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Study shows economic feasibility for capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air
Date:7/24/2012

m mobile sources such as buses, cars, planes and ships, where capture would be much more costly per ton.

Jones is collaborating with a startup company Global Thermostat to establish a pilot plant to demonstrate the direct air capture technique. The technology for capturing carbon dioxide from the air would be similar to that required for removing the gas from smokestack emissions, though CO2 concentrations in flue gases are dramatically higher than those in the atmosphere.

Flue gases contain about 15 percent carbon dioxide, while CO2 is found in the atmosphere at less than 400 parts per million. That's a factor of 375, notes Sholl, who said the difference in capture efficiency could be partially made up by eliminating the need to transport CO2 removed from flue gas to sequestration locations.

"Because the atmosphere is generally consistent, you could operate the capture equipment wherever you had a sequestration site," he said. "I don't think air capture will ever produce carbon dioxide as cheaply as capturing it from flue gas. But on the other hand, it doesn't seem to be wildly more expensive, either."

Based on his work with Global Thermostat, Jones believes that the costs of an optimized process will prove to be even lower than the estimates of Sholl's team. "Sholl's paper is important because it shows that direct capture of CO2 from the air can be up to ten times less expensive than had been estimated by others," he said. "Process improvements based on their initial modeling study could bring costs down even further."

In its economic analysis, Sholl's team considered all of the energy that would have to be put into the capture process. The cost estimates did not include the capital cost of establishing the capture facilities because the technology is still too new for reliable projections.

The batch extraction process modeled by the Georgia Tech team involves blowing air through a ceramic honeycomb structur
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Contact: John Toon
jtoon@gatech.edu
404-894-6986
Georgia Institute of Technology Research News
Source:Eurekalert  

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