I try to give equal access to those who want to comment professionally on reports here, here is one such example. This is commentary on the WUWT story Princeton: Direct removal of carbon dioxide from air likely not viable – Anthony
Guest post by Peter Eisenberger
Global Thermostat LLC
The American Physical Society Report on Direct Air Capture of CO2 (DAC) http://www.aps.org/about/pressreleases/dac11.cfm
follows a strange logic. It evaluates a DAC embodiment very different from ours, which no one would use, then estimates a high cost of $600 or more per metric tonne of CO2 removed. From this it concludes that DAC in general is very costly. The report identified no technical show stoppers, and it did not raise any issues we have not considered and addressed in our research and development program. We fail to understand how the report can come to a general conclusion about the ultimate cost of DAC technology from evaluating a specific example known at the outset to be expensive.
This goes against the long history of innovation experience in which early difficult and costly processes became easy and low cost. We have in fact demonstrated proprietary breakthroughs in our pilot facilities at SRI International (see photographs) that will lead to a low cost DAC process.
However, the committee was unwilling to sign a non-disclosure agreement, thereby ensuring the nature of its conclusions at the outset. I quote from the report:
“Peter Eisenberger, David Keith, and Klaus Lackner, all three of them physicists working independently to develop field demonstrations of direct capture of CO2 from air, contributed their knowledge to this study, believing that the strategy of direct air capture needed independent evaluation. They have been extremely helpful, sharing their technical insights and giving the committee the benefit of many hours of their time. As a matter of policy the Committee sought to avoid learning any of their ideas that could not be made public.”
We even offered to privately share proprietary information, including experimental data, with a small select group of the committee to enable the committee to understand that their cost conclusions are too high by more than a factor of ten. Thus the committee, by choosing to “avoid learning…ideas that could not be made public,” cut itself off from the only information that could help them determine the true potential of DAC. I note that the prestigious Royal Society of England did a study of DAC where they included the following statement in their report:
“ Proposals for new methods [of air capture] are still appearing (confidential submissions received) and it is very likely that substantial cost reductions are possible in future.”
The APS report also states, “No demonstration or pilot-scale DAC system has yet been deployed anywhere on earth…” . The photographs of our pilot unit show the existence of a unit that development engineers characterize as “pilot-scale.”
Readers may be interested to learn that there is no current public funding for DAC because of past vigorous opposition by experts pursuing flue gas capture of CO2 from fossil fuel power generation plants. Many of the experts on the APS panel and those who testified to the panel are working on flue gas capture, some with processes they are commercializing. Our efforts are totally supported by private investors. Unfortunately, DAC is often mistakenly viewed as competitive with flue gas capture of CO2 when it is in fact strategically and technically very different. In particular DAC can also be driven with renewable energy and has the potential to actually reduce the ambient CO2 concentration while flue gas capture can only slow its increase.
We believe that DAC has the potential to provide an important option for reducing CO2, while maintaining access to low cost energy needed for global economic development. We will in due course issue a public release of our approach, and we will let the facts speak for themselves.
Those interested in learning more about our efforts are welcome to visit our website at