Why direct air capture holds one of the keys to sustainable aviation

July 6, 2021

To produce e-kerosene, you need CO₂. Sourcing CO₂ from ambient air, a technique otherwise known as direct air capture (DAC), is better than capturing it from industrial sources; a technique which, while cheaper, has the unintended effect of encouraging industries to continue to rely on fossil fuels. This T&E-commissioned report from E4tech assesses whether, when and how DAC could be scaled up to meet the demands of an e-kerosene industry at the scale needed to decarbonise European aviation.

Main findings:
  • Supplying e-kerosene for all flights originating in Europe by 2050 would require 365 Mt/yr of CO₂ to be captured, which could be met by a land area of 950 km2, the equivalent to around 6% of the land area of Belgium (not much).
  • DAC currently has high costs, but these costs can be significantly driven down in the coming years, from €100-500/tCO2 captured to a potential range of €40-170/tCO2.
  • The rate at which DAC could scale up depends, in the short term, on the number of technology developers and their individual scale up capability and, in the long term, on the economic and environmental viability of DAC, which in many cases is policy dependent.It is crucial that DAC benefits from an industrial strategy to support its uptake, which includes continued support for RD&D through European and member state funding programmes.

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