Green / Eco-Friendly

Could this technology be the real thing?

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  • Jun 13th, 2018 4:12 pm
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Nov 10, 2015
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Could this technology be the real thing?

[url=https://globalnews.ca/news/4264512/clim ... of-sky/url]

"While it sounds like the makings of science fiction, one Canadian startup believes it’s figured out a way to suck carbon dioxide from the air and convert it into fuel for cars, trucks, buses, etc. – and to top it off, it’s all cost-effective."

Could this be legitimate, or do we have some scammers here. If it's real, then it's a game changer.
Diversity is Our Burden
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Dec 9, 2003
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Calgary
Yes it is real. the chemistry is easy. CO2 will react with many things and then be extracted. then back-converted to fuel. The only problem is how frigging expnsive it is to do this. But some entrepreneur will get lots of funding and every granola will be convinced that we should spend TRILLIONS of dollars.

The cheapest solution is plant trees. but how boring. yes it would need an area the size of India or Canada but still cheaper than anything else. The Economist did a good article on this same technology this week. Sorry mods I cant post a link because it requires a subscription but here it is:
Extracting carbon dioxide from the air is possible. But at what cost? The power of negative thinking
Jun 7th 2018

IN MAY some 250 scientists and policy types from around the world convened in Gothenburg, Sweden, to discuss a dirty secret of the three-year-old Paris climate agreement. Virtually all simulations which chart paths toward meeting that compact’s goal—to keep temperature rise “well below” 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels—assume not just a sharp reduction in actual emissions but also the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on a massive scale. One reason such “negative emissions” have been absent from climate discussions—the Swedish shindig being the first of its kind—is that no one has a good idea of how exactly to bring them about. The obvious solution is to plant lots of trees, to convert CO2 into wood. But this would mean foresting an area with a size somewhere between that of India and Canada. Alternative, engineered fixes have been dogged by potentially stratospheric costs, uncertain efficacy or both. No longer, reckons David Keith. Besides his day job as a climate expert at Harvard university, Dr Keith is a co-founder of Carbon Engineering, a nine-year-old firm that counts Bill Gates among its backers. Dr Keith and his colleagues argue in a paper they have just published in Joule that the CO2 removal technique they have been perfecting is no pipe dream—even if it does contain pipes aplenty.
Their process has four steps. First, air is channelled by fans onto a honeycombed plastic slab called a contactor, where CO2, which is acidic, reacts with aqueous potassium hydroxide, which is alkaline. The resulting solution of potassium carbonate is filtered and exposed to a slurry of calcium hydroxide. This produces potassium hydroxide, which is recycled back to the contactor, and pellets of calcium carbonate. These are whisked to the third receptacle, called a calciner. There the calcium carbonate is heated to 900°C to release pure carbon-dioxide gas ready for capture, and calcium oxide. Finally, the calcium oxide is piped to a “slaker”, where it is dissolved in water to form calcium hydroxide, which is reused in the second step. If that all sounds complicated, chemically speaking it is not. Nor is the idea new. A researcher called Klaus Lackner came up with the principles 20 years ago and Dr Keith patented his version in 2015. A pilot plant with a contactor three by five metres across and three metres deep has been running for three years. It extracts a tonne of carbon dioxide from the air per day. What sets Dr Keith’s latest paper apart from his earlier publications—and, indeed, those of other putative carbon-hoovers—is that it offers a hard-nosed estimate of the system’s cost and scalability. The results look encouraging. That is principally because each step in Dr Keith’s scheme is adapted from known industrial processes. The contactor was pinched from factory cooling towers. The pellet reactor came from water-treatment plants. The calciner was developed from metal-ore purification apparatus. And the slaker was adapted from pulp mills. The required tweaks were small enough to permit Carbon Engineering to procure the paraphernalia for the prototype plant from existing suppliers. Crucially, this also enabled the suppliers—and an independent engineering consultancy hired by Carbon Engineering—to estimate how much it would cost to build a fully fledged facility (envisaged in the picture above) capable of extracting between 100,000 and 1m tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. Factoring in operating costs and the cost of capital, the study concludes that Carbon Engineering’s system could capture a tonne of the greenhouse gas for between $94 and $232. That is well below the $600 per tonne suggested by authors of an influential American Physical Society report from 2011 that reviewed proposed carbon-dioxide-removal schemes. Admittedly, it is still much pricier than the $10 or so that a