An independent scientific life cycle assessment by German university, RWTH Aachen, has confirmed that direct air capture can play a major role in stopping climate change and shows that Swiss company Climeworks’ direct air capture technology can reach a net carbon dioxide removal efficiency of more than 90%.
Climeworks’ solution is direct air capture in combination with underground storage, which is a permanent and safe process to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The study also highlighted that both the resources and energy required for climate-relevant scales of direct air capture are available, which confirms the technology could remove up to billions of tons of CO2 from the air per year.
It shows that direct air capture has a low carbon footprint when powered by low-carbon energy, such as waste heat or renewable energy. Its findings, that Climeworks’ plants can reach a net carbon dioxide removal efficiency of more than 90%, mean that over its whole lifespan (including construction, operations and recycling), a typical Climeworks plant re-emits less than 10% of the carbon dioxide it captures. Future scenarios show that this can be reduced to 4%.