Archive for » July, 2009 «

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009 | Author:  | 11,699 views - starting Aug 9/09

piezoelectricity? … what is that? … too many syllables!

no, wait! read on!! … physics is really cool! …atom

understanding the physics of our world and of our surrounding galaxy and Universe is an intensely fascinating venture! … the principles of physics, chemistry, math, and biology that govern and effect our existence are literally incredible …

it’s exciting to see how persistent humans are in exploring realms of the unknown … we really are innately curious creatures, and that makes life a lot of fun! … for millenia humans have probed and prodded physical and metaphysical realms to search for the answers to their incessant, insatiable questions … this is a good thing because we’ve learned so much … the power of our knowledge, however, must be respected deeply because knowledge can be used destructively or constructively …

in the mid- to late-19th century, several scientists discovered some materials generate an electrical potential when they are mechanically stressed (e.g., squeezed, compressed, etc.) … dubbed piezomorphic (a word derived from Greek: piezo = squeeze or press + morh = form) substances, people soon realized that there was a great potential (no pun intended!) for using these materials to generate different forms of energymore…

Category: Energy  | Tags: , ,  | 6 Comments

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Monday, July 27th, 2009 | Author:  | 13,741 views - starting Aug 9/09

skinny whale what?!?

gray whale identification

a quick reference to distinguishing gray whales from other species ... click for a larger image

according to the urban dictionary, there is such a thing as “dolphin whale syndrome” … that made me chuckle …

according to biologists, however, there is also such as thing as “skinny whale syndrome” … this one’s not so funny …

skinny whale syndrome is a recent phenomenon that is being observed in pacific gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) by fishermen, local people living near marine environments, and marine biologists … the migration, feeding, and breeding behaviours of these magnificent mammals are changing … more…

Category: climate change, Ecosystems, life, oceans, water, wildlife  | Tags: , , , , , , ,  | 2 Comments

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Friday, July 24th, 2009 | Author:  | 8,315 views - starting Aug 9/09

weyburn project

here’s a look at a “real life” example of CO2 capture & storage (CCS) technology put into practice …

in north america, the weyburn project in weyburn, saskatchewan, canada, was actualized in 2000 … it involves capturing CO2 gas from the dakota gasification company (dgc), a coal gasification plant in north dakota …

according to the dgc website, “each day the synfuels plant converts approximately 18,000 tons of lignite coal into an average 145 million cubic feet of synthetic natural gas” … the CO2 gas by-product of burning coal is captured and ‘recycled’ by the oil extraction industry in saskatchewan instead of being released into the atmosphere … more…

Category: climate change, Energy, pollution  | Tags: , ,  | 3 Comments

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Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 | Author:  | 4,346 views - starting Aug 9/09
exposed bedrock in the guld of maine, usa

exposed bedrock in the gulf of maine, usa

well, if injecting CO2 supercritical gas into bedrock is loaded with caveats, imagine how much worse it is to inject CO2 gas into the ocean — a living ecosystem teeming with biota (albeit i am not averse to Buddhist teachings and the contemporary Gaeia hypothesis, which contend that all matter has life) …

i’m especially bothered by any anthropogenic perturbations to oceans, largely because my training and schooling as a marine biologist made me shockingly aware of the enormity and extent of issues plaguing marine ecosystems as well as the (often unappreciated) importance that oceans play in global ecosystems …

so what may happen as a result of our attempts to store excess atmospheric CO2 gas in oceans? more…

Category: climate change, Ecosystems, Energy, life, oceans, water, wildlife  | Tags: , , , ,  | Leave a Comment

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Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 | Author:  | 8,133 views - starting Aug 9/09

in my previous post, i listed 3 general CO2 gas storage geotechnology strategies … i’ll discuss the pros & cons of each individually in the upcoming posts …

protestors dressed in CO2 molecule costumes to demonstrate in essen (1 june 2007) as part of the anti-CO2 pollution initiative, 'byebye CO2' ... photo from reuters

protesters dressed in CO2 molecule costumes to demonstrate in essen (1 june 2007) as part of the anti-CO2 pollution initiative, 'byebye CO2' ... photo from reuters

1.  CO2 stored in gaseous form and pumped or injected deep below the ground, into various geological formations such as saline aquifers, exhausted gas fields, coal beds, etc.

