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Milo Christensen
02-09-2007, 08:57 AM
It's about time. This is my kind of thinking.

Design a way to remove a billion tons of greenhouse gases a year and win the $25 Million Virgin Earth Challenge prize say Branson and Gore.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=ac0o8loT053w&refer=europe

I didn't vote for Gore when I had the chance because his stance on the environment was too extreme for me back then, but this is an interesting alternative for those greedy climate scientists who are scaring us so they get more funding.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 09:10 AM
Instead of cleaning up a mess after it's been made, it's always easier to avoid making it in the first place.

Anyway, there is only one sensible, energy-efficient way to remove carbon from the atmosphere --- photosynthesis -- either on land or at sea.

The solution is either to plant more forest (or stop cutting down those we already have), or to stimulate algea growth in the ocean.

The real problem is not how to get it out of the atmosphere, but where and how to store it so that it won't decompose and release the CO2 back into the atmosphere. I'm not sure how big a billion tons is, but it sounds like a lot.

The most sensible way to store carbon for the long term is as either petroleum oil or coal. Trees, grass, crops, seaweed and algea decompose at apporixmately the same rate that they grow, so there's little net gain.

Petroleum oil is easy to deal with because it's relatively stable, has a very high carbon content per volume -- and the fact that it's a liquid makes it easy to transport and store.

Unfortunately, oil is rather difficult to make - takes mother nature thousands of years -- and getting it back in the ground is a lot like putting toothpaste back in the tube.

Rather than pump a gallon up, burn it, and then try to recover it and try to pump it back down, doesn't it just make more sense to drive a smaller, more efficient car or ride your bike?

Popeye
02-09-2007, 09:34 AM
it could probably be stored inside pepsi

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-09-2007, 09:44 AM
Shellfish do a good long term job.

How about a reduction plant at each retail fuel vendor - converting the Dioxide to the Monoxide.

Hwyl
02-09-2007, 09:49 AM
All power to Richard Branson, what is he doing in his own world, is he lobbying for airlines to pay fuel tax?

Interesting coming from a guy who raced a power boat across the Atlantic to chase a record that he was not eligible for.

An aside for LBJ, one of my latent excuses for not cutting my grass as frequently as my neighbours is that it clears up more CO2 when it's long. I know I'm already winning by not standing behind my polluting lawn mower (asthma related reasons), but does long grass actually clear more CO2

Popeye
02-09-2007, 09:51 AM
i just had a thought , what if someone found a way to combine the scavenged carbon with hydrogen and nitrogen and developed a sythesized fuel

wouldn't that be a kick in the pants

John Most
02-09-2007, 09:56 AM
The easy answer is to Plant a billion trees.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 09:56 AM
Instead of cleaning up a mess after it's been made, it's always easier to avoid making it in the first place.

Anyway, there is only one sensible, energy-efficient way to remove carbon from the atmosphere --- photosynthesis -- either on land or at sea.

The solution is either to plant more forest (or stop cutting down those we already have), or to stimulate algea growth in the ocean.

The real problem is not how to get it out of the atmosphere, but where and how to store it so that it won't decompose and release the CO2 back into the atmosphere. I'm not sure how big a billion tons is, but it sounds like a lot.

The most sensible way to store carbon for the long term is as either petroleum oil or coal. Trees, grass, crops, seaweed and algea decompose at apporixmately the same rate that they grow, so there's little net gain.

Petroleum oil is easy to deal with because it's relatively stable, has a very high carbon content per volume -- and the fact that it's a liquid makes it easy to transport and store.

Unfortunately, oil is rather difficult to make - takes mother nature thousands of years -- and getting it back in the ground is a lot like putting toothpaste back in the tube.

Rather than pump a gallon up, burn it, and then try to recover it and try to pump it back down, doesn't it just make more sense to drive a smaller, more efficient car or ride your bike?


Well, no, it doesn't. Thinking that riding a bike or driving a more efficient car would make a measurable change is a gross misrepresenation of the basic issue.

Mrleft8
02-09-2007, 10:02 AM
Actually Gareth, I believe that Branson is seriously looking into alternative fuels for his fleet. I think he's considering bio-diesel, but I'm not positive....Could be Ethynol.... There was a bit on the news about this a few months back.

