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I like Casey Handmer, but...

  • US natural gas today: $5/MCF
  • CO2 from air: >$8/MCF
  • H2 from electrolysis: >$37/MCF

As those posts say, biomass conversion and electrochemical reforming of methane seem much more economically practical.

FYI, Terraform Industries published a new blog post about the cost of their hydrogen electrolysis, which is significantly less than you're linked estimate of around $7/kg. They claim they can get $3/kg using current legacy solar, but with current solar cost trends continuing (which I know you're skeptical of) could reach $1.12/kg. They accomplish this by optimizing the cost/efficiency trade-off of the electrolysis setup.

I'm assuming Casey Handmer is being overly optimistic, but I can't tell by how much.

I don't think Terraform can produce 50% efficient durable electrolyzers that cheaply. So, who's right?

You've seen my blog. I linked to a post that linked to some papers on electrolysis costs.

Casey also has a blog. Here's the background of their initial team:

Casey Handmer PhD. Casey earned his PhD in gravitational wave simulation from Caltech in 2015. He designed maglev systems at Hyperloop and built GPS science instruments and mapping tools at NASA JPL before founding Terraform Industries.

David Smyth worked on software for the Space Shuttle and JPL Mars rovers, before stints at Millennium Space Systems and Honeybee Robotics. He’s also the President of Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology.

Stephanie Coronel PhD. Stephanie completed her PhD studying mechanics of composite fuel tank ignition prevention at Caltech, followed by work on combustion safety at Boeing and Sandia National Laboratory.

Jenna Amundson brings deep experience with marketing and people ops from Hyperloop and Jenlis.

We’re also proud to work with Second Group Design engineers Brian Towle (GE, Hyperloop) and Jett Ferm (Pilot Group, Hyperloop) to fine tune our carbon filter.

So, how would you go about evaluating who's right, here?

I have a suspicion about why DNA is base 4 vs base 2.

It has to do with the binding strengths of tRNA to mRNA during translation. Base 2 increases the length of codons needed to code for 23 amino acids from 3 to 5, which may lead to less fidelity in the resulting amino acid sequence. That is, partial matches have higher binding strength compared to base 4, which increases the chances the wrong tRNA is loaded. This could also make longer amino acid sequences harder to create - an accidentally loaded stop codon terminates translation!