Reducing Carbon Emissions With Coal

It might seem like a paradox, but coal might hold the answer to solving carbon emission problems. The key isn’t burning it, but creating it using carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.  While this has always been possible in theory, high temperatures make it difficult in practice. However, a recent paper in Nature Communications shows how a special liquid metal electrocatalyst can convert the gas into a solid form of carbon suitable for, among other things, making high-quality capacitor electrodes. The process — you can see more about it in the video below — works at room temperatures.

It isn’t that hard to extract carbon dioxide from the air, the problem is what to do with it. Storing it as a gas or a liquid is inefficient and expensive, while converting it to a solid makes it much easier to store or even reuse for practical applications.

The liquid metal catalyst is gallium-based and contains, among other things, metallic cerium nanoparticles. The liquid metal resists coking — the coating of the catalyst with the carbon material produced.

The process doesn’t produce coal lumps suitable for bad children’s stockings. Rather, it creates flakes about 3 nm thick. We’ve seen proposals for growing carbon nanofibers out of the air, but that takes high temperatures. Maybe the technology could make diamond batteries and kill two problems with one stone.


112 thoughts on “Reducing Carbon Emissions With Coal

    1. i dont go off half cocked when someone suggests a closed loop system, but thats just me. just because a system is a closed loop does not mean that it violates thermodynamics. closed loops take some energy to sustain and therefore there is no violation.

      1. … in which case it’s still better to build wind/solar/geothermal. There are only these two possibilities – either it is violating thermodynamics, or we would be better off using that energy to offset other fossil fuels. The only way creating artificial coal at the cost of adding more energy would be helping against greenhouse effect is if we then leave the coal buried in the ground.

        1. Greenhouse effect is bunk and does not exist. There is more CO2 released in a single volcanic eruption that man has created since his time on this planet. I am sure you learned something much different in school/college. I just thank God I went to college way back when real science was actually taught. When I was in college in the 70’s, we were being warned about the coming ice age because of CO2 by the extremists no one really listened to back then. Now those same folks claim the planet is warming because of CO2 but, some people actually believe them now and that is a real shame.

          1. Did you read your cited article, from the USGS themselves, PirateLabs?
            It says “scientific studies indicate that the average global volcanic output is insignificant when compared to emissions from human activity”

          2. @PirateLabs You’re still ignoring the quote in the link you yourself provided. “scientific studies indicate that the average global volcanic output is insignificant when compared to emissions from human activity”

    2. That’s not the point! Here’s the magical thing – if we actually convert over to renewable energy to the point where we have an excess of power production, if we had a way of pulling CO2 out of the air, we can actually use our excess energy to undo the greenhouse gas damage we’ve done. Alternatively, it could balance CO2 emissions in our world that are difficult to avoid (like airplanes, rocket ships, or concrete)

      1. It’s easy to say, but difficult in practice.
        When someone builds a $100Million factory to get CO2 from the air back into coal, they are not going to shut down this big factory when there is no overproduction of energy. They are going to want to run the plant 24/7, not just when there is too much energy.

      2. One of the main issues with renewable energies is that it is very difficult to have 100 % renewable energy while maintining our current ( and future) level of energy production. Emphasis on “maintining” because renewables like wind and solar power make it very hard to keep the production to the required level throughout the day and the night.
        Now, depending on the efficiency of such hypothetical plant, a good scenario could be to have some regular coal plants to smooth out the energy production and have them counter-balanced by those reconversion plants.
        It’s probably unpractical in real life but considering the impending doom that is upon us, every idea is welcome.

      1. Solar does not scale and most of the light that hits the cells is downconverted to heat, which makes things worse. Perhaps one day they will be efficient enough, but there are physical limits. We could see commercial fusion reactors before that happens and they have a very small ecological footprint in comparison to all other forms of RET. In the meantime that just leaves one viable option, nuclear fission reactors, preferably the new generation ones that are engineered to fail safely. There is one fusion tech that works now, it uses neutrons to get a reaction out of thorium so the moment the fusion part stops the reaction does too, the trick is to have the thorium part efficient enough to produce enough power for your electricity needs and also run the fusor that generates the neutrons. In a way it is the nuclear equivalent of a jet engine, but not literally, just in the way power feeds back into the device to make more power output. These hybrid devices can actually be very small depending on what tech you use on the thermal side of the energy production cycle. Perhaps even less than 1 cubic meter in volume, but obviously the smaller they are the smaller the output in kilowatts.