Milo Christensen
02-09-2007, 10:15 AM
ljb5: I'd like to see you move beyond the focus on cars. Doubling fuel economy or halving miles driven would provide between 1/15 and 1/30 of the carbon savings needed to prevent a rise of CO2 concentrations above 500 + 50 ppm, from the current level of about 375 ppm.

Flying Orcas posted a link to a detailed paper that was largely ignored in the other discussion. Worth repeating in this thread...


...Pacala & Socolow's "wedge strategy" ... They suggest in this paper (http://fire.pppl.gov/energy_socolow_081304.pdf) that we can stabilize atmospheric CO2 at 500ppm over the next 50 years, using current technology, by adopting 7 of the 15 "wedges" described below. Adopting additional wedges would, of course, improve the ongoing scenario.

The fifteen possible strategies:

1) Increase fuel economy for 2 billion cars from 30 to 60 miles per gallon (sorry for the archaic units, but it's a US paper!).

2) Decrease car travel from 10 000 miles per year to 5 000 miles per year (assuming 30 mpg vehicles).

3) Improve building efficiency, cutting global emissions from buildings by one quarter.

4) Improve coal plant efficiency to 60% (currently 32%).

5) Replace 1400 GW worth of coal-fired plants (arbitrary efficiency, 50%) with natural gas-fired plants.

6) Introduce carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology at 800 GW worth of coal-fired or 1600 GW worth of gas-fired plants.

7) Introduce CCS at H2 (hydrogen) plants (I won't go into the details here, but basically an effective and safe hydrogen economy would help the climate picture immensely).

8) Introduce CCS at coal-to-synfuels plants (30 million barrels-per-day equivalent).

9) Add 700 GW nuclear generating capacity (current level is 350 GW).

10) Add 2 million 1-MW-peak windmills distributed over 30 million hectare (50 times current capacity; calls for multiple uses of land).

11) Add 2000 GW-peak in PV (photovoltaic) capacity, distributed over 2 million hectare. This is 700 times current capacity.

12) Add 4 million 1-MW-peak windmills generating H2 for fuel-cell vehicles (see comment #7).

13) Add 100x current Brazilian/US ethanol production (would require 250 million hectare, or 1/6 total world cropland). (Ethanol is contentious, but one oft-overlooked advantage is that it uses CURRENT - not fossil - carbon.)

14) Decrease tropical deforestation to zero and establish 300 million hectare of new tree plantations (twice the current rate).

15) Adopt conservation tillage on ALL cropland (10x current practice)....

It's worth noting that removing a gigaton of CO2 annually is effectively one more stabilization wedge to be added to this list which came out in 2004.

ljb5, you've posted again and again about getting smaller cars, but which other 6 stabilization wedges would you favor?

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-09-2007, 10:20 AM
...
An aside for LBJ, one of my latent excuses for not cutting my grass as frequently as my neighbours is that it clears up more CO2 when it's long. I know I'm already winning by not standing behind my polluting lawn mower (asthma related reasons),
You got the wrong kind of mower.
[http://www.lhf.org/images/421.jpg


but does long grass actually clear more CO2

No - sadly grasses, like almost all plants, are ineffective at removing CO2 when considered long term.

The glorious exception is the "Peat Bog" - not a common garden thing.

Hwyl
02-09-2007, 10:29 AM
You got the wrong kind of mower.
[http://www.lhf.org/images/421.jpg




One man and his dog

http://www.weathervanes.co.uk/images/Weathervanepics/Recreation/gardenerwestie.jpg

ljb5
02-09-2007, 10:31 AM
Does long grass actually clear more CO2

In the short term, yes. In the long term no.

If one blade of grass is twice as large as another, it contains about twice as much carbon -- so that's a benefit.

But, as soon as you cut it and it decomposes, it releases all that carbon, so you're back to square one.

The same thing for a forest. A mature forest looks pretty much the same year after year, so it's a zero-sum gain. A forest only collects carbon if it grows more than it decomposes.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 10:39 AM
ljb5: I'd like to see you move beyond the focus on cars. Doubling fuel economy or halving miles driven would provide between 1/15 and 1/30 of the carbon savings needed to prevent a rise of CO2 concentrations above 500 + 50 ppm, from the current level of about 375 ppm.

Flying Orcas posted a link to a detailed paper that was largely ignored in the other discussion. Worth repeating in this thread...



