Global warming is rarely good news.
So when good news happens, it's important to share it.
With this in mind, we have listed some of the most promising innovative solutions that researchers and entrepreneurs around the world are working on to solve the great problem of our century.
Of course, this does not change the fact that the number one priority is to drastically reduce our emissions. But it's encouraging to see the number of climate technology projects multiplying in all sectors of activity.
In any case, you can see that human beings are not lacking in creativity!
Climeworks: Filtering air to capture CO2
Among the technologies that are the focus of most research efforts is the so-called "CCS" technique, i.e. "Carbon Capture and Storage".
As the name suggests, it consists of extracting carbon from the air. This technology can be applied to various applications:
- For example, it can be implemented in a coal-fired power plant, where the CO2 generated by its combustion is captured before it is extracted. This is known as "post-combustion" PSC.
- The ambient air can also be "filtered" to recover CO2. This is called "direct air filter" technology. This is what the Swiss company Climeworks does.
Climeworks has developed a technology (which can be used in the open air as well as in factories) that can extract CO2 by blowing ambient air through a "filter" and then heating it. The captured CO2 can then be sold to 'fertilise' greenhouse plants, produce agrofuels or carbonate drinks.
Carbfix: Turning CO2 into stone
A project launched by a team of Icelandic scientists in 2007, Carbfix consists of sequestering CO2 by reaction with basaltic rocks.
Initially developed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Hellisheidi power plant in Iceland, the project has since gained international recognition as a breakthrough technology for carbon sequestration. Icelandic, French and American scientists are now working together on this new technology, which is largely subsidised by the European Union.
How does it work?
The technology involves recovering carbon dioxide from the Hengill volcano, where the plant is located.
Pipelines transport the CO2, reduced to vapour, to the famous domed buildings. It is in these domes that the carbon dioxide is dissolved in large quantities of water.
The result is a mixture of water and carbon dioxide that is injected into the basalt rock below. When mixed with water, the carbon dioxide becomes embedded in the very porous structure of the basalt. Finally, under the effect of a chemical reaction, the CO2 freezes in the form of white crystals.
The main drawback to the deployment of this technology is the high water demand of the process. Therefore, the Carbfix team is now working on a water recycling process, which could allow the technology to be deployed in countries with more limited water resources than Iceland.
Mootral : Food supplements... for cows
By talking so much about carbon dioxide, we forget that a second gas is strongly involved in climate change: methane.
Despite its short life span in the atmosphere (10 years), methane has a significant impact because its global warming "potential" is 28 times higher than that of CO2. Today, it is mainly emitted by agriculture and waste.
And it is precisely to reduce these methane emissions that Mootral, a Swiss company, has developed a feed supplement for ruminants.
A product that can reduce a cattle's emissions by up to 30%.
Mootral has been voted as one of the 12 most impactful climate startups, and has raised nearly €8m to deploy its solution.
CarbonCure: The company that injects CO2 into concrete
CarbonCure is a UK company that recovers carbon dioxide emissions as an environmentally friendly reinforcing agent for concrete.
The process involves injecting liquefied CO2 into a concrete mixture and reacting it with calcium ions and water to produce limestone.
Even better: the reinforcing agent allows the concrete to have a longer service life, thus offsetting the additional costs of carbon injection.
Good news for them: they have just won the Carbon XPrize Competition, with a nice prize of $20m to invest in their company...
PS : You notice that the headline of their website is quite close to Mootral... Who copied who? We'll never know.
GHGSat: the satellite that monitors methane emissions
For this latest innovation, we return to the subject of methane, but with a less mundane subject than Mootral.
GHGSat is a Quebec-based company that develops a satellite capable of detecting methane emissions. Their technology is used by industrial companies (Oil & Gas, Waste Management, etc...) to understand and measure the methane emissions linked to their activity.
They are also developing a sensor for aircraft, which will be able to detect methane emission with an accuracy of one metre!
That's it! And if you want to discover another promising innovation in carbon, feel free to visit our home page 🙂
Do you have any innovations in mind that you would like to share? Do not hesitate to share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org