Carbon capture: Elon Musk promises $100 Mns

Carbon capture is the focus of Elon Musk’s new ambitions. Indeed, the latter tweeted this Friday, January 22, that he will “donate $100 million for the best carbon capture technology”. He re-tweeted within the hour that “details” would be forthcoming during the next week.

This unofficial announcement echoes the goals set by a number of states and institutions. These are converging towards carbon neutrality of energy by 2050, and even 2060 for China.

Carbon capture: Elon Musk’s new project?

A $100 million gift to the person who finds the best technology

Carbon capture as a technology to be developed has just been put on the agenda of Tesla’s CEO. On Twitter, the latter appeals, among others, to engineers and experts in experimental chemistry. Whoever finds the best carbon capture technology will receive $100 million.

In the wake of his first tweet, Elon Musk responds to the question of using methane (CH4) to capture and store converted CO2:

“This is a good pathway for fully renewable rocket energy (…) but longer-chain hydrocarbons than CH4 are needed to be solid at room temperature.”

A fuel for Starship rockets?

The boiling temperature of CH4 is -160°C. In short, it could not be stored as a liquid hydrocarbon at relatively ambient temperatures. Therefore, and in the current state of technology, it is still unusable as fuel.

In any case, Elon Musk is looking to stimulate thinking about carbon capture and storage. Whether or not these are related to the creation of a carbon-neutral hydrocarbon for rockets.

Other economic superpowers are interested in CO2 capture

Microsoft and its $1 billion plan

Among other firms, Microsoft announced in early 2020 an action plan to reduce its climate impact. The goal is to remove, by 2050, all the carbon it has emitted since its founding in 1975. In this framework, the firm stated:

“the creation of a $1 billion climate innovation fund that will be used to accelerate the development of carbon reduction, capture and removal technologies globally.”

Among other things, Microsoft is showing its ambition to participate in the development of carbon capture technologies. In fact, this would directly respond to the objectives set by a number of states and institutions on the reduction of carbon emissions.

Joe Biden promotes the development of carbon capture

In this sense, Joe Biden announced during his presidential campaign, which he has since won, his Clean Energy Revolution Plan. Among other things, the plan promises to support the development of carbon capture technologies in the first year of its mandate.

In Europe, there is still a long way to go. CDP announced in 2019 that only 0.2% of European companies’ investments were converging on the development of carbon capture technologies.

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