Getting rid of carbon dioxide (a contributor to the greenhouse effect) may be as simple as extracting it directly from the air. Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers from Georgia Tech are studying the economic feasibility of such a technique, the university reported Tuesday, July 24.

Possible applications include supplying energy for fuel production or industrial applications by extracting carbon dioxide from algae, or providing a better method for oil recovery. The method could also be used to supplement the capture of emissions from power plant flues.

Georgia Tech researchers found that a removal unit about the size of an ocean shipping container could extract about 1,000 tons of gas yearly with an operating cost of about $100 per ton.

"Even if we removed CO2 [carbon dioxide] from all the flue gas, we'd still only get a portion of the carbon dioxide emitted each year," said David Sholl, a professor in Georgia Tech's School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering. "If we want to make deep cuts in emissions, we'll have to do more — and air capture is one option for doing that."

For in-depth reporting on this new technology, read the full article at Georgia Tech’s website.