A bold undertaking to store one million metric tonnes (1.1 million short tons) of carbon dioxide in a sandstone reservoir 1.3 miles (2.1 km) below Decatur, Illinois, is well under way. The project began last November, and has so far injected more than 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide, almost one tenth of the target. The University of Illinois, which is leading the Illinois Basin - Decatur Project (IBDP), hopes that the scheme will demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of carbon sequestration
, as well as raise public awareness of the process's potential environmental benefits.
In recent years, worries over global climate change caused by excess atmospheric carbon dioxide have led to a number of technologies all aimed at the same thing – capturing human-generated CO2 at the source. These have included the use of things such as edible sponges
, molten salts
, to name just a few. Now, a group of scientists are claiming success with a process that has achieved “some of the highest carbon dioxide removal rates ever reported for humid air” ... and it uses a common and inexpensive polymer.
Three years ago, Virgin Atlantic Airways grabbed some headlines when it experimentally ran one of its 747s on a mixture of standard jet fuel and biofuel
. While some called it a publicity stunt, it was the first time that a commercial airliner had flown using biofuel – albeit only in part of one of its four fuel tanks. Today, however, the airline announced that it’s developing an aviation fuel that will have half the carbon footprint of conventional fuel. The carbon savings won’t result from how cleanly the fuel burns, but from how it’s obtained.
As concerns continue to rise over man-made carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, various groups of scientists have begun developing filters
that could remove some or all of the CO2 content from smokestack emissions. Many of these sponge-like filters incorporate porous crystals known as metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). Unfortunately, most MOFs are derived from crude oil, plus some of them contain toxic heavy metals. Researchers from Illinois’ Northwestern University, however, recently announced that their nontoxic
MOF sponge – made from sugar, salt and alcohol – is fully capable of capturing and storing CO2. As an added bonus, should you be really hungry, you can eat the thing.
While some see carbon capture
and storage as akin to sweeping CO2 emissions under the carpet, others believe it is a necessary short-term solution in the transition to a clean energy future. Last week, ground was broken on construction of the U.S.'s first large-scale industrial carbon capture and storage (ICCS) facility that aims to demonstrate that CO2 emissions can be stored permanently in deep underground rock formations.
If there’s one big environmental concern surrounding power plants that burn material such as coal in order to produce power, it’s the amount of carbon dioxide that they release into the atmosphere. Various experimental technologies
have been developed for removing most or all of the CO2 from smokestack effluents, although no one system appears to have been universally accepted as of yet. One technology that shows some promise, and that could perhaps be used in conjunction with other systems, is called Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC). Norwegian research group SINTEF is now building a special new type of CLC system, for use in the DemoCLOCK pilot project, to be installed at Spain’s Elcogas Puertollano power plant.
Students at Michigan Technological University have designed and constructed their own mini-smokestack to showcase a new method for scrubbing carbon dioxide from emissions. The approach is similar to SkyMine
technology, but instead of producing sodium bicarbonate as a byproduct, it turns captured carbon into a solid material that could have applications as a construction material.
Trees make a huge contribution to the green infrastructure of our towns and cities, both in carbon sequestration and aesthetics, yet the economical value of them is often forgotten leading them to be undervalued or seen as a nuisance. The i-Tree tool aims to change the way people see trees – it is a freely available software suite from the US Forest Service which provides analysis, benefit-calculations and assessment tools to quantify the contribution made by trees in the urban environment to allow communities to understand the economic benefit of protecting our urban forests.
America's first house made primarily of hemp has been built. Using a product known as Hemcrete – a mix of industrial hemp, lime and water – a team of 40 volunteers, sub-contractors and designers have recently completed construction of the hemp house in Asheville, North Carolina. Eco-friendly design and construction company Push Design has gained the support of community members and local officials alike and now plans to build more of these houses, which offer exceptional strength and longevity, breathability, unsurpassed indoor air quality and two-pronged carbon sequestration attributes.
Architects have been looking at ways to improve city buildings with living walls
and living roofs
that add some much needed greenery and help remove carbon from the atmosphere. Now researchers are looking at using a different sort of “living “ material created from protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to create a coral-like skin that could be used to clad city buildings, build carbon-negative architecture and even "grow" reefs to stabilize the city of Venice.