UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy



Exploring 'open engineering' and expertise by designing and building a novel carbon-dioxide removal process.

How can we design carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) to act at scale, maximise value to society and the environment? Current modes of engineering and expertise create closed systems but wide and diverse groups of experts are needed to build this kind of globally important response - how can we do that in practice?

CarbonStore is a project within a project: a design process for creating an actual CDR process pushed to large scale deployment, and a reflection on how that process emerges, the concepts needed to guide it to enable goals of inclusiveness, efficiency and effectiveness. CarbonStore, therefore, aims to also generate a how-to guide to make 'open engineering' a process of bringing different expertise together to build things that change society for better, whether that's for digital systems, environmental challenges, urban design issues, energy or climate.

Early development reveals the importance of ‘policy resilience’ in this kind of entrepreneurial activity – where the goal is to ensure the process can continue regardless of whether there are supportive or restrictive policy regimes. Building such processes therefore also becomes a kind of ethical issue, which means ideas from ‘responsible innovation’ and environmental and climate justice are central to informing business models and modes of deployment. Crucially the open nature of the process challenges ideas of closed, private systems of development, potentially enabling a better design, more fit for a range of purposes that can be adapted to different communities goals and needs.