33 episodes

Investor Shayle Kann is asking big questions about how to decarbonize the planet: How cheap can clean energy get? Will artificial intelligence speed up climate solutions? Where is the smart money going into climate technologies? Every week on Catalyst, Shayle explains the world of "climate tech" with prominent experts, investors, researchers, and executives. The show is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

Catalyst with Shayle Kann Post Script Media

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Investor Shayle Kann is asking big questions about how to decarbonize the planet: How cheap can clean energy get? Will artificial intelligence speed up climate solutions? Where is the smart money going into climate technologies? Every week on Catalyst, Shayle explains the world of "climate tech" with prominent experts, investors, researchers, and executives. The show is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.

    How to Save a Planet: Spark Tank! How Do We Solve the Energy Storage Problem?

    How to Save a Planet: Spark Tank! How Do We Solve the Energy Storage Problem?

    It’s shark week! Or ‘spark’ week? Today we’re bringing you an episode of How to Save a Planet, in which Shayle steps into the shoes of a Shark Tank-style judge.
    This episode is all about (drum-roll please): Storage!
    ...Exciting, right? Ok, we’ll prove it to you. Each day, more and more of our electricity comes from intermittent renewables like wind and solar. To balance out our electric grid in the future, we’ll need new ways of storing extra energy, so we can still turn on our lights when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining. This week, with help from Dr. Leah Stokes and Shayle Kann, we explore the wild world of energy storage, from a hidden underground lair to a piping hot thermos full of poison. And did we mention it’s a gameshow?
    Guests


    Dr. Leah Stokes, Professor of Climate and Energy Policy at University of California, Santa Barbara


    Shayle Kann, Climate Tech Investor at Energy Impact Partners

    Len Greene, Director of Government Affairs and Communications, FirstLight Power


    Curtis VanWalleghem, CEO of Hydrostor


    Dr. Cristina Prieto, Professor of Engineering at the University of Seville

    Calls to Action

    Learn more about energy storage

    Pumped Hydro

    Compressed Air

    Molten Salts

    And for a really wild one: check out Energy Vault


    Learn more about our electric grid, with our episodes How We Got our Grid and How We Get a Better One and Party Like It’s 2035


    We still want to see your climate Venn diagrams! For inspiration, check out ClimateVenn.info. Post your diagram to Instagram and tag us at @how2saveaplanet. We’ll be reposting examples listeners share with us.


    Check out our Calls to Action archive for all of the actions we've recommended on the show. Send us your ideas or feedback with our Listener Mail Form. Sign up for our newsletter here. And follow us on Twitter and Instagram.
    This episode of How to Save a Planet was produced by Daniel Ackerman. The rest of our reporting and producing team includes Kendra Pierre-Louis, Rachel Waldholz and Anna Ladd. Our supervising producer is Matthew Shilts. Our editor is Caitlin Kenney. Our intern is Janae Morris. Sound design and mixing by Peter Leonard with original music from Emma Munger. Our fact checker for this episode was James Gaines.

    Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.
    
    Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.

    • 47 min
    Which tech is overhyped, underhyped and just right?

    Which tech is overhyped, underhyped and just right?

    Within the climate tech world, technology hype is all over the map. In this episode, Lara Pierpoint, director of climate at Actuate, and Stephen Lacey, host of The Carbon Copy and executive producer of Catalyst, join Shayle for a game of “buy sell hold.” They take bets on which technologies are either overhyped, underhyped or just right.
    They cover a range of topics, including:


    Advanced nuclear, including the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s rejection of Oklo’s reactor designs and shifting opinions around nuclear


    Whether the concern around hydrogen leakage and its greenhouse effect is overblown

    Heat pumps, including the Biden administration’s efforts to boost production with the National Defense Production Act and a new report on how a proposed federal program to incentivize heat pumps could save Americans over $27 billion

    Non-lithium-ion batteries for stationary storage, which may see an opening in the market as lithium-ion batteries become expensive due to rising commodity prices and backedup supply chains.

    The state of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies and fleet electrification


    Battery recycling, which is picking up speed due to concerns about the environmental impact of production and a shortage of materials

    Whether web3- and crypto-climate startups are solving the right problem


    Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst.
    Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.

    • 51 min
    Making sense of solar engineering

    Making sense of solar engineering

    In some climate circles, solar geoengineering is akin to a swear word. Also known as solar radiation modification (SRM), it means deliberately modifying the earth’s atmosphere to reflect solar radiation. It provokes forceful pushback, because it’s unclear how it would affect the earth’s agriculture, ozone layer and ecosystems.
    But it’s been attracting interest because it’s clear it would do one thing well: cool the planet.
    If we’re not moving fast enough on emissions reductions and carbon removal to avoid 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, could solar geoengineering, despite its risks, be less dangerous than a hotter world?
    In this episode, Shayle talks to Dan Visioni, a climate modeler who studies solar geoengineering at Cornell University’s Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
    They discuss what solar geoengineering might look like in the real world. 
    Stratospheric sulfate injections would mimic the effects of volcanic eruptions like Mount Pinatubo in 1991, which cooled the planet by 0.5 degrees Celsius in the following year. 
    Marine cloud brightening would use salt aerosols to brighten a type of cloud that reflects solar radiation, a phenomenon already created by ocean-going ships.
    They also cover cirrus cloud thinning and—straight out of a sci-fi movie—space mirrors.
    They explore key questions, such as:

    What do we know about the potential effects on ozone, precipitation and ecosystems? What do we need to research and what could we learn by testing?

