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posted by hubie on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:48AM   Printer-friendly

Arthur T Knackerbracket has processed the following story:

Microsoft has struck a deal with Heirloom Carbon, a startup that has developed a process for using limestone to capture carbon to fight climate change. The technique could contribute to Microsoft's ongoing attempt to become carbon-negative.

Limestone naturally absorbs carbon over many years, but Heirloom's method accelerates the process. The company uses a kiln powered by renewable energy to heat crushed limestone to around 1,650 degrees Fahrenheit, which separates it into carbon dioxide and calcium oxide. Adding water to the calcium oxide allows it to absorb sufficient amounts of carbon within days, after which Heirloom re-inserts it into the kiln to restart the cycle.

Although the technology is proven, the maximum scale at which it remains cost-effective is unclear. Another issue facing all carbon capture methods is storing the substance.

[...] Regardless of the limestone method's effectiveness, it will likely need to complement other carbon capture technologies that Microsoft is employing to become carbon-negative by 2030. A few years ago, the company also said that by 2050, it wants to remove all of the carbon it has ever emitted since its 1975 founding.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Ingar on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:35AM (13 children)

    by Ingar (801) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:35AM (#1324391) Homepage Journal

    Did they take into account all the the CO2 generated by Microsoft software wasting CPU cycles on client PCs?

    In a totally scientific test with a sample size of two, I measured the power usage of my desktop computer when idle:
    it consumes 10-20% less power when running linux compared to running windows.

    And then we're not even mentioning power wasted on advertisements, telemetry, antivirus, printer drivers
    and the substandard performance of the windows operating system in general.

    • (Score: 5, Touché) by PiMuNu on Wednesday September 13 2023, @11:05AM (4 children)

      by PiMuNu (3823) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @11:05AM (#1324400)

      My Windows laptop refused to run a VM for me the other day because not enough RAM. So I dug around and found that the memory foot print is 8 GB on idle!

      8 GB!

      I can't run a proper operating system because that hunk of junk is using so many system resources doing, precisely, *nothing*.

      \rant

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by DannyB on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:02PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:02PM (#1324422) Journal

        hat hunk of junk is using so many system resources doing, precisely, *nothing*.

        It is doing *something*. It is just something they would rather not talk about.

        --
        The most difficult part of the art of fencing is digging the holes and carrying the fence posts.
      • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:33PM (1 child)

        by gnuman (5013) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:33PM (#1324451)

        My Windows laptop refused to run a VM for me the other day because not enough RAM. ... 8 GB!

        16GB is the minimum today if you want to actually not be starving of RAM resources. If you use it as a desktop, and want to run a web browser. 16GB. If you want to run VMs, especially more than 1, probably should stick with 24 or 32GB as minimum.

        Keep in mind that 32GB these days is 50€. And 1TB NVME (PCIx) drive is also 50€. You really should not be complaining about either RAM or drive speed anymore. And yes, seriously, you should upgrade to SSD and sufficient RAM to run whatever you want to be run.

        FWIW, my company laptop (Linux) used to be 8GB in 2016... it was upgraded to 16GB and I only use it for remote access and email and web browser.. 8GB is simply insufficient for desktop usage. Now, if you want to run DNS server or web server or even a Matrix Server or a private email server, 1 or 2GB is enough resources.... but Firefox or Chromium? Good luck!!

        • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Thursday September 14 2023, @07:34AM

          by PiMuNu (3823) on Thursday September 14 2023, @07:34AM (#1324575)

          I have to use windows as my laptop OS because work insist "security blah blah full disk encryption blah blah bitlocker meh". I just want a functional OS on the top. 16 GB used to be a lot of RAM - my gaming rigs run 16 GB at home. I must be getting old.

