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Earth The Almighty Buck Science Technology

Sucking CO2 From Air Is Cheaper Than Scientists Thought (technologyreview.com) 383

An anonymous reader quotes a report from MIT Technology Review: While avoiding the worst dangers of climate change will likely require sucking carbon dioxide out of the sky, prominent scientists have long dismissed such technologies as far too expensive. But a detailed new analysis published today in the journal Joule finds that direct air capture may be practical after all. The study concludes it would cost between $94 and $232 per ton of captured carbon dioxide, if existing technologies were implemented on a commercial scale. One earlier estimate, published in Proceedings of the National Academies, put that figure at more than $1,000 (though the calculations were made on what's known as an avoided-cost basis, which would add about 10 percent to the new study's figures). Crucially, the lowest-cost design, optimized to produce and sell alternative fuels made from the captured carbon dioxide, could already be profitable with existing public policies in certain markets. The higher cost estimates are for plants that would deliver compressed carbon dioxide for permanent underground storage. David Keith, a Harvard physics professor and lead author of the paper, is also the founder of Carbon Engineering, "a Calgary-based startup that has spent the last nine years designing, refining, and testing a direct air capture pilot plant in Squamish, B.C.," reports MIT. "Carbon Engineering plans to combine the carbon captured at its plants with hydrogen to produce carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, a process the pilot facility has already been performing." The company has secured $30 million, but is seeking additional funds to build a larger facility that will begin selling fuels. CNBC notes that Carbon Engineering is owned by several private investors, including Bill Gates.

Sucking CO2 From Air Is Cheaper Than Scientists Thought

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  • I'm still waiting for our too-cheap-to-meter nuclear power....
    • It won't happen unless we start building nuclear power at any price.

      I hear this all the time, "We can't use nuclear power, it's too expensive." What of solar power? What do people have to say about that? "We have to subsidize solar power so we can develop the technology and make it cheaper than coal." Okay then, why not subsidize nuclear power so we can develop the technology until it is cheaper than coal?

      We dumped a lot of money into solar power and it still costs two or three time that of natural gas.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @02:59AM (#56747858)

        I hear this all the time, "We can't use nuclear power, it's too expensive." What of solar power? What do people have to say about that? "We have to subsidize solar power so we can develop the technology and make it cheaper than coal." Okay then, why not subsidize nuclear power so we can develop the technology until it is cheaper than coal?

        Did you miss the part where nuclear reached 100 GW of installed capacity in 1970s and where solar reached the same in the 2010s? Nuclear had a forty year headstart - and forty more years of subsidies of course. "Why not subsidize nuclear power so we can develop the technology until it is cheaper than coal?" Well, what the hell were they doing those forty years? Apparently they should have already reached that point by now. Oh, but they didn't. Are you going to give them forty more years?

        Nuclear power isn't even asking for subsidies anymore, they are merely asking permission to build.

        Heh. "Hinkley Point subsidy bill quadruples as power price forecasts fall" [telegraph.co.uk]. Yeah, not really asking for subsidies at all...

        • by Whibla ( 210729 )

          Did you miss the part where nuclear reached 100 GW of installed capacity in 1970s and where solar reached the same in the 2010s? Nuclear had a forty year headstart - and forty more years of subsidies of course. "Why not subsidize nuclear power so we can develop the technology until it is cheaper than coal?" Well, what the hell were they doing those forty years? Apparently they should have already reached that point by now. Oh, but they didn't. Are you going to give them forty more years?

          Different strokes for different folks...

          There is no one size fits all solution to power generation. If you live in a large country, preferably one with reliably clear skies, maybe grid scale solar farms or solar thermal power generation are a good fit. For small countries, especially those with widespread and frequent cloud cover, solar is not an ideal investment. I'm not sure where you're getting the figures you quote from but in the UK nuclear currently generates as much as (if not more than) solar &

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@wo[ ]3.net ['rld' in gap]> on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:29AM (#56748208) Homepage Journal

        I hear this all the time, "We can't use nuclear power, it's too expensive." What of solar power? What do people have to say about that? "We have to subsidize solar power so we can develop the technology and make it cheaper than coal." Okay then, why not subsidize nuclear power so we can develop the technology until it is cheaper than coal?

