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Cost of Carbon Capture by 2050 May be Double Estimates – IME

Researchers in Switzerland who evaluated three carbon capture techniques said the cost could be $280 to $580 a tonne, which was double some previous estimates

An artist's image of a Direct Air Capture CO2 removal system (US Dept of Energy image).


The cost of removing a tonne of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by 2050 could be twice as high as previous estimates, according to researchers at a facility in Switzerland, who evaluated carbon capture techniques that use an aqueous solution of potassium hydroxide, or calcium oxide, and found that costs would range from $230 to $540 a tonne.

Direct air capture (DAC) would be “significantly” cheaper as technologies are scaled up, but not as cheap as some anticipate, ETH’s Bjarne Steffen said, noting that previous estimates put costs at $100-$300 a tonne. Testing by Steffen, a professor of climate finance and policy, plus doctoral student Katrin Sievert and fellow ETH Professor Tobias Schmidt suggested that a process developed by Swiss company Climeworks, involving a solid filter with a large surface area that “traps CO2 particles”, could cost $280 to $580 per tonne by 2050, the report said, while costs of the other two DAC technologies would be in a similar range.

But it was important to press ahead and expand DAC plants, as the world  would need these technologies for emissions that are difficult or impossible to avoid, Steffen said. Sievert added that it was not possible to say yet which technology would prevail.

Read the full report: Institute of Mechanical Engineers.




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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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