April 10-14, 2016
Development of an effective and economically viable strategy for air capture of CO2 would be a game-changing development in the fight against global warming. If widely adopted such a process would allow “chemostatting” the atmosphere at sustainable CO2 levels and might not require widespread social change in how we use fossil fuels. Unfortunately the concept that air capture of CO2 “doesn’t work” has taken hold in academic and policy circles, based on the assumption that such a process is inherently expensive and results in no useful products. In fact, air capture of CO2 can be profitable and offers fundamental advantages over other methods of GHG mitigation. Air capture of CO2--the growth cycle of forests and grasslands during the Northern Hemisphere summer--is the only process that lowers atmospheric carbon dioxide levels on an annual basis.
A potentially profitable strategy for air capture of CO2 is to couple it with production of economically valuable chemicals or products. Agricultural production of plant based materials and food is a simple example of an economically important process that couples profitable activity with air capture of CO2. However there are other economically profitable products that can be coupled to air capture of CO2, including production of clean fuels and manufacture of carbon-based materials. New Sky Energy has developed and is currently commercializing a patented CO2 capture and mineralization process called CarbonCycle that combines capture of CO2 from the air or gas streams with production of hydrogen, oxygen, acids and economically useful carbonates. Two economically promising CarbonCycle strategies include co-production of carbon-neutral hydrogen and pressurized CO2 gas captured from the air, and co-production of hydrogen, oxygen, sulfuric acid and carbonates. Co-production of hydrogen and compressed CO2 captured from the air or flue gas requires only water and renewable or other low carbon electricity—no other resources are consumed. Co-production of hydrogen, oxygen, acids and carbonates from air captured CO2 requires only low carbon electricity and sodium sulfate, an easily purified salt that is widely abundant in the earth’s crust and seas.
Deane Little, "CarbonCycle and other profitable strategies for air capture of CO2" in "CO2 Summit II: Technologies and Opportunities", Holly Krutka, Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Inc. Frank Zhu, UOP/Honeywell Eds, ECI Symposium Series, (2016). http://dc.engconfintl.org/co2_summit2/43