Technology

Despite the Headlines, 2021 Was A Year Full of Environmental Victories

You cannot be faulted for failing to notice the long list of environmental wins that occurred in 2021.  Good news stories do not have the sensationalistic allure of dramatic prophecies of doom, but once you get past the dire headlines, there is a litany of overlooked achievements that tangibly illustrate progress. Environmental successes are easily overlooked in a world ravaged by climate change, biodiversity loss, an ongoing global pandemic and attacks against democracy. We are bombarded with apocalyptic predictions that seem to celebrate defeatism, however, contrary to the prognostications of the ubiquitous prophets of doom, we still have time to act. ...

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Thank Climeworks for the World’s Most Sustainable Gift

There is a massive environmental toll associated with gift-giving, but what if you could give a gift that not only generates no waste but actually improves the state of the climate? Thanks to what is described as "the world’s most sustainable gift" you can. Climeworks' Climate Pioneers Program empowers people by enabling them to siphon climate change-causing carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere. The need to draw down carbon is supported by a plethora of research documenting the veracity of anthropogenic climate change and its wide-ranging catastrophic impacts. The situation is made even more urgent by inadequate government efforts...

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Evaluation Criteria to Assess Carbon Removal Technologies

We are on the cusp of surpassing climate tipping points from which we may not be able to recover. There have been thousands of studies documenting the veracity of anthropogenic climate change and its wide-ranging catastrophic impacts have been extensively investigated by researchers. There is a clear and unequivocal consensus that human-generated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are driving the climate crisis.  Atmospheric carbon emissions have been steadily rising since the industrial revolution and along with these increases, we have seen consistent increases in global average temperatures. A sizable body of evidence on current and projected GHG emissions clearly shows that...

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Best Electric Bikes: A Comprehensive List to Meet Every Need

Electric bikes (e-bikes) have come a long way in recent years. There are now many options that include everything from foldable utilitarian commuters to powerful off-roaders. E-bikes are the fastest-growing two-wheeled vehicle segment in the world today. They are an efficient way to get around in urban environments and they are emissions-free so they don't contribute to the pollution that so often plagues big cities. They also offer a great way to circumnavigate the gridlock that has become commonplace in metropolitan centers. Below you will find a representative suite of 18 e-bikes from basic models to futuristic designs. This list...

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We Need a Carbon Removal Master Plan

We need carbon dioxide removal (CDR) strategies to keep temperatures from breaching the limits contained in the Paris Agreement (2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial norms). Even if we were to stop emitting carbon into the atmosphere today we would still need to siphon carbon out of the atmosphere to keep global average temperatures from surpassing the upper threshold temperature limits. Given the scope of the required drawdown, we will need to deploy a full range of CDR strategies that include established technologies as well as innovative approaches. We must simultaneously explore new research directions. An assessment of CDR technologies (NCS,...

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Future Research Directions in Carbon Dioxide Removal

Calls for more research into carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies and carbon capture applications are coming from many quarters (Amann and Hartmann, 2019; Landau, 2018; Nekuda, 2019; Bipartisan Policy Center report, 2019; Budinis et al, 2016). We need to build on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report that recommended financial support for a detailed portfolio of NETs R&D totaling $1 billion annually (NAS, 2019) and the 10-year, $10.7 billion R&D commercial readiness innovation program from the think tank Energy Futures Initiative (Bipartisan Policy Center, 2019). We need quantitative approaches that will help us to further refine research...

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Factors Detracting from and Contributing to Carbon Dioxide Removal

CDR is essential for climate mitigation however, there are a host of factors that are impeding its implementation. One of the impediments to deploying CDR is cost related to the technology’s vast energy requirements. CDR at scale would consume vast amounts of energy, it is estimated that the large-scale deployment of DAC will require as much as a quarter of the world’s total energy demands by 2100 (Realmonte, 2019). There are also concerns that the energy required to power CDR at scale would generate emissions. Although some have suggested that this can be addressed by ensuring that these technologies are...

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The Role of the Fossil Fuel Industry in Carbon Capture

The fossil fuel industry has played a pioneering role in advancing carbon capture research. This includes carbon capture and utilization (CCU) for fuel, and enhanced oil recovery or (EOR) that uses captured carbon to extract more oil. Neither CCU nor EOR will enable us to meet the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement (ie keeping temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius). Using captured carbon to make fuel is at best carbon neutral and extracting more oil is fundamentally at odds with efforts to curtail climate change.. Research (Mac Dowell, Fennell, Shah, and Maitland, 2017) clearly shows that converting captured carbon...

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The Most Promising Directions in Negative Emissions Research

In addition to the established carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies, there are many innovative approaches that are worth exploring. Here is a summary of 16 promising research directions and approaches that encompass a wide range of technological solutions related to CCS, CCU, and NCS. Some are included because of their novel ability to capture carbon, others because of their innovative incorporation of renewable energy or the utility of their end products.  Polymer membranes submerged in water Due to their relatively low cost, facile fabrication, and straightforward scale-up, polymer membranes have been used as a practical alternative to traditional CCS gas...

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Assessment of Geological Negative Emissions Technology

The success of carbon dioxide removal (CDR) as a climate solution depends on the ability to safely and permanently store CO2 (Matter, 2016). To achieve a significant drawdown of CO2, both carbon capture and storage (CCS) and direct air capture (DAC) require sequestration infrastructure to ensure that captured carbon stays out of the atmosphere. According to the EPA, CCS technologies can bury up to 90% of power plant emissions (Hardcastle, 2016). Geologic sequestration has proven itself to be the safest and most enduring way to keep carbon out of the atmosphere. As reviewed above CF has demonstrated that through a...

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