Calera vs. Caldiera: A Carbon Controversy For the Kids

An interesting debate has been raging on a Google Groups forum over the validity of carbon-recycling, cement-producing startup Calera, points out the Cleantech Group’s blog. And it’s a carbon tongue twister that could confuse the children — as well as us.

Backed by Vinod Khosla, Calera says it can use seawater to turn flue gas into cement, and is displaying a diagram of its process at the California Academy of Sciences. But Ken Caldiera, a professor in the Carnegie Institution Department of Global Ecology who studies carbon sequestration, says that from the publicly available info about Calera’s technology, it seems to go “in the wrong direction and will tend to increase and not decrease atmospheric CO2 content.” The diagram at the museum should come down until Calera gives more info to prove otherwise, says Caldiera.

In response, the Cleantech Group blog quotes an email sent from founder of Calera Brent Constantz on the subject slamming Caldiera’s own work and calling it “illconceived” and lacking credibility. Constantz calls Caldiera’s issue with Calera’s museum diagram a “thinly covered, transparent attempt to disguise a need to get information for a greedy hope of a royalty stream as a concern for schoolchildren.” Whoa, carbon sequestration cat fight.