As climate change and oil prices continue to be a concern, two Alberta innovators rose to the challenge to came up with a solution to turn Carbon Dioxide (CO2) into everyday items such as fuel, building material and soap.
Mina Zarabian and Pedro Pereira Almao, co-founders of Carbonova have done extensive research on how to CO2 can be used as a chemical to build something else - to monetize it, rather than writing it off as a useless product. They successfully constructed a way to use CO2 to construct a much lighter, stronger and more flexible material known as carbon nanofibers. This material is gaining more interest within the industry and is now being used in products such as batteries, tires, concrete and electric vehicles.
Alberta has been a testing ground for the use of CO2. With Alberta’s oilsand mines and oilpatches a great place to conduct and develop research. Many Alberta based start-ups have expanded CO2 research and found the chemical can be used more than originally thought. Some companies have devised innovative ways of using CO2 as ‘an untapped resource’ with an unlimited supply. A half-dozen companies are researching CO2 as a component of industrial gases, various new materials and chemicals, fuels and even soap.
Though, Alberta companies are not the only ones gaining momentum in CO2 development. Various companies are working on what is known as ‘direct air capture’, removing CO2 from the air. Carbon Engineering Ltd is already pulling tones of CO2 out of the air every year. Whereas Occidental Petroleum Corp, is moving towards building a plant. This plant that can pull one million metric tonnes of CO2 and the company plans to use it to enhance oil recovery.
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., recently announced he will be putting US$100 million of his own money towards anyone in the world that has the best innovation and technology to come up with a solution to pull CO2 out of the oceans or atmosphere. This incentive is to help fight climate change and rebalance the earth’s carbon cycle.
Source: Financial Post
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