At a chemistry conference in Washington DC, Professor Licht announced a new process that uses solar power to sequester carbon from the atmosphere into carbon nanotubes. The breakthrough is significant because process is up to ten times cheaper than current methods of making carbon fibre and will be commercialised regardless of the need to sequester carbon.
Carbon fibre is much lighter and stronger than steel and with this new process could in many circumstances be cheaper to use. Carbon fibre can also replace plastic in many applications and has a range of other important uses. Production is likely to scale up quickly and will gain additional impetus by converting periodic excess power from wind and solar into a valuable product.
The amount of carbon sequestered will be limited by several factors and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions. The process will however help to lower carbon dioxide in the atmosphere once emissions have been brought under control.