Moonshot Research and Development Program                    ●Japanese / English

DAC-U (Direct Air Capture and Utilization) System in Urban Areas

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Project Summary

R&D Summary

We will develop an integrated system that captures and recycles the dilute CO2 emitted into the atmosphere by physical / chemical methods and reduces it to resources by an electrochemical process driven by renewable energy. We will establish a flexible and scalable system that targets CO2 in the atmosphere and can be distributed on a small scale by taking advantage of the features of electrochemical processes. By targeting atmospheric CO2, we will build technology that can handle a wide range of CO2 emission sources, including indoor air and factory exhaust.

This integrated system mainly consists of CO2 capture and enrichment by physical adsorption and electrochemical methods, and electrolytic reduction technology that produces useful chemical feedstocks such as ethylene using separated CO2 as a raw material. In particular, we will develop CO2 separation and enrichment by electrochemical CO2 dissolution control, and highly efficient and highly selective CO2 reduction using innovative catalysts and reactors as core technologies. We will promote the development of each elemental technology, process integration of elemental technology, and plant demonstration, aiming at implementation of an innovative system that recycles CO2.

CO2 recycling system using electric energy
-Toward a reduction of 100 million tons/year of CO2 emissions @2050-

Unique Features of Project: Urban DAC-U (Direct Air Capture and Utilization) System

In this project, we are considering an urban DAC-U system that captures and recycles CO2 inside and outside office buildings, as a concrete example of societal implementation with a target date of 2050. This system captures, enriches, electrolytically reduces, and separates and purifies CO2 from the exhaled breath of 100,000 people, which is equivalent to the number of employees in 20 25-story office buildings, and produces 10,000 tons of ethylene (C2H4) per year.

This system captures and enriches CO2 in the building while circulating the air in the building. Since it is possible to reduce the CO2 concentration while maintaining the O2 concentration, it is no longer necessary to take in outside air, which was done by conventional air conditioners. Therefore, it is possible to significantly reduce the power required to adjust the temperature of the outside air taken in to match the temperature inside the building. According to a preliminary estimation, the electric power required for the CO2 capture and enrichment process can be substantially covered by the temperature control electric power of the outside air intake that can be significantly reduced and the utilization of the heat energy that is not used for cogeneration.

Urban DAC-U (Direct Air Capture and Utilization) system -Capture and recycle CO2 inside and outside office buildings in 2050-

System Configuration and Research Sharing of This Project

This project aims to develop a new system that reduces CO2 emitted from the atmosphere, buildings, factories, etc. to useful organic compounds such as ethylene. The system consists of (1) the process of physically and electrochemically concentrating (capturing and enriching) CO2, and (2) the process of electrochemically performing the CO2 electrolytic reduction reaction.

Research institutes that develop elemental technologies (1) and (2) and research institutes that aim to build a system (3) that optimally integrates these and takes into consideration societal implementation will collaborate and cooperate with each other. Emphasis is placed on developing systems in a purposeful and efficient manner.

System configuration

R&D items and research sharing

KPI, Final Goal, Development Schedule

KPI up to 2030

Final goal,2030

  • Focusing on electrochemical development, we will develop a process for CO2 capture and reduction to useful basic chemicals that can handle CO2 concentration of 400ppm in the atmosphere and can be autonomously distributed.
  • We will build a pilot plant and perform an LCA assessment that takes into account the resources and energy required for conversion from CO2 capture to basic chemicals, and confirm that it is useful for global warming countermeasures.

Development schedule


R&D-related and general inquiries: Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology, The University of Tokyo

Industrial / International Collaboration and Contract related inquiries: RIKEN Innovation Co., Ltd.


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