Friday, February 23, 2007
Contender 10: TeleCommute:
Average Daily Commute = 45 Pounds of CO2 per Day
Environmental Protection Agency figures indicate that
if just 10 percent of the nation's workforce TeleCommuted
just one day a week, Americans would conserve more than
1.2 million gallons of fuel per week.
Similarly, if only one in 100 American car owners
left his or her wheels in the garage one day a week,
it would save an estimated 42 million gallons of gas per year.
And in addition to conserving energy,
we could breathe a little easier:
A 90-minute round-trip commute pumps
9 pounds of carbon monoxide and
45 pounds of carbon dioxide into the air every day.
Reduced global warming:
Automobiles and light trucks emit 20 percent
of the U.S.'s fossil fuel-based carbon dioxide (CO2)
--a key contributor to the greenhouse effect.
A typical car gives off 20 pounds of CO2
for every Gallon of gas consumed.
Environmental Protection Agency figures
Around the country gas prices range about the same:
$2.96 in New York, $2.99 in Massachusetts,
$2.80 in Texas, and a whopping $3.24 in Montgomery, Alabama.
Who can afford the commute to work?
Who can afford to drive?
Consumers are wracking their brains trying to figure out
ways to cut down their gas expenses.
What is the best solution? Telecommuting.
According to Chuck Wilsker, President and CEO of
The Telework Coalition, telecommuting just two days a week
can reduce a person's gas expense by 40%.
Wilsker, who has studied workplace trends and telecommuting
for over ten years, recently noted,
"The more organizations that have telecommuters,
the more likely we will see gas prices stabilize
or drop at the pumps."
Wilsker isn't the only person who understands
the logic of telecommuting.
To help relieve some of the pain from gas prices,
even President Bush
has been encouraging federal workers to TeleCommute
since the last wave of Katrina.
It only makes sense: if you don't commute,
you buy less gas, and you save more money.
Telework Recruiting: The Best Source for Virtual Employment and Employees
Telework is great for the environment.
Telecommuting: Getting Down to Business
Sunday, February 18, 2007
FutureGen - Tomorrow's Pollution-Free Power Plant
Contender 9: Stop CO2 at its largest point source: Power Plants
FutureGen is an initiative to build the world's first
integrated sequestration and hydrogen production research power plant.
The $1 billion dollar project is intended to create
the world's first zero-emissions fossil fuel plant.
When operational, the prototype will be the cleanest
fossil fuel fired power plant in the world.
The initiative is a response to President Bush's directive
to draw upon the best scientific research to address the issue
of global climate change.
The production of hydrogen will support the President's call
to create a hydrogen economy and fuel pollution free vehicles;
and the use of coal will help ensure America's energy security
by developing technologies that utilize a plentiful domestic resource.
US Dept of Energy (DOE) Research project
Western Europe's biggest coal power plant tackles CO2
Feb 16, 2007
By Daniel Fineren
LONDON (Reuters) - Western Europe's biggest carbon emitter, the Drax coal-fired power plant in north Yorkshire, is cleaning up its act with technology available now, rather than banking on untried carbon capture, Drax Power's chief executive said.
"We think its really important that we take practical, immediate steps rather than following the debate of the future," Dorothy Thompson said in an interview.
We think we need to play our part in delivering a low carbon future in the UK," she said.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is seen as a quick fix for climate change, in which coal-fired power stations could catch the greenhouse gases they create before they reach the atmosphere, then stuff them into storage sites under the seabed.
Power Plants need to take practical, immediate steps like the Drax coal-fired power plant in north Yorkshire, UK is doing.
Friday, February 16, 2007
Contender 8: Algae Bioreactor Generates Biofuels from Smokestack CO2
at GreenFuel Technologies, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Former International Space Station researcher Isaac Berzin,
along with his team of scientists from Harvard, Columbia,
and MIT, have found a truly bizarre secret weapon
in the fight against carbon dioxide emissions: algae.
Yes, algae. Not only does it “eat” CO2,
it can also be used as a clean, renewable biofuel.
The researchers at GreenFuel Technologies have
developed an emissions scrubbing system that
takes advantage of this happy coincidence.