tonne of the gas is worth in emissions-trading schemes such as theEuropean Union’s. But it is of the order of the $100 or so that most climate economists think would eventually be needed to prompt the transition to the low-carbon economy implicit in the Paris agreement. And Dr Keith thinks the cost can be brought down further with a bit of tinkering. Carbon Engineering and its investors believe they can make money even before this happens. To start with, revenue would be generated by turning captured CO2 back into fuel (technology to do this already exists). Though that sounds thermodynamically bonkers, such fuel would, from a legal point of view, count as “zero carbon” because making and then using it involves no net release of CO2 into the atmosphere. Demand for zero-carbon liquid fuels looks poised to rise as climate-friendly places adopt low-carbon fuel standards. California did this in 2007 and the European Union followed in 2009. Such standards force distributors to keep the average carbon intensity of petrol below a certain threshold, and therefore to offset dirty fuels with clean ones—and none is cleaner than Carbon Engineering’s. California’s requirement, which is in effect a cap-and-trade scheme, translates to a price of $165 per tonne of carbon dioxide, making the company’s product competitive. Steve Oldham, the firm’s boss, therefore hopes to license know-how to fuel producers doing business in such jurisdictions. Mr Oldham says that ground should be broken on the first industrial-scale plant, which is to be built at an undisclosed location in America, before the end of the year. As both Dr Keith and Mr Oldham concede, recycling CO2 in this way means that Carbon Engineering’s current business model offers zero, rather than truly negative, emissions. But it gives the company breathing space to fine-tune its system and demonstrate its feasibility to investors. More Gothenburg-like gatherings may yet prompt governments to take negative emissions seriously. California is already considering subsidies for carbon-dioxide removal. As things stand, the cost of using Carbon Engineering’s kit to scrub 8bn-10bn tonnes of CO2 per year, as the climate models presuppose, would run to trillions of dollars. Then again, no one said guaranteeing civilisation’s survival was going to come cheap.
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Aug 16, 2010
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This is exciiting stuff. Fight global warming and make clean fuel. They say they can do 2 tonnes of CO2 per day and turn this into two barrels of fuel. I wonder how much CO2 needs to be extracted to fix global warming? Something tells me it's a hell of a lot.
Jr. Member
Jan 15, 2017
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Vancouver
This is what trees do. In the end it's all about cost. The energy has to be renewable cuz if you are burning carbon to make the energy to "unburn" carbon, you end up net positive. Unless you use expensive carbon sequestration methods during energy production, or tap into other non-renewable resources.
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Dec 15, 2017
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This is catch-22 science, nobody wins and you are bound to lose money just like that team of scientists that figured a way to convert lead into gold by shooting out some atoms with a laser, its real but the thing is that it costs $17,000 dollars to convert 1 oz of lead into gold when you can just buy 1 oz of gold for $1,800.
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Oct 1, 2011
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Whether trees do it or not is sort of a secondary concern...it's the affordable fuel part of the discovery that is supposed to be revolutionary.
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Aug 28, 2014
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peanutz wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 6:53 pm
Whether trees do it or not is sort of a secondary concern...it's the affordable fuel part of the discovery that is supposed to be revolutionary.
It's not affordable and never will be; you cannot violate the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy will always increase and to make two barrels worth of fuel will always require more than two fuel barrels worth of energy to be put into the system.

Plants do it for free and burning wood is carbon neutral if you believe in that nonsense, if not believe in corn subsidies and biofuels.
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Nov 6, 2015
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Guelph, ON
nabiul wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 8:45 pm
It's not affordable and never will be; you cannot violate the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy will always increase and to make two barrels worth of fuel will always require more than two fuel barrels worth of energy to be put into the system.

Plants do it for free and burning wood is carbon neutral if you believe in that nonsense, if not believe in corn subsidies and biofuels.
Correct, but those "two fuel barrels worth of energy" don't have to come from burning fuels, they could come from renewables. This could close the gap where "the sun doesn't always shine" and "the wind doesn't always blow". You make the fuel while the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and then use the fuel when they aren't.

