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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Slicing the pie: how big could carbon dioxide removal be?

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The current global dependence on fossil fuels to meet energy needs continues to increase. If a 2°C warming by 2100 is to be prevented, it will become important to adopt strategies that not only avoid CO2 emissions but also allow for the direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, enabling the intervention of climate change. The primary direct removal methods discussed in this review include land management and mineral carbonation in addition to bioenergy and direct air capture with carbon capture and reliable storage. These methods are discussed in detail, and their potential for CO2 removal is assessed. The global upper bound for annual CO2 removal was estimated to be 12, 10, 6, and 5 GtCO2/year for bioenergy with carbon capture and reliable storage (BECCS), direct air capture with reliable storage (DACS), land management, and mineral carbonation, respectively—giving a cumulative value of ~35 GtCO2/year. However, in the case of DACS, global data on the overlap of low‐emission energy sources and reliable CO2 storage opportunities—set as a qualification for DAC viability—were unavailable, and the potential upper bound estimate is thus considered conservative. The upper bounds on the costs associated with the direct CO2 removal methods varied from approximately $100/tCO2 (land management, BECCS, and mineral carbonation) to $1000/tCO2 for DACS (again, these are the upper bounds for costs). In this review, these direct CO2 removal technologies are found to be technically viable and are potentially important options in preventing 2°C warming by 2100. WIREs Energy Environ 2017, 6:e253. doi: 10.1002/wene.253 This article is categorized under: Bioenergy > Climate and Environment Energy and Climate > Climate and Environment Energy and Development > Climate and Environment
Primary energy consumption worldwide (mt oil eq.) (Source attribution to BP Statistical Review of World Energy 20171. BP p.l.c. www.bp.com/statisticalreview)
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Impact of various CDR strategies. Relative CO2 removal potential per year (left) and projected cost of removal (right) using CDR cost estimates presented in Ref[]. Though DACS and mineral carbonation have the potential for high impact, the low projected costs of BECCS and land management make these strategies more inviting to a first approach.
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Available deposits of common minerals for use in mineral carbonation of CO2 in the US. (Source from United States Geological Survey 2016.)
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Carbon storage in the organic soil (left) and the total ecosystem (right) as a function of forest type and age. (Adapted from Ref ).
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Map of the U.S. showing opportunities for the placement of DAC plants, i.e., in regions where stranded wind or solar generation units overlap with reliable CO2 storage opportunities.
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An example using switchgrass that demonstrates for every 2.11 tonnes of carbon originally in the biomass, ultimately only one tonne is reliably stored. (Source from Ref under creative commons license. Copyright 2013 Springer)
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Carbon dioxide emissions per country, sorted by decreasing country population (left to right). Area widths represent per capita emissions; numbers in red represent a surplus measured against the global average (five tonnes per capita).
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