Categories
Carbon Capture Your Home

66: Recycling bubbles for brew

Problem:

There is too much CO2 in the atmosphere.

Solution:

Take CO2 out of the atmosphere and use it in making craft beer.


CO2 is one of the five key ingredients in beer making, along with hops, malt, yeast and water.

Josh Hare, founder and president, Hops and Grain Brewing in Austin, Texas, has set up Earthly Labs with Amy George to commercialise CiCi, a plug-and-play carbon capture technology for craft brewers.

The craft brewing industry represents one small scale opportunity with nearly 20,000 emissions sources representing 500 million metric tons or more annually.

Brewers also use CO2 to carbonate and package their beer, commonly purchasing it from a third-party provider, which creates a closed loop recycling opportunity.

CiCi is uniquely designed to capture carbon dioxide waste from smaller sources such as businesses, homes, and transportation that make up more than half of all carbon dioxide emissions.

The beer-making process emits carbon dioxide (CO2), and yet small breweries still need to purchase commercial CO2 to carbonate and package their beer.

Earthly Labs’ goal is to capture one billion tonnes of CO2 as fast as possible. (craftbrewingbusiness.com)

Discover Solution 67: carpooling

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Planet Care

65: Storing carbon under the sea

Problem

It’s great to capture CO2, but it needs to be stored.

Solution:

Inject carbon dioxide into spaces under the seabed.


In January 2019, the Norwegian authorities granted the Northern Lights CCS Project, a full-scale pilot CCS, carried out by Equinor (former Statoil), Shell and Total, a permit to exploit an area in the North Sea for CO₂ injections.

The partners aim to capture CO2 at three plants in Southern Norway, liquefy it, and transport it over 430 mi (700 km) by ship to a hub near Kollsnes. From there, the CO₂ will be sent offshore via a pipeline for injection into a depleted well in the Johansen formation, about 20 miv(30 km) offshore from mainland Norway.

The three plants selected for CO2 capture are Yara’s Ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik, and the Fortum recycling plant in Oslo.

After completing feasibility studies for CO₂ capture in 2018, the plants are presently compiling FEED studies for the final investment decision, to be taken by the Norwegian Parliament in 2020/21.

The Northern Lights CCS Project is supported by CLIMIT, Norway’s national research programme for accelerating the commercialisation of CCS. CLIMIT aims to reach an annual CO2 capture capacity of 1.4 million tons (1.3 million tonnes) by 2022.

In May 2020 Equinor, Shell and Total made an initial investment of $680m (NOK 6.9bn) between them into the Northern Lights (CCS) project. The project will capture industrial and imported carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions to be injected into reserves from a terminal in Øygarden, on Norway’s west coast. (northernlightsccs.com)

Tip Meckel at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin and Philip Ringrose, an adjunct professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and geoscientist at the Equinor Research Centre in Trondheim, have calculated that the geological injection of CO₂ into 10,000 to 14,000 injection wells worldwide in the next 30 years, would meet the IPCC’s goal of using CCS to provide 13 % of worldwide emissions cuts (6 to 7 gigatons of CO₂) so achieving emissions cuts under the 2°C scenario by 2050. (beg.utexas.edu)

In September 2020, the Norwegian Government proposed to launch a $2.7 billion CCS project, named ‘Longship’, in Norwegian ‘Langskip’.

Apart from funding Northern Lights, the Government will implement carbon capture at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik as well as funding Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste incineration facility in Oslo, providing that the project secures sufficient own funding as well as funding from the EU or other sources.

Another first-time licence, allowing offshore exploration to select a site for storing CO₂ underground, was granted in December 2018 by the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA),. The holder of the licence is the Acorn CCS project, led by Pale Blue Dot Energy and centred on the St Fergus Gas Plant in northeast Scotland.

The project aims to capture 220,000 tons (0.2 million tonnes) of CO₂ from flue gases annually, for storage in depleted gas fields, beneath the North Sea. Instead of creating new infrastructure, existing offshore gas pipelines will be repurposed to transport CO₂ in the opposite direction.

In January 2019, the project estimated the available offshore storage capacity at 700 million tons (650 million tonnes) of CO₂ and suggested that the neighbouring port at Peterhead could be used to import 16 million tonnes of CO₂ for storage per year by ship, from the UK and Europe.

