Carbon – mankind’s most misjudged resource

“Diamonds are forever”, probably because the only form of Carbon that our civilization does not burn! But look at the leftovers from our forebearers – fossil Hydrocarbon Compounds! It all is Carbon from 100 millions of years ago, still there, nicely sequestrated by Nature in storable aggregates not autonomously oozing into nowadays ambience. Excavating it, we today pay U$ 0,32/kg for crude oil Carbon, U$ 0,32/kg for Natural Gas Carbon and > U$ 0,30/kg for coal Carbon.

Our today’s civilization uses 11,160 Million tons oil equivalent fossil energy importing 9,045 Million tons of palaeozoic Carbon into our biosphere’s metabolism every year. As a comparison human use of annual biomass turnover at 72% for food is carried by Carbon equaling 42.5% of the Energy Carbon imports. Together representing about 1.0% of total life biomass Carbon inventory. So how healthy do you think an organism can remain, continuing over many lifecycles to take in 2.7 times of what it can digest?

While Diamond has a Market value of U$ 2.25 Million per kg, active filter carbon may sell for U$ 1.5 per kg, interestingly 10 times the Carbon’s purchase value as Natural Gas! That gross margin enticed us to apply Carbon Capture for Use Technologies to Natural Gas alike decomposition gas fractions of not reasonably compostable end of life cycle matter, representing a 25% equivalent of fossil Carbon imports. Since an accelerated decomposition of organic matter usually costs 2.5 – 4 times todays’ Natural Gas prices, decay gets usually disposed at the expense of civilization, either having to bear uncovered cost overruns or environmental consequences from letting it rot accidentally.

It deems quite symptomatic for our civilization’s lavish ignorance for Carbon as a precious resource, that burning decay is called “Zero Waste”. As long as we dispose more than the biosphere uptake capability’s amount of Carbon into atmosphere, we are wasting the resource named Carbon! How healthy can an economy or company be, that buys outside resources in while squandering 1.6 times its utilized input? How long could any production survive economically with a reject rate of 60%?

Rich countries’ citizens might be decadent enough to afford overpaying for their waste treatment via multiple channels of uncovered cost overruns’ socialization – wasting Carbon as a resource. But if any COP21 commitments should ever be met, Carbon Efficiency will have to become the measure of sustainability. In my former industry of Semiconductors we called material resource usage rate YIELD! The world will have to take a new respectful attitude towards Carbon to balance its metabolism again.

For a World in Carbon Balance  #CarbonEfficiency,  #Sustainability,  #COP21Commitment,  #CarbonMetabolism

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