Eco-Living Magazine

Canada Firm Wants to Pull CO2 Straight Out of the Air

Posted on the 24 February 2013 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Backed by Bill Gates and other investors in 2009, Carbon Engineering is building a pilot plant at the end of 2014 to capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere (Nicole talks about geological sequestration in recent post). The machines the company has developed use a “carbon-dioxide-absorbing solution of caustic soda to remove the gas from the air.”

So how does it actually work? The video below should help explain. Though the plant eventually wants to collect at least 100,000 tons a carbon dioxide a year, it seems optimistic at the least to think the idea would have any real effect of CO2 levels around the world. How does the company intend to make money? Well, it would sell the carbon dioxide to – get this – the oil industry, which uses the gas to get more oil from its fields by injecting the CO2 to force the oil out. For a greener option, feeding algae that are grown to produce biofuel could be another market for the gas.

With the pilot plant still to be built, it isn’t known how much removing the gas would cost. Estimates, however, range anywhere from $20 to $2,000 per ton. With these estimates so far off from each other, no wonder people are leery of the potential of this idea. What do you think? Is this idea practical or a waste of time and money?

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