In the post The Benefits Of Direct Air Capture, we briefly described how Direct Air Capture could play a vital role in mitigating climate change. While DAC has great potential, making it a promising technology for the world, there are, however, several challenges to deploying DAC at the scale deemed necessary by climate models, including resource limitations and risks.
To answer the reader’s question What are three obstacles to using direct air capture of carbon?, and to paint a realistic picture of how efficient this technology is, we have laid out the three most important obstacles of DAC below. To stay up to date on valuable articles on direct air capture, please sign up for our free weekly newsletter.
These obstacles show the need to overcome them in order to make it a viable solution:
Three major obstacles of DAC
- High costs
The capital and operational costs associated with DAC are currently prohibitively high. The technology is still in its early stages of development, and the costs of materials, manufacturing, and maintenance are high. This makes it difficult to scale up DAC to a level that would have a meaningful impact on reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations. In the article How much does direct air capture cost? we laid down the estimated costs of DAC in more detail.
DAC requires a large amount of energy to capture CO2 from the atmosphere. The process involves pumping large volumes of air through specialized filters or solvents to separate the CO2 from the air. This requires a significant amount of electricity, which may come from fossil fuels, offsetting the carbon savings achieved by capturing CO2.
- The speed of scalability
One of the challenges in scaling up DAC is the above-mentioned high energy requirements. There are efforts underway to develop more energy-efficient DAC systems, such as those that use renewable energy sources like solar or wind power but its still relatively insecure at what speed and scale we will be able to curb carbon from the air to make a substantial difference. A company like Climeworks predicted earlier on to have their technology right in 2050, being able to curb 1% of the total amount of carbon the world needs to see removed every year.
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