        The total cost per megawatt of nuclear is about double solar/offshore wind + battery storage.

        That's the real cost. Subsidies are only used to make them commercially viable alternatives to coal.

        What you are proposing is guaranteed high subsidies for many decades, and a bunch of unknown costs because we are sure to find new safety issues and haven't figured out what to do with the waste yet. Alternatively, we have some temporary subsidies on a clean form of energy that will become the cheapest form of generation ever (cheaper than subsidised coal) within a few decades at most.

        • That's the real cost.

          Depends how you define real cost. If you define it as money spent on engineering construction and materials, then there's nothing "real" about the cost of nuclear and there hasn't been since the 60s.

      • Maybe nuclear could be made cheaper by offering the construction/maintenance jobs to the lowest bidder ?

      • Nuclear power has been heavily subsidized all along, in particular it is the only energy production that is not insured for accidents, so insurance costs are effectively supported by the state, that is the population.

  • Now we know. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:03AM (#56747410)

    Now that we know how much it should cost to remove CO2 from the sky, we should begin taxing corporations and products that release CO2 in the atmosphere. The money would then be used to pay other corporations to capture CO2 from the atmosphere.

    There has been a long history of using environmental capital without consequence and that needs to come to an end if we're going to save this planet.

    • Re:Now we know. (Score:4, Informative)

      by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @01:46AM (#56747660)

      we should begin taxing corporations

      Using 'corporations' is a weasel word. Let's be honest, and say that we need to tax people for buying products that release CO2 in the atmosphere. Charging $100-$200 for a ton of CO2 would double the price of gasoline, for instance.

      • we should begin taxing corporations

        Using 'corporations' is a weasel word

        You missed the "and products" part. I specifically mention corporations because many power companies generate and sell electricity by burning fossil fuels at varying levels of efficiency. They should be taxed based on the CO2 they put out, not the amount electricity they sell.

        Charging $100-$200 for a ton of CO2 would double the price of gasoline, for instance.

        Well that would certainly make electric cars a more attractive option.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        Could we use the revenue to eliminate the sales tax? The gas tax discourages burning fossil fuels while the sales tax discourages commerce. One of these taxes is better for the economy and the environment than the other.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Gas prices in the US are about 1/3rd what they are in the UK, and somehow it hasn't destroyed our economy.

        Maybe gas is too cheap, considering the harm it does.

        • Gas prices in the US are about 1/3rd what they are in the UK, and somehow it hasn't destroyed our economy.

          Same in the rest of Europe. The difference is that gas prices have always been low in the US, and the entire infrastructure/lifestyle is based on that. Big cars and great distances, resulting in relatively high impact of increasing gas prices.

        • Gas prices in the US are about 1/3rd what they are in the UK, and somehow it hasn't destroyed our economy.

          Maybe gas is too cheap, considering the harm it does.

          Texas alone is triple the size of the UK.

          • by dave420 ( 699308 )

            And tiny compared to the EU, where petrol prices are much higher than Texas. It's not the size of the US which is the problem, it's how poorly its used. When people have no choice but to commute for hundreds of miles a day, this is what you get. When cities are built upon the presumption that there will always be cars and that said cars will always cost a similar amount of money to run, this is what you get.

            Play shitty games, win shitty prizes.

      • Re:Now we know. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:23AM (#56748190)
        Gasoline generates about 8.89 kg of CO2 per gallon. So producing 1 ton of CO2 would require burning (1000 kg)/(8.89 kg/gallon) = 112.5 gallons of gasoline. The current average price of gasoline [aaa.com] is $2.934/gallon, so 112.5 gallons of gas would cost (112.5 gal)*($2.934/gal) = $330.