      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Thursday September 14 2023, @02:21AM

        by Reziac (2489) on Thursday September 14 2023, @02:21AM (#1324541) Homepage

        I'll give Win11 this much... someone gift me a netbook thing that came with Win11 on it. It's a Celeron 1.2GHz with 4GB RAM. I was astonished that Win11 actually runs pretty decent. Not slick-slick, but not sloggy either. Turns out that when Win11 finds itself in reduced circumstances, by design it unloads all the useless crap... and the net effect is that it runs better than Win10 on my 3.7GHz Xeon with 64GB RAM.

        Now if only we knew where the switch is to make that a permanent condition...

        However... the netbook runs at 100% CPU and RAM pretty much ALL the time. (Flipside of being so low-powered. 6W running flat out.)

        And as to why the Xeon has 64GB RAM? Chrome. Because it was bumping up against 32GB. Even when doing pretty much nothing but holding open a bunch of idle tabs. (And I've found Chrome is actually somewhat more greedy on linux, which is what that box more usually runs.)

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 4, Funny) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:05PM (5 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:05PM (#1324404)

      >Did they take into account all the the CO2 generated by Microsoft software wasting CPU cycles on client PCs?

      Absolutely not, neither did they account for the extra CO2 emitted by humans whilst screaming at blue screens of death and other daily frustrations created by the Redmond Giant.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:04PM

        by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:04PM (#1324423) Journal

        Microsoft could use crushed limestone to clean the black smoke belched from the smokestacks at the offices where Windows and Office are developed. They could also stop using so many shovels full of coal and switch to a cleaner fuel source.

        --
        The most difficult part of the art of fencing is digging the holes and carrying the fence posts.
      • (Score: 3, Informative) by cmdrklarg on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:32PM (3 children)

        by cmdrklarg (5048) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:32PM (#1324450)

        You jest (good one too), however CO2 emitted by people and other lifeforms is a closed loop, and not responsible for "extra" CO2. That comes from previously sequestered stuff that is being pulled out of the ground and burned.

        TMYK

        --
        The world is full of kings and queens who blind your eyes and steal your dreams.
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:32PM (2 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:32PM (#1324460)

          Don't tell me that cow farts are closed loop too?

          I beg to differ somewhat, as h. sapiens numbers just past 8 billion, the CO2 we emit may be taken up by plants that ultimately loop back in the food chain, but our particular food chain is supplied by all kinds of fossil fuel burners and other carbon emitters. You might call the CO2 emitted by people a "sunk cost" kind of thing, it will happen with or without blue screens of death, but there is some differential depending on how active / agitated the person is - like top chess players whose energy consumption rises as they plan their next move.

          Of course, by keeping people chained to their desks essentially sedentary (and brain dead) at their computer screens, Microsoft may be offsetting their agitation through frustration by preventing those same frustrated people from getting out and exercising, consuming and burning more calories derived from farmed, processed and globally shipped foods.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:58PM (1 child)

            by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:58PM (#1324485)

            Something to keep in mind about bovine flatulence, most of the cows raised commercially are being feed corn and/or soy which cows are not adapted to digesting. Its all the extra starches and sugars in those feeds that cause the cows to become gassy. If cows are allowed to eat the grasses they evolved to eat there isn't nearly as much of an problem. Consider that before the mid-1800`s there were ~60,000,000 head of Bison roaming North America and yet there wasn't any methane issues during that time. Also consider that cattle convert Human inedible grass into edible meat on land that is unsuitable for farming. Add in that the land currently used to grow the corn and soy for feed could be easily re-tasked to grow foods Humans can eat directly.

            People blaming the cows need to point their finger a little further up the chain to the farmers who use grains and legumes to feed their cattle so they gain weight more quickly.

            --
            "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:31PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:31PM (#1324496)

              >point their finger a little further up the chain to the farmers who use grains and legumes

              I'd point my finger a step or two further up the chain at the people who allow money to rule all decisions. Feeding grains and legumes to cattle (in areas closer to processing/market) is monetarily more advantageous than grazing them on natural grasslands, farmers don't really have a choice - if they do something that's less monetarily efficient they'll be out of business, replaced by farmers who do.

