Advancing the fight against climate change, the Airbus Direct Air Capture (DAC) team has earned a prestigious position in the finals of the German Future Prize 2023. This accolade, officially known as the Deutscher Zukunftspreis, is an esteemed recognition. The German Federal President awards the prize for excellence in scientific endeavors that provide significant societal benefits.
The trio behind this cutting-edge innovation includes engineers Antje Bulmann, Viktor Fetter, and developer Tobias Horn. Their groundbreaking development focuses on Direct Air Capture technology, which aims to extract carbon dioxide (CO2) directly from the surrounding air. This captured CO2 can then be stored or repurposed for various industrial applications.
Strategies for a Sustainable Future
Airbus Direct Air Capture emerges as the aviation industry grapples with its carbon footprint. Airbus is deploying multiple strategies to mitigate CO2 emissions. DAC technology is a noteworthy addition to its climate defense arsenal.
Dr. Sabine Klauke, Airbus Chief Technical Officer, remarked, “The trio’s achievement in producing the DAC modules is a perfect example of how technologies from the space industry can be refined for use on Earth and help to reduce CO2 emissions.”
How does Airbus DAC work?
The magic behind Airbus’s DAC modules finds its roots in adsorber technology. Interestingly, this development has its origins in space. The International Space Station (ISS) uses adsorber technology to eliminate the CO2 astronauts exhale. By modifying this technology, the Airbus team has enabled these modules to perform the same vital role on our planet. To get a bit more technical, the technology relies on an absorptive DAC process using a specially developed amine resin. This resin is efficient enough to capture CO2 even in minimal concentrations.
The process starts with a fan pulling in the air. This air then flows over the solid amine filter, effectively binding CO2. Then, the air is released, devoid of almost all its CO2. After the resin gathers its maximum capacity of CO2, a heating process rejuvenates the filter, releasing a dense stream of CO2. The dense CO2 is either repurposed or stored underground.
Green is a Journey to a Better Destination
Beyond the DAC modules, Airbus remains committed to its green journey. Their holistic approach to reducing the aviation industry’s carbon emissions encompasses fleet modernization, efficient air traffic management, Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF), and, in the long run, investments in DAC and hydrogen technologies.
The Airbus DAC team’s dedication is not just an endeavor for a more sustainable aviation industry but a stride towards a more sustainable future for us all.