Grand Challenges for Engineering - May 22, 2013
Whether buried under ocean sediments, pumped into depleted oil fields, or stored in some other manner, how to sequester carbon dioxide has no easy solution.
co2 taskforce between Dakar and tobago formed with 50 units can the air seccurity for the whole central and north america against hurrican formation and at the same time gas capture and warming slowdown offer.the cost of this meassure rise to $5Billon about. when interessting for details are strong try to get contact with.
in my opinion plantation method is best because it has so many advantages,, as it helps to store carbon from atmosphere as well as it creates suitable ecosystem for terresterial flora and fauna so this method is one of the cheapest and effective tools for this
In terms of storing sequestered carbon dioxide under ocean sediment, we need to take into consideration the fora/ flora aspect of the ocean. Also will the current movement of the oceanic plates allow it? I believe that nature will adapt to the excess as long as humans stop forcing the issuse and find better and more natural alternatives for energy production
Our planet has amazing buffering capacity. Human activity compared to this is ridiculously small. The sky is not falling. To compare the current climatic situation to those of the geologic past that have led to extinctions and large temperature spikes is irresponsible. We simply are not that important on the grand scale. A greener planet with more vegetation and more abundant fish due to higher levels of carbon dioxide consuming plankton is what we are worried about, really. If you want to worry about something, try the alternative which is just as likely, a mile thick layer of ice over North American and Europe! We simply do not understand this planet enough to make these grand speculations about its climate changes.
The solution to the increasing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is to reduce the emissions by finding new alternatives to produce energy. By separating CO2 from the air and storing it in other places, we are not stopping the real problem, we are investing our time in temporal solutions and maybe even future threats. Its much better and wise to invest our time finding new alternate, clean and sustainable energies that don't harm our environment.
involve industry by the lure of huge profit,by way of corbon credits .The engineering will come when the money comes
i think the better way is to grow more plants which absorbs more co2 and to use them in the better way
Since scientists cannot even agree yet on the causes of climate change, and the extent to which this will impact the world's economies, it is premature to conclude that carbon sequestration is an appropriate engineering solution. Some have proposed that, whether global warming is ultimately shown to be man-made or part of a natural climate cycle, and if it is shown that the net impacts are significantly negative, it is more cost-effective to develop/engineer adaptive strategies to cope with climate change instead of trying to mitigate or "prevent" it.
In response to anyone who said this, the idea of renewable energy vs. CCS is a complete false dichotomy!
One VERY important fact is that building the parts for renewable energy systems (i.e. wind farms) does require fossil fuel input, so to say that we should forget improving fossil fuel consumption and work on researching just renewables is just plain illogical. The fact is that if we are able to implement CCS to mitigate nearly all of the negative effects of fossil fuel use, that will actually HELP us with our renewable energies investment.
Also keep in mind that CO2 emissions are the only major problem. If we alleviate the vast majority of this problem using CCS, and continue researching and improving alternative energy production (which use of fossil fuels gives us the TIME to do) to prevent dependance on fossil fuels, then given the improving technologies in natural gas and unconventional oil production, and the reintroduction of coal as a veritable fuel source thanks to CCS, fossil fuels will be an excellent source of fuel for the next 100-200 years.
Sequestration is to deal with the immediate problem of climate change, and has no bearing on how we will use the sequestered carbon in the future. Since the most likely storage sites of seqeustered will be existing depleted oil/gas reserves, given how cheap it was to extract fossil fuels from these sites, it would be fairly manageable to later extract these sequestered carbon reserves in the future when we have found profitable uses for them, like the ones you mentioned in your posts. For now, we just need to keep the carbon out of our atmosphere.
What can be done with carbon? Build Bucky-balls; build nanotubes; build diamondoid structures for applications in the restoration and improvement of urban infrastructures. The sequestration part of the grand challenge to “develop carbon sequestration methods”, sounds a lot like an opportunity to secure something really important, like cyberspace. The current buzz about 3-D printing suggests a promising approach for building, i.e., printing, via swarms of printers, both urban and cyberspace infrastructures, in a long now kind of way.