Power plants that use Berzin’s system not only
reduce their carbon footprints and gain
valuable emissions credits, but they can also
use the algae-based fuel themselves or
sell it on the open market.
If it sounds like a pipe dream, it’s not.
The company has already launched small projects
in Arizona, Massachusetts, and New York.
A large U.S. utility company and a major U.S. power
generator are poised to begin partnerships with GreenFuel
to build 1,000-megawatt plants, which will each generate
over 100 million gallons of biofuel a year;
the owners of a 2,200-megawatt coal plant are also ready
to try out the technology.
With $20 million in venture capital investment
in the bag, GreenFuel is one to watch.
plentymag.com, Feb/Mar/07, spotlights 20 Green companies (pdf)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Contender 7: Turn CO2 into harmless calcite minerals within Basalt Lava rock beds
Basalt—A Better Sequester?
Scientists Attempt to Permanently Trap Carbon Dioxide in Deep Basalt
Laboratory studies by researchers at the Battelle-operated
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
indicate basalt formations may quickly and effectively
sequester carbon dioxide (CO2), the predominant gas
implicated in global warming.
Researchers hope to test their findings when they
inject 3,000 tons of carbon dioxide—approximately
the amount of CO2 that a 150-megawatt, coal-fired
power plant emits daily—3,000 feet into
Washington State’s Columbia River basalt formation.
Their goal is to determine if the massive lava layers
can permanently store the CO2.
“If the process is viable, we think basalts
in the Pacific Northwest could sequester more
than a century’s worth of the CO2 generated
in the region and create a major opportunity
for zero-emission power generation in the Northwest,”
said Dr. Pete McGrail, project manager.
“Experimental data from our laboratory studies show
that carbon dioxide injected into the volcanic rock
should begin interacting with the minerals
in the basalt to form calcite, which is the primary
carbonate mineral in limestone, in four to six weeks,”
McGrail said. “This carbonate mineralization will
permanently and safely sequester the CO2
within the basalt formation —if it works in the field
like it has in the laboratory.”
Researchers: U.S. Department of Energy, Montana State University, and National laboratories (such as PNNL)
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Contender 6: Use Catalysts and Nanotubes to turn
CO2 back into HydroCarbon fuel
Solar alchemy turns fumes back into fuels
by Rob Edwards
NewScientist.com news service
16 September 2006
Chemists have long hoped to find a method
of bringing the combustion of fuel full circle
by turning CO2 back into useful hydrocarbons.
Now researchers at the University of Messina in Italy
have developed an electro-catalytic technique
they say could do the job. "The conversion of CO2 to fuel
is not a dream, but an effective possibility
which requires further research," says team leader Gabriele Centi.
The researchers chemically reduced CO2
to produce eight and nine-carbon hydrocarbons
using a catalyst of particles of platinum and palladium
confined in carbon nanotubes. These hydrocarbons
can be made into petrol and diesel.
To begin with, the researchers used sunlight
plus a thin film of titanium dioxide to act as
a photocatalyst to split water into oxygen gas
plus protons and electrons. These are then
carried off separately, via a proton membrane
and wire respectively, before being combined with CO2
plus the nano-catalyst to produce the hydrocarbons
Research at the University of Messina in Italy
Max Planck Institute in Germany, the Louis Pasteur University in France, and others, following up on the Research at the University of Messina in Italy
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Contender 5: Scrub CO2 out of the air and pump it underground.
University of Calgary researchers are attempting
to scrub carbon dioxide out of thin air,
using new technology that could help Alberta's oil
and gas sector and other industries
reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
In the first large-scale experiment of its kind,
the researchers have built a six-metre-high tower
on the U of C campus that's designed to chemically capture
carbon dioxide directly out of "free" or ambient air.
Research team leader David Keith says if the technology works
at a reasonable cost, it could lead to industrial-sized facilities
in Alberta and elsewhere in the world that scrub CO2
out of the air and pump it underground.
The big advantage of direct air-CO2 capture technology
"is that you can effectively capture CO2 from any part
of the world economy with equal ease,
because CO2 is well mixed in the air," he says.
Keith is an internationally recognized expert
on carbon dioxide capture and storage,
who was recruited last year by the U of C's Institute
for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy
from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
The tower is equipped with a chemical scrubber
that removes CO2 from Calgary's air
using a spray of sodium hydroxide solution.