  1. We release 30+ gigatons of carbon annually.
    That’s rather a lot of carbon capacitor electrodes
    So this may be a way to make high-purity carbon, but to reduce emissions, we have to actually, you know, reduce emissions. To zero.

      1. Wow, what a misleading analogy.
        I perhaps naively left out the phrase “And we DO need to reduce our emissions. To zero” part, but trying to equate emissions (ie the rate that we’re adding the problem, or, the rate we’re putting on weight in your analogy) with having to reduce the actual carbon atmospheric levels to zero (reducing our actual weight to zero in your analogy) is sly.
        By your analogy, we’re already extremely overweight.
        We should stop putting on more weight, immediately.
        And then we should start working some of the existing weight off.

  2. It would be interesting if this became a major process, and in combination with reducing emissions, a century from now we have to worry about CO2 levels getting too low.
    Probably not, but an interesting thought.

    1. Not a long way to go down from today’s CO2 levels (400ppm) to photosynthesis shutdown (200ppm) and the demise of life as we konw it. Why not climbing the long way up to optimally feed plants (1000ppm) and then eventually worry if they don’t sequester enough ? Geology teaches us, that there’s nothing wrong with 1000ppm.

      1. The problem with climate change really the “change” factor. We have always created our industries, houses, diets, and many other things according to the climate, always assuming that it will not change. Now it will, and much more rapidly than we are able to rebuild our houses and learn to grow new plants. Places that rely on seasonal floods for nutrition will not get them, instead other places might get much more rain than they were used to, getting landslides, dead crops etc. That’s why the term “global warming” was phased out, because some nitpicking people immediately pointed out to the places that will get colder than today. The rapid change is the real problem.

        So even if there’s nothing wrong with 1000ppm, we are still screwed if it happens faster than we (and other plants and animals) can accommodate.

          1. What?
            You can’t put your finger on the point at the end of the 400,000 year graph that was linked to where already near the top of a peak which is similar in height to all the others (which also appear remarkably similar to one another) the graph suddenly shoots up to about twice the height of every other peak?

            Is there something wrong with you?

            Oh, yah, climate change denier. There IS something wrong with you.

          2. Emm, you might want to look at the data again and more carefully, Brian. The graph goes from 400,000 BC to present, with the zoomed-in part on the top showing just 1000 AC to present. And 400,000 is more than 200,000 at least where I come from.
            I’d like to think that this is the real reason why you don’t believe in man-made climate change – that you just understood the data wrong. But that’s just me being naively hopeful. Inside I know you will reject this graph just like all the other before, nothing can break your belief.

          Another image from the same page shows carbon dioxide and temperature. You will probably notice a strong correlation between the two.
          What is hard to see because they are not on the same axes is that for most peaks carbon dioxide peaks after the temperature starts dropping. Implying that the temperature was not caused by the carbon dioxide in the past.
          It is hard to argue that effect precedes cause.
          I am not saying that releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide cannot raise the global temperatures, just pointing out interesting data.

          1. “I am not saying that releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide cannot raise the global temperatures”

            Yes, you ARE saying that, and tacking on the weasel disclaimer doesn’t change or hide your goal.

          2. @gregkennedy An effect can have more than one cause, especially in a complex system. A tree can fall in the woods for any number of reasons, a beaver is making a dam, ground water undermined the roots, or a human cut it down.
            The global rise in atmospheric CO2 is probably from human activity. The ultimate effect of this is what I am unsure about, it CAN raise temperatures and probably will at least in the short term. What will be the long term effects? Maybe the same mechanism that brings down CO2 during the ice ages will bring it down again, maybe we will have a permanent increase in temperature. More research is needed, before we take draconian actions.
            Give 100 sick people an identical shot of penicillin, some may get better, some may stay the same, others will get worse because they have an allergy the details are critical.

  3. A much lower tech way to produce coal: grow “coal” crops, harvest them, then burn them in a low O2 environment, then bury it. The trees and plants to the hard job of concentrating the 400ppm CO2. If you simply buried the wood and plants it would eventually get consumed by fungus/microbes and release its CO2. By turning it to coal, nothing digests it.