So, better than sweeping it under the rug, so to speak, the best methods would involve common sense approaches like recycle and reuse. The dream of sequestering carbon away without any purpose other than to feel safe might only provide fodder for a false sense of security. However, if the under the rug approach prevails, it would provide a wealth of resources for whoever could control access to that under the rug sequestered loot, such as future 3-D printer ink-cartridge cartels. Yet again, by building up distributed reserves, such as carbon, a principle reason could be akin to saving resources for a rainy day, and, of course, there is no fault in that. Sequestering basic materials is a very reasonable way to provide security for future generations of growth and development.
What can be done with carbon? Build Bucky-balls; build nanotubes; build diamondoid structures for applications in the restoration and improvement of urban infrastructures. The sequestration part of the grand challenge to “develop carbon sequestration methods”, sounds a lot like an opportunity to secure something really important, like cyberspace. The buzz about 3-D printing suggests a promising approach for building, i.e., printing both urban infrastructures and cyberspace, in a long now kind of way.
So, better than sweeping it under the rug, so to speak, the best methods would involve common sense approaches like recycle and reuse. The dream of sequestering carbon away without any purpose other than to feel safe would only provide fodder for a false sense of security. However, if the under the rug approach prevails, it would provide a wealth of resources for whoever could control access to that under the rug sequestered loot, such as future 3-D printer ink-cartridge cartels. Yet again, by building up distributed reserves of basic materials, such as carbon, a principle reason could be akin to saving resources for a rainy day, and there is no fault in that.
At the outset, I would like to ask: Why are we fixated on (Sequestration and) Storage of Carbon? I strongly believe that CCS is is not the optimal solution for Carbon. Its a means to an end, but not the solution. If we move away from the prevalent paradigm that the only way to deal with Carbon is to sequester and store it, towards one where we see Carbon as a resource that can be beneficially reused for production of profitable end-products, I think that is when we will truly be addressing the Carbon challenge. Companies like of Calera ( which converts CO2 into cement-like aggregate) or LanzaTech (which convert CO emissions from steel mills into fuel and chemicals via gas fermentation) are progressing actively on this path. To underscore the basic thought here: lets see Carbon as an opportunity and not a problem. Lets think of value-generating Beneficial reuse of carbon in emissions, rather than cost prohibitive sequestration and storage.
Not putting it on the R&D table at all is the best option. Instead, use that money, time, resource allocation, and general brain-power to fast-track more solar, wind, geothermal and algae-farming technologies - all of which have strong current levels of feasibility and endless resource potential.
Ok so I was thinking of something along these lines before i came across this page, although it was much simpler than this (explained by the fact that I am in high school). So assuming that an excess of carbon dioxide is really a problem, its fairly obvious that something needs to be done to keep the CO2 within reasonable limits. What I was thinking is fairly far-fetched but has its benefits. Eventually humans are going to have to reach out into space for resources (there are $30 trillion worth of metals on a single asteriod). There are also oceans of methane on a moon of Saturn, providing a vast source for energy. If we could transport the methane over and use it and then collect the CO2 generated and deposit it on mars, we would be killing two birds with one stone, getting our energy needs without harming the environment and gradually making mars habitable. Now this might mean we continue to live our sloppy fossil fuel-fueled lifestyle, but if no harm results from it then do you really want to move to renewable sources just for the sake of it? and while the technology to do this may only be found in a sci-fi movie at the moment, it isn't too far out from the realm of possibility in 50-100 years. Remember that in 50 years we went from the most basic aeroplanes to putting a man on the moon. and even if we dont reach out to space for energy, we will eventually have to for other resources. and if we make mars habitable in the process we could help alleviate overcrowding on earth and reduce the risk of extinction should the be a global disaster on earth. I know it sounds far-fetched, but im sure so did cellfones and laptops a little under 100 years ago. and yes, feel free to correct me, im a high school student and my science in this post is of the same level
"I dont think caron sequestering will work becase of the fact that eventualy we will run out of peridotite to store the liquified carbon. "
i dont think caron sequestering will work becase of the fact that eventualy we will run out of peridotite to store the liquified carbon. and the fact that in ourder to make the carbon storable 20 persent of the energy they save will be used and 80 to keep carbon sequestering possibal
"Money is better spent finding out how to live without fossil fuels, which we will have to learn to do anyway."
