Thursday December 7, 2023

What role does Direct Air Capture (DAC) play in achieving net zero?

While DAC is increasingly recognized in net-zero scenarios, its scalability, cost, and technological readiness are still evolving.

Webinar Summary

On December 7th, 2023, the Transition Accelerator hosted a critical panel discussion featuring international experts exploring the critical question: What role does air capture (DAC) play in achieving net zero? While DAC is increasingly recognized in net-zero scenarios, its scalability, cost, and technological readiness are still evolving.

Moderated by Dr. David Layzell (The Transition Accelerator), this discussion will feature Donald Addu (Climeworks) Silvan Aeschlimann (Rocky Mountain Institute), and Emily Grubert, (University of Notre Dame), who presented compelling case studies and provide insights into the future role and scale-up of DAC.


Dr. David Layzell

Transition Pathway Principal, The Transition Accelerator
David B. Layzell is an Energy Systems Architect with the Transition Accelerator, a Faculty Professor at the University of Calgary, and Director of the Canadian Energy Systems Analysis Research CESAR Initiative. Between 2008 and 2012, he was Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy (ISEEE), a cross-faculty, graduate research, and training institute at the University of Calgary. Before moving to Calgary, he was a Professor of Biology at Queen’s University cross appointments in Environmental Studies and the School of Public Policy), and Executive Director of BIOCAP Canada, a research foundation focused on biological solutions to climate change. While at Queen’s he cofounded a scientific instrumentation company called Qubit Systems Inc and was elected ‘Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) for his research contributions.


Donald Addu

Senior Manager, Strategic Partnerships, Climeworks

Donald Addu is a North Carolina native and a graduate of Appalachian State University with a degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration at North Carolina Central University. He has spent over a decade advocating for action on climate change in many different roles, including as the Senior Director of Programs for Citizens Climate Lobby, the Board Chair of CleanAireNC, and as an appointed member of the Durham City/County Environmental Affairs Board. Donald is currently the Senior Manager of Strategic Partnerships for Climeworks, a Swiss based company doing direct air capture and storage of CO2, where he supports the carbon removal efforts in the Finance and Asset Management industries. Donald is an accomplished speaker, including guest lectures at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC State University, Appalachian State University, and Duke University. Donald lives in Durham with his wife, Katie Rose.


Silvan Aeschlimann

Manager, Carbon Removal, RMI

Silvan is a manager with RMI’s CDR initiative, where he leads their efforts on direct air capture and storage (DAC+S). In his role, he develops science-based roadmaps for the research, development, and deployment of these technologies and helps guide funding towards priority projects. He also supports RMI’s venture accelerator, D3, in advancing the most promising CDR start-ups in the field.


Emily Grubert

Associate Professor of Sustainable Energy Policy, University of Notre Dame

Emily Grubert is a civil engineer and environmental sociologist who studies how we can make better decisions about large infrastructure systems, particularly related to justice-centering decarbonization of the US energy system. Specifically, she studies life cycle socioenvironmental impacts associated with future policy and infrastructure and how community and societal priorities can be better incorporated into multicriteria policy and project decisions. Her major methods include scenario analysis, life cycle assessment, survey and interview research, and text mining.



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