It's worth noting that removing a gigaton of CO2 annually is effectively one more stabilization wedge to be added to this list which came out in 2004.

ljb5, you've posted again and again about getting smaller cars, but which other 6 stabilization wedges would you favor?


FWIW, there are only 600 million cars in the world, not 2 billion. That's a 60% reduction in C02 from cars already. Do I get the $25 million?

Mrleft8
02-09-2007, 10:47 AM
FWIW, there are only 600 million cars in the world, not 2 billion. That's a 60% reduction in C02 from cars already. Do I get the $25 million?
That can't be right... I passed over 600 million cars on cinderblocks in people's yards just driving through Georgia last week ;) Or were you refering to "running" cars? :D

ljb5
02-09-2007, 10:54 AM
ljb5: I'd like to see you move beyond the focus on cars.

Sure, there are lots of other good ideas out there... but I think it's wise to concentrate on cars first. There's a reason why they are one and two on that list.

I focus on cars because they are the proverbial "low hanging fruit." It's the easiest, most effective thing we could do -- we should do it first, before moving on to the more difficult, less effective things.

The nice thing about more efficient cars is that they are available right now, with no need for new inventions. Whereas some of those suggestions are very expensive, more efficient cars are actually cheaper.

Having said that, I think all the other suggestions on the list are worth pursuing. I would focus on reducing deforestation, nuclear, windmills, and power plant upgrades, building efficiency and CCS.

I still think it's easier to reduce the damage, rather than repair the damage. There is more to be gained by cutting consumption than increasing efficiency.

WillW
02-09-2007, 10:56 AM
An alternative plan is to recover carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and force it down oil wells, instead of using water. Already being used to ensure long life. A different kind of carbon cycle.

TimH
02-09-2007, 10:59 AM
it could probably be stored inside pepsi

if you put it in Coke, nobody would even notice...Coke kind of tastes like used up byproducts doesnt it?

TimH
02-09-2007, 11:01 AM
The number one generator of co2 is power plants. Why focus on cars when you have so many of them to deal with and so many fewer power plants?

ljb5
02-09-2007, 11:01 AM
An alternative plan is to recover carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and force it down oil wells, instead of using water. Already being used to ensure long life. A different kind of carbon cycle.

I was afraid someone would mention that. Collecting CO2 from the atmosphere takes a lot of energy, and in the gaseous form, contains relatively little carbon per volume and tends to boil out.

It's darn tough to make it into a liquid --- and as a solid, it's difficult to handle, pump or store, and tends to boil off and go back into the atmosphere.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 11:13 AM
The number one generator of co2 is power plants. Why focus on cars when you have so many of them to deal with and so many fewer power plants?

Power plants already operate close to their practical efficiency level...(or the level that was practical at the time they were designed.)

There is no such thing as a "luxury," "SUV" or "sport" power plant.

People tend to buy less effecient cars for a whole bunch of reasons --- style, fun, luxury, status symbol, performance, etc. As long as people buy less efficient cars, there is an opportunity to sell them more efficient cars.

In contrast, efficiency is already the primary concern of people who design, build, purchase and operate powerplants.

There's still an opportunity to increase the efficiency of a powerplant --- but the nice thing is that we know that these options are already being investigated -- and will be adopted as soon as possible.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 11:26 AM
The topic was removing carbon from the combustion process. Power plants represent the main focus because the exhaust is concentrated--making it simpler to recover the gas. If carbon recovery could be achieved, it would allow the use of coal as a power source without the unwanted side effect of CO2 in the atmosphere. It would have much larger, and more timely effect on reducing CO2 than improvements in auto fuel economy--which take some 20 years to take full effect.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 11:58 AM
The topic was removing carbon from the combustion process.

Removing carbon from the combustion process is like removing wet from water.

When you remove all that carbon, what would you like to store it as? A dense, inert, storable, carbon-rich material? That's exactly what coal is in the first place!

Here's a great idea... how about we load it in train cars and ship it across the country and dump it into old coal mines?

Maybe we could convert it into diamonds... or that stuff they froze Han Solo in....The best way to store carbon is the way mother nature did it --- as oil, gas or coal.

The thermodynamics are very simple.... if it's a stored, stable form of carbon, it's a fuel.