PROS:

* currently, this option is considered the safest … the injected CO2 gas is expected to react with the local bedrock and naturally form inert mineral carbonates via a process known as mineral carbonation … this is a natural geological process which, under normal conditions, occurs over a span of thousands of years … hence, the injected CO2 gas will theoretically exert no detriment to the local and regional geology while becoming permanently stored below the Earth’s surface … more…

Category: climate change, Ecosystems, Energy  | Tags: , , , , ,  | 6 Comments

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Friday, July 17th, 2009 | Author:  | 9,019 views - starting Aug 9/09
Quercus virginiana

Quercus virginiana

humans are still trying to develop technologies that imitate natural processes … by far the most effective, efficient, time-tested, and safest carbon capture and storage technology is found in photosynthesizing plants, soil microorganisms, and marine and freshwater ecosystems … however, fancy human technology has joined the race …

what are the pros & cons of artificial CO2 gas capture & storage? more…

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | Author:  | 12,993 views - starting Aug 9/09

<i wish i could figure out how to subscript the “2″ & “(g)” in CO2(g) in this wordpress application … my apologies to the chemists who may be perturbed by the incorrect notations throughout my posts!>

CO2 emissions

first of all, what exactly is CO2 gas capture and storage? … well, that’s a good question! … and how is the CO2 captured in the first place?

CO2 gas is a by-product (as well as a reactant and resource) of innumerable chemical processes — biological, geological, and cosmic … however, the rate at which CO2 gas increases in Earth’s atmosphere, as well as the cyclic patterns of fluctuating CO2 gas concentrations relative to other atmospheric gases, have both changed dramatically since the onset of the industrial revolution …

increasing atmospheric CO2 levels affect (but don’t determine) climate and weather patterns … hence, CO2 is considered a “greenhouse gas”, which contributes to the current global warming trends we are witnessing …
more…

Monday, July 13th, 2009 | Author:  | 9,277 views - starting Aug 9/09
an abacus

an abacus

human creativity knows no bounds … i think archaic and modern technology are impressive reflections of our ability to solve problems, adapt to our environment, and model new tools based on observations of nature … modifying and finding novel applications for existing technologies is equally august …

thorstein veblen (1857 – 1929), US economist & social philosopher, said “necessity is the mother of all invention” … for the past few decades, necessity has put technological solutions to climate change at the forefront of industry research, political agendas, and media attention …

however, technology is not a (let alone the) solution to climate change … more…

Friday, July 10th, 2009 | Author:  | 11,339 views - starting Aug 9/09

aquiferto help put into context this series of blog posts on water issues, i think it’s important to review aquifers … an aquifer is essentially a ‘gateway’ to accessing deep ground water that flows beneath the Earth’s surface … tapping into an underground aquifer by drilling or digging a well is one of the primary sources of freshwater worldwide … therefore, threats and risks to aquifer resources directly impact billions of people, as well as wildlife and ecosystems …

the global importance of aquifers is impressive when you consider that collectively, the world’s aquifers contain 100 times the volume of superficial fresh water … more…

Category: Ecosystems, lakes & freshwater systems, water  | Tags: , , , ,  | 3 Comments

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Wednesday, July 08th, 2009 | Author:  | 6,947 views - starting Aug 9/09

ecological footprintyou’ve likely heard of the term “ecological footprint” … the concept helps people to quantify and appreciate how lifestyle habits impact the environment … while the calculations are not always accurate (largely because there are innumerable variables that cannot always be factored into the equations and mathematical models), i think it’s very helpful for people to use this resource …

water footprintrecently, the concept of a “water footprint” has been promoted on a similar premise but with a focus on water use … more…