Carbon capture and storage, or carbon sequestration, is the next big thing in the technological side of handling greenhouse gas emissions. It involves installing equipment in CO2-producing facilities, and redirecting those emissions to storage containers, often underground storage in a geological reservoir.

But a Canadian team of University of Calgary is working on a air capture machine that will be able to remove CO2 directly from the air by utilising “near-commercial” technology. You probably saw them at the Discovery show “Project Earth”.

Yes, that’s not a novel concept: trees have been doing that, and for a while. But this is more efficient.

First carbon capture and storage system

First carbon capture and storage system

During a demonstration, the team built a tower that requires “less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity per tonne of carbon dioxide”, and captured the “equivalent of approximately 20 tonnes per year of CO2 on a single square metre of scrubbing material”, or the average personal emissions in North America.

An overview of the air capture process was illustrated in this PDF of a presentation given at the MIT Carbon Sequestration Forum IX – Advancing CO2 Capture.