There is no possible way to operate a power plant and produce fuel. If your powerplant leaves a lot of fuel unused, it is very inefficient. If it produces more storable fuel than it consumes, it's not a power plant --- it's a coal mine.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 12:14 PM
Last I looked, calcium carbonate was not a good fuel.

Popeye
02-09-2007, 12:19 PM
1 .Collecting CO2 from the atmosphere takes a lot of energy,

2 .. It's darn tough to make it into a liquid 1. no , not really

2. no, not really

Kaa
02-09-2007, 12:20 PM
If carbon recovery could be achieved, it would allow the use of coal as a power source without the unwanted side effect of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Sigh. Consider basic chemistry.

The reaction C + O2 = CO2 is combustion and it produces energy -- heat. That energy is what makes carbon a power source.

Now, if you want to "recover" carbon, you would need to run this reaction in reverse -- that is, split apart the CO2 molecule back into carbon and oxygen. By laws of physics you can't have it consume less energy than the original combustion produced. So even if you operate at perfect efficiency, your power output is zero.

Kaa

ljb5
02-09-2007, 12:21 PM
Last I looked, calcium carbonate was not a good fuel.

Neither are diamonds.... and they're 100% carbon.

However, that doesn't mean they're a practical way to store carbon.

Have you got a large supply of calcium available? Have you any idea where it could be obtained -- and how much energy would be needed to get it?

We could set up massive calcium mines and use gigawatts of energy to reduce calcium ore and the react the metallic calcium.... but that still won't work.

Keith Wilson
02-09-2007, 12:24 PM
The most sensible way to store carbon for the long term is as either petroleum oil or coal. I don't think so. Most carbon is stored long-term as carbonates, limestone and the like. They're generally of biological origin too, of course, from the shells of various marine organisms, which can form relatively quickly, and are quite stable. Oil or coal is comparatively rare by comparison, and takes a lot longer.

We don't currently know a practical way to sequester large amounts of atmospheric CO2. That doesn't mean that there is no possible way to do it. Looking for one is a reasonable thing to do.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 12:24 PM
I think it's about 4% of the earth's crust. There are large mines just on Michigan's upper peninsula, for a start. Why do you ask?

Kaa
02-09-2007, 12:24 PM
I focus on cars because they are the proverbial "low hanging fruit." It's the easiest, most effective thing we could do -- we should do it first, before moving on to the more difficult, less effective things.

No, it's not. It's neither the easiest, nor the most effective way to achieve a meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions.

Political realities aside, I would say that a crash program of building nuclear power stations would be the easiest and the most effective one.

Kaa

ljb5
02-09-2007, 12:25 PM
I think it's about 4% of the earth's crust. There are large mines just on Michigan's upper peninsula, for a start. Why do you ask?

Calcium mines? Take a look at an Ellingham diagram and tell me how much energy is needed to recover calcium from ore. And figure out what some of the by products might be.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 12:32 PM
No, it's not. It's neither the easiest, nor the most effective way to achieve a meaningful reduction in CO2 emissions.

Many people are capable of immediately reducing their consumption by as much as 75% -- simply by the choice of the car they drive.

Most people are probably capable of a 10% reduction simply by altering their driving habits.

All with no inconvenice, delay, risk or new technology. In fact, they'd actually save money.

Kaa
02-09-2007, 12:39 PM
Many people are capable of immediately reducing their consumption by as much as 75% -- simply by the choice of the car they drive.

Most people are probably capable of a 10% reduction simply by altering their driving habits.

That's kinda irrelevant. Most people are capable of radically reducing their energy consumption by throwing away their air conditioners and setting their thermostat to 50 degrees in winter. And yes, they'd actually save money :-)

The issues are the costs (not necessarily and even not usually in money) of reduced energy consumption, and individual freedom.

Kaa

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 12:41 PM
Calcium mines? Take a look at an Ellingham diagram and tell me how much energy is needed to recover calcium from ore. And figure out what some of the by products might be.


It's easier to go to Calcite, MI, and pick it up off the ground.

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
02-09-2007, 12:44 PM
It's easier to go to Calcite, MI, and pick it up off the ground.

If you know any place on earth where you can pick up elemental calcium from the ground, I'd like the address.

