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A Canadian clean energy company and its founder who is a Harvard Professor say that they have developed an affordable way to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere and convert it into clean fuels.
Carbon Engineering—a privately owned company funded by private investors, including Bill Gates and Murray Edwards—published an article describing its research in the scientific journal Joule on Thursday.
Carbon Engineering founder and Harvard Professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, David Keith, and his colleagues say that they have demonstrated for the first time a scalable and cost-effective solution for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.
Not only are the scientists sucking CO2 out of the air, but they are also commercializing a process which uses water electrolysis and fuels synthesis to produce clean liquid hydrocarbon fuels that are drop-in compatible with existing transportation infrastructure.
“Our clean fuel is fully compatible with existing engines, so it provides the transportation sector with a solution for significantly reducing emissions, either through blending or direct use. Our technology is scalable, flexible and demonstrated. Today, we’re actively seeking partners who will work with CE to dramatically reduce emissions in the transportation sector and help us move to a carbon-neutral economy,” Steve Oldham, chief executive of Carbon Engineering, said.
Previous research and studies into direct air capture (DAC) have suggested that removing a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere would cost US$600, which is too expensive to be a feasible solution, Keith said.
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“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. No prior research in the peer-reviewed literature provides a design and engineering cost for a complete DAC system– and this paper fills that gap,” he added.
Keith and the Carbon Engineering team have raised about US$30 million so far, and their next step will be to raise funding for a plant that can deliver fuels to market. This will depend on finding a renewable power supplier willing to supply low-price high-capacity power and incentives for low-carbon fuels, The Harvard Gazette reports.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.