Air capture device could be key tool to tackling climate change

Posted in October 2011

A device that can absorb carbon dioxide directly from the air, thousands of times more powerful than a tree, is being showcased in the UK for the first time today as part of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Air Capture Week.

The technology, which could be rolled-out as early as 2018, works by absorbing carbon dioxide (CO2), the largest contributor to global warming, from the air. Once captured, the CO2 could be used in industrial processes or be safely stored underground.

During Air Capture Week industry, Government and academics are meeting to discuss the potential for the technology – which unlike other climate change mitigating technologies like Carbon Capture and Storage can be rolled out relatively cheaply and at a small-scale.

Dr Tim Fox, Head of Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said:

'As this device shows, this breakthrough technology works. What we need from Government and industry isn’t vast amounts of funding, but strategic direction of where this technology could fit in to the strategy for dealing with climate change.

'Apart from being a vital technology for dealing with difficult to manage emissions like those from aviation and shipping, this technology could also be a vital tool for setting a definitive price for CO2.

'Air capture technology can handle any type of CO2 emission from all sources, so would set an upper limit for a CO2 price. This could help provide more investor certainty for companies wanting to invest in big projects like building new power stations, wind farms or factories.'

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