Climeworks reports that a life cycle assessment by an independent university confirms that direct air capture of CO2 can play a major role in stopping climate change and that the environmental benefits of the technology far outweigh its environmental impact.
It shows that direct air capture technology such as that of Climeworks can reach a high net carbon dioxide removal efficiency of more than 90%, and that both the resources and energy required for climate-relevant scales of direct air capture are available - confirming the technology could remove up to billions of tons of CO2 from the air per year.
The life cycle assessment carried out by the RWTH Aachen University – using data from Climeworks – shows that direct air capture has a low carbon footprint when powered by low-carbon energy, such as waste heat or renewable energy. Specifically, it found that Climeworks’ plants can reach a net carbon dioxide removal efficiency of more than 90%. In other words, over its whole lifespan (including construction, operations and recycling), a typical Climeworks plant re-emits less than 10% of the carbon dioxide it captures. Future scenarios show that this can be further reduced to 4%.
Link to the full study: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41560-020-00771-9