Before starting CO₂ injections, the Acorn project needs to apply for a storage permit from OGA, as soon a storage site has been selected.

In December 2018, the British government announced financial support for the project (£0.17 million). Earlier British CCS projects such as the Scottish Peterhead Project did not obtain public funds, after completion of the FEED studies.

At the end of April 2019, a research vessel left the Scottish coast to reach the Goldeneye Gas Platform, an abandoned offshore platform in the North Sea, about 60 mi (100 km) northeast of Peterhead.

A central part of the STEMM-CCS (Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture & Storage) project is a sub-seabed CO₂ release experiment. 3.3 tons (3 tonnes) of CO₂, augmented with inert chemical tracers, will be injected below the seafloor at the Goldeneye experimental site.

The experiment aims to test CO₂ leak detection and leak quantification with help of chemical sensors. The project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

This initiative is supported by an analysis made by a team of scientists led by Jonathan Scafidi and a team of scientists at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh of the Beatrice oilfield, 15 mi. (24 km) off the north-east coast of Scotland. Using a computer model, the team calculated that over a 30-year period, the scheme would be around 10 times cheaper than decommissioning the Beatrice oil field, which is such likely to cost more than US$ 340 million.

Discover Solution 66: using carbon dioxide to make craft beer

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Planet Care

64: CO₂ capture by seaweed

Problem:

While trees absorb significant amounts of carbon dioxide, there are issues with deforestation – we need more ways to take carbon out of the air.

Solution:

Seaweed.


Much of the world’s seaweed is produced in large sea-based farms off the coasts of China, Indonesia, the Philippines, South Korea and Japan.

With a global production of 19 million (17.3 million tonnes), seaweed aquaculture is second only in volume to the farming of freshwater fish.

A new study conducted by scientists at UC Santa Barbara found that if 9% of the world’s ocean surface were used for seaweed farming, this would sequester 58 billion tons (53 billion tonnes) of CO₂ from the atmosphere. This is just from the absorption of carbon during the growing process.

What makes seaweed a particularly appealing carbon sink is its growth rate: about 30 to 60 times the rate of land-based plants.

Grown in these quantities, seaweed may be used for the reduction of methane in cows, edible water bubbles, drinking straws and other non SUP materials.

Discover Solution 65: storing carbon dioxide beneath the ocean bottom.

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Materials

63: Storing carbon in concrete

Problem:

Cement production is a major source of CO2 in the world:  5 – 7% of total emissions.

Solution:

Store carbon IN the concrete.


For almost a decade, Ifsttar (French Institute for Science and Technology in Transportation, Planning and Networks) has been searching for a method to store CO2 by the carbonation of recycled concrete.

Once the Accelerated Carbonation of Recycled Concrete Aggregates (ACRAC) project ended in 2013, five years later a new project was launched called FastCarb.

In this, Ifsttar has been working with IREX (Institute for Applied Research and Experimentation in Civil Engineering) and MTES (Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition).

The aim of FastCarb is to store CO2 in an accelerated manner, to improve the quality of these aggregates by blocking porosity and ultimately to reduce the CO2 impact of concrete in the structures.

This would recover about 20% of the CO2 initially released during the manufacture of a given concrete, i.e. 88-132 lb per cubic ft (40 to 60 kg per m³).

Discover Solution 64: carbon capture by seaweed

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture

62: Taking carbon OUT of the air

Problem:

There is virtually blanket scientific consensus that atmospheric CO₂ is the root cause of man made climate change (AGW – Anthropogenic Global Warming), and that humanity must stop burning fossil fuels to halt it. Recently, however, there has also been growing consensus that carbon already in the atmosphere needs to be reduced.

Solution:

Carbon capture systems


Switzerland

In Switzerland, Christoph Gebald and Jan André Wurzbacher, engineering students at ETH Zürich, developed a concept of a modular CO₂ collector as well as a working prototype for their Masters degree in Renewable Energy. It involved giant fans that would draw in the air and bind carbon molecules into filters.

In Hinwil, Zurich, with funding from the European Union to partner with Reykjavik energy Climeworks’ plant with its 18 units was capable of capturing 900 tonnes of CO₂ in a year directly from the air, enough to grow vegetables in a nearby greenhouse.

Its technology is based on a cyclic capture-regeneration process using a filter made of porous granulates modified with amines. Fans suck in atmospheric CO₂ that chemically binds to the filter’s surface.

