Breakthroughs to Enhance Climate Resilience

During our discussion on barriers to leveraging advanced technologies to enhance climate resilience and meeting with Brain Trust members, we came across the following issues:

  1. Economic feasibility of deploying advanced technologies in underserved and under-resourced communities and the risk involved in doing so.
  2. Non-availability of markets for sustainable technologies.
  3. No affordable digital infrastructure that collects data in a decentralized manner and accumulates comprehensive data in content management systems.
  4. Vulnerable infrastructure.
  5. Human land use that impairs nature-based solutions.
  6. Availability of specialized workforce/expertise to operate and maintain advanced technologies in underserved and under-resourced communities.

By 2040, what breakthroughs can we expect to enhance climate resilience?

Hi @akb, @rdrogers, @Brad and @AlexIp - What are your thoughts on the breakthroughs that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040 to address some or all of the above listed barriers.

Hi @Shashi. They are all good points above.

Given the scale and timescales, there is one common factor that might be significant to achieving the objectives on time: automation of deployment and operation. This serves two key purposes: deployment at speed; and affordable deployment and operation.

Of course, all technical solutions should be environmentally friendly and provide similar or better solutions for all users (compared to those available today).

XPRIZEs to deploy solutions 10 times faster and/or 10 times cheaper are worthy challenges.

Though careful, proactive, consideration might be required too. Imagine if a rapid deployment turned out to have an overlooked detrimental impact to some aspects of the environment and/or society. I sometimes reflect on the invention of the chainsaw: good, bad or ugly? Without that invention many forests might still be standing.

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Excellent points! Thanks for sharing @akb

Hi @ThoTem and @Sev,
We would love to hear your thoughts on the breakthroughs that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040.

Hi Shashi, I have conceptually developed several methods to enhance the climate and oceans. Some of these are now undergoing validation by academic researchers and entrepreneurs. I can provide you with descriptions ranging in length from a few hundred words, to brief interview texts, to documents of many pages, slides and spreadsheets. What is your preference? If you are unsure, give me an email address to which I could send you one method described in these ways for you to choose.

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Shashi, you asked me to list the breakthrough solutions that I (and my associates) are working on, together brief descriptions. Note, that we do not constitute XPrize teams and hope that others may wish to form such teams and to develop and deploy those that look prospective to them. The solutions are offered free to any such team, though some form of acknowledgement would be appreciated. The Breakthroughs that might be said to Enhance Climate Resilience are:
BUOYANT FLAKES These are long-lived nutrient flakes made from sustainable materials that act as safe and targeted, ultra-slow-release fertilisers for nutrient-deficient ocean regions. Their substantial CDR effect is generated by dielly vertically migrating species which feed in surface waters at night-time and respire and excrete much of the biomass they consume at ~1,000m depth during the day.
ICE SHIELDS Polar and sub-polar sea ice can be thickened by up to 100 metres each cold season when floating wind turbines power satellite pumping stations intermittently to pump seawater onto the ice so that it forms lenticular ice mountains or arrays. Typically, these could be grounded in waters up to several hundred metres deep. Such arrays would restore polar habitat and could be grown to leave open passages for shipping and wildlife. As only some 80% of the seawater flowing down and off each ice shield would aim to be frozen, the dense, residual, chilled and gas-concentrating brine would then sink rapidly to the seabed where its CO2 content would react with seabed carbonates to form benign and long-lived dissolved bicarbonate, whilst the oxygen content would re-oxygenate the depths. In winter, the thermals forming over each ice shield as a result of the freezing seawater giving up its heat to the atmosphere, would convect the heat to the tropopause whence it would radiate into space unhindered by the clouds and GHGs below.
SEATOMISERS (seawater atomising units) are floating wind turbines carrying sets of spray nozzles. The nozzles are commercial, bi-phasic ones that will be adapted to much higher pressures, effervescence and flat-fan spray conditioning to generate droplets in the optimal size ranges for their different purposes. The various purposes are: seawater evaporation; fog, haze, reflective and long-lived sea salt aerosols, marine cloud brightening, and beneficially to influence downwind precipitation. Approved trials are underway, using a variant of this method, to save the Great Barrier Reef, see https://www.scu.edu.au/engage/news/latest-news/2020/scientists-trial-world-first-cloud-brightening-technique-to-protect-corals.php
CO2 SEPARATION is a conceptual method for separating CO2 from either natural gas or flue gases. It uses no chemicals, heat or artificial absorbants, only recyclable water, same-sized microbubbles generated from no-moving-part fluidic oscillators and the typical pressure of the industrially-emitted gas. If successfully commercialised, it would mean that most substantial point sources of gas, where CO2 was a significant component, could be used to generate ~94% pure CO2 for local use, piping or sale. The separation units might be mounted in shipping containers for easy deployment and aggregation.
FIZTOPS are conical, lightweight buoys that use solar power to generate long-lived (months) nanobubbles in the sea surface microlayer (SSML) that reflect a small portion of incident solar radiation back into space, thereby cooling both the surface waters and the atmosphere. Their main initial use is likely to be to protect coral reefs, seagrass meadows, kelp forests, mangroves and mariculture operations. As nanobubbles do not float, their presence does not interfere with evaporation. Indeed, the sideways refraction and reflection they cause should increase the temperature and evaporation of water in the SSML, at the same time as deeper waters are cooled by their action. Both natural nanobubbles and Fiztop ones would benefit marine life by increasing seawater’s oxygenation

