Life cycle and techno-economic assessments of direct air capture processes: An integrated review

Remi Chauvy, Lionel Dubois

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

To limit the increase of the global average temperature in the range of 1.5°C to 2°C above pre-industrial levels, it is mandatory to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Aggressive mitigation measures are thus needed to tackle these emissions leading to “net negative CO2 emissions.” The present study focuses on direct air capture (DAC) processes among the diverse negative emissions approaches. DAC refers to man-made technologies that selectively extract CO2 from ambient air and deliver it in a concentrated form for further use or storage. DAC technologies are currently developed at different levels of maturity and performance. They can be classified into three main approaches, the liquid sorbent approach, the solid sorbent approach, and a panel of more innovative technologies combining different approaches. They involve various unit operations and different materials and energy types (electrical and thermal). To better evaluate the status and both the environmental and economic performances, the present paper provides a literature review of the life cycle (LCA) and techno-economic (TEA) assessments in relation to DAC process chains. It was emphasized that DAC could lead to negative emissions if paired with subsequent storage, while the production of synthetic fuels can at best be carbon neutral when using CO2 from the air. Building large DAC plants has an impact on the amount of energy required to operate them, as well as other environmental impacts with regard to land, water, and material use. Even if the carbon-negative characteristic of DAC was confirmed, these technologies are still expensive. It was highlighted that large DAC costs ranges are currently provided in the literature, from €80/tCO2 to €1133/tCO2 for the current DAC processes, while estimations from €34 to €260/tCO2 are expected in the future. Different levers were identified to improve the environmental and economic performances of DAC processes, such as the availability of waste heat, the heat integration possibilities, and, among others, the improvement of contactors and sorbents properties. Highlights: The paper entitled “Life cycle and techno-economic assessments of direct air capture processes: An integrated review,” submitted by Dr Remi Chauvy and Dr Lionel Dubois, fills the current gap in terms of comprehensive systematic and impacts assessment research on Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies. Indeed, to better evaluate the status and both the environmental and economic performances of DAC technologies, the present paper provides an up-to-date literature review of the life cycle (LCA) and techno-economic (TEA) assessments in relation with DAC process chains. The paper goes beyond the literature review as key levers, related to technology developments, to the energy use and to the implementation characteristics, are also identified to improve the environmental and economic performances of DAC processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10320-10344
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Energy Research
Volume46
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jun 25

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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