Returning “Oil” to the Earth

Charm Industrial’s “bio-oil” — a carbon-rich oil made from almond shells and other types of biomass

Peter Schott // pcs2144
(1) Sustainability Problem: Waste // Carbon
In order to curb the effects of climate change, it is essential to phase out fossil fuel use and decarbonize the economy more broadly. Carbon removal is one solution.

(2) Charm Industrial represents a significant change to reduce the cost from $600 to $50/ton CO2e while elimination 10%+ of global CO2e in the process.

  • Charm partners with farmers (who grow a lot of crops) that generate biomass waste, converting the left over biomass into “bio-oil”, drilling a well, and pumping the bio-oil underground; this achieves the removal of carbon from the atmosphere “permanently, reliably and potentially on a grand scale”
  • This is achieved through a process called “pyrolysis,” (read: organic chemistry) producing hydrogen (that can be used in refineries or to make fertilizer/power vehicles) and “bio-oil”
  • The modular Pyrolyzer can be put on the edge of the farm, reducing the need to transport the biomass outside of a local area; this technology has gained attention from Stripe and Microsoft

Source: Meet the startup producing oil to fight climate change, Grist

(3) Stakeholders

  • Fortune 500 companies and beyond: who are seeking to reduce their environmental impacts as they attempt to offset their corporate emissions through carbon removal opportunities. Stripe and Microsoft to name a few.
  • Nonprofits and academic institutions: to provide a third party assessment of the carbon removal projects (e.g, Carbonplan) and potential analysis around the broader carbon removal market.
  • Lobbyists/Government: to ensure that Charm Industrial can receive federal tax credits, as only CO2 gas is recognized as a CO2e carbon removal technique.

(4) Design/Implementation/Next Steps:

  • Raise capital from existing investors to scale manufacturing capabilities of the Pyrolyzer machine
  • Manufacture one machine and dedicate it to launching a pilot on a large-scale farm to collect data and conduct research; use biomass to create bio-oil and measure components on transporation, equipment cost, potential revenue, etc. to forecast the scale-up of the business
  • Meet with scientists and clients to share results of the pilot program to collect feedback, with the goal of creating a pitchbook for future investors

Gasification – How to energize Trash!

2) Sustainability ProblemSolid Waste and GHG Emissions Reductions

Solid waste contains a lot of potential yet only 2% of it is currently used to generate energy and 17 million metric tonnes of non-recycled garbage are produced every week.  Moreover, the continued use of gasoline is adding CO2 to the atmosphere and exacerbating greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, there are 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere and without quick and concrete action, there will be no chance to mitigate the effects of climate change.  In order to address this issue, the adaption of biofuels will be essential for many sectors including automobiles, oil and gas, and agriculture, however, converting to biofuels from fossil fuels will decrease dependence on foreign suppliers, decrease GHG emissions, and reduce overall costs.

2) Sustainable Technology: Gasification of Waste to create Ethanol and Methanol

Enerkem, a company located in Canada, is converting garbage into biofuels through gasificiaton.  This technological process converts unrecoverable (non-recyclable and non-compostable) waste into syngas which is made up of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Syngas is clean, sustainable, and can be produced at a low-cost.  Syngas can be used to replace fossil fuels, liquid fuel, and liquid crude oil as it can be transformed into green diesel fuel.  Enerkem “transforms the syngas into “cellulosic ethanol” and methanol, which can be used to create a clean-burning fuel. Gasoline with ethanol has more oxygen, which helps it combust more completely, thus reducing emissions.”  Enerkem just opened the first commercial-scale gasification plant in Edmonton, Alberta and they plan to keep increasing production of advanced forms of biofuel which can replace gasoline.


3) Technology Stakeholders

  • Enerkem
  • Public Officials
  • City Agencies
  • Sustainable Investors

4) Implementation

  1. Locate medium-sized city where trash is such a problem that exporting of waste is a necessity.
  2. Using the City of Edmonton model, convince local officials and city agencies that the creation of an Enerkem plant will be beneficial.
  3. Raise Capital to create the plant
  4. Initiate Construction while hiring human capital
  5. On-site Testing and Implementation

5) Comment on Other Blog Post:



Biofuel made from CO2 and Sunlight

  1. Sustainability Problem

Energy: Climate change calls for the need to lessen our carbon footprint. One such way to do so is through biofuels. Biofuels are significantly cleaner than their petroleum alternatives, producing much less CO2 emissions. As a result, innovative ways to produce biofuels is needed to combat climate change.


  1. Technology

Article: Joule says “will go commercial in 2017”: solar fuels on the way  

By Jim Lane


  • Joule’s Unlimited’s biofuel is called helioculture, which is a modified cyanobacteria that takes in CO2, sunlight, and some nutrients to produce transportation fuel
  • The fuel produced costs roughly the same price as digging up petroleum
  • The company’s technology’s platform does not require arable land suitable for crop cultivation or potable water, which ensures the company not to compete with food production
  1. Organizational Stakeholders
  • Joule Unlimited
  • Investors
  • General Public
  • Coalition of industrialization partners
  1. Implementation
  • Joule Unlimited closed a $40 million round of financing, to expand its plant in Hobbs, New Mexico to commercial scale by 2017
  • The company plans to establish a coalition of industrialization partners to accelerate the development of carbon-neutral fuels at large scale
  • The ultimate goal is to convert 150,000 tons of waste CO2 into 25 million gallons of ethanol per year at the facility


Living Power converts cooking oil to energy for UK National Grid

  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy
    1. Energy usage can be difficult to supply during peak periods
    2. Traditional sources of energy such as fossil fuels like petroleum, natural and coal release CO2 into the atmosphere (driving climate change) and other pollutants
    3. Alternative technology for turning biofuels into energy exist but then energy and food needs would have to compete for limited arable land
  2. Technology/Solution
    1. The company Living Power in the UK is collecting used cooking oils from households and businesses, processing it and selling it to the national grid.  The oil is “recycled into a renewable carbon neutral fuel the company can use to generate power.”
    1. The fuel then powers large engines that provide power to the National Grid, especially during peak usage periods.
    2. Drop off sites are accessible with 90% of people being within 15 minute drive of one of the 500 drop off sites.
  3. Stakeholders
    1. Households and businesses that want to sustainably discard large amounts of cooking waste
    2. Living Power company
    3. National Grid
    4. Consumers of food (because land mass wont be used for biofuels)
  4. 3 steps to implement
    1. Continue to seek investors to scale program
    2. Lobby politicians to pass regulations that require the reuse of cooking oils of a certain daily volume
    3. Provide market based incentives for people or businesses to drop off their cooking oil