Example Start-up Procedures Guide / Operating Handbook free to copy

My former start-up, TerrAvion, integrated many disciplines, not just of engineering, but of business and operations as well. We ran into a bunch of problems where software engineers, marketers, operators, technicians, pilots, salespeople, and finance professionals just didn’t have a shared set of expectations about vocabulary, reasonable processes, or what the other groups would do.

To overcome this friction, we wrote an operating handbook that I think is useful in two ways. Most obviously, employees can look and see how things are supposed to work; less obviously, the exercise of putting this together forces management to be on the same page have standardized vocabulary and goals.

I wouldn’t recommend anyone using TerrAvion’s handbook without thinking about whether decisions TerrAvion made are right for your start-up, but if you need an example inspiration, a thing to start from, or just something to copy to get going, enjoy!

Literal Mountains of CO2 Need to Come Out of the Air

I was sharing the anoxic zone sequestration whitepaper and I got some casual feedback, of “why don’t we just shove agricultural biomass in the Kansas salt mines.” The idea of making salt mines anoxic and keeping agricultural carbon for civilizational time spans is actually probably feasible–but by my rough calculation the volume of the Hutchinson salt mines is about the same as what I propose for a year 1 commercial proof of concept, or roughly 6 orders of magnitude less than what’s required to make a meaningful contribution–fixing the problem might be 7 and we don’t have 10,000,000 salt mines like that. The US has about eight others–and they have other economic uses.

Coal Mining In Germany – Literal mountains have been dug out of the ground, crushed up, and burned–it all needs to come out of the air and it isn’t as compact after coming out of the air as is after sitting under geological pressures for millions of years.
Ende Gelände, CC BY-SA 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t think academia and the green movement have wrapped their head around how big the fossil fuels industry really is… literal mountains need to come out of the air and go somewhere. Geoengineering is scary, and likely to have at least some local effects that we don’t like, but we’re already doing the worst possible geoengineering experiment which is also global in scale. Pastoralist environmentalism is not going to fix this problem, we have to get serious about what a plan of sufficient magnitude is–and by the way–the 7 orders of magnitude generously assumes that carbon neutrality of agriculture, energy, transportation, and building industries is a done deal in 15 years +/-.

Sequestering Agricultural Carbon in Deep Anoxic Zones

Low risk CO2 sequestration technology with a pathway to $10 / ton cost and geologic time scale

I have not found anyone on the internet even saying this is a bad idea, so it appears novel. Provided the unknows check off in the positive, SACDAZ appears poised to beat all other carbon sequestration methods in cost, scalability, duration of sequestration, and environmental side effects. I welcome constructive criticism and hope early publication of this idea will kickstart discussion in the many communities that will be required to drive industrial scale carbon sequestration.

I have opened comments on Sequestering Agricultural Carbon in Deep Anoxic Zones and welcome constructive comments.

If you would like to stay in touch on this subject, I’d love to keep you posted. My plan is to send out updates approximately monthly as progress permits. Please leave your contact info below.

Direct Green House Gas Emissions Accounting

I am trying to understand the state of green house gas accounting and understand what implementing the standards looks like. My first look was not promising. I’ll walk through some examples where it seems like the methodologies below don’t work.

I took a look at the SASB accounting standards for GHG and on first inspection they seem to be totally lacking in anything like a complete general ledger for carbon.  The document SASB references for how to do carbon accounting to standard is at the World Resource Institute’s Green House Gas Protcol which was co-developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  All the sustainability standards approach GHG as just a part of a disclosure/risk mitigation framework and are really financial reporting not, actual “direct” GHG accounting.

If these standards represent the state of the industry, they have very developed attribution / recognition protocols–perhaps too developed–but they haven’t figured out how to keep a general ledger.  I understand the difficulty, one side of the balance sheet is by a public commons, but I’m starting to ponder if there’s a way technology can help monitor that…
Maybe that’s my fundamental point here… carbon deserves its own “general ledger” and there are going to be problems–like the ones I’ve seen in agriculture–that won’t get solved until we have something like a general ledger and people know how to use it.

Waking Back-up

I remain interested in the same problems of building automation businesses and scaling them. I have much more to say on this, but for now I just wanted to wake the blog back-up.

Also, in this remote sensing journey, I got an itch I can’t quite scratch about green house gas emissions reporting. My basic take is that this system doesn’t really exist yet, is broken, or is green washing. I’m starting to learn about the standard and accounting methods and will report back.