The chemistry employed in the experiment is very similar to
that used in the pulp and paper industry, and
the technique has worked on a much smaller scale
in the laboratory, Keith says.
Based on the physics and chemical engineering involved,
"there's no question it is possible to do it.
The question is: Can we do it at a reasonable cost?"
Other scientists think the technology is worth pursuing.
University of Calgary research
Contender 4: Make "Artificial Trees" to Recycle CO2 into Fuel
Technology is available for developing large "artificial trees"
to remove carbon dioxide directly from air.
These artificial trees can be designed to remove a volume of CO2
equal to the total tailpipe CO2 emissions of a given region,
resulting in a zero net balance of CO2 in the atmosphere;
effectively making the hydrocarbon burning cars and trucks
in the region equal to zero-emissions vehicles.
The CO2 could be "harvested" from the artificial trees
and recycled back into synthetic gasoline or synthetic diesel fuel.
Dr. Klaus Lackner, Professor of Geophysics in the Department
of Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University
along with Dr. Hans Ziock of Los Alamos National Laboratory
and Dr. Patrick Grimes, an internationally recognized expert
in chemical processes,
have together presented a brief white paper titled,
The Case for Carbon Dioxide Extraction from Air.
American Energy Independence
BBC: Synthetic Trees could purify air
"It's simply a question of weight," he said.
"For every 14 grams of gasoline you use,
you are going to have 44 grams of CO2."
The alternative is to capture emissions from the wind.
In this case, a synthetic tree would act like a filter.
An absorbent coating, such as limewater, on its slats or "leaves"
would seize carbon dioxide and retain the carbon.
Dr Lackner predicts that the biggest expense would be
in recycling the absorber material.
He estimated that 250,000 synthetic trees worldwide
would be needed to soak up the 22 billion tonnes of CO2
Los Alamos National Laboratory research
Contender 3: Make "Artificial Leaves" to capture CO2
Physics News Update: Number 597 #3,
July 9, 2002
by Phil Schewe, James Riordon, and Ben Stein
Artificial leaves, made from semiconductors, might one day
help to remove excess airborne carbon dioxide and
maybe even turn it into fuel.
Real leaves, the green ones deployed by plants,
perform many valuable tasks, not the least being
the removal of CO2 from air and its replacement
with breathable O2.
Artificial CO2 fixation needs several ingredients:
light, a catalyst (such as CdS), and organic molecules.
A new study by a Oak Ridge-Vanderbilt team of physicists
suggests how this process can be made more efficient,
a necessary step if artificial fixation is ever to be practical
on a large scale.
Contrary to previous ideas, the study shows, fixation does not
take place directly on the catalyst surface.
Rather it's a two step process:
1) ionization of the CO2 occurs at the surface,
creating a highly reactive radical which can
2) later combine with other CO2 molecules or
organic molecules in the vicinity.
Stephen Pennycook says that his study looks at
the role of catalyst surface roughness
(flat planes of CdSe don't work as photocatalysts,
but nanocrystals of the same material do)
and at the possibility that nanocrystal doping might
obviate the need for light, which would allow some fixation
to take place in dark smokestacks.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) research
ESF Task Force for Clean Solar Energy
The European Union and its member states are being urged
by leading scientists to make a major multi million Euro
commitment to solar driven production of
environmentally clean electricity,
hydrogen and other fuels, as the only sustainable
long-term solution for global energy needs.
The most promising routes to eventual full-scale
commercial solar energy conversion directly into fuels
were identified at a recent international meeting
in Regensburg, sponsored by the European Science Foundation (ESF).
Participants at the ESF’s brainstorming conference,
describe the solar fuels project as the quest for
building the "artificial leaf".
There is growing conviction in Europe and elsewhere that,
by 2050, a large proportion of our fuels will come from
such "artificial leaves", and that there is no time to lose
starting the crucial enabling research, in order to gain
technology leadership in this important future key technology.
European Science Foundation (ESF) research
Scientists at Australian CSIRO's Telecommunications and
Industrial Physics are developing artificial photosynthesis,
which copies what plants do by taking light and carbon dioxide
and converting them to energy to produce food.