Popeye
02-09-2007, 12:46 PM
calcium is a white metal

Keith Wilson
02-09-2007, 12:52 PM
It's easier to work with biology. It might be worth some research into marine microorganisms that can sequester CO2 as carbonates. My understanding is that ther's a farly delicate balance between atmospheric CO2 and CO2 dissolved in seawater, and that increased atmospheric concentrations make seawater more acidic, which then inhibits the growth of exactly the kind of organisms that can tie up carbon - OTOH, the amount I don't know about this is astounding. I'd say it's worth looking into, and I'd expect people are doing that as we speak.

The stuff at Calcite, Michigan is not elemental Calcium. Calcite is CaCO3, calcium carbonate.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 12:59 PM
Sigh. Consider basic chemistry.

The reaction C + O2 = CO2 is combustion and it produces energy -- heat. That energy is what makes carbon a power source.

Now, if you want to "recover" carbon, you would need to run this reaction in reverse -- that is, split apart the CO2 molecule back into carbon and oxygen. By laws of physics you can't have it consume less energy than the original combustion produced. So even if you operate at perfect efficiency, your power output is zero.

Kaa

The largest proportion of the so-called carbon sink is CO2 absorbed in ocean water, where it is converted and precipitated into sedimentary rocks. Some of efforts aimed at sequestering CO2 are looking at speeding up and concentrating varients of this process, which doesn't involve re-creating combustible carbon.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 01:01 PM
It's easier to work with biology. It might be worth some research into marine microorganisms that can sequester CO2 as carbonates. My understanding is that ther's a farly delicate balance between atmospheric CO2 and CO2 dissolved in seawater, and that increased atmospheric concentrations make seawater more acidic, which then inhibits the growth of exactly the kind of organisms that can tie up carbon - OTOH, the amount I don't know about this is astounding. I'd say it's worth looking into, and I'd expect people are doing that as we speak.

The stuff at Calcite, Michigan is not elemental Calcium. Calcite is CaCO3, calcium carbonate.

That's right. That's what I said.

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 01:04 PM
If you know any place on earth where you can pick up elemental calcium from the ground, I'd like the address.

LBJ5 was off on something about elemental calcium. I was referring to calcium carbonate--common limestone. That's where most of the carbon is hiding.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 01:35 PM
LBJ5 was off on something about elemental calcium. I was referring to calcium carbonate--common limestone. That's where most of the carbon is hiding.

You're right.... carbon is already "hiding" in limestone. How do you plan to store carbon in something that already has carbon stored in it?

How do you think you make calcium carbonate from CO2?

You cannot react CO2 with calcium carbonate and end up with calcium carbonate.

You must react CO2 with some form of calcium that is not already reacted.

These sources are not available.

You could react CO2 with reduced, metallic calcium... and that would produce calcium carbonate.... but you don't have a good source of reduced, metallic calcium.

The only source of calcium available to you is already reacted.

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-09-2007, 01:35 PM
never underestimate the motivational value of a buck :-) It worked for these guys!

http://www.space.com/images/h_wk_sso_chase_02.jpg

ljb5
02-09-2007, 01:38 PM
calcium is a white metal


Yes, but it is never found in that form in nature.

In nature, (like most metals) it is found in ore. It requires a large amount of energy to reduce the ore into metal.

So Dan's suggestion is to find calcium ore, dig it up, convert it to metal, react it with CO2, convert it to ore and then put it back in the ground.

Not gonna work.

Popeye
02-09-2007, 01:40 PM
how do i enter my design idea in the contest ?

Dan McCosh
02-09-2007, 01:41 PM
Yes, but it is never found in that form in nature.

In nature, (like most metals) it is found in ore. It requires a large amount of energy to reduce the ore into metal.

So Dan's suggestion is to find calcium ore, dig it up, convert it to metal, react it with CO2, convert it to ore and then put it back in the ground.

Not gonna work.

No, it is not my suggestion--it is yours. I would agree that you have a bad idea.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 01:42 PM
That's kinda irrelevant.

Irrelevant? 10% to 75% reduction available immediately at no cost?


Most people are capable of radically reducing their energy consumption by throwing away their air conditioners and setting their thermostat to 50 degrees in winter.

That wouldn't be such a bad idea. Nearly everyone can survive just fine without an A/C. Been doing it for thousands of years. 50 degrees in the winter is a little extreme -- but 65 would yield a lot of benefit.


The issues are the costs (not necessarily and even not usually in money) of reduced energy consumption, and individual freedom.

