New algae-based bioreactor can swallow carbon dioxide 400x sooner than timber : devices

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I already acquired irritated on the glib claims being made when this was posted elsewhere, so right here’s a duplicate of the screed I wrote. TLDR: it’d work in addition to they declare, it most likely doesn’t, and it’s not fixing the underlying downside that we’re nonetheless burning manner an excessive amount of fossil gasoline.

Start rant:

First, it’s going to want a considerable quantity of electrical energy to energy it. The artist’s impression exhibits it has the algae in tubes inside it. Anybody who has regarded on the operation of grow-rooms is aware of what meaning. The place’s the sunshine coming from? How’s the warmth being managed, the place’s the cooling coming from? What’s circulating the water? How’s the contemporary air attending to the machine? How is the machine getting cleaned? How is the algae getting separated out, dried and saved? How a lot energy does the “machine studying” want? So, how a lot electrical energy is that this machine and course of utilizing in whole? Has the corporate offset the financial and carbon price of that electrical energy in its calculations, or has it handwaved some photo voltaic panels into existence?

How a lot carbon do these machines truly sequester? Are the figures from the corporate based mostly on lifelike averages from manufacturing fashions, or best-case extrapolations based mostly on theoretical fashions? Do they account for downtime, and degradation of kit and components over time? How rapidly does effectivity drop as soon as biofilms type on the tubes?

When will the primary machine be production-ready? Will it require upkeep by the client? How extremely educated will the upkeep workforce must be? How rapidly will the machine break down with inexpert or rare upkeep? Does it work with any algae, or is a particular pressure required? Can you employ any outdated water, or does it must be sterile? What stage of minerals is appropriate? How and the place are you storing the algae that’s generated? What occurs if the algae contaminates native water sources? Will it trigger toxic algal blooms? What’s the environmental necessities for housing the machines? Do we’ve got sufficient present unused constructing area, or are we going to need to construct new ones? How properly do they handle with poor high quality or intermittent electrical energy provide?

What number of of those have been bought? What’s the promoting worth? Who’s making them, and the place? How scalable is that this operation? How lengthy earlier than they will make a million a yr? What’s the carbon footprint of manufacture and transport? Does the corporate require a service contract to be purchased? How a lot is that? What does it cowl? What are the frequent failure modes, and the way catastrophic is every? Which components are thought of consumables and must be changed frequently? How a lot do they price? What’s their carbon footprint? What’s the anticipated lifetime of every machine? How recyclable is it—theoretically and virtually?

What’s the marketing strategy of this firm? How will they become profitable? Do they use IP legal guidelines to cease you making your individual components domestically? What occurs in the event that they improve their servicing costs tenfold in 5 years time? What occurs in the event that they go bust? What occurs once they resolve your 100,000 machines are “out of help”? What occurs in case your authorities goes bankrupt, or is overthrown, and stops paying help charges, or stops producing electrical energy? Will the machines require to be internet-connected? How susceptible are they to hacking? How disastrous may that be?

This machine may work completely, and the corporate could have convincing solutions to all these questions, and the know-how may fit precisely as deliberate when rolled out, and there could also be no hidden snags or prices, however that’s usually not the case.

If you wish to make investments massively in carbon sequestration right this moment, you’ll be able to merely plant timber. Beginning right this moment. Utilizing unskilled labour. With little capital price. And negligible upkeep prices. At very excessive volumes. Ethiopia not too long ago claimed to have planted 350 million timber in 12 hours, which is maybe round 1 million acres of timber, so the equal of putting in a million of those machines.

Certain throw some consideration and cash at these revolutionary options, however be careful for snake-oil and maintain your consideration on identified working options.

And as I perceive it, carbon sequestration shouldn’t even be the primary focus: that also must be lowering carbon emissions.



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