Decrypted on Smash Notes

Silicon Valley Is Making Gasoline Out of Thin Air


A growing number of experts believe that a promising technology, known as carbon capture, will be an essential part of any plan to confront climate change. But until now the science of removing carbon from the air has only ever been demonstrated at a small scale—and the process of turning that carbon into useful products, such as fuel, has cost too much to make a real difference. This week on Decrypted, meet two startups that think they may have a solution.

Episode notes last updated on May 28, 2019 21:35


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Smash Notes summary for this episode

What was Google Project Fog Horn?

Google's Project Fog Horn had the potential to slow impact of climate change by making fuel out of carbon dioxide (CO2) harvested from sea water. Such fuel would still produce carbon when burned, but it would not release new carbon. This would have in theory helped us to advance as a civilization.

Why did Google shut down its project Fog Horn?

Scientists have known for decades that it is theoretically possible to extract carbon from water and air and reuse it as fuel, but so far all the solutions have been too expensive and impractical. Google shut down project Fog Horn because they too just could not find an economical solution that would justify further investments.

What does a Columbia University professor think about carbon removal technologies?

According to Dr. Julio Friedmann, a Columbia professor and a researcher who has spent two decades on this topic, we should try any technology that seems promising. So far, every company that wanted to compete with gasoline has failed. We don't know what will work, so we should be trying everything.