By Karen Peattie

DIRECT air capture technology supported by a consortium that includes Heriot-Watt University has secured £3 million in funding through the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The novel SMART-DAC technology developed by Dutch R&D start-up CO2CirculAir BV uses membrane gas absorption and membrane electrolysis regeneration to capture and separate CO₂ from the air.

Funding will support the construction of a pilot plant in Northern Ireland that will begin testing in spring 2023, capturing a minimum of 100 tonnes of CO₂ per annum. The plant will be situated in Larne at the B9 Energy Storage offices, where B9 will develop the technology to the next stage.

Also part of the consortium is the Aberdeen-based Net Zero Technology Centre, Process Design Centre, and Optimus Plus, helping accelerate the UK’s carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) experience.

Project manager at the Net Zero Technology Centre, Iain Martin, said: “The SMART-DAC project is a significant opportunity for Scotland to capitalise on the engineering strengths and capabilities of the existing offshore energy sector.

“The widespread adoption of CCUS technologies, which can remove current and historical emissions from the atmosphere, will have a significant role in achieving our emissions goals.

“Successful demonstration, with industry support, of the novel technology at the pilot scale is an essential first step on the road to scaling up and commercialisation.”

The Net Zero Technology Centre was created as part of the Aberdeen City Region Deal, with £180 million of UK and Scottish government funding to maximise the potential of the North Sea.

Jeffrey Felix, CEO at CO2CirculAir BV, said: “Extracting CO₂ from the air and using it as a future carbon source, replacing the use of fossil fuels, creates a short energy cycle essential to achieving net zero.

“The reaction from the younger generation when we explain our technology is exhilarating. This generation will indeed benefit most from our efforts to tackle climate change.”