This Technology Can Suck Carbon Dioxide From Air, Transform It Into Fuel


Is that gasoline in the making pouring out of those smokestacks? CE has proven both DAC and AIR TO FUELS™ technologies and has been capturing Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere since 2015 and converting it into fuels since December 2017.

A Canadian company by the name of Carbon Engineering has come up with a system that makes liquid fuel by sucking carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere and combining it with hydrogen from water.

Finally, the carbon dioxide is combined with hydrogen and converted into liquid fuels, including gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

"It's unlike Carbon dioxide capture that's created to work from a power plant". Doing that on a large scale would nearly surely require significant cost reductions, a high price on carbon, or other public policy support.

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Keith explains, "Until now, research suggested it would cost $600USD per ton to remove CO2 from the atmosphere using DAC technology, making it too expensive to be a feasible solution to removing legacy carbon at scale".

The paper's primary researcher was David Keith, Founder of CE. At CE, we've been working on direct air capture since 2009, running our pilot plant since 2015, and we now have the data and engineering to prove that DAC can achieve costs below $100USD per ton.

In addition to funds raised by Carbon Engineering, this work was supported by the British Columbia Innovative Clean Energy Fund, Sustainable Development Technologies Canada, the Industrial Research Assistanceship Program, and the U.S. Department of Energy. While the process requires a lot of electricity, the pilot plant in Squamish uses renewable hydro power.

Keith says producing synthetic fuels offers a sustainable business model that could help companies scale up and reduce the costs of the technology, easing the path to that eventual goal. The liquid goes through a series of steps that include freezing it into pellets and then transforming it into a slurry.

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Oil companies convert hydrocarbon gases into liquid fuels every day, using a set of chemical reactions called the Fischer-Tropsch process. Their newly completed second facility can capture 50 tons per year, which the company plans to bury in basalt formations deep beneath Earth's surface. Depending on a variety of design options and economic assumptions, the cost of pulling a tonne of Carbon dioxide from the atmosphere ranges between US$94 and $232.

That gas can then form the basis of a synthetic fuel.

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Still, even at $100 per ton, there aren't enough Carbon dioxide buyers right now. If that problem is not addressed, experts stress, the price tag could run into the trillions of dollars in terms of flooding, as oceans rise and the weather grows more volatile, losses in food production and other problems. However, keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees C (the worldwide target to avoid the most risky impacts) will likely require "negative emissions"-some way of taking lots of Carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and storing it permanently, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)".

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A startup based in Squamish and funded by global investors has created revolutionary new technology has the potential to combat climate change if it could be implemented on a larger scale.