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

The World’s Saviors, SUPERCHARGED Plants!

Sustainability Problem: Global Warming

CO2 is one of the largest contributors to global warming, representing over two-thirds of all greenhouse gas emissions yearly.  Industrialization and our penchant for over-consumption has drastically increased the output of this gas.  Global warming, does and will continue to wreak havoc on our ecosystems.  The rising of sea levels, desertification, severe weather, and increase in ocean acidity, negatively impact the life forms on our planet.

As we continue burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests, our ability to balance out the levels of carbon in the atmosphere drops considerably.   The planet’s carbon filtration system (i.e. plants and soil) which can convert CO2 into oxygen, can’t keep up with the rate of human CO2 production.  But the major question is, what can we do to reduce current carbon emissions?

Sustainability Technology: Supercharged Plants

While many people, companies, and countries are looking to reduce their CO2 footprint, the methods/plans in place to do so are more long-term.  Currently, the Earth’s natural filtration system, plants, only suck up about 25% of our carbon emissions to produce their own fuel during photosynthesis.  But unfortunately, it’s a slow and inefficient process.  However, with the help of science, this natural method can be enhanced dramatically to bring forth a more effective and immediate solution to such a pressing problem.

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute in Germany have found a way to supercharge plants to increase their CO2 absorbing rate.  The team, led by Tobias Erb, identified 17 enzymes from nine different organisms.  They re-engineered some of them to produce a new 11-step system that effectively recreates and enhances the Calvin Cycle.  Plants that had their biology synthetically altered actually acquired the ability to consume carbon at a much higher rate than their ordinary counterparts.

To put things into perspective, the controlled plant group consumed about 5-10 molecules of CO2 per second, while the test group could consume about 80 molecules per second!  This increase in plant efficiency can do wonders at combating our climate change problem and that too in a less invasive manner.  A by-product of this effective photosynthesis process, is that plants will also grow faster, which can be a boon for farmers and more importantly a alternative solution to the world’s food demand.

While this technology has only been tested in labs, a positive real-world test result can be the breakthrough we all have been looking for.  If this technology proves to be successful, it can be scaled up and applied in a multitude of places.

“Plants could be supercharged to absorb more carbon dioxide” TreeHugger, Megan Treacy, 3/06/2017,
 “Scientists Have Developed a Synthetic Way to Absorb CO2 That’s Way Faster Than Plants” Science Alert, Peter Dockrill, 11/18/2016,


  • All citizens of the planet
  • City officials looking to reduce CO2 within their respective cities
  • Companies wanting to curb their carbon footprint
  • Farmer’s looking to boost their crop yields

Technology Implementation & Distribution:

Introduce this synthetic biology in plants outside the lab.  Run tests on various forms of plant life, to determine which species thrive on and successfully perform with the new enhanced Calvin Cycle process.

Put together studies of findings to share with the scientific/business/government groups.  Do a pilot program with each group so see how this bio-engineering technology performs in different environments.

Upon proven success, seek support to implement this it in areas of major concern (i.e. cities, manufacturing plants, waste processing plants, farmlands, etc.).  Continue the monitoring and feedback mechanism to ensure that the process doesn’t break down or lose efficiency.

By: Bhoomi Shah UNI: brs2147


Comment on “Plastic Bottle Concrete” by MARIGSKO

The up-cycling plastic and mixing it with cement to form concrete, is a very innovative way to kill three birds with one stone: (1) reduces plastic waste from landfills and oceans, (2) decreases the amount of cement needed – reducing CO2 emissions,  and (3) makes the concrete stronger.  Plastic, something that takes over 400 years to degrade, can be used in a better more effective way.  I think it’s a great idea if it can be adopted on a global scale.

Turning Climate Pollution Into Fish Feed



Area of focus: Safety and Health


Overfishing is a global issue that causes environmental and social problems. From an environment standpoint, it not only affects fish stocks around the world which are declining at an alarming rate but also represent an important source of water pollution due to massive fishing boats deployed in various locations. Those big scale exploitations then affect small scale fishermen by decreasing the amounts of fish reaching the coasts. Also, a lot of fish caught by the bigger boats are exported, leaving local population with a reduced quantity of food available.

