The team at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNLL) has developed what is claimed to be the "least costly carbon capture system to date".

Using a PNNL-developed capture solvent, the system snatches CO2 molecules before they’re emitted, then converts them into useful, sellable substances.

As described in the journal Advanced Energy Materials, the system has been designed to fit into coal-, gas-, or biomass-fired power plants, as well as cement kilns and steel plants.

While commercial systems soak up carbon from flue gas at roughly $46 (£37) per tonne of CO2, a new study described in the Journal of Cleaner Production set the cost of running the methanol system using PNNL-developed capture solvents at just below $39 (£31) per tonne of CO2.

“We looked at three CO2-binding solvents in this new study,” said chemical engineer Yuan Jiang, who led the assessment. “We found that they capture over 90 per cent of the carbon...