Columbia University

Technology Ventures

Process for removing CO2 from air

Technology #m05-026

CO2 is a product of fuel combustion and its excess presence in the atmosphere is producing global climate change. The efficient removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is critical for the homeostasis of our enviornment. The technology described here is a process by which CO2 can be removed from the atmosphere using readily available chemical materials and thermal power. Compared with current approaches, this technology has a smaller form factor and improves efficiency as a thermally powered, self-contained unit. This air extraction enables CO2 capture on demand and can be combined with other capture schemes relating to energy conversion, capture, and storage.

Distinct thermally-fueled chemistry for improved air scrubbing

This technology is based on the sodium and calcium loop process using polypropylene sheets. Through a series of chemical reactions, CO2 from ambient air is stored in the solid state for later release. This involves a causticization and calcination process that is spontaneous and 90% complete in one hour, with favorable energetics and competitive cost per ton of CO2 captured. Unlike other competing technologies (e.g. monoethanolamine flue gas scrubbing, biomass generation, air scrubbing using KOH), this technology uses distinct chemistry, is self-contained and thermally fueled. This technology has potential applications in synthesis fuels, gas-to-liquid systems, and enhanced oil and gas recovery. This technology could be the basis of a large-scale efficient air extraction plant.

Lead Inventor:

Klaus Lackner, Ph.D.


  • Carbon capture
  • Carbon storage
  • Synthesis fuels
  • Gas-to-liquid systems
  • Enhanced oil and gas recovery


  • Self-contained
  • Thermally fueled
  • Distinct chemistry

Patent Information:

Patent Issued (US 7,699,909)

Tech Ventures Reference: IR M05-026

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