    Such a system could dispose of 1000000x the amount of carbon you’d use up making batteries and super capacitors.

      1. lol. Anyone else thinking of a new brand of (charcoal filtered) bottled water?
        Just a hint of old boots and sweat to ad hipster cred.
        Or the Brita logo on the mine head.

    1. I’ve never understood why pyrolysis isn’t a bigger thing than it currently is. The buried char is actually a beneficial soil amendment into the bargain.

      The question I have is why can’t we use algae or something like duckweed as the carbon feedstock? They are both more suited to growing in tanks of waste water without taking up arable land. They’re both more efficient than most crops for carbon processing too. If push comes to shove they can even be edible.

      The other obvious thing to burn is the contents of the sewer. You could turn a reliable waste stream into power and carbon.

      1. I looked into this a little. With the right process, the outputs from the pyrolysis could be converted to liquid fuel to keep our vehicles going. Renewable fuel for classics, you know?

    2. OK, look up biochar or terra preta if you want the easy, effective, low tech answer to CO2 sequestering.

      Grow stuff, anything really, that takes up CO2. Burn it in a reduced-oxygen reactor (oil drum with adjustable slots) and make charcoal and wood gas. Use the wood gas to fuel the fire and generate …. whatever, electricity or low-grade process heat, whatever you need.

      The biochar goes into the ground and soaks up fertilizer for the next several hundred years, or longer. If you just throw green waste into the ground for fertilizer, soil bugs eat it up in a few years. Biochar is really long-lived.

      This can be done on an industrial scale or in your own back yard (mind the regulations on burning).

      1. I’ve heard of a similar and possibly more efficient method of this. It was a proposal to grow forrests of fast-growing trees then cut them down just as they reach the end of their peak growing stage. They would be burried but not just anywhere. They would be burried deep enough that oxygen is low and in the desert where water is scarce. That way “soil bugs” as you call them wouldn’t be releasing the carbon any time soon. Of course a new set of trees would be planted as soon as the previous are cut down.

        I’ve also seen reports that paper left in landfills for decades and dug up later was still like new due to the anaerobic environment. In the article I remember reading (in the 90s) there was a picture of a newspaper from the 70s dug out of a landfill and it looked like new.

        The combination of these two make me wonder if recycling paper and cardboard is a good thing or a bad thing. Maybe it’s better to just throw it away? Definitely recycle plastics though!

  4. Can someone explain me how burning coal to get energy C+O2=>CO2 then “unburning it” CO2=>C+O2 using energy is a solution to anything.

    This is the only thing one want to know, not the PR stuff…

    1. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Higher percentage in atmosphere means higher average temperature of planet surface. Raising temperatures distrupt existing dynamic natural processes, which affects many parts of the ecosystem we live in. Many consider it a bad thing and want to reverse it. For that, we have to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The target level is the equivalent of pre-industrial era.

      1. You’d end up with less CO2 in the atmosphere if you skip this artificial coal idea and just build more green power plants, allowing you to stop releasing CO2 from the other fossil fuels. Otherwise with this artificial coal you still need to build the green power plants anyway to power the coal production, removing some CO2 while other fossil power plants sources are still dumping the same amount of CO2 because we still need them for electricity, since these new green power plants are just powering this artificial coal production.

        1. I agree. I just mentioned, many people want to reverse it. To put the carbon back underground. And time to time pops up a group of ppl to give the ideal solution. “We JUST have TO DO THIS, and we’re good.” And we should give them our money, because they’re the experts.

          1. Yes, a reversal (CO2 scrubbing) will be eventually needed after we offset all fossils unless we stop polluting now, right now. Which seems unlikely given the POTUS. But it needs to be a way of scrubbing and utilising that doesn’t force us to keep using fossils for longer. Such as growing carbon nanotubes. Or it must be energy positive – cheaply extract CO2 from air, then grow algae and convert them to oil. Something like that. Because I doubt anyone will be willing to run expensive process just to bury the product underground. Not until it’s too late for anything anyway.

          2. The problem is- It’s a natural process that happens anyway. Humans may be speeding up this cycle, but to say humans can stop or reverse a natural process on this scale is ridiculous. It will roll over on its own at some point.

