The German-Israeli startup has chosen Earth Day to announce its plan to launch a daring plan to capture carbon balloons. High Hopes believes the proposed solution will make it easier and cheaper to extract large amounts of CO2 from the air. The company has so far launched only a few test missions to test its theory, but they are encouraged enough to go public with their idea.
Carbon dioxide freezes to create dry ice at minus 78 degrees Celsius, which requires a lot of energy. High Hope founder Eran Oren says a smarter and less energy-intensive method can be created if you make nature do most of the work for you.
At certain altitudes, atmospheric temperatures fall sharply, as in the Tropopause, the boundary between the Troposphere and Stratosphere. It is said that the average temperatures there drop to an average of minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).
Oren’s thinking says you just need to cool the CO2 to cool a few more degrees and it will become solid. This solid CO2 is then introduced into the pressure vessel (turning into gas when heated) and returned to earth.
These pressure vessels can then be stored or forwarded to companies that use CO2 in their processes, such as agriculture or chemical manufacturers. Hell, you could sell it to dry ice companies as well, though that would have nothing to do with the climate impact of the project.
So far, the company has developed a smaller version of its air compressor and sent it into the air. These initial experiments used time balloons, but it is hoped that we will eventually see custom High Hopes balloons in the air.
Oren is aiming for a system that will be able to draw one metric tonne of CO2, per balloon, per day, at a price that will make it possible to sell carbon credits. With the planet currently emitting more than 117 million tons of CO2 every day, High Hopes will need a hell of a lot of balloons.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, regardless of our parent company. Some of our stories include associated links. If you purchase something through one of these links, we may earn an associated commission.