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May Collectors of the Month: Charles Yang and Harsh Sanghi

Charles Yang and Harsh Sanghi

Base: Charles, Richmond, VA. Harsh, New York City
Profession / Pastimes: Charles is a software engineer and Harsh is a business analyst for McKinsey & Co.
Discord Handle: @charlesy @harshy

Charles Yang and Harsh Sanghi are the super-collectors behind CDR Horizons, OpenAir’s latest learning series featuring discussions with leading researchers in and out of academia whose work is expanding the frontiers of carbon removal knowledge, practice and impact. The show, which just dropped its third episode, releases new episodes on OpenAir’s YouTube channel every two weeks.

So what got you into carbon removal, and how did you find your way into the OpenAir community?

Charles: I first found OpenAir through the seminar series This is CDR. I was honestly pretty skeptical of carbon removal, particularly as carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration  (CCUS) is often used by fossil fuel industries to rationalize being allowed to continue to emit CO2. But after critically reading the latest IPCC reports on carbon removal, I started to appreciate more the important and necessary role it has in climate change mitigation, without detracting in any way the urgent need to rapidly decarbonize at the same time. I also started consulting for Actuate Innovation on a potential carbon removal program and that convinced me to jump into OpenAir and learn more about the awesome policy and research work being done within the community on carbon removal.

Harsh: I first came across carbon removal at work, while helping an Oil and Gas client explore CCUS as a long term investment opportunity. I was inspired by the opportunity and wanted to explore CDR. I coincidentally got invited to an OpenAir picnic in Central park, where I met co-founder Chris Neidl and a bunch of other OpenAir members based in the NYC area. Not only were they passionate about a really important topic, but also embodied values of collaboration that resonated with me (OpenAir’s open-source mission reminded me of Linux). Policy advocacy and open-source tech development are critical to solving climate change and I wanted to contribute through OpenAir. 

You just dropped the first three episodes of your new YouTube series, CDR Horizons, now the second and latest show to spin out from OpenAir, following This Is CDR. What’s the concept, and what ideas and goals inspired it?

Charles: CDR Horizons is really about scoping out the frontier of carbon removal discovery, thought and progress, and giving viewers a broad view of ideas that are upstream of the commercialization and deployment pipeline, which is where This is CDR is more focused. In particular, this seminar series is aiming to engage more with the academic research community and encourage folks to start thinking about how their ideas can be implemented in the real world.

Harsh: I am inspired by all the developments in CDR over the last few years and excited for the innovations that will enable CDR to scale globally. CDR Horizons engages academics and researchers to highlight novel, innovative ideas that should be scaled. In the process, we also hope to increase engagement with researchers and hopefully serve as a bridge between research and implementation.

What can we expect in the coming weeks and months, in terms of content and guests?

Charles: We’ve got an exciting line-up of guests coming on, from both in the US and internationally. Particularly excited as lots of folks are taking somewhat “conventional” CDR ideas and finding new ways of applying or utilizing them!

Harsh: Our guests will continue highlighting exciting areas of innovation in CDR. They often need a lot of help on their ideas, which should create exciting opportunities for the OpenAir community to collaborate with them. We will also continue to experiment with the seminar delivery to get better content out to our audience (We love your comments and suggestions!)

Given your interests and the focus of the new show, you both have a pretty interesting lens on what’s next for carbon removal. What on the “horizon” has you most excited?

Charles: I’m personally excited in biochar and biomass waste utilization. I know this is somewhat “traditional” CDR but I’m still seeing lots of room here for new ideas and novel applications (some of which we’ll be featuring in the coming weeks)! 

Harsh: I am really interested in carbon storage and carbon markets. I see a lot of people working on innovative CDR solutions but we still have some big questions on effective permanent storage and monetization of long term storage (Will be featuring some of this in the coming weeks!)