    2. Because currently hydrocarbons are the best energy carriers for engines. Every other energy storage solution is worse. Also we found literally gigatons of this carrier just under some soil, so after some cleaning we have lots of energy carrier. Downside is that this energy carrier releases co2. So we are trying to remove that co2 in places where we are not stopped by lack of mobility of energy source, like giant solar farms. Placing a giant solar farm on a plane is for example really hard, because it weighs over 100-1000x times more than a plane.

    3. Not sure anyone really nailed it yet, so:

      * Energy comes from the C + O2 => CO2 reaction, with the CO2 being released into the air

      * Right now we get a lot of our source C out of the ground, where it sat for millions of years, and are pumping it into the air: a Net Gain of atmospheric CO2, which is Very Bad

      * If we could instead take “air” CO2 and make C out of it, we wouldn’t need to dig any more

      * Thus the “net” CO2 in the air would become zero, rather than rising.

      You can also take your excess re-coal and put it somewhere (back underground? launch into space?) that it undoes the effects of digging it up originally.

      This of course only works if the energy to unburn is ecologically sound i.e. solar, wind, nuke. Burning coal to unburn coal is a foolish plan.

  5. The whole energy situation is going to stay pathetic and problematic until we get practical fusion going. How much has the Unites States spent with the Department of Energy?? “Where’s the Beef!!!!???” – nothing? “Wear’s our refund then!!!!????” or is like the state of California, taking federal money and running with it.

  6. Thunderf00t….. I’m sure that’s the guy who debunked “plastic from air” that ran on a similar concept.
    Spoiler: The plastic would theoretically take a long time to form and would be very expensive.

    This “coal out of air” would have the same problems… it’ll require a lot of air to be extracted and filtered before going through expensive processes to convert it to “coal”…. Could be done via solar (will take up a lot of real estate for the panels, Solar friggen roadways anyone? Nope, debunked too… aaand debunked by Thunderf00t)

    1. Thunderf00t regularly “debunks” legit working things while throwing in many misconceptions, so having something debunked by Thunderf00t is not really a measure of good or bad idea. After all, he is in the business of attracting viewers in exchange for advertisers money, so he just needs to “debunk” anything that moves as long as it sounds scandalous.
      I’m not saying this idea is a working one though.

      1. I’ve watched several of his videos. They are very convincing. So perhaps you could give an example of something he debunked that he shouldn’t have and what he said that was wrong.

        The fact that he is “in the business of debunking” doesn’t really prove your point. There is a lot of bullshit out there. One doesn’t necessarily need to resort to anything incorrect to stay busy in that business!

          1. What?

            I haven’t watched that particular one yet. I do know that Thunderf00t speaks against flat-earth though. I mostly ignore those videos because the whole idea of a flat-earth is just so stupid it’s too painful to watch videos on either side of that “debate”.

            So I guess you are a flat-earther and that is your example of why not to trust Thunderf00t? If so then I just gained a bit more trust for Thunderf00t and a lot less for you and Pete.

            Or were you trying to say something else? Perhaps more words might help.

          2. “There is a lot of bullshit out there” was my point. I just saw a Kickstarter for a “graphene space heater” that will reduce your heating bills 80%, because it’s 100% efficient.
            As George Carlin said, you know how stupid the average person is? Half of the population is even stupider than that. Anti-vaxx, electric universe, flat earth, homeopathy, smart meter death rays, astrology…and many more.

          3. I avoided his videos for a long time, now I checked his channel again just to give you some examples, but sorry, I just can’t stand more than a couple of minutes and my mouse suddenly mysteriously stops working when it gets close to some of the thumbnails. It seems he is still preoccupied by solar roadways and some obviously bad kickstarted projects, and apparently strongly against Musk, which is itself is very indicative. But it’s mostly in *how* he debunks anything. The logic he follows is just super weak, full of strawmen, and other fallacies, following irrelevant tangents. Example – video about how Tesla batteries suck, his main argument is that hydrogen has higher energy density. There is nothing about Tesla batteries in that 22 minute long video and he completely avoids all the arguments against hydrogen which were for example nicely explained by Real Engineering So to wrap it up, Thunderf00t really is a very bad source of scientific information.

