Many of us see emissions as a problem to be resolved – at some time – by someone else.
Yes, there is the Paris accord and, in theory, the world is going to try and keep carbon dioxide levels to a safe level, although it appears that we are already past those levels, according to some models and measurements.
So, is there anything that can actually be done, or is being done?
It turns out there is, and an article by R.P Siegal pulls together some interesting and innovative work being done by companies out there.
It turns out there are three main ways these companies are trying to make carbon work for them:
- Putting it somewhere where it is more useful
- Creating raw materials out of it
- Creating products
1. Carbon capture and storage (CCS)
The first approach is the one that most people are familiar with and, in the UK, has had money thrown at it.
The CCS association says that the main components of CCS are extracting the CO2 from the atmosphere, transporting and then storing it underground in depleted oil and gas fields or aquifer formations.
Another approach is to inject the CO2 into rock formations, where it becomes part of the rock eventually.
2. Creating raw materials
Some companies reuse materials – in effect reusing the CO2 that went into making them in the first place rather than creating new emissions – creating things like carpet tiles.
A more direct approach, however, extracts CO2 from the air and turns it into plastics or fuel.
3. Creating products
Siegel then points to companies that turn pollution into products – such as an Indian company that turns exhaust particles into carbon black for ink.
Other companies create concrete, cement and bricks.
Early stages – but a promising start
It’s still early days for these kinds of innovations – but they are coming. Smart people are spotting opportunities and creating companies to take advantage of the pollution in the air.
As the saying goes – where there’s muck, there’s brass.