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My Climate Journey
Let's Talk About Carbon Dioxide Removal

Let's Talk About Carbon Dioxide Removal

My Climate Journey Podcast with Peter Minor and Jack Andreasen

Today, we have two guests, Peter Minor, Director of Science and Innovation at Carbon180; and Jack Andreasen, Policy Manager for Carbon Management at Breakthrough Energy. Peter and Jack are two of the world’s foremost experts in the world on carbon dioxide removal, or CDR as it's called in climate circles. They and their respective organizations influence public policy, support critical technology research and development, and offer various other forms of support for the burgeoning field of CDR.

In this conversation, we're focused almost exclusively on ambient carbon dioxide removal and not on point source carbon capture, which is a separate but related technology focused on directly capturing emissions from hard-to-abate industrial applications like concrete, steel, and fossil fuel extraction. Ambient carbon dioxide removal (CDR) instead seeks to remove diffuse CO2 from the atmosphere directly via multiple methodologies, of which the most widely pictured method is direct air capture, or DAC, which looks like oversized fans that extract CO2 from the air. In addition, we also touch on a few biology-related CDR technologies like biochar that seek to lock biologically produced carbon up before it can become atmospheric.

There's so much to unpack in this one. Cody, Peter and Jack talk about policy tailwinds for CDR, the categories and methodologies, commercial adoption progress and challenges, how and why buyers approach the space today, and some of the speed bumps CDR will undoubtedly encounter as it scales, including but not limited to fraud and false claims. Challenges aside, it's an exciting time in this space. CDR is still very nascent and very wide open, but it also feels light years further along than just a few years ago.

🚨 Get your CDR questions ready! Join Peter Minor and Jack Andreasen for a special MCJ Ask-Me-Anything event in Slack community starting Wednesday, January 25, 2023 at 9am PST. Our guests will be answering questions asynchronously for 24 hours. Details here.

Listen on Spotify

In this episode, we cover: 

  • [3:08] An overview of Carbon180 and Peter's work

  • [5:07] Breakthrough Energy and Jack's background 

  • [7:48] Policy tailwinds of the IRA

  • [12:59] Why DAC became a policy winner and other investments in the IRA 

  • [14:36] Hybrid approaches to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere 

  • [18:30] An overview of direct air capture (DAC) and mineralization 

  • [25:03] Enhanced rock weathering 

  • [27:46] Measuring CDR and uncertainty with open and closed systems 

  • [32:54] Variety of ocean methods compared to terrestrial  

  • [35:11] Biochar as a scaled solution, why it's a less prominent method, and Measurement, Reporting, and Verification (MRV) 

  • [40:53] Analysis for selecting and purchasing CDR credits 

  • [43:00] The role of consulting firms for companies purchasing CDR credits 

  • [52:13] Reasons why companies are buying CDR 

  • [55:17] Biggest risks of fraud and different levels 

  • [1:03:03] Guardrails for preventing fraud and the role of government 

  • [1:06:25] Innovation needs for CDR

Resources mentioned in this episode: 

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

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MCJ Podcast / Collective

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Episode recorded on January 4, 2023

MCJ Collective Newsletter
My Climate Journey
A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.