Buying down the Cost of Direct Air Capture

Klaus S. Lackner, Habib Azarabadi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Direct air capture (DAC) shows exceptional promise for carbon dioxide removal on the scale required to fulfill the Paris Agreement. Even though planetary limitations do not constrain the scale of DAC, the currently high cost puts its feasibility in question. By observing cost reduction pathways of similar technologies, this paper explores the cost reduction opportunities that result from learning-by-doing. We developed an analytical buy-down model to investigate what it would take to lower the cost of DAC to $100/ton CO2. Our goal is not to accurately predict future costs, but our analysis demonstrates that if DAC follows a path similar to that of comparable, successful technologies, a capital investment of several hundred million dollars could buy down the cost of DAC. This buy-down effort at a relatively low cost will quantify the learning potential of DAC and show whether its costs can be reduced (like solar photovoltaic modules) or whether despite the investment it remains expensive (like nuclear power generation).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8196-8208
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 9 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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