The first time he heard about the Zephyr Foundation, a private organization dedicated to advancing climate change, was at a conference in Beijing.
“They were having a meeting,” he says.
“I said, ‘Well, you’re the person that I’m supposed to be meeting with.’
And they said, well, we’re working with the Zellers.'”
The Zellars and the Zemstoff Foundation met at a Beijing hotel that was owned by the Chinese government.
But Zellar’s wife and their three young children were not invited.
That was because the Zells are not Chinese citizens, and their Chinese citizenship does not allow them to speak publicly about their work.
“We were invited by a foreign country,” Zellari says.
But “I thought, Well, they didn’t want to be involved in a climate change conference.”
So, Zellaris and his wife flew back to China and, with the help of his sister, started a small nonprofit to raise money for the Zeller Foundation.
That was five years ago, and Zellier has not stopped.
The Zeller family, now in their 60s, have raised over $100 million for the foundation.
They are now involved in the effort to develop a prototype for a new carbon capture and storage (CCS) plant in Zemster, France.
“There are a lot of problems that need to be solved to make a CO2-neutral carbon capture plant commercially viable,” says Zellarois’ wife, Simone Zellerois.
“And the Zelmanos have been working hard for years to develop solutions that will make it possible.”
Zellaroi says that for the first time, he feels “confident that the ZEMSTOVE project will go beyond the next decade.”
The Zellaries believe they are on the right track, he adds.
“We are the first ones to be able to prove that.”
For his part, Zemstra is eager to see the technology working.
He says he is already testing his Zemsta plant in Germany.
And, as part of the Zelleres’ plan, he is developing a new kind of greenhouse for the future.
“The climate problem will be solved,” Zemstras says.
But Zellaria is less optimistic.
He worries that, in the future, the climate will change, that it will get worse, and that the technology will be obsolete.
He says that he will continue to be part of this work, but that his passion will now be about the future of this technology and the future generations that will live on in it.
“For the next 100 years or so, it’s going to be an age of climate change,” Zeller says.