"By imitating this process with a mix of manufactured materials
instead of chlorophyll, we are hoping to develop technology
that can reduce the large amounts of carbon dioxide emitted
into the atmosphere from power stations and cars."
"Byproducts of the process could be a valuable alternative fuel,
methane, or even food in the form of starches and sugars."
The research is still in its early days, but has started to
show encouraging results according to Dr Braach-Maksvytis.
CSIRO Australia research
Contender 2: Increase the inventory of Forests to capture CO2
Forests can be grown as additional sinks fixing Carbon dioxide
from the atmosphere. However, this will be a temporary benefit only
given that when the forests are burned or harvested,
the carbon store will be released to atmosphere
as the products are burned or decompose.
However, if the total area of forest is increased
on a sustained basis,
the total inventory of carbon stored in forests
Australian Forest Growers, and the Forest Products Commission
Contender 1: "Farm the Ocean" and capture CO2 in the process
Huge water-borne farms can turn the tide
against increasing greenhouse gases
The TimesMay 14, 2005
The team envisages 100 vast nets
full of quick-growing seaweed,
each measuring six miles by six miles,
floating off the northeast coast of Japan.
The seaweed in each net, growing to a weight
of 270,000 tonnes a year, will absorb
prodigious quantities of greenhouse gases and
convert them to oxygen before being harvested
12 months later as a rich source of biomass energy.
The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
mentioned carbon dioxide absorption by seaweed
in its Technology Roadmap for 2005.
The project is led by Masahiro Notoya,
a world expert on seaweed from the Tokyo University
of Marine Science and Technology.
Dr Notoya believes that Sostera marina and sargassum,
herded to the right parts of the ocean, will grow
up to 40ft every year, absorbing about 36 tonnes
of carbon dioxide in the process. Those seaweeds
are also popular fare for a variety of fish
whose stocks have dwindled.
Working with Dr Notoya are scientists at
the Mitsubishi Research Institute and Tokyo University.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Mitsubishi Electronics,
Toshiba and NEC are among a large group of companies involved.
The Japanese Government has provided a small grant
and is expected to give more when a pilot version
of the giant seaweed farm opens next year.
Tokyo University Research, Tokyo, Japan
Well people have suggested to reduce the carbon dioxide
in the atmosphere that plants, those synthetic organisms
are suitable sinks because that's the only group that
really fixes that carbon dioxide and
people are doing tree farming and so on.
However, the seaweeds or the algae and in particularly
the microscopic plankton can fix a lot more carbon than a forest can.
And then they also have the advantage that the marine ones
of course live on sea water. Forests on the other hand
need fresh water, they need land that we might need
for agriculture and other areas as well,
so there's a real competition here.
So we've been looking at using planktonic algae,
micro algae, marine algae as ways of fixing carbon dioxide.
However, there's an additional problem,
you can fix the carbon dioxide and you can get very high rates,
ten times per area or more than a forest does.
But the algae once they die, break down very quickly
and release the carbon dioxide again.
However there's a group of marine algae that makes
small plates of limestone or calcium carbonate
so about half the carbon that they take up goes into the cell
and the other half goes into these limestone plates.
We need a lot but remember if we can grow them intensively
we can get per square metre of land surface area,
in this case ponds I guess, about 100 times as much carbon fixed
as the same area of forest and we're using sea water
Murdoch University Research, Perth, Western Australia
Scientists to Vie for $25M Climate Prize
Sir Richard Branson on Friday announced a $25 million prize for the scientist who comes up with a way to extract greenhouse gases from the atmosphere
"Man created the problem, therefore man should solve the problem," Branson said. "Could it be possible to find someone on Earth who could devise a way of removing the lethal amount of CO2 from the Earth's atmosphere?"
"Up until now, what has not been asked seriously on a systematic basis is, is there some way that some of that extra carbon dioxide may be scavenged effectively out of the atmosphere? And no one knows the answer to that," Al Gore said.
Announcement of $25M Prize to solve Global Climate Change problem of CO2
the Insidious problem: Human caused CO2 increases are causing Global Warming:
Wikipedia: Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
and it's happening now,
according to 1000's of scientists and climate experts:
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Please check my other blog: Global Warming Matters