geoengineering explained: the advantages and disadvantages of ambient air capture

Ambient air capture, a form of carbon dioxide sequestration (CDR), involves building large machines that can remove carbon dioxide directly from the ambient air so that the captured CO2 can be stored elsewhere. The three steps of the air capture process are:

  1. Contacting the air
  2. Absorption or adsorption on a sorbent
  3. Recovery of the sorbent


the process of ambient air capture, image credit:




  • Manages emissions originating from any source
  • Full-scale operations are able to absorb significant amounts of carbon, e.g. emissions from 300,000 cars
  • Can remove far more CO2 per acre of land footprint than trees and plants
  • Enables the direct extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere
  • Requires an energy source
  • Large volumes of air must be processed in order to collect meaningful amounts of CO2
  • Expensive


ambient air capture, image credit:


see also:

Question: What is geoengineering?

Albedo Enhancement

Space Reflectors
Stratospheric Aerosols

Ambient Air Capture
Bioenergy Capture and Sequestration
Ocean Fertilization
Enhanced Weathering
Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement

Carbon Engineering Ltd. (n.d.). What is air capture? Retrieved from
Lackner, K. S., Brennan, S., Matter, J. M., Park, A.-H. A., Wright, A., & Zwaan, B. v. (2012, June 28). The urgency of the development of CO2 capture from ambient air. Retrieved from