Innovation That Matters

| Photo source Arbor Energy

Taking on the climate crisis with rocket science

Agriculture & Energy

A startup uses rocket technology to capture and store CO2 and generate clean electricity

Spotted: Decarbonising daily life from here on out isn’t going to be enough to keep climate change under control. Because of the huge volume of emissions already in the atmosphere, many scientists have confirmed that carbon dioxide removal is also essential to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius. Arbor has devised an innovative way to do this – using rocket engine technology.

With his expertise as an aerospace engineer and experience developing engines for SpaceX, Arbor founder Brad Hartwig developed a system similar to the ones used in SpaceX rockets to generate electricity.

In a process called Biomass Carbon Removal and Storage (BiCRS), the company’s power station Halcyon turns biowaste from forestry, agriculture, and landfills into syngas. Combusting the syngas creates CO2, water, and heat energy and the hot gases are then expanded to spin a turbine that generates electricity.

Using excess energy generated by the process, Arbor’s technology compresses the carbon dioxide into a supercritical liquid that’s pumped into the ground, where it reacts with minerals to form stable limestone. Instead of allowing biomass waste to decompose and release CO2 into the atmosphere, Arbor’s system allows carbon to be locked away in the ground.

According to the US-based company, by 2050 it hopes to remove over two gigatonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.

Written By: Matilda Cox




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