Excess CO2 Problem Solved by making starch out of CO2?

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In summary, scientists reported successful making of starch out of CO2. This process is likely high cost and needs high energy input, and has many potential problems that need to be solved.
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  • #3
It probably can cure the depression problem in Nordic countries too.
 
  • #4
The article talks about land area and water input, but does not mention energy input. Energy input will determine if this process has a future.

Quote from article: "If the overall cost of the process can be reduced to a level economically comparable with agricultural planting in the future, it is expected to save more than 90 percent of cultivated land and freshwater resources,"

It looks like this process is high cost, and likely needs high energy input. The big question: Are those problems solvable?
 
  • #5
Starch is C6H10O5 , so the process is reducing CO2 to C, which takes much energy.
 
  • #6
Annual CO2 emissions are about 40 billion metric tons. Most of our starch comes from cereal grains. Annual grain harvests are about 2 billion metric tons. Even if you could achieve the necessary scale, what are you going to do with the other 38 billion metric tons of starch each year?
 
  • #7
phyzguy said:
what are you going to do with the other 38 billion metric tons of starch each year?
 
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  • #8
phyzguy said:
Annual CO2 emissions are about 40 billion metric tons. Most of our starch comes from cereal grains. Annual grain harvests are about 2 billion metric tons. Even if you could achieve the necessary scale, what are you going to do with the other 38 billion metric tons of starch each year?
Making Vodka, perhaps?
 
  • #9
phyzguy said:
what are you going to do with the other 38 billion metric tons of starch each year?
My favorite is pasta.
 
  • #10
anorlunda said:
My favorite is pasta.
That's gluten...not a starch.
 
  • #11
The 'excess CO2' comes from fossil fuels. I expect it will take as much energy to turn CO2 into starch, as was derived from burning the original fossil fuel.

How do you stop the starch from being digested, or fermenting, and venting CO2 to the atmosphere?

Since starch represents bound energy, it also represents money. You must expect theft, consumption and conversion into dollars, will be as tempting as the dollar profits that drive the fossil fuel oil and gas industry today.
 
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  • #12
optotinker said:
Climate crisis averted?
Definitely no. To remove the excess CO2 what causes the climate crisis would require far more energy than what humanity got from burning fossil fuels, all over the years. Where is the energy would come from?
Then you would have to store that starch. What's flammable, vulnerable to bacteria, low density.

If you drop the climate crisis part (and stick to what was in the article - there was no climate crisis part in that), it's still a potentially good thing. If the energy and resource requirement is even just not too far to agriculture, that would mean a base food source without ruining that much soil.

I have some doubts about the 'with 8.5 times the efficiency of corn' part, but - well, we'll see. Such efficiency would easily make this up for hot sale.
 
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  • #13
Rive said:
8.5 times the efficiency of corn' part
Efficiency can mean a lot of things - economic ( cost, productivity, man power, production turnover ), energy usage, waste material, footprint, ...

One xtra plus is the decreased pesticide/herbicide and fertilizer ( nil ) usage for production

I didn't see any comment on the energy needed for drying the starch out. Crops are basically sun dried.
 
  • #14
There is no free lunch. You have generate hydrogen first. This step requires energy.

The actual source paper says:
In a chemoenzymatic system with spatial and temporal segregation, ASAP, driven by hydrogen, converts CO2 to starch at a rate of 22 nanomoles of CO2 per minute per milligram of total catalyst, an ~8.5-fold higher rate than starch synthesis in maize.
From -
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abh4049

This is a reduction series of reactions. It requires hydrogen:
H2 + CO2 [multiple steps]-> (C6H10O5)n
It also answers the "efficiency" question I think. Corn biochemistry uses glucose for lots of things in far greater amounts than merely making starch in seeds. Cellulose comes to mind first as a glucose sink.

Glucose generated ATP is derived by Kreb's cycle and then used to power most of what the plant does. The efficiency statement can be confusing because were not comparing comparable processes - one neglects upstream energy costs like hydrogen and the energy cost of being alive.

The point is: generating enough hydrogen will require energy use, usually by electrolysis. We will need to generate vast amounts of energy. How we do that, assuming starch can be sequestered at little or no cost, affects the bottom line: how much C we can sequester.

The energy costs of building and running massive plants to do all the chemistry, then transportation energy costs to store the starch also needs to be considered.

All of this assumes that starch will have zero bacterial degradation back into CO2.
 
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  • #15
jim mcnamara said:
@Bystander @fresh_42
Journal of Proteome Research. 12 (11): 4702–16 "One hundred years of grain omics: identifying the glutens that feed the world". Abstract only.
So?

I have no ideas about starch in general and only an opinion about the subject of the thread: "Irrelevant for our climate since we cannot apply it on a scale which would be necessary", but as it is only an opinion I did not post it.
 
  • #16
So - now you can impress your friends who want to be gluten free. I just wanted to post something I think is pointless fun. Besides which the main premise the OP presents this thread may not have been all he claims.
 
  • #17
jim mcnamara said:
So - now you can impress your friends who want to be gluten free.
Well, my nephew suffers from coeliac disease, which means I have already a critical view on the subject.
 
  • #18
optotinker said:
Making Vodka, perhaps?
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abh4049 said:
carbon dioxide is reduced to methanol
If they can go from CO2 to methanol then maybe the can go direct to ethanol too. Vodka from thin air!

BoB
 
  • #19
"Scientists reported successful making of starch out of CO2."

Plants have been doing this for millions of years. It's called photosynthesis.
 

Related to Excess CO2 Problem Solved by making starch out of CO2?

1. What is the excess CO2 problem and why is it a concern?

The excess CO2 problem refers to the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, primarily caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. This increase in CO2 is a concern because it contributes to the greenhouse effect and leads to global warming, which can have severe impacts on the environment and human health.

2. How does making starch out of CO2 help solve the excess CO2 problem?

By using CO2 as a raw material to produce starch, we are essentially removing it from the atmosphere and storing it in a solid form. This process, known as carbon capture and utilization (CCU), helps to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and mitigate its negative effects on the environment.

3. What is the process of making starch out of CO2?

The process involves capturing CO2 from industrial sources or directly from the air and using it as a feedstock for microorganisms such as algae or bacteria. These microorganisms then convert the CO2 into starch through photosynthesis or other biochemical processes. The resulting starch can then be used as a food source or converted into other products such as bioplastics or biofuels.

4. Is making starch out of CO2 a sustainable solution to the excess CO2 problem?

Yes, making starch out of CO2 is considered a sustainable solution because it not only reduces the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but it also produces a valuable product that can be used in various industries. Additionally, the process of making starch out of CO2 can be powered by renewable energy sources, further reducing its environmental impact.

5. Are there any challenges or limitations to using CO2 to make starch?

There are some challenges and limitations to this process, such as the high cost of capturing and purifying CO2, as well as the need for efficient and cost-effective methods of converting CO2 into starch. Additionally, the scale of this solution may not be enough to significantly impact the excess CO2 problem on a global scale, but it can still be a valuable tool in reducing CO2 emissions and promoting a more sustainable future.

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