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Thanks @sev for sharing these highly insightful breakthroughs. I will share it with my team of researchers. In case they have any further queries we will get back to you.

Hi @darlenedamm and @Mehta - We feel you may have inputs to share on the breakthroughs that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040.

Many thanks, @sev, for sharing these fascinating breakthroughs and ideas! I truly enjoyed reading them. Could you share some insight about the market/space for such innovations? - is the environment enabling? Where is the innovator activity strong when it comes to conservation and restoration innovation? Who are the target markets/adopters? When thinking of the breakthroughs, you’ve shared – how far are they from commercialization? Thank you!

Hi Eti, After my persistent effort over several years, some institutional researchers and entrepreneurs are now organising to validate some of the inventions. To bring them into discussion by the broader community, government and business, peer-reviewed studies are required. Current ventures into popular media, XPrize discussion and promotion by groups like envisionation.org should help, as has what I perceive as the social turning point on active climate restoration R&D effort caused, in part, by the dire Canadian heat dome and Arctic ice loss effects. Other support is likely to come from the independent, industrial successes being achieved by businesses whose technologies I utilise, such as HiiROC, Perlemax, NovoNutrients and Kilowatt Labs, as well as from complementary research activities, such as that already posted to save the Great Barrier Reef.
I have an Excel spreadsheet outlining the estimated technical readiness levels, development costs and likely effects of the inventions, but do not know how to upload the XL file format here. Can you assist?

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Hi @Sev,
Thanks for the details. You could email the excel sheet on the email id shashi.rai@xprize.org

Hi @Shashi, I noticed that some of the initial conversation related to climate resilience and underserved communities and was reminded of the work of Van Jones. While he is known as a political commentator today, he led some amazing work in the early 2000s at the intersection of climate change and social justice, especially in training underserved communities in solar panel installation job skills and green economy jobs. This was back in the early 2000s when most people thought solar energy would never work, and yet he forged ahead and was right. So, I wonder there are ways to replicate his work in employing underserved communities in jobs that promote climate resilience today? I think this might be more of a mindset shift than technological breakthrough.

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Hi @CPConsoli, @evmorton, and @rossnori - Curious to learn from you emerging innovations that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040.

Here is an interesting report on opportunities and limits of CO2 recycling in a circular carbon economy: techno-economics, critical Infrastructure needs, and policy priorities.

Hi @peterk, @ScotBryson and @evmorton - We would love to hear your thoughts on the breakthrough solutions that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040.

Hi @Idda and @CO2Cap_SysEng - Given your knowledge and experience you might have inputs on breakthrough solutions that we can expect to enhance climate resilience by 2040.

Relevant breakthroughs in this area could also include novel materials to enhance climate resilience: fire-resistant building materials, air-purifying paint, etc.

Is this an area that could use an XPRIZE? “Develop a material that does X”?

Hi @carlbozzuto, @KeithDPatch, @bartc and @hopkepk - Given your knowledge and experience in this area, we would love to have your inputs on any relevant breakthroughs that you know of that could include a novel material to enhance climate resilience.

Hi @marcojanssen and @peterwillis - In your opinion what relevant breakthroughs could include a novel material to enhance climate resilience. Please share your thoughts.