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☁️ Mine Waste to Carbon Removal

My Climate Journey

Photo by omid roshan / Unsplash

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Mike Kelland | CEO | Planetary
Category: ☁️ Carbon Reduction | CDR

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Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[4:44] “Planetary is […] a really innovative approach to what's called CDR or carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere. And […] what we do is we take the largest store of carbon on the Earth's surface, which is the ocean. And we enhance its ability by speeding up a natural process for it to take carbon dioxide out of the air and store it safely and permanently for 100,000 years at a time. And then side benefits that we get [are] decarbonisation benefits. So we produce hydrogen, and we produce battery metals at the same time that have a big decarbonization benefit on top of the carbon removal benefit, because we know we need to do both of those things.”

[18:46] “The way that it works is that we start with mine tailings, [which] are a waste product. […] We melt those down using an acidic process that then feeds into an electrolyzer. And that electrolyzer is a neat system that splits that feed into four different products. It gives us hydrogen, which we can sell. It gives us oxygen, which is used in our metallurgical cleanup process. […] It gives us acid which helps us to do the acid melting process at the start of the rock process. And finally, it gives us this really mild antacid, essentially. And […] we ship that […] out to the coast […] to wastewater facilities or power plants with cooling loops. And we add our antacid into seawater under their permits. […] Wastewater tends to be pretty acidic. They have a permit limit […]. So we essentially just max out their permits and this stuff goes out into the ocean.”

[20:21] “The actual mechanism […] is that this antacid reacts with dissolved CO2 and seawater. […] So we put this antacid in it reacts with that CO2 that's dissolved in seawater, and it turns it into a bicarbonate, which is kind of like baking soda. And that bicarbonate ion is a basic form of carbon and it's a natural part of seawater. So about 88% of the carbon on the Earth's surface is in ocean bicarbonate. It's the biggest store of carbon on the Earth's surface. And the residence time of that bicarbonate is about 100,000 years. So you can think of it like this antacid is taking CO2 out of the air, because as we convert it into bicarbonate, it reduces the concentration and more CO2 can come out of the atmosphere. And then it sequestered it into this bicarbonate pool for 100,000 years. So it's a one step, capture and store process. And turning the ocean into like the world's biggest air contactor for CO2.”

[22:37] “We have the impact of removing CO2, but also reducing CO2. […] For every net tonne of CO2 we remove, we produce enough hydrogen to displace another ton of emissions. So we get sort of a doubling. And then we also produce nickel and cobalt through the tailings purification […]. And that nickel and cobalt, if you put it in a battery, the amount of nickel and cobalt that we create could avoid 23,000 tons of CO2 over the lifetime of that battery. So we get this major impact on emissions reduction out of this process. But then […] on the financial side, it's a really cool system, because the value of those products, the hydrogen, the battery metals, reduce the total cost of carbon removal. What that means is that for our pilot facility, we're expecting to be able to do carbon removal, including the storage, because the sequestration is built in, for under $75 per tonne of CO2 while providing a return to investors.”

[24:41] “The process itself is new. Our electrolyzer is new. […] Our core business is to sell this electrolyzer and license the IP for the process of distributing […]. And that package is called process package, [which] we would sell to a mine for them to deploy this process and and build out a project around it.”

[27:04] “Mining right now is going through, I would say, almost a revolution. […] The amount of nickel required for all of the […] battery electric vehicles that […] are being committed to by all the auto manufacturers next year is roughly double the total amount of nickel that's produced every year. […] It's driving a huge amount of interest in innovation in decarbonizing that mining.”

Rating: ⚡⚡⚡⚡

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google (Original Title: "Startup Series: Planetary")
🕰️ 56 min | 🗓️ 05/05/2022
✅ Time saved: 54 min

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