    Which could scale faster—Carbon dioxide removal or solar geoengineering? 

    Solar geoengineering could cost a tiny fraction of the amount required to scale up CDR. Does that mean it could buy us time to draw down emissions more cheaply? Or does the relative affordability enable a rogue actor to deploy it without international collaboration?

    And who gets to decide whether the world deploys solar geoengineering? Whose hand is on the thermostat, so to speak?

    Links:

    Nobel prize winner Paul Crutzen’s influential 2006 paper on stratospheric sulfur injection

    A provocative New York Times Op-Ed promoting geoengineering from David Keith, professor of applied physics and public policy at Harvard who studies geoengineering

    Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst.
    Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.

    • 44 min
    Introducing Climavores: a new show about food and climate

    Introducing Climavores: a new show about food and climate

    We're presenting a trailer for a new show from Post Script Media, called Climavores.
    Climavores is a show for eaters who don’t want to cook the planet. Each week, journalists Tamar Haspel and Mike Grunwald explore the complicated, confusing, and surprising relationship between food and the environment. 
    Episodes drop on June 21. Subscribe on Apple, Spotify, or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

    • 4 min
    From biowaste to “biogold”

    From biowaste to “biogold”

    Biomass. It's the organic matter in forests, agriculture and trash. You can turn it into electricity, fuel, plastic and more. And you can engineer it to capture extra carbon dioxide and sequester it underground or at the bottom of the ocean. 
    The catch: The world has a finite capacity for biomass production, so every end use competes with another. If done improperly, these end uses could also compete with food production for arable land already in tight supply.
    So which decarbonization solutions will get a slice of the biomass pie? Which ones should?
    In this episode, Shayle talks to Julio Friedmann, chief scientist at Carbon Direct. They cover the sources of biomass, everything from municipal solid waste to kelp.
    They also survey the potential end-uses, such as incineration to generate power, gasification to make hydrogen, and pyrolyzation to make biochar, as well as fuel production in a Fischer-Tropsch process. 
    In a report from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Julio and his co-authors propose a new term called biomass carbon removal and storage, or ‘BiCRS’, as a way to describe capturing carbon in biomass and then sequestering it. Startups Charm Industrial and Running Tide are pursuing this approach. Julio and his co-authors think of BiCRS as an alternative pathway to bioenergy carbon capture and storage (BECCS). 
    They then zoom in on a promising source of biomass: waste. Example projects include a ski hill built on an incinerator in Copenhagen and a planned waste-to-hydrogen plant in Lancaster, California. 
    Shayle and Julio also dig into questions like:

    How to procure and transport biomass, especially biowaste, at scale? 

    How to avoid eco-colonialism, i.e. when wealthy countries exploit the resources of poorer countries to grow biomass without meaningful consent?

    If everyone wants it, when is biowaste no longer waste? And when there’s a shortage of waste—like corn stover, for example—what’s the risk of turning to raw feedstocks, like corn?

    How to pickle trees? (yes, you read that right)

    Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst.
    Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.

    • 41 min
    Climate tech’s surprising bottleneck – land access

    Climate tech’s surprising bottleneck – land access

    There’s a bottleneck in climate tech that we don’t talk about enough: land availability. It’s a physical resource you need to support biomass, renewables, mineral mining, and other essential tools of decarbonization. So how much is enough, and where do we need it?
    In this episode, Shayle talks to his colleague Andy Lubershane, managing director of research at Energy Impact Partners. Andy argues that land—geography, landscape and the rights to land—will be a common constraint among climatetech solutions as we reach gigaton-scale reductions of emissions.
    Andy and Shayle survey the industries where the availability of land could play a critical role, exploring questions like:

    How much land will we need for solar and wind power in deep decarbonization scenarios like the Net Zero America Study, and where? How does that amount of land change depending on siting, permitting and regulatory challenges of building transmission?

    What about the “pores” of underground space needed for carbon sequestration and hydrogen storage? For technologies that require both land for renewables and underground storage for carbon sequestration, like Direct Air Capture, where do those locations overlap?

    Could we see a run on waste biomass, given the tight supply of arable land suitable for producing new biomass? 

    Where will access to land constrain supply of metals needed for batteries and infrastructure?


    Catalyst is brought to you by Arcadia. Arcadia allows innovators, businesses and communities to break the fossil fuel monopoly through its technology platform, Arc. Join Arcadia’s mission and find out how you or your business can help turn a fully decarbonized grid into a reality at arca​dia​.com/​c​a​t​alyst.
    Catalyst is supported by Advanced Energy Economy. AEE is on the front lines of transforming policy that accelerates the move to 100 percent clean energy and electrified transportation in America. To learn how your business can play a key role in transforming policy and expanding markets, visit aee​.net/join.

    • 40 min

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