Reduce global Carbon Budget below 2°C global warming! – easily said, but where do you want to start? Forget about all they told you about Carbon Neutrality! Mankind has 11-folded Carbon Use over the last 50 years and 3-folded Water Use the same period – in a world of Hydrocarbons this correlates. Actually we need to cut Water and Carbon consumptions 40% to get back in balance again!
For Carbon, currently ⅔ stemming from fossil sources ⅓ from scantily used Renewable Sources it means having to reduce fresh fossil Carbon use by 60%, partly by more efficient use of Renewable Carbon but primarily to reuse 50% of aerial Carbon before it gets disposed into CO2 being only one step away from release into atmosphere. So burning Renewable Carbon will definitively not be an improvement – refining it instead of crude oil on the other hand would in deed.
There seem to be broad opportunities to decarbonize heat anergy for comfort and hygiene purposes. For power generation we’ve already explored effects of switching today’s 3-step transformation to a single step transformation. Plastics, just only consuming an order of 3% all fossil Carbon Use could easily be made from physically recovered aerial Carbon. The remaining energy field of transportation fuels could probably be reduced to aviation fuels, for which companies like Enerkem or Fulcrum have already demonstrated a way and chances are, taking their chemical Carbon recovery to the level of physically recovered Carbon refining, competitiveness against arms’ length fossil kerosene prices could still be further improved.
So why does everyone keep on talking of Energy? It is just a matter of transition for employed Technologies from Carbon squandering combustion processes to a Carbon recycling and refining one. For it to happen just takes one brave enough major player from the old Tech field to become a quick starting self-runner – if all of them wait, start-up initiatives might just need some more time to get there. But the real Carbon battle is going to take place below the energy subject matter. It is about land use and Carbon management in agricultural soil improvement practice.
Top soil holds approximately 10 times the planet’s remaining 2°C Carbon Budget allowance – where ever you see dry seasons’ soil cracked up in canyons, you witness the consequences of unsustainable farming practice, driving a soil degradation that can lead to Carbon respiration of 1-2% per year hitting the 10% within 7 years only. Such soil erosion has about 3 times the effect of all anthropogenic fossil and renewable Carbon (mis)management. So before starting any direct (chemical or physical) or indirect (by energy exploitation) Carbon recovery from Renewable Carbon good composting practice should be considered.
Just not reasonably compostable organic residues, like lignin rich or fossil derived or contaminated with pesticides, hormones or antibiotics, estrogens etc. we don’t want to enter into the food and groundwater chains only, shall be used for Carbon Recycling refineries – and not for burning!