Yes, in reality, there are always trade-offs. It would be nice if we could have our cake and eat it too, but we can't.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 01:43 PM
No, it is not my suggestion--it is yours.

Okay.... so what is your suggestion?

I thought your suggestion was to combine CO2 wtih calcium to make calcium carbonate.

That would be a good idea.... if you had a source of calcium.

WillW
02-09-2007, 01:47 PM
emissions.

Political realities aside, I would say that a crash program of building nuclear power stations would be the easiest and the most effective one.

Kaa

Still stuck on the nuclear thing, eh?

johnw
02-09-2007, 03:07 PM
I've told you my plan before in a different thread, but now that its worth millions of dollars, perhaps I should say Patent Pending.

Clearcut all the trees and put them underground, possibly in coal mines, carefully sealed so no CO2 can leak out. Plant new forests. Repeat.

The ocean is getting more acetic because of the large amount of CO2 in it. Some of the creatures who take carbon out of the ocean and turn it into calcite are starting to have their shells dissolve. It's getting a little late in the day.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 03:29 PM
Clearcut all the trees and put them underground, possibly in coal mines, carefully sealed so no CO2 can leak out. Plant new forests. Repeat.

That's pretty much what mother nature did in the first place to form coal and oil deposits.

Although she did it a little more gently and it took a lot longer.

Osborne Russell
02-09-2007, 03:32 PM
Design is easy, implementation is a bitch, ask the Chimperor.

Concordia...41
02-09-2007, 03:36 PM
Design a way to remove a billion tons of greenhouse gases a year and win the $25 Million Virgin Earth Challenge prize say Branson and Gore.


I guess reducing the noxious gases produced in the WBF bilge would be a mere drop in the bucket ;)

Drats. :(

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-09-2007, 05:27 PM
Wait, I think I have it... have the Virgin Galaxy team (or maybe just Burt Rutan) design a large, flying version of the Dyson vacuum that can obtain a low earth orbit.... circle the earth for a month sucking in all that excess CO2 and passing it through those charcol scrubbers then boost it out of orbit and let it fall into the sun. Repeat

George Roberts
02-09-2007, 05:35 PM
Branson is a baffoon.

Do I win?:

Simply pump atmospheric CO2 into the ground - old oil wells work. Proven technology.

johnw
02-09-2007, 06:07 PM
Branson is a baffoon.

Do I win?:

Simply pump atmospheric CO2 into the ground - old oil wells work. Proven technology.

Mostly used for getting more oil out of the ground, making the problem worse.

ljb5
02-09-2007, 06:38 PM
Mostly used for getting more oil out of the ground, making the problem worse.

And it doesn't contain very much carbon per volume, and it doesn't stay down there very long, and it takes energy to put it down there.

Paul Pless
02-09-2007, 06:53 PM
I guess if you could figure out a way to put a lid on Al Gore's fat pie hole that would stop a lot of excess hot air. Hell, I might even be willing to put some money towards that.

Milo Christensen
02-09-2007, 07:37 PM
As more details emerge, I'm very disappointed. The competition is open for 5 years, the winner gets only $5 million upon winning the prize, the balance at the end of 10 years if the technology was proven to work. Publicity gimmick.

Paul Pless
02-09-2007, 07:39 PM
Publicity gimmick.Yup, that's got Al Gore written all over it.

jack grebe
02-09-2007, 08:00 PM
Yup, that's got Al Gore written all over it.
that's al gerrrr:D

Fitz
02-09-2007, 08:05 PM
This is nothing new, maybe Al Gore thinks it is - kinda like inventing the internet. The oil companies with the drilling and plumbing technologies are probably trying to figure out how to get at the profit. They have already been talking about extracting CO2 and putting it deep below the ocean floor where temperature and pressure would keep it a solid. Dry Ice.

Can me and George split the 25 Mil?

ljb5
02-09-2007, 09:09 PM
The competition is open for 5 years, the winner gets only $5 million upon winning the prize, the balance at the end of 10 years if the technology was proven to work. Publicity gimmick.

What's wrong with wanting proof before paying out?

That's called accountability and it's a good way to ensure that applicants take it seroiusly.

This type of public competition isn't unprecedented.

It worked for the civilian space race... and very famously for the development of an effective system to determine longitude. Without it, navigation at sea would have been much riskier and less successful.

