Carbon Engineering - Climate Change Response

Science’s response to Climate Change, Carbon Engineering – Backed by Bill Gates

CO2 and our World

CO2 is a greenhouse gas that absorbs the heat from the Sun and radiates heat back within the Earth’s atmosphere. It is done gradually, thus the heat that should have essentially bounced off the Earth gets stored within. The global average CO2 in 2018 was 407.4 +-0.1 parts per million (ppm), these levels are higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years. Some researchers even claim that the last time it was this high was 3 million years ago when the sea level was 15-25 meters higher.

Carbon Engineering

It is a company founded in 2009, their pilot plant started functioning in 2015 and started converting the CO2 into fuels since 2017. The pilot facility was started in Squamish, Canada. The main focus of their work is on Direct Air Capture Technology. It is developed on the academic work on Carbon Management by Prof. David Keith’s research group at the University of Calgary and Carnegie Mellon University.

They are moving at a rapid pace towards commercialization. They are looking at a broad commercial deployment in the year 2021. Even though it took more than a decade to reach where they are, they have managed to raise $68 million in recent times and one their big supporter is Bill Gates

Company’s Agenda

Traditional methods focus on capturing emissions from industrial flue stacks, while they focus on capturing CO2 directly from the air. Their industrial-scale Direct Air Capture facility will capture one million tons of CO2 per year.

Which is equivalent to the work of 40 million trees with a cost of approximately $100 per ton of CO2.

Their industrial-scale project would be using existing supply chains of equipment and then innovating on them and integrating them to their DAC system.

There is no specific need for location, the plants can be easily made in places where low-cost electricity is available or where there is a high production of CO2. non-arable lands would be one of their target points to not use land needed for agriculture.

Process

  • Through a series of Large fans, they suck in the air from the atmosphere.
  • CO2 from this air gets collected through a capture solution that drips in the section where the air passes through
  • The CO2 rich solution is then converted to pallets and the solution is resent to the air capture chamber
  • Through a series of chemical reactions, thee pallets are converted to Pure Co2.
  • This CO2 is either stored or is converted to fuel.
  • For this process, they use Natural Gas, Electricity and water along with various chemicals 
Carbon Engineering Process

Brighter Future

With innovative companies like this one, the future doesn’t seem as dystopian. We should do all we can to promote such innovations forcing the world to listen to them. Even though the downside of such innovations is that it lets us use fossil fuels more because the direct impact can be subsided, but that is a problem for another time.

Thank you for reading