Once saturated, the filter is then heated to around 100°C, releasing high-purity gaseous CO₂. According to Climeworks, the filters can operate for several thousand cycles before needing to be replaced.

In 2016, Climeworks having announced participation in four leading European CO₂ conversion projects (Kopernikus Power-to-X, STORE&GO, and Celbicon), was chosen as one of 20 companies to present its technology as a potential solution to meeting climate targets at the COP22 UN Climate Change Conference 2016 in Marrakech.

In 2017, having built the production infrastructure with a capacity of more than hundred CO₂ collectors per year, Climeworks commissioned the world’s first commercial-scale direct air capture plant.

In June 2020, Climeworks attracted US$30.8 million in a private funding round to ramp up its production to hit its ambitious plans of capturing 1 % of annual CO₂ emissions by 2025.

In August 2020, Climeworks, Carbfix and ON Power agreed to build a new plant at the Hellisheidi Geothermal Park in Iceland to significantly scale-up carbon removal and storage. The plant will draw on a reliable supply of renewable geothermal energy to power Climeworks’ DAC technology.

Canada

Carbon Engineering (CE) in Calgary, Alberta, Canada takes a different approach of converting a 1 ton concentrated CO₂ (Direct Air Capture) into 1 barrel of clean liquid fuel per day.

CE’s investors include Bill Gates, Murray Edwards, Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC, Chevron Technology Ventures, and BHP. CE has been well supported within the clean-tech innovation system and has led projects funded by top-tier government agencies in both Canada and the USA.

CE grew from academic work conducted on carbon management technologies by Professor David Keith’s research groups at the University of Calgary and Carnegie Mellon University.

Founded in 2009, a scalable pilot plant in Squamish, B.C was built and developed. CE is privately owned and is funded by investment or commitments from private investors and government agencies.

USA

Global Thermostat (GT), a privately funded carbon capture company located in Manhattan, New York was founded in 2010 to developed a DAC system where amine based sorbents are bonded to porous, honeycomb ceramic “monoliths” which act together as carbon sponges.

These carbon sponges efficiently adsorb CO₂ directly from the atmosphere, smokestacks, or a combination of both. The captured CO₂ is then stripped off and collected using low-temperature steam (85-100° C), ideally sourced from residual/process heat at little or no-cost.

The output results in 98% pure CO₂ at standard temperature and pressure. During the process only steam and electricity are consumed, without the creation of emissions or other effluents. This entire process is mild, safe, and carbon negative.

GT plants would be completely modular – from a single 50,000 tonne/yr. Module to a 40-Module, 2MM tonne/yr. Plant, and larger – a GT plant grows by adding more modules. In June 2019, ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and GT signed a joint development agreement to examine the scalability of GT’s DAC system.

If technical readiness and scalability is established, pilot projects at ExxonMobil facilities could follow. (globalthermostat.com)

The Texas Clean Energy Project (TCEP) near Odessa, USA, is being developed by Karl E. Mattes and a team at Summit Power Group in Seattle to build of the world’s first Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) green-field natural gas-fired clean-coal power plant.

TCEP is designed for 90% carbon capture, which is projected to be 2.7 million tons of CO2 per year. The potential carbon captured by the plant will be used for enhanced oil recovery in the West Texas Permian Basin. (summitpower.com)

Europe

In July 2019, a team at the RFF-CMCC European Institute on Economics and the Environment (EIEE) explored the use of DAC in multiple computer models. It showed that a “massive” and energy-intensive rollout of the technology could cut the cost of limiting AGW to 1.5° or 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

But the study also highlighted the “clear risks” of assuming that DAC will be available at scale, with global temperature goals being breached by up to 0.8C if the technology then fails to deliver. DAC should be seen as a “backstop for challenging abate ment” where cutting emissions is too complex or too costly.

Competitions

The $20 million NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE is a global competition to develop breakthrough technologies that will convert CO₂ emissions from power plants and industrial facilities into valuable products like building materials, alternative fuels and other items that we use every day.

This four-and-a-half-year global competition challenges teams to transform the way the world addresses carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions through breakthrough circular carbon technologies that convert carbon dioxide emissions from power plants into valuable products.

In April 2018, at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Future of Energy Summit in New York City, ten finalists were chosen from a field of 27 semi-finalists by an independent judging panel of eight international energy, sustainability and CO2 experts.

