Direct Air Capture (DAC) with CO2 Utilization

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Direct Air Capture (DAC) with CO2 Utilization is a powerful combination of technologies that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the atmosphere and transforms it into valuable products, such as fuels, chemicals, building materials, and even food. This innovative approach goes beyond simply reducing emissions; it actively removes existing CO2 from the air and converts it into useful resources, offering a significant step towards reversing climate change and building a circular economy.

Impact on climate action

Direct Air Capture (DAC) with CO2 Utilization revolutionizes climate action by not only removing CO2 from the atmosphere but also repurposing it for valuable products. This innovation mitigates greenhouse gas emissions while fostering a circular economy, offering a tangible and scalable solution towards combating climate change and achieving sustainability goals.


DAC with CO2 Utilization involves two main stages:

  • Direct Air Capture: This technology uses specialized materials, often chemical sorbents or solid adsorbents, to selectively capture CO2 from ambient air. The captured CO2 is then released from the material in a concentrated form, ready for utilization.
  • CO2 Conversion: The captured CO2 is converted into valuable products through various processes, including electrochemical conversion, biological conversion, thermochemical conversion, and mineralization.

TRL : 5-8 (depending on the specific DAC technology and CO2 utilization process)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Advanced Sorbent and Adsorbent Materials: Research focuses on developing novel materials with enhanced CO2 capture capacity, selectivity, and durability, reducing energy consumption and costs associated with DAC.
  • Modular and Scalable DAC Systems: Modular and scalable designs are crucial for adapting DAC systems to different locations, CO2 concentrations, and integration with various CO2 utilization processes.
  • Renewable Energy Integration: Powering DAC systems with renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, can ensure a carbon-negative process, actively removing more CO2 than is emitted during operation.
  • Hybrid CCU Systems: Combining DAC with hybrid CCU systems, which integrate multiple CO2 conversion technologies, can enhance product diversity and optimize resource utilization.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Carbon Capture Material Advancements
  • Scalable Direct Air Capture Systems
  • Renewable Energy-Powered DAC
  • Hybrid CO2 Conversion Processes
  • Carbon Capture Cost Reduction Strategies
  • DAC Deployment in Pilot Projects
  • DAC Demonstration at Scale
  • CO2 Utilization Commercialization
  • Enhanced CO2 Sorbent Durability
  • Selective CO2 Capture Materials
  • Modular DAC Design Solutions
  • Location-Adaptive DAC Systems
  • Integration of DAC with CCU
  • Diverse CO2 Utilization Product Portfolio

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Climeworks:
    • Technology Focus: Climeworks specializes in Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, which involves capturing carbon dioxide directly from ambient air. They then utilize this captured CO2 for various purposes, such as carbon sequestration, renewable fuel production, or carbonation for beverages.
    • Uniqueness: Climeworks is known for its modular DAC units that can be deployed at various scales, from small installations to large industrial facilities. They also emphasize transparency and sustainability in their operations.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions are targeted towards industries and organizations seeking to reduce their carbon footprint, including renewable energy companies, beverage manufacturers, transportation companies, and governments aiming for carbon neutrality.
  • Carbon Engineering:
    • Technology Focus: Carbon Engineering is a pioneer in DAC technology, aiming to capture CO2 directly from the atmosphere and utilize it for various purposes, including carbon-neutral fuel production and carbon sequestration.
    • Uniqueness: Carbon Engineering stands out for its innovative air contactor design and scalable carbon capture solutions. They are also actively involved in research and development to enhance the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of DAC technology.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions cater to industries and organizations committed to reducing their carbon emissions, including energy companies, transportation providers, governments, and carbon offset markets.
  • Global Thermostat:
    • Technology Focus: Global Thermostat specializes in DAC technology with a focus on CO2 utilization for industrial applications, such as fuel production, enhanced oil recovery, and carbon-neutral materials manufacturing.
    • Uniqueness: Global Thermostat’s proprietary technology allows for the efficient capture and utilization of CO2 at relatively low concentrations in the atmosphere. They also offer flexible deployment options, including on-site installations and mobile units.
    • End-User Segments: Their solutions target industries seeking sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil fuels and materials, including energy companies, manufacturing facilities, transportation providers, and governments aiming for carbon neutrality.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Arizona State University:
    • Technology Enhancements: ASU researchers are pioneering advancements in Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology by integrating CO2 utilization techniques. They are exploring novel catalysts and reaction pathways to efficiently convert captured CO2 into valuable products such as fuels, chemicals, and building materials.
    • Uniqueness of Research: ASU’s approach combines expertise in materials science, chemical engineering, and environmental science to develop scalable and cost-effective DAC systems with integrated utilization strategies. Their research focuses on maximizing the value extracted from captured CO2 while minimizing energy consumption and environmental impact.
    • End-use Applications: The research at ASU has broad applications in sustainable energy, manufacturing, and resource management. The products generated from captured CO2 can displace fossil fuel-derived equivalents, leading to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and creating new revenue streams for industries.
  • University of California, Berkeley:
    • Technology Enhancements: UC Berkeley researchers are at the forefront of developing next-generation DAC technologies with CO2 utilization capabilities. They are exploring innovative materials and processes for capturing CO2 from ambient air and converting it into high-value products through catalytic reactions or electrochemical processes.
    • Uniqueness of Research: UC Berkeley’s research integrates principles of sustainability and circular economy into the design of DAC systems. They are exploring synergies between CO2 capture and utilization to create closed-loop systems that generate value while mitigating climate change.
    • End-use Applications: The research at UC Berkeley has implications for various industries, including renewable energy, agriculture, and chemical manufacturing. The products synthesized from captured CO2 can serve as sustainable alternatives to conventional materials and fuels, contributing to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Imperial College London:
    • Technology Enhancements: Imperial College London is driving advancements in DAC technology by focusing on process optimization and system integration. They are developing innovative approaches to improve the efficiency and scalability of DAC systems while minimizing resource consumption and environmental footprint.
    • Uniqueness of Research: Imperial College’s research leverages expertise in engineering, environmental science, and policy analysis to address the technical, economic, and regulatory challenges associated with DAC deployment. They are exploring holistic solutions that consider the entire value chain, from CO2 capture to utilization and beyond.
    • End-use Applications: The research at Imperial College London has implications for global climate mitigation efforts and sustainable development goals. By enabling the large-scale deployment of DAC with CO2 utilization, their research can help industries reduce their carbon footprint and transition towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Several companies are demonstrating the commercial viability of DAC with CO2 Utilization through pilot projects and partnerships:

  • Climeworks: Has partnered with Coca-Cola to provide CO2 captured from the air for use in their beverages.
  • Carbon Engineering: Is building a large-scale DAC and synthetic fuel production facility in Texas, in partnership with Occidental Petroleum.
  • Carbfix: This Icelandic company captures CO2 from the air and injects it underground, where it reacts with basalt rock and mineralizes, permanently storing the CO2.