A new carbon capture device created by an Israeli startup goes above and beyond that of traditional carbon capture techniques by operating nearly 10 miles above the ground. The startup estimates that their design will capture up to 1 ton per balloon per day at the low cost of $100.
Israeli startup, High Hopes Labs, has recently announced their regarded breakthrough that has the possibility to alter how we approach carbon capture.
Located in Petah Tikvah, Israel, the company has developed a unique way of capturing emissions far up into the sky, at the point in which carbon solidifies.
In an interview with Reuters, the CEO of High Hopes Labs, Nadav Mansdorf, says, "The beautiful thing is that capturing gas is very easy when it's close to freezing." "Carbon is freezing in minus 80 degrees (Celsius) and the only place that we can find carbon in a temperature close to that, is 15 kilometers (9 miles) above our heads."
By sending giant balloons 9 miles into the atmosphere, High Hopes Labs will be able to effectively remove carbon from the air and bring it back down to earth, where it can either be recycled or permanently stored. This approach is unique to many other carbon capture systems, with several choosing to capture carbon closer to the ground or via the ocean.
Further, their idea is supposedly far more cost-effective than traditional carbon capture methods, making it even more impressive. "The company aims to build larger balloons within two years that could each be deployed to remove a tonne of carbon a day at a cost below $100."
So far, the company has tested its balloons at a small scale with great success. They expect that upon further refinement and trial run, their design will significantly aid in lowering atmospheric emissions.
Emissions in the Atmosphere
Carbon dioxide, a type of greenhouse gas, results naturally from decaying organisms or human-induced from fossil fuel use and industrial agriculture. According to NASA, the two other main types of greenhouse gasses are nitrous oxide and methane. Together, these greenhouse gasses remain in the earth's atmosphere and trap heat on earth.
Contrary to popular beliefs, a certain amount of greenhouse gasses is actually imperative for life to sustain itself. Without these gasses trapping heat, the earth would be too cold for human survival. That said, a problem arises when too many greenhouse gasses begin to trap far too much heat, resulting in adverse outcomes.
The rapid growth in technological advancement has yielded a general scientific consensus throughout the globe that the planet's current state is heading in this direction, resulting in an uptick of natural disasters, sea-level rise, and habitat loss, amongst other things.
As a result of this growing knowledge, many governments, individuals, and companies worldwide have begun implementing mitigation tactics to lower their environmental footprint and effectively lessen the potential outcome of climate change.
Though sustainable development is certainly a positive approach to reduce future emissions, current emissions also need to be dealt with. One of the most common ways to do this is via carbon capture.
Common Mitigation Approaches
The name is relatively self-explanatory. Carbon capture is the process in which naturally occurring organisms or technological devices capture current carbon emissions and permanently store them to prevent any future re-release.
This technique can capture emissions from power plants before they are released into the atmosphere or capture the current atmospheric emissions.
Capturing carbon can occur naturally, such as with trees, or through man-made devices, like High Hopes Labs.
The Future of Carbon Capture
As the world shifts toward sustainable development, more and more innovative designs have come forth with unique and effective ways to capture carbon emissions. But, unfortunately, the current technology used for most CO2 capture systems is too costly, energy-intensive, or time-intensive to reach mainstream adoption.
However, as this sustainable shift continues, more advancements will likely come out to mitigate these discrepancies, an example being the carbon capture balloons.
A similar trend can be seen with harvesting solar energy. Around the turn of the century, solar energy was costly and not as effective. Today, this renewable energy form is the cheapest and most effective it has ever been.
As we have just begun the new decade, we can expect an array of technological advancements to uncover themselves. Spotlighting companies such as High Hopes Labs can not only encourage other scientists, governments, or businesses to implement their own carbon capture systems, but it can provide hope and encouragement to individuals who are hesitant about the future of the planet. Based on the emerging technology and consumer drive, there is reason to celebrate, stay optimistic, and support change, for the era of sustainable development has officially dawned.