Each took home an equal share of a $5 million milestone prize. One of these, the University of California, Los Angeles, have developed their Carbon Upcycling UCLA system to siphon half a ton of CO2 per day from the Dry Fork power plant’s flue gas and produce 10 tons of concrete daily.

Together with four other finalists, including CarbonCure, a Canadian startup making greener concrete, and Carbon Capture Machine, a Scottish venture focused on building materials, UCLA competed in Wyoming, while another five teams competed at a natural gas plant in Alberta, Canada.

After Wyoming, the teams must dismantle their systems and haul them to Wilsonville, Alabama where they must repeat a three-month pilot at the National Carbon Capture Center, a research facility sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

What you can do: Continue to reduce your CO2 emissions wherever possible.

Discover Solution 63: storing carbon dioxide in recycled concrete

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture

61: Turning carbon in the air into stone

Problem:

There is virtually blanket scientific consensus that atmospheric CO₂ is the root cause of this rapid AGW, and that humanity must stop burning fossil fuels to halt it. Recently, however, there has also been growing consensus that decarbonisation on its own will not be enough.

Solution:

Capture the air and store it safely.


Several direct air capture (DAC) systems are in operation, in Iceland, in Switzerland, In Canada and in the USA.

In 2006, CarbFix was initiated jointly by the Icelandic President, Dr Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Einar Gunnlaugsson at Reykjavík Energy, Wallace S. Broecker at Columbia University, Eric H. Oelkers at CNRS Toulouse (France), and Sigurður Reynir Gíslason at University of Iceland to limit GHG emissions in Iceland.

Before the injection into subsurface basalt started in CarbFix, the consensus within the scientific community was that it would take decades to thousands of years for the injected CO₂ to mineralise.

During the first 6 years of the project, the main focus was to optimize the method through lab experiments, studies of natural analogues, and characterization of the CarbFix pilot injection site, often referred to as the CarbFix1, located 0.6 mi ( 3 km) SW of the Hellisheidi power plant in south-west Iceland. Design and construction of gas capture, injection and monitoring equipment was carried out simultaneously.

From January to March 2012, 193 tons (175 tonnes) of pure CO₂ were dissolved and injected into subsurface basalt at about 1600 ft (500 m) depth at about 35°C, and from June to August, 73 tonnes of 75% CO₂-25% H2S gas mixture from the Hellisheidi geothermal plant were injected under the same conditions.

Research results published in 2016 would indicate that 95% of the injected CO₂ had been solidified into calcite within 2 years, using 25 tonnes of water per tonne of CO₂.

Following the success of the pilot injections, the process was scaled up to industrial scale at Hellisheidi geothermal power plant, with injection of 65% CO₂-35%H2S gas mixture at about half a mile (800 m) depth and about 230°C at the Husmuli injection site, located 1 mi (1,5 km) northeast of the power plant.

The injection has been an integral part of the operation of the Hellisheidi Power Plant since June 2014.

In 2016, the injection operations at the Hellisheidi Plant were scaled up again, doubling the amount of gases injected. In 2017, 10,000 tonnes of CO₂ were “digested” by CarbFix.

The injection is ongoing today and at the end of 2018, approximately 37,500 tons (34,000 tonnes) of CO₂ had been captured and injected at Hellisheidi.

At current capturing capacity, approximately 1/3 of the CO₂ and about 3/4 of the H2S emissions from the plant are being re-injected, or approximately (11,ooo tons (10,000 tonnes) of CO₂ and about 6,000 tonnes of H2S annually

Reykjavik Energy had supplied the initial funding for CarbFix. Further funding has been supplied by the European Commission and the Department of Energy of the United States. In addition to finding a new method for permanent carbon dioxide storage, another objective of the project was to train scientists for years of work to come.

Several universities and research institutes have participated in the project under the scope of EU funded sub-projects, including Amphos 21, Climeworks and the University of Copenhagen.

Recently carbon capture and storage approach has been upscaled at Hellisheiði and ongoing research is implementing this approach at other sites across Europe, thanks to the ubiquity of basalt which covers most of the oceanic floors and around 10% of the continents. Large basaltic areas are to be found in Siberia, Western India, Saudi Arabia and the Pacific Northwest.