        A $100-$200 surcharge per ton of CO2 would thus raise the price of gasoline by just 30%-61%.

        Using the same EIA chart, coal generates roughly 2 tons of CO2 per ton of coal. One ton of coal contains roughly 24 Gigajoules of thermal energy [wikipedia.org], which is 6.67 MWh. If the coal plant is 40% efficient, that means that one ton of coal generates 2.67 MWh of electricity. Since that one ton of coal also emits 2 tons of CO2, we end up with (2 tons CO2) / (2.67 MWh) = 0.75 tons per MWh.

        Natural gas generates roughly 53.12 kg of CO2 per thousand cubic feet. A thousand cubic feet of methane contains 1.037 million BTUs of thermal energy = 303.9 kWh. If the gas plant is 60% efficient, this means 53.12 kg of CO2 are emitted per 182.3 kWh, or (0.053 tons CO2) / (0.1823 MWh) = 0.29 tons per MWh.

        Coal accounts for 30.1% of U.S. electricity [eia.gov]. Natural gas accounts for 31.7%. So the fractional CO2 contribution of these fossil fuels to electricity is (0.75 tons/MWh)*(0.301)+(0.29 tons/MWh)*(0.317) = 0.318 tons of CO2 per MWh. A $100-$200 surcharge per ton of CO2 then ends up costing $31.80-$63.60 per MWh, or 3.2 cents - 6.4 cents per kWh.

        Average electricity price in the U.S. is 12 cents/kWh. So a $100-$200 surcharge per ton of CO2 would raise the price of electricity by 27%-53%. Almost exactly the same percentage as gasoline.

        Like I keep trying to explain to people: Electric vehicles aren't cheap to operate because they're more energy efficient. They use nearly as much energy as ICE vehicles. They're just cheaper to operate because the coal and natural gas used to generate electricity are roughly an order of magnitude cheaper per MJ than gasoline. If you want to reduce CO2 emissions, buying an EV presently doesn't help. When you replace an ICE vehicleswith an EV without changing the makeup of your electricity sources, all you've done is shift your CO2 emissions from the car's tailpipe to a fossil fuel power plant's smokestack. That's why the claim that EVs are "zero emissions" is BS at present. You need to replace fossil fuel power plants with nuclear and renewable plants to cause a reduction in CO2 emissions.
        • Re:Now we know. (Score:5, Informative)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @05:25AM (#56748196)
          The link for CO2 emissions by fuel source [eia.gov] didn't come through in that post.
        • by b0bby ( 201198 )

          Like I keep trying to explain to people: Electric vehicles aren't cheap to operate because they're more energy efficient. They use nearly as much energy as ICE vehicles. They're just cheaper to operate because the coal and natural gas used to generate electricity are roughly an order of magnitude cheaper per MJ than gasoline.

          EVs are more efficient, though; the numbers I've seen indicate ~25% loss in charging/inversion losses for EVs vs a best case ICE thermal efficiency of ~40%.

          If you want to reduce CO2 emissions, buying an EV presently doesn't help. When you replace an ICE vehicleswith an EV without changing the makeup of your electricity sources, all you've done is shift your CO2 emissions from the car's tailpipe to a fossil fuel power plant's smokestack. That's why the claim that EVs are "zero emissions" is BS at present. You need to replace fossil fuel power plants with nuclear and renewable plants to cause a reduction in CO2 emissions.

          That's highly dependent on your local mix, though. While coal and gas may be 60% on average in the US, in reality it's much higher in the midwest and less on the coasts. So in many areas an EV will have the same emissions as an ICE getting 85mpg or greater; in the midwest the current emissions of an EV are about the same as a Prius. See this link for a b

    • Re:Now we know. (Score:5, Informative)

      by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @01:51AM (#56747672)

      we should begin taxing corporations and products that release CO2 in the atmosphere.

      The main source of CO2 is not "corporations", but personal transportation and residential power. It is YOU, not "them".

      • It is YOU, not "them".

