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Can large span photovoltaic canopies combine with Direct Air Capture to remove CO2 within the urban core of cities?

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About This Project

Direct Air Capture is a developing nascent technology that removes CO2 directly from the atmosphere. Current operational facilities primarily exist in rural areas. We intend to evaluate an urban DAC concept that utilizes the air rights over transportation corridors to bring emissions filtering to disadvantaged communities. We are working to build a pilot module of the this concept that will show it's capacity to remove emissions within our cities.

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What is the context of this research?

As a husband and father of 4 in Salt Lake City, we experience pronounced and consistent poor air quality. Salt Lake Metropolitan’s million+ residents are unwillingly smoking 15 packs of cigarettes a year and urban pollution is a growing problem around the world. Not only does air pollution reduce the lifespan of entire regions, it disproportionately affects lower economic communities due to their proximity to transportation pollution. These near infrastructure communities experience increased air and noise pollution, lower land values, and less economic opportunity. This concept is designed to cover these corridors with clear ETFE acting as a tunnel to prevent air and noise pollution. We then utilize the canopy for solar and rainwater harvesting.

What is the significance of this project?

This concept represents our strong need and desire to heal communities equitably. If we can solve pollution at near freeway communities in the most polluted cities in the world, we can help curb the injustices our infrastructures have been causing for decades. This concept is designed to provide clean air, drastically reduce freeway noise pollution, harvest rainwater, generate sustainable solar energy, and provide an abundance of clean technology jobs to these underserved and forgotten communities. According to the United Nations Human Rights Council, clean air is a basic human right. We will work with cities and these communities to identify the best locations that serve the greatest population to provide social, racial, and environmental justice.

What are the goals of the project?

This initial module has been digitally created and tested using structural and mechanical analytic software. This project will create the physical version of the module which will verify our results in-situ and be able to prove the quantity of CO2 a single module can capture. The diagram below shows the components of a single module that we will build. Validating our digital module will prepare us for a full scale pilot facility. We have backing and support from many state departments of transportation and their willingness to develop a full scale pilot location after initial prototyping. Our hope is to have the module completed by end of Q1 2023 and be in development of a whole pilot facility (100+ modules) by end of Q4 2023.

Budget

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This budget will supply us the materials to assemble a complete urban DAC concept module. We will be able to prove the quantity of CO2 a single module can capture and help establish the means to network multiple modules together. A complete canopy will be comprised of thousands of modules and, by our calculations, filter 50000+ tons of CO2 per mile of highway we cover.


In order to build this module we need to purchase the correct plastics, surrounding structure, embedded photovoltaics, and mechanical input and output elements. We have some financing through winning the Utah Technology Innovation Fund Award used for digital analytics of the structural and mechanical systems, but need this last amount to complete this test prototype. Once proven we will be able to publish our findings concerning photovoltaic canopies combined with direct air capture mechanical systems.

Endorsed by

Nick Hammer is a talented, diligent, and passionate innovator dedicated to building knowledge and developing novel direct air capture technology solutions to help address climate change. I am proud to endorse his project and urge others to support his important work as well!

Project Timeline

A large part of this experiment will be the lead times in procuring materials. We intend to have all required materials in hand at the beginning of Q3 2023. Once we have all the materials it will take roughly one month to assemble the materials and begin testing the individual systems. The systems that need to be tested are the photovoltaics, the air cushioning, and the mechanical pull of the system. This will be done over the course of a month.

Dec 19, 2022

Project Launched

Jan 16, 2023

Project Launched

Jun 05, 2023

Procure all required materials

Jul 03, 2023

Assemble materials into full scale module mockup

Jul 10, 2023

Test air cushioning of ETFE

Meet the Team

Nick Hammer
Nick Hammer
CEO - Founder of SO REAL

Team Bio

Our support team is comprised of four graduates of architecture between the University of Utah and Columbia GSAPP. Michael Hoehn is a Senior Global Computational Designer for Buro Happold of NYC. Michael won the AIA 2020 Innovation Award for a Lifecycle Assessment Toolkit. Sadie Imae is a GSAPP grad who's worked with the transportation department of Maryland. And Shane Stephenson is a U of U grad working as a Senior Design Architect in SLC.

Nick Hammer

I am a pioneer of sustainability. A tinkerer by nature and an innovator by education, I have been developing my career within the Built Environment and sustainability for more than a decade. I have used this skill set to address our society's most pressing issues with regards to global environments and air quality.

I received my Bachelors in Engineering and Construction Management, and my Masters in Architecture and Urban Design and Planning. My education affords me the capacity to design at all scales, from individual parts to entire cities. I've traveled for research around the world including as a Global Coordinator for a built environment research student exchange program.

Over the past 6 months I've served as a Project Associate for the Direct Air Capture Coalition (https://daccoalition.org/) helping lead the entire industry and representing DAC, CDR, and NETs for policy, and financing support.

My profession is as a nationally recognized licensed architect for high end residential homes and commercial properties. As a father of 4 boys, I love playing sports, Legos, and gardening with them and my wife. We keep bees, chickens and love the outdoors.

I've been awarded the Reza Ali Khazeni Memorial Fellowship, the Oldcastle Building Envelope Fellowship, the Utah Technology Innovation Fund award, and am a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America, and a licensed drone pilot.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Additional Information

Module to be assembled with funds for experiment.


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