Around half of our CO2 emissions aren't from big power plants, or even small power plants, according to researchers from the University of Calgary. They're from diffuse sources, like car exhaust, home heating and airplanes, which can't be easily sucked up at the source. Led by climate scientist David Keith, the Calgary group is working on technology that could soak those "diffuse emissions" right out of the air.
Their system is a kind of air scrubbing tower, which takes air and reacts the CO2 out of it by exposing it, in this case, to sodium hydroxide. Then the stuff goes through a few chemical intermediaries eventually leaving separated CO2 that can be piped away, and more hydroxide to feed back into the scrubber.
Other air-scrubbers have been developed and researched, notably at Columbia University, also with good results. But the real achievement for the Calgary group seems to be in taking the reacted CO2 and hydroxide, and separating them back out from each other—an important step to making the process whole.
With their current design, according to the university, they can capture around a ton of carbon dioxide for less than 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity. At that rate, for every bit of electricity used to run the scrubber, you're actually capturing ten times as much CO2 as was released to create that electricity in the first place. That means that in terms of emissions, it is efficient… but financially, not-so-much-so. As far as the researchers have reported, the technology is expensive, and not near ready for large-scale development yet. But, it could potentially fill a unique role, taking on that 50 percent of diffuse CO2 emissions that no smokestack extractors will ever be able to keep out of the skies.
However, it extracts CO2 from the atmosphere then "pipes" it away? But to where?
With the advent and eventual "perfection" of alternative sources of energy like wind, solar and the likes, the power source for this "machine" would make it "consume" less power than is responsible for putting C02 (in the first place) in the atmosphere. Thus a "win-win" situation will take place.
Too bad, it costs too much right now. But who knows, eventually after much research and design changes are done to make it cheaper and cost-effective - we could see alot of these kinds of "machines" in the future.
Just a thought, maybe they could just freeze the CO2 and make it into dry ice that could be used in cold storage facilities.
Maybe there's something that would be invented to eventually "breakdown" CO2 into its two basic components - C and O2. The C we could eventually use for something and the O2 - we really use as well.
Until then, I guess, we just "have to" rely on good old plants and trees... and hopefully reduce carbon dioxide emissions...
discovery channel feature this on their discovery project earth i found the idea very interesting.
it gets piped away to an underground facility, but what i was wondering when he said that, was is this stuff harmful to our environment? Will it only help for a small amount of time and then this byproduct that is full of carbon dioxide going to harm the environment even more?
I think the best and most urgent solution for helping to reduce the effect of global warming is to change our dependence on fuels that pollute the air.
be cause like the article said most of our pollution come from cars. I'm not saying it's only problem, but it's one of the biggest contributors.
They propose we could build one big enough to reverse global warming, but it would cost about 700 billion dollars, and would touch the moon. We would also have to melt down all the cars in the world to get enough metal to build it.
We basically have two choices on how we can handle the CO2.
We can pump it back up the tail pipe of a car and reconverted into gasoline, or we could generate a black hole with the Large Hadron Collider and dump all the CO2 into the event horizon.
"Maybe there's something that would be invented to eventually "breakdown" CO2 into its two basic components - C and O2. The C we could eventually use for something and the O2 - we really use as well. " - Chipper Smoltz
There is such a process: photosynthesis. Creating a super-carbon rich greenhouse would not be difficult at all with the syphoned off CO2. Then, the plants (algae, ferns, vegitables, or whatever) would capture the carbon and free lots of happy, breathable, and burnable O2.
The only problem is, what then? What are you going to do with those plants? Eat them? That puts the CO2 right back into the air. Turn them into fuel? Same thing.
The problem with CO2 from fossil fuels is, even if captured, if used, it returns to the air. The only solution is to bury it. (Since this problem started by introducing trapped carbon in the earth back into the air, to fix it the carbon must again be put back).
Since that is the case, if we really want to be "carbon neutral," then we must bury as much carbon as we have dug/pumped out. That cannot be done in a gasseous form, because what we took out was packed in super-efficient fossil fuels.
So, rather than have super-exspensive, non-scalable CO2 scubbers, we should really look to more efficient biological systems. You can capture far more carbon by cutting down a forest, burying it forever down a quarry shaft, capping it, and then planting a new forest where the old one stood, for much, much less money.
Why not test the system out in and old Diesel-Electric submarine first to see how it will work in a closed enviornment on a long term basis.
If it works there then maybe they could test it out on a ship a sea in case there is a malfunction; then CO2 won't be released in a urban area.
This is a key element in the future of automotive and aviation.
What we need is a "algae" based economy. With algae we can "grow" all the fuel we want, the key to that is sunlight, and CO2. If we can "scrub" co2 out of the air, and push it into algae, we can have a complete "closed" loop system.
The nice thing is that we could even do this "shipboard".
Think of a supertanker that produces oil, using deckspace to vertical grow algae, and several scrubbers to provide CO2. It "sails" around gathering and growing around the equator, to dock and offload its fuel load.
Love to understand what the costs are. As this was the "missing" element in close-looping algae growth.
well, they could pipe it away and we could reuse it for things...what? i dont know......although i have been looking for a cheaper way to fill my paintball gun with CO2....practical?
