Thank you to all that came to our last meeting presenting Christophe Jospe from Center for Negative Carbon Emissions. We have gotten a couple of requests for more information and particularly the handouts that he had which apparently didn’t make it to everybody in the room. Please find the hand out below. You can also visit their website: engineering.asu.edu/cnce/. And we hope to see you at our next events.
The mission of the Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (CNCE) is to advance carbon management technologies that can capture carbon dioxide directly from ambient air in an outdoor operating environment. Our aim is to demonstrate systems that increase in scope, complexity, reliability and efficiency while lowering the cost of carbon dioxide capture from air, and consider the economic and policy ramifications that will arise with the availability of an affordable air capture technology.
Central to mitigating the effects of climate change is the need to prevent the amount of CO2 emitted to the atmosphere from exceeding dangerous limits, ultimately requiring a net balance of zero. Efficiently capturing and using CO2 from the air enables the commercialization of CO2 from air and accelerates the path to carbon neutrality. Researchers at CNCE have discovered and continue to improve a technology capable of passively collecting carbon dioxide from air. The advancement of this technology can unlock the resource potential of CO2 for several key industries which utilize or dispose of carbon dioxide.
We consider carbon recycling to be a crucial step to eventually achieve negative emissions. The developments in this arena not only engage the use of CO2 as a resource, but also enable a closed loop carbon cycle.
- Greenhouses:This technology enables CO2 enriched air, which can significantly enhance agricultural yield in greenhouses at a lower cost than current methods used by some greenhouses to acquire CO2.
- Biofuels:The ability to supply CO2 from the air in a concentrated steam to algae-based biofuels has several advantages including: high degrees of flexibility for algae farms by producing on-site CO2, lower costs of CO2 delivery, unadulterated CO2, and increased yields of carbon neutral fuel source.
- Synthetic fuels: It is possible to create a liquid synthetic fuel from CO2, water and electricity. By providing a stream of CO2 for fuel synthesis, air capture technology creates a feedstock for a sustainable and distributed energy source, which can be easily transported, stored and scaled up.
- Materials: CO2 is used as a source for a variety of processes to be converted into cosmetic materials ranging from plastics to cement. By harvesting CO2 from air for permanent storage in certain materials, it would be possible to create negative carbon emissions.
- Pure gas: CO2 has significant value in its pure form that ranges from carbonated beverages to enhanced oil recovery. The advancement of air capture technology can provide an abundant source of potentially less expensive CO2 which can significantly expand these sectors of the economy with non-fossil based CO2.
Without effective carbon disposal, negative emissions are not possible. In order to foster safe, permanent disposal of carbon dioxide, our work considers mineral sequestration by transferring carbon dioxide into carbonates either in situ or ex situ. Along with purified CO2, our work also assesses CO2 dissolved in aqueous solutions for storage purposes. Given the siting challenges posed to carbon storage from public opposition, geologic favorability, and potential infrastructure costs, air captured CO2 for storage permits high degrees of flexibility.
Techno-economic-socio-politico-environmental assessment of air capture
The development of negative carbon emissions strategies requires more than technical options, it needs to be integrated into the larger framework of human development. Implicit in CNCE’s approach is the recognition that we have waited too long. The availability of air capture as a policy tool fundamentally changes the sustainability dialogue by presenting a technological fix to climate change. Our work applies a conceptual framework that makes it possible to elaborate on the importance of energy to sustainable solutions and accelerate decarbonization solutions by becoming the option of last resort. We seek to engage in public debate, assess consequences of different decisions, and provide opportunities and options for decision makers to optimize desirable outcomes.
CNCE director Klaus Lackner is a physicist by training and a pioneer in carbon management. In 1999, he was the first person to suggest CO2 capture from air in the context of addressing climate change, and went on to co-found the first privately held company devoted to air capture technology with executive director Allen Wright. Lackner and Wright are the inventors of several patents on air capture technology and have published on the subject in dozens of peer-reviewed journals.
The membrane tested at CNCE operates on an anionic exchange resin which captures carbon dioxide when dry and releases it when moist. This allows for a passive capture and release on carbon dioxide, enabling a 5-11% stream of CO2 enriched air. The only energy required to produce this stream of CO2 is for the frictional movement of membrane material from dry to moist environments. This method is advantageous because it is modular, has the ability to scale rapidly, and can reduce transportation costs and risks. Furthermore, by passively collecting and releasing carbon dioxide from air this technology can overcome “Sherwood’s Rule” which claims that cost tends to scale linearly with dilution.
- The urgency of the development of CO2 capture from ambient airS. Lackner., S. Brennan, J. Matter, A.-H.A. Park, A. Wright, & B.C.C. van der Zwaan | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012-07-27
- Moisture-swing sorption for carbon dioxide capture from ambient air: a thermodynamic analysis Wang, K.S. Lackner, & A.B. Wright | Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2012-11-05