Pay for results. That's not a gimmick -- that's good policy.

Woxbox
02-09-2007, 11:09 PM
Wedge # 14) Decrease tropical deforestation to zero and establish 300 million hectare of new tree plantations


A lot of tropical deforestation has to do with very hungry people needing to grow and cook their food.
The underlying problem is not too much gas in the air, it's too many people on the ground. Until we get real about that, we'll continue to pummel the planet to death.
The missing wedge that's stronger than the rest combined is to halt population growth.

Milo Christensen
02-10-2007, 07:07 AM
What's wrong with wanting proof before paying out?

That's called accountability and it's a good way to ensure that applicants take it seroiusly.

This type of public competition isn't unprecedented.

It worked for the civilian space race... and very famously for the development of an effective system to determine longitude. Without it, navigation at sea would have been much riskier and less successful.

Pay for results. That's not a gimmick -- that's good policy.

So you endorse Exxon's paying $16 million from '98 to '05 to cast doubt on the reality of the human contribution to rising greenhouse gas levels? That's certainly had some results, hasn't it?

Waiting 5 years to see if you've won and another 10 to collect the real payout just isn't going to attract some of the top talent in this area, they're already doing better than that with multi-million dollar a year grants to run their laboratories. I'm just disappointed. Branson et al could do better.

Paul Pless
02-10-2007, 07:21 AM
to cast doubt on the reality of the human contribution to rising greenhouse gas levels?Isn't skepticism an important and healthy part of the 'larger' scientific method?

ljb5
02-10-2007, 08:06 AM
So you endorse Exxon's paying $16 million from '98 to '05 to cast doubt on the reality of the human contribution to rising greenhouse gas levels? That's certainly had some results, hasn't it?

That's an illogical non sequitor. Exxon's efforts to distort science are not the same as Branson's efforts to stimulate research.


Waiting 5 years to see if you've won and another 10 to collect the real payout just isn't going to attract some of the top talent in this area, they're already doing better than that with multi-million dollar a year grants to run their laboratories.

How long should the competition be held open? You think six months is a reasonable time frame to invent something that would change the world? Heck, Kennedy gave NASA ten years to put a man on the moon..... and he funded them in advance.

The Longitude Prize (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude_Prize) was open for 47 years before it was solved. (And another 12 before the money was awarded, mostly because of politics.)

Is there a rule that a person can't get a multi-million dollar grant and win the prize?


I'm just disappointed. Branson et al could do better.

Agreed. We could all do better. Hopefully, this will attract additional sponsors. Maybe Ted Turner, maybe Nascar, maybe even you.

Dan McCosh
02-10-2007, 10:22 AM
It's worth noting that carbon sequestering is already the subject of considerable research. It also got a boost when the US DOE officially endorsed the research some five years ago. (I guess this was tainted by being a product of the Bush adminsitration.) It's being tested in the field, with major programs in Canada. Brason's effort is interesting, but unlikely to add much to the incentives already underway.

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-10-2007, 11:46 AM
Here is something interesting that seems to fit in somehow to this topic :-)

http://www.lifegem.com/

ljb5
02-10-2007, 01:17 PM
It's worth noting that carbon sequestering is already the subject of considerable research. It also got a boost when the US DOE officially endorsed the research some five years ago. (I guess this was tainted by being a product of the Bush adminsitration.) It's being tested in the field, with major programs in Canada. Brason's effort is interesting, but unlikely to add much to the incentives already underway.


The fact that the federal government is researching it doesn't necessarily mean they've accomplished it, or even that there's any scientific basis.

If the rumors are to be believed, the government has financed mind-control experiments, ESP research, anti-gravity, perpetual motion and all manner of crackpot ideas.

The fact that the DOE did this under the Bush administration impresses me even less. It's likely he did something symbolic (and ineffective) simply so he could claim to be doing something (with our money!), while not doing any of the more obvious things which might risk the profit margins of his beloved energy companies.

That's not to say that there are no opportunities to improve efficiency -- but there are also fundamental, inalienable laws of physics.

You would never design a transportation system based on the assumption that cars will accelerate unprompted uphill from a stop -- nor should you assume that chemistry works backwards.

David W Pratt
02-10-2007, 02:27 PM
Sail more, power less.

Dan McCosh
02-10-2007, 02:40 PM
The fact that the federal government is researching it doesn't necessarily mean they've accomplished it, or even that there's any scientific basis.

