Carbon Engineering, a privately owned Canadian company, has published an article in scientific journal Joule describing a new process for extracting carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Once extracted, they intend to be able to convert it into fuel.
The new approach stands out because it
suggests the direct air capture (DAC) of carbon dioxide can be cost effective, while previous research has estimated the cost at an unfeasible $600USD per ton. Harvard Professor David Keith is the founder of the company, which has so far raised $30 million from private investors like Murray Edwards and Bill Gates. He said about the recent publication:
“At CE, we’ve been working on direct air capture since 2009, running our pilot plant since 2015, and we now have the data and engineering to prove that DAC can achieve costs below $100USD per ton.”
Keith added that their recent paper fills a gap by being the first to provide costing for the design and engineering of a complete DAC system.
The company also expects to develop a commercially viable process using water electrolysis and fuels synthesis to convert the captured carbon dioxide into clean fuel. These hydrocarbons fuels will even be compatible with existing transport systems.
The new method is just one of a number of efforts towards a more carbon-neutral economy. For example, ExxonMobil, the maker of the high-performance Mobilith SHC 220 grease, has been working on a strain of algae to produce oil that can be used in fuels for existing diesel engines.