President Joe Biden’s administration sees DAC as an important factor in the government’s target to reach net zero by 2050. The Congress last year allocated $25 million for the new NETL Direct Air Capture Center.
The site, which is set to go live in the summer of 2024, aims to speed up the commercialization of DAC beyond the conceptual stage. The center will allow developers to operate over a wide range of conditions and better understand how different DAC technologies respond to different climate conditions.
“DAC technology is still early in its evolution, and a wide variety of technologies are being explored,” said David Luebke, technical director of the NETL Direct Air Capture Center. “The new facility will be designed with substantial flexibility to accommodate the rapidly evolving technological landscape. The Center will feature dedicated engineering, scientific and logistical support for experimental system design, installation, execution of experiments, and interpretation of results.”
The new site will allow for the testing of systems at three scales: lab-scale systems that examine long-term DAC materials’ sustainability, bench-scale module testing systems that probe flow dynamics, and small pilot-scale skid rooms that test DAC technologies under different climate conditions, ranging from summer to winter, and arid to tropical.
NETL has played an important role in advancing research on capturing carbon from flue gas streams coming from power plants and other industrial emitters and safe and permanent storage.
The DAC Center projects will have access to different NETL process modeling and analysis resources. The data generated at the new site will be key to enabling the life cycle analysis (LCA) of emerging capture technologies.
The Lab’s Systems Engineering and Analysis team, the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative, and the Institute for the Design of Advanced Energy Systems will potentially collaborate at the DAC Center, along with industry, academic and research testing partners.