DISTRIBUTED CO2 CAPTURE AND RECYCLING
CO2 capture and treatment can be considered a waste management activity we are all responsible for, much like we do when we all support sewer systems to collect and treat wastewater from all homes and businesses, let alone industry. Only now, we need to consider our gas emissions as an important recycling activity, beyond the solids and liquids we already manage. As such, we propose a concept whereby CO2 is collected and ‘recycled’ in a distributed system involving all buildings, such as residential homes and commercial buildings. Each building can have one or more modules powered by renewable energy drawing CO2 out of a combination of our inside air and the atmosphere outside, converting the captured CO2 into a valuable and transportable material, with everyone doing their part to draw down excessive CO2 emissions.
Municipal collection can be expanded to include transporting the CO2 or derived products from the distributed modules to regional processing plants.
How Does It Work?
Direct air capture units are now entering the marketplace. One meter squared size module can remove several tons of CO2 per year, with an energy consumption supportable by local renewable energy sources - such as a few solar panels. One company is converting CO2 into sodium carbonate, also known as soda ash or washing soda. New research is finding low energy catalysts to convert CO2 from air directly into solid carbon. Other conversion pathways exist that may be of interest. Irrespective of the conversion method used and material produced, the concept of renewable energy powered distributed capture modules and the recycling of CO2 into valuable products as part of a municipal waste management program is new and novel.
As background atmospheric CO2 levels climb year-after-year our indoor air levels are also climbing, with HVAC systems having to cycle more air to prevent excess levels. Inexpensive, modular and factory production optimized CO2 capture modules can be produced to draw down excess CO2 from our indoor air and outdoor atmosphere.
The time and cost to build massive scale industrial carbon capture plants is too long and too high, and we don’t have time to wait until conditions get so bad that society responds at this scale. However, inexpensive distributed CO2 capture can be developed, implemented and optimized for very low cost, and with almost no delay. This idea can spread globally and significant CO2 drawdown can be the result.
Turning CO2 emission waste into valuable materials and then products that lock up the CO2 from reentering the atmosphere for long time periods has both economic and environmental benefits.
Proof of Concept