              It's (primarily) the externalized costs that don't get accounted for that make money an imperfect tool. That, and bankers, lawyers, politicians, and all the rest of the artificial social structures that worship the almighty dollar - side effects be damned.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by progo on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:47PM (1 child)

      by progo (6356) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @02:47PM (#1324427) Homepage

      I always suspected Linux uses less power than Windows, especially after they ported SQLServer from Windows to Linux for Azure -- at great expense. They ended up snarfing a good chunk of the Windows kernel into SQLServer for Linux, but they did it.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by KritonK on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:44AM (8 children)

    by KritonK (465) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:44AM (#1324394)

    separates it into carbon dioxide and calcium oxide. Adding water to the calcium oxide allows it to absorb sufficient amounts of carbon

    So, where does the carbon dioxide separated from the limestone go? I would assume that it is either recombined with the calcium oxide, or it is released into the atmosphere, and an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is combined with said calcium oxide. In both cases, this process seems to waste an awful amount of energy, to have a net effect of absolutely nothing in terms of carbon capturing.

    • (Score: 1) by shrewdsheep on Wednesday September 13 2023, @10:14AM (1 child)

      by shrewdsheep (5215) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @10:14AM (#1324396)

      TLDR; it seems to me that this limestone trick is just one form of carbon capture, i.e. step one to get a highly CO2 rich gas. Step two is to bury it/reuse.

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @09:01PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @09:01PM (#1324508)

        Wouldn't it be easier to get "green waste" from municipalities, burn it, recover CO2, and return the mineral-laden ash to the ground so as to nourish a new crop, rather than go through all this calcium oxide stuff? What I just typed still doesn't make any sense, but at least the crop will somewhat aid in air purification and oxygen release.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @10:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @10:49AM (#1324399)

      Well, you see how far education in science has deteriorated in the USA. Would you believe these guys have College degrees?

      And the CDC is worse...

      It's all a psy-op covering money laundering, and they think we don't see right through it. The Sky is Falling!

      A rain dance would work just as well.

      Only thing they have got is a lot of folks are now dependent on government largesse, and obedient to orders, even if they make no sense.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Opportunist on Wednesday September 13 2023, @11:57AM

      by Opportunist (5545) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @11:57AM (#1324402)

      It could possibly be a neat way to cheaply aggregate CO2, which is one of the key problems today of efficient CO2 sequestering/removal. The current types of CO2 "capturing" try to filter it out of the air, which is insanely inefficient because air normally only contains very small amounts of CO2.

      But this could be a pretty neat way to concentrate CO2 by sequestering it in limestone and then releasing it in a controlled environment again where it then gets processed.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:13PM

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:13PM (#1324405)

      One would hope that even Microsoft could do the obvious math and show that more CO2 is recaptured than emitted in the initial heating cycle.

      I suspect that natural capture of CO2 is slow and incomplete, whereas the heated cycle gets a more complete capture, so you bake out 20% of the available CO2 capture capacity whilst making the crushed rock ready to absorb 90%.

      The trick is in accounting for ALL the CO2 emitted in the activity, including employees, transport of materials, manufacture, maintenance and disposal/recycling of involved equipment - including your "green" power sources, jet fuel for travel of project managers to and from lobbyist meetings...

      Then you've got a LOT of carboned-up limestone, which I would assume is good for basically nothing, otherwise they would be touting the wonderful byproduct of their CO2 capture process.

      Limestone is made by sea creatures - once it gets carboned up is it still bio-available for them to recycle into new shells and coral reefs, or are we creating mountains of non-bio-available sludge?

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:14PM

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:14PM (#1324407) Journal

      Maybe they sell the carbon dioxide to Coca-Cola Corporation for tooth-rotting, obesity and flatulence purposes?

