Professor Lackner, chair of the department of earth and environmental engineering at Columbia University, has written a really cool article for Scientific American called Washing Carbon Out Of The Air.The proposed system would work by using solid sorbents to react chemically with the carbon in the air. The system would then clean the sorbents to be reused. This will work since “Carbon dioxide is an acid, and most sorbents are bases. They react with one another to form a salt. As an example, sodium hydroxide, known as caustic soda, is a powerful sorbent that binds carbon dioxide by forming sodium carbonate (soda ash). Sodium carbonate is still basic and can absorb additional carbon dioxide, transforming into sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), which is also a base”. The major obstacles are price and ensuring that producing this system won’t make more CO2 then it will ever remove. But, the Professor brings out very could counter points to those arguments.
This article is really amazing, if you want to learn more about this system, head over to Scientific American.