Gas Card & Orca Direct Air Capture Machine

This Holiday, I’m Sucking CO2 From The Air and Turning It Into Stone

For some reason, every year I give gas station gift cards to my niece and nephews. It doesn’t makes a ton of sense, especially since each card creates about 113 kilograms of greenhouse gas.

I looked for ways to carbon-neutralize gas cards (reforestation programs, for example). But trees take time to grow and I don’t have that kind of time. I’ve got a bunch of gas cards that need to be zapped, and fast.

Instead of trees, I’m going with a huge CO2 sucking machine. It’s called “Orca.” I like the name and the fact it has filters that work many times faster than trees. The best part, Orca doesn’t just remove the CO2, it turns it into stone.* It’s like a carbon Medusa, except without the venomous snake-hair.

Climeworks.com makes using Orca simple. Just select how many kilograms of CO2 to remove, enter payment information, and the machine takes care of the rest. I went into this figuring (hoping) I could neutralize a $50 gas card for less than $5.

Then came the sticker shock…

The neutralization price turns out to be $136. That’s right. CO2 neutralization costs more than two and a half times the gas card itself. Whoa! Will the nephews and niece understand? I need a way to explain that behind the scenes, a cutting edge Greek Gorgon is turning gas card’s horrible greenhouse gas into harmless solid carbonate minerals.

This also got me thinking about the bigger picture. Orca is a super-efficient way to remove CO2 from the air which means the lowest cost carbon-neutral gas works out to about $14/gallon; if the extra CO2 emissions from “well-head to the pump” are added in, it’s about $16/gallon.

On the bright side, the United Nations says we only need to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% to avert global catastrophe. The price for that is $10/gallon.

Anyway I figure it, climate change reversal isn’t a cheap holiday gift.

Here’s the arithmetic:

$50 gas card @ $3.80 /gallon = 13.16 gallons

8.60 kilograms of CO2 is released from using a gallon of regular E10 (10% ethanol) gasoline.

8.60 x 13.16 = 113.18 kg of CO2 per gas card

Climeworks charges $1.20 to capture & store 1 kg of CO2

113.18 x 1.20 = $135.82

Source:

(*) in collaboration with Carbfix

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John Mayo-Smith

John Mayo-Smith

Mayo In Motion

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