Conference recap, day two: It's all about carbon removal

Day two of the Negative CO2 Conference in Sweden featured lots of exciting and interesting presentations on carbon removal. Read about our key takeaways below, or you can catch up on day one.

A huge new synthesis of academic literature on carbon removal is now available.

Sabine Fuss presented work that she and her team at the Mercator Institute in Berlin just published at www.co2removal.org. There are some great summary figures -- one of my favorites is a figure showing various cost and scale estimates for leading carbon removal solution options. The wide range of cost and scale potential is a main reason behind one of Sabine’s key conclusions from the literature synthesis, which is that there is no clear silver bullet solution. Instead, we should pursue a broad and flexible portfolio of research, development, and demonstration for a variety of carbon removal solutions (until the error bars on cost and scale shrink).

 Figure showing distributed cost and scale estimates for various carbon removal solutions. Source: Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change

Figure showing distributed cost and scale estimates for various carbon removal solutions. Source: Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change

Real incentives for carbon removal project exist today.

Roger Aines showed how the US is starting to create meaningful incentives for early carbon removal projects. The key policy Roger discussed is the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which is a cap-and-trade policy for the transportation sector in CA (rule applies to any fuel sold -- not necessarily made -- in CA). The carbon credits in this market are trading at >$150/t CO2. Couple that with the tax credit for carbon storage (priced at $35-50/t), and carbon removal technologies may soon have a large market to access.

Other quick hits:

  • Can Scandanavia lead the way on bioenergy+CCS via paper and pulp manufacturing? Quite possibly, says Ragnhild Skagestad of SINTEF. Sweden has 10 paper mills w >1 Million tCO2/yr biogenic CO2 emissions available for capture, while Finland has 9 mills of similar size.

  • Thanks to Chris Jones from Georgia Tech for sharing this DAC article re: new methods from Oak Ridge!

  • Other DAC news: Eric Ping at Global Thermostat shares the company's plan to launch a mobile commercial pilot in Alabama ready to commission at <$150/tCO2 for beverage carbonation (or roughly $200/tCO2 utilized, since they are using natural gas to run the unit).

  • I also learned about a new direct air capture research pilot at VTT in Sweden, called SOLETAIR Project, which is aiming to produce 1 ton per yr of CO2.