Friday, April 5, 2013

Klaus Lackner works on carbon capture technology

Klaus Lackner,
Columbia University
Professor Klaus Lackner, director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy at the Earth Institute, at Columbia University, is working on technology to scrub carbon dioxide from the air. “Our goal is to take a process that takes 100,000 years and compress it into 30 minutes,” says Lackner.

Direct air capture of carbon dioxide is a method that takes carbon dioxide out of ambient air, as opposed to carbon dioxide that is captured from the point of emissions, say, from the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant.

Lackner and his team are developing a device they call an air extractor, modeled after what is most abundant in nature: the leaf of a tree. There is about 0.5 liter of carbon dioxide in a cubic meter of atmosphere. When the extractor is dry, it loads itself with carbon dioxide from the air; when it's wet it releases carbon dioxide it has captured.

“We can do this at a cost of about $30 a ton of carbon dioxide”, says Lackner, “we have designed a box that can extract about a ton of carbon dioxide a day; it fits into a shipping container”. “If we had 100 million of them", Lackner adds, “we could extract more carbon dioxide out of the air then is currently put in.”

The carbon can be stored in the form of mineral carbonate rock or it can be injected deep in the ground. Alternatively, the carbon dioxide can be used, e.g. by turning it into a fuel. Airplanes will likely need to be powered by fuel for a long time, so captured carbon dioxide could be used to more sustainably produce synthetic jetfuel.

In his lab at Columbia's Engineering School, Lackner has built a small greenhouse, demonstrating that  air extractors loaded with captured carbon dioxide can be placed inside a greenhouse; the humid atmosphere inside the greenhouse will make that the carbon dioxide is released. Adding carbon dioxide to the air inside greenhouses is beneficial for plant growth; the plants will take the carbon dioxide out of the air and use it to grow.


- Prof. Klaus Lackner Takes Step Toward Workable Carbon Capture Technology

- Klaus S. Lackner, Director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, Columbia University

- Prof. Klaus Lackner Takes Step Toward Workable Carbon Capture Technolog . .

- Direct Air Capture of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

- The Great Debate: CLIMATE CHANGE - Surviving The Future (1:15 to 1:24)

- Funding of Carbon Air Capture

- Removing carbon from air - Discovery Channel


Dale Lanan said...

This is great that technology is invented that can do things like pull CO2 from the air but I fear it won't get a chance to be implemented at scale because the Arctic melts off and methane release from clathrates fully injects a lethal dose on earth.
I fear it may be too late and all the king's men and all the king's horse can't erase the damage, even Act of God. Thermodynamics is closed system.

Dale Lanan said...

Technology can be brought to bear at scale however if grassroots change can be allowed to happen and gets the support of kings.. Kings of monetary.
Because the verse sited from nursery rhyme about All the Kings men and all the king's horse is dependent on the overall system of power held by elite and not democracy.. Small d democracy with the knowledge and leadership of science and Pareto analysis in Peace.
It is possible to create open system of world enterprise which mimics Nature in its ability to heal itself naturally from shocks and to generally keep Earth from over heat.. This open system involves tap of 'Act of God' to alter the valuation system of money. With sudden effect and with intention of fairness and Peace..
Best description of 'Act of God' can be found at this web address I'll try to remember-

Sam Carana said...

Hi Dale, the correct URL is: - also note what I wrote at the ClimatePlan and how this can be implemented, e.g. see the post the Biochar Economy at this blog.