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Modern Alchemy Creates Diamonds

Ecotricity founder to create diamonds 'made entirely from the sky'.

Green electricity didn't exist back in 1996. When Ecotricity offered it for the first time, generated from wind turbines, it became not just Britain’s but the world’s first green electricity company and kick-started the now global green electricity movement. Now the company's founder, Dale Vince, is tackling another industry that's responsible for harmful emissions: diamond mining. Diamonds may be beautiful, but the industry behind it is not.

To get just one carat (0.2 grams) of a traditional diamond, miners could excavate up to 2.2 million pounds of rock, use 1,028 gallons of water, and emit 238 pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The diamond industry also has another guilty secret as, sadly, diamonds play a significant role in funding conflict in war-torn areas, particularly in central and western Africa. So, two very good reasons for trying to find an alternative solution to those beautiful sparkly gems that everyone loves to wear.

Step forward Ecotricity: The company is creating actual diamonds using nothing but atmospheric CO2 and rainwater. It hopes to reverse that environmental destruction by taking carbon out of the atmosphere, producing methane - a crucial ingredient in synthesizing diamonds - by taking hydrogen molecules out of rainwater and powering the whole operation with wind and solar energy. The result is a diamond that is identical to one extracted from the ground.

According to Dale Vince, CEO of Ecotricity, the company is already capable of making about 200 carats of diamond every month. “Making diamonds from nothing more than the sky, from the air we breathe - is a magical, evocative idea - it’s modern alchemy,” Vince told The Guardian. “We don’t need to mine the earth to have diamonds, we can mine the sky.”

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