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Carbon Dioxide in the news: XPrize Finalists, Companies looking for funding, and algae

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posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 06:08 PM
Prior to “roll everything back” there was an eco-contest of sorts called the Carbon XPrize where 46 teams from around the world would compete against each other by going head-to-head in a couple rounds. They had to figure out how to capture CO2, then turn it into another useful product instead a waste product vented into the environment: upcycling.

First news is an update about the contest:, April 9, 2018 – 10 teams advance to final stage of $20 million Carbon XPrize.

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.

They get to test their ideas at industrial pilot scale sizes for effectiveness, cost, and scalability.

The Carbon XPrize ends in 2020.

Second new item…

Source:, April 9, 2018 - The Carbon Killers — Carbon-reduction Companies Seek Funds.

Well I never knew such a magazine exists! I was looking for an update on the Carbon Engineering company (they have an operational pilot plant in British Colombia) and they are mentioned in the article.

The other companies seeking funding are, Climeworks in Sweden (they are micro-plant size and sell CO2 to industry and a green house) and Global Thermostat (NY) which retro-fits a carbon capture device to flue stacks.

From the article...

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.

They actually do go on in the article to say that the government has to be involved…

"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."

In a perfect world I would agree. But if history is any indication, we are pretty good at mucking up the planet by not enforcing laws, rules, and regulations.

Finally, a little sci-fi…

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.

Eureka, April 12, 2018 – Algae-forestry, bioenergy mix could help make CO2 vanish from thin air.

There you go. A three-for update on people actively working on reducing atmospheric CO2 created from burning fossil fuels. A political nod to an unexpected benefit from quitting the Paris Accord with a recognition that business leaders need to step-up and pay their share. And finally, algae farms, fish farming, energy creation, and carbon sequestration (not certain if that part is true as it looks like a carbon cycle to me), but then again I like crazy ideas like that!

I figured that I wanted to know who the 10 finalists were and get a general idea of what was going on but all the stories only talked about CO2 and the Carbon XPrize without saying who actually moved on! I found out and had to share. The finalists split US$5 million for making it this far with the goal of winning the $20 million final prize. I like the CO2 to carbon nanotube team!

And we still wait on news from La Porte, Texas on NET Power’s Allam cycle power plant starting up. That is the power station that burns natural gas in pure oxygen to create CO2 which is used as a working fluid (instead of steam) in a turbine. Last word was some time in "early 2018".

Sorry it is kind of TL;DR. Figured a little diversion from international news and mounting tensions was in order! And hope you liked the updates!

posted on Apr, 12 2018 @ 07:13 PM

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. - Beware China’s ‘anti-smog tower’ and other plans to pull pollution from the air.

This is about cleaning the air of pollutants but points out that the layer of air goes up to 1 km (.62 miles) which a massive volume. Then add on top of that CO2 only being 0.04% of it floating around then it seems to be a huge effort.

If you had the chance to read the articles, they admit this. It will take multiple technologies (one called it "a portfolio"), but not doing anything is no longer an option either.

The highest concentrations of CO2 are usually at the source like power stations. But there are also other sources like planes and automobiles scattered all over the place. Which is why there will have to be multiple methods involved in just addressing the issue.

Yes, trees. I get it. But they take too long to grow. You get more CO2 out by actively scrubbing the air. And trees are not flying around at 1 km above the surface of the earth.

One more thing before the commute home. Last year, 2017, global CO2 levels rose again. The good news is that both the US and China's did not rise at the predicted amount.

posted on Apr, 13 2018 @ 12:27 PM
Popular Mechanics, April 13, 2018 - What Is Carbon Capture?.

Forbes, April 13, 2018 - Double Your Efforts To Cut Out The Carbon Or Face More Regulation, Cement Makers Told

Reuters, April 13, 2018 - U.N. shipping agency reaches deal to cut CO2 emissions - delegates.

I can't make this up!

And it is not like it is a slow news day!

Are we being led by noses (like the dumb donkeys they think we are) to accepting more taxes to fight this problem? Or is it just a "coincidence" that these stories all pop up in one week?

posted on Jun, 7 2018 @ 12:38 PM

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., How to suck carbon dioxide from the sky for fuels and more.

Also,, Sci & Environment - Key 'step forward' in cutting cost of removing CO2 from air.

