Jump directly to the page contents

Scaling up Carbon Dioxide Removal

© Nicolas Herrbach/stock.adobe.com

The project aims at evaluating the scientific, political, and social prerequisites for the development of large-scale demonstration projects for carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere.

Since human activities cannot be fully decarbonized in the future, the development and implementation of CDR techniques on the order of gigatonnes per year is necessary. So far, however, there are no large-scale demonstrators for CDR in Germany - in contrast to some other countries.

The project aims to promote the future development of CDR demonstrators in Germany. The project team would like to connect the community in the Research Field Earth & Environment, which is actively working on approaches for natural and technical carbon removal. In addition, the goal of the project is to conduct a dialogue with the various interest groups (public, politics, industry) about the feasibility and challenges of implementing CDR demonstrators. Finally, the team would like to work together with the mentioned stakeholders to increase the visibility, awareness, and evaluation of risks and impact assessments regarding CDR demonstration projects.

© Jan Pauls Fotografie

General Assembly 2023

Dirk Sachse presented the CDR SynCom-project at the Helmholtz Earth & Environment General Assembly.

© Marie Heidenreich

The scientists presented another cross-topic activity in a breakout-session on 15 May 2023: "Carbon sources and sinks in the Earth’s (Surface) System".

© Annette Kirschmann

Kick-off workshop

On September 28/29, the kick-off workshop of 'Scaling up Carbon Dioxide Removal' took place in Berlin. Scientists from all seven Helmholtz Earth and Environment Centres attended. On the first day, Mark Lawrence, Kathleen Mar, Daniela Thrän, and Oliver Geden gave presentations on research highlights and on the politics of CDR policymaking. On the second day, the group was split into three breakout sessions discussing research synthesis, connection of science and industry, and science-policy dialogues.

© Helmholtz SynCom

Second Workshop SynCom-Project „Scaling up Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)” (23.–24.04.2024)
The second SynCom CDR Project workshop on April 23-24, 2024, brought together Helmholtz researchers, policy makers, and industry stakeholders to discuss Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) strategies, focusing on political, scientific, economic, and societal aspects.

© Helmholtz SynCom

Writing Retreat Synthesis Paper | SynCom Project 'Scaling-up Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR)'

On April 25 and 26, 2024, Helmholtz researchers came together for a writing retreat to work on a synthesis paper on biological CDR methods. On the first day, the review and synthesis sections were developed further, and chapters on permanence as well as the opportunities and challenges of land-based CDR methods were created. On the second day, the researchers discussed biodiversity, soil carbon, and the development of illustrations for the synthesis paper.

Parliamentary breakfast ‘Climate Neutrality 2045 – Opportunities and Challenges of DACCS and BECCS’ on May 17, 2024 in the German Bundestag. © Jan Pauls Fotografie/Helmholtz SynCom

After the lectures and the discussion round, a lively exchange took place between speakers, members of the Bundestag and their employees as well as representatives of various federal ministries. © Jan Pauls Fotografie/Helmholtz SynCom

Parliamentary Breakfast on ‘Climate Neutrality 2045 – Opportunities and Challenges of DACCS and BECCS'

On May 17, 2024, Helmholtz SynCom, together with Helmholtz Energy, CDRterra, CDRmare, DACStorE, NETs@Helmholtz, and Helmholtz KLIMA, hosted a parliamentary breakfast in the Bundestag on CO2 removal. Dr Nina Scheer, MdB and climate protection and energy policy spokesperson for the SPD parliamentary group, took over the patronage of the event. Overall, a total of 32 representatives from various Bundestag factions and federal ministries were present.

Prof. Dr. Julia Pongratz (LMU and spokesperson for CDRterra) introduced the topic of Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) in her lecture. Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Daniela Thrän (UFZ) and Prof. Dr. Roland Dittmeyer (KIT) spoke about two technical methods of Carbon Dioxide Removal: BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage) and DACCS (Direct Air Capture and Storage). Finally, Dr. Klaus Wallmann (GEOMAR) explained important background information on the storage of carbon dioxide underground. Following the lectures, a lively discussion took place between the members of parliament and the speakers. Further bilateral exchange between our experts and politicians are already being planned.


Prof Dr Dirk Sachse: dirk.sachse@gfz-potsdam.de
Prof Dr Gesine Mollenhauer: gesine.mollenhauer@awi.de

A mailing list has been set up for this project. To sign up, click here:


This list will be used to inform participants about upcoming meetings and the work in progress. Helmholtz Earth and Environment scientists who are not officially part of the project are also invited to join this list.