Direct Air Capture – Transdisciplinary Assessment Combining Labs, the Environment, the Economy, and Society

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Limiting global warming to 1.5°C will very likely require urgent action and rapid deployment of carbon dioxide removal, shortform CDR, technologies such as direct air carbon capture and storage, short form DACCS. The goal of this project is to provide a transdisciplinary assessment of DACCS in order to create a transparent and reliable foundation for important decisions regarding the future research agenda and climate policies with regard to CDR. The assessment will guide technological development and communication strategies, enabling our economy and society to scale DACCS and exploit its full climate mitigation potential.

Our project will analyze the full range of DAC technologies, including both absorption and adsorption, on multiple scales. Based on insights from lab-scale experiments, we will construct flexible and parametrized DAC technology models. We will bring together these DAC models with CO2 storage and the energy system to be able to cover system-wide effects along the entire DACCS value chain. Techno-economic and life-cycle assessments will provide details of the system-wide climate benefits as well as environmental and economic impacts of DACCS at climate-relevant scales. As an additional evaluation criterion, social acceptance will be integrated as a steering parameter during the development of DACCS and will not only be considered as a negative side effect following technology development. In a stochastic climate–economic assessment, we will determine the social value of DACCS under multifold risks from a global perspective. The computation of project pathways based on socially optimal decision-making will analyze at which scale and how rapidly the deployment of DACCS must happen if inevitable climate tipping points are to be avoided.