Into the category of things that sound too good to be true, add Green Freedom. If the scientists behind this federally funded proposal are correct, we'll be able to continue driving gas-powered cars and flying in gas-powered aircraft indefinitely, in a closed, net-zero-emissions system that won't contribute to global warming.
An outgrowth of research into cleaner fuels for the U.S. Air Force, Green Freedom proposes a network of nuclear power plants that would capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and chemically convert it into gasoline, all with existing technologies. "We're not taking anything out of the ground, not making things any worse, not using fossil fuel to create fuel," explains F. Jeffrey Martin, the Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear scientist behind the proposal. "The whole thing is carbon-neutral."
By that, Martin means that the system releases only as much carbon as it captures. Since mobile sources, such as vehicles and planes, account for half of all carbon emissions, his recycling program, if rolled out nationwide, could dramatically reduce the strain on the environment and allow sequestration technologies to start cleaning up the atmosphere instead of just slowing the rate at which we damage it.
The catch? To collect and process enough CO2 to fuel the entire country, would require building 500 new nuclear power plants, each with the ability to produce 714,000 gallons of gas. Today there are only 104 nuclear plants, and those would need to be retrofitted. "We haven't built a nuclear power plant in the U.S. in 30 years," Martin says, "so we'll have to get through that transition first." In the meantime, he believes, we could offset our annual declines in domestic gas production with just nine new plants.
The key is turning nuclear cooling towers into giant CO2 suckers. Normally, the towers inhale air to cool hot water from the reactors. With Green Freedom, they would pass the air over a solution of potassium carbonate added to the cooling liquid. "Potassium carbonate is like a vacuum for CO2," Martin explains. To extract the CO2 for recycling, he proposes an energy-efficient electrochemical process that produces only hydrogen as a by-product.
With earmarked funds secured by Texas senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Green Freedom has plans to build a demonstration facility at a nuclear power plant set for construction in West Texas. If all goes as planned, the plant will begin producing power and gas in 2018, serving as a model for the rest of the country.
of course we could instead lucatively roll up that highway into a small pipe which is just large enough to accomodate the smooth transition of today's veicles and containers. And in that secure and controlled environment begin that visional accomplishment of transport with out its energy and resource consumption, without accidents or congestion, and in that ease of automated speeds, then limited by those g-forces generated.
Surprisingly all in a practical application of reliably known abilities whose manner of form and processes are not just ecologically and environmentally sound, but whose multitude of exponentially increased abilities in efficiencies, speeds, safety, reliability, and ease of use, will truly revoltionize the populations abilities.
Your "pipe" plan sounds fantastic, in an ideal world where there is unlimited billions/trillions of dollars to spend on the design and infrastructure change, which would take decades to complete.
In the mean time there has to be realistic changes. The method in the article above is closer to realistic than the pipe idea. A need must be created in order to go "green". If you can create moral, social, and economic incentives for whatever green methodology/technology you have, then success may be likely.
My thoughts. There is no silver bullet to going green. Technically by living in society you are automatically not 100% green, for it can be difficult to completely control your "co2 footprint", but some have done so.
I believe a combination of carpooling, public transportation, light weight vehicles, more efficient power plants for these vehicles, nuclear/thorium (google: thorium wired) power generation, coupled with other more minor methods (coal gasification, hydro-electric, wind, and perhaps solar) are all going to minimize our society's impact. Although nuclear in the past has resulted in radioactive waste (there are methods around this), at least that waste is in one place, and not chillin' out in the atmosphere like co2 from vehicles/coal plants...
Hybrids, although a welcome change, are easily matched in MPG by vehicles that have a gasoline or diesel power plant coupled with more lightweight materials. Yes Prius drivers, the honda civic non-hybrid is more eco friendly than your hybrid (google life cycle analysis of batteries).
grad student in materials/chemical engineering
Clearly lighter smaller more aerodynamic vehicles, combined with solar panels on ever home, would reduce the demand for coal, natural gas and oil in half. Using waste heat from power plants to heat homes, and produce biofuels using sun light, algae and CO2, would further reduce the use of coal, NG and oil. People need to take the money saved by buying smaller homes, and more fuel efficient vehicles, and invest that saving as solar panels and solar roof tiles. Laws requiring such a investment for the well to do and the rich, and tax funded programs to aid the poor and the lower middle class installing such solar power options on the roofs of their homes and businesses, would take care of the problem in less than a generation. But that would take cuts in the world's military budgets, forcing war factories to be converted to make items of peace. The human race, controlled by the men of the planet, would rather make war in the name of religion, than live in peace in the name of evolution.
Wow, thats fascinating !!!