Not generating the carbon on the first place is the best method. This whole idea is a ridiculous end-of-pipe slolution that just keeps us on the treadmill of engineered solution-unintended consequence-engineered solution. 100 years from now, this will look quaint and comical. Money is better spent finding out how to live without fossil fuels, which we will have to learn to do anyway.
Aiding the ocean's ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere would be the grandest and most effective achievement for this growing problem. It is known that plankton consumes a major portion of atmospheric CO2. As the ocean's upper layer temperature rises, they become slightly less dense. This results in increased stratification, reducing the availability of nutrients to the growing plankton in the sunlit upper layers of water. Add to this the increased level of CO2 in the surface water, which increases acidity and inhibits growth, we have a potential situation of reducing the growth rate of plankton. This cycle would accelerate the increase of atmospheric CO2 by reducing the earth's most efficient and abundant way of removing it. I have read articles about large-scale experimentation that involved the use of ingenious pumps intended to bring nutrient-rich water deep in the ocean up to the surface. These pumps used the natural swells of the ocean to bring the water up through a series of one-way valves in a pipe-like structure. The nutrients would then increase the growth of plankton in these areas, hopefully creating large plankton plumes which would increase CO2 removal. I hope this type of approach is taken seriously, and there is adequate funding for research and development for this clever and almost natural way of fighting a potential world-wide disaster. jl
I feel like there has to be a better way to store carbon than in the ocean or underground somewhere. Both of these methods seem like they are just shoving the problem under the rug, so to speak, and leaving it for later generations to deal with. We need to educate people on ways to minimize CO2 production and on the importance of the negative effects it has on our environment.
"...sequestering CO2 should be approached with an abundance of humility."
I think discussions such as sequestering CO2 should be approached with an abundance of humility. The natural world has proven to be remarkable (and mysterious) to man over the span of recorded history. When we don't conclusively understand cause-effect for current events, manipulating the system to alter the long-term capacity of this system is beyond arrogant.
"The problem is therefore not CO2, but coal-fired powerplants..."
PURE CO2 gas is actually a high-value commodity wich can be recycled in algae-plants in adjacent greenhouses. (the engineering for this has been worked out, see: algaelink.com). The problem is therefore not CO2, but coal-fired powerplants, because coal is never pure carbon but contaminated with metals, such as mercury wich ends up as methyl-mercury on our dinner plates, or SO2, NO2 flue gasses that no algae-strain can survive. I have advocated elsewhere on this site (next steps) to powertrack/electrify the highway-system, creating an artificial intelligent (weak A.I.) guide/slot-car network. This would increase profits for utilities due to MUCH higher capacity utilization. The amount of ethanol produced in the U.S. is fast approaching that of all coal used for electricity production (by energy content). Utilities could then make the switch to ethanol. In this way: 1 waste heat from a powerplant is used to climate control the adjacent greenhouse. 2 oxygen from the algaeplant is piped to the powerplant to clean fire the ethanol. 3 CO2 from the powerplant is piped to the algaeplant. 4 net energetic efficiencies of >80 % can be achieved. I hope that this is the sort of wealth-creation engineers can get excited about.
Carbon sequesteration is another big challenge facing the mankind along with the present energy crisis. Couple of things need to be done: 1. Extensive extension should be pursued educating the people in US and other developed countries to minimize and optimize the power usage. People still don't accept that global warming/climate change is the result of human action. Simple- Don't use if you don't require it. Just by educating people we can significantly reduce the carbon liberated. 2. Research needs to be done on catalytic conversion of CO2 to other forms such as water which will be beneficial and less harmful. Beware that the catalytic process should not generate another harmful form. 3. The CO2 can be harvested from industries and converted using processes such as anaerobic fermentation (which will need some form of electron acceptor) to ethanol or other beneficial compounds. This will require extensive work on finding the bug (microorganism) and means of supplying suitable electron acceptor such as H2.
"I am concerned about the security of the sequestered CO2."
