Carbon dioxide reaches another record level in Earth's atmosphere

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According to the firm, the cost should be roughly $94-$232 per ton of carbon dioxide captured.

"The carbon dioxide generated via direct air capture can be combined with sequestration for carbon removal, or it can enable the production of carbon-neutral hydrocarbons, which is a way to take low-priced carbon-free power sources like solar or wind and channel them into fuels that can be used to decarbonise the transportation sector", said lead author David Keith, founder and chief scientist of Carbon Engineering and professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard University. Previous attempts to accomplish this priced the feat at around $600 per ton, the BBC reported.

Through heating and a handful of familiar chemical reactions, that same carbon dioxide is re-extracted and ready for further use -as a carbon source for making valuable chemicals like fuels, or for storage via a sequestration strategy of choice. Carbon Engineering proudly says that cutting the costs to such an extent is a "real step forward".

The Carbon Engineering team's approach differs from their few competitors in the field.

Until now, the cost of climate change has been all about projections.

Although burning the fuel would produce CO2 emissions, since it came from CO2 that was removed from the atmosphere, the fuel would be considered to be carbon neutral.

But Herzog, who has also studied the challenges of converting carbon dioxide into fuel, remains skeptical that the numbers will work even for that initial business model.

Carbon Engineering founder and Harvard Professor at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, David Keith, and his colleagues say that they have demonstrated for the first time a scalable and cost-effective solution for removing CO2 from the atmosphere.

Carbon Engineering have been running a pilot plant since 2015, and now harvest about a ton of carbon a day. The APS had costs of 780 $/t-CO2-avoided and 550 $/t- CO2-captured, where the emission from electricity supply outside the plant boundary.

The company has been running a pilot plant since 2015, and is now in the market to raise $60-million as it prepares to build its first commercial-scale operation.

Direct air capture technology works nearly exactly like it sounds.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) reported in 2016 that electrolysis using wind power could provide hydrogen at a cost of about $4.50 per kilogram.

The process uses a liquid sorbent to collect the CO2, unlike others that have used a solid sorbent.

Those energy inputs would put the cost of atmospheric carbon capture at up to $1,000 per tonne of CO2, meaning it would be far more economic to simply reduce carbon emissions.

"It's very tough, and even tougher if the Carbon dioxide is from your most expensive source, which is the air", he says.

The process has been demonstrated at a small scale and combines common technologies from the pulp and petroleum industries to capture carbon and hydrogenate it back into complex hydrocarbons that could be recycled for fuel. Since its components are off the rack, it should be easy to scale up, Oldham said. "This opens up the possibility that we could stabilize the climate for affordable amounts of money without changing the entire energy system or changing everyone's behavior".