The plant will suck in the air and extract the carbon dioxide through a series of chemical reactions, returning the rest of the air to the environment. In the northeast of Scotland, in the United Kingdom, the first European plant to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) on a large scale will start operating in 2026, using a technology that extracts significant amounts of this gas directly from the atmosphere that has been linked to global warming of the Earth.
The Scottish plant will use direct air capture (DAC) technology, developed by Carbon Engineering (CE), which already operates a test plant in Canada and is looking to launch in the United States. States (US) another large-scale facility.
The DAC technology of this plant will allow the capture of between 500 thousand and one million tons of CO₂ per year. In addition, the plant works by means of a mechanical system that sucks in the air, and then extracts the carbon dioxide through a series of chemical reactions, returning the rest of the air to the environment.
The COído extracted from the air can be injected and stored deep in geological deposits, or it can be reconverted into extremely low-carbon synthetic fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and Jet-A for airplanes.
Carbon dioxide (CO₂), a ' greenhouse ' gas found in low concentrations in the atmosphere and considered one of the main drivers of global warming due to its ability to absorb and radiate heat, could be removed directly from the air using an innovative technology called 'Direct Air Capture' or DAC.
DAC is already operating on an experimental scale at a Carbon Engineering (CE) company pilot plant located in Squamish, Canada.
Storegga, a pioneer in UK carbon reduction and removal projects, and the EC have started engineering and design work on the future Scottish DAC facility.
This facility is expected to be operational by 2026, becoming a clean infrastructure model that could be implemented throughout the continent, helping to achieve European environmental goals, according to its promoters.
The project will provide renewable energy sources and a skilled workforce from the North Sea oil and gas industry.
Scotland also has offshore locations where captured CO₂ can be safely and permanently stored deep in the seafloor, experts said.
“This technology allows us to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air we breathe on the earth's surface through a mechanical system, sucking in atmospheric air, and then extracting the CO₂ through a series of chemical reactions, while the rest of the air is returned to the environment. ”, They affirm from the company.
Doing the tree work
“This is what plants and trees do every day as they photosynthesize, except that DAC technology does it much faster, with little environmental impact, and delivering CO₂ in a pure, compressed form that can then be stored. underground or reused ”, according to CE.
“DAC technology operates with four main pieces of equipment, which have been used on an industrial scale for years, and enables a C02 extraction process that begins with an air contactor, a large structure modeled on towers of industrial cooling ”, they explained.
A giant fan pushes air into this structure, where it passes over thin plastic surfaces that have a potassium hydroxide solution flowing over them.
This non-toxic solution chemically binds with CO₂ molecules, removing them from the air and trapping them in the liquid solution in the form of a carbonate salt.
The CO₂ contained in this carbonate solution is then subjected to a series of chemical processes to increase its concentration, purify it and compress it so that it can be delivered as a gas, ready for reuse or storage.
"This involves separating the carbonate salt from said solution into small granules in a structure called a granule reactor (" pellet reactor ") that has been developed by adapting a previous technology for water treatment".
These granules are then heated in the third step of the process, in a technological component called a calciner, to release the CO₂ in the form of pure gas. The calciner is similar to equipment that is currently used on a large scale in mining for mineral processing.
CO2 can be stored or reused
This step also results in processed granules that are hydrated in equipment called a slacker and recycled back into the system to become part of the original chemical CO₂ capture process, its promoters said.