Effective carbon sequestration methods and how we can deploy them to save ourselves
Image credit: Will Elder, NPS
- the amount of heat energy that is reaching the earth from the sun
- the quantity of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere to trapt that heat
Carbon sequestration using E.coli as a biological carbon capture device
Roger, M., Brown, F., Gabrielli, W., & Sargent, F. (2018). Efficient Hydrogen-Dependent Carbon Dioxide Reduction by Escherichia coli. Current Biology, 28(1), 140-145.e2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2017.11.050
Artificial Photosynthesis devices
- high selectivity for formate (97±3%)
- high stability during the light reaction without sacrificial reagents
- easy to scale up, possibly cost-effective
- no unwanted byproducts, eliminating the burden of waste removal
Wang, Q., Warnan, J., Rodríguez-Jiménez, S. et al. Molecularly engineered photocatalyst sheet for scalable solar formate production from carbon dioxide and water. Nat Energy 5, 703–710 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-020-0678-6
Elon Musk's 100M prize to tackle this problem
- A working carbon removal prototype that can be rigorously validated and capable of removing at least 1 ton per day.
- The team’s ability to demonstrate to the judges that their solution can economically scale to the gigaton level.
- The main metric for this competition is fully considered cost per ton, inclusive of whatever considerations are necessary for environmental benefit, permanence, any value-added products; and
- The final criteria is the length of time that the removed carbon is locked up for. A minimum goal of 100 years is desired.
Using cyanobacterium to sequester carbon dioxide
Ataeian, M., Liu, Y., Canon-Rubio, K. A., Nightingale, M., Strous, M., & Vadlamani, A. (2019). Direct capture and conversion of CO2 from air by growing a cyanobacterial consortium at pH up to 11.2. Biotechnology and bioengineering, 116(7), 1604–1611. https://doi.org/10.1002/bit.26974
Avnish Nitin Mistry, Ganta Upendar, Sunita Singh, Jitamanyu Chakrabarty, Gautam Bandyopadhyay, Kartik Chandra Ghanta & Susmita Dutta (2020) Sequestration of CO2 using microorganisms and evaluation of their potential to synthesize biomolecules, Separation Science and Technology, 55:2, 332-345, DOI: 10.1080/01496395.2019.1577453