Direct air capture can play important role in meeting net zero targets, says IEA

Oil&Gas Materials 4 April 2022 11:38 (UTC +04:00)
Laman Zeynalova
Laman Zeynalova
Read more

BAKU, Azerbaijan, April 4. Direct air capture (DAC) can play an important role in meeting net zero targets, both as a key carbon dioxide removal (CDR) approach and as a source of climate-neutral CO2 needed to produce synthetic fuels and other products that require a source of carbon, Trend reports with reference to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Net zero targets inherently recognize that some form of CDR will be required: “net” refers to balancing any CO2 that is released into the atmosphere from human activity with an equivalent amount being removed. A range of technologies and approaches are available to support CDR, including nature-based solutions (afforestation and reforestation, for example), enhanced natural processes (such as biochar) and technology-based approaches underpinned by carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies.

In 2030 almost 90 MtCO2/year is captured via DAC (from around 7 700 tCO2/year today), accelerating significantly to reach 620 MtCO2/year in 2040 and 980 MtCO2/year in 2050. Cumulatively around 12 Gt of CO2 is captured via DAC between 2020 and 2050, accounting for 11 percent of the growth in all CO2 capture over that period. In 2050 about 13 percent of all CO2 emissions captured are from DAC, 64 percent of which are stored, removing CO2 from the atmosphere to balance (together with BECCS) all remaining emissions from transport, industry and buildings so as to achieve a net zero emissions energy system.

Around 350 Mt or 36 percent of the CO2 captured directly from the air in 2050 is used in combination with hydrogen to produce synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, notably for use in aviation, where synthetic fuels meet around a third of aviation fuel demand that year. Using air-captured CO2 enables these fuels to be climate-neutral over their life cycle, recognizing that the CO2 will be re-released to the atmosphere as the fuel is combusted. In this respect, DAC contributes to one of very few solutions available to reduce emissions in aviation transport, which remains one of the most challenging energy sectors to decarbonize.


Follow the author on Twitter: @Lyaman_Zeyn