Carbon removal finalists - what went wrong

This is a series of conversations reviewing the top 60 finalists and asking what went wrong. The criteria were

  1. Durable - 100 years
  2. Direct air capture
  3. Proven
  4. Verifiable
  5. No Offsets

And in no particular order, we have
C2(C-Squared) Land
They make Bamboo Houses , bamboo is a fantastic product, but durable (?) , scaleable(?). It is a good idea but. Isn’t it easier to just stack it in a pile and hope it stays put.

Carbon Down Under Land.
Water soluable biomnass pumped into the ground. Ok nice, except we need the water to drink, durable( ? ), scalable (?). Might make more sense to dry out the water and leave it on the ground . If it won’t stay on the ground, why would it stay in the ground?

Earth Repair Land
Basic Mineralisation. Generally a good idea.

PlantVillage - Monitoring
This one is my favourite - they don’t sequester anything, they count it. That’s right, they do monitoring. But wait, didn’t the rules say durable, scalable , capture. Give them $1M for sheer audacity.

SkyRenu - Carbonisation of Mine Tailings
Generally a good idea. Not sure where they get the CO2 from but hey, it does meet the criteria - if you have a big enough mine.

Tarkachar - Land

It doesn’t matter how rubbish your product is as long as you have a great sales team. They actually sell machines based on an MIT technology, Metal machines (production emissions), that they sell to small holding farmers, to pyrolyze their farm waste into biochar, instead of burning it in the fields. And they admit that you can make charcoal for cooking with it (?!) , so the capture rate is dependent on the farmer using the machine (long enough to recoup the emissions from the steel ) and not using the biochar for charcoal. So that isn’t verifiable at all really.

One more point on this one. Burning waste in the field is a good idea where you have snakes and rats. Its a darn site safer that collecting it by hand and putting it in a machine - unless you have another machine to collect it.

Air Company - Air
They make nice products from CO2, alcohol based ones. Sounds like offsets to me, unless they are planning on keeping the bottle of perfume for 100 years.

So out of the first 7 of 60, only 2 meet the basic criteria. So XPRIZE, I ask “What went wrong?”.
I’ll be back again later with the next batch.