Two new DAC devices to capture CO2 from the air in Europe

Carbon dioxide emissions have been a huge topic, especially in recent years. They are working on projects to reduce its production, but also on devices to remove already produced CO2. We call these systems DAC (Direct Air Capture), i.e. it is captured from the air. In Europe (Iceland), this is how they launched the Orca project from Climeworks last September, which is supposed to remove 4000 tons of CO2 annually. That’s not a staggering number. Globally, its production is estimated at 36.3 billion tons for the year 2021. This captures only 0.000001%. The new centers do promise higher performance, but let’s not expect any miracles here either.

The first is to open a new facility within Tata Chemicals Europe (TCE) in Great Britain. It required an investment of 20 million pounds (CZK 575 million), and in this case it is the installation of a DAC system in a factory for soda, baking soda (which will be produced, for example, for medical purposes, namely hemodialysis) and salt. It includes a power plant and a heating plant, and it is the emissions during the production of electrical and thermal energy that will be captured by the DAC system, with 40,000 tons of CO captured2 annually. These will not go into the atmosphere and will be used directly as material for production, so the factory obtains its materials for production from its own emissions. According to the company, this should be the equivalent of removing 20,000 internal combustion cars from the roads, and the total emissions of TCE carbon dioxide will be reduced by 10%.

Climeworks Mammoth

The second project is another device from the company Climeworks. The new center will bear the name Mammoth and is supposed to have 9 times more power than the Orca. There is talk of the possibility of removing 36,000 tons of CO2 per year from the atmosphere, while it will be stored in the subsoil in which it is supposed to mineralize. It should be completed in 18 to 24 months, so it could start operating in the first half of 2024.

Climeworks Mammoth

You are certainly asking a very legitimate question whether it is even worth it and whether the construction of such a center and its power supply will not end up causing more emissions than it removes. An independent study of the Climeworks facilities in Hinwil and Hellisheiði showed that, including construction, operation and recycling, their own emissions average less than 10% of what they remove. More precisely, in the first case it is 85.4%, in the second even 93.1%. For every 100 tons of CO removed2 thus, the second facility produces just under 7 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, resulting in a net balance of more than 93 tons removed. In the future, Climeworks’ DAC is expected to reduce emissions to just 4% of what it removes.

So it doesn’t look bad from an emission point of view. The fact, of course, is that one such facility does not even remotely export the quantum of factories worldwide, and its 36,000 captured cannot even come close to the 36 billion released worldwide. So it only removes 0.0001%. Another question is, of course, the price of such removal. Climeworks plans to increase capacity 5-10 times every 2-3 years and be able to remove at least 1 million tons of CO by 20302 annually. At that time, the price is expected to be around 250-300 USD per ton removed (today it is over 1000 USD per ton), the long-term goal is to reach 100-200 USD per ton. This is one of the ways to reduce the amount of CO2 in the air. Another possibility is, of course, to ensure that it is not released so much.


Source: Svět hardware by www.svethardware.cz.

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