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The Potential Role of Direct Air Capture in the German Energy Research Program—Results of a Multi-Dimensional Analysis

Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy, Doeppersberg 19, 42103 Wuppertal, Germany
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Energies 2019, 12(18), 3443; https://doi.org/10.3390/en12183443
Received: 11 August 2019 / Revised: 1 September 2019 / Accepted: 2 September 2019 / Published: 6 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Energy and Environment)
A significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will be necessary in the coming decades to enable the global community to avoid the most dangerous consequences of man-made global warming. This fact is reflected in Germany’s 7th Federal Energy Research Program (EFP), which was adopted in 2018. Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies used to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere comprise one way to achieve these reductions in greenhouse gases. DAC has been identified as a technology (group) for which there are still major technology gaps. The intention of this article is to explore the potential role of DAC for the EFP by using a multi-dimensional analysis showing the technology’s possible contributions to the German government’s energy and climate policy goals and to German industry’s global reputation in the field of modern energy technologies, as well as the possibilities of integrating DAC into the existing energy system. The results show that the future role of DAC is affected by a variety of uncertainty factors. The technology is still in an early stage of development and has yet to prove its large-scale technical feasibility, as well as its economic viability. The results of the multi-dimensional evaluation, as well as the need for further technological development, integrated assessment, and systems-level analyses, justify the inclusion of DAC technology in national energy research programs like the EFP. View Full-Text
Keywords: Direct Air Capture; DAC; sector coupling; negative emission technologies; carbon dioxide removal; Power-to-X; energy transition; climate change Direct Air Capture; DAC; sector coupling; negative emission technologies; carbon dioxide removal; Power-to-X; energy transition; climate change
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Viebahn, P.; Scholz, A.; Zelt, O. The Potential Role of Direct Air Capture in the German Energy Research Program—Results of a Multi-Dimensional Analysis. Energies 2019, 12, 3443.

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