When you see a smokestack, you are seeing life sustaining forces at work. Power plants that heat homes in winter; mills making materials to build those homes; factories making the refrigerators inside them to keep food from spoiling. Yet this is not what comes to mind. Rather, we see toxic fumes, smog, pollution, sickness & damage.
Both of these stories are true and for modern humans, reconciling them has been elusive. We’ve admonished generations of children to reduce consumption, but they are no more successful at it than we are. We’ve vilified the leaders of these companies, while continuing to buy more and more of what they produce. We’ve crafted clever platitudes about circular economies and sustainability; placated ourselves separating plastic bottles, only to burn more gas recycling them than if we had made fresh plastic.
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed; it can only be transformed from one form to another. A smokestack is just spitting out the results of a transformation. We got something we wanted – usually heat from burning something – but that stuff coming out the smokestack is a mix of valuable gasses we are just throwing away. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
KLIR Sky invented a way to capture the fumes & freeze them to cryogenic temperatures before they go out the smokestack. Gasses liquify at different cold temperatures. So with a series of machines, they can separate CO2, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Methane, Hydrogen and other valuable gasses. These get pumped into trucks and sold into industrial markets. KLIR Sky integrates for free and splits the profits with the owner of the smokestack. Sometimes they can make more money from this than whatever business needed the smokestack in the first place.
I worked on my first carbon sequestration project in 2006, when I thought carbon caps were coming from governments. They have arrived way too little and way too late to make a meaningful difference. There are innumerable technologies that can capture CO2 but aren’t economically viable to scale. What does scale, is business. If you want to sequester carbon dioxide, the best thing to do is keep from emitting it in the first place.
The world can’t and won’t stop all of these industrial activities. We shouldn’t. Humanity relies on them. What we can do is turn the waste into something people will pay for, no carbon caps, no accounting shell games, no philanthropy, just good business turning pollution into profit.
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