Air capture of CO2

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coulomb
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Air capture of CO2

Post by coulomb » Wed, 16 Sep 2015, 14:08

I came across this today; a team in Calgary, Canada are building a prototype machine that can capture carbon dioxide directly from the air:

http://bigthink.com/design-for-good/gia ... -into-fuel

The main image, and/or the idea that it's fans that do most of the work, seems to be misleading, and initially I thought that this was junk science. But the video put my mind better at rest (that doesn't mean it's definitely not junk science, just that it isn't as bad as a cursory skim might lead you to believe).

While it seems to have started as University research, it's now being developed by commercial company Carbon Engineering, with backing from various sources including Bill Gates. It's troubling that there are still obvious errors, like such and such sized plant could remove the carbon dioxide emitted by so many cars per year. Obviously, if run continuously, it should be able to remove the carbon from those cars continuously. It could however be run intermittently, to absorb excess power from intermittent renewable energy sources, like wind or solar power. (Though it seems to me that you would just run it off the grid and put all the renewable energy into the grid.)

They claim that 80% of the CO2 is removed from the air, which is pretty impressive, especially when you consider that only one in 2500 molecules of air is CO2.

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Air capture of CO2

Post by weber » Wed, 16 Sep 2015, 17:33

That's one of the dumbest things I've seen for some time. Only in Canada! OK, or Australia, where the government won't let the economically-obvious thing happen. Namely, you stop putting the stuff into the atmosphere in the first place!

This is the kind of thing someone with a basic knowledge of chemistry comes up with in the first 5 minutes after learning that CO2 in the atmosphere is a problem. And then rejects in the next 5 minutes when they think about: (a) Where will the energy come from to make all that sodium hydroxide? and (b) where are we going to put all that sodium carbonate, and all the chlorine produced in making the sodium hydroxide?

These guys' solution: We'll use electrical energy to turn the sodium carbonate back into sodium hydroxide and CO2, and we'll recycle the sodium hydroxide.

So what will you do with the CO2?

Oh we'll put that back into the atmosphere.

You'll what!

Not directly of course. That would be obviously dumb. We'll obscure things a little by using more electrical energy to make hydrogen, then combine that with the CO2 to make a liquid fuel, then burn that to put the CO2 back into the atmosphere.

But there are still way more than enough stationary point sources of CO2 at coal-fired power stations to provide feedstock for making jet fuel using renewable energy. And ground transport can use renewable energy directly via batteries, or overhead powerlines in the case of trains.

Well yeah, but CO2 is also a valuable commodity in itself.

Really? Who buys it?

Oil companies buy liquid CO2 and pump it underground.

Why would they do that? Out of the goodness of their hearts? And does it stay underground?

Well some of it does. But first they use it to flush more oil out of otherwise spent oil wells.

Oh. And what happens when that oil gets burnt?

It generates 3 times as much CO2 as what they used. Now would you please just shut up!
Last edited by weber on Wed, 16 Sep 2015, 07:39, edited 1 time in total.
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Air capture of CO2

Post by Johny » Wed, 16 Sep 2015, 19:08

Then there is this method:

"Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Harvard University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have created an advance in carbon dioxide (CO2) capture using baking soda found in most grocery stores."

http://insights.globalspec.com/article/ ... eakthrough

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Air capture of CO2

Post by weber » Wed, 16 Sep 2015, 23:08

No prizes for guessing who's funding this junk engineering and junk journalism -- the folks who'd like us to stop worrying and learn to love CO2. Hey, it's just plant food. And we can always sequester more of it in fizzy drinks.
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