Cquestrate is developing an open source solution to climate change. It was founded by Tim Kruger, who has been working full-time on the project for the past year.
Tim has decided that the best way forward is to develop the idea in an open source way, inviting people to participate in helping to turn the project from concept to reality. He is committed to creating a broad ‘anti-patent’ space to prevent anyone from gaining patents that could restrict the development of this process.
Cquestrate has received two rounds of funding from Shell to develop the concept of adding alkalinity to oceans to address both climate change and ocean acidification. This funding has come through Shell’s GameChanger programme, which aims to encourage innovation. This is unusual in two respects – most GameChanger funding goes to ideas that are generated within Shell and the project will operate in an open source way, so Shell will not be gaining any intellectual property.
A Shell spokesman said “It’s a promising idea – we are providing some early stage funding to find out whether it can work. There are potentially huge environmental benefits from addressing climate change and adding calcium hydroxide to seawater will mitigate the effects of ocean acidification, so it should have a positive impact on the marine environment. We have to be sure however that there are no countervailing environmental impacts of the process before we can consider taking it further. The early stage funding should help us answer those questions.”
The first round of funding to explore the viability of the idea was provided in May 2008. Cquestrate commissioned research with the University of Oxford, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, University College London and AEA Technology to address issues about the potential impact on the ocean and the energy balance of the process. The report from Oxford concluded “Overall, there appears to be no serious flaw in the oceanic aspect of the Cquestrate scheme”, but called for more research. The report is being prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
In December 2008, the findings of the research were presented back to the Shell GameChanger team who agreed to provide a second round of funding to investigate the economics of the process. That work is currently underway with a detailed analysis being drawn up by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They are scheduled to complete their analysis by September 2009.
Cquestrate is seeking funding for the next round of research, which would involve desktop experiments. An outline of the funding requirements are given in this document 090722-cquestrate-funding-requirements and more details are available on request to firstname.lastname@example.org
This project has only got to this stage thanks to support and advice offered by many people. I would like to thank Dr George Manos, Prof David Cole-Hamilton, Dr Dan Brett, Panos Parris, Danny Lo and Hardik Simaria for their assistance with regard to the chemical and chemical engineering aspects of the work; Dr Sam Brown and Dr David Brooks for their insight into growing algae and water management, respectively; Prof Gideon Henderson for saying “the simple ocean chemistry works”; Tony Oates for his thoughts on the calcination of limestone; Richard Grant for providing the framework for an environmental assessment; Stephen Morris for his advice on how to create an ‘anti-patent’ space; Nick Booth for helping craft a clear message; Shell GameChanger for agreeing to fund work on exploring the idea in more detail; Dimple Sthankiya, Birte Fehse, Dawn Watson, Andrew Williams, Vikram Jain and Charlie Oppenheim – my colleagues at Corven – who have given me sound advice and encouragement; Gilles Bretherin and Graham Ward for their support through the process; Andrew Mitchell, Malcolm Loucks, Dr Patrick Doolan, Will Davies, Paul Sloane, Mike Lunch and Nigel Biggs for their networking skills; Sally Halper for helping me navigate the British Library; Jim Sayer, Antonio Gould, Chris Unitt, Nat Hill, Tom Pullen and Jamie Huskisson for their creativity, hard work and patience in developing this website; Google and Wikipedia for answering most of my questions; and last, and by no means least, my family and most especially my wife, Alex, without whose help I could not have done this and my daughters, Maya and Lena – this project is for you.