Sunday, July 25, 2010

Splitting CO2 for Fuel and Climate?

* 700 square kilometers (270 square miles) of this system would extract the excess CO2 within ten years
A team of scientists at George Washington University and Howard University have devised a theoretical means of splitting CO2, turning the demon gas into either solid carbon or into carbon monoxide, CO. The CO could be used to generate hydrocarbon fuels with the aid of hydrogen -- a by-product of their theoretical process "STEP" (Solar Thermal Electrochemical Photo).
By using the sun's visible light and heat to power an electrolysis cell that captures and converts carbon dioxide from the air, a new technique could impressively clean the atmosphere and produce fuel feedstock at the same time. The key advantage of the new solar carbon capture process is that it simultaneously uses the solar visible and solar thermal components, whereas the latter is usually regarded as detrimental due to the degradation that heat causes to photovoltaic materials. However, the new method uses the sun’s heat to convert more solar energy into carbon than either photovoltaic or solar thermal processes alone.

...the process uses visible sunlight to power an electrolysis cell for splitting carbon dioxide, and also uses solar thermal energy to heat the cell in order to decrease the energy required for this conversion process. The electrolysis cell splits carbon dioxide into either solid carbon (when the reaction occurs at temperatures between 750°C and 850°C) or carbon monoxide (when the reaction occurs at temperatures above 950°C). These kinds of temperatures are much higher than those typically used for carbon-splitting electrolysis reactions (e.g., 25°C), but the advantage of reactions at higher temperatures is that they require less energy to power the reaction than at lower temperatures.

... The experiments in this study showed that the technique could capture carbon dioxide and convert it into carbon with a solar efficiency from 34% to 50%, depending on the thermal component. While carbon could be stored, the production of carbon monoxide could later be used to synthesize jet, kerosene, and diesel fuels, with the help of hydrogen generated by STEP water splitting._Physorg_via_BrianWang

If humans develop the ability to control the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere through technological means, there would be little reason for the widespread hysteria which is seen in the UN, the EU, and in the Obama Pelosi regime. Likewise, as humans develop better technological methods of weather control -- controlling solar insolation, cloud formation, and precipitation -- the modern over-hyped concern about the use of fossil fuels should eventually subside.

The topmost graphic demonstrates the historically very-low levels of atmospheric CO2 found in our current atmosphere. Clearly the biosphere of Earth evolved under generally much higher levels of CO2. Modern high-tech greenhouses use expensive CO2 generators to boost the levels of CO2 to up to 3 X atmospheric levels -- for more optimal growth of a wide variety of plant life.

The modern obsession with "pre-industrial levels of CO2" displays a profound ignorance of this planet's atmospheric and biological history, as the graphic above demonstrates. Closer inspection of the motives of the leaders of the carbon hysteria orthodoxy demonstrates monetary payoffs via carbon trading, international carbon ransom payments, and other economic maneuvers of questionable legality and wisdom.

It is a good idea to develop the means to control basic atmospheric parameters, in order to provide for rapid recovery from unanticipated geologic or extraterrestrial events. Anyone who has looked at the details of Earth's carbon cycle intelligently and critically will not be alarmed at anthropogenic use of carbon. But the universe holds many surprises for a young race of slightly evolved apes, and it does not hurt to be prepared for as many of those surprises as we can anticipate -- if the results are potentially severe.

Previously published at Al Fin

More: We need all the fossil fuels we have in order to transition into a cleaner, more abundant, and more sustainable energy future. If we cut ourselves off at the neck now (via Obama Pelosi style energy starvation) we will not be able to develop the advanced technologies that will allow us to spread the miracle of Earth's ecosystems through the solar system and beyond. If we follow the political scams that are making the faux environmental movement wealthy and powerful, we may as well call it quits as a species and a planet. Because sooner or later something devastating is going to happen to this planet -- either via innate geological processes, or via an extraterrestrial event. If we follow the witless way of Greenpeace, WWF, Sierra Club, etc. that will be the end, because we will have abandoned technology and space in order to "save the planet." But what we will have actually done, is to allow the only known source of life and intelligence in the universe to die without a struggle. That is not only stupid, but it is cowardly. Do we really want to teach our children to be stupid cowards?

Labels: ,


Blogger bruce said...

This last paragraph is a bullseye.
It should be stamped on the cover of every school text.

7:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts