An Israeli firm has entered the fight against global warming by looking for inspiration in the high atmosphere, where it aims to launch fleets of balloons capable of capturing and recycling carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion and industrial agriculture are the primary contributors to climate change. However, removing CO2 from the environment at regular temperatures demands an inordinate amount of energy for governments and businesses to deem cost-effective.
High Hopes Labs created a technology that catches carbon near the point of solidification, thousands of kilometers above the Earth.
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Energy production, deforestation, heating, transportation, and industry emit 50 billion tons of CO2 annually. According to Nadav Mansdorf, co-founder and CEO of Ramat Gan-based High Hopes Labs. Current carbon-capture methods only remove a few thousand tons of CO2 annually.
“The lovely thing is that catching gas is quite simple when the temperature is close to freezing,” CEO Nadav Mansdorf told Reuters.
Carbon freezes at minus 80 degrees (Celsius), and the only spot on Earth where it can be found at that temperature is 15 kilometers (9 miles) above our heads.
The company has tested its technology on a limited scale, releasing gas-filled balloons with a box attached beneath that serves as a carbon-capture device.
The frozen carbon dioxide is then extracted from the air and returned to the soil, where it can be recycled.
Within two years, the company hopes to develop larger balloons capable of removing a ton of carbon dioxide per day at a cost of less than $100, significantly cheaper than equivalent on-ground facilities now in operation, Mansdorf said.