One of the drivers of overfishing is the need for small fish used as feed (usually for bigger fish productions and livestock).  As the Fast Company’s article mentions : “NovoNutrients wants to replace that fish food with something more sustainable: microbes grown with carbon dioxide”.

The company uses carbon dioxide to feed microbes that become protein used for animal feed production. A pipe is connected to water where the gases are dissolved.

During the process, Hydrogen is also being produced thru (solar-powered) hydrolyse which helps power the installation.



Stakeholders :

  • Animal feed manufacturing companies
  • Livestock and aquaculture farms
  • Government officials


  • Research countries with the highest concentration of aquaculture farms
  • Approach farmers to show them the product
  • Work with government officials to integrate the use of the product in best management practice guides for farmers

Other technology:  Fighting fire with math and maps (

This technology is interesting as it could help cities with diseases spreading among trees. By mapping the type of trees available around the city, officials would be able to better diversify the kind of new trees planted making “greening” efforts more efficient.


Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough

1) Sustainability Problem:

Excess CO2 contributing to a greenhouse effect and global warming.
Category: Energy

2) Technology Summary:

  • A coal-fired power plant in southern India can now capturing carbon at industrial scale without subsidy
  • Unlike the well known CCS process, the plant is converting captured storage into baking soda. This is known as Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU)
  • CarbonClean, the inventor, has developed a new, more efficient chemical process which reduces operations and initial fixed costs
  • CO2 capture capacity: 60,000 tons of CO2 per year
Article: Indian firm makes carbon capture breakthrough
Website: The Guardian
Tags: #CCS #CCU #technology #GHG

3) Organizational stakeholders

  1. Merchant power generators
  2. Utilities
  3. Chemical process raw material manufacturers
  4. Energy regulators

4) Steps in deploying this technology

  1. Identify wider customer base for CO2 chemical raw material
  2. Identify price at which CO2 can be profitably removed
  3. Attracting financing for this technology
  4. Expand production of the new CO2-stripping chemical
Uni: jz2805

Algae Scampi

NWF+shrimpProblem: Carbon emissions
People love to eat shrimp, but some estimates place their carbon impact as higher than even beef, mostly due to the destruction of natural habitats near shrimp farms.

Technology: Algae Shrimp

  • New Wave Foods has developed a highly realistic synthetic shrimp that is made out of algae, which is ubiquitous and solidly occupies a bottom rung on the food chain.
  • Algae needs only sunlight, water and CO2 to grow. In contrast shrimp are fed wild-caught fish. Producing 1 pound of shrimp is estimated to use up three pounds of fish.
  • Algae uses CO2 to perform photosynthesis, serving to convert carbon into useable, sequestered energy (food calories).
  • Scientists analyzed and mimicked the molecular structure of shrimp flesh in order to create a realistic substitute out of red algae.
  • The shrimp industry globally utilizes a lot of slave labor, particularly for removing the shells and appendages. Algae shrimp does not require anything preening, which could eliminate the worst labor practices.

Early adopters including Google’s cafeteria
New Wave Foods

Steps to implementation:
1) Run pilot at Google cafeteria.
2) Perform sustainability analysis of algae farms and production plants.
3) Develop campaign to fight misconceptions of algae as food.

Google’s Famous Kitchens May Serve Fake Shrimp Made of Algae

CO2NCRETE – Researchers turn carbon dioxide into sustainable concrete

Sustainability Problem:

Over 30 billions tons of concrete are produced every year. Cement, main component of concrete, emits 0.8 tons of CO2 per ton of cement produced. This is about 7% of total global CO2 emissions. First source comes from CO2 released from limestone to produce lime. The second source is from lime and clay being heated to 1450 degrees celsius to make cement. UCLA research is trying to create a close loop process.


  • CO2 released from limestone to produce lime gets captured
  • CO2 is then separated from gas stream by membrane
  • CO2 is integrated into building material


  • Citizens
  • Government
  • Construction Companies

Steps to Deploy Technology:

  1. Develop scalable technique for 3D-printing
  2. Integrate all processes into a pilot facility
  3. Optimize process parameters





Starbons produced from waste biomass outperform conventional solid-state carbon capture materials

1. Sustainability Problem

Energy and climate: in order to mitigate the climate impacts of burning fossil fuels, power plants capture carbon dioxide from flue gases for permanent storage or alternative uses. Amine-based and other liquid absorption methods are complex and have a high parasitic energy load (considerable energy is required to regenerate the material), so there is a need for highly efficient solid absorption materials.

2. Technology Article Summary

York chemists lead breakthrough in carbon capture

Published 7/04/2016 on University of York News at

  • Scientists at the University of York have developed a method for producing mesoporous carbon materials from waste biomass.
  • The process involves the carbonization of polysaccharides by heating to high temperatures – creating materials which selectively bind CO2 from a gas stream, and are easily regenerated under vacuum.
  • The properties of the “starbons” produced differ depending on the temperature and time applied to the biomass.
  • Some starbons capture as much as 65% more carbon dioxide than conventional activated carbon.

3. Organizational Stakeholders

Starbons have already been commercialized for other applications, such as catalysis and chromatographic separations, but are not yet available for carbon capture. Stakeholders in this process will include:

  • Researchers
  • Starbon Technologies
  • Owners and managers of power plants

4. Deployment

The next three stages in deploying this technology could be:

  • UoY researchers and Starbon Technologies: characterize the optimal material, and commercially produce a starbon for carbon capture
  • Power plants with solid-state carbon capture: phase in starbon to replace activated carbon
  • Power plants with liquid-state carbon capture: investigate opportunities to redesign carbon capture systems to incorporate solid capture materials

See also: for the recent research paper. for information on the company and other applications of starbons.


Carbon Emissions Turned into Stone

Sustainability problem: 

CO2 released when burning fossil fuels leads to global warming


Turn carbon capture into stone and store underground!

    • In Iceland, scientists turned carbon into stone by  pumping a power plant’s carbon dioxide into underground basalt and mixed them with water.  The process chemically solidified the carbon dioxide and changed the basalt and CO2 into a chalk like substance.
    • The solidifying process takes 2 years, whereas it was originally assumed to take decades.
    • The solidification resolves the risk that carbon stored underground as gas or slurry could accidentally be released into the atmosphere.
    • Its currently unclear whether the process could work with many types of basalt or saltwater as opposed to freshwater


    • Governments trying to meet CO2 cap commitments
    • Power plants trying to limit CO2 due to regulations or cap and trade limits/incentives
    • Citizens who benefit from avoiding the impacts of global warming
    • Coastal cities/regions and other high risk localities that have to plan and pay for warming mitigation and adaption

First 3 steps for deployment:

    1. Additional studies of types of basalt and water required for the reaction (including testing factors that affect the duration of the reaction)
    2. Analysis of potential geographic locations and power plants that have the proper basalt formations and could make use of the technology
    3. Cost analysis and funding models to determine how much the technology will cost to use and which stakeholders should contribute to the costs

Artificial Trees : A Carbon Capture Technology

Sustainability Problem: Increasing anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere causes global warming

Areas of Sustainability: Energy, Water, Waste, Safety, Health

Artist’s conception of the Columbia researchers’ artificial trees. Photo credit: Stonehaven Productions Inc.

Technology: Artificial Trees

  • In Yale Climate Connections article “Artificial Trees as a Carbon Capture Alternative to Geoengineering,” Richard Schiffman explains the “carbon capture” project of Columbia University Earth Institute scientists Klaus Lackner and Allen Wright. The technology aims to to absorb carbon dioxide using sodium carbonate in the streamers of artificial trees that look like shag rugs and scrub brushes. The researchers would like to make carbon capturing “forests” using artificial trees.
  • Each “tree”, approximately as big and with roughly the same production cost as a car, can absorb carbon produced by 36 cars in a day. It will take 10 million of these “trees” to capture 12 percent of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions per year. A gentle flow of water can release carbon dioxide from the artificial trees. Carbon dioxide can then be buried underground or can be used for industrial purposes.
  • This technology is not geoengineering. “It does not actively interferes with the dynamics of a system you don’t understand” according to Lackner.
  • Artificial tree proved to be one of the first technologies to be able to “remove vehicular carbon emissions from the air”.


  • Environmental engineers and scientists
  • Policymakers
  • Investors


  1. Accelerated research is needed to find a cost-effective way of purifying carbon dioxide and sequestering it underground.
  2. In order for this technology to be deployed in a grand scale, further  research should be done to make it cost-effective. Urgency on R & D process should be a commitment.
  3. Policies should give investors very attractive incentives in order to commit to this technology.