Frequently Asked Questions on Open NanoCarbon

Why now?

The impending danger is ocean acidification, deforestation from increased agricultural pressure, and melting of the polar regions returning to pre Northern Hemispheric Glaciation point, which would cause mass habitat destruction, sea level rise, and combine with increased global temperatures for increased chaotic and forceful weather, forcing extreme pressure on eco-systems (fisheries, rainforests), and further accelerating climate change. This is why ONC was created to create 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 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 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 575 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC)?

To understand scale and scope, 575 gigatonnes of solid carbon (GtC) can be contained just under 1.5 million container* ships of fully filled the containers (by weight per TEU). This is about 39.2 times the current TEUs shipped for 2016^. A gigatonne is one billion (or 10^9) metric tons or 10^15 petagrams. In 20 years time with modest reduction in fossil fuels, 655 GtC is a rough estimate of anthropogenic sources needing to be removed˜.

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 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.

The ONC website speaks in a number of analogies, how is ONC poised to conduct science?

ONC's general facing public literature has numerous analogies for the general public to quickly and easily understand scope and scale of the entire project. The actual 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 sponsors: Google, 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.

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.