Technologies have become a key to almost all of our comforts in a day-to-day cycle. But, how many of us are aware that these technologies are our only hope of turning into a net-zero economy. With the climate crisis in action, a set of pronto reactions from the human community is the need of the hour.
Net-zero is the idea of using alternative sources like solar energy other than conventional fuel sources like fossil fuels to eliminate carbon emissions completely. It is often coupled with a similar term, ‘carbon neutral’, which is a wider term encompassing net-zero as one of its essential parameters.
The transfer from customary industries to tech-based carbon-neutral would definitely be a major issue to plan out and implement on a world-scale. But this could be our only hope in saving the future.
Artificial Intelligence to Calculate Carbon Emissions
To measure carbon emissions is one the first steps to lower down carbon emissions. Measuring carbon footprint is a troublesome step, prone to provide erroneous outputs. Through analysis by various stakeholders in the industry, it was found that AI could be a better option to measure carbon footprint.
Saif Hameed (CEO, Altruistiq) shares his opinion on using AI as a means of tool to provide a good estimate on carbon emissions. Knowledge graphs are useful in establishing relation between activities, emissions and current datasets; while Natural Language Processing could then be used for data processing with fine details and patterns that even humans could have overlooked.
Funding Non-Carbon Technologies
Leah Ellis (CEO, Sublime Systems) believes that carbon capture and carbon avoidance technologies are the need of the hour as they have the ability to reduce pollution with immediate effects. So therefore, government agencies and other funding agencies should come forward to promote such technologies.
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is an innovative process that captures carbon dioxide CO2 directly from the atmosphere, useful in the industrial areas especially- cement or steel plants, combustion of fossil fuels for power. CCS is typically a three-step process. It first captures CO2 from the atmosphere, compresses and transports it through pipeline transfer or as a ship or road cargo, and then stores it deep under the ground as geological formations, for instance, as rocks.
The USA has been the first to achieve such a repository in 1972. In Texas, they have been known to sequester around 200 million tons of CO2 deep in the ground.
Innovation for Cost-Effectiveness and Scalability
The phenomenon of extracting CO2 directly from the atmosphere is termed as Direct Air Capture (DAC), which currently is in application with small-scale projects due to its high cost. Worldwide, only 18 such plants are functional, with only two involved in storage of CO2 in geological formations, rest are using the captured CO2 in industries, for carbonated drinks per se.
To agree with the CEO of Carbon Capture, Adrian Corless, the DAC should not be looked at as a challenge, rather as an opportunity to unfurl a sustainable future with tons of possibilities. With the ability of driving a carbon-maximum environment to carbon-neutral environments, the DAC should be welcomed in innovative ways to reduce costs and increase scalability.