German researchers reach key milestone for energy-efficient direct air capture of CO2
Clean Energy Wire
German researchers said they have reached an important milestone in the development of a scalable and energy-efficient direct air capture (DAC) technology to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg (ZSW) said it had achieved a “stage win” in its development of the technology after a pilot project had run smoothly for over 10,000 hours and removed almost five tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. “The 10,000 hours of experience in operating the system indicate that our DAC technology works reliably and show that we can take the next step in increasing the dimensions,” said the ZSW’s Marc-Simon Löffler, adding that the technology was “robust, easily scalable and very efficient.”
ZSW said in a press release it is now priming its technology for industrial use, adding it had plans to operate a system enlarged by a factor of 100 with a capacity of around 1,000 tons of CO2 per year from 2025 onwards. “The cost of producing CO2 could be reduced to less than 100 euro per ton if scaled up further to the size required for e-fuel production plants,” ZSW said. ZSW said its system requires around one kilowatt-hour of electricity for one kilogramme of carbon dioxide, as a large proportion of the energy demand needed for capturing the CO2 can be covered with waste heat from other processes.
Reaching climate neutrality will involve removing carbon from the atmosphere, because not all emissions from food and industrial production can be entirely prevented. Many argue that it is high time countries start building up a new industry of CO2 removers, scale it up and drive down prices, or at least standardise the use of readily available nature-based carbon uptake options. Others warn that relying on removal methods, for example carbon storage in soils, capturing CO2 from industrial processes, or directly out of the air with DAC technology, draws attention away from emissions reductions.