My concerns about carbon sequestration are 3 fold. 1. The energy required for collecting, transporting and sequestering the CO2 promisses to be significant. I have seen a number that 30% of the energy produced would be required. At this level we would need 130% of the plants, and consume 130% of the fuel just to provide the curent net energy. This requires significantly greater capital and works to deplete the fuel resources quicker. 2. I am concerned about the security of the sequestered CO2. Formations which have had their gas or oil removed may not be as secure as they had been and thus not secure enough to retain the CO2. In addition, seismic activity could be accompanied by a belch of CO2 from underground resoviors and reverse any progress offered by the sequestration in land or sea. 3. I still lack a firm conviction that any rise in global tempreture is caused by the human activity or that there is a strong danger from the current path. Thanks. Andy Givens
Sequestering the CO2 from the 400 largest US coal power plants would generate something like 50M barrels a day of liquid CO2. Deep injection of those quantities is probably not sustainable for many years. Ocean injection might be more sustainable, but initially has much higher cost. Sequestration costs may push us out of coal anyway.
Carbon Sequestration is hardly an important issue, maybe only for those who still subscribe to the Anthropogenic Global Warming fearmongering for political reasons. During 2007 Anthropogenic Global Warming was pretty much discredited by over 400 prominent scientists who spoke out against it, many of whom were members of the UN IPCC committee which produced the 4th Annual Report in 2007. 19,000 other scientists across disparate fields have acknowledged that AGW, as touted by Al Gore and the IPCC, is misleading and discredited science at best, intentional fraud at worst. See: http://tinyurl.com/24ym5b U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007 Senate Report Debunks "Consensus" Report Released on December 20, 2007 Yes, AGW is POLITICAL science, not hard science and not worthy of further attention. It's amazing that this is still being touted as relevant.
Why wasting time and money to look methods to sequester carbon dioxide if it is easier to plant more trees and use alternative energies such as solar?
Well, firstly I would like to thank the people working on this find a solution for the upcoming disaster. It is a very big issue and I wish them the very best of luck, but my question here is - This process is to eliminate the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and not to reduce the out of the carbon dioxide, To succeed we should work both on eliminating the carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere as well as reduce the incoming of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
I think before we start to think a bout a "silver bullet" (or bullets) we need to start thinking about how to do the most work (in the thermodynamic sense) possible for a given rate of CO2 production. We know that there is an upper limit on the rate of CO2 production at which a stable climate can be maintained and on the other hand the total amount of work done by us humans can be roughly equated to economic growth and standard of living. What this means, if not immediately obvious, is that we need to scrutinize the efficiency (or minimize the creation of entropy) in the production of all forms of work. Furthermore, recent studies, like the one by the McKinsey group, have shown that in many cases the cost of providing the increased efficiency is negative (i.e. a cost savings) at current fuel prices. All we need is some leadership at the federal level to make it happen -- the technology is already available.
Okay, when we get this concept attained, what are we going to do with all the people who have starved to death due the plant life not having enough CO2 to flourish?
Carbon can be sequestered WITHOUT locking up either H or O2 ! The best method of sequestering carbon is to convert it to activated charcoal using fast-growing high cellulose plants, hemp, Japanese knot weed and others. This carbon would then be plowed into the agricultural land where it acts to retain minerals which otherwise leach from the soil. This in turn can reduce or eliminate the use of fertilizers. One of the advantages is that the oxygen otherwise bound into CO2 is freed to the atmosphere. Another advantage is that this makes the land more productive, at low cost. Of course a massive undersea methane hydrate breakdown could release enough tons of methane to make our carbon sequestration efforts moot. The obvious way to reduce the need for sequestration is to quit using hydrocarbons as fuels. That still leaves us with the current excess. We have had the technology to capture solar energy in orbit for over thirty years, there is more energy per sq ft in space and collection doesn't entail land use questions. If pollution costs are taken into consideration, space based solar power is cheaper than any Earth-based solution. We must also cease using war as a political solution, as we cannot afford the waste in resource which modern ware entails. We need to advance the science of diplomacy. CO2 is deadly in high concentrations, and work done monitoring forest growth under artificially raised levels of CO2 find that after a certain level, plant growth is reduced rather than accelerated.
