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Five will set up at a carbon research facility called the Wyoming Integrated Test Center, in Gillette, Wyoming, where they will look to demonstrate how C02 can be captured and converted from a coal-fired power plant. The other five will work at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre in Calgary, Canada, and will try to demonstrate technologies that can capture and convert C02 from a natural gas-fired power plant.
Battling it out in Wyoming:
Breathe from India, working to use a novel catalyst to produce methanol for use as a fuel and petrochemical feedstock.
CarbonCure from Canada, working on stronger and more environmentally-friendly concrete.
C4X from China, making chemicals and bio-composite foamed plastics.
Carbon Capture Machine form Scotland, trying to produce solid carbonates for use in construction.
Carbon Upcycling UCLA from California, developing a concrete replacement that absorbs C02 during production.
And having it out in Calgary:
Carbicrete from Montreal, Canada, working on cement-free carbon negative concrete made from waste produced during steel production.
C2CNT from the USA, producing carbon nanotubes.
Carbon Upcycling Technologies from Calgary, Canada, producing graphitic nanoparticles and graphene derivatives for use in polymers, concrete, epoxies and batteries.
CERT/b] from Toronto, Canada, creating new building blocks for industrial chemicals.
Newlight from California, using biological systems to create advanced bioplastics.
Since President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, says Gutknecht, the unexpected positive effect is that more high-net-worth individuals are taking greater responsibility for the planet.
“The awareness created through [Trump’s] decision has a huge value as it has become increasingly clear that we cannot depend on governments to impose a regulatory framework to stop global warming. It’s up to the economy and privates to tackle the challenge,” he says.
"In principle, performance-based carbon markets, a well-design carbon tax, a cap-and-trade allowance system, further regulation, could all do the trick to finance this," says Holmes. "But cutting emissions is an immense, systemic, industrial problem. Ultimately it will come down to good governments and good policy to create conditions that entrepreneurs and individuals can go out and act upon."
Based on an idea first conceptualized by co-author Ian Archibald of Cinglas Ltd., Chester, England, the scientists call the new integrated system ABECCS, or algae bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. The system can act as a carbon dioxide sink while also generating food and electricity. For example, a 7,000-acre ABECCS facility can yield as much protein as soybeans produced on the same land footprint, while simultaneously generating 17 million kilowatt hours of electricity and sequestering 30,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
The ABECCS system's economic viability depends on the value of the nutritional products being produced and the price of carbon. Even without a price on carbon, microalgae production - in a fish-farming, aquacultural sense - is commercially viable today if the algae are priced as a fishmeal replacement in aquafeeds.
Although humans live predominantly in the bottom couple of metres of the atmosphere, what we breathe is heavily influenced by a much deeper layer of air that runs from the surface up to around 1km in height, referred to in meteorological terms as the planetary boundary layer. Pollution is rapidly mixed in the boundary layer due to turbulence and thermals, and it is this much bigger volume of air that needs scrubbing and cleaning if pollution is really to be reduced on large scales.
Direct air capture technology works almost exactly like it sounds. Giant fans draw ambient air into contact with an aqueous solution that picks out and traps carbon dioxide. Through heating and a handful of familiar chemical reactions, that same carbon dioxide is re-extracted and ready for further use -- as a carbon source for making valuable chemicals like fuels, or for storage via a sequestration strategy of choice. It's not just theory -- Carbon Engineering's facility in British Columbia is already achieving both CO2 capture and fuel generation.
The idea of direct air capture is hardly new, but the successful implementation of a scalable and cost-effective working pilot plant is. After conducting a full process analysis and crunching the numbers, Keith and his colleagues claim that realizing direct air capture on an impactful scale will cost roughly $94-$232 per ton of carbon dioxide captured, which is on the low end of estimates that have ranged up to $1,000 per ton in theoretical analyses.