          4. @Col. Panek – Ok. But we were talking about Thunderf00t. I know there are a lot of people out there that dislike his content. Pete seems to be one of them. I asked for examples of why. Most of that bullshit you mention is actually stuff that Thunderf00t debunks in his videos so I hardly see how it can be used as a point against him.

            @Pete – You only gave two examples of why you don’t like Thunderf00t’s videos and neither involved him being wrong about something. So you think he is overly obsessed with Solar Roadways and you think he wandered off topic in his video about Tessla batteries. Those might be good explanations of why one might not enjoy watching his videos but they don’t show him to be an unreliable source of information. If he is unreliable then you should have no problem coming up with examples of where what he says about something is demonstrably wrong.

            I didn’t really come to defend Thunderf00t. I have watched a lot of his videos. I have seen people refer to him negatively in comments from time to time. I wanted to know if they had a point and I shouldn’t trust the information he presents so seeing your post (@Pete) I thought I might get some good answers here. But no. It seems to me that you just don’t like him talking bad about Elon Musk.

            I like SpaceX. I want to see more manned spaceflight. I want to see permanent settlements in space. I think we as a species should be trying harder to make that happen and I think Elon Musk is helping. In that regard I think that I too disagree with Thunderf00t on something.

            Mr. Musk’s publicly announced timelines on Mars colonization though, while I want him to be right I’ve lived long enough to see too many proposed dates for even a first boots-on-the-ground mission come and go. I think he is either telling stories for publicity or losing touch with reality. Then there is the hyperloop and the automated underground road ideas. I have a 32 minute drive to work each day. (yes, it’s that predictable) I would love to cut that in half and/or let an automated vehicle take me while I read HaD! I wish I had that. But you know the saying, if you wish in one hand and shit in the other which will fill up first? Those ideas are NOT practical. They are not safe! Musk is wasting time and money that could be going towards making that dream of space colonization come true or building an infrastructure to better support electric cars. And, should those things not quietly fade away but instead fail spectacularly the bad publicity will not be good for Tesla or SpaceX’s bottom lines. Pursuing these things will detract from the good he is doing, perhaps even end it.

            Personally I think that Elon Musk has had a bit too much publicity go to his head while at the same time he has worked too hard, burnt himself out and stunted the home/family life that could have helped support him through it all. He is a good person with good dreams but he is burning out and if he doesn’t change something he will not be there to live up to his own potential.

            But enough about Musk, we were talking about Thunderf00t.

  7. Isn’t CO2 only 0.04% of the atmosphere? Seems like you would have to move a whole lot of air through the process, or it would take an incredibly long time to produce any useful amount on carbon. Moving air takes energy, and the long time would exceed the CO2 production. Isn’t carbon sort of vital to all life on earth anyway? We, as well as all life forms, are made of hydrocarbons. Plants seem to be the source of most of the carbon, which they get from CO2. Why would anyone think reducing CO2 levels, a good thing for life on this planet? Plants do incredibly well, when augmented with CO2 (1200 to 2000 ppm), at our current 400 ppm, they barely get enough. Plants also like a warmer climate, so do I, and probably many others, after the winter we’ve had. How does one actually determine what a normal temperature, or CO2 level ever were in the first place. As a species, this is our first recovery from a major ice age, we can’t possibly know. We do know plants do well in a warmer climate, and with much higher levels of CO2. Fossil remains of gigantic creatures, would seem to indicate a warmer climate, plentiful food, mild winters, existed before the ice age.

    We can’t stop the world from turning, and keep everything the same as we like, The forces of nature just don’t work that way. We as a species survived, because we were able to roll with the changes, and adapt to them, not futility try to fight or change them. Solar and wind farms take up a lot of land, which can’t be used for much else, and they don’t produce energy like burning carbon fuels. We’d have to burn a lot of fossil fuels, to create the acres of solar panels and windmills needed, to eliminate the need for fossil fuels, which is a whole lot of increase in CO2 emissions.

        1. Death, extinction, even end of life on a planet are all completely natural processes.
          Survival of the fittest means those who poison their own environment will not survive. Naturally.
          I’d still rather try to avoid it.

