If your friends and family are anything like mine, you've observed that home beverage carbonation is experiencing a bit of a renaissance lately. Perhaps you've seen the increasingly ubiquitous Sodastream machine on a countertop near you—or, more likely, heard its syncopated honk and pop-fizz release from across the room, announcing another fresh liter of water made bubbly.
If cleaning carbon dioxide from the atmosphere was easy, we’d already be doing it. But carbon capture has proven to be a tough technology to feasibly roll out on a grand scale, and that means all the things we do that produce carbon dioxide emissions--which seems to be just about everything these days--are still roughly as bad for the planet as they were several years ago.
Common geothermal electricity setups generally involve extracting hot water from subterranean rock formations deep inside the Earth’s crust and using that heat to turn turbines. Common carbon sequestration schemes involve pumping carbon dioxide from the surface deep into the ground to prevent it from becoming atmospheric CO2. I think you can see where we’re going here.
A carbon tax would make companies think harder about using fossil fuels, which spur rising acidity in the seas
By Donovan Hohn
Posted 04.11.2011 at 11:21 am 0 Comments
In the past two centuries, at a pace unprecedented in the geological record, the chemistry of the oceans has changed. Seawater has become approximately 30 percent more acidic. It won’t burn human flesh (at least not anytime soon), but it has begun to dissolve the shells and exoskeletons of many sea creatures, with potentially disastrous consequences for the entire marine biosystem.
Reducing cargo ships’ weight would be a major step in reducing the carbon emissions of the worldwide freight industry. Fraunhofer Labs in Germany has one possible solution: ship hulls made from lightweight, stiff aluminum foam.
The next generation of Mars rovers may not rove at all, instead bouncing around the planet while harvesting carbon dioxide for fuel.
A new Mars hopper concept involves a carbon dioxide collection and compression system, which would take advantage of CO2 phase changes to produce thrust. The Martian atmosphere is rich in CO2, so a robotic hopper that can harvest indigenous fuels would provide greater range while also solving the problem of fuel transport.
America’s only nationwide carbon trading market will shut its doors next month, a tacit acknowledegment that Republican gains in Congress spell doom for any sort of federal greenhouse gas regulations. But other countries — even mega-polluter China — are ready to fill the void.
In February 2009, NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, a research spacecraft that crashed into the ocean shortly after launch. The project, managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was designed to map the distribution of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere. In February 2013, NASA has announced, it will launch its Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) spacecraft.
There are plenty of reasons to disagree with President Obama and Bill Gates, but there's no denying that both men are profoundly smart. And when they start agreeing on something, lesser minds like us should probably take notice. In his recent TED talk, the former Microsoft chairman sided with the president in identifying nuclear power as the only economically viable option for providing a growing world with power, while stopping the CO2 emissions that cause global warming.
Bacteria naturally turn carbon dioxide into methane gas over billions of years. Now Japanese researchers want to give that process a speed boost, to help counter global warming and create some much-needed natural gas. Agence France-Presse reports that Japan hopes to reduce the transformation period from billions to about 100 years.
A lot of the climate change debate may focus on how to cut carbon dioxide emissions to prevent global temperature rise, but many nations are already struggling with the consequences of local climate change--rising sea levels, water shortages and agricultural problems. Now the European Union has promised over $10 billion over the next three years for a "fast start" fund to help the poorest nations adapt to climate change.
Today's symbolic but politically crucial move by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes greenhouse gases as a danger for humans and Earth alike. That would open the doors for new regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, power plants and factories, according to the New York Times.
With the conference in Copenhagen swiftly approaching, and the Senate analog to the Waxman-Markey "American Clean Energy and Security Act" struggling towards the floor, little doubt remains that fossil fuel-burning power plants will soon face either fines for, or mandatory reduction of, carbon emissions. Luckily, a team at MIT has devised a power plant set up that generates power from fossil fuels, but does so with almost none of the carbon emissions.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.