(Photo: model of a bridge made of slices of granite bonded to a continuous layer of carbon fiber on the bottom. Lighter than a comparable bridge made from concrete, it takes much less energy to produce.)
Climate change may become irreversible if we don’t act quickly to stop adding more greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere than can be absorbed.
But “carbon neutral” is not enough: we will almost certainly overshoot our carbon budget and need to remove some of those greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere. We must strive to become “carbon negative.”
One way is to plant trees, because trees and other plants remove CO2 from the air during the process of photosynthesis. We must aim to plant more trees than the number that get destroyed. Reforestation must more than compensate for deforestation.
Carbon fiber may provide another path to carbon negativity. Carbon fiber consists basically of carbon atoms bonded in aligned microscopic crystals. Its strength and light weight make it ideal for use in aerospace, automotive, construction, and many other applications.
Carbon fiber can be manufactured from farmed algae. As a growing plant, the algae removes CO2 from the air. The manufactured product then locks in the carbon … forever. Carbon fiber can also be made from used oils, likewise permanently removing the carbon from the environment. This technology has the potential to scale up worldwide, thus leading to… Carbon Negativity!
Carbon fiber combined with hard stone (granite) has great potential as a construction material. Sliced stone provides flexibility – yes, stone can bend! – and the carbon fiber provides tensile strength. It may be able to largely replace steel and concrete. At least 10% of CO2 emissions come from steel and concrete production and their transportation (4.4 billion tons of CO2 per year out of 44 billion in total).
Other applications for Carbon Fiber and Stone (CFS) include skis, furniture, cooking stoves, ironing boards, railway ties (sleepers) and more.
The German and French engineers Kolja Kuse and Stephan Savarese co-founded TechnoCarbon Technologies France to scale up production in France thanks to the positive framework set by widespread support to the Paris Agreement in that country since 2015. Kolja Kuse is also president of the European Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and Stephan Savarese is president of Saving Our Planet.
TechnoCarbon Technologies and Saving Our Planet are members of the newly launched “Atelier One Planet”, a group of NGO’s and enterprises dedicated to seeking and providing practical solutions to achieve the objectives set by the Paris Agreement of December 2015.