Following the race to develop an unlikely climate solution. Leaders in Wyoming have a plan to revive coal: jumpstart a young, controversial technology called carbon capture. To plant the seed, the state is hosting an international competition pitting five start-ups against each other for a grand prize. Can they figure out how to future-proof coal—or is this just false hope for the town that powered America?
Part 9: Win Or Lose
The NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE winner is finally announced. Will it be Dimensional Energy? Meanwhile, Cooper returns to Gillette to learn whether a Carbon Valley has magically appeared. Interviewing people at the local Walmart and meeting former miners with new visions provide the answer - and a way forward.
Part 8: The Pandemic-Sized Wrench
The pandemic wreaks havoc on the Carbon XPRIZE - it turns out, additional delays won't be the only impact. Upon arriving in Gillette, Cooper is in for a major surprise. Plus, things start to get competitive between the teams on site.
Part 7: A Leap Of Faith
Dimensional Energy is at a crossroads with the NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE: can they afford to stay in? Their situation raises larger questions about the value of grand challenges. It turns out, not everyone is on board with prize competitions as a strategy to move technology forward.
Part 6: A Labor Of Love
Cooper can't wait any longer to see carbon capture utilization technology, so he makes a slightly abnormal reporting trip... across the country. He wants to see how Jason's team is faring. Are they actually ready to set up a large-scale demonstration soon? What challenges do an early-stage startup truly face? And most importantly, will Cooper survive an encounter with a very large rabbit?
Bonus: Introducing Generation Anthropocene
As we work on Part 6 of Carbon Valley, we're excited to present an episode of Worldview Stanford's Generation Anthropocene. Acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton tells us the story of how he became "The Soundtracker," an unorthodox career choice that has led him around the planet three times in pursuit of the last pristine soundscapes. Journey along with Hempton from tropical jungles to the frozen North as he records the music from the solar-powered jukebox that is Earth.
Part 5: The Entrepreneur
It's the summer of 2019. Two more coal companies have filed for bankruptcy, and hundreds of workers are left in the lurch. Meanwhile, Jason Salfi is relieved to find out the Carbon XPRIZE has been delayed. But, how does Jason's drive for this technology square with Wyoming's own? Has he faced any struggles that would help him empathize with coal country's sense of loss?
Cooper McKim and the WY PBS staff including Melody Edwards did a wonderful job explaining the complicated process of carbon capture and reuse. I listened to it in one day! Well done!
Late to the game but that only meant I was able to power listen to this in a day. Great reporting by Cooper McKim and the WY public radio group. Interesting topic that I had heard the terminology for but did not understand the concept/use of captured carbon. Thanks for the information!
Thanks for looking into carbon capture
This was a new subject for me—something I had not ever heard of. The author did a great job, as well as a lot of detail as to why attempting carbon capture is such a difficult and expensive problem which may never even be feasible. Thanks, Cooper!