    • (Score: 2) by Covalent on Thursday September 14 2023, @02:25PM

      by Covalent (43) on Thursday September 14 2023, @02:25PM (#1324627) Journal

      In theory, the carbon dioxide could be used for industrial processes, but at the scales necessary, this is a major problem for sure.

      --
      You can't rationally argue somebody out of a position they didn't rationally get into.
    • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Saturday September 16 2023, @02:00PM

      by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Saturday September 16 2023, @02:00PM (#1324938)

      In both cases, this process seems to waste an awful amount of energy, to have a net effect of absolutely nothing in terms of carbon capturing.

      Somehow this seems to be analogous to everything Microsoft.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by VLM on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:13PM (2 children)

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @12:13PM (#1324406)

    As with all greenwashing the devil is in the details. You, too, can sequester a barrel equivalent of CO2, merely burn two barrel equivalents of diesel to mine and transport the limestone, then burn a couple barrels equivalent to heat and operate the rotary kiln and connected equipment, then you've sequestered one barrel equivalent of CO2.

    • (Score: 2) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:13PM (1 child)

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:13PM (#1324489)

      The article does say the kiln is powered by "renewable" energy. What that means exactly exactly is unclear. It could be a solar or electric kiln buying power "exclusively" from solar and hydroelectric sources. Also the Calcium Oxide at the end of the process gets fed back into the beginning of the cycle and gets reused so there wouldn't be a need to continuously mine fresh Limestone.

      But I agree that this is a bunch of greenwashed hand waving to make a good press release so Microsoft and others can look good to the otherwise uninformed masses.

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Thursday September 14 2023, @01:03PM

        by VLM (445) on Thursday September 14 2023, @01:03PM (#1324616)

        can look good to the otherwise uninformed masses

        Ah but the fickle consumer... greenwashing is starting to look bad now. You know its a scam if its pushing green. They'll likely have to move on to some other buzzword soon.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @01:14PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 13 2023, @01:14PM (#1324414)

    Mentioned here a while ago in Let a thousand nuclear plants bloom... [soylentnews.org].

    Heirloom Carbon doesn't appear to use portlandite, but simply bounces limestone back and forth to calcium oxide while sequestering CO2 as convenient. Hence this is an alternative "capture" method for CO2 in the atmosphere. The question is whether it is more energy efficient than extracting CO2 via condensation.

    It could even be green if you had some dam energy source.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rich on Wednesday September 13 2023, @01:23PM (13 children)

    by Rich (945) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @01:23PM (#1324416) Journal

    What I don't understand is how anyone in charge can imagine the effort for carbon capture will ever be made. When burning one ton of coal (100% C) cleanly into CO2, it results in 3.6 tons of CO2 ((12+2*16) /12). Looking at the effort to produce coal, which is solidly storable and non-volatile, how can anyone assume it'd be ever feasible to process over three times the amount of a volatile gas, with much more involved processes. Even assuming it'd work weill, you would still be looking at (my absolute lowest estimate, and already counting methane as fuel in) costs of twice what it costs to produce the fuel - without ANY return on this. This is not going to happen.

    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:29PM (7 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @05:29PM (#1324449)

      With a magic catalyst you could use sunlight to reform CO2 + H2O into gasoline + O2, or any other hydrocarbons of your liking.

      All we need is the magic catalyst.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Rich on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:32PM (1 child)

        by Rich (945) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:32PM (#1324461) Journal

        All we need is the magic catalyst.

        Does "tree" count?

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:48PM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:48PM (#1324483)

          Tree is pretty hard to beat, we've been trying but so far tree is still a major player in the sunlight to fuel production market.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:08PM (4 children)

        by Zinho (759) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:08PM (#1324473)

        All we need is the magic catalyst.

        Lucky for us a good candidate for "magic catalyst" was identified in 2020: [rochester.edu]

        University of Rochester chemical engineers—in collaboration with researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory, the University of Pittsburgh, and OxEon Energy—have demonstrated that a potassium-promoted molybdenum carbide catalyst efficiently and reliably converts carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, a critical step in turning seawater into fuel. . .