We don't have land available the size of India (or bigger) to plant trees - unless you want to use a large chunk of agricultural land. Plus they grow slowly, and in the meantime we are still pumping out CO2 from oil we are digging out of the earth. At least with a solution like this we won't be adding new CO2, instead it becomes a closed system.

I don't think this could become "the solution", as I don't think there is "one" solution that can solve this. I see rather many strategies applied at the same time, this technology might be one of the bigger contributors. And yes, planting as many trees as we can could be one of the contributors.
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JoeBlack23 wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 9:16 pm
Correct, but those "two fuel barrels worth of energy" don't have to come from burning fuels, they could come from renewables. This could close the gap where "the sun doesn't always shine" and "the wind doesn't always blow". You make the fuel while the sun is shining or the wind is blowing, and then use the fuel when they aren't.

We don't have land available the size of India (or bigger) to plant trees - unless you want to use a large chunk of agricultural land. Plus they grow slowly, and in the meantime we are still pumping out CO2 from oil we are digging out of the earth. At least with a solution like this we won't be adding new CO2, instead it becomes a closed system.

I don't think this could become "the solution", as I don't think there is "one" solution that can solve this. I see rather many strategies applied at the same time, this technology might be one of the bigger contributors. And yes, planting as many trees as we can could be one of the contributors.
Renewables have already proven to be a massive economic failure. Solar and wind plants produce a very small fraction of their name plate capacity in watt hours and the costs and energy required for upkeep are just propped up by non renewable energy sources.

Plants don't always grow on land and there are very quick growing species out there like bamboo. We don't have the land right now because things are fairly well, if the need ever arose to do something so stupid then the environment would be bad enough that finding land would not be a challenge. Again if you buy into this whole CO2 is going to kill us all nonsense.

Worry about mitigating real problems like pollution, economics will take care of the rest once fossil fuels become prohibitively expensive.
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Oct 6, 2007
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nabiul wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 9:37 pm
Renewables have already proven to be a massive economic failure. Solar and wind plants produce a very small fraction of their name plate capacity in watt hours and the costs and energy required for upkeep are just propped up by non renewable energy sources.

Plants don't always grow on land and there are very quick growing species out there like bamboo. We don't have the land right now because things are fairly well, if the need ever arose to do something so stupid then the environment would be bad enough that finding land would not be a challenge. Again if you buy into this whole CO2 is going to kill us all nonsense.

Worry about mitigating real problems like pollution, economics will take care of the rest once fossil fuels become prohibitively expensive.
Only someone with their head in the sand doesn't believe that CO2 is costing us a fortune and will cost us far more in the future if we don't do something about it now.
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Jan 15, 2017
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nabiul wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 8:45 pm
It's not affordable and never will be; you cannot violate the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy will always increase and to make two barrels worth of fuel will always require more than two fuel barrels worth of energy to be put into the system.

Plants do it for free and burning wood is carbon neutral if you believe in that nonsense, if not believe in corn subsidies and biofuels.
Ditto. Thermodynamics mean you don't get anything for free. For this kind of technology to actually make a difference, we'll need *vastly increased* renewable energy. And if we had so much renewable energy to begin with, then there's not much of a problem left to solve. Only applications like aircraft would still need traditional fuel. Most everything else can just run directly on renewable electricity.

Still, interested to see where they might take it.
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smacd wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 10:53 pm
Only someone with their head in the sand doesn't believe that CO2 is costing us a fortune and will cost us far more in the future if we don't do something about it now.
I pray to a different CO2 god.
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nabiul wrote:
Jun 10th, 2018 8:45 pm
It's not affordable and never will be; you cannot violate the second law of thermodynamics. Entropy will always increase and to make two barrels worth of fuel will always require more than two fuel barrels worth of energy to be put into the system.

Plants do it for free and burning wood is carbon neutral if you believe in that nonsense, if not believe in corn subsidies and biofuels.
You can't violate the laws of thermodynamics but you can harness solar energy to convert the CO2 into "fuel barrels". One of the largest problems with solar energy is that it doesn't have the ability to fire up on demand which is why we need backup gas power plants currently.

It is completely feasible that solar energy can be stored via CO2 conversion.

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