Event Recap: Future Voices in Direct Air Capture

The Center for Carbon Removal hosted a webinar titled “Future Voices in Direct Air Capture” (DAC) on August 16th, 2016. The webinar featured insights from leading researchers and developers in the DAC field including:


 Image courtesy of ClimeWorks

Image courtesy of ClimeWorks

It was particularly interesting to hear about the different technologies and commercialization strategies that each company is pursuing. For example:

  • Carbon Engineering utilizes a liquid solution and temperature-swing to produce pure stream of CO2. Carbon Engineering plans to transform this CO2 into carbon-neutral synthetic fuel with hydrogen generated on-site.

  • Climeworks has developed a process with patented sorbents that require less heat. This process is initially being used to supply CO2 to greenhouses and for beverage carbonation.

  • Infinitree is also targeting the greenhouse market, but is using a radically different capture technology that utilizes a humidity swing process initially pioneered by Dr. Klaus Lackner of Arizona State University

  • Skytree has adapted technology developed by European Space Agency for use back here on Earth. Also focusing on small-scale niche applications, Skytree plans to be at commercial scale after a few years of development.

Beyond describing their technologies, the presenters addressed the challenges that face the DAC field today. A number of companies cited some of specific misperceptions about DAC technology that have hindered the field from receiving the support it deserves. For example, Anna from Carbon Engineering and Max from Skytree both noted that DAC is often compared as a competitor to conventional carbon capture and storage (CCS). Sean McCoy from Lawrence Livermore National Lab noted that this competition is often reflected in government funding. Similarly, Carbon Engineering explained that many of their challenges were not technical, but rather were policy-oriented, as they worked to enable their renewable synthetic fuels to find viable markets. However, not everyone agreed that lack of policy support was a serious concern. Skytree said policy wasn’t a key driver in the short-term as niche customers could provide sufficient demand at the volumes and cost necessary.

There were many other interesting insights from presenters during the webinar as they answered a number of questions from the audience, including:

  • What policies would be most valuable in the short-term?

  • What the vision is for each of the companies are in the future?

  • What are the biggest technical challenges each are facing?

To listen to the full discussion, you can watch the webinar on YouTube here