Navigation Links
Report: Direct removal of carbon dioxide from air likely not viable
Date:5/9/2011

Technologies for removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere are unlikely to offer an economically feasible way to slow human-driven climate change for several decades, according to a report issued by the American Physical Society and led by Princeton engineer Robert Socolow.

"We humans should not kid ourselves that we can pour all the carbon dioxide we wish into the atmosphere right now and pull it out later at little cost," said Socolow, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

The report, issued by a committee of 13 experts, was co-chaired by Socolow and Michael Desmond, a chemist at BP. The group looked at technologies known as "Direct Air Capture," or DAC, which would involve using chemicals to absorb carbon dioxide from the open air, concentrating the carbon dioxide, and then storing it safely underground.

[The full report is available from the American Physical Society.]

In essence, the committee found that such a strategy would be far more expensive than simply preventing the emission of the carbon dioxide in the first place.

Making optimistic assumptions about initial DAC technologies, the committee concluded that, from the evidence it had seen, building and operating a system would cost at least $600 per metric ton of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere, for a system that could work today. Building a system big enough to compensate for the emissions of a 1,000-megawatt coal power plant would require 30 kilometers of equipment. In comparison, removing carbon dioxide from the flue gas of a coal-fired power plant would cost about $80 per ton.

As a result, the group concluded, DAC is not likely to become worthwhile until nearly all the significant point sources of carbon dioxide are eliminated.

"We ought to be developing plans to bring to an end the carbon dioxide emissions at every coal and natural gas power plant on the planet," Socolow said. Beyond using electricity more efficiently, options are to modify plants so their emissions are kept from the atmosphere or to shut them down entirely and replace them with low-carbon alternatives, he said.

"We don't have to do this job overnight. But the technologies we studied in this report, capable of removing carbon dioxide from the air, are not a substitute for addressing power plants directly," Socolow added.

The possibility of using DAC has arisen in policy discussions that contemplate a so-called "overshoot" strategy in which the target level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is exceeded and then reduced later through use of some air capture technology.

In its report, the group noted that, "No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth, and it is entirely possible that no DAC concept under discussion today or yet to be invented will actually succeed in practice. Nonetheless, DAC has entered policy discussions and deserves close analysis."

Socolow noted that while the contents of the report serve as a warning against complacency, the experience of developing the report offers grounds for optimism. "The message of hope is that smart scientists and engineers are getting more and more interested in energy and climate problems," Socolow said.

"The committee that worked on this problem included both senior researchers and researchers starting their careers, and both industry experts and academics," he continued. "The review process elicited contributions from thirty to forty others. Everyone was a volunteer. Leading this project convinced me that scientists and engineers are poised to provide many creative strategies to reduce the risks of dangerous climate change."


'/>"/>

Contact: Steven Schultz
sschultz@princeton.edu
609-258-3617
Princeton University, Engineering School
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. New report: Dont blame the pill for estrogen in drinking water
2. Report: Discovery networks hostage-taking a rare terror event
3. Ennova Direct Announces the Sale of its Consumer Electronics/Computer Peripheral Patent Portfolio
4. U of M scientist gets 5-year, $10 million grant to direct innovative HIV research program
5. Ennova Direct Announces the Sale of its Consumer Electronics/Computer Peripheral Patent Portfolio
6. BESC scores a first with isobutanol directly from cellulose
7. DHS Science and Technology Directorates science conference: Catastrophes and Complex Systems
8. Aware Announces Appointment of New Directors
9. Scripps Research scientist discovers natural molecule indirectly prevents stable clot formation
10. Aware Announces Appointment of New Directors
11. Direct observation of carbon monoxide binding to metal-porphyrines
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/1/2017)... March 1, 2017  Aware, Inc. (NASDAQ: AWRE), a ... Richard P. Moberg has resigned, effective March ... Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer of Aware citing a ... as a member of the Board of Directors of ... co-Chief Executive Officer and co-President, General Counsel has been ...
(Date:2/27/2017)... , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber Ventures ... it has led a $3.5 million investment in  Polarity ... Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and is led ... Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , also a ... also participated in this series A round of funding. ...
(Date:2/21/2017)... PORTLAND, Ore. , Feb. 22, 2017  IBM ... Companies (Avamere Health Services, Infinity Rehab, Signature Hospice, Home ... that will apply the power of IBM cognitive computing ... health centers. By analyzing data streaming from sensors in ... physical and environmental conditions, and obtain deeper learnings into ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/27/2017)... 2017 DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), a leading ... data solutions, today announced that it is now offering ... U.S. consumers who want to have their DarioHealth products ... strategic alliance agreements with partners across the U.S. who ... if approved, will supply and bill the customer,s insurance ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... ROCKVILLE, Md. , March 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... Venture Fund (MBVF), today announced positive results of a ... standard drug therapy regimen in patients with multidrug-resistant pulmonary ... discovered by scientists at Sequella, Inc. ( USA ... A total of 140 patients were ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... 2017 On Thursday, March 23, ... 5,817.69, down 0.07%; the Dow Jones Industrial Average edged ... 500 closed at 2,345.96, marginally dropping 0.11%. US markets ... green, 4 sectors finished in red, and 1 sector ... initiated reports coverage on the following Biotechnology equities: BioDelivery ...
(Date:3/23/2017)... ... 2017 , ... AxioMed president, Jake Lubinski, describes the AxioMed ... deformed, which is identical to how the human discs work to distribute force. ... to its natural state along a hysteresis curve, exactly like a healthy human ...
Breaking Biology Technology: