Direct Air Capture of CO2 to Increase 150-Fold By 2024

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • Current global capacity is 6,415 tons of annual CO2 capture
  • Carbon Engineering to capture 1 million tons CO2 by 2024

The major direct air capture (DAC) players, Carbon Engineering, Climeworks and Global Thermostat, plan to scale their technologies in the next five years, but each one will take a slightly different route.

While Climeworks and Global Thermostat are moving iteratively, building a series of slightly larger plants, Carbon Engineering has plans to build a 1 million ton per year plant by 2024 — 250 times larger than the current largest ever built.

Larger, commercial-scale plants will allow DAC players to sell offsets to firms looking to reduce their emissions. While many are willing to pay premiums for this, capture startups are also looking for direct buyers of CO2. Climeworks is exploring CO2-to-fuels, Global Thermostat is supplying carbonated drinks manufacturers and Carbon Engineering plans to use its captured CO2 in Oxy’s enhanced-oil-recovery operations.

While these applications can help offset costs, it is critical that shorter term uses, like fuels, do not result in net-positive emissions, undermining the central case for DAC.

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