Skymining is the process of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and transforming it into a cheap, clean-burning copy of fossil fuels. This concept was invented by me, long before we had the name.
Skymining combines two feats of engineering. First, CO2 is extracted using natural, hyper-efficient pumps found in specialized grasses. A large proportion of this carbon is permanently sequestered in the ground. Secondly, a process of thermal carbonisation turns the carbon-rich grass into a clean copy of coal, replicating a 30-million year process in around 30 minutes.
Skymining is the first commercially-viable process of producing carbon-negative energy.
Our process starts with plantations of specialized grass on marginal and land subject to desertification. Skymining can reclaim this land for food production in the long run.
In 2015, I led negotiations for Carbon Wealth to buy a majority stake in the thermal carbonisation pilot plant in Austria for the purpose of executing test production runs for grass. The entire production process, as I had envisioned for many years, was finally proven in February 2016 when Carbon Wealth turned grass into carbonised densified fuel during these trial production runs.
Today, we no longer own or use this Austrian technology. We have moved on to superior and cheaper technology in Asia. The Austrian developer of the pilot plant never developed more than this one production unit.
By giving the world something else to burn, Skymining allows the world to keep using its current energy infrastructure — by far the quickest and cheapest way to slow global warming.
In fact, our research shows that Skymining has 30 times the climate impact of wind and solar per dollar invested (see published article).
Skymining is also important because of its numerous co-benefits, which include reversing desertification, slowing deforestation, and improving future food security.
As I begun taking Skymining to the world stage in 2015, I met with some of the leading figures within environmentalism, including Lord Stern (left), and Achim Steiner (right), the head of UNEA. I also led a company delegation to COP21 in
Paris in December 2015, the most important climate conference ever held. I presented Skymining on a panel discussing the decarbonisation of the global energy-supply (top).
During a private dinner at the US Ambassador’s residence in Paris, I also met president Obama’s science and technology advisor John P. Holdren, former US vice president Al Gore, and the US energy minister Ernest Moniz.
The Economist interviewed me at their Sustainability Summit in London on 22nd March 2018.
An interview at the Sustainable Innovation Forum 2017, organised in partnership with UN Environment on 13-14 November 2017 during COP23.
In spring 2016, I travelled to Nairobi for the United Nations Environment Assembly conference, and again held two talks on expert panels. Carbon Wealth was the main sponsor of the event, and the above interview is one of several I gave about Skymining. This conference also resulted in the first ever reference to Skymining in official UN documentation.
While at COP21, Skymining was covered by several media outlets. The below video is an interview I gave to the event hosts, Climate Action.