        It may be *you*, but with 2 electric vehicles and solar panels to power them, it isn't me.

        Some of us have invested our cash to reduce our CO2 footprint. Some of us have put our money where our mouths are.

        • Maybe it was a group "you"?
        • It is YOU, not "them".

          It may be *you*, but with 2 electric vehicles and solar panels to power them, it isn't me.

          Some of us have invested our cash to reduce our CO2 footprint. Some of us have put our money where our mouths are.

          You got fscking solar? God - you know that causes cancer?!

      • by jools33 ( 252092 )

        So where do "you" get the gas you put in your tank from? The main source is the global oil/petrochemicals: BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Dow, BASF, Aramco, Sinopec, Gazprom etc.

      • The main source of CO2 is not "corporations", but personal transportation and residential power. It is YOU, not "them".

        I'm ok with this.

      • The main source of CO2 is not "corporations", but personal transportation and residential power. It is YOU, not "them".

        Yes and we all know that corporations and producers will happily sit and eat the cost of compliance because shareholders don't like money. Taxing corporations is the most efficient way to do it. Ultimately it will be YOU that pays the money anyway, but it's far easier to collect a tax on a consolidated level.

      • Personal transportation could be done with carbon-neutral fuels if not for the influence of, you guessed it, big oil. GE energy ventures (gevo) tried to produce butanol, a 1:1 replacement for gasoline made by bacteria from any organic matter, and was prevented for years by butamax, a company owned by BP and Dupont on the basis of an obvious patent developed at a public University, partially with taxpayer money. Apparently the lawsuit was recently resolved after some years, so maybe we can have nice things..

    • by jools33 ( 252092 )

      and lets not forget the historical back taxes that these companies owe.

    • Re:Now we know. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @03:10AM (#56747888) Homepage

      Gravis Zero opined:

      There has been a long history of using environmental capital without consequence and that needs to come to an end if we're going to save this planet.

      While I agree completely with the first clause of this statement, the second half (which needs a comma after "and," btw) is a popular cliché that never fails to make me groan in frustration.

      The Earth will be fine, regardless of whether we, as a species, manage to solve the slow-motion environmental catastrophe we accidentally created. What's at risk is the current ecosystem to which we're accustomed, including most of the extant species of multi-cellular life.

      About 250 million years ago, give or take a million years or so, something very similar to what we've set in motion happened to the Earth. In what's known as the Permian-Triassic Extinction event, carbon dioxide levels rose to much higher levels than they are today, for reaons we still don't fully understand [wikipedia.org]. As a result, the global temperature increased by about 10 degrees Centigrade, and the icecaps melted, releasing large amounts of methane from rotting plant life that had been buried under glaciers during the ice age that began the global extinction event. Methane clathrates in the deepest, coldest parts of the ocean (there was only one, at the time) also melted, releasing a whole lot more methane, and turning the ocean into a kind of anoxic fizzy.

      In the ocean, 96% of species went extinct. On land, 70% of multi-cellular species disappeared. The entire ecosystem collapsed within about 100,000 years. The P-T extinction event was so severe, that it's often referred to as the "Great Dying." It was so devastating that it took between 4 and 9 million years before the global ecosystem recovered sufficiently for new species to begin to fill the niches [wikipedia.org] the global warming event had created.

      But recover it did - and the result was the beginning (in the Triassic Period) of what eventually (in the Jurassic and Cretaceous) became the Age of Dinosaurs. By the time the Chixiculub bolide smacked into the coast of what is now the Yucatán Penninsula in southern Mexico, about 65 million years ago, the dinosaurian Ornithischia, Sauropodomorpha, and Theropoda taxa had dominated the planetary ecosystem for approximetely 120 million years.

