Frequently Asked Questions on Project Open NanoCarbon

Why now?

The impending danger is ocean acidification, melting of the polar regions and forest removal, which would cause mass habitat destruction, thereby crashing eco-systems (fisheries, rainforests) and further accelerating and possibly irreversibly accelerating climate change. For this reason, Shannon is heading this project to the creation of devices that remove carbon from atmospheric CO2. It's also less risky to see the open source and commercial efforts proceeding opposed to creating the open source effort at a later time.

Why Open Source?

Open source is one of the fastest ways to have an idea spread. By keeping the ideas, and designs free, (assuming a working prototype was developed.) it allows anyone to be unencumbered to take, modify and redeploy the design local to anyone's particular deployment. This does mean the researchers in this effort would need to keep adding efficiencies as that knowledge was dispersed among industry and research communities. The private sector could develop proprietary technology that would radically solidify carbon. As there is little market for solidifying carbon, there is little economic intensive to keep this technology proprietary. In fact if the manufacturing device designs were kept private, the larger goal of have the technology deployed as rapidly as possible and solidifying carbon would be slowed by municipal funding. There is a much larger expandable market for the products that use the carbon rather than making the solid carbon.
The other reason is what would we have lost if Newton and Leibniz patented their methods of calculus? If this effort helps kickstart more sharing research and faster publication that's a win for everyone.
If this effort spurs the private or government in to faster and more aggressive goals, the better we all are.
And finally we need the speed to tackle and implement solutions to climate change to begin the slowdown and ultimate reversal of it's affects. If we don't act fast enough the larger bio-sinks may collapse such that it's radically more difficult to solve both climate change and fallout effects.

What is 565 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC)?

To understand scale and scope, 565 gigatonnes of solid carbon (GtC) can be contained in 1803 container ships fully filling the containers (by weight per TEU) and one ship half full of containers. A gigatonne is one billion (or 10^9) metric tons or 10^15 petagrams.

You realize what your trying to do is impossible?

At the current time the Science doesn't exist to just churn out solid carbon from direct air capture at high rates of speed with minimal infrastructure and energy consumption. This project is about investigating all possible ways to eventually build such a high speed method. Think of this as a grassroots Manhattan Project. If we don't set out to try now, we'll have to wait for serendipity to get lucky. Given the urgency of radically reducing carbon emissions the effort is justified.

The process will consume energy, how is this over all process carbon negative?

The process will consume energy and the guidelines are to run the process from a renewable and non-carbon sources of energy (hydro, wind, solar, geo-thermal, nuclear). Every effort will be made to recoup as much energy as possible in the capture of resultants. Over all the process will be engineered to solidify radically more carbon than is consumed in the form of energy.

What does Autofracture commercialize?

Autofracture will commercialize consumer electronics and material based products, made from nanocarbons refined and post processed beyond the open source devices that extract carbon from atmospheric CO2.

How is Autofracture funding the project?

Autofracture is sponsoring leading ONC. Additionally, by getting the community to pitch in and sponsor the meetups and exhibits. Thank you to our sponsors: Atlassian, TechShop and Maker Faire and Hacker Dojo! We're always looking for new venues in the Peninsula, SF and East Bay, contact shannon at if you have a meetup space (some chairs, table and whiteboard). Additionally as we build a larger community we'll be better positioned to self-fund from grants in the energy, climate research, humanitarian and crowdfunding communities.

What about setting up a Non-Profit to run ONC?

As Open NanoCarbon grows it will move under a 501(c)(3) organization. The name Autofracture is filed with the Secretary of State of California as an LLC on Mole day some years back.

How is Autofracture funding the prototype build?

As soon a solid design candidates are ready, we'll submit grant applications and launch a crowdfund campaign. Indiegogo has kindly agreed to fully sponsor campaigns that are exclusively to support ONC open source efforts.

Have more questions?

Email shannon at for answers.