Happy Friday! Nick here, filling in for Tristan while he enjoys his life in the French Alps. (I may never forgive him).
A different kind of climate solution is now underway
With fierce storms like Hurricane Ida becoming more and more common as we collectively ruin the only planet we live on, scientists are looking to a new technology that enables a much more active climate solution: carbon capture.
The latest effort is a new facility opened in Iceland run by Climeworks, and it might serve as a blueprint for the future.
- The Orca plant opened on Wednesday, and is capable of capturing 4,000 metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.
- Compared to other climate solutions, this one is easy to wrap your head around. It simply pushes air with big fans into filters, which catch CO2 and mix it with water.
- This CO2 is then pumped into underground basalt caverns, where it cools and hardens into stone.
- While this keeps it safely out of harm’s way, the captured CO2 can also be put to good use to create fuel, fertilize crops, or even carbonize your fizzy sodas.
- The plant itself runs on climate-friendly geothermal energy, which is found in abundance in Iceland.
But is it enough?
- Currently, Climeworks estimates that each metric ton of CO2 costs $600-800 to capture. In order to turn a profit, costs would have to be reduced to roughly $100 per metric ton.
- That said, states like California are already offering $500 subsidies to electric car owners for each metric ton of carbon emissions avoided throughout the lifecycle of the vehicle. Compared to that, costs look a lot more reasonable.
- Plus, this is an emergent technology, and costs can be expected to go down dramatically over time.
- Climeworks co-founder Christoph Gebalt estimates that by 2030, prices should be around $200 to $300 per ton.
- The real question is whether or not it can be scaled to truly combat the problem. The International Energy Agency estimates that by 2050 we will need to be pulling one billion tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year.
- The current 4,000 ton plant represents .0004% of that.
- But hey, it’s a start! Look at how dramatically costs have gone down for solar power over the past few decades. This could be another key piece of the puzzle.
- Maybe there will be a future for our children to enjoy, after all.
Samsung Galaxy S22 series camera specs leak. Will it have the latest 200MP sensor? Maybe not (Android Authority).
More bad news for Galaxy fans as Samsung confirms One UI 4.0 beta is running late (Android Authority).
Samsung could bring a 120Hz display to its next budget 5G smartphone. 120Hz AMOLED, of all the things! (Android Authority).
Amazon announces its first self-made TVs as well as a Fire TV Stick 4K Max. They run the gamut from budget to premium devices, and launch in October (Android Authority).
Also, Amazon will cover 100% of college tuition for US hourly employees. The cost to employees? One human soul (CNBC).
Vivo X70 Pro Plus goes official: The new smartphone photography king? (Android Authority).
All four main UK mobile carriers have now broken their Brexit roaming promises. Customers will now have to pay a surcharge while traveling in the EU (9to5mac).
Yesterday’s PlayStation Showcase revealed a ton of new games, including a KOTOR remake (yes yes yes), God of War Ragnarok, and more. If only it were possible to buy a PS5… (Android Authority).
Lego’s latest Mario collaboration is a big question mark. Literally, it’s a question mark block (The Verge).
China prepares to test thorium-fuelled nuclear reactor, which could provide an excellent alternative to uranium-based reactors and enable the country to meet climate goals (Nature.com).
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to launch this December. The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope (launched 30 years ago) will enable observation of the most distant parts of the universe (Space.com).
Elizabeth Holmes’s Last Pitch: Convincing a jury that she is not to blame for a massive fraud. If you’re not familiar with the story of Theranos, check out the excellent podcast The Dropout (New York Magazine).
Lazy pet owners rejoice! The latest Roombas will now avoid pet poop (and other obstacles).
As all robot vacuum owners know, you need to clean up a bit before letting it do its thing. That means picking up socks and other small items left on the floor, unless you want to ruin your vacuum (and favorite pair of socks).
Granted, the new feature works by sending a picture of the object to your phone for manual review. You can also program it to always avoid obstacles in some areas, like your child’s toy area.
I wish my mother in law came with this feature before she tracked dog poop all over the house a few years ago.
Nick Fernandez, Editor