February 23, 2012 8:32 AM Subscribe
posted by stbalbach (53 comments total)
11 users marked this as a favorite
Three startup companies led by prominent scientists are working on new technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere
. These scientists have launched start-up companies and attracted well-to-do investors — most notably Bill Gates — along with venture capital and, most recently, the attention of Wall Street.Kilimanjaro Energy
is the pioneer. It was initially financed with $8 million from Gary Comer, the founder of Land’s End.
, a second startup, was funded by Edgar Bronfman Jr., the former Warner Music CEO and heir to the Seagram’s fortune, who put $15 million into it.
has Bill Gates as an investor. In an FAQ on its website
, Carbon Engineering offers a “conservative estimate” of the cost of air capture at “less than $250 per ton” of CO2 and says that it will drive costs lower.
All three startups plan to sell CO2 to the oil industry who use it in the extraction of oil, pumping CO2 underground to force oil out. Most scientists say it air extraction will never be cost effective (needs to be under $100/ton), but these three startups may get lucky. To give a sense of the scale required, currently the atmosphere has 390 ppm carbon, to reduce it 1 ppm to 389 ppm would require extracting 8 billion tons of CO2. By comparison, a recent carbon sequestration
project in the US was hailed for storing 1 million tons of CO2 underground. Many scientists believe the atmosphere needs to be at 350 ppm to be safe