Car­bon curbs

Down to Earth - - TECHNOLOGY -

Sev­eral com­pa­nies have cre­ated prod­ucts based on car­bon-neg­a­tive tech­nolo­gies, but doubts re­main over their large-scale use

Power pal­let

It is a de­vice in­vented by All Power Labs, a Berke­ley-based startup, that can pro­duce gas from biomass and gen­er­ates char­coal which can be used as a fer­tiliser. The in­ven­tion is based on an over 100-yearold tech­nol­ogy called gasi­fi­ca­tion. It uses biomass such as wood chips, almond shells and corn husks to pro­duce clean fuel. Over 500 such de­vices have been sold to cus­tomers who are mostly from the de­vel­op­ing world.

No­vacem

It is a car­bon-neg­a­tive ce­ment cre­ated by a Lon­don-based com­pany which goes by the same name. Nor­mally, ce­ment is pro­duced by heat­ing lime­stone at high tem­per­a­tures. The process emits huge amounts of car­bon. But No­vacem uses mag­ne­sium sil­i­cates in­stead of lime­stone. Car­bon­ates made from car­bon diox­ide and other min­er­als are then added to the ce­ment, mak­ing it car­bon-neg­a­tive. The ce­ment, how­ever, is not com­mer­cially avail­able on large scale.

Air Car­bon

It is a type of plas­tic made by se­ques­ter­ing car­bon emis­sions that would oth­er­wise be­come part of the air. It is a trade­marked prod­uct made by New­light Tech­nolo­gies. Plas­tic is nor­mally pro­duced us­ing oil and other fos­sil fu­els. In Air Car­bon, car­bon emis­sions are cap­tured from sources such as land­fills and power plants and fed into re­ac­tors where en­zymes re­act with the gases to pro­duce the plas­tic. How­ever, ex­perts have raised doubts about the tech­nol­ogy be­ing car­bon-neg­a­tive be­cause fos­sil fu­els are burnt dur­ing the man­u­fac­ture of the plas­tic.

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