Carbon lock with corn and the path to greener steel

In recent weeks, a team of employees from a company called Charm Industrial have been working on the edge of a Kansas cornfield, loading bales of stalks, leaves, husks and tassels onto a semi-trailer.

Inside, a device called a pyrolysis machine uses high heat in the absence of oxygen to break down plant material into a mixture of biochar and bio-oil. This oil is pumped into EPA-regulated deep wells for industrial waste or into salt caves. Charm says it solidifies there, locking the carbon for thousands to millions of years, or else it will be released back into the air when farmers burn leftover crops or let them rot.

The San Francisco startup has been sequestering carbon this way for the past two years, on behalf of companies including Microsoft. Late last year, they announced that the process had safely locked up nearly 5,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent to date, claiming it was the largest long-term carbon footprint delivered to date.

But there are still a lot of questions about how reliable, scalable and economical this approach will prove to be. Read full story.

— Temple of James

How Charm Industrial hopes to use crops to cut steel emissions

Charm Industrial is also exploring whether the same bio-oil can be used to cut emissions from iron and steel production, pursuing a new technical path to cleaning the dirtiest industrial sector. .

This approach could be welcome news for companies forced to explore cleaner production methods, amid massive emissions and increasingly stringent climate policies. Read full story.

— Temple of James

Things to read

I’ve scoured the internet to find you today’s most interesting/important/scary/fascinating stories about tech.

1 Texan gunman detailed his plan in a Facebook message before the shooting
Meta said the direct messages were not discovered until after the tragedy. (WP $)
+ Repeated mass shootings are a problem unique to America. (New Yorkers $)
+ AI-powered metal detectors are a controversial solution. (WP $)
+ Three false claims surrounding the shooting are circulating online. (NYT $)

2 Twitter was penalized for sharing users’ phone numbers
It allows numbers and email addresses to notify targeted advertising. (Diversity)
+ Elon Musk needs more money if he wants to buy the company. (FT $)

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