Can we make money from CO₂ emissions?
These 3 startups have uncovered innovative uses of CO₂
We all know that CO₂ is a deadly pollutant that is accelerating climate change.
We also know that moving to renewable energy from fossil fuels will reduce the CO₂ emissions and will benefit the planet.
But unfortunately, we have abused the planet to an extent where this won’t be a cure-all for climate change.
We also need to move towards negative emissions (reducing the amount of carbon by capturing it).
CO₂ acts as a raw material for numerous industries.
So these 3 startups decided to use CO₂ that would have otherwise ended up in the atmosphere and are making products out of it ⬇️
We’re removing forests to feed animals that we eat…Soy is one of the most common sources of high protein food for poultry in Europe. A majority of it is procured from Argentina and Brazil, where large sections of Amazon rainforests have been cleared for soy plantations. These rainforests are a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. In 2020, the deforestation levels were at their highest levels since 2008.
Animals can eat this too…UK-based carbon recycling start-up Deep Branch is transforming CO₂ into animal food. They take CO₂ from the industrial waste gas, uses microorganisms and creates Proton™, a sustainable protein alternative to soy.
The process of conversion works similar to the fermentation of wine, where yeast converts grape sugar into alcohol.
Instead of yeast, they use a microbe in their proprietary fermentation process to convert CO₂ into Proton™.
The company can customize the nutritional profile of the microbes to meet the requirements of the end consumer.
The ‘Deep’ impact…The alternative to soy isn’t just sustainable and environmentally friendly but also cost-competitive. It offers a saving of 90% on carbon footprint and has lower input costs in comparison to other single-cell protein technologies. If commercialized, this will bring down the carbon emissions caused by both industrial gases and deforestation.
Carbon black is dark…Carbon black is a sooty material emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and the burning of fossil fuels. It causes respiratory and cardiovascular diseases in humans. It absorbs light as heat and contributes to climate change. Black carbon deposits have been found in the Arctic covering the snow and ice. This decreases the Earth’s ability to reflect the warming rays of the sun while absorbing heat and hastening melt.
Catch’em all…The team at Graviky Labs has developed a device and technique called KAALINK which is retrofitted to the exhaust pipe of vehicles and generators. This device can capture 95% of the carbon soot from cars, generators and ferries and turn it into ink and paint.
The device traps unburned carbon before it is expelled into the air, capturing soot particles as small as 2.5 micrometres (a 30th of the diameter of a human hair).
The soot collected undergoes a proprietary process in order to remove heavy metals and carcinogens, leading to a carbon-rich pigment.
The purified soot is ground into ink pigment and mixed with vegetable oil to create grades of inks, dispersions and coatings.
Ride and paint…Carbon emissions are turned into useful carbon thereby turning harmful waste into a useful resource. 45 minutes of vehicular emissions captured by this device can produce an ounce of ink. A single air ink pen contains about 50 minutes of vehicular exhaust pollutants.
Heating systems are inefficient…As winter weather sets in, heating systems kick in to heat the spaces we live in and work from. Globally, heat accounts for 40% of energy-related CO₂ emissions. The energy used to heat our workplaces and homes is one of the highest contributors to our individual carbon footprint. As most of the buildings in Europe and North America are old, it’s a challenge to make the heating systems more efficient.
World’s first carbon capture soap…Canada-based Clean O2 is using chemistry to capture these greenhouse gases emitted from the heating industry and is turning them into valuable, high margin, consumer and industrial products. The technology is being used in aggregator residential applications like townies and condominium complexes, recreation centers, hotels and commercial laundry facilities.
Through their small-scale carbon capture and storage (CCS) device CARBiNX, they capture and absorb CO₂ emissions from buildings.
The captured CO₂ is converted into 100% safe Pearl Ash, which is used to make soaps and detergents.
The profit earned from selling the soaps and detergents is split between Clean O2 and the building owner(who has installed CARBiNX).
You can plant trees and/or…1 CARBiN-X unit absorbs 6 to 8 tonnes of carbon per year, which is roughly the equivalent of 300 trees over that same time period. In its effort to further reduce its carbon footprint, Clean O2 has partnered with local soap makers which reduces the shipping distances. I had spoken to founders Jaeson, Kathi and Scott in Episode 31 of Epic.👇🏼
🔍Want to test your knowledge of CO₂ emissions?
Here are the responses to the last edition’s ‘Guess the Word’- Kangaroo, Morocco, Suede
Do you know your carbon footprint? Check out clever carbon's 2min carbon footprint quiz!
📢 Shoutout to Paridhi who helped me write this edition.
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