These startups hope to spray iron-rich particles over the ocean to fight climate change

Commercializing ‘climate fix’

Despite the concerns and unknowns about this approach, studies have inspired a handful of entrepreneurs.

Fiekowsky co-founded a previous startup, Methane Oxidation Corp., which planned to use iron particles to restore methane concentrations to pre-industrial levels, according to a spring 2021 register to get funding from Stripe, the online payments company. It’s closed, but some team members are listed switch to Change the green dot.

That startup has been self-funded so far, but is currently working to raise funds for research and development efforts in devices that release particles, Henkel-Wallace said. During the planned field test, the team hopes to release a few grams of iron chloride and then measure the amount of methane inside and outside the particle beam using known optical techniques, he said. speak.

Henkel-Wallace hopes to develop the ability to remove 100 million tons of methane per year by the end of 2027, which he says will require about 3,000 ships equipped with machinery capable of emitting several grams of particles per second.

He declined to elaborate on the company’s business model, but he said it hopes to earn revenue from companies willing to pay for some form of “climate fix”.

At least two other for-profit companies have also popped up in this space.

A Swiss company, AMR AG, is currently conducting research in the lab and hopes to raise between $2 million and $3 million to continue conducting field experiments. The plan was to slowly release several kilograms of ferric chloride nanoparticles from a decommissioned oil rig, monitor the impact on the methane, and repeat the effort several times to confirm the results. If this method proves to be safe and effective, the company will continue its large-scale release by building towers up to 400 meters high, equipped with machines that can release tons of particles per hour.

Oswald Petersen, founder and chief executive officer of AMR AG, says there is no environmental risk to field testing at the scale they are proposing. He notes that running a truck engine for short periods of time produces roughly the same amount of pollution, albeit of different types.

The other company is an Australian joint venture, Iron salt spray, proposed several years ago to conduct field trials in Bass Strait, a strait separating Victoria, Australia, from Tasmania. But it decided not to pursue the effort “out of concern that it would be too difficult to attribute any observed changes in atmospheric chemistry to [iron salt aerosol] Robert Tulip, one of the founders, wrote in an email to MIT Technology Review.

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