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Elon Musk puts up $100 million XPrize for developing carbon capture tech; new interview with details

EviLore

Expansive Ellipses
Staff Member
Primer:






The climate math is becoming clear that we will need gigaton-scale carbon removal in the coming decades to avoid the worst effects of climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates the need at approximately 10 gigatonnes of net CO2 removal per year by the year 2050 in order to keep global temperature rise under 1.5 or 2C. As governments, companies, investors, and entrepreneurs make plans to meet this challenge, it is clear that we will need a range of carbon removal solutions to be proven through demonstration and deployment to complement work that is already underway. If humanity continues on a business-as-usual path, the global average temperature could increase 6˚(C) by the year 2100.

This four-year global competition invites innovators and teams from anywhere on the planet to create and demonstrate solutions that can pull carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere or oceans, and sequester it durably and sustainably. To win the grand prize, teams must demonstrate a working solution at a scale of at least 1000 tonnes removed per year; model their costs at a scale of 1 million tonnes per year; and show a pathway to achieving a scale of gigatonnes per year in future.

Any carbon negative solution is eligible: nature-based, direct air capture, oceans, mineralization, or anything else that achieves net negative emissions, sequesters CO2 durably, and show a sustainable path to achieving low cost at gigatonne scale.

Thank you to our early innovators, and sponsors, who knew Carbon Removal would become an XPRIZE: Chuck Brady, Jeff Holden, Tylee Potter, Paresh Ghelani, Eric Hirshberg, Dave Asprey, Thomas Ermacora, Ryan Duffy, and Thomas Middleditch.

The largest incentive prize in history, for a righteous cause, could have a major positive impact on the planet's trajectory. It doesn't appear likely that we're going to reduce our world CO2 emissions sufficiently before the temperature changes cascade into something more severe over the next 50-100 years, but if we remove enough CO2 along the way we could reverse enough of the damage to stabilize (along with changes in consumption and advances in clean energy tech).

Elon and XPrize founder Neil Diamandis go over this initiative in detail in a new interview:

 

CloudNull

Banned
This is how you combat global climate change. Changing industries to become less efficient was never going to happen. Money will always speak louder than the righteous path when it comes to business.

Now that there is legitimate prize pool I bet we see some amazing breakthroughs.
 
Russia apparently has 642 billion of them, so obviously we just need another Russia and we good.

The Siberian fires of the last few years must have raised alarms. They certainly sent smoke signals across the hemisphere. Protecting and maintaining forests everywhere is as important as planting. Africa is making some progress in planting trees to retake
Every bit helps. As noted tech by itself won't solve it all. Regulation and conservation is implied.
 
10 gigatons (20,000,000,000,000 lbs) of additional CO2 removal per year is needed. One mature tree removes 48 lbs per year of CO2 on average. So about 417 billion trees would need to be planted, which isn't going to happen.
A decent (not even great) tree planter can plant 1000 trees a day. Get a million people to plant trees all day and they'll be done within 2 years max.

(I know it's not that simple, but still. We were on the damn moon, planting a bunch of trees is much easier.)
 

SJRB

Gold Member
For the life of me I don't understand why REE people hate this man. Is it because he's done more than they could ever hope to accomplish with a dozen lifetimes?
Elon is a non-conforming, freethinking individual that is immensely successful, immensely rich and immensely focused on achieving his goals and basically doesn't give a fuck what people think of him so he posts edgelord twitter posts just to piss people off.

He's basically the antichrist to the soyboy socialist collective.
 

llien

Member
The eco folks, with that Greta, whatever her title is, have warned AGAINST such technologies explicitly.
The rationale was, that those things would allow to keep doing things the way we are doing now (which is bad, I guess)
 
The Siberian fires of the last few years must have raised alarms. They certainly sent smoke signals across the hemisphere. Protecting and maintaining forests everywhere is as important as planting. Africa is making some progress in planting trees to retake
Every bit helps. As noted tech by itself won't solve it all. Regulation and conservation is implied.
Isn’t the Sahara getting bigger every year? Combined with rising temperatures in these places will make them inhospitable and force human migration.
 

Marlenus

Member
The eco folks, with that Greta, whatever her title is, have warned AGAINST such technologies explicitly.
The rationale was, that those things would allow to keep doing things the way we are doing now (which is bad, I guess)

They are a bridging technology. They are right that the way we do things now is very wasteful so it would be better to not keep going as we are if we can avoid it.

I don't see why we can't do both, infact we probably need to.
 

RoboFu

One of the green rats
The eco folks, with that Greta, whatever her title is, have warned AGAINST such technologies explicitly.
The rationale was, that those things would allow to keep doing things the way we are doing now (which is bad, I guess)

that’s because they are weirdos who want to go back to mud huts and eating nothing but berries. If we can filter the air and get China to cut back on their emissions we can still progress to a better state globally.
 

McCheese

Member
The eco folks, with that Greta, whatever her title is, have warned AGAINST such technologies explicitly.
The rationale was, that those things would allow to keep doing things the way we are doing now (which is bad, I guess)

How much carbon would we reduce if we shot Greta into space? Asking for a scientific friend.

Given how fucked we are, the more options on the table the better.
 

llien

Member
Check out Carbfix and their carbon capture set up in Iceland.

This seems pricey, and it will only remove 4000 tons a year, but it’s a start.


A tree consumes somewhere between 10 and 50kg of CO2 annually.
So that's more than 100k trees, pretty impressive.

