Financial, Energy Costs of Scrubbing CO2 Directly From Atmosphere Grossly Underestimated

power plant smokestacks photoScott Smithson/CC BY-ND 2.0
Reducing CO2 emissions at the source, or better yet, not emitting them in the first place, is the better option.

Some (again) damning commentary on the practical and financial efficacy of geoengineering via scrubbing CO2 directly from the atmosphere, rather than preventing them at the source: A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere would cost 10-20 times as much as at the source.

Researcher Jennifer Wilcox, of Stanford University, quoted in Mongabay:

Direct air capture sounds great in theory. In reality though a lot of energy is required. Using fossil-based energy sources to capture and regenerate the carbon dioxide could readily result in more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere than is captured. For direct air capture to be feasible, carbon-free energy, such as solar or wind, is required. But that carbon-free energy would be used more effectively to replace CO2-emitting power plants... Ultimately, society needs to move completely away from carbon-based energy resources.

Read more: Economic and energetic analysis of capturing CO2 from ambient air

Tags: Carbon Dioxide | Geoengineering


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