Solve Simultaneous Equations

Creating industrial-scale quantities of graphene from CO2 – at a reasonable cost – will address several challenges at the same time.

 

Challenge

Solution

Reduce atmospheric CO2

Human-caused emissions of CO2 and methane are accelerating global warming. Average CO2 released by human activity per year is 36 gigatons (billion tons). If we continue to release this amount of CO2, by 2024 we will surpass our "carbon budget" -- the amount of carbon we can "safely" release before doing massive, irrevocable damage to the global ecosystem. Fast action on a global scale is imperative. The 2015 Paris Agreement by 197 nations to combat climate change, even if fully carried out, would still miss its target.
Capture CO2 from smokestacks worldwide, and process the CO2 into graphene. A number of Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) technologies have been developed over several decades, and the oil and gas industries have employed CSS to enhance oil and gas recovery. However, widespread installation of CSS systems on coal-fired generating plants requires that businesses see CSS as a source of profit rather than an onerous obligation driving up production costs.

Build with graphene

A number of key resources needed to manufacture valuable products or provide important services are being depleted -- clean water due to aquifer depletion, increasing aridity, and environmental degradation; minerals such as gas, copper, and zinc due to mining, over-consumption, or population growth; lumber and other wood products and biodiversity due to deforestation.
Employ graphene to replace a host of resources that are either scarce or rely on wasteful or destructive extraction, processing, or transportation. Use graphene-infused polymers to filter waste-water or seawater, making available an inexhaustible supply of fresh water.  Use graphene to build houses, offices and other commercial buildings, manufacture cars, trucks, trains, streets and highways, etc.

Clean manufacturing

Current manufacturing technologies are subtractive rather than additive. In other words, all manufacturing begins with raw materials that are then processed into finished products. Many such processes are accompanied by the release of CO2, by the creation of waste by-products, by the release of waste-heat, and by the use of limited and valuable natural resources. In addition, current manufacturing and world trade require transportation networks, inventories and warehouses.
3D printing is a highly efficient, additive manufacturing technology that uses exactly the minimum quantity of material needed to manufacture a product, with no wastage of raw materials, minimal energy, small carbon footprint, no waste by-products. In addition 3D printing enables automated, distributed, just-in-time manufacture, with less need for transportation, inventories, or warehouses.

Buy time

Replacing dirty with clean energy sources sufficiently to avoid 2 degree C planetary warming will take 20-30 years -- too late to avoid runaway disaster. We need a solution soon that can prevent several gigatons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere every year, and additional technologies to remove gigatons of atmospheric CO2.
In the next critical few years, we can buy time with the conversion of captured CO2 to graphene, so that other solutions -- renewable energy, cleaner and more efficient manufacturing processes, recycling, biosequestration (tree-planting, environmental recovery, etc.) -- will have time to mature and spread.

Opponents into allies

Corporate control of government has led to political gridlock. It is now easier than ever to see that a strong business case will be required for any successful solution to climate change. Currently, CSS is a cost center for any business; CSS either damages the bottom line or requires higher prices.
CO2 to graphene process provides any carbon-based energy industry with a compelling profit motive to capture CO2. As 3D printing evolves, graphene will become an increasingly valuable commodity, and CO2 will be seen as an opportunity rather than a problem.

Perfect for 3D printing

Fully unleashing the potential of 3D printing requires a more adaptable material as a source filament. Current 3D printing technology is able to print one, or at most two different materials in a single print job. To be most useful, 3D will require a new, universal, material that can assume multiple properties.
Graphene or graphene-infused polymers can be designed to present a large array of programmable properties, such as strength, weight, flexibility, heat or electrical conductivity, filtering, etc. Thus, graphene can potentially be used to 3D-print products with multiple parts or materials in a single pass.

Systemic solution

Almost all decision-makers are operating on a short-term cycle (political re-election, CEO quarterly compensation, annual returns to shareholders). This short-term focus prevents intelligent long-term planning, and almost ensures that the underlying structural reasons that encourage CO2 emissions will never be addressed.
The Carbon Trifecta is inherently a systemic solution. While providing major short-term incentives to produce activated graphene from CO2, the Trifecta initiative embodies and encourages the strategic, long-term thinking necessary to solve climate change.