WE DOOMED OUR PLANET... :'(
But this could possibly be a solution or......we could plant more trees?
why do we keep on building these elaborate things that cost BILLONS of dollars when we could do other things to help like recycle ya noe what all those tree huggers say may not work vey fast but hey it works reduce all that factory smoke gosh i would want my kids to grow up in an enviorment where they to not have to worry about the ice shelfs breaking come on people get some comon sense and do small
little things that will add up instead of wasting our money on useless things
it is just plain comon sense y is this so hard to comprhend that the earth is goin down hill and into a big hole
lets wake up GLOBAL WARMING REALLY IS HAPPENING AND IS HAVING SOME REALLY BAD EFFECTS ON ANIMALS AND PLANTS ALL TOGETHER
come on it is not that hard to understand
this is scary to me lets save the earth
Another one of those weird ideas have come to my mind....
To solve global warming due to excess CO2 in the air, after this scrubber has gathered and collected the CO2 from our atmosphere then "pipes" it away and stores it somewhere hopefully like in a big inflatable blimp =))
Maybe we could just "ship" out this CO2 to Mars together with alot of H20 and algae then from there try to build a small ecosystem that should be self sufficient even for such a short span of time. Then "rinse and repeat" until eventually it would become a means of terraforming the planet.
I know this seems like a bad idea for a sci-fi movie written by someone who is not an expert on physics, geology, botany and some other stuff that ends in a "y" and sounds the same in the end... but hey it's worth a try...
I know my ideas are flawed in most aspects as the energy involved in transporting these stuff and the vessels used would be immensely huge to accomodate these stuff thus requiring a lot of power just to get out of Earth's gravitational pull, but maybe if the space elevator (the one's that posted in this same site) will be completed soon - it would eliminate much of the energy requirements needed to transport this vehicle with its "terraforming" cargo.
Do I hear a "...some crazy ideas from a lunatic...." comments out there? The thing is I dunno if I deserve them or not.... am just trying to help in my own insignificant way... since the logic that's flowing currently thru my brain is - excess CO2 on Earth, some CO2 on Mars but no atmosphere that is fit for land-life like us. So ship the C02 and other stuff to Mars with the hopes that we could terraform the place, initially in a very small area until the planet becomes habitable for us (is this possible?!).
Either that or we should start planting lots of trees and plants from now on...then hopefully we do not need this sophisticated CO2 scrubber anymore...or do we?!
This discussion got my attention to the extent that I had to register so I could add my 2 cents!
We need to review how the whole cycle works. We're complaining (very rightfully) about how much C02 we're dumping into the atmosphere, and wishing we could extract it back out and put it someplace where it won't contribute to global warming. And many of us are wishing we could even dissassociate the carbon from the O2. But understanding the cycle will help us understand why we can't do that. At least not with current technology, or maybe ever.
We burn stuff to get the energy we've become addicted to. What we burn is hydrocarbons, compounds of mostly hydrogen & carbon. Things like wood, coal, oil (and its refined products) and natural gas. We either grab the resulting heat to warm our homes, or rely on the huge expansion caused by the heat to propel our steam turbine generators, cars, trucks, airplanes, rockets, or whatever.
What we're really doing is combining the HC's with oxygen in the air in a reaction like this: HC + O2 = CO2 + H2O + energy. (I haven't bothered to balance the equations here, just want to get the idea across) The reaction is exothermic, meaning it releases heat. You have to kick-start it with a little heat input, but once started it continues as long as fuel and air are available.
To dissassociate the CO2 we need the process that plants use: CO2 + H2O + energy = HC + O2. That's how they grow, by adding HC's. Yep, it's the exact reverse of the first formula, except it's endothermic instead of exothermic. So it's easy! Just put the energy back in and turn the CO2 back into carbon or HC's! But then we'd end up with cold homes and stationary cars & rockets and, because of less than perfect effieciency of each process, it wouldn't work anyway. Too bad.
Ok, so use solar to power the billions of trees we need to plant. BUT: I've read that if you covered the Earth with solar cells, you wouldn't get enough energy to satisfy our demands. Now trees are probably more efficent than solar cells, but how much so? Just how many trees would we need? Where would we put them all? Is there really another process, undiscovered as yet, that could do the same job? I don't have answers to those questions, and frankly, I'm skeptical.
So what's the answer? Stop burning so much HC's. Then where do we get our energy? Wish I knew. Solar & wind will never be sufficient, imo. I like nuclear, but that's very unpopular after TMI and Chernobyl. Can we make nukes safe? I think we can IMPROVE their safety. In fact TMI did prove to be safe, with only a miniscule amount of radiation released (I know some people who refuse to believe that). Chernobyl was a disaster caused by total lack of concern for safety - which I doubt will happen again.
So, the search goes on...
Back in the Late 60's We had co2 scrubbers on our Nuclear Submarines which worked quite well. Not sure why after 40 yrs we can't expand the technology to fit today.s needs. Hmmm.
What if I told you I had the plans for a device that could produce clean electricity to power your CO2 scrubber 24/365.25.
would you help me
Prerequisite - Grade 10 physics, Grade 6 math, Basic electricity knowledge, Basic mechanical knowledge, but the most rare commodity - An open mind.