CO2 capture era

May 29, 2007 § Leave a comment

CO2 reduction by sucking it from the atmosphereWhile CO2 emission reduction seems slower and slower and big corporates and some countries simply don’t care of anything but getting superpowers, unwilling to address Global Warming from an emissions point of view, there must be found another way to reduce CO2 concentration in the air.

Global Research Technologies, LLC (GRT), a technology research and development company, and Klaus Lackner from Columbia University have proved that “sucking” CO2 out from the atmosphere is possible and can be much more effective than installing CO2 filters in each plant, each car on the street or each home. Instead, CO2 “sucking” plants can be installed in critical points where the reductions take place irrespective of where carbon emissions occur, enabling active management of global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

A device with an opening of one square meter can extract about 10 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. If a single device were to measure 10 meters by 10 meters it could extract 1,000 tons each year. On this scale, one million devices would be required to remove one billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to the U.K. Treasury’s Stern Review on climate change, the world will need to reduce carbon emissions by 11 billion tons by 2025 in order to maintain a concentration of carbon dioxide at twice pre-industrial levels.

Air capture devices are small and require much less land area than the wind mills that would be needed to offset an equal amount of CO2 emission. Indeed, if the CO2 carried by the air streams used to drive wind mills were to be captured, then on an energy equivalent basis, the CO2 capture would reduce emissions hundred times more than a wind mill of equal sweep area. Like wind turbines, the GRT devices would be deployed in coordinated formations, but would extract the air’s carbon dioxide, not its kinetic energy.

Going forward, GRT plans to begin demonstrating its air capture system on a larger scale. Extensive deployment of the GRT air capture system makes it possible to envision an actual reduction of CO2 levels in the atmosphere, perhaps even to pre-industrial levels. That is the exciting promise of air capture and precisely what has just been demonstrated by GRT.

Having all these wonderful news I am still concerned on other pollutants than CO2. Power plants, oil refineries or steel producing plants pour into the atmosphere more than CO2, toxic vapors and other cancerous chemicals. What about them? It’s still needed re-outfitting many of the world’s existing plants, which is again expensive and requires imposing the companies these costs. Perhaps the filters for pollutants already exist in many plants and only CO2 capture is to be re-located.

Good for these scientists and I already can feel the fresh air of the pre-industrial era, which could be possible if such technologies are employed at a large scale.


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