In recent weeks, a team of staff from a company called Charm Industrial has been working on the edge of Kansas cornfields, moving rolled bales of stalks, leaves, shells and tassels to a semi-trailer.
Inside, a device called a pyrolyzer uses high temperatures in the absence of oxygen to decompose plant material into a mixture of biochar and bio-oil. This oil is pumped into EPA-regulated deep wells used for industrial waste or salt caverns. Charm says it solidifies, shutting off carbon for thousands or millions of years that would otherwise return to the air while farmers burn crop residues or let them rot.
The San Francisco startup has been sequestering carbon in this way for the past two years, working on behalf of companies like Microsoft. Late last year, he announced that the process has safely blocked almost the equivalent of 5,500 tonnes of CO2 to date, claiming it is the largest amount of long-term carbon removal delivered to date.
But there are still many questions about how reliable, scalable and cost-effective this approach will be. Read the whole story.
As Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to reduce steel emissions
Charm Industrial is also exploring whether the same bio-oil could be used to reduce emissions from iron and steel manufacturing, following a new technical path to clean up the dirtiest industrial sector.
The approach could be welcome news for companies forced to explore cleaner production methods, amid strong emissions and increasingly stringent climate policies. Read the whole story.
I combed the Internet to find the funniest / most important / scary and fascinating stories about technology.
1 The Texas gunman detailed his plans in Facebook messages before the shooting
Meta said direct messages were not discovered until after the tragedy. (WP $)
+ Repeated mass shootings are a problem unique to America. (New Yorker $)
+ AI-powered metal detectors are a controversial solution. (WP $)
+ Three false claims about the shooting are circulating on the Internet. (NOW $)
2 Twitter has been fined for sharing users’ phone numbers
Allowed numbers and email addresses to report targeted advertising. (Variety)
+ Elon Musk needs more money if he wants to buy the company. (FT $)