          1. Careful. Overstating the case just gives the dummies more reason to doubt.

            Global warming almost surely will not cause the end of all life on our planet. The last I checked scientists do not believe there is enough carbon on the planet to cause a venus-like runaway greenhouse effect that would completely sterilize the Earth.

            Also I don’t think it is even likely to extinct the species that is causing the problem (us). Our intelligence and technology are unlike anything the planet has ever seen before and they make us very adaptable. Humanity will probably survive global warming. We might not survive a nuclear war but that is different issue)

            None of this means the climate change deniers are in any position to be smug and feel vindicated. We may not be looking at a real life Wall-E but Mad Max could easily be prophetic. Returning to say a Jurassic era climate with the continents in their current positions would leave wide swaths of what is currently the most populated land uninhabitable. The currently frozen lands that might get nicer would be nowhere near enough to make up for it.

            Those who survive the next few centuries will have to deal with massive famine, drought and crowded refugee conditions. The survivors will be those who manage to form armies and kill to protect what they need. Even for them life will be far from as easy as it is for us today.

            Likewise in nature there will be species that survive. They will be in the minority though. Many species will be lost. With decreased biodiversity life on Earth will be more susceptible to natural disasters such as diseases. For those who only care about themselves, each species lost is one less thing to eat! Thanksgiving feasts as we know them will not be possible again for another 500,000 years or more.

            Speaking of natural disasters we are already growing immune to the stories of hurricans, tornado clusters and wildfires. Sure, those things have always happened, naturally. Now we have more of them and they are bigger and more deadly than they used to be. This will only get worse.

        2. 1. Our current infrastructure was not design to deal with the rapid change in climate now. Also, and I really hate that this has to be stated when it’s so obvious, none of our infrastructure or societal developments existed back then.

          2. Parts of climate change may be natural. However, humans had a hand in making it worse. To deny this is to literally ignore the fact that we took something that was buried and put it in the air.

          With that said, please stop with that ridiculous strawman. It’s embarrassing.

        3. Natural climate change does not happen this fast. This is not natural. Pointing to something which cyclically occurs over cycles of 100,000 years or more and claiming something happening in about 100 is equivalent is either very unintelligent or very insincere.

    1. Man that was a lotta words just to say “i don’t believe in climate change”. Or maybe more like “I don’t believe climate change is something worth worrying about”.
      You’re rather missing the point though. I’m not about to try and change your mind, that’s a job for yourself. The materials are out there, do some more reading and think a little more critically.

    2. How about you bootstrap the energy part? have more and more of our energy produced by “clean tech” (hopefully non-polluting solar panels)? See wind power in germany and portugal, producing a bigger and bigger part of their energy from renewable power sources. You can plant your solar panel in the middle of deserts where they don’t use land that can be used for agriculture or carbon sequestration. And then people can enjoy the benefits of not dying from lung diseases from all the extraction and combustion byproducts? Less polluting of the water, ground and air? How terrible!

    3. > Plants also like a warmer climate, so do I, and probably many others, after the winter we’ve had.

      People suffering from 50*C summers in Australia beg to differ. If you don’t know, at 50*C you can “boil” eggs in shadow or fry them on street (if it’s still solid).

      1. I live in Florida, you get use to the heat, learn how to deal with the extra hot periods, not hard to adapt. Water is the climate control here on Earth. Add energy (heat), it vaporizes, and rises, carrying off some of that surface heat, and cooling us. The water vapor continues to rise, long as the air above is cooler, conducting some of its energy to other molecules. Eventually, it loses enough energy to condense back to a liquid, and fall back to the surface. 80% of the surface, is water, the condensed vapors, rain down on land, which is hot, so it vaporizes again, taking up the heat, which eventual is radiated back out to space. Enough water vaporizes, it acts like a sunshield, blocks much of the sun’s heat from reaching the surface. Clouds forming is sweet relief here, very noticeable drop in temperature. After a good rain, it’s also feels cooler, humidity kind of sux, still sweat a lot though. Heat waves are nothing new, they pass after a while. You can try if you like, but you can’t go back in time. The computer generate prophecies, are very similar to those in the bible. The promise of being rewarded with a cleaner, greener, place is also in the bible, if you have faith, and follow the commandments. Climate Change is a doomsday cult, believe what you want. Just too many half truths and inconsistencies for me to read. Since when is science all hyped, or biased? Definitely bends to the left quite a bit.

