How Does Direct Air Capture Work?
What We Do
The Georgia Tech Direct Air Capture Center (DirACC) coordinates research across the Institute aimed at the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere. Natural and engineered approaches that remove CO2 from the atmosphere are referred to as Negative Emissions Technologies (NETs). DirACC is supported by and reports to the Georgia Tech Strategic Energy Institute.
Paul Dirac was one of the most significant theoretical physicists of the 20th century. Although he is famous for his work in quantum mechanics, he also made important contributions in the area of separations science. In this arena, he was perhaps the first to articulate the thermodynamics of dilute mixture separations, which is of special importance for the removal of CO2 from air. In particular, he identified the minimum work or power required to achieve a separation and noted that certain separation techniques operated with differing efficiencies (second law efficiencies). We use the intersection of his work in separations science and the concept of direct air capture as inspiration to adopt his namesake for the Center.
Reference: R.H. Dalitz, Chapter 10: “Another side to Paul Dirac”, in: “Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac: Reminiscences about a Great Physicist”, Cambridge University Press 1990.