Global Research Technologies, LLC (GRT), and Klaus Lackner from Columbia University have achieved successful demonstration of a new technology to capture carbon from the air. The "air extraction" prototype has successfully demonstrated that indeed carbon dioxide (CO2) can be captured from the atmosphere. This is GRT’s first step toward a commercially viable air capture device.
The Tucson-based technology company began development of the device in 2004 and has recently successfully demonstrated its efficacy. The air extraction device, in which sorbents capture carbon dioxide molecules from free-flowing air and release those molecules as a pure stream of carbon dioxide for sequestration, has met a wide range of performance standards in the GRT research facility.
The front of the prototype has a wide opening lined with an absorbent material that acts like a giant sponge. This soaks up CO2. A liquid flows over this material, picking up the gas molecules. This liquid then goes to a separating chamber. Here, electricity separates out the CO2 again to make a stream of pure gas. A Fox 11 (AZ) video explains how the system works.
Unlike other techniques, such as carbon capture and storage from power plants, air extraction would allow reductions to take place irrespective of where carbon emissions occur, enabling active management of global atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.This could present a solution to three problems that until now have posed intractable obstacles for advocates of greenhouse gas reduction: how to deal with the millions of vehicles that together represent over 20 percent of global CO2 emissions, how to manage the emissions from existing infrastructure, and how to connect the sources of carbon to the sites of carbon disposal.
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.
Thanks for the tip from Jim R