carbon sequestration

This is a really hopeful story.

An African Region Beats Back the Desert, Thanks to Trees

The Sahel region in Northern Africa is sandwiched between the Sahara desert in the north and the savanna in the south, stretching across nearly a dozen countries. It is a hot, dry region where it’s hard to grow most crops, so locals depend on subsistence livestock herds, mostly cattle, sheep, and goats.

Overgrazing has long been blamed for creeping desertification of the Sahel, especially in the wake of devastating droughts in the 1970s and ’80s.

Now, research from South Dakota State University blows both claims out of the water, showing that 84 percent of the watersheds in the Sahel have recovered.

“In the past people have had a negative perception of the Sahel, that the pastoralists are misusing and overgrazing the land, but these findings prove that’s not true,” said Niall Hanan, a savanna ecologist with SDSU who has focused on Africa for the past 25 years.


Go there and read. More next week.


I never thought I would applaud the Pope. But hurray for him as his message spreads to the Chicago diocese. By its self the church can not solve the problem but it could put a dent in Global Warming. Here is hoping it spreads.

Pope Francis makes Chicago Catholics see green

June 18, 2015, 7:56 p.m.

Answering a plea from Pope Francis to protect the planet, Chicagoans — Catholics and non-Catholics alike — pledged Thursday to collect rainfall, conserve tap water, recycle their cans and bottles, and switch off the lights when they leave a room.

It’s an unusually tangible, immediate and ecumenical response to a papal encyclical, a letter expounding on Catholic teachings.

But the encyclical itself is an extraordinary letter. Francis’ first solo encyclical (he co-wrote one with his predecessor) is the first time the leader of the world’s billion Roman Catholics has addressed the environment. And the letter is more than a manifesto for clergy and bishops to use as a teaching tool. It’s a call to action with scientific rationale, written in plain language and addressed to “every person living on this planet.”

“I’m so excited about the courage of this pope. He’s done his homework,” said Gina Orlando, an instructor of science and spirituality courses at DePaul University and a Catholic who recently returned to Ascension Catholic Church in Oak Park after spending the last several years church shopping. “I’m back now because of this encyclical and the possibility that it holds for spirituality and environmental change.”


Go there and read. It is up lifting. More next week.


This is such a cool idea. I do not know which plants take in the most carbon. Probably young tree saplings. So they would not be good to use because their uptake slows down as they age. Maybe switch grass? Anyway this is about the concept and the New Mexico experiment to attempt it.

Thursday, August 28,2014

Your next roadside attraction: Carbon storage

By Marianne Lavell

As you watch the miles roll by on family road trips this summer, look just behind the guard rails to see what some scientists believe is a significant untapped resource in the battle against climate change.

Roadside soils and vegetation on federal lands and along U.S. highways are already capturing nearly 2 percent of total U.S. transportation carbon emissions

The land alongside the 4 million miles of U.S. public roadways, already being maintained by federal, stat, and local governments, could be planted with vegetation that helps transfer carbon from the atmosphere into the soil, say scientists. Road banks and berms, in other words, could be managed as valuable “banks” for carbon sequestration.

“We’re talking millions of acres,” says biologist Rob Ament, of the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University, who led a recent study to gauge carbon storage potential on just a fraction of that real estate — roadsides on federal lands.

Shrubs, grasses and other plants already along roads in U.S. National Parks, wildlife refuges and other public lands currently are capturing about 7 million metric tons of carbon each year, Ament said in a report on his findings at this month’s North American Congress for Conservation Biology. That’s equivalent to the annual carbon emissions of 5 million cars — without any effort made to optimize the mix of plantings and soil management practices for carbon storage.


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I find this article troubling because what you are talking about here is the creation of a substance that only exists on the two gas giants in our solar system. That would be CO3 and that would be on Jupiter and Saturn. Now I have to admit that if the liquid were released from that pressure (in a total failure where it burst to the surface) it would probably convert to CO and CO2 those gases are lethal. And the resultant cloud would kill everything in its path.


Can we hide carbon dioxide underground? Algeria site offers note of caution.

Scientists want to capture carbon dioxide underground to slow global warming. But a test in Algeria is showing that the sunk CO2 can do some surprising things.

By Staff writer / May 27, 2014

A facility in Algeria that captured carbon dioxide on an industrial scale – and locked it up deep underground – is yielding this lesson for researchers exploring ways to deal with global warming: Select a site with care, because the unexpected can happen.

A new study that aims to explain why sequestered CO2 was moving surprisingly quickly through rock formations beneath In Salah, a natural-gas extraction site in central Algeria. In Salah hosted the second-largest industrial-scale sequestration demonstration project after Norway’s Statoil, which has been conducting a sequestration demonstration at the Sleipner field in the North Sea since 1996.