If the rumors are to be believed, the government has financed mind-control experiments, ESP research, anti-gravity, perpetual motion and all manner of crackpot ideas.

The fact that the DOE did this under the Bush administration impresses me even less. It's likely he did something symbolic (and ineffective) simply so he could claim to be doing something (with our money!), while not doing any of the more obvious things which might risk the profit margins of his beloved energy companies.

That's not to say that there are no opportunities to improve efficiency -- but there are also fundamental, inalienable laws of physics.

You would never design a transportation system based on the assumption that cars will accelerate unprompted uphill from a stop -- nor should you assume that chemistry works backwards.

How about research initiated at the University of Nairobi, government funded? Run by the head of the geography department?

ljb5
02-10-2007, 02:58 PM
How about research initiated at the University of Nairobi, government funded? Run by the head of the geography department?

I cannot say I'm familiar with that particular project. Can you provide some details?

Dan McCosh
02-10-2007, 03:15 PM
I cannot say I'm familiar with that particular project. Can you provide some details?


You might look at the UN report.

ljb5
02-10-2007, 05:22 PM
Well, I didn't find the report you mention, but I did find this report (http://www.yale.edu/yibs/sequestration-forum-presentations/Yale-talk-T-Roed-Larsen-CCS%20final.pdf) from Yale.

The oil companies say they can collect CO2 and pump it down old wells. Despite the obvious risks and difficulties (which they acknowledge), they say they can do it, so I guess we have to trust them.

...although it's definitely a "trust but verify" situation. It's easy to see why the oil companies are excited about it. They don't care if they're pumping oil up or pumping CO2 down, just as long as they're pumping something (and getting paid to do it). The profit motive for them pretty much guarantees that they're going to paint a rosy picture of their capabilities.

Keep in mind, CO2 is a lot harder to collect, store, pump and transport than crude oil --- and it's not like there's never been a major oil spill before. When the CO2 leaks, there's zero chance of recovery (and probably only a moderate chance of wiping out entire villages of people and livestock.)

The situation is unique in that they're being paid to hide something, which makes it pretty difficult to verify. At least with oil getting pumped up, it's easy to tell how much is in the tanker... with CO2 going down, there's no easy way to verify that they actually did their job.

Maybe I'm just a cynic, but I'm afraid that if we don't monitor them carefully, we'll end up with a situation like that funeral home operator who was just dumping bodies in the backyard rather than treating them as he was supposed to.

The report mentions storage times of 1000 years or more. I find it hard to believe that the modern CEO is really interested in a time frame like that. He's probably just interested in how long it takes his company to land the contract, for him to sell his stock options and retire to one of his seven houses in Aspen.

I still think it's easier (and more effective) to avoid producing the stuff in the first place.

Since we're talking about ultra-long term, deep underground storage, I think the obvious answer is nuclear. We could probably bring nuclear plants on-line about as fast as we could retro-fit fossil fuel plants with CCS. the storage challenges are about the same... easier with nukes, in my opinion.

seanz
02-10-2007, 06:04 PM
CARBON FIBRE!!!!!:D

We just make everything out of carbon fibre!!!
Now,where's my $5,000,000?
$5 mil? That'll buy a real big wooden boat. Hangonamo! Wood? That's a sort of carbon fibre.We should just build lots of wooden boats.Just make sure they don't rot. Maybe cover them in come sort of hard plasticy gluey varnishy type stuff.
Yes folks, we can cold-mould our way to a brighter environmental future.:D

Michael s/v Sannyasin
02-10-2007, 06:09 PM
Just make sure they don't catch on fire!

seanz
02-10-2007, 06:14 PM
A lot of tropical deforestation has to do with very hungry people needing to grow and cook their food.
The underlying problem is not too much gas in the air, it's too many people on the ground. Until we get real about that, we'll continue to pummel the planet to death.
The missing wedge that's stronger than the rest combined is to halt population growth.
On a more serious note;Lets not blame the poor for our environmental problems.The deforestation that isn't caused by poor people is caused by greedy people ;illegal forestry in Indonesia,cattle farms in Brazil etc..

Woxbox
02-11-2007, 01:09 PM
I'm not blaming the poor. It's not anyone's fault, it's everyone's. There's just too many of us for this planet.