Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | Author:  | 12,941 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 …

while there are many anthropogenic factors that contribute to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, by far the worst offenders are industry (with significant variability among different sects with respect to CO2 gas production and effluence), petroleum-powered transportation, mass deforestation, and destruction (most often due to development) of wetlands (which includes marshes, bogs, swamps, ponds, etc.) …

individually, you have great and direct influence over the amount of CO2 emitted from petroleum-powered transportation … collectively, we all have enormous influence over the amount of CO2 emitted by industry … consumers wield the power of the dollar by affecting demand of products and services …

how can we globally decrease CO2 levels in the air?

currently, industries and governments are working together to develop geoengineering technologies that will:

1. decrease the amount of CO2 emitted from industrial processes; and
2. remove a proportion of CO2 gas from the air (i.e., “scrubbing” … i’ll cover this briefly in a later post) …

in theory, these sound like fantastic ideas and real solutions … however, let’s take a closer look at the entire picture …

decreasing the amount of CO2 emitted from industrial processes — where & how is this technology being used?

currently the greatest point sources of CO2 production and emission are the chemical industry as well as industries involved in the extraction, refinement, combustion, and/or conversion of primary natural resources such as: fossil fuels and biomass (e.g., using plants or bacteria for fuel and energy production), paper and pulp, mineral ores, and non-metallic minerals such as those used in the manufacture of cement …

cumulatively, these industries contribute up to 40% of annual global CO2 emissions …

while some industry spokespersons and politicians may argue that atmospheric CO2 levels have always vacillated over geological history, it is self-evident that anthropogenic sources are challenging the Earth’s capacity to adapt to the sudden increase …

harvesting CO2 emissions from coal plants is apparently the most energy efficient option, which is an extremely important issue to consider because consuming high amounts of natural resources to reduce CO2 emissions would be an environmentally counter-productive enterprise … it would merely serve as “good public-relations” for the corporations and governments undertaking the project …

fortunately, decreasing coal plant emissions is also among the most urgent and relevant global environmental conundrums, because coal plants discharge a disproportionately large percent of global industrial greenhouse gases relative to the other said industries …

however, capturing CO2 gas from coal plants still requires energy … to compensate for this energy input, the CO2 gas is generally used for a secondary purpose (i.e., it’s recycled) before it is permanently stored …

what are the benefits & risks? … i’ll cover these in my next post on friday july 17

i initially thought of posting a photo of a coal processing plant ... but the smoke stacks and the emissions looked dismal and daunting ... this is anthracite coal ... it's actually quite beautiful ... coal is a natural substance -- concentrated fossilized organic material ... wow! ... it's such a stupendous concept ... coal is not "bad" ... but combusting enormous amounts of it effects dire consequences ...

i initially thought of posting a photo of a coal processing plant ... but the smoke stacks and the emissions looked dismal and daunting ... this is anthracite coal ... it's actually quite beautiful ... coal is a natural substance -- concentrated fossilized organic material ... wow! ... it's such a stupendous concept ... coal is not "bad" ... but combusting enormous amounts of it effects dire consequences ...

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5 Responses

  1. 1
    Scarlett Johanson 

    That 40 percent of emissions by certain industries could precisely be ameliorated through tougher restrictions on production and alternate means.

    As for C02 capture… maybe it could be put into carbonated beverages. jokes!

    Nice blog BTW

    Outie, Scar

  2. 2
    Haley 

    This makes sense. Thanks. So interesting.

  3. 3
    Pueblo Starman Rocha 

    Wow! Esto puede ser especialmente uno de los blogs m谩s beneficioso Tenemos nunca llegan a trav茅s de este tema. Realmente fant谩stico. Puedo entender su duro trabajo.

  4. 4
    Heidi 

    i think i dont understand this very well. it’s a difficult topic to understand.

  5. 5
    Agatha 

    Thank you for this blog! So much information!