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Bill Gates-Backed Company Reports Climate Tech Breakthrough

Since Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stepped back from full-time involvement at the company where he amassed one of history's largest fortunes, he's become arguably the world's most influential philanthropist and social change-minded investor.

Now a company partly owned by Gates, Carbon Engineering, along with a team of researchers from Harvard University, are reporting a key tech breakthrough in a critical area of climate technology called direct air capture.

The idea is to pull climate-altering carbon out of the air and convert it to gasoline or other fuels. If the approach could be adopted at scale, it would provide a way to make existing transportation technologies like cars and jets carbon-neutral.

In other words, it could stop carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere without requiring that people and companies swap out all of their vehicles for cleaner technologies. The technique, based on widespread technologies, could also be used to capture carbon and trap it underground.

In the new scientific journal Joule, the team published research last week detailing how Carbon Engineering has been implementing the technique at a pilot plant in British Columbia. Critically, the paper details that the cost of removing a metric ton of carbon from the atmosphere can be done for less than $100. Previous expert estimates for the cost of the procedure had put it at the more prohibitive $600 per ton.

The Atlantic has a lot of detail on the study, the technique and the cautiously optimistic reaction of scientists not affiliated with the research.

Posted by Scott Bekker on 06/13/2018 at 8:21 AM


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