Greenhouse gas emissions management is nearly impossible because we are so far behind in the fight. Experts have determined that a carbon-negative strategy may be ideal to combat it.
The Stanford team aims to break the carbon cycle. Plants absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, but rather than letting the plants emit the CO2 back into the atmosphere, there is a way to capture and convert the carbon dioxide into other products.
Using the capture method, plants are used on an enormous scale to remove carbon from the atmosphere. These biomass-based systems are called bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).
There is a downside. Massive agricultural operations require enormous amounts of equipment, and this means that as BECCS scales up so does agricultural equipment manufacturing.
So, for this plan to work, industrial carbon capture has to be part of the solution.
New Zealand company LanzaTech demonstrated this method in 2009 when it used its carbon recycling platform to capture CO (not to be confused with CO2) to produce 2,3-Butanediol, a foundational chemical used to make a host of products like fuel, synthetic rubber, and plastics.
Though considered a weaker global warming gas than carbon dioxide, CO does play a significant indirect role in global warming. Approximately 50% of the Earth’s CO emissions are man-made, mostly from burning biomass and fossil fuels.