In June 2019, A Letter of Intent was signed between the Prime Minister of Iceland, Reykjavík Energy, the Aluminium and Silicon Industry in Iceland (Elkem, Fjarðarál, PCC and Rio Tinto), the Ministry for the Environment and Natural Resources, the Ministry of Industries and Innovation and the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture for exploring further exploitation of the CarbFix method for large emitters in Iceland was signed in Reykjavík.

The companies will each look for ways to realize carbon neutrality in 2040, as stated in the announcement from the Government Offices.

Tomorrow’s solution: Climeworks of Switzerland

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Materials

47: Making plastic out of greenhouse gases in the air

Problem:

Carbon capture should be turned to something useful.

Solution:

Markus D. Herrema, founder of NewLight Technologies of Huntington Beach, California has found a way to use a specially developed micro-organism-based biocatalyst (similar to an enzyme) to turn waste gas captured from air into a bioplastic called AirCarbon, a naturally-occurring biopolymer that can match the performance of oil-based plastics and out-compete on price.

The biocatalyst pulls carbon out of methane or carbon dioxide from farms, water treatment plants, landfills, or energy facilities, then combines it with hydrogen and oxygen to synthesize a biopolymer material.

AirCarbon can be used in extrusion, blown film, cast film, thermoforming, and injection molding applications to make products, including phone cases and furniture.

Herrema, who graduated magna cum laude High Honors from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Politics and Political Theory, with additional work in Physics, Mathematics, and Chemistry, founded NewLight in 2003.

He was assisted by Kenton Kimmel in the design, scale-up, and optimization of the company’s gas-to-plastic technology, including the engineering, construction, commissioning, and optimization of the Company’s production lines, as well as the detailed engineering of Newlight’s commercial production facility.

Since commercial scale-up in 2013, Newlight has developed commercialization relationships with Dell, Sprint, Virgin, KI, HP, and The Body Shop. In 2015, Newlight executed a 19 billion pound off-take agreement with Vinmar International as well as 10 billion pounds in licensed production.

The Netherlands
The following year, Paques Holdings in Balk, the Netherlands entered into a 15-year technology license agreement that would allow Paques to manufacture, process, and sell bioplastics based on Newlight’s proprietary GHG to AirCarbon™ conversion technology, at a rate of up to 1.4 million tons (1.3 million tonnes) per year.

In recognition of Newlight’s technological and commercialization achievements, Newlight was awarded “Innovation of the Year” by “Popular Science” in 2014, “Technology Pioneer” by the World Economic Forum in 2015, “Technology Excellence Award” by “PC Magazine” in 2014, “Company of the Year” by CleanTech OC in 2014, “Biomaterial of the Year” by the Nova-Institute in 2013, and an R&D 100 Award as “one of the 100 most significant innovations of the year” in 2013.

Discover solution 48: a super bug to consume oil spills

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Materials

37: Biochar: ‘green’ charcoal

Problem:

During the past 150 years billions of tons of chemical fertilizers have been added to the planet’s soil, many of them harmful.

Solution:

A ‘charcoal’ made from biomass like wood, manure and leaves, and produces a soil enhancer that holds carbon and makes soil more fertile, reduces agricultural waste and more: Biochar.


Pre-Columbian Amazonians are believed to have used biochar to enhance soil productivity. They seem to have produced it by smouldering agricultural waste in pits or trenches. European settlers called it terra preta de Indio.

Following observations and experiments during 2006, a research team working in French Guiana hypothesized that the Amazonian earthworm Pontoscolex corethrurus was the main agent of fine powdering and incorporation of charcoal debris in the mineral soil to produce tropical soil fertility.

As high yield biochar can be produced through torrefaction or slow pyrolysis, unlike the conventional burning of wood or plant matter, the carbon stored up through photosynthesis is not released back into the atmosphere which has a significant effect on reducing AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) through the reduction of GHG (Greenhouse Gases).

Livestock manure, along with waste-feed residues and bedding materials, is a potential source of biochar.

Pro-Natura International has developed a continuous process of pyrolysis of vegetable waste (agricultural residues, renewable wild-grown biomass) transforming them into green charcoal.

This domestic fuel performs the same as
charcoal made from wood, at half the cost. It represents a freeing up from the constraints of scarcity, distance and cost of available fuels in Africa.

The first pilot program operated at Pro-Natura’s plant in Ross Bethio, Senegal.

