Frequently Asked Questions on Open NanoCarbon

Why now?

The impending danger is mass habitat destruction from ocean acidification, deforestation from increased agricultural pressure,
sea level rise, and increased global temperatures increasing chaotic and forceful weather. Additionally, melting polar regions push climate past the pre-Northern Hemispheric Glaciation point, raising sea levels even higher. All these factors force extreme pressures on eco-systems further accelerating climate change. These reasons are why ONC was created to create and build open hardware to rapidly remove carbon from atmospheric CO2.

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 having 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.

If this effort helps kickstart more sharing of research and faster publication that's a win for everyone. If this effort spurs the private or government into quicker and more aggressive goals, the better we all are. And finally, we need speed to tackle and implement solutions to climate change to begin the slowdown and ultimate reversal of all its effects. 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 500 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC)?

To understand scale and scope, if all 430 gigatonnes of solid carbon (GtC)[*] were shipped in 2016 on container ships, it would take 28 times the total world-port container ship traffic of TEUs in 2016[^]. Port traffic TEUs account for unloading and loading products and are thus twice as high as the actual TEUs consumed, so 28 times becomes 56 times. However, big items like concrete, aggregate rock, glass, and fertilizer additive are not likely to be shipped by ship and should lower the 56 years. As human consumption increases, the multiplier factor of 56 times is reduced. However, given that products aren't entirely made from just carbon, about 50 years of products built from carbon should contain most of the 430GtC. 500 GtC is a rough estimate of anthropogenic sources needing to be removed,[˜] totaling about 33 years of total container TEUs shipping traffic in 2016, translating to about 60 years' worth of goods.

What is GtC?

A gigatonne (Gt) is one billion metric tons (or 109 mt) or 1015 grams or one petagram (1Pg). Gigatonnes carbon can be written as GtC. GtCO2 is 3.664 times heavier in mass than GtC. 500 GtC is about 1832 GtCO2.

Why scale?

The fastest way to scale is to have people in other geographic and economic zones use and deploy the idea for free. We enable that acceleration by an open source deployment model.

Why distributed scale?

Distributed-scale is in use by Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Seti@home, Folding@home, and the largest data crunching systems, and shown to be the most cost-effective way to en mass accumulate the total number of CPU hours working on a given problem. An open source deployment model fosters distributed scale.

Do 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 Apollo 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 overall 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. Overall the process will be engineered to solidify radically more carbon than is consumed in the form of energy.

How is ONC poised to conduct science?

The science and subsequent efforts: engineering, deployment, etc., is and will be conducted from first principles and in an open and repeatable manner.

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 previous sponsors: Atlassian, TechShop, and Maker Faire and Hacker Dojo and the Dr. James Kami Estate! 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. This is the current organization model canvas.

How is Autofracture funding the prototype build?

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

Have more questions?

Email shannon at for answers.