Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Proposal: Suck Carbon Dioxide Out of the Air

From LiveScience:

Emerging technologies could pull carbon dioxide straight from the air to potentially attack global warming directly.

...Increasingly, research now suggests devices could literally suck carbon dioxide straight from the atmosphere.

"The technology to do this is going through major advances, moving toward detailed designs," said environmental engineer Frank Zeman at Columbia University. "It's becoming more and more efficient—we've cut the electricity requirements by well over half."

...Given treatment facilities the size of nuclear power plant cooling towers, Zeman estimates 200 towers could tackle the roughly 2.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide the United States transportation sector currently emits annually. But even in the long term, such technology would require $100 or more per metric ton of carbon dioxide captured.

So far, carbon credits—that is, permits to emit carbon dioxide—are sold for $5 to $50 worldwide.

"The price on this technology is going to have to come down a lot—or taxes on carbon go way up—before people think about using it," said earth scientist Greg Rau at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory....MORE