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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Graciela Chichilnisky: From the Kyoto Accord to Carbon Catcher

Graciela Chichilnisky
One of our Heroes fighting the Heat, Graciela Chichilnisky is an innovator. From giving the Kyoto Accord a massive boost in practical implementation of carbon dioxide reducing policies – through her invention of the Kyoto carbon trading mechanism – she has now applied her innovative mind to another means of reducing carbon in our atmosphere.
In our earlier post we spoke about her emissions trading breakthrough. This time she is fighting global warming by seeking to capture carbon in the air.
The pilot plant she is working on is the Global Thermostat – click here for its website – in Silicon Valley, California.
Waste heat from a solar-generating plant is captured and put to good use before being stored underground. The driver for this pilot project is money: Graciela believes that the pilot project should prove that the technology being used will cost less than other plants that capture carbon cost, and be an economic proposition.
Peter Eisenberger
The pilot project aims at proving her contention that it is possible to protect against global warming by reversing the current paradigm which aims at reducing energy use in order to reduce carbon emissions. 
The project should, she and her fellow founder Peter Eisenberger believe, prove that it is possible that the more energy that is produced, the more carbon emissions are reduced.
The project captures carbon from the air by extracting CO2 directly from the atmosphere, rather than from flue gases of power plants and factories:
The air capture process is known and requires separating carbon from ambient air, at low temperatures and at a concentration of about 400 parts per million, as opposed to high temperatures and 15,000 parts in the case of flue gas.
Air capture has gained momentum on both the policy and media fronts as a viable solution for reducing carbon emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced $2.3B in funding, including technology and research investment in carbon air capture technologies. This is the first time air capture has been explicitly called out as part of any DOE program... Air capture technologies are being introduced commercially on the market right now and there are several successful pilot demonstration plants. The first GT Pilot Plant has been erected at SRI International and a commercial demonstration plant is planned for the fall and winter months of 2010.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that Graciela pulls of another stunning triumph in the fight to reduce global warming.

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