Location factors impacting the Direct Air Capture (DAC) of Carbon Dioxide

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March 20, 2023


Clean Energy


Location factors impacting the Direct Air Capture (DAC) of Carbon Dioxide

Direct Air Capture (DAC) Technology

One of the main benefits of Direct Air Capture (DAC) is the possibility of locating the plant anywhere, for example, close to a desirable storage site to remove carbon or a commercial facility in need of atmospheric carbon dioxide feedstock other than fossil-derived carbon dioxide.

This reduces the need to transport carbon dioxide over a long distance. Nonetheless, several factors impact the location of a DAC plant.

Direct Air Capture Factors

These factors include capture costs, energy sources, and the use and storage of air-captured carbon dioxide.

Direct Air Capture Technology | WhatNext

Capture cost by location – Direct Air Technology

Direct Air Capture has been successfully demonstrated in North America and Europe. Due to this experience and the possibility of co-siting with industrial hubs, these locations are suitable for additional DAC facilities.

Another positive feature of these locations is the existing and planned carbon dioxide storage and transport infrastructure.

Carbon Circular Economy 


Regions such as the Middle East, Russian Federation, Japan, and North Africa can also be highly suitable for the deployment of DAC. For example, a very high potential for renewable energy characterizes the Middle East and North Africa.

Besides, the low price of natural gas characterizes the Russian Federation and the Middle East. Japan is characterized by a strong interest in the use of carbon dioxide and a carbon circular economy.

DAC Direct Air Capture technology

We anticipate that the cost of installing DAC will be cheaper in North Africa, the Russian Federation, and the Middle East than in Europe and the US. This is primarily due to cheaper manufacturing and materials in the cost-competitive regions.

It is expected that the regional cost of DAC-based carbon dioxide capture would decrease between 2020 and 2030 by 31 to 43% and between 2030 and 2050 by 10 to 24%. Moreover, it is expected that the price of carbon dioxide will increase in the United States and Europe than in the other regions.

Heat and Electricity 

Without taking into account the cost of carbon dioxide, the aforementioned locations may absorb carbon using DAC for less than USD 100 per ton.

However, due to the low price of electricity and natural gas and low capital expenditure, the Middle East is expected to have a lower cost of capturing. On the other hand, the high potential for renewable energy as well as the availability of the best technologies for heat and electricity generation can significantly reduce the cost of DAC.

Energy sources

Locations with a high potential for renewable energy are the best places to develop DAC facilities. For example, the Iceland geothermal power Orca plant is currently used for generating electricity and powering a solid-DAC to capture carbon dioxide.

In Oman, a nation with significant solar PV potential and an abundance of natural peridotite formations for carbon dioxide mineralization, testing of a similar technique is now underway.

DAC (Direct Air Capture) Facilities 

DAC facilities could be considered near renewable energy sources. Such as concentrated solar power, biomethane, hydropower, and geothermal. Geographical areas for potential DAC locations may include coastal regions like Ireland, the United Kingdom, the southern region of South America, and the central United States.

These regions have a high potential for wind energy. Similarly, eastern Australia, the Middle East, eastern South America, western Mexico, and the United States have a high potential for PV and concentrated solar power.

Industrial Infrastructure 

Another option to power DAC plants is the implementation of co-location of DAC facilities with existing industrial infrastructure with available waste heat.

Waste heat could originate from cooling towers, incineration processes, synthetic fuel production processes, combined power and heat plants, and industrial and power plants.

DAC (Direct Air Capture Technology)

In 2020, the Southern Company in the U.S. announced its interest in testing DAC technology in anticipation of potential co-location. with the National Carbon Capture Center’s current infrastructure.

EDF United Kingdom  is looking for partners to operate DAC and hydrogen plants. Using recovered waste heat from the planned Sizewell C nuclear power plant.

DAC Plant 

In Hinwil, Switzerland, waste heat drives a DAC plant that provides carbon dioxide to an adjacent greenhouse. A close-by waste recovery factory. In Apulia, Italy,  waste heat from a methanation reactor cooling circuit powered a DAC plant .

It produces transport fuel from carbon dioxide captured from air and hydrogen.

Use and storage of air-captured carbon dioxide

After capturing carbon dioxide from the air. Store it  underground for permanent removal or use for other commercial purposes. Carbon dioxide usage applications such as in industrial facilities.

As a feedstock for producing fuels and chemicals, in greenhouses, for beverage carbonation etc.

Carbon Dioxide Project 

There have been several projects that captured carbon dioxide via DAC and have stored it in deep aquifers. The first project, the Sleipner carbon dioxide storage project, started in 1996.

The Snohvit carbon dioxide storage project, which started in 2008. The Quest project in Europe, which started in 2015, the Qatar LNG project, which started in 2019. The Gorgon project in Western Australia, which began in 2019 stores nearly 10 megatons of carbon dioxide per year.

Future research direction

The location flexibility of DAC has its limitations. However, DAC plants have operated successfully in a broad range of climatic conditions around North America and Europe.

It is vital to test locations characterized by polluted, humid, and dry climates. The location choice needs to consider the energy source to power the plant.

The energy source largely impacts the cost of capturing carbon dioxide. This will significantly determine the carbon-negative impact of the DAC facility. The use of renewable energy sources to power solid-DAC and liquid-DAC could be a subject of further study.

Air-captured Carbon Dioxide 

The use of air-captured carbon dioxide results in climate benefits. However,  a large number of large-scale carbon dioxide applications. The production of artificial fuels leads to the re-release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

This topic needs  Research. Replacing carbon removed from fossil fuels by carbon capture. Air to reach net-zero emissions globally for a justifiable future.

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