Research worldwide into biochar has seriously increased over the past decade, and in India specifically, the number of studies on biochar has gone up in the past five years.

A lab at the University of Zurich is working on understanding how biochar can be effectively used and have conducted field trials in Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Nepal, North America, Indonesia, Madagascar, Zambia, and importantly in India where, for over 12 years, Zurich has been collaborating with GKVK College of Agriculture and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru.

On a farm near Manjimup in south-west Australia, since 2012 dung beetles have been working with cowpats to develop biochar which is then added to the cattle’s feed and reduces their methane emissions and also enriches the soil.

Find out more about some of the prominent companies currently functional in the global biochar market which is expected to reach around US$ 3.82 billion by 2025:

Genesis Industries  •   Phoenix Energy  •   Full Circle Biochar  •   Pacific Biochar  •   Earth Systems Bioenergy  •  Agri-Tech Producers  •  Biochar Supreme  •  CharGrow, LLC  •  National Carbon Technologies

Discover solution 38: biodegradable soda pop bottles

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture

21: The artificial leaf

Problem:

Even if we immediately stopped putting carbon into our atmosphere, the existing carbon will continue to contribute to climate changes for decades.

Solution:

An artificial leaf that bio-mimics the carbon-scrubbing abilities of the real thing.

Researchers led by Yimin A.Wu at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at the Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) in Illinois and the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology in Ontario, Canada, collaborating with California State University (Northridge), and the City University of Hong Kong, have been developing an artificial leaf which bio-mimics the carbon-scrubbing abilities of the real thing.

But rather than turning atmospheric CO2 into a source of fuel for itself, the artificial leaf converts it into a useful alternative fuel.

Making methanol from carbon dioxide, the primary contributor to global warming, would both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a substitute for the fossil fuels that create them.

The key to the process is a cheap, optimized red powder called cuprous oxide (Cu2O).

Engineered to have as many eight-sided particles as possible, the powder is created by a chemical reaction when four substances – glucose, copper acetate, sodium hydroxide and sodium dodecyl sulfate – are added to water that has been heated to a particular temperature.

It is mixed with water, carbon dioxide is blown into the solution, a solar simulator directs a beam of white light at it and the Cu2O acts as the catalyst, or trigger, for another chemical reaction.

This reaction produces oxygen, as in photosynthesis, while also converting the carbon dioxide in the water-powder solution into methanol, which is collected from evaporation.

Next steps in the research include increasing the methanol yield and commercializing the patented process to convert carbon dioxide collected from major greenhouse gas sources such as power plants, vehicles and oil drilling.

Yimin A Wu et al., “Facet-dependent active sites of a single Cu2O particle photocatalyst for CO2 reduction to methanol” Nature Energy Volume 4, pages957–968 (2019).

University of Waterloo News: Scientists create ‘artificial leaf’ that turns carbon dioxide into fuel

Discover solution 22: recycling asbestos into ceramics

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Human Effort

11: The Green Dam – 7.5 million acres of reforestation

Problem:

Desertification is a serious threat to arid and semiarid environments which cover 40% of the global land surface and are populated by approximately 1 billion humans. Of the 588 million acres (238 million hectares) that make the total land area of Algeria, 200 million are natural deserts, 20 million represent the steppe regions threatened by desertification.

During The War of Independence, between 1954 and 1962, Algeria’s forest heritage had suffered serious damage as a result of the French occupation army’s aerial bombardments.

Solution:

In a program launched in 1970 by Saïd Grim and backed by President Houari Boumediene, the past forty years have seen a reforestation program of the vast steppe of Algeria to counter desertification.

Today ‘The Green Dam’ (also called ‘The Green Wall’ and ‘alsadu al’akhdar aljazayiriu’ in Arabic) covers an area of  930 mi (1500 km) by 12 mi (20 km): or 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares).

Driving back the desert is an ongoing task, though. A study on the rehabilitation and extension of the Dam was launched in 2012, an action plan was proposed in 2016, meetings and workshops held in 2018.

Ethiopia

In 2019, Ethiopia, in the Horn of Africa, claimed to have planted 4 billion trees in three months. The Green Legacy Initiative was championed by the country’s Nobel peace prize-winning Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

The highlight was on 29 July when Ethiopians across the country turned out to help with planting 350 million tree seedlings over a 12-hour period. They gave a very precise number – 353,633,660 trees planted that day. A further 1.3 billion seedlings were grown, but not planted.

