GE Enters the Fray With New DAC Technology

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Industrial conglomerate GE is the latest company to plunge into the nascent direct air capture (DAC) sector and says it plans to launch demonstrations of its technology in 2024.

The news highlights the growing interest in carbon-removal technology, which is seen as a critical tool for global decarbonization and emissions-reduction goals.

GE says it has been working on DAC technology for more than two years and its research arm has partnered with the US Department of Energy (DOE), academic institutions and others to get its product ready for larger-scale demonstrations.

A company with GE’s size and industrial knowledge entering the fray could potentially help DAC technology scale more quickly, as calls for rapid decarbonization become more urgent.

“We know that to truly bring an economical, commercial-scale solution in DAC to the market, it will require a collaborative effort with government, industry and academic partners,” David Moore, GE’s carbon capture breakout technology leader, said in a statement Tuesday. “If we do this right, we could have a commercially deployable DAC solution around the end of this decade.”

Growing Interest

The DAC sector to date is largely dominated by private start-up-like companies with unique technologies and approaches to carbon removal.

Companies like Carbon Engineering, Climeworks, Heirloom and Global Thermostat have made headlines with various levels of technology and project development, but there are dozens of others that have maintained a lower profile so far.

But bigger firms are now starting to come into the picture. Energy services giant Baker Hughes, which used to be part of GE, announced earlier this month that its Mosaic DAC technology will be pilot-tested for potential use at HIF Global’s planned e-fuels facilities, a partnership the companies say could “accelerate DAC deployment at commercial scale.” Baker Hughes acquired Mosaic last year.

Shell is also known to be working on its own DAC solution, presumably leveraging its years of experience in point-source carbon capture technologies.

Companies across the spectrum have expressed interest in deploying third-party DAC technologies. Independent E&P California Resources recently announced plans to develop a DAC “hub” in California, while LNG player Sempra has touted DAC's potential as well.

Jason Hochman, senior director of the US-based Direct Air Capture Coalition, told Energy Intelligence that GE's entry into the sector "is further evidence that the essential climate need for carbon removal is achieving broad recognition."

"The potential business opportunity that will emerge alongside the scaling of these critical technologies is gaining the attention of the mainstays of American industry," he said in an email.

‘Decades of Experience’

GE says its team has developed “a unique DAC system” with a focus on “innovative sorbent materials for CO2 capture.”

The company believes its “decades of experience” designing heat exchangers and solutions for thermal management for power turbines and jet engines give it an edge, noting that “the thermal management design provides an optimal environment for the sorbent materials to remove CO2 from the air.”

GE is also planning to apply for DAC funding from the DOE, according to a report from Axios. DOE has made billions of dollars in funding available for DAC deployment, from hub-scale projects to early-stage development.

In addition to DOE and the Advanced Research Projects Agency, GE said it has also been working with researchers at the University of California-Berkeley, the University of South Alabama, TDA Research and others “to drive key advancements in the quality of sorbent materials and thermal management technologies.”

GE said it is also “investing internally” in sorbent-based carbon capture solutions, both for DAC and point-source capture.

Carbon Capture (CCS), Emerging Technologies, Corporate Strategy
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