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European CO2 availability from point-sources and direct air capture - Transport & Environment (T&E)

European CO2 availability from point-sources and direct air capture (DAC)

Ricardo (REE) has gained significant experience in carbon removals and negative emission technologies (also referred to as Greenhouse Gas Removals, GGRs). Most notably, we have conducted work for a wide range of clients and developers worldwide to help undertake due diligence for bioenergy carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (BECCS) projects in the power and heat, energy-from-waste, biomethane and biogas and distillery sectors.

Ricardo is also supporting the development of a hybrid innovative biochar-BECCS cogeneration system which captures and stores carbon permanently through biochar production and CO2 utilisation in industrial applications where it remains permanently trapped. 

We have also recently worked on various projects where we assessed the potential, current status and barriers for the deployment of Direct Air Capture (DAC).  This involved assessing the potential of DAC for synthetic fuels and assessment of business models and certification and offset schemes.


Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a fledgling technology with only around 1 MtCO2 per year of capturing capacity. As such, there is little specific support for the technology within policy. Therefore, determining availability of DAC CO2 in the long-term is a difficult but necessary task.

The European Federation for Transport and Environment (T&E) view DAC as the most future-proof CO2 source for synthetic kerosene (e-kerosene) production. However, policymakers are not currently very familiar with the technology. Also, point source CO2 and biogenic CO2 are often said to be cheap and available, undermining the appeal for DAC.

The European Commission’s proposed ReFuelEU mandate places an obligation on fuel suppliers to blend an increasing level of e-kerosene into their fuel mix. The manufacture of e-kerosene requires carbon dioxide (CO2) and hydrogen (H2) as feedstocks. T&E have raised a concern with the proposed ReFuelEU mandate, in that there is no incentive for the use of DAC for e-kerosene production.      

From a resource availability perspective, T&E wanted to demonstrate that in the longer term, only DAC has the potential to sustainably meet the needs of e-kerosene production. Ricardo were commissioned to undertake an assessment of CO2 availability from DAC and fossil fuel-based and biogenic sources to 2050.

Our approach

Our approach was to determine the requirement for DAC at 5-year intervals from 2025 to 2050. The necessary growth in capacity was compared against existing studies of expert opinions and past experience of renewable generators, which showed that the required capacity growth is not unprecedented.

We undertook a study of CO2 availability from point-source and biogenic sources from 2025 to 2050 within the EU. Initially, the current status of existing CO2 market was assessed. From this a projection of the growth of existing demands to 2050 was made. Similarly, a projection of the supply from existing sources was made, emerging sources and demands for CO2 were also studied. Larger CO2 producers, such as power generators and industry, were considered as viable for CCUS within the timescale. Future demand for CO2 from markets such as e-fuels, chemicals, materials, and horticulture was also estimated. 

The projections of existing and emerging CO2 supply and demand informed the capacity of DAC required to fulfil the e-kerosene demand and maintain net zero emissions, finding that DAC capacity of 281-442 MtCO2 capture per year is required by 2050. The required growth of DAC in Europe to fulfil the requirement was compared to other technologies showing similar capacity growth has been experienced among renewable energy generation types.

Further study was conducted to project the potential fall in capture costs as DAC capacity grows, as well as the land and energy requirements for DAC.


The project was culminated in an informative 57-page report laying out the methods and results of the study in full available here.

The results of the study support T&Es position that the point-source and biogenic CO2 supply will be insufficient to meet the growing demands for CO2, including the need to sequester CO2 in a net zero scenario. Building DAC capacity was necessary in order to fulfil ReFuelEU mandate obligations with e-fuels, attain net zero CO2 emissions and supply other growing CO2 demands.

Quote from Transport & Environment 

"Working with Ricardo on this project was a seamless process. We appreciated the very efficient updates that were offered on a weekly basis, as well as the availability of the consultants for ad hoc clarifications. Most importantly, we are very happy about the insightful final report that was produced."


European Federation for Transport and Environment, aka Transport & Environment (T&E)

Start and end dates

01/2022 - 05/2022


Belgium, Brussels

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