CO2 Conversion System Converts Greenhouse Gases

by Byron R. Núñez

Sustainable Innovations, Inc. (SI) was awarded a contract from the United States Department of Energy to continue working on its electrochemical process that converts greenhouse gases into usable byproduct. The rising levels of greenhouse gases has increased a demand for new energy solutions that address geopolitical concerns as well as economic ones. Stakeholders, for example, are actively searching for economically viable pathways that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions while developing means to produce fuels that decrease global reliance on oil. This includes, but is not limited to, searching for more efficient ways to utilize traditional fuels such as coal, as well as to capture and recycle the national production of greenhouse gases. Continue reading

Oslo Pilots CCS System at Waste Incineration Plant to Slow Climate Change

by Erin Larsen

Norway just became the first country to attempt to capture CO2 from the fumes of burning trash. A test plant at a waste incinerator in Klemetsrud will test several technologies for CO2 capture with a goal of presenting results to the government by June 2016. If successful, this innovative project will be a huge step forward for carbon capture technology and will help Norway mitigate the environmentally degrading impacts of its largest emission source. Continue reading

The Syrian Civil War: A Result of Climate Change

by Chloe Rodman

Kelley et al. (2015) writing in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences linked the Syrian Civil War to climate change. The Fertile Crescent, more specifically Syria, has experienced a severe prolonged drought since 2006. In a country dominated by agriculture, the drought killed enormous amounts of livestock and crops. To make matters worse, before this dry spell began, former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad implemented policies to increase agricultural production, despite a shortage in water. These policies made Syria particularly defenseless when the drought began. Continue reading

Iceland’s Turning Greenhouse Gases Into Stone

by Hannah Brown

Positioned near the Hellisheidi Power Plant in Iceland, researchers at CarbFix, a $10 million project funded by Reykjavic Energy, the United States Department of Energy, and the EU, among others, combines water and carbon dioxide, compressed to the point that is in its liquid form, and injects the mixture thousands of feet down into balsatic rock, a reactive volcanic rock that makes up almost the entirety of Iceland’s foundation, as well as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in general. The combination of carbon dioxide and water interacts with the rock as it releases calcium and magnesium and turns into the original mixture into limestone. Initially the model predicted that the process would take 5 years but CarbFix has found that it happens much faster than expected, essentially completing the transformation of carbon dioxide into limestone within one year. ( Continue reading

Intelligent Planning Can Offset Much of Projected Energy Demand Increases

by Dan McCabe

Urban areas account for the majority of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, which is of growing concern as their populations are projected to double within the next 35 years. In order to inform urban planning efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Creutzig et al. (2015) studied how a wide array of variables influence the energy consumption of cities across the globe. The authors considered detailed data provided by the World Bank (WB), the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), and the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) for 274 different-sized cities from 60 different countries. A correlation analysis was performed to determine how significant an impact each variable—such as gasoline price, population density, and gross domestic product (GDP)—appeared to have on citywide energy consumption. The dependent variable for this analysis depended on the data set from which information was obtained: per capita energy use for the GEA data, per capita transportation energy use for the UITP data, and per capita greenhouse gas emissions for the WB data. A standard linear regression model was used to determine the significance of each independent variable. Continue reading

Underground Storage of CO2 : Attempts to Eliminate Carbon Emissions

by Nour Bundogji

Postdoctoral researcher Yossi Cohen and Professor of Geophysics Daniel Rothman, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, recently published an article in the Royal Society Proceedings on the effectiveness of storing carbon dioxide underground in an effort to decrease carbon emissions in our atmosphere. When I first read this I immediately envisioned suction cups elevated high into earth’s atmosphere connected to long pipes extended deep within earth’s crust. Yet, you guessed it, the technology is quite different. Instead, greenhouse gases emitted by coal-fired power plants would be pumped into salt caverns 7,000 feet underground where these gases would react with the salt water and solidify (Cohen and Rothman, 2015). The U.S. Environmental Protection agency estimated that this technology could eliminate up to 90 percent of carbon emissions from coal-fired facilities. Considering the current state of our ozone layer and the drastic climate changes we’ve been experiencing these past years, this seems like a promising step forward in saving our environment. However, commentators on this technology, like Christopher Martin from Bloomberg, pointed out a few flaws. I knew it was too good to be true. Continue reading

Biofuel for Energy Security in Taiwan

by Chieh-Hsin Chen

Taiwan being an isolated island country, one of the most important concerns is energy security. To enhance Taiwan’s energy security, there is interest by the Taiwanese to produce energy on their own. In addition to the energy security issues, climate change is also one of the serious challenges that Taiwan is facing. There has been a significant increase in hurricanes and storms hitting Taiwan since 2007, potentially the result of CO2 induced climate change. As the 25th largest CO2 emissions country, Taiwan has expressed a willingness to reduce CO2 emissions and to mitigate global warming climate shift. Kung et al. (2013) analyze the use of biofuel with standard of CO2 emission, fertilizer use, and land use change. The Modified Taiwan Agricultural Sector Model (MTASM) is used for economic and environmental analysis in this study, and shows that Taiwan would increase its energy security from bioenergy production, but net greenhouse gases emission would also be increased; fertilizer use and land use changes also have significant impact on the greenhouse emission offset. Continue reading