Is Dominic Cummings championing ‘air scrubber’ tech to starve more viable green projects?

Dominic Cummings: if he’s trying to rehabilitate his rep after the Rose Garden debacle, this might not work.

It seems Dominic Cummings’s plan to pump £100 million of public money into “air scrubber” technology is intended to help the bosses of energy companies that pollute the UK in the first place.

The “direct air capture” technology would use metal “air scrubbers”, to chemically strip carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The excess carbon could then be stored safely underground.

Here‘s a graph, courtesy of The Times:

There’s just one catch: it currently costs nearly £500 to extract a single tonne of CO2.

So if all the cash the Treasury has apparently devoted to the project went on scrubbing the air alone, it would extract only £200,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

In 2018, the UK’s carbon footprint – the amount of CO2 emitted in the country – was 364 million tonnes.

In other words, the amount that would be cleaned is negligible compared to the amount emitted.

Meanwhile, it seems this expensive, long-term scheme is diverting investment away from more realistic near-term solutions.

So what’s going on here?

Is Cummings really trying to help?

Or is he sucking cash away from greener solutions, while trying to give polluters an excuse to carry on stinking up the planet?

Source: Technology which ‘sucks’ excess CO2 from the air could hurt UK’s green ambitions

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  1. NMac July 5, 2020 at 6:16 pm - Reply

    Anything connected to Cummings is corrupt and dishonest. Simples.

  2. wildswimmerpete July 5, 2020 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    How is Cummings going to generate the 100C heat needed to purge the filter in order to release the entrapped CO2? The only realistic options are solar electricity, thermosolar power – unlikely in the cloudy UK – or nuclear energy. Burning oil or gas will not only negate any gain bur due to losses in the system will produce even more CO2. Cummings needs to stick to history and leave such details to physicists and others who know something about the subject. 2nd Law of Thermodynamics: You can never get more out than you initially put in. Putting it simply: you’ll always be the loser. Of course it’s a great way to divert taxpayers’ funds to Tory donors’ pockets.

  3. Peter Towey July 5, 2020 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    surely a tree would do the job better and cheaper

  4. Mark Bevis July 5, 2020 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    Part of the fantasy of the IPCC warming scenarios, that assume such technology would be used en masse to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Of course, the energy used to build the filters, then heat the filters to 100*C daily, and to make new filters, would produce far more CO2 than it extracts.

    There was an American who calculated that we would need 380 million of these filters, mounted on 38t articulated lorry trailers,(each one thus the size of a tall shipping container) world wide operating daily for 30 years just to cancel out current emissions, bringing CO2 content back to 280ppm.

    Completely delusional.
    On top of this, this quarter Covid19 reduced CO2 emissions by 17%. And yet, the CO2 count was still up, to 418ppm. That’s because so much CH4 is being emitted from the Arctic (melting permafrost, thawing methyl clathrates) and converting to CO2 eventually, that we’re no longer in control of emissions. Add in the wild fires up there, and well, just get over the techno-utopia and do something far more practical instead.

    As for Cummings backing such things, most neo-liberal thinkers with blinkers on assume that the market will save us from everything, whether it’s poverty, potholes, socialism, nuclear war or climate change. The ideology of unlimited economic growth on a finite planet is so ingrained into our system that they cannot see any other way. Cummings isn’t one of the them. He knows collapse is coming, and is more interested in behavioural science rather than actual science. This is just more greenwashing to make the government look good, to make it look like it’s doing something about the predicament. And probably a nice little earner for some his chums.

  5. Stu July 5, 2020 at 8:14 pm - Reply

    Follow the money…..
    Didn’t his Brother-in-law hoover up cash from the failed UK track and trace app ?

    These type resent giving cash to the poor and undeserving (useless eaters?) as they believe it should be their pockets instead – “coz wot can you to do about it ? we are untouchable”

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