Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI and ETH Zurich have released a new study investigating to what extent direct capture of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the ambient air can help to effectively remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. The findings were impressive with some estimates stating up to 97% of greenhouse gas emissions could be captured.
The scientists investigated a total of five different configurations for capturing CO2 from the air at eight different locations around the world: Chile, Greece, Jordan, Mexico, Spain, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.
These measures do not forego the need to reduce emissions but are rather an alternative to use while decreasing emissions.
“The use of this technology only makes sense if these emissions are significantly lower than the amounts of CO2 it helps to store,” said in a statement Tom Terlouw, who conducts research at PSI’s Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis and is the first author of the study.
In June, we brought you news of a new facility set to open in Scotland that will remove up to one million tons of carbon from the air each year. That is the equivalent of 40 million trees annually.
We have also in the past discussed whether carbon capture and storage is truly viable for mitigating climate change. The authors of the new report say it is, but only as a complementary option.
“The technologies for CO2 capture are merely complementary to an overall decarbonization strategy – that is, for the reduction of CO2 emissions – and cannot replace it,” stressed Christian Bauer, a scientist at the Laboratory for Energy Systems Analysis and a co-author of the study.
Bauer added that they could aid in achieving the goals defined in the Paris Agreement on climate change especially in circumstances where emissions cannot be avoided such as in agriculture.