Technology

An Assessment of Carbon Capture Technologies

Carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies have made great strides in the last ten years and there is support for the view that they are necessary and will play a major role in efforts to decarbonize our world. CDR includes direct air capture and sequestration (DACCS), carbon capture and utilization (CCU), and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). This view is buoyed by pilot projects that have been deployed around the world, however, there is some disagreement about the cost and speed at which they can scale. It is likely that no one technology will dominate, and we will need to co-deploy...

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The Costs and Scalability of Carbon Capture Technologies

There are good reasons to believe that carbon dioxide reduction (CDR) technologies are viable, however, there are also legitimate concerns about such technologies.   An EASAC report concluded that NETs are unlikely to remove even several GtCO2/year after 2050. "Negative emission technologies may have a useful role to play but, on the basis of current information, not at the levels required to compensate for inadequate mitigation measures," the report stated. Low technological readiness, high costs, and negative effects on terrestrial and marine ecosystems are factors weighing against NETs, it said (EASAC, 2018). Cost is often presented as an important consideration. However,...

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Natural Climate Solutions for Carbon Sequestration

Nature-based solutions to climate change offer a number of ways to capture carbon. These so-called natural climate solutions (NCS) involve conservation, restoration and land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands.    Carbon capture is a critical part of efforts to reduce atmospheric emissions that will enable us to keep temperatures below upper-temperature threshold limits of between 1.5 and 2 Celsius. Natural Climate Solutions are the most cost-effective negative emissions technology (NETs), this is particularly true of land management and forest management which can be implemented for less than $100 per tonne of...

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Decarbonization Through Electrification in Waterborne Transportation

All modes of transportation are gradually being converted to electric propulsion and this includes watercraft. Driven by ominous increases in atmospheric greenhouse gas emissions the move to decarbonize transportation through electrification is growing and while land and air travel get a lot of well-warranted attention, we also need to decarbonize vehicles that travel on water.  In recent years we have made major strides in electric cars, trucks, and buses as well as electric-powered aviation, but there are even greater opportunities to electrify watercraft because they are not as limited by space and weight as their air and land-based counterparts. Electrification is especially well...

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The Unprecedented Wildfires in 2020 are Connected to Climate Change

The intense wildfires that raged across the Western U.S., South America, and Australia in 2020 are being attributed to climate change. What makes these fires unprecedented is their size and duration.  There is growing evidence that these increasingly intense fires could eradicate some species of floral and fauna.  Across the American west, fire seasons are now 78 days longer than they were in the 1970s.  According to the National Interagency Fire Center as of the beginning of December, there have been 52,934 wildfires in the U.S. that have burned 14,905 square miles this year making 2020 the second-largest area burned...

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What Aviation Efficiency can Teach us about the Power of Small Gestures

It is entirely appropriate that big ticket efforts to reduce global warming causing greenhouse gas emissions are at the center of global climate efforts, however, there is also a need for small gestures. Such actions can make a big difference if repeated often. Governments (nations and subnational), public companies and private organizations all have a critical role to play and so do individuals. Efficiency in the aviation industry is a good illustration of how seemingly small efforts can make a difference. Something as simple as painting a plane with a light color can have a major impact. White paint is...

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Virtual Event – The Future of Sustainable Buildings Conference

The Future of Sustainable Buildings Conference will take place on October 27, 2020 1 p.m. - 2 p.m. (EDT). This free live virtual conference is subtitled "How Timber Will Define the Skylines of Our Future". Climate change will impact how we live and design in the future. To slow the rate of climate change we need to rethink the way we build. Sustainable design has many meanings, but  it starts with the recipe of building and the choice of healthy ingredients. The materials of a building and especially the structural materials represent the embodied carbon in a building’s life. Timber is...

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University Installs Innovative Water Battery to Harness Solar Power

Batteries are a critical part of effectively harnessing the power of renewable energy and one university has installed a giant water battery that will cut costs by 100 million over the next quarter century.  The University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia is using a three story high water battery along with 6,000 solar panels they have installed on campus roofs and parking lots. The battery acts like a huge thermal energy storage tank, solar panels cool water and then it is used in campus' air conditioning system. The project will reduce dependence on the grid by 42 percent...

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University of Queensland Goes 100% Renewable

The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia has become the first institute of higher learning in the world to have its entire energy consumption offset by renewable energy produced from its own assets. With 50,000 solar panels on campuses in Brisbane and Gatton generating 7 megawatts (MW) the university was already Australia's largest solar energy producing university. The new Warwick facility that was completed in 2020 generates about 160GWh per year making UQ energy neutral. The new facility not only meets its current electricity needs it also offsets projected future demand. The AU$125 million (US$87.33 million) cost of the project...

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