Can Direct Air Capture Be Our Solution to Climate Change? 🌍
As climate change continues to wreak havoc through intense storms, wildfires, and flooding, it's crucial that we take action to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. We've all heard about strategies like electric vehicles, solar panels, and reducing deforestation, but have you considered Direct Air Capture (DAC)?
Currently, 18 DAC plants worldwide capture around 0.01 Mt CO2, with a 1 Mt CO2 plant under construction in the US. Under the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, DAC could capture about 60 Mt CO2 per year by 2030. To achieve this, we'll need more large-scale demonstration facilities to improve technology and lower costs.
Wondering about the cost of DAC? Major DAC firms estimate costs between $95 to $230 per tCO2 for L-DAC and $100 to $600 per tCO2 for S-DAC. Several factors determine the actual price, including technology, energy source, carbon price, and DAC deployment scale. Geographical costs vary, with China, the Middle East, Russia, and North Africa having lower CAPEX than Europe and the US due to cheaper materials and gas.
Good news! DAC prices are expected to decrease by 31-43% from 2020 to 2030 and by 10-24% from 2030 to 2050. With a carbon price of $250/tCO2, DAC will be viable in every region by 2050. A DAC plant will be able to generate electricity using heat and renewable energy, and CAPEX costs could decrease by 49-65% in 2030 and 65-80% in 2050.
Let's take a look at the top 3 DAC companies:
Climeworks: This Zurich-based firm has built 15 DAC plants worldwide, including a $15 million investment in Iceland’s Orca DAC facility, which captures CO2 and stores it deep underground.
Carbon Engineering (CE): Based in Vancouver, CE has a DAC pilot plant and plans to build a facility capable of capturing 1 million tons of CO2 a year by 2024. They recently started pre-FEED with Pale Blue Dot Energy on a DAC plant in Scotland, U.K.
Global Thermostat: This U.S. company has two DAC pilot plants and is collaborating with ExxonMobil to scale up their DAC technology. They also supplied DAC equipment to the Haru Oni fuels pilot facility in Chile, which captures up to 250 kg of CO2 per hour (about 2,000 tCO2 per year).
Investments in DAC technology are growing, with nearly $4 billion in public funding allocated since 2020 for research, development, and deployment (RD&D). Major companies like Stripe, Alphabet, Shopify, Meta, and McKinsey have also committed to investing $925 million in carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies.
It's clear that DAC has the potential to be an essential component of our climate solution portfolio. By investing in DAC now, businesses can significantly lower future expenses and contribute to a sustainable model that works.
Stay green! 🌱