after all

What if we could directly capture Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and turn that into fuel? The liquid goes through a series of steps that include freezing it into pellets and then transforming it into a slurry.

The British Columbia-based company has been working to bring down costs.

The company envisions building large-scale plants near wind and solar facilities, which will provide clean energy to enable the carbon capture process, he said. That's enough to produce two barrels of fuel, however. "While uncertainties, of course, remain, the fact that it can be built using established processes and suppliers gives us confidence to develop industrial-scale plants".

By doing it this way, however, companies argue that once the atmospheric Carbon dioxide levels have been brought back down to safe levels, it could potentially provide an unlimited clean and renewable form of fuel, which would likely attract significant investment. One opportunity is the Carbon dioxide can be injected into existing oil fields and used to produce additional oil through enhanced oil recovery, while the Carbon dioxide stays stored geologically in the reservoir, Crabtree says. And with oil prices surging in recent months, it might not have to worry about being able to compete with traditional sources.

So, let's just say it: we are not on track to meet the ambitious goals of the Paris Accord, the ambitious worldwide agreement meant to limit global warming. If that problem is not addressed, experts stress, the price tag could run into the trillions of dollars in terms of flooding, as oceans rise and the weather grows more volatile, losses in food production and other problems.

According to United Nations reports, governments may need to deploy such technologies during the century to remove carbon from nature and bury it to reduce global warming the in the implementation of the Paris Climate Convention of 2015. The bill also would create education initiatives and encourage inter-agency collaboration to advance these technologies.

According to Crabtree, there are three ethanol operations in the US that are already capturing their Carbon dioxide and storing it geologically.

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