Automobile giant Audi and Austrian green tech company Krajete have joined efforts to develop Direct Air Capture (DAC) systems in Austria. The newly established plant uses inorganic filter material that can absorb a large number of molecules.
The CO2 molecules are chemically absorbed, and the CO2 stripped air is released back into the atmosphere.
What’s unique about the technology being developed by Audi and Krajete is that the temperature and pressure conditions required to adsorb (collect) CO2 and absorb it are almost identical which isn’t the norm in DAC tech. This allows for a greater amount of CO2 to be removed.
The process, which is energy intensive, will be powered by solar panels on-site. Capturing CO2 from the atmosphere requires more energy than capturing it from industrial furnaces.
However, removing CO2 from the atmosphere isn’t tied to a particular location. Therefore, plants can be erected next to reliable renewable energy sources, such as thermal, wind, hydro or in sunny climates.
There are currently 18 direct air capture plants operating worldwide capturing almost 0.01 Mt CO2/ year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The most advanced of these projects is located in the USA and can capture 1 Mt CO2 per annum.
In the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, DAC would need to be scaled up to capture 60 Mt CO2/ year by 2030. This level of deployment is within reach but will require several more large-scale demonstration plants to refine the technology and reduce capture costs says IEA.