by Devyn Parks
Global Thermostat (GT) is a new company founded in 2010 committed to reducing the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration (Global Thermostat). Co-founder and CEO Peter Eisenberger says that they came up with the idea for their technology by looking at products and inventions that were already in existence and thinking of new ways to use them. The best device for carbon sequestration was already in existence and called a monolith, the same type of instrument found in cars to clean exhaust, and GT took this concept and made it large scale. The GT technology can be attached to power plants, cement smelters, refineries and other industrial operations; and the heat emitted from these setups would be used as energy to capture CO2. The main problem with current carbon sequestration projects is the high cost due to the abundance of energy needed to carry out the process. GT’s technology addresses that problem by using the heat already generated from the facilities to power their monolith. Once captured the carbon can be stored underground, incorporated into materials such as cement and plastic, sold for carbon tax credits, or even sold to soda and oil companies for small-scale applications. Another option for the stored carbon is using it to create more fuel by feeding it to algae to enhance the production of ethanol and other biofuels. Global Thermostat is already working with a company in Alabama named Algae Systems to make this option a reality (Harris 2013).
Although this new tech seems like the solution to our carbon problem, there have been naysayers. The American Physical Society concluded that the technology being used was far too expensive, costing $600 per ton of carbon drawn from the air, and the scale of these machines would be far too large to be realistic. Proponents of the technology have refuted these findings, saying that the cost per ton of carbon drawn from the air is closer to $50 and the size of the device is not as large as the American Physical Society claims. There have also been worries that the promise of this new technology to suck carbon out of the air will trivialize the movement to reduce carbon emissions. Even with all of the criticism, these projects continue to receive funding and Eisenberg promises that Global Thermostat will continue on their mission create technology that will efficiently remove as much carbon from the air as possible (Harris 2013).
Global Thermostat (http://globalthermostat.com/)
Harris, Richard. “This Climate Fix Might Be Decades Ahead Of Its Time.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web.