2 hr 42 min

Conversation with Casey Handmer: how Terraform Industries will make the world carbon neutral Abundance Makers

    • Technology

Two years ago, Casey Handmer quit working on GPS science at NASA JPL to start Terraform Industries, a wild idea backed by visionary investors (including Stripe co-founder and CEO) to bolt our growing solar abundance to growing hydrocarbon scarcity.His plan? To make the world's cheapest green hydrogen, the world's cheapest direct air capture CO2, and cheap natural gas.
This is my conversation with Casey! It's quite long, but I've detailed the timestamps below, Casey elaborated on many important issues, make sure to give them a listen :)
Recorded on Oct 12th.
And mind the two questions about Mars at the end :)
* 00:00:28: Casey Handmer's background in science and industry and what led him to found Terraform Industries
* 00:02:30: Why Hyperloop One, which Casey worked on, didn't work as expected
* 00:04:38: Why "Terraform Industries" as the company name?
* 00:09:45: Terraform Industries' philosophy
* 00:13:20: How Terraform Industries is a fundamental bet on cheap solar PV electricity and why it will get ever cheaper for a long time
* 00:18:08: What the cost of solar PV electricity needs to be for Terraform Industries' green e-methane to start being competitive with fossil methane
* 00:20:20: What it needs to be for green e-kerosene to be competitive with fossil kerosene, in order to make aviation carbon-neutral
* 00:21:30: Casey explains how we may even be able to make food thanks to cheap solar, air and water
* 00:24:00: Can total cumulative solar PV deployment continue to double at current pace (approx. once every 2 years) long enough to have enough capacity to displace all fossil fuels?
* 00:30:15: Why has Casey been sharing his plans very openly so far? 
* 00:32:50: Casey shares an interesting analogy with the electric car industry
* 00:36:00: Can Europe compete with China on the EV market? do tariffs help?
* 00:37:55: How does Terraform industries work? What are the three subsystems of its first product?
* 00:41:30: Why does Terraform Industries want low-efficiency systems?
* 00:46:50: What should the be the cost of solar PV electricity for Terraform Industries' green e-methane to start being competitive?
* 00:49:00: What could be the market size for such machines? And as they're low tech and will be copied, what minimum market share could Terraform Industries hope to retain ultimately?
* 00:50:30: Does Terraform Industries intend more on selling the machines or operating the machines and selling green e-hydrocarbons?
* 00:53:25: Is what Terraform Industries is doing easier than coming up with and industrializing the Haber-Bosch process? (that helps fix nitrogen as ammonia from the air and make fertilizer, letting us feed billions more than if we didn't have it otherwise)
* 00:58:35: Hear Casey say which percentage of solar arrays, easily, will be used to make synthetic fuel 10 years from now, shocking!
* 00:58:52: What's the status right now for Terraform Industries? What are the next milestones?
* 01:01:28: What risks is Terraform Industries facing?
* 01:04:50: What about methane leaks? Especially as Casey Handmer expects world methane consumption to go up as methane gets cheaper and carbon-neutral
* 01:07:20: As Terraform Industries actually makes green hydrogen (before reacting it with captured CO2 to make methane CH4), why not stop there and provide hydrogen to the "hydrogen economy" that people see about to boom? For industrial heat, aviation, shipping etc.
* 01:13:20: Why is Casey Handmer fascinated with airships?
* 01:19:38: What about nuclear fusion? Could it help do without solar plants? (Helion talks about 1MW fusion plant the size of a container as opposed to 5-10 acres for a 1MW solar PV plant)
* 01:28:00: Why does Casey Handmer think that ultimately most of solar PV electricity will be used to synthesize green hydrocarbons for aviation (which will hence boom) as opposed to every other use combined.
* 01:37:00: Can Starhip be a thing when it comes to point-to-point transport on Earth?
* 01:39:55: Why tax

Two years ago, Casey Handmer quit working on GPS science at NASA JPL to start Terraform Industries, a wild idea backed by visionary investors (including Stripe co-founder and CEO) to bolt our growing solar abundance to growing hydrocarbon scarcity.His plan? To make the world's cheapest green hydrogen, the world's cheapest direct air capture CO2, and cheap natural gas.
This is my conversation with Casey! It's quite long, but I've detailed the timestamps below, Casey elaborated on many important issues, make sure to give them a listen :)
Recorded on Oct 12th.
And mind the two questions about Mars at the end :)
* 00:00:28: Casey Handmer's background in science and industry and what led him to found Terraform Industries
* 00:02:30: Why Hyperloop One, which Casey worked on, didn't work as expected
* 00:04:38: Why "Terraform Industries" as the company name?
* 00:09:45: Terraform Industries' philosophy
* 00:13:20: How Terraform Industries is a fundamental bet on cheap solar PV electricity and why it will get ever cheaper for a long time
* 00:18:08: What the cost of solar PV electricity needs to be for Terraform Industries' green e-methane to start being competitive with fossil methane
* 00:20:20: What it needs to be for green e-kerosene to be competitive with fossil kerosene, in order to make aviation carbon-neutral
* 00:21:30: Casey explains how we may even be able to make food thanks to cheap solar, air and water
* 00:24:00: Can total cumulative solar PV deployment continue to double at current pace (approx. once every 2 years) long enough to have enough capacity to displace all fossil fuels?
* 00:30:15: Why has Casey been sharing his plans very openly so far? 
* 00:32:50: Casey shares an interesting analogy with the electric car industry
* 00:36:00: Can Europe compete with China on the EV market? do tariffs help?
* 00:37:55: How does Terraform industries work? What are the three subsystems of its first product?
* 00:41:30: Why does Terraform Industries want low-efficiency systems?
* 00:46:50: What should the be the cost of solar PV electricity for Terraform Industries' green e-methane to start being competitive?
* 00:49:00: What could be the market size for such machines? And as they're low tech and will be copied, what minimum market share could Terraform Industries hope to retain ultimately?
* 00:50:30: Does Terraform Industries intend more on selling the machines or operating the machines and selling green e-hydrocarbons?
* 00:53:25: Is what Terraform Industries is doing easier than coming up with and industrializing the Haber-Bosch process? (that helps fix nitrogen as ammonia from the air and make fertilizer, letting us feed billions more than if we didn't have it otherwise)
* 00:58:35: Hear Casey say which percentage of solar arrays, easily, will be used to make synthetic fuel 10 years from now, shocking!
* 00:58:52: What's the status right now for Terraform Industries? What are the next milestones?
* 01:01:28: What risks is Terraform Industries facing?
* 01:04:50: What about methane leaks? Especially as Casey Handmer expects world methane consumption to go up as methane gets cheaper and carbon-neutral
* 01:07:20: As Terraform Industries actually makes green hydrogen (before reacting it with captured CO2 to make methane CH4), why not stop there and provide hydrogen to the "hydrogen economy" that people see about to boom? For industrial heat, aviation, shipping etc.
* 01:13:20: Why is Casey Handmer fascinated with airships?
* 01:19:38: What about nuclear fusion? Could it help do without solar plants? (Helion talks about 1MW fusion plant the size of a container as opposed to 5-10 acres for a 1MW solar PV plant)
* 01:28:00: Why does Casey Handmer think that ultimately most of solar PV electricity will be used to synthesize green hydrocarbons for aviation (which will hence boom) as opposed to every other use combined.
* 01:37:00: Can Starhip be a thing when it comes to point-to-point transport on Earth?
* 01:39:55: Why tax

2 hr 42 min

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