      And they thrived in the elevated temperatures the Permian-Triassic extinction event created. Once the excess CO2 cleared from the ocean, speciation rapidly filled it with a dizzying variety of fish, invertebrates, plant life - and dinosaurs. From viruses and bacteria to insects and arachnids to grasses, shrubs, and trees to animals of all sizes, the planet teemed with life within a few tens of millions of years after the most devastating extinction event in its history. (Okay, arguably the Oxygen Catastrophe [wikipedia.org] might have caused an even more comprehensive extinction event - but we can't really determine whether that was the case, because, in those earliest days of life on Earth, no species had developed shells or exo- or endo-skeletons, so they didn't leave a fossil record for us to read.)

      As evidenced by the eventual recovery from the P-T Extinction, the popular meme of "saving the planet" is hyperbole of the most narcissisitic stripe. The planet - and life itself - will survive the extinction event we have already caused (and will continue to cause for several thousand years to come). Our contemporary varieties of megafauna are almost certainly all doomed (with the possible exception of some familiar commensal and chattel species - I suspect dogs and cats, for instance, will survive as long as humans do). However, you can say "goodbye" to the whales and dolphins, the lions and tigers and bears, the el

      • Mr. Novelist wrote:

        The Earth will be fine, regardless of whether we, as a species, manage to solve the slow-motion environmental catastrophe we accidentally created. What's at risk is the current ecosystem to which we're accustomed, including most of the extant species of multi-cellular life.

        You are technically correct, the best kind of correct. I realized this exact thing after I posted and thought, "well fuck..." and moved on with life.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Your pedantry aside, does anything in your description of the "Great Dying." sound like something you would like to experience?

      • by Raenex ( 947668 )

        Once all the coastal cities of the world disappear under 200-300 feet of ocean rise 200-300 feet of ocean rise

        Sea levels rose [nasa.gov] about 400 feet in the past 10,000 years. It's predicted to rise about 3 feet by 2100. Adjust your expectations of man-made climate change versus natural accordingly.

    • by zmooc ( 33175 )

      We already knew the long-term cost of adding CO2 to the atmosphere. This hypothetical possibility merely introduces an upper bound to what we can tax CO2 producers while it is not at all an upper bound to the costs. Even if we'd go full scale, there'd be accidents, leaky reservoirs and eventually us running out of suitable reservoirs, meaning that the long term cost of removing or dealing with excessive CO2 would be much higher than the cost of this technology.

      • You seem to be under the impression that we would just bottle the CO2 and leave it there. That's a really dumb assumption because both carbon and oxygen are really useful.

        • You seem to be under the impression that we would just bottle the CO2 and leave it there.

          Drop it into a hole a mile deep in the Earth wold be preferred, really.

          That's a really dumb assumption because both carbon and oxygen are really useful.

          They sure are. That's why we're in the problem we're in ;)

          Get rid of the shit. Re-sequester it. We pulled it out of long-term storage and threw it into the atmosphere, and there isn't a hell of a lot we can do with it that won't put it back into the atmosphere. We need to reduce levels, not stop growth. It's already too high, and a ball is already in motion that is already bad.

          • Drop it into a hole a mile deep in the Earth wold be preferred, really.

            Not while other people are still busy drilling holes deep in the Earth to get carbon out.

            • by zmooc ( 33175 )

              That's irrelevant. It makes sense to sequester CO2 regardless of whether we're still extracting hydrocarbons or not.

        • by zmooc ( 33175 )

          I think that's quite a logical assumption because we need to take CO2 out of the equation. Simply transforming it back into what will eventually just be combusted into CO2 again does not solve the problem we need to solve.

          Also, whether C and O are useful isn't really that interesting; there's no shortage of C or O whatsoever so it's not their availability that counts, it's the extraction costs. Also, you'd need to put more energy in to split CO2 into C and O than you'd ever get out of it. Since splitting CO

    • Now that we know how much it should cost to remove CO2 from the sky, we should begin taxing corporations and products that release CO2 in the atmosphere. The money would then be used to pay other corporations to capture CO2 from the atmosphere.

      There has been a long history of using environmental capital without consequence and that needs to come to an end if we're going to save this planet.

