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The Big Gigaton Idea

In times of need…
During the global emergency of World War Two, one million vehicles were repowered with gasifiers in just a short 5 year period. Now that we have another kind of emergency at hand we can remember this solution

And “Using less than 1% of total plant productivity globally, the solution APL has pioneered can provide up to ~20% of our needed drawdown in coming decades.”

– Jim Mason. Founder & CEO All Power Labs

The slide below summarizes the surprisingly small amount of forestry, ag and food waste we need to engage to have an impact in the high 10s of ppm CO2e over the next century. It’s a solution with low friction and low tech dependencies, self-funding with multiple revenue streams, and that leverages existing infrastructure for propagation through the global ubiquity of composting and organic waste management. 

The above summary imagines a “1GT/year Earthshot” scenario, where every year 1GT of biomass–about 10% of the available residue biomass on the planet, or ~0.8% of terrestrial plant production–is processed through the APL type hybrid scenario, and continues as such for the next century.  The APL Carbon/Climate calculator attached and explained below structures how we relate these actions on the ground to CO2e impacts in the atmosphere, and the “climate positive” co-products delivered to users during the  process. The takeaway is this engagement has technical, logistic and economic feasibility for a 20-80ppm COe atmospheric adjustment over the next century, using technology that is already operational, and existing industries like composting, agriculture and forestry that benefit from using the equipment. 

APL designs and manufactures various forms of the carbon sequestration tractors that makes this drawdown work possible.  The “1GT/year Earthshot” scenario expects other startups and large OEM ag/engine/heavy equipment  companies to ultimately form a new industry around these solution processes.  The need and opportunity will exceed what one single company can do.  The critical work for APL is to pioneer the technical innovation and productization refinements that make this an easy to use, highly profitable solution for customer driven growth.  Therefore APL has been laser focussed on developing new types of compact and integrated biomass thermal conversion products, ones that can be delivered as ready-to-work boxed appliances, at price points reduced 2-3x previous comparable equipment.

The APL Carbon/Climate Calculator:

The climate impact scenario above is derived from our testing and modeling of biomass thermal conversion systems, and more recently biochar co-composting and soils systems, and specifically connecting these flows and sinks to the larger climate system.  This work is progressively being structured into an integrated framework enabling us to answer (or debate with formalism) the results in atmosphere of  actions on the ground with APL systems, in terms of both delta carbon loading and delta ppm of CO2e.

As our solution adds together multiple paths of benefit, we independently produced an “impact ratio” to model our climate effect.  This ratio sums all the benefits that happen in the common terms of CO2e, per each kg of dry biomass entered into the system.  Each kg of dry biomass is approximately 50% carbon by mass, but we base the Impact Ratio on raw biomass input kg for ease of understanding and direct relation to real biomass quantities used in the system.

 

Depending on project specifics , we see summed Impact Ratios in the realm of “1 unit biomass = 2-8 units CO2e impact”.  A 1:2 ratio is base for just the fossil offsetting powergen CHP aspects and basic biochar use to soil: the 1:5-10 ratios require more optimized engagements with biochar co-composting, and directed soil and crop selections that optimize standing and subterranean biomass on a previously low carbon landscape. 

The snap below is the first tab of our  Carbon Calculator.  This shows how we individually index each impact pathway with a dedicated row, and then provide a study widget to determine an impact factor in CO2e per 1kg biomass input.  Impacts are separated into offset, avoided, captured and sequestered types, as impact specifics range across quite diverse interventions.  Summing all these together, we get one “all-in” Impact Ratio for the project/activity under consideration. 

Once an impact ratio is determined, we can now multiply this by the amount of biomass we intend to pass through the system, which outputs a total CO2e impact.  This framework of separating impact ratio from specific activities and absolute effect, helps to clarify the variable importance of different activities and biomass processing potential.

In the attached spreadsheet, the impact ratio is determined in tab one.  Tab two then looks at what this impact ratio means in practice on the ground and in the sky, once a specific amount of biomass is run through the system.  Entry fields are provided to define size of project or global intervention with full circle solutions like the Local Carbon Networks.  A basic climate inventory of Atmospheric and Terrestrial pools and fluxes are called out and rendered adjustable, as these will be the factors used to calculate the total impact of the project in ppm CO2e for the climate system.  (Citations and notes on these values are provided in the spreadsheet)

The snaps below  and the linked calculator have a pre-entered value of ~1GT/year of biomass input, to show derivation and detail on the “1GT/year Earthshot” scenario summarized above.

Once all parameters are entered, we see sums for the consumed resources and for the power and products delivered with the defined scenario.  We find it  useful to relate proposed biomass usage to what is actually available on site or at scale globally, as well as consider the ancillary benefits and income streams provided through electricity, heat or biochar delivery.r  We have developed other calculators to structure these multiple revenue streams into pro forma project financial models, and clarify the high IRRs possible even without a direct price on carbon. (contact us for access to these)

And finally, this all rolls up to the total CO2e impact per year and total project period.  Answers are provided both in GT CO2e, as well as what this number means in equivalent changes in ppm CO2e in the atmosphere.

For the summary below, we are modeling 1GT of biomass into the system per year, at an impact ratio of 1:5.  (again, 1:2 is the easy base case;  1:10 appears to be the max stretch)

“Using less than 1% of the total plant productivity globally, and less than 10% of the already identified “waste” plant residues, our “People, Plants and Machines” solution can adjust atmospheric PPM CO2e levels by 0.2-0.8ppm yearly, or 20-80ppm over the next 100 years.” Jim Mason, founder and CEO of ALL Power Labs

The potential for needle moving climate impacts with our technology is  real.  And doing so through this above mentioned  hybrid scenario will create multiple bottom line value for individuals and communities, cities and nations.

Yes, we can “refossilize” carbon back into the ground, while creating consequential value for people and markets in the process.

 

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