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John Butler's picture
Director, Transition Ignition

Oil and gas professional with over 20 years of experience. Extensive knowledge in developing the strategic growth of upstream business units; through management of P&L increasing turnover...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Jul 29, 2021

I have read some great articles on carbon technologies such as carbon nanotubes but nothing as interconnected as this article. We cannot just solve one problem in isolation it is about upheaval of complete industries. That is where the problem and the opportunity lies... 

It is equally inspiring and scary to think that we have nearly all the technologies and opportunities to reduce GHG emissions and do something revolutionary but nay-sayers and political lobbyists may slow things down not allowing us to reach this potential...

We have to show that we are as concerned as any activist and that we are learning as fast as anyone is or faster on how to run techno-commercial operations inside planetary boundaries with a deep understanding of what those boundaries are and how our activities are impacting them positively/regeneratively or negatively!!  I'm worried at the level of new toys syndrome I’m seeing. Like the sixth great extinction is just another business opportunity or a risk to be managed...


Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 29, 2021

Unfortunately, despite steady progress on CNT properties and manufacturing, the appetite for CNT development has slowed down (and perhaps stalled). In the absence of a deliberate effort, the transition from using hydrocarbons as fuels to using them as a source of solid materials may never materialize. This transition will not happen by replicating the pre-1980s materials development models, in which just a few companies conducted research and development and commercialization, as was the case for aramids (Kevlar) or carbon fibers. The size of the problem is too large for any one corporation to tackle, and the current size of the opportunity is too small for any established corporation to care.

Yet, it’s not clear whether any government or coalition of governments has the ability or the political will to take on this challenge. Most dauntingly, whereas energy and hydrogen are commodities, materials are not. To be successful, every material class required the redesign of end-products and fabrication technologies—consider, for example, the differences in architecture and construction between a Roman arch stone bridge and a steel suspension bridge. CNTs and other new carbon materials will need to follow the same path of diversification in manufacturing and use, while retaining efficiency and economy of scale in primary production.

This is an interesting conclusion-- it seems quite often you see technologies and ideas that seem like they'd break through and all they need is an opening, but actually getting the support is just as hard as the tech side of it all. Hopefully stakeholders are taking a good hard look at this

John Butler's picture
John Butler on Jul 30, 2021

Some really great points and feedback Matt. The scale cannot be underestimated and a lot will come down to political will. I agree that this is often seen too late and there in the problem lies. 

I like the fact that you have separated the difference between commodities and materials, this is very valid and drives at the heart of the issue. Changing our materials and how they are produced is maybe more important than the commodities used to produce them... Certainly something to ponder...

John Butler's picture
Thank John for the Post!
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