I've posted about Carbon Engineering before on several different threads. They have a pilot plant built in BC using repurposed parts from other industrial processes like dairy processing. They suck atmosphere across a cooling tower that contains an alkaline solution which reacts with CO2. The story in MIT Technology Review, July/August 2016, says that 75 - 80% of the atmospheric CO2 is removed from air drawn in (p. 116). This results in pellets of calcium carbonate to grow. They do a heating of the pellets to release the CO2 which they said in the MIT Tech article wanted to see how effective they could create fuel. Well, they did the study, got their 5 sigma mark, peer reviewed article published (which is what the Science Daily article is about), and you can see the results.

$100 - 200 per ton CO2 is not bad. They want to hook up to solar or wind farms instead of running from the grid to really drive the cost down. And market clean fuels. They are making about a barrel of their AIR TO FUELSTM product but when make a full scale plant it would be making 2,000 barrels a day.

I say sell the pellets to fracking companies to re-inject down their bore holes and stop all those GD earthquakes from happening! If they add water it turns back to limestone in a couple years.

posted on Sep, 27 2018 @ 03:38 PM

For all the carbon dioxide recycling research it may surprise that it has mostly come from trial and error guided by intuition, creativity and determination.

This really should of have been how the article starts not in the second to last paragraph. Then the following could have been inserted:

Columbia Engineering researchers have announced that they solved the first piece of the puzzle, they have proved that CO2 electroreduction begins with one common intermediate, not two as was commonly thought. They applied a comprehensive suite of experimental and theoretical methods to identify the structure of the first intermediate of CO2 electroreduction: carboxylate CO2 that is attached to the surface with C and O atoms. Their breakthrough, published online in PNAS, came by applying surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) instead of the more frequently used surface enhanced infrared spectroscopy (SEIRAS). The spectroscopic results were corroborated by quantum chemical modeling.

Then the terms introduced in that paragraph explained. They put the measurement device, SERS, at the surface level of the electrode and the electrolyte where when applying electricity CO2 is "activated" by gaining another electron which is the first step in breaking apart the molecule. That is what is meant by going from "linear CO2" to "carboxylate CO2" which is their first step in "electroreduction." SERS uses full spectrum Raman spectroscopy so they ruled out other reactions. This was previously unknown which is why I re-arranged their article!

This all means that instead of "gut feeling" on which intermediate to focus on, all attention can be applied to the only common intermediate. They also used regular, good old, known chemical reactions chemistry to validate this. So that is all settled.

Recent research in electrocatalytic CO2 conversion points the way to using CO2 as a feedstock and renewable electricity as an energy supply for the synthesis of different types of fuel and value-added chemicals such as ethylene, ethanol, and propane., Sept. 22, 2018 - New Breakthrough Could Lead To Safer Energy Storage.

Now to look for a cheap, scalable, catalyst to use electricity to break CO2 down to "feedstocks" (fancy name for "precursor" but really what you are doing is making CO from CO2. CO has an open bonding site which is why it is bad to inhale! They can bond that to other atoms and other precursor molecules to make the chemicals listed).

This may actually be the first step in a human carbon cycle!

posted on Mar, 4 2019 @ 02:44 PM
First, there is a big write up at the Technology Review about one man's decades old search to capture ambient CO2. - One man’s two-decade quest to suck greenhouse gas out of the sky.

It is a cautionary tale as people like to tear things down before they are even tried. Or as the tech begins to develop they do not re-visit their original criticisms to see if they still hold. Also shows what "pie in the sky" ideas only thinking gets you! There is a cool idea about self-replicating robots turning atmospheric CO2 to bricks which sounds neat. They mention the pilot plant in BC that is sucking CO2 from the air (they compare that method to fully passive method this guy is trying).

Then there is news out of Chicago where a fully self-contained artificial leaf is about to make the leap from the lab bench to the real world.

Without a direct injection of CO2, artificial leaves must collect and concentrate carbon dioxide to trigger photosynthesis. Chicago researchers encased an artificial leaf in a semi-permeable membrane made of a water-filled quaternary ammonium resin. When water passes through the membrane, it pulls CO2 from the surrounding air.

Inside the membrane, a light absorber coated with catalysts converts the CO2 into carbon monoxide, a starter compound that can be used to create a variety of synthetic fuels., Feb. 13, 2019 - CO2-capturing artificial leaves ready to leave the lab.

This guy is breaking CO2 to CO where it can be combined with hydrogen (water) to make bio-fuel.

Again, any and all ways to help stabilize the 410 parts per million already floating around out there! Just some news that people are still working on this issue.

As Red Green would say, "We're all in this together!"

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