The new study of In Salah’s effort identifies the injected CO2 itself as a key culprit. The facility was injecting the unwanted greenhouse gas at a rate that boosted the pressure of the CO2 stored in a sandstone formation more than 6,000 feet below the surface


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This isa  pretty interesting piece. It implies that most of the complicated and expensive atom level experiments to create nanotubes and other “nanostructures” were something of a waste of time. They also imply that the next advance in nanotechnology maybe finding ways to form, market and install new nanostructures at the real world level. In the literature it is stated that this form of cellulose can be both an insulator and a conductor so it would be nice if someone came up with a shielded electrical cable that could be used in the housing market, for instance. I have included 2 references for clarity’s sake.

Nanocellulose Is No Small Thing

Trees could become part of electronics, medical devices, and military gear


For centuries, the forestry industry has produced paper and lumber. But what if trees could be transformed into an entirely new set of products, ranging from electronic sensors to biomedical implants to military protective gear?

The idea isn’t as improbable as it sounds. Researchers are studying a nanoscale material that can be extracted from trees and, in some forms, is about as strong as Kevlar. Called “nanocellulose,” this lightweight material is composed of bundled sugar chains from the cell walls of wood. Researchers can extract nanocellulose by grinding pulp or using chemicals to break it down into tiny particles. At such small scales, the material has fewer defects, making it stronger. One type of nanocellulose particle, called cellulose nanocrystals, is especially tough because the sugar chains are arranged in a highly ordered structure.

Researchers envision a huge array of applications for nanocellulose. It could partially replace fossil fuel–based products such as petroleum-derived plastics and might be cheaper than other high-performance nanoscale materials. Clear sheets of nanocellulose might be useful for windows or electronic displays. Studies have shown that some forms of cellulose are piezoelectric, meaning they generate an electrical signal when deformed, so nanocellulose-based sensors could potentially monitor structures such as bridges for signs of stress. Nanocellulose food packaging could block oxygen permeation and keep the contents from spoiling, while nanocellulose scaffolds implanted in the body might aid bone regeneration. And at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory in Maryland, researchers are investigating whether nanocellulose-reinforced materials could better protect soldiers on the battlefield.


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Methane is the single biggest greenhouse gas that never gets talked about because environmentalists see it as a “bridge” to a clean energy future. Making power from food refuse makes complete sense. I hate to say it but backyard composters, as well meaning as they are, just throw the stuff up in the air.  Ashley Halligan sent me this article:

Resource Recovery Facilities: An Economic And Efficient Energy Supply

by Ashley HalliganProperty Management Analyst, Software Advice
July 12, 2012

Although the number of U.S. landfills has steadily declined since 1990, the size of landfills has increased. In fact, Americans generated 250 million tons of municipal solid waste (MSW) in 2010 alone. It’s thus no surprise that MSW landfills are our third-largest, human-generated source of methane emissions. But this is more an opportunity than it is a problem.

Many landfills are becoming resource recovery facilities–places where waste or byproducts are reclaimed and converted into energy. Captured by wells installed throughout a landfill, naturally-occurring methane emissions (or landfill gas–LFG) can be converted into multiple energy sources, including electricity, a replacement for fossil fuels in industrial operations, or upgraded to pipeline-quality gas. Methane’s heat can also be used directly. Of the approximately 2,400 operating or recently closed MSW landfills in the U.S., 535 (around 22 percent) currently have resource recovery projects.

To learn more about these projects and the benefits they deliver, I spoke to several industry experts–including David Specca, Assistant Director for Bioenergy and Controlled Environment Agriculture at the Rutgers University EcoComplex, and Barry Edwards, Director of Engineering and Utilities at Catawba County–and looked at three examples of successful projects.


Ashley M. Halligan
Facility Management Analyst
Software Advice

(512) 539-0016

By the way, we’re hiring


Go there and read. More tomorrow.


That is the bitch about science. Over time it is always right. The Catholic Church was very slow to get this. RJ Reynolds eventually got it but it cost it billions. All of the asbestos people eventually got it too. But the Koch Brothers were just gona prove them wrong. I do not know whether it is endemic  to capitalism but this “prove them wrong” phase is what the space exploration crowd is experiencing right now. Call it the Buck Rogers phenomena but private companies will fail to develop space much like Climate Change needed to stop 30 years ago.  30 years from now the space people are going to be wondering what happened to their dreams…if any of us are still left alive.

Koch-funded climate scientist: I was wrong, humans are to blame

By Jonathan Terbush
Sunday, July 29, 2012 14:16 EDT

The founder and director of a climate change study project funded heavily by the Koch brothers, who last year reversed course and said he believed global warming was real, has gone one step further, writing in a weekend op-ed in the New York Times that he is now convinced the phenomenon is caused by humans.

