Extracting CO2 Directly from the Air

High potential "Direct Air Capture": the result of a multidimensional analysis

  • News 27.01.2020

Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the ambient air (as opposed to capturing from point sources, such as a cement factory or biomass power plant) and generating a concentrated stream of CO2 for sequestration or utilisation. The air flows through a filter where CO2 is removed. Then, the obtained pure CO2 can be used for various purposes, e.g. to promote plant growth in greenhouses, in the medium term to replace fossil fuels with synthetic fuels or in the long term to store them deep underground ("negative emissions").

Since the decisions of the Paris Agreement 2015 require a comprehensive and rapid transformation with a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, in future, DAC technologies may be a further alternative for achieving the targets of the Agreement. In autumn 2019, Dr. Peter Viebahn, Head of the Sectors and Technologies Research Unit in the Future Energy and Industry Systems Division at the Wuppertal Institute, together with the Research Fellows Alexander Scholz and Ole Zelt released the paper "The Potential Role of Direct Air Capture in the German Energy Research Program – Results of a Multi-Dimensional Analysis" published in MDPI. In the analysis, the authors examine the status of Direct Air Capture from various perspectives, e.g. with regard to its costs, energy consumption, land use or the activities of research and companies in Germany. The authors also look at possible applications and their technical potential in Germany.

At the end of the past year, another short article was published in the magazine "Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen" in German language in which, in addition to the multidimensional analysis, the possible role of German industry in this future market is presented. Further information can be found under the links below.