      Their plan is to convert it to alternative fuel. The alternative fuel will release the CO2 back to the atmosphere.
      They will have to be taxed for the cost of the extraction.

      How does this business model work?

  • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:13AM (#56747430) Homepage

    If there was only some natural process that did this already for free. Well a fellah can certainly dream...

    • Re:Gee (Score:4, Insightful)

      by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @01:35AM (#56747638)

      Trees are not free. They take up valuable space that could be used for more profitable things.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Trees are not free. They take up valuable space that could be used for more profitable things.

        They are also not a net carbon sink.

        • And they aren't very efficient either. Photosynthesis only has efficiency of around 5%, much worse than PV solar, and only part of that energy is used for converting CO2 to cellulose.

          Replacing coal burning plants with PV solar would be a more effective use of space.

        • They aren't individually of course, as trees must eventually die.
          But something amazing happens when a tree dies. Another pops up to take its place.
          Trees, as an extant body of biomass that regrows as it dies.. colloquially known as a forest, are absolutely a net sink. That forest will never emit more carbon than it took to grow it.
          Of course, with long enough time spans, even forests will die, and desequester that carbon.
          But then again, with long enough time spans, that coal would have worked its way back
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Profitable things are not free either, they take up valuable space that could be used for atmospheric filtration.

    • This sort of device is expensive! It doesn't grow on trees!
  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:14AM (#56747438)

    At 20kg per year per "mature tree", that's only 50 trees per ton of CO2 per year

  • by smi.james.th ( 1706780 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:30AM (#56747472)
    I might be a bit naive here, but isn't using the captured CO2 as an alternative fuel just going to end up with it in the atmosphere again? I mean the fuel will need to be burned and then it'll go right back where it came from so you end up with the same problem. In my mind the only sustainable solution would be to bury the stuff underground, or somewhere that it can't go back into the atmosphere.
    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      I think the hope is that if fuels can be made solely from the air then we won't need to refine fossil fuels anymore. In some ways it sounds too good to be true. With carbon neutral hydrocarbon fuels being manufactured our existing infrastructure can stay in place and suddenly becomes carbon neutral. All we'd have to worry about is addressing pollution from nox and co2.

      I am cautiously supportive of these guys. The concept is good if the numbers really are economical.

      • by caseih ( 160668 )

        Oops I meant particulates.

      • I think the hope is that if fuels can be made solely from the air then we won't need to refine fossil fuels anymore.

        But doesn't it take energy to create the fuel from the atmospheric CO2? Where does that energy come from?

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      "Recycling" 1kg of CO2 means 1kg less CO2 removed from the ground and released into the atmosphere.

      Of course there are some losses in the recycling process and it's not as good as actually removing it to storage somewhere, as you say, but it's still better than pumping newly extracted CO2 out.

  • by Harvey Manfrenjenson ( 1610637 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:33AM (#56747490)

    So according to this study [earth-syst-sci-data.net] from 2013, we are putting about 40 billion tons of CO2 into the air every year.

    Even with this new downwardly-revised estimate, the cost of taking it out again comes to somewhere between 3.7 trillion dollars and 9.2 trillion dollars. Per year. Every year.

    It's an interesting piece of research, but don't start celebrating in the streets just yet.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Based on current technology. Like wind and solar power, you would expect the cost to fall rapidly once large scale investment was being made and demand was high.

      That's the key thing to take away from this. If we tax CO2 at not unbearably high rate it would be worth investing in this tech, and prices would start to fall and in a few decades we might be making a big difference.

  • Precision (Score:4, Funny)

    by religionofpeas ( 4511805 ) on Friday June 08, 2018 @12:39AM (#56747496)

    Between $94 and $232 ? I had assumed it be somewhere between $100 and $250. Apparently I was wrong.

  • Producing fuel from the harvested CO2 is just delaying the actual release, as the fuel will be burned again and released as CO2 into the atmosphere (I'm sure harvesting is not going to be 100% efficient, so even if you are re-harvesting it, it isn't really a closed loop cycle).

