Saturday January 18, 2020

‘Mechanical Trees’ A Good Option To Fight Climate Change? Read Here To Find Out!

The device uses wind to blow air through its system rather than an energy-intensive mechanism.

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A stump from a old growth tree cut for timber is pictured at the Garcia River Forest near Longvale, California, July 27, 2009. VOA

A Dublin-based company plans to erect “mechanical trees” in the United States that will suck carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air, it said on Monday, in what may be prove to be biggest effort to remove the gas blamed for climate change from the atmosphere.

The company, Silicon Kingdom Holdings (SKH), will build 1,200 carbon-cleansing metal columns within a year with which it hopes to capture CO2 more cheaply than other methods, following a successful test in Arizona over a two-year period, it said.

That is enough to suck up nearly 8,000 cars worth of emissions per year of CO2.

“We have to figure out how to act to get to a climate that is safe,” said the technology’s inventor, Klaus Lackner, a professor at Arizona State University.

SKH’s pilot would be the world’s largest “direct air capture” operation to date, said Jennifer Wilcox, a professor of chemical engineering at the U.S.-based Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who is not involved in the project.

Carbon capture is gradually gaining momentum, with the United Nations saying in a report last year that the technology is likely needed to keep the rise in global temperatures below catastrophic levels.

SKH expects its two-year pilot, possibly in California, to capture about 36,500 metric tons of CO2 a year, it said – the equivalent of nearly 7,750 vehicles driven for a year.

Full-scale farms would be 100 times bigger.

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While capturing CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants has a decades-long commercial history, “direct air capture”, which pulls the gas directly from the atmosphere is a burgeoning field with only a handful of players, said Wilcox. Pixabay

The company’s “mechanical trees”, as the firm has dubbed them because they are tall and slender and absorb CO2 just like trees, are fitted with filter-like components to absorb the CO2, a photo of a prototype showed.

The device uses wind to blow air through its system rather than an energy-intensive mechanism, it said.

While capturing CO2 from industrial facilities and power plants has a decades-long commercial history, “direct air capture”, which pulls the gas directly from the atmosphere is a burgeoning field with only a handful of players, said Wilcox.

Swiss firm Climeworks has so far led the market, alongside Canada-based Carbon Engineering and U.S.-based Global Thermostat, she said.

FILE - A facility for capturing CO2 from air of Swiss Climeworks AG is placed on the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, July 18, 2017.
A facility for capturing CO2 from air of Swiss Climeworks AG is placed on the roof of a waste incinerating plant in Hinwil, Switzerland, July 18, 2017. VOA

The companies compress the high-concentration CO2 they capture and then can sell it for use in industrial applications, including making drinks fizzy, creating fuel and extracting oil.

While the high price of direct air capture has long been viewed as an impediment to scaling up the technologies, SKH’s costs is less than $100 per metric ton for pure CO2, it said.

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“The $100 a ton is important because I think that’s the point where things start to get economically interesting,” Lackner told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “You can buy liquid CO2 which is delivered by truck in order to fill fire extinguishers and myriad other things for prices between $100 and $200 a ton.”

SKH would not provide information about how much building the pilot would cost. It said it was “in discussions with a range of potential funders and strategic partners from the aviation, energy and food and beverage industries.” (VOA)

Next Story

Here’s How Fish Sticks Can Generate Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Shipping has a massive influence on climate and a shift to cleaner fuels will diminish the cooling effect from sulfur oxides and increase the climate impact

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A study found that Alaskan pollock is a relatively fuel-efficient fishery: Pollock are caught in large nets called midwater trawls that are towed behind boats, hauling in a lot of fish in each landing and reducing the climate impact of the fishing process. Pixabay

Researchers have found that transforming ‘Alaskan pollock’ into fish sticks, imitation crab and fish fillets generates nearly twice the greenhouse gas emissions produced by fishing itself.

Post-catch processing generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings, published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene.

“The food system is a significant source of global greenhouse gas emissions, and Alaskan pollock is one of the biggest fisheries in the world,” said study researcher Brandi McKuin from Unviersity of California in the US.

“These findings highlight the need to take a comprehensive approach to analysing the climate impacts of the food sector,” McKuin added. “Alaskan pollock is sold as fillets and trim pieces that are used to make products like fish sticks and imitation crab, it’s a huge market,” she said.

Unlike previous studies that have largely overlooked the downstream processing activities associated with Alaskan pollock, this study examined all the components of the supply chain, from fishing through the retail display case.

The results identify “hot spots” where the seafood industry could concentrate its efforts to reduce its climate impacts, said the researchers. For the findings, the research team analysed the climate impacts of transoceanic shipping of exported seafood products.

They found that Alaskan pollock is a relatively fuel-efficient fishery: Pollock are caught in large nets called midwater trawls that are towed behind boats, hauling in a lot of fish in each landing and reducing the climate impact of the fishing process.

After the catch, Alaskan pollock are shipped for processing, and in some cases, transported on large container ships that burn copious amounts of fuel, including cheaper, poor-quality bunker fuel that produces high levels of sulfur particles. The researchers noted that sulfur oxides from ship fuels have a climate-cooling effect.

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Post-catch processing of fish generates nearly twice the emissions produced by fishing itself, which is typically where the analysis of the climate impact of seafood ends, according to the findings, published in the journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. Pixabay

“Seafood products that are exported have a lower climate impact than domestic seafood products,” she said, adding that the climate impacts of shipping will change this year as new regulations for cleaner marine fuels take effect.

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“Shipping has a massive influence on climate and a shift to cleaner fuels will diminish the cooling effect from sulfur oxides and increase the climate impact of products that undergo transoceanic shipping, including seafood,” said McKuin. (IANS)