Inventors at the University of Toronto have proposed the use of rail cars to capture and recycle atmospheric CO2 due to the fact that fixed direct air capture plants require large areas of land and the construction of new renewable energy sources.
Obtaining proper operating permits can be difficult, and many residents oppose the construction of these large facilities in their cities. “This is a huge problem because almost everyone wants to overcome the climate crisis, but no one wants to do it at home,” says co-inventor Jeffrey Ozin, a carbon dioxide management chemist and chemical engineer, and director of the solar fuels group. to the University of Toronto. "Direct air capture railcars do not require zoning or building permits, and generally remain out of the public eye."
In purpose-built cars, it is proposed to use large air intake vents, which eliminates the need for energy-intensive fan systems that are used in fixed direct air intake systems. Once sufficient carbon dioxide has been captured, the chamber is closed and the collected carbon dioxide is collected, concentrated and stored in a liquid tank until it is drained from the train into nearby geological storage.
The inventors claim that direct air capture is becoming an even more viable solution for the climate as the rail system already exists. “The infrastructure is there,” says Ozin. “That's the point. All you have to do is take advantage of what is already available.”
Researchers say that an average freight train with these direct air capture cars can remove up to 6,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year. Since its sustainable energy needs are provided by onboard sources, the cost per tonne is significantly lower than other direct air capture systems. “The projected cost to scale is less than $50/tonne, making the technology not only commercially feasible, but also commercially attractive,” says lead author E. Bachmann, founder of CO 2 Rail.