    4. ” Plants also like a warmer climate, so do I, and probably many others, after the winter we’ve had. ”

      That’s not how planets work.

      Take where I live for example. As a kid summers were a great time to play outside in tee-shirt and shorts while in the winter we would build huge snow forts that might last for months giving us plenty of time to make them elaborate.

      Now we stay in side mostly during the summer. It’s just too damn hot to enjoy. Winter is even worse. All that extra energy in the atmosphere means the Jet Stream can push cold Arctic air farther south than it ever used to. We get negative peaks that set record colds where exposed skin becomes frostbite in minutes. Between those peaks however, when the arctic air goes back where it belongs we get warm soggy weather that melts all the snow leaving us with mud and ice. My own kid has no idea what I mean by winter-time play.

      Global warming doesn’t bring more summer-fun or longer growing seasons. It just brings more of the shittiest weather that is good for nothing.

  8. Back a FIAT currency with gold, and gold mining becomes rampant.
    Back a digital currency with number crunching, and bitcoin mining skyrockets (mostly at Earth’s expense).

    Earth’s best bet is to engineer a means of wealth creation, through atmospheric carbon remission. If we were to back a crypto currency with stockpiles of sustain-ably energised, stabilised atmospheric carbon, then the characteristically opportunistic World would scramble to find ways to profit from it. It’s a win-win scenario that almost anyone could conceivably benefit from.

    Nobody’s coming to save us, not some deity, not ET, no-one. We really need to start taking action ourselves.

  9. What is very interesting is that, after we have here a lot of complicated hacks from all the science spectrum, complicated formulas solved, infinitesimal signals captured and dsp processed, chemical synthesis of all sort of substances, physics problems solved and explained, sudddenly, when we are on “climate” topic, physics does not work anymore, CO2 gains mystical powers regardless of his chemistry, physics, absorbtion, saturation, simulated climate is taken for real – regardless of not being confirmed by reality and so on and so forth… Trully amazing.

  10. The real issue is there are far too many people alive right now. Nobody wants to talk about it, but it remains the crux of global warming issue. If there were vastly less people we could burn what we like. If you really care, dont have kids.

  11. disappointed to see hackaday joining the chorus of people presenting this snake oil. of course we can convert CO2 into solids, the question is one of efficiency, which for some reason this PR masterpiece doesn’t even mention

  12. If you’re not considering the next generation Nuclear, then you’re not truly serious about the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. The overnight slowdown of demand could be offset by having this technology do solid sequestration of carbon using the excess power delivered by nuclear reactors.

    1. This exactly. If we are to end man-made climate change then two things have to happen.

      Voters on the left have to get over their fear of nuclear power.
      And voters on the right have to get over their love of lung cancer I mean coal mining.

      As long as the left is married to snake-oil and afraid of the only viable solution and the right is full of easily manipulated pawns that can’t imagine not living and dying the same short, shitty life as pappy, gran-pappy and great-gran-pappy we are all screwed.

  13. I’m trying to understand the process here. Are there limitations as to why this wouldn’t work on Mars or maybe even Venus?
    Getting some energy storage and maybe something that can be used for fertilizer seems like it would be good for Mars.
    For Venus, could the extreme greenhouse effect it experiences be dialed down and maybe lead to cooling it down enough to do something with?

  14. I suppose I didn’t spend enough time watching TV or playing video games, to lose myself in a virtual world… Dude, Climate Change is a video game, vast majority of the continent is computer generated, just enough science to make it interesting, and believable. It’s a pipe dream, and obviously too many people medicating/recreating these days, to see clearly anymore. Guess when you parent’s are on Social Security, and they can no long feed your habits, you get out into the real world, dependent on the generosity of the government. Probably won’t be as generous, since you all pushed for that charity money be channeled into Climate Change mitigation. CO2 is only 0.04% of the total atmosphere, a very tine concentration. It has no superpowers to do much of anything on a global scale. Plants like the stuff, and would do well at 2,000 ppm. Greenhouse, green energy, why not just go natural green, and let plants do their thing? More to stuff your pipe with…

  15. It’s interesting how they do not use the word “coal” in the Nature article. Probably because they are not making coal and and any reviewer would have chastised them for saying so.

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