Category Archives: Technology

#Forbes: The Rise Of #CarbonTech – #CO2 Finds Market Value

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Exciting things are happening in the world of carbon capture. A new category of companies are coming to market that are using technological innovation to turn excess CO2 into useful, marketable products. They are calling themselves “CarbonTech” or “Carbon to Value” and proposing that carbon waste can be turned into products of real value.

According to the 2018 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), humanity will need to reduce its global carbon budget significantly in the next 10 to 14 years to avoid the existential threat of severe and catastrophic climate change. Carbon buildup in the atmosphere over the past hundred years is already causing tangible impacts such as the recent flooding in Mozambique, the California fires and the severe storms which have afflicted major portions of the US.

There are fundamentally three ways to reduce the carbon budget to meet the IPCC goals.

One pathway to reducing the carbon budget, already in practice worldwide, is to lower the demand for fossil fuels in the energy, transportation and agricultural sectors while simultaneously bringing electricity, food and good transportation to the developing world. This requires changes to many entrenched systems, which move slowly—policy, business/industry and agriculture are all sectors that need modifications to business-as-usual. All will require technological and business model innovation. Thanks to real progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy cost reductions, these changes are happening, albeit slowly.

A less viable, but often mentioned pathway would be geological engineering of the atmosphere on an enormous and unprecedented scale. This would involve dumping particulate matter or water vapor into the stratosphere to reflect the sun’s rays back upward, likely causing unforeseen, unintended consequences.

A third, and very promising, pathway would be to focus on increasing the rate of removal of man-made CO2. The issue is of such importance that former Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, launched a study called “Clearing the Air” at Climate Week in NYC.

Trees, soil and oceans do soak up CO2, but do so at a rate that, while sufficient for naturally occurring CO2, cannot keep up with humanity’s insatiable appetite for creating CO2. For the past 150 years, the excess has been dumped into the atmosphere as waste and remains there for up to 200 years.

The first pathway, energy efficiency and resource conservation, works slowly. The second, geoengineering, poses risks not worth pursuing. The third, CO2 capture and utilization, offers the opportunity to manufacture high value products out of CO2 waste, creating a market value for carbon, which policy makers have been largely unable to do. It is possible to create opportunity out of past errors.

In the past, efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere focused on storing carbon in underground caverns at enormous expense. Without a reliable carbon pricing mechanism, this became a money sink as much as a carbon sink. Recently, next-generation carbon removal processes are beginning to see the light of day, and creeping out from the caverns. Simply put, the intention of the prize is to reward technologies that capture excess CO2 to make high-value products that command a market price. Loosely framed, the technologies form three categories—those that create materials for the cement and concrete aggregate industries, those that create fuels, plastics and chemicals and those that create durable carbon products such as carbon fiber, carbon black and carbon nanotubes. In addition to the companies vying for the prize, there are now companies with similar technologies appearing at both the academic and commercialization level.

Read more at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/patsapinsley/2019/11/12/the-rise-of-carbontech-co2-finds-market-value/#71a3821c4524

#BBC News: Electric car future may depend on deep sea mining

 

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The concept has been talked about for decades, but until now it’s been thought too difficult to operate in the high-pressure, pitch-black conditions as much as 5km deep.

Now the technology is advancing to the point where dozens of government and private ventures are weighing up the potential for mines on the ocean floor.

The rocks of the seabed are far richer in valuable metals than those on land and there’s a growing clamour to get at them.Billions of potato-sized rocks known as “nodules” litter the abyssal plains of the Pacific and other oceans and many are brimming with cobalt, suddenly highly sought after as the boom in the production of batteries gathers pace.

At the moment, most of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo where for years there’ve been allegations of child labour, environmental damage and widespread corruption.

Read more at: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49759626

H.C. Starck Expands Additive Manufacturing Business

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H.C. Starck, one of the leading producers of customer-specific powders and components made of technology metals and technical ceramics, has acquired a minority stake in one of Sweden’s most innovative start-ups, Metasphere Technology. The company has developed an innovative, proprietary technology for the production of spherical metal powders, a material in high demand in growth industries such as additive manufacturing.

Read more at: http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1552775/h-c-starck-expands-additive-manufacturing-business

Mercedes Follows Tesla, Will Offer Home Energy Storage Batteries Too

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As the newest carmaker on the block, it’s perhaps not surprising that Tesla Motors likes to do things differently.

That includes reaching beyond the automotive sector with its recently-announced plans to sell standalone battery packs for home and commercial energy storage.

Yet that seems to be an idea the world’s oldest car manufacturer is pursuing as well.

Mercedes-Benz now plans to enter the energy-storage business as well.

A division of parent company Daimler has been testing battery packs that can power houses, and plans to launch commercially in September.

Read more at: https://ca.autos.yahoo.com/news/mercedes-follows-tesla-offer-home-energy-storage-batteries-123000819.html

Microsoft Spearheads 3D Printing File Format: Introducing The 3MF

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Space future – ESA – 3D printed lunar base

3D printers have evolved beyond the ubiquitous and simple STL file format. 3MF is an XML-based data format. 3MF is a human-readable compressed XML that includes definitions for data related to 3D manufacturing. The format is designed to be an additive manufacturing format, with the complete model information contained within a single archive: mesh, textures, materials, colors and print ticket.

Read more at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2015/05/28/microsoft-spearheads-3d-printing-file-format-introducing-the-3mf/

Graphene and diamonds prove a slippery combination

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Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have found a way to use tiny diamonds and graphene to give friction the slip, creating a new material combination that demonstrates the rare phenomenon of “superlubricity.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-05-graphene-diamonds-slippery-combination.html#jCp

‘Stubborn’ GE scientist pioneers breakthrough ‘dream material’

NISKAYUNA, N.Y. — For nearly three decades Krishan Luthra stubbornly labored away in a General Electric research lab on a long-shot effort to cook up a new type of ceramic that few consumers will ever see or use.

Now this obscure material, which is lightweight, strong and can handle extreme temperatures, is being built into the bellies of jet engines and promises to save billions of gallons of fuel in the coming decades by reducing weight and allowing engines to run hotter.

Read more at: http://www.pressherald.com/2015/05/15/stubborn-ge-scientist-pioneers-breakthrough-dream-material/

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