    Better would be to harvest CO2 for the production of carbon fibre and nanotech materials, as that would take it out of the loop on a longer term basis, while still having a useful and valuable byproduct (the lack of which is the dis

  • Fox Translation: "Scientists Suck"

  • Think of the plants, what are they going to breath?
    • The same stuff they were breathing 100 years ago ?

    • If I may be pedantic, plants breath in oxygen as they metabolize sugar reserves, breathing out CO2. Their leaves make them net-fixers of CO2 though whenever the chloroplasts are struck with blue or red light in order to make ATP, which in turn becomes those sugars (and other building blocks, such as the plant itself).
  • It will take *at least* as much energy to recapture the CO2 released by fossil fuels as the provided when burned originally (basic 2nd law of thermodynamics). And remember that at most 25% of the original fossil fuel energy was useful, so a conservative estimate would be that any process which recaptures the Co2 releasd orignally back into stable solid sequestered form will take 5-10x the original useful energy released when burning the fossil fuel. And that 5-10x energy will need to also be *zero CO2* emit
  • Here's a 3 year old video on a US Navy project doing this same thing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

    This Navy project is not new but they have people on the project go around to conventions and such to speak on it. They show good economics, being able to convert CO2 and hydrogen from any natural water source into a liquid fuel for aircraft and other uses. All they need is some funding to ramp this up to something that actually produces fuel for military aircraft.

    The largest consumer of fuel in the USA is the US Air Force. The largest air force in the world is the US Air Force. The second largest air force in the world is the US Navy. The third largest air force in the world is the US Marine Corps. If we can get the US military to use the technology that they already have to produce jet fuel then that would be a major win in so many ways.

    This idea of carbon neutral fuel production is dependent on a carbon neutral energy source. We have this carbon neutral energy source in nuclear power. The US Navy knows how to operate nuclear power safely. The US Coast Guard is desperate for some new ice breakers, let them have them and make them nuclear powered. Making more nuclear powered US Navy and US Coast Guard surface ships, and this fuel synthesis process to fuel the support aircraft and auxiliary boats, means a big dent in consumed petroleum. Add in some nuclear power on shore to power airports and military bases, and make the fuel for the vehicles that come and go, and that's another big dent in petroleum consumed.

    Electricity might work for cars and trains but that won't work for boats and planes. A large enough ship can be nuclear powered, and we should embrace that wholeheartedly for military and civilian ships. Planes won't fly without kerosene. We now get kerosene from digging it up from the ground but we can get it from seawater if we just develop the technology and take the problems of digging up petroleum seriously.

    I can't take anyone seriously on the threat of global warming if they do not include nuclear power in the solution. They mention this great process of pulling carbon from the air to turn into fuel but say nothing of where the energy to power it comes from. That says a lot to me. They can't bring themselves to admit that nuclear power is necessary to make this viable. The US Navy has no such aversion to nuclear power. We can at least allow the US Navy to develop the technology they have. Like so many things the US military develops it is likely to find its way into the civilian market in time.

  • Incredible!

    No need to worry about CO2 Anymore, because it is "Cheaper Than Scientists Thought".

    So cheap, that this 'new' Thought, will be demonstrated... soon... very soon.

    Two weeks.. from the looks of it.
  • Turn the captured carbon into diamonds! I didn't know what Rihanna was talking about with "Diamonds in the Sky", but now I get it.
  • Buring 100 gallons of gasoline produces about 1 Ton of CO2. So extracting CO2 is about the same cost as buring the gasoline that put it there.

  • Founder of startup says his business model is like totally valid and stuff!
  • This seems like a bad joke. According to TFA:

    "Crucially, the lowest-cost design, optimized to produce and sell alternative fuels made from the captured carbon dioxide, could already be profitable with existing public policies in certain markets (see “The carbon-capture era may finally be starting”). "

    So they are extracting it, converting it to fuel, and reselling it. Wont that put it right back where it came from?

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