They are a bridging technology.
I don't see why we couldn't do it long term, at least on a relatively low scale, for stuff such as planes.
 

CloudNull

Banned
They are a bridging technology. They are right that the way we do things now is very wasteful so it would be better to not keep going as we are if we can avoid it.

I don't see why we can't do both, infact we probably need to.
Yeah we need to do both but it won’t matter unless China and India get on board. Many of the problem countries are experiencing economic booms that most first worl countries have already had. It is not fair for the world to ask them to stop growing.


These types of competitions will help us(first world countries) develop technologies that can lead the way. The change will not come from countries during their biggest economic booms.


We can reach a more symbiotic way of living with the world but first the work has to be done.
 

Great Hair

Banned
Hmm, how about we let NASA do the Space thing and everyone stops sending, blowing up rockets. They burn up to 80t of fossil fuel with each launch. And maybe, stop "investing, adopting" new bitcoin farm-center?

 

CloudNull

Banned
Hmm, how about we let NASA do the Space thing and everyone stops sending, blowing up rockets. They burn up to 80t of fossil fuel with each launch. And maybe, stop "investing, adopting" new bitcoin farm-center?

NASA is a joke when compared to SpaceX. Government entities are never as efficient as the private sector.

Mining crypto is not efficient and a lot of blockchains are moving to different models. For now Bitcoin is king and will probably always be but companies getting onboard are legitimizing the technology which is a net positive.
 

strange headache

Fluctuat nec mergitur
Elon is a great guy and we desperately need more forward leaders that think like him. His space program is hugely successful and the West has to rely on SpaceX if it ever hopes to explore space and compete with China. If only Tesla's other projects wouldn't be such utter eyewash like their Las Vegas underground tunnel or the hyperloop.
 
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DragoonKain

Neighbours from Hell
I remember reading something a few years back about potentially building skyscraper sized air purifiers. I don't know if that was just an idea or if it was a legitimate idea by scientific minds.
 

MrA

Member
pretty sure the wining strategy is combining it with reforming hydrocarbons
propane, the answer was there the whole time, I tell you what
 
Why not explore compressed air batteries for renewable energy sources? Essentially use solar, for example, to run super powerful air compressors, wait until the liquid gasses segregate in the holding tanks, draw off the CO2, and use the compressed air to run turbines when the power is needed for the grid. If you want to get a little fancier you can also run a thermal heat exchange engine on the tank to harvest the energy in the temperature change.

It's not as efficient as modern chemical batteries, even less so when segregating the CO2, but it's stupid-simple technology, takes no toxic materials, and fits into a space only a little bigger than modern peaker plants. It's certainly not a solution for the carbon-capture problem, but it can't hurt, and already compressed CO2 is something that can be sold for its various uses as a bonus.

Edit- I got a few details wrong, but for the better.


I've never had a problem with renewables, but never thought we'd be able to entirely rely on them. With a renewed interest in nuclear with the development of SMRs, the possibility to using spent fracking wells for low-pressure geo-thermal, tech like this, and modern batteries that have the needed density and lifespan, I think it could work.
 
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Nuclear is literally the best option while we regreen earth and learn to curb our industrialisation bad habits, tragedy it didn't take off in recent decades. It has bad optics and skewed doom and gloom around waste/accidents. By comparison climate change effects are far worse than any fallout problems, especially given the sheer investment and progress that could be made in the next 10 years if it went full ahead. Gates has some solid discussion around modern mini reactors.

I'm all for the curation of trees and algae that love CO 2 (and other processes) which also need to be progressed rapidly. It's also silly governments don't just build enormous solar and wind farms (or whatever natural resource they have in place e.g. some euro countries are fully powered based on water) in places that aren't populated etc. Musk has been on record about powering the US with just a solar slice of Utah for example.
 
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Sejan

Member
Isn’t the solution to use that $100 million to plant trees for the logging industry. The carbon is captured in the growth of trees and is stored long term in the form of houses and other buildings. I would double as a solution to the problem right now of high building material costs.
 

Bo_Hazem

Gold Dealer
Primer:








The largest incentive prize in history, for a righteous cause, could have a major positive impact on the planet's trajectory. It doesn't appear likely that we're going to reduce our world CO2 emissions sufficiently before the temperature changes cascade into something more severe over the next 50-100 years, but if we remove enough CO2 along the way we could reverse enough of the damage to stabilize (along with changes in consumption and advances in clean energy tech).

Elon and XPrize founder Neil Diamandis go over this initiative in detail in a new interview:


Easy, plant more trees and buy his cars.
 

Ballthyrm

Member
Hmm, how about we let NASA do the Space thing and everyone stops sending, blowing up rockets. They burn up to 80t of fossil fuel with each launch. And maybe, stop "investing, adopting" new bitcoin farm-center?


Every time Bitcoin comes up. People ignore the C02 impact of its direct equivalent, gold.
Try to estimate how much we are destroying earth to get all of it.

As for bitcoin, it's a non issue, It's going to get greener as the electricity gets greener. Just like electric cars, garbage in, garbage out.
So all these numbers are derived from the dirty electric grid as it is right now.

The problem has been noticed and its being adressed.

As for rocket pollution. Everyday astronaut did a great video on it.
It's a not a problem, there is no rocket going up and down regularly to put a dent in our global emission.

 

Blade2.0

Member
Is there anything better than trees at storing carbon emissions? We've been looking at these technologies for a while now and we've yet to get anywhere. Is it even possible is the next question we should ask.
 
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