Global action is needed immediately to address the issue of climate change. One new tactic being used to fight the negative consequences of climate change is carbon dioxide removal (CDR). The goal of CDR technologies is to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, store it, or transform it into an environmentally safe form.
The market for carbon dioxide removal has experienced tremendous expansion in recent years as a result of favorable government policies, investments, and cooperation among market participants and the urgent need for practical solutions to climate change.
According to the BIS Research analysis, the global carbon dioxide removal market is expected to reach the value of $2.08 billion in 2031 from the value of $418.1 million in 2021, growing at a CAGR of 18.2% during the forecast period 2021-2031.
Currently, one of the promising technologies in this area is direct air capture (DAC). DAC is a fast-growing contender in the CDR market due to its feasibility in achieving net-zero targets. In this blog, we will explore how DAC technology works and how it can help save the planet.
What Is Direct Air Capture?
Direct air capture is a process that involves removing carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere using specially designed machines. The technology is different from carbon capture and storage (CCS), which captures CO2 emissions from industrial processes before they are released into the atmosphere. In contrast, DAC technology captures CO2 that is already present in the air.
How Does Direct Air Capture Technology Work?
Direct air capture (DAC) is a process of removing carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air using specialized technology. It involves using large fans to draw air into a device that is designed to capture CO2 from the air. The captured CO2 is then separated from other gases in the air and stored or used in various ways. DAC technology is one of the emerging carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies aiming to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The process of DAC involves several steps. First, the air is drawn into a chamber using large fans or blowers. The air is then passed through a filter that removes particles such as dust, dirt, and pollen. The filtered air is then exposed to a chemical adsorbent material that selectively captures CO2 molecules from the air.
The adsorbent material is typically a solid or liquid that has a high affinity for CO2 and a low affinity for other gases, such as nitrogen and oxygen, which make up the majority of the air. As the air passes over the adsorbent material, CO2 molecules are attracted to and captured by the material, while other gases are released back into the air.
Once the adsorbent material has captured a sufficient amount of CO2, it is removed from the material and collected for further processing. The CO2 can then be stored in a variety of ways, such as underground storage, utilization in products, or for enhanced oil recovery.
DAC technology has several advantages over other CDR technologies. Unlike other CDR technologies, DAC does not require a specific source of CO2, such as power plants or industrial processes, and can be located anywhere. It also has a relatively low land-use footprint and can be scaled up or down depending on the demand for CO2 removal.
However, DAC technology is still in the early stages of development and faces several challenges, such as high costs, energy requirements, and the potential environmental impacts of adsorbent materials. Nevertheless, with ongoing research and development, DAC technology has the potential to significantly contribute to the fight against climate change by removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Why Is Direct Air Capture Important?
Direct air capture (DAC) technology is a crucial tool in the fight against climate change. Its ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce greenhouse gas concentrations makes it an essential component of our efforts to mitigate the most severe effects of global warming. While reducing emissions is critical, negative emissions are required to reach net-zero emissions, where we balance our emissions with removals.
Achieving this balance is essential to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as outlined by the Paris Agreement. DAC technology also enables the removal of carbon dioxide that has already been emitted, making it useful for addressing historical emissions. Additionally, DAC can offset emissions from industries that are challenging to decarbonize, such as aviation or shipping. Thus, DAC technology is a promising solution that can help us achieve our climate goals and ensure a more sustainable future.
What Are the Challenges with Direct Air Capture?
Direct air capture technology is still at a nascent stage of development and faces several challenges. One of the main challenges is cost. The process of capturing CO2 from the air is energy-intensive and expensive, making it difficult to scale up the technology. However, as the technology improves and becomes more efficient, the cost is expected to decrease.
Another challenge is the energy source required to power direct air capture machines. The process of capturing CO2 requires a significant amount of energy, and this energy must come from renewable sources to ensure that the technology is carbon-neutral or even carbon-negative.
Finally, direct air capture technology must be integrated into existing carbon removal and storage infrastructure to be effective. This requires developing new policies and regulations that encourage investment in carbon removal technologies and create a market for carbon credits.
Direct air capture is an important technology that can help us combat climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. While reducing emissions is critical to address climate change, it may not be enough to prevent the most severe effects of global warming. Direct air capture can help us achieve negative emissions, which are critical to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.