I saw no concern being raised about the concomittant sequestration of oxygen with the carbon. Will not the concentration of breathable oxygen be reduced even if we solve the problem of excess CO2 in the atmosphere?
The best way to sequester carbon is to leave oil in the ground. The next generation or two will need the oil if space exploration is to get off the ground. This generation will swiftly reconnect to the traditional american value of thriftiness.
The best storage method is to plant trees. They can increase the concentration of oxygen by photosynthesis. Trees are a power source and help the spirit.
CO2 is NOT a pollutant. In fact, it stimulates growth of plants. There is no evidence that I have seen that shows that CO2 is having a 'bad' effect on our planet. The amount of CO2 in greenhouse gases is negligible compared to e.g. water vapour. I think your site is very interesting and stimulating. But it is a shame that you have to go with such a false assumption, i.e. that sequestering CO2 is a major concern of modern times. Our energy/resources can be better put to e.g. space exploration. I find it very sad not to see space exploration in the list but do see carbon sequestration methods.
Ideas: send it beyond our orbit figure out how to bind it to something else to make it innocuous quit making so much of the stuff!
The name is "carbon sequestration", yet we are talking about sequestration of two oxygen atoms for every carbon atom put away... Can we effort the oxygen sequestration? Do we have enough oxygen? I thing that pressing for technologies replacing any fossil fuel use would lead to more sustainable energy policy for the entire globe. Wind, solar, tide, nuclear, hydrogen (H with no C, but powered by energy sources mentioned before, to get H out of H2O, would waste some energy, but provides for dependable and portable H fuel) are examples of what we can work on to lower the costs. Fusion is already on your list but it does not work yet.
My comments regarding man trying to control the normal earth cycles of warming and cooling can be summed up in a quote from "The Man from La Mancha" ""Fortune," said Don Quixote to his squire, as soon as he had seen them, "is arranging matters for us better than we could have hoped. Look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants rise up, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes. For this is righteous warfare, and it is God's good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth." While I agree with controlling carbon dioxide emissions as much as possible we must not neglect the need of plant life. If we add efficient plant growth....not clear cut forests etc., we can use nature's way of converting carbon dioxide. This has worked from time immortal....why not harness it. Studies show that beneath the oceans, vast vents of carbon dioxide are released. What humans add to the CO2 in the atmosphere is does not amount to more that a drop in the bucket.....but the "Global Warming fad" is making many millionaires.
I have 35+ years in energy engineering, two engineering degrees, an MBA, held a PE license in several states, have engineered a score of nuclear power plants, two score fossil power plants, and studied advanced energy systems, e.g. nanotechnology, solar cells, hydrogen fuel systems, etc. for years. I have designed a number of chimneys for ~500 MWe power plants. It is inconceivable that power sequestration will ever work. The 1 st cost, and operating costs of the house power needed (e.g. fans, pumps) to overcome the delta P would destroy any economic value of any fossil fuel. There may be a soft solution, biosequestration (beyond my knowledge) whereby organisms will "eat" the CO2, in acceptable amounts. However, I have read extensively on the subject of global warming, and consider the problem is technically unworthy of massive social costs. Simply put, man produced CO2 is not a significant danger, ergo solution expenditures would be a waste of precious resources.
Folks, Entropy happens, and because of it between 66% and 75% of the potential fuel is lost to heat. Therefore, strategies that enhance the efficiencies of CO2 generating heat engines and internal combusition engines must be pursued. One strategy for coal burning heat engines is to heat isobutane or another compressed liquid at the turbine exhaust, pipe the gas to flash type boiler, and use it to spin another turbine. Using this strategy will increase plant efficiecy up to 20%, which means for every two 1000 MW boilers using compressed liquids for condenser cooling you can shut down one 1000 MW boiler. Compressed liquid technology is already in use to convert hot rock and geothermal energy to electricity, so the leap is not all that large. Fire Protection concerns will have to be met using gaurded pipe and placing the compressed liquid boiler/turbine generator in a oxygen deficient atmosphere.