Oil company Repsol Sinopec announced this week an agreement to start the construction of the very first direct air capture (DAC) facility in Brazil and all of Latin America.
The Brazilian oil company signed the agreement on Tuesday with the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul (PUCRS) and the German carbon removal startup DACMa GmbH.
The agreement focuses ,among other things, on plans to study the available options for permanent storage of carbon emissions in geological formations.
This new project is part of Repsol Sinopec’s research program dedicated to carbon management and oil exploration technologies and its strategy to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.
Two key areas of said strategy are the development and use of carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) and technologies that remove CO2 from air, also known as carbon-negative technologies.
The initial stage of the new project in Brazil will involve the construction of an experimental DAC plant, which will be powered exclusively by solar and will have the capacity to suck in 300 tons of CO2 per year.
Feasibility studies will be carried out to pinpoint suitable locations for the safe and permanent storage of the captured emissions, specifically in basaltic rock formations, a process known as carbon mineralization.
The choice of Brazil as the first South American country to host the DAC project has to do with its geography, specifically due to the rich presence of ancient basaltic formations throughout most of the vast nation.
Bringing together industry, academia and research centers to facilitate the new DAC project between Repsol Sinopec and its partners is key to enable the scaling of this technology in the future.
Federico Giannangeli, Technology manager for E&P at Repsol Sinopec, noted that Brazil provides an ideal setting where nature and technology can coexist to help advance large-scale decarbonization.