On September 12, The Energy Collective explored with a panel of experts the potential of carbon capture, both in the form of the nascent direct air capture industry and the more traditional carbon capture taking place at fossil fuel power generation plants, to combat the rise of greenhouse gases and accelerating climate change. We hope you'll enjoy this crucial discussion in either podcast or video form below.

Listen to the audio: (length 01:01:05)

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While cleaner forms of energy continue to make strides, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, with alarming changes in our climate such as a new, early low for Arctic sea ice this summer likely related. The fossil fuels that produce many of those emissions are likely to remain a major part of our energy mix for some time. Is it time to place more emphasis on solutions that directly address the CO2 they produce?

ImageSome leading scientists have formed businesses venturing to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air and sell it for reuse. Can this be achieved at a large enough scale to impact the global climate? The process is scientifically possible, but a lot rides on whether the cost of removal is low enough to make these businesses profitable.

Meanwhile, efforts to scrub CO2 from emissions at coal, oil, and natural gas plants have already received some attention. How advanced and widespread are those projects, and what kind of impact can we expect from this form of carbon capture?

In this conversation, we examine the questions around both a potentially important climate solution and an expanding business space:

  • How effective is filtering CO2 right out of the air? How does it work?
  • What motivates fossil fuel plants to invest in technology that captures CO2?
  • Can carbon capture be profitable on a large scale? How soon?


ImageDavid Keith, PhD
President, Carbon Engineering, Professor of Applied Physics, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School.

ImageMarc Gunther
Journalist and consultant in business and sustainability, contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, and author of Suck It Up: How capturing carbon from the air can help solve the climate crisis.

ImageDr. Peter Woywode
Head of Innovation Management, Siemens Oil & Gas Division, responsible for turbomachines, new products and solutions, and sustainable technology and products.

ImageMatthew Stepp
Senior Analyst, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation