Capturing CO2 directly from the air!
Vista Analyse and SINTEF have, on behalf of the Norwegian Environment Agency, analyzed the opportunities, technologically and economically, of using a technology for direct capture ofCO2 in Norway. The economic costs can be between NOK 2 000 and 4 000 per tonne for the first plants. The Norwegian Environment Agency will apply the knowledge to assess concepts for capturing CO2 from Direct Air Capture (DAC) or from water (Indirect Ocean Capture, IOC). The report is available here on our website and on the Norwegian Environment Agency's website.
The scope of direct capture of CO2 from air is currently very limited: there are 18 small-scale DAC plants in the world, with a total capacity to remove 9,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The largest plant, Orca in Iceland, accounts for almost half of the total capacity in the world. Another type of DAC technology is also being developed, which is only suitable for large-scale plants (capture of 0.5–1 million tonnes of CO2 annually).
Direct capture of CO2 is a very energy-intensive and area-intensive process. In addition, it requires an area with good air circulation and access to infrastructure to transport captured CO2 to storage.
The technologies for direct capture of CO2 from air are still relatively immature, and cost estimates for DAC plants are uncertain. Using the best estimates currently available, we estimate that the socio-economic costs for the first plant ("first of a kind") will be approximately NOK 2,000–3,900 per tonne of CO2 (depending on the choice of technology). There is considerable uncertainty in costs, and the scope of opportunity is estimated to range from NOK 1 000–5 700 per tonne of CO2. Effects from learning are assumed to reduce costs significantly, and costs can potentially fall to around 2,000 per tonne of CO2 (for a "n th of a kind" plant). It is also worth noting that even though the costs for DAC are higher than for other CCS technologies, the costs roughly correspond to the most expensive measures in Klimakur 2030.
Even though the estimated costs are higher than the current emission permit price and CO2 tax in the Norwegian non-ETS sector, there is reason to believe that direct capture from CO2 may play a role in the future.
A main problem today is that there is no market for the "end product" from the DAC, i.e. quotas for captured/removed CO2, as these cannot be included in either the EU ETS or the accounts for the non-ETS sectors. Facilitating a market for quotas or credits from DAC will thus contribute to the deployment of the technology.