Carbon capture and sequestration in underground reservoirs isn’t the most practical or cost effective way to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. It would be much simpler if CO2 could be quickly and cheaply converted into a harmless, solid mineral before it is released into the atmosphere. A team from the U.K.’s Newcastle University may have stumbled across a way to achieve this thanks to the humble sea urchin.
With large cargo freighters being a major source of CO2 emissions
worldwide it's been encouraging to see various efforts to make such vessels more efficient. In recent years we've seen the development of the world's biggest container ship
to cut CO2 emissions per container moved, air bubbles
used to cut the friction between a ship's hull and the ocean, and even plans to return to the use of sails
to cut fuel use. Now Nissan has launched an energy efficient coastal car carrier called the Nichio Maru that employs solar panels, LED lighting, a low friction hull coating hull and an electronically controlled diesel engine to cut fuel consumption.
The scooter and motorcycle are morphing into a new class of two-wheeled machine, with the power, acceleration, braking and roadholding of the motorcycle, and carrying capacity, weather protection, comfort, safety and ease-of-use of the scooter. The SRV 850 is Aprilia's performance version of the Gilera GP800, which was already the world's fastest and most powerful scooter. It is now a red-blooded Italian V-twin sports bike with a CVT (no gears) and the acceleration to smoke a Bugatti Veyron at legal speeds. With Honda's Integra due to be unveiled in Tokyo, and new entries from BMW, the superscooter class is burgeoning in response to the need for this new class of super commuter.
Traffic lights are an essential part of keeping chaos at bay on our city streets, but the idea didn't exactly get off to a flying start. The first gas-lit traffic light appeared outside the British Houses of Parliament in London in December 1868 but exploded two months later (which was bad news for the policeman operating it) and when the first electric lights appeared in the U.S. in 1912, apparently no-one wanted to stop for a “flashing bird house.” Gradually the technology improved and interconnected lights that could be automatically rather than manually controlled appeared in the 1920s. Now we could be seeing another great leap forward - traffic lights that talk to cars. That's the basis of Audi's travolution project which sets up a dialogue between vehicles and traffic lights in order to keep traffic flowing, save fuel, reduce emissions and possibly help keep drivers saner in the process.
Researchers at MIT have continued a study of climate risk and released a new report to show that even moderate carbon-reduction policies can substantially lower the risk of future climate change. It also shows that action is needed quickly if global emissions reductions are to provide a good chance of avoiding a temperature increase of more than 2°C above the pre-industrial level — a widely discussed target. But the researchers determined that failing to take prompt action could result in extreme changes that could become much more difficult, if not impossible, to control.
Research carried out by the MIT's Center for Global Change Science has predicted that global warming will be roughly double previous estimates – and could be even worse than that. While a major 2003 study indicated a median projected increase in earth surface warming of 2.4 degrees Celsius, the new study, which takes into account possible changes in human activities, points to a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 unless drastic action is taken.
When it comes to buying consumer electronics, we are factoring energy efficiency into our choices in a bid to cut our household energy consumption, a new study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has found.
Mazda is providing another green option in Japan by commencing commercial leasing of their Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid, a hydrogen hybrid vehicle that combines Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine with an electric motor. The Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid improves on the RX-8 Hydrogen RE
– the first model to be commercialized - with the hydrogen fuel range of the doubled to 200 kilometers and the maximum output increased by approximately 40 percent to 110 kilowatts.
The debate about the benefits of using Carbon Capture and Sequestration
(CCS) to fight against climate change is ongoing. One one hand there are reservations regarding suitable sequestration sites that provide sufficient security to store CO2 for centuries as well as the cost of implementing such a system, which could draw important funds away from the development of renewable energy technologies. On the other, we are still heavily reliant on burning fossil fuels to produce energy and this infrastructure can't be replaced overnight. CCS is obviously attractive to existing power generation companies as it allows them to keep hold of their existing infrastructure and for this reason, it is more than likely that CSS schemes will continue to gather momentum. So where to we can CO2 be stored? Scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute
and the U.S. Geological Survey have produced a new report
that maps large rock formations in the United States that can also absorb CO2 and are exploring ways to speed up the CCS process.
While we are constantly covering advances in alternative energies the hard fact is that we are heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels to meet our energy needs - and in the medium term, given that the political will and economic benefits of finding green solutions is only just starting to gather momentum, we are stuck with them. That means we have to clean them up. We recently covered the discovery by Indian scientists of naturally occurring bacteria
that convert CO2 into calcium carbonate and could be used on existing fossil fuel fired power plants and now Colorado based company, ION Engineering
, have developed technology that could be used in a similar way to economically remove CO2 and other contaminants from fossil fuel power plant emissions and raw natural gas.