        In 2014, a Naval Research Laboratory team led by Heather Willauer announced it had used a catalytic converter to extract carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater and then converted the gases into liquid hydrocarbons at a 92 percent efficiency rate.

        Since then, the focus has been on increasing the efficiency of the process and scaling it up to produce fuel in sufficient quantities.

        Back in 2014 they said they'd be ready for production use in about 10 years [xkcd.com], so we're still on schedule ;)

        --
        "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:25PM (3 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:25PM (#1324493)

          Yeah, the questions really are: how much land area is required for the sunlight to make the change, and how much money is needed to make the equipment with the magic catalysts in it?

          We can turn lead into gold, we have had the technology since the 1950s, it's just a few orders of magnitude away from economically viable.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by Zinho on Thursday September 14 2023, @01:54PM (2 children)

            by Zinho (759) on Thursday September 14 2023, @01:54PM (#1324623)

            Yeah, the questions really are: how much land area is required for the sunlight to make the change, and how much money is needed to make the equipment with the magic catalysts in it?

            In this case, it's more a question of water volume: [smithsonianmag.com]

            ... carbon dioxide concentration in seawater is about 100 milligrams per liter. That’s 140 times greater than that of air, but still not very much in real terms. One report calculates that you’d have to process close to nine million cubic meters of water to make 100,000 gallons of fuel, and that’s assuming 100 percent efficiency. Assume far less efficiency, and you have to assume much more water. And the more water you process, the more plankton and other little critters you remove from the food chain—with potentially catastrophic results for marine life.

            So there's that. The Navy plans on using Nuclear to power the reaction, so no solar panels involved. If you were to do this on the civilian side you would probably use wind or wave power instead of solar anyhow, although I guess a costal plant is an option. Current estimate for process efficiency is ~90%, so back-of-the-envelope says 100 m^3 of water processed per gallon of fuel (120 if they're over-optimistic and the process is only 75% efficient).

            On the money side, that was the big 2020 breakthrough: [rochester.edu]

            Typically, catalysts for [the reverse water-gas shift (RWGS) reaction] contain expensive precious metals and deactivate rapidly under reaction conditions. However, the potassium-modified molybdenum carbide catalyst is synthesized from low-cost components and did not show any signs of deactivation during continuous operation of the 10-day pilot-scale study. That’s why this demonstration of the molybdenum carbide catalyst is important.

            Before the catalyst breakthrough they were looking at $3-6/gallon (2014 dollars, a bit less than $4-8 today) of synthesized jet fuel, so that cost will probably come down.

            Not currently super competitive with petrodiesel, but it's at least within one order of magnitude. It's also nice that it's carbon-neutral for the use the Navy would put it to and eliminates a supply line vulnerability for aircraft carriers. If I had to make a guess why it's not deployed yet, it's that the scientists need to work on scaling it up and making it a product instead of a science project. They seem to have Chemical Engineers on the project now, though, so I keep watching for news of field trials. Not holding my breath, tho; it's been 9 years already... :P

            --
            "Space Exploration is not endless circles in low earth orbit." -Buzz Aldrin
            • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday September 14 2023, @03:33PM

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday September 14 2023, @03:33PM (#1324642)

              Cool - this also sounds like a candidate for processing of fossil fuel power plant emissions - much higher CO2 concentrations in the exhaust from a natural gas burning power plant, and very little plankton to worry about.

              Of course, that's just a single generation recycling of fossil fuel, but at the scale we are still burning fossil fuels it would certainly make a difference.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14 2023, @04:41PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14 2023, @04:41PM (#1324670)

              The Navy plans on using Nuclear to power the reaction,

              I wonder whether they are trying to see whether it could be used in nuclear submarines to "scrub" CO2 from the air in the submarine.

    • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:34PM

      by gnuman (5013) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @06:34PM (#1324463)

      Yes, it will cost more to capture it than the work done by releasing it .... BUT

      1. gas can be piped, so it's far easier to transport... coal transport costs are what makes it far less usable as energy source
      2. if the cost to store is free (at least on the CO2 side), then it doesn't really matter if it's more energy intensive process. From perspective of global warming, it works.

      Having said that, we have nations like Germany that are now burning more coal thanks to idiots in charge on this planet. So .... this CO2 capture should be viewed as an experiment, not much different from ITER or tidal energy projects. It is just a practical experiment to find pain points and other issues. It's not meant to be "the solution" here. So while your concerns are there, they are kind of out of scope, for purposes of the experiment ;)

    • (Score: 2) by rpnx on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:42PM (3 children)

      by rpnx (13892) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @07:42PM (#1324482) Journal

      The thing is that cheap nuclear energy could make the cost irrelevant. Renewables might be able to get js there... just much more slowly (and probably too late).

      Obviously, carbon capture isn't economical, but it might cost less than global warming, so governments may fund it.

      • (Score: 2) by Rich on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:11PM (2 children)

        by Rich (945) on Wednesday September 13 2023, @08:11PM (#1324487) Journal

        It's the other way round. Nuclear isn't cheap anymore (maybe unless you allow, god forbid, the Russians to sell you a VVER). The UK will suffer a lot from the bills for Hinkley Point C ("In February 2023, EDF announced that costs would rise to £32.7bn and operation would be delayed by a further 15 months to September 2028." Ouch.). And even if you lay ground for a new NPP anywhere right now, it will be too late for the climate before it's on the grid.

        On the other hand, end user street prices, available on the spot, for PV panels have just dropped to 200€/kWp. At 50° latitude, a kWh from that will be around 20 cents, half of the end user grid prices, if written off over ONE YEAR. Or the other way 'round, with a 20 year lifetime, the kWh comes at 1 cent. NOTHING comes close. The panels are so cheap by now that they reach price parity per area with ordinary (slightly upmarket) roof sheeting. Installation and electricity processing (inverter) cost more than the panels now. (I wonder if the Chinese start with networked per-panel MPPT inverters to get the economies of scale into that segment, too). If anyone wants to pipe gases around, they better get ready for hydrogen.

        The carbon capture from TFA might actually work quite well with this kind of uneven generation. Not for power generation, but for industrial processes that produce a lot of CO2 (concrete?). You do nothing if the sun doesn't shine. With a little sun, you cook out the CO2 and process it with H2 into hydrocarbon fuels. With a lot of sun, you produce the H2.

        • (Score: 2) by ChrisMaple on Thursday September 14 2023, @04:56AM (1 child)

          by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday September 14 2023, @04:56AM (#1324555)

          Solar also needs storage and a controller, and maintenance. For small installations, the panels are no longer the cost-limiting item.

          • (Score: 2) by Rich on Thursday September 14 2023, @10:52AM

            by Rich (945) on Thursday September 14 2023, @10:52AM (#1324599) Journal

            Yes, that's why I wrote "Installation and electricity processing (inverter) cost more than the panels now". (And my panels-only calculation was a bit unfair, just to make the point). 10kWp of panels cost around two grand, but a brand name 3-phase 10kW inverter is around three grand. That's why I think the Chinese might get the idea to move micro-MPPTs into the panels to move from "single big thermally managed thing" to "cheapo PCB in undemanding package"

            What's left is the cost for mounting and labour, which probably will dominate in the near term. Yet, that stuff is easier than plumbing and one is probably off cheaper hooking up PV panels to an electric heater for warm water today than circulating the water through water heating panels. (Just found out that DC/DC converters for exactly that job already exist...)

  • (Score: 2) by jb on Thursday September 14 2023, @06:17AM

    by jb (338) on Thursday September 14 2023, @06:17AM (#1324560)

    Microsoft have been capturing (and torturing!) carbon based lifeforms since the 1970s!

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