You’ll know from our previous blogs that carbon dioxide removal (CDR) is scientifically argued to be the best route to mitigating climate change via a less CO2 intensive world. As a B Corp dedicated to being carbon Net Zero, at Gong we are always on the lookout for inspiring companies.
Here are our top 10 carbon capture, storage and usage innovations to help power a new green economy.
1. Biochar – CO2 that enriches the soil
Finnish company Carbofex turns biomass and organic waste into high value biochar products for soil enrichment, ultimately producing clean energy and permanently removing CO2. The pyrolysis process is explained by carbon removal marketplace PURO.earth as a long-lasting means of storing carbon for more than 1000 years. Other major players: Craig Sams’ Carbon Gold.
2. Green Cement for Africa – using agricultural residues
The production of cement produces vast amounts of CO2 – causing 8% of worldwide carbon emissions. This short video illustrates how researchers and engineers at the Federal Office for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin are developing an innovative solution: a bio-concrete in which cement is mixed with residual materials from cassava shells.
3. Air Protein: the future of carbon-negative foods
The food industry is one of the biggest carbon emitters – even higher than the automobile industry. With synthetic biology, it is possible to transform CO2 into delicious, life-sustaining nutrition. In this article for Forbes, contributor John Cumbers outlines how Air Protein’s process uses many of the inputs of traditional crops but on a lot less land and at a vastly accelerated rate. Essentially, Air Protein has the potential to improve traditional farming efficiency by 3,500 per cent.
4. DroneSeed: replanting forests devastated by wildfires
Wildfire seasons continue to decimate landscapes at alarming rates. Reporting for CNN Business, Rishi Iyengar outlines in this story how DroneSeed has developed a way to replant trees six times faster. Covering up to 50 acres a day, it also cuts the supply chains for getting new seeds in the ground down from three years to three months.
5. Jet fuel reverse-engineered from greenhouse gases
At this stage, it’s just an experimental process, but there’s a team at Oxford University working on turning carbon dioxide into jet fuel. Outlined in this story from Wired.com, lead researcher and founder of green fuel firm Velocys Tiancun Xiao discusses the organic combustion method that could be a climate game-changer.
6. Transforming agri-waste to energy: Sistema.bio
Sistema.bio is a company that creates biodigesters to take organic waste and transform it into renewable biogas and a powerful organic fertilizer. In total, the company has offset 211,000 tonnes of CO2. This blog describes the story of Veronica, from Kenya, who outlines how Sistema’s biodigesters provide farmers with more than renewable energy: they improve economies by cutting costs and enhancing farm productivity too.
7. Direct air capture ‘buries’ CO2
Direct air carbon capture company Climeworks has started construction of a plant in Iceland that will trap and bury 4,000 mt/year of CO2. The plant will run on renewable energy and will capture emissions directly from the air. The company is also powering the plant with clean energy from ON Power’s Hellisheidi Geothermal Power Plan, minimising the plant’s impact. It is scheduled to be online in Spring 2021 – read more on Forbes.com, here.
8. Carbon-negative Vodka
Brooklyn company Air Co has developed a process for making vodka that converts carbon dioxide into alcohol. The distilled alcoholic beverage is made with a process that uses electrical energy to convert carbon dioxide into ethanol – according to Air Co, the first time it has been used for large-scale production of vodka.
We can all drink to that!
9. AirCarbon – pellets that strengthen other materials
Newlight uses a microorganism-based biocatalyst to extract carbon from methane or CO2 and strings it together into a long-chain bioplastic molecule, called AirCarbon. Following polymerization, AirCarbon is converted into a pellet for downstream use, including in extrusion, cast film, and injection molding applications. Watch their XPRIZE video here.
10. Mangrove restoration
Mother nature of course, can’t be bettered. And mangroves are even more effective than rain forests at sequestering carbon. The world’s mangroves sequester about 24 million metric tons of carbon in soil per year. A mangrove forest on the Pacific island of Kosrae, in Micronesia, can store as much carbon annually as a tropical rain forest in Panama. This organisation is helping countries all over the world to restore their mangroves as a nature based solution and carbon sink: https://coastalresourcesgroup.org/