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Another way to help the planet survive climate change

A View From the Edge

When you see large corporations trying new carbon dioxide (CO2) technology — even if that technology industry is in a start up phase — you can be sure people are working, hard, to find new ways to make money and, hopefully, solve some of the environmental issues. Such is the case with Air Company of New York, “We’re creating products from CO2 to extend life on Earth.”

Like distilled water, which is impurity free, Air Company is grabbing CO2 from the air around us and converting it into clean, pure, products. Okay, they have a few gimmicks. Take their AIR Eau de Parfum which is, sensibly, only a limited release product (and hardly viable at $220 a bottle). On the other hand, their AIR Vodka at $75 a bottle has had some rave reviews for its clean taste.

Now, you may ask, who cares? Well, those two gimmicks above are based on alcohols, formula C2H6O, that they make using captured CO2 pollutants with a little free atmospheric hydrogen thrown in. And, you guessed it, they can – and do! - go a step further and make kerosene C12H26C15H32.

Kerosene is what aircraft burn for jet travel. JetBlue has recently signed up with Air Company and hopes to be carbon neutral within five years. Yes, just five years. Going beyond the new goals for “Sustainable Aviation Fuel” (offsetting fuel pollution by planting trees and adding reclaimed oil product) now being attempted by all the major airlines,... no, by recapturing CO2 from the polluted air around us and grabbing some of the atmosphere’s abundant hydrogen, these new engineers can make everything from methane, to kerosene, to gasoline.

Okay, nothing is ever free. It takes energy to run their processes and they need heavy industrial investment. But there’s a double-edged, built in, benefit here that even electric and hydrogen planes and cars cannot match: By taking the CO2 and hydrogen from the free polluted air all around us, they can sell a product that has no supply shortage and whose ingredients are free.

And to top that off, they can offer airlines to be carbon neutral because what they burn to fly was already removed from the atmosphere and can be recaptured again. Airlines looking at public opinion forming against jet planes’ pollution can, instead, claim to be carbon neutral. Air Company is not alone. Econic Technologies, Newlight Technologies, Carbon Engineering, Sunfire, Avantium, Agora, Prometheus, Caphenia, Synhelion, and Fixing CO2 are all getting into the game. And why wouldn’t they? The raw product they refine is free and capturing excess CO2 is beneficial for the planet. That’s a whole lot better than the oil industry’s supply cost for crude oil — oh, and it breaks OPEC’s stranglehold.

 

Peter Riva, a former resident of Amenia Union, now lives in New Mexico.

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