Dirty Energy & Fuel 2376276631_6f224ee610

Published on September 30th, 2008 | by Meg Hamill

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Air Capture System Can Filter Carbon Dioxide From Any Air, Anywhere

September 30th, 2008 by

This is a guest post by Meg Hamill, a freelance writer, also working at the environmental non-profit LandPaths in Sonoma County, California

This summer at the University of Calgary in Canada, great strides were made in  an air capture system, built to filter CO2 emissions from diffuse sources.

Professor David Keith, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy’s (ISEEE) at the University of Calgary, and his team, captured CO2 directly from the air using less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per ton of CO2.

Their custom-built tower captured the equivalent of about 20 tons per year of CO2 on a single square meter of scrubbing material.  To put this in context:  It’s about the average amount of emissions that one person would produce in a year in North America.  The team’s hope and belief is that this technology can easily be perfected and made more efficient.

The air capture technology being researched at the University of Calgary, is significant, as it is said to be the only way to capture CO2 emissions from polluters such as cars and airplanes.  These CO2 sources are referred to as “diffuse” sources, and make up about half of the greenhouse gases emitted on earth.

Air capture is unique from carbon capture because it uses technology that can capture CO2 regardless of where the capture system is located.  Air capture systems can catch the CO2 that is present in ambient air everywhere whereas traditional carbon capture systems are usually found at the site of a major carbon emitter such as a factory.

“The climate problem is too big to solve easily with the tools we have,” says Keith.  “While it’s important to get started doing things we know how to do, like wind power nuclear power and ‘regular’ carbon capture and storage, it’s also vital to start thinking about radical new ideas and approaches to solving this problem.”

Keith and his air capture research discussed above, are featured in an episode of Discovery Channel’s new “Project Earth” series. “Project Earth” has the largest budget of any television series in Discovery Channel’s history. Keith’s episode has already aired in the U.S. and is available on Discovery Channel’s website. Click on “Episodes.”

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About the Author

Meg Hamill has been working in the environmental non-profit field in Northern California for the past six years. She currently works as a naturalist for LandPaths (in partnership with the Open Space District) in Santa Rosa California. She teaches poetry in the public school through California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) and has traveled extensively throughout South and Central America, picking up Spanish along the way. In 1999 she completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. Meg holds an MFA in Creative Writing and has published two books of political/environmental poetry. Read more, buy books and e-mail Meg at www.meghamill.com.



  • Brad

    Because the oil companies, thats why.

  • http://Web ikras

    whos the artist of the image posted above?

  • http://Myself Lakshminarasimman -+918148380877

    Very good Idea,I like it.
    though we are having this kind of filter, we may make use the filter to collect the co2 and we can make use it where ever compressed Air alone is required.
    I another is to initialize
    1. Suction Duct line is adopted every where in industry where ever ventilition duct is provided for operators in industries
    2. Adopting the Co2 filter in the manner,the Duct line should suck only Co2 inside industry
    3. Compressing the collected Co2
    4. Making use compressed air where ever pressurre is alone required
    5. Injecting it to ocean for Algae growth which can be used as future fuel

  • http://Web Johan Eriksson

    This was very interesting. How can I get more information about this and what have happened since this article was published?

  • Vincent Martinez

    Wow. I thought of this a couple of years ago. (No want or need for credit. I nether documented nor patented any design and personally only would like to see it built.) I am guessing that you are using the same method used to capture Co2 that is used on the “clean coal power plants.” So hopefully my ideas should be close to being helpful.
    It has recently occurred to me that this kind of capture method could be used horizontally. Needing to only be long enough to allow capture of the CO2, this could be helpful in placing these capture facilities by placing them below sections of roads or highways.
    Another idea that had come to me is what to do with the captured CO2 slurry. If it was used in concert with the Algae fuel project undergoing, it may help offset the cost of producing the towers. Some here may not like the idea. But we are still a bit away from a cost effective clean alternative for the rut we are in. Till we find something that can be easily and cheaply adapted to the current cars that are on the road today, there will be resistance.
    Well these are the ideas I had on this subject. Hopefully it wasn’t too presumptuous of me to offer them. I thank you for your time and effort. I hope you are successful in your attempts.
    Vincent

  • brandon

    it’d be great to see this in a smaller form to be installed in cars, once the technology is perfected.

  • jim

    What is done with the carbon after it is captured?

  • http://www.seviourbooks.com Engineer

    “captured CO2 directly from the air using less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per ton of CO2.

    Their custom-built tower captured the equivalent of about 20 tons per year of CO2 on a single square meter of scrubbing material.”

    A back of the envelope calculation makes me think that the cost of achieving any significant difference to our atmosphere would be enormous.

    Instead of burning carbon-rich fuels, why don’t we use the virtually unlimited resource of geothermal energy?

    • Brad

      Because the oil companies, thats why.

  • Daniel

    correction to email
    dboisrockin08@yahoo.com

  • Daniel

    hey, I’m doing a science fair project (only 10th grade) on air filters and if they can capture enough carbon dioxide to halt global warming.
    may I get some info on this product they made, maybe some material they used, etc.?
    please email me.
    thanks :)
    -dbo

    • Colton

      Earth is in a cycle of heating and cooling. Green house gasses and exhaust have little to do with it. Although, these things do hurt our air quality which is the real problem they should be trying to solve.

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