#2: Casey Handmer - Pulling Methane From Thin Air (Terraform Industries)

#2: Casey Handmer - Pulling Methane From Thin Air (Terraform Industries)

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Episode 2: Casey Handmer, the polymath founder and CEO of Terraform Industries, explains the first principles behind his idea to synthesize hydrocarbons (starting with natural gas, or methane) from the atmosphere.


(00:00) - Intro
(00:56) - What Terraform Industries is Building
(02:00) - Casey's Background as an Engineer
(04:15) - Why Synthetic Hydrocarbons are an Urgent Need
(06:30) - The Importance of Hydrocarbons
(10:40) - Terraform's Process for Synthetic Methane
(13:57) - Cheap Solar Energy is the Key Enabler
(18:05) - How the World Captures and Uses Electricity
(21:00) - Why Use Solar Energy to Make Hydrocarbons
(24:51) - How Is This Possible?
(28:23) - Learning Curve Effects on Solar Cost Declines
(31:00) - Impact of the Inflation Reduction Act
(34:50) - Why Is Lower Solar Efficiency Okay?
(37:35) - How the Direct Air Capture Process Works
(46:54) - The Sabatier Reaction
(51:07) - Path to Commercialization and End-to-End Demo
(52:52) - Deploying Alongside Existing Natural Gas Infrastructure
(54:49) - Expansion into Synthetic Fuels and Beyond
(56:20) - Final Thoughts


Terraform - https://terraformindustries.com/
Casey Handmer - https://twitter.com/CJHandmer
Christian Keil – https://twitter.com/pronounced_kyle
“How to Industrialize Mars”: https://caseyhandmer.wordpress.com/2018/09/03/how-to-industrialize-mars/
Terraform Industries White Paper: https://caseyhandmer.wordpress.com/2023/01/09/terraform-industries-whitepaper-2-0/

First Principles:
Sabatier Reaction: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabatier_reaction
Energy Density: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density
Photovoltaic Cells: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cell
Direct Air Capture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct_air_capture
Electrolysis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrolysis


Production and marketing by The Deep View (https://thedeepview.co). For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email team@firstprinciples.fm


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Episode Video

Creators and Guests

Christian Keil
Christian Keil
Host of First Principles | Chief of Staff @ Astranis
Casey Handmer, PhD
Casey Handmer, PhD
Physicist, Immigrant, Pilot, Dad. Former Caltech, Hyperloop, NASA JPL. Founder @terraformindies