A key report issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA) last week has underlined the potential for the large-scale deployment of Direct Air Capture (DAC) technologies in the Sultanate of Oman, either as part of the country’s decarbonization strategies or to utilize the captured carbon dioxide (CO2) for industrial or commercial purposes.
Direct Air Capture (DAC) involves the use of mainly proprietary technologies that enable the extraction of CO2 – a key planet-warming greenhouse gas – from the atmosphere. Captured CO2 can be permanently stored in deep geological formations and depleted aquifers of the kind that are found in abundance in Oman. Newer technologies, currently being piloted in the Gulf region, also seek to trap CO2 in certain rocks, such as peridotite, through mineralization.
Additionally, captured CO2 gas can be used in a wide array of applications, such as in the production of synthetic fuels in combination with hydrogen, or in food processing activities.
“Oman could be well suited for the deployment of DAC technologies. This is because of its abundant solar resources to power the DAC plants and availability of water resources and peridotite formations – both needed for CO2 mineralisation with the goal of carbon removal,” the Paris-based intergovernmental agency said in its report.
“While the deployment of DAC for CO2 utilisation is not currently pursued in (Oman), a couple of projects aim to test DAC operation for CO2 storage. These projects could be a starting point in Oman for a more widespread deployment of this technology for a number of purposes including the production of low-emission synthetic hydrocarbon fuels,” it further stated.
Globally, Direct Air Capture is still in its infancy as a commercially-viable pathway to drive C02 removal from the atmosphere, says the IEA. Only a handful of DAC plants are currently in operation, mainly in Europe, the US, Canada and Japan. Between themselves, they capture less than 10,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum – minuscule volumes that hardly make an impact in efforts to mitigate GHG emissions. However, when such technologies mature and are scaled, they can supplement other carbon capture processes in use.
In Oman, Direct Air Capture can also be harnessed to support the production of a range of low-emission fuels, such as methanol, synthetic natural gas, and other transportation grade synthetic fuels. Production of such fuels involve access to both hydrogen and a sustainable carbon source, such as DAC, according to IEA’s study.
Illustrating the promising potential for Direct Air Capture deployment in Oman, the report says, is the example of Omani startup 44.01, which was recently awarded the prestigious Earthshot Prize in the climate mitigation category. 44.01, working with DAC technology providers Climeworks, completed the world’s first DAC + peridotite mineralisation pilot here in Oman earlier this year. In neighbouring UAE, 44.01 is collaborating with ADNOC on a large-scale demonstration project that will be the first to use seawater to mineralise CO2 in peridotite. And in 2024, 44.01 will launch the world’s first commercial-scale peridotite mineralisation project in the Hajar mountains, here in Oman.
SOURCE: Oman Daily Observer
Date: 18 Jun 2023