FAQ - Open NanoCarbon

Why now?

The impending danger is mass habitat destruction from ocean acidification, deforestation from increased agricultural pressure, sea level rise, 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 ecosystems, 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 products that use carbon rather than making 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 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 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.

Why gigatonnes of carbon (GtC)?

Since 1750, we've emitted 2.6 terra tonnes of carbon (GtC) as of 2022 from fossil fuel and land use change emissions. As we have not hit peak fossil fuel emissions and don't have technical solutions in place to meet 1.5ºC.

What is 500 gigatonnes of carbon (GtC)?

To understand scale and scope, if 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 thus twice as high as the actual TEUs consumed so 28 times becomes 56 times. However big items like concrete, aggregate rock, and glass and fertilizer additive are not likely to be shipped by ship, and should lower the 56 years. Goods and packaging are additionally shipped via rail, truck, and air. Human consumption of products exponentially increases. All lowering the 56 multiplier factor. 

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 larger than GtC. 500 GtC is about 1832 GtCO2.

Why scale?

The fastest way to scale; is have people in other geographic and economic zones use and deploy the idea for free. We enable that acceleration with 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 has shown to be the most cost-effective way to en mass accumulate a total number of CPU hours working on a given problem. An open source deployment model fosters distributed scale.

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 part of a larger 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 renewable and non-carbon sources of energy (hydro, wind, solar, geothermal, 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.

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.

But didn't ONC pledge to reverse global warming by scaling the yet-to-be-realized nanocarbon-making device in about 20 years?

Yes, that was the orginal goal until Shannon researched what was needed to process the total volume of carbon needed to reverse climate change. As the entire volume of carbon is magnitudes too large for any one solution and barely matches a decades-long scaled portfolio, Shannon changed the goal and researched the upper bounds of reversal by 2100. The goal has since moved to provide an open science/source scaled CCU device.

Sometimes Google sites display older caches of wrong and outdated information listing the older, more eye-catching, aspirational goals which have seen been superseded.

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, Bay Area Science Festival, Maker Faire and Hacker Dojo, Timothee Besset, and the Dr. James Kami Estate! We're always looking for new venues in the Peninsula, SF, and East Bay; contact shannon at autofracture.com if you have a meetup space (some chairs, tables, 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 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 autofracture.com for answers.