Civil and Environmental Engineering Publications

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Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology has emerged as a promising means to address the escalating challenges of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and mitigate climate change. This paper provides an elementary overview of DAC, encompassing its underlying principles, technological advancements, and associated challenges. Point Source Carbon Capture is compared against Direct Air Capture with a solid or liquid sorbent, and physisorbents/chemisorbents are outlined. The past decade has seen a steep rise in the usage of chemical sorbents in particular, which are explored alongside their regeneration processes. This review provides an introductory explanation for the mechanisms of common DAC technologies and use cases by current firms in industry, as well as potential government regulations that may arise in response to this growing technology. It is concluded that while promising, current DAC solutions are inefficient when it comes to energy usage or material costs compared to common emission reduction investments such as renewable energy or fuels. Despite this, DAC has progressed at unprecedented rates with firms such as Climeworks, Carbfix and Climate Collect developing unique solutions in scale, process, and product. With goals of 980MtCO2 total capture by 2050, DAC may be the necessary solution to decades long carbon pollution as one of few net negative carbon technologies.