Via Kurzweil AI
A University of Central Florida (UCF) chemistry professor has invented a revolutionary way to remove carbon dioxide (CO2) from air by triggering artificial photosynthesis in a synthetic material — breaking down carbon dioxide while also producing fuel for energy.
UCF Assistant Professor Fernando Uribe-Romo and his students used a synthetic material called a metal–organic framework (MOF), which converts carbon dioxide into harmless organic materials — similar to how plants convert CO2 and sunlight into food.
Following similar announcements by France and Canada of plans to cease using coal for power generation, Finland may be the first country to reach that goal, as soon as the 2020’s.
Inhabitat highlights the use of shipping containers for growing food in the arctic town of Kotzebue, Alaska. With the local environment making traditional farming impossible, locals have turned to hydroponics which helps to reduce the cost of fresh produce – which has to be imported – and the accompanying carbon footprint.
After collaboration with MIT, Target is to trial in-store vertical farming, in the hope of producing fresh vegetables and herbs all year round, whilst reducing costs and carbon footprint.
Luxury cruises are increasingly popular but can come with huge environmental costs around ports and whilst at sea, due to sulfur and other harmful particulates from the heavy fuel oil burnt by most ships. Royal Caribbean is aiming to reduce such emissions from future cruise liners through a combination of liquefied natural gas and fuel cells from the early 2020’s.
Image credit: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
Inhabitat features a brilliant way of using waste plastics polluting the worlds oceans, called RePlast. Developed by the US-based ByFusion, the approach compresses mixed plastics from the seas and turns it into construction blocks. As well as cleaning the oceans, the approach doesn’t require splitting the plastics into different types and generates c. 95% less greenhouse gases than concrete blocks.
Inhabitat highlights plans for what will be the worlds largest offshore wind farm – to be built off the coast of The Netherlands. As well as its impressive scale – powering c. 1 million homes – the project should also result in some of the most cost effective wind energy anywhere.
Siemens and Scania have teamed up to trial what’s being called the world’s first “electric highway.” Much like an electrified railroad, the 1.2 mile stretch has a series of wires hanging overhead that a pantograph-equipped truck can connect to. Then, the vehicle can deactivate its fuel-burning engine and coast along on that delicious, dirt-cheap electricity, switching back when the wires stop.
Inhabitat reports that Germany will require all new cars to be emissions free by 2030. This follows recent talk in Norway of similar plans with a target date of 2025.
The BBC reports on a promising new method for storing CO2, tested by researchers in Iceland. From the article:
The researchers report an experiment in Iceland where they have pumped CO2 and water underground into volcanic rock.
Reactions with the minerals in the deep basalts convert the carbon dioxide to a stable, immobile chalky solid.
Even more encouraging, the team writes in Science magazine, is the speed at which this process occurs: on the order of months.
Inhabitat reports that the Norwegian government has become the first to commit to zero-deforestation through procurement, supply chain or investment.
Phys.org reports on a process proposed by a multi-disciplinary team at UCLA to capture and utilise CO2 from power plant smokestacks and then use the gas to create a new building material like cement – CO2NCRETE.
Source: http://phys.org/news/2016-03-carbon-dioxide-sustainable-concrete.html (via Engadget)
Inhabitat features a hybrid solar and biofuel plane that will attempt a trans-Atlantic crossing later this year, which if successful will be the first zero-carbon flight over the Atlantic.
The article states that the plane will be “powered by a combination of solar energy and biofuels produced from microalgae, which was developed specifically for the Eraole. Wing-mounted solar panels will provide 25 percent of the plane’s power, while 55 percent will come from the algae-derived biofuels. For the remaining 20 percent of the time, the plane will simply glide on wind currents.”
MIT Technology Review details a new approach to battery making that could utilise carbon dioxide from the air for conversion into carbon nanotubes to be used in high-performance battery production. The research – a collaboration between George Washington University and Vanderbilt University – could both reduce the costs of creating carbon nanotubes and play a part in battling climate change. From the article:
“Capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide is expensive and unproven at the scale needed to significantly reduce emissions. The deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology is well behind schedule if it is to play the role that the governments behind the recent Paris climate agreement are