Direct air capture (DAC) company Capture6 is making plans to remove millions of tons of CO2 from the air every year in New Zealand.
The firm has set out to build its first DAC plant using what its co-founder Luke Shors describes to be a simple and scalable technology.
“What’s novel is not the equipment itself, it’s the sequence of equipment that’s used to capture carbon. That’s why we’re really confident in the approach, because this technology is [already being] used in all sorts of industries,” he said.
One of DAC’s primary criticisms is that the technology is expensive and very energy-intensive.
But the approach offered by Capture6 requires seawater and renewable energy sources to turn the captured CO2 emissions into chalk, thus permanently removing them from the atmosphere.
If the approach were to be implemented today, Shors reckons it would be able to suck roughly 1 million tons of carbon dioxide per year at the cost of about $100 / ton – the target price tag for DAC.
By comparison, the entire nation of New Zealand emits some 80 million tons of greenhouse gasses (GHG) every year (data from 2020).
Initially, however, the company envisions a first, smaller DAC facility with a capacity to capture 50,000 tons of CO2 per annum, which in tims can be scaled 100 times to reach a capacity of 5 million tpa by the end of the decade.
At this stage, Capture6 is still looking for partners in New Zealand to help find a suitable location and build the plant, and has already had positive conversations with a number of local government agencies.
“In New Zealand, my goal would be to show the government and the country at large that it is possible to do this, and then hope that that gets brought into the climate approach generally,” Shors said.