Smart DAC - Sustainable Membrane Absorption & Regeneration Technology for Direct Air Capture


The novel SMART-DAC technology uses membrane gas absorption and membrane electrolysis regeneration to capture and separate CO₂ from the air, creating a continuous absorption cycle. Using wind circulation to push air through the system and being powered using green energy, SMART-DAC is a cost-effective, zero-emissions solution providing continuous CO₂ capture. The CO₂ captured can be reused as a carbon source for sustainable chemicals and synthetic fuels to replace fossil fuels and create a short carbon cycle or stored to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere permanently.

Optimus have been engaged to undertake FEED, Detailed Design, Procurement and Construction support for the pilot-scale Direct Air Capture process facility, being part of a consortium formed by CO2CirculAir, Process Design Consultancy (PDC), Heriot-Watt University, B9 Energy and the Net Zero Technology Centre.

The consortium secured the funding as part of the Greenhouse Gas Removals (GGR)Innovation Competition. It will support the construction of a pilot plant that will begin testing in spring 2023, capturing a minimum of 100 tonnes of CO₂ per annum. The plant will be situated in Larne, Northern Ireland, at the B9 Energy Storage offices, where B9 will draw on nearly 30 years of renewables sector experience to develop this technology to the next stage and potentially incorporate it into their existing portfolio of projects.


The Challenge

Phase 1

FEED study was executed as part of phase 1 of the project. Phase 1 objectives were to generate engineering, procurement, and construction cost estimates, to define further the processing system and equipment requirements, define key discipline requirements, instrumentation and control requirements, generate FEED level layout of piping, vessels, mechanical equipment and structure and ensure safety by design.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project is mainly focused on completing the engineering package prepared during phase 1, supporting the consortium in the Procurement of equipment, and during the manufacturing and construction of the pilot plant.

The Results

Phase 1 of the project was successfully completed. Main findings and support were given from Optimus to the consortium:

  • A process rationalization was conducted to simplify and reduce costs, resulting in a substantial reduction in equipment and therefore plant size and cost.
  • A preliminary layout for the pilot plant was developed and refined as the process improved. This resulted in a substantial decrease in plant equipment and attendant facilities. The site footprint has dramatically been reduced due to this exercise.
  • Plant cost estimation has been based on a combination of engineering, procurement and construction costs from Optimus and the lead consortium team.
  • Lead time to build the plant has also been estimated, including long lead items (pumps / EDBP package / MGA unit / Control System).

Phase 2 of the project is still ongoing, with significant changes in Optimus scope, based on the new approach of the lead consortium to split the work into small working packages that should support the project delivery on schedule and according to the current budget constraints. The project has been split into 7 working packages, and suppliers have been already selected by the lead consortium team. Optimus scope in this phase would be:

  • Generate engineering deliverables that support the scope for each working package (preparation of drawings, 3D models, layouts, and specific technical reports).
  • Prepare a set of the statement of requirements by working package, for the lead consortium team to use as the main specification for the suppliers selected, ensuring compliance with British standards.
  • Execute technical safety reviews to ensure the pilot plant will run safely during the operating period and comply with local regulations.
  • Provide technical support during the procurement and construction phase.