Let’s say you’re brainstorming with some friends, trying to figure out how to cash in on the woke green wave. It would probably not occur to the less boldly imaginative among us to propose 1) capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) from agricultural areas covering five Midwestern states (see map from a corporate website here), 2) dehydrating and compressing it into liquid form at various capture locations, 3) transporting it via brand new pipelines, and 4) sequestering it into its permanent rocky tomb a mile beneath the surface, safe from climate change, nuclear war, and all but the most severe cosmic catastrophes. As a bonus, liquid CO2 that survives burial has commercial industrial applications, like dry ice for food preservation or creating cloudy or foggy effects for Hollywood productions. It’s also used in fire extinguishers and to carbonate soft drinks, and it is even an important cooling agent for cryogenic freezing, as was done, for example, to Ted Williams and his son John Henry.
If you’re wondering where the money comes from for these enterprises, the Department of Energy has announced many tens of millions of dollars in funding for research and implementation of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) projects. Additionally, carbon credits for industry are shaping up to be a powerful incentive for generating private and public investor capital.