In a piece titled, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic,” Richard A. Muller, a University of California, Berkley physicist who founded the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST) wrote that his, “total turnaround, in such a short time,” was driven by a new report from the group that concluded for the first time that global warming is a man-made problem. That revelation brings Muller essentially full circle from his stance a few years ago, when he criticized other global warming studies as flawed and questioned whether the Earth was even warming abnormally, dangerously fast at all.

“Science is that narrow realm of knowledge that, in principle, is universally accepted,” Muller wrote. “I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered. I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes.”

The BEST study, he wrote, found that the Earth had warmed by about two and a half degrees over the past 250 years, with the bulk of that spike occurring in the past 50 years. Moreover, he found that, “essentially all of this increase” was likely due to greenhouse gas emissions, a point climate change believers have accepted as fact for years.


Go there and crow. More tomorrow.


Got no more to say than the title. This is some really dumb stuff.

The Cellulosic Ethanol Debacle

Congress mandated purchase of 250 million gallons in 2011. Actual production: 6.6 million.

‘We’ll fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years.”

—George W. Bush, 2006 State of the Union address

Years before the Obama Administration dumped $70 billion into solar and wind energy and battery operated cars, and long before anyone heard of Solyndra, President Bush launched his own version of a green energy revolution. The future he saw was biofuels. In addition to showering billions of dollars on corn ethanol, Mr. Bush assured the nation that by 2012 cars and trucks could be powered by cellulosic fuels from switch grass and other plant life.

To launch this wonder-fuel industry, the feds under Mr. Bush and President Obama have pumped at least $1.5 billion of grants and loan subsidies to fledgling producers. Mr. Bush signed an energy bill in 2007 that established a tax credit of $1.01 per gallon produced.

Most important, the Nancy Pelosi Congress passed and Mr. Bush signed a law imposing mandates on oil companies to blend cellulosic fuel into conventional gasoline. This guaranteed producers a market. In 2010 the mandate was 100 million barrels, rising to 250 million in 2011 and 500 million in 2012. By the end of this decade the requirements leap to 10.5 billion gallons a year.


Go there and read as long as you can bare it. More tomorrow.


The method they are using here is preferable to simply drilling a well anywhere and trying to bury it in the ground. The oil in spent fields never will get out and there was plenty of pressure, so this at least seems safe.

DOE Notice Advances Development of Indiana Gasification’s CO2 Pipeline

Information contained on this page is provided by companies via press release distributed through PR Newswire, an independent third-party content provider. PR Newswire, WorldNow and this Station make no warranties or representations in connection therewith.

SOURCE Indiana Gasification

Transporting CO2 to Gulf States Could Boost U.S. Oil Production by 20 Million Barrels a Year

ROCKPORT, Ind., June 22, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Indiana Gasification welcomed today’s Federal Register publication by the U.S. Department of Energy of an amended notice of intent (NOI) to include an approximately 440 mile CO2 pipeline in the environmental impact statement (EIS) required for DOE financial backing of IG’s state-of-the-art clean fuels facility.

The DOE publication marks the most recent regulatory development in support of the plant, which will be the cleanest coal-fired facility ever built in the United States. In the last two months, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has filed a proposed clean air permit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and issued a draft Clean Water Act permit.

In the Notice of Intent, the Department of Energy acknowledges that the proposed project with the CO2 pipeline qualifies for financing under the 2008 appropriations act providing authority for industrial gasification activities. Further, the DOE has determined that the project meets two goals of the Title XVII Loan Guarantee Program, encouraging the commercial use of new or significantly improved technology and achieving substantial environmental benefits.


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Yes it is true. I am promoting a book I have never read. But you know what? I should have.

Robert Danziger: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Energy Independence – Author Interview

Humorist and alternative energy pioneer Robert Danziger was kind enough to take the time to answer a few questions about his hilarious memoir about his life in the world of alternative energy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence.

The author finds the humor in such widely diverse places as Cal-Tech, the Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL), and of course in his own business ventures in the alternative energy field. A true renaissance man, the author has enjoyed more careers, and indulged in more laughter, than many people would experience in two lifetimes.

Thanks to Robert Danziger for his comprehensive and informative answers.

What was the background to writing this book A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Energy Independence?

Robert Danziger: At the gym a couple of years ago a young mother was supervising her two kids, five and eight years old. We struck up a conversation and she told me that she doesn’t let her kids watch the news anymore because the energy and environmental stories had given them repeated nightmares. Partisanship and the escalation of catastrophic rhetoric threatened the sense of security and safety she wants for her children.

My career has been inventing and developing solutions. I am fundamentally optimistic about new technology and our ability to respond to crisis. Scaring people doesn’t work and breeds resentment. I don’t want to be part of scaring kids to accomplish something.

The conversation with that young mother convinced me to take a year or so to listen to people from a broad range of ages, politics, and beliefs to try to find out what people agreed on, if anything. I found three things all of them, at least in these groups, agreed on without exception: people like to laugh; like music; and want energy independence and a clean environment when they are coupled with prosperity.


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