DOE, Direct Air Capture: Point Source Carbon

There is a carbon negative shot that involves the whole DOE to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it at gigaton scales. Normal CO2 capture from point sources cannot get carbon negative, with the exception of using biomass and capturing the CO2 emissions. The goal is to capture and store CO2 for $100/ton.

The DOE budget for CDR has increased dramatically. There are a few generation 1 technologies, but there is a lot of interest in generation 2 technologies that are at the very early stages of development. The current estimates are $600/ton. The goal is to get to $100/ton. With appropriate qualifications, the 45Q credit can go to $180/ton. One advantage for DAC would be that the capture system could be collocated with storage without major transportation of the CO2. With potential integration, hopefully the cost can come down. Biomass is very important to CDR technology. Three studies have been initiated to study site specific conditions. Congress has instructed the DOE to go for 4 DAC hubs in the US. These hubs must capture 1 million tons/yr. The largest DAC plant in the world is currently located in Switzerland and captures 4,000 tons/yr. The 4 hubs need to be geographically diversified. The life cycle analysis for these plants is critical.

– Lynn Brickett, DOE