The Gambia

The Gambia, which is one of the poorest countries in western Africa, launched a large project to restore 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) of forests, mangroves, and savannas, using climate-resilient tree and shrub species.

The six-year project will be implemented in four of The Gambia’s seven regions, and aims to make over 57,000 people more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. Of these people 11,550 will benefit directly, and 46,200 indirectly.

Discover solution 12: carbon free aluminium smelting that could eliminate the equivalent of 7 million tons of GHG emissions

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Categories
Carbon Capture Materials Your Home

6: Kaalink • printer ink from car exhausts

Problem:

Fossil-fuel gasoline automobile exhausts pollute and damage health in crowded cities.

Solution:

A machine called Kaalink for recycling their soot to generate ink for printers, has been invented by Anirudh Sharma of India. Between 2013 and 2015 Sharma co-led activities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab India Initiative consortium to help shape self-organized, design-led innovation in India.

During a visit to his Indian home in 2013, Sharma noticed that his friend’s clothing was stained by air pollution. After experimenting for more than a year to see whether pollution rejected by vehicles was a resource recycling idea, Sharma realised that his invention would not help India if he set up office in the US.

So, in 2013 he returned to India and, along with three researcher friends, co-founded Graviky Labs in Bengaluru. Initially when they were experimenting with a new technology, there was no set guidance available in the market.

They conducted several experiments to understand the optimum technique for harvesting pollution from fossil fuel combustion sources. By 2016, the team started to retrofit Kaalink machines to car engine exhaust pipes in Bengaluru.

They were able to capture approximately 95 % or 1.6 kg of the particulate matter pollution without inducing back-pressure. Kaalinks were manually and individually installed by drivers, and after about two weeks of city driving were traded in at a Graviky Labs.

The machines could also be fitted to motorboats and to chimneys.

Graviky then set about converting the captured raw material into a black ink they called Air-Ink. An ounce of ink (28 gm) is produced by about 45 minutes of exhaust. Sharma and his team then built a prototype to test their ink’s printability.

They assembled a Nicolas’ ink shield with Arduino interfaced with their soot-catcher pump design. This shield allowed them to connect a HP C6602 inkjet cartridge to their Arduino2015 turning it into a 96dpi print platform.

It only used 5 pins which could be jumper-selected to avoid other shields. For the project they had to widen the holes of the cartridge to let the ink out, since the size of the particles in Air-Ink is much larger than the fine industrial ink.

Conventional black ink is one of the most consumed products in the industry. Most of this printing ink is produced in factories with complex chemical procedures.

Companies such as HP/Canon make 70 % of their profits by selling these cartridges at 400% margin. Air-Ink presented a far more economic option.

In August 2016, Graviky Labs, in partnership with Tiger Beer, Heineken Global, next linked up with international artists to spread the message of environment conservation.

They collaborated with seven Hong Kong-based artists for this project, providing approximately 42 gallons (150 liters) of Air-Ink in graffiti cans.

These worked well and were used in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan district for street art activation to campaign against air pollution.

They captured this moment on a video that went viral and garnered 2.5 million views within 10 days. Sharma next travelled to smog-choked cities around the world and challenged 19 street artists to create billboards and murals in Air-Ink illustrating the effects of carbon waste, starting in London, going on to Berlin, Chicago, Sydney, Singapore and Amsterdam.

Street artist Buff Monster created a beautiful black-and-white drawing on a Manhattan sidewalk titled “This art is painted with air pollution.”

Anirudh’s innovation also gained recognition from Shah Rukh Khan, an Indian actor, film producer and television personality. Referred to in the media as the “King of Bollywood” and “King Khan”, he has appeared in more than 80 Bollywood films. Khan pledged to use Air-Ink for his brand promotions.

This included 4 handmade posters of Khan posted across New Delhi and Mumbai advertising the launch of Sharma’s TED-Talks in India “Painted with Pollution.” With corporate and government partnerships, Graviky hopes to install 1,000 capture units in every constituency.

In 2019, Graviky Labs proudly made this post on their website: “(422 billion gallons (1.6 trillion liters) of air cleaned so far.”

Discover solution 7: a wearable badge that helps you figure out the cleanest and healthiest routes to work or school.

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.