New carbon economy effort launched at Arizona State University


Newswise — The Center for Carbon Removal, in partnership with Arizona State University and several other research institutions, launched a new industrial innovation initiative this week with the goal of developing solutions that transform waste carbon dioxide in the air into valuable products and services.


Noah Deich, executive director of the Center for Carbon Removal, said that this initiative for a “New Carbon Economy” is urgently needed to “develop new businesses and reinvent the industries that powered the last industrial revolution – like manufacturing, mining, agriculture and forestry – to create a strong, healthy and resilient economy and environment for communities around the globe.”


In addition to Arizona State, universities involved in the initiative include Iowa State and Purdue, both of which have strong agricultural, forestry and economics programs as well as leading engineering, materials science and environmental science programs. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory also participated in the launch event for this initiative and has extensive expertise in alternative energy and new fuel sources.


At the launch event, assembled partners agreed to produce a roadmap that will outline the specific steps for translating relevant research into business and policy action in this space. The roadmap will consider design principles for engaging multiple parts of the economy in capturing and concentrating carbon dioxide, ranging from biological approaches such as agriculture and forestry, to engineered approaches such as fuel, chemical and material manufacturing using carbon dioxide as a feedstock.


“Today there are a number of voices, narratives and uncertainties that challenge us in developing a focused innovation agenda for dealing with the growth of atmospheric carbon dioxide,” said Arizona State Vice President for Research Development Betsy Cantwell. “Working together with the Center for Carbon Removal, we will develop a roadmap leading to real, valuable and lasting uses for carbon in the air. We hope to implement the roadmap in a timeframe that will rapidly impact global carbon futures.”


The idea for the initiative came from discussions between Arizona State University President Michel Crow and Noah Deich on ways to rethink the climate challenge as a new economic opportunity. As Julio Friedmann of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of the initial meeting notes, “humans have put more than 2 trillion tons of carbon dioxide into our air and oceans – it’s a pressing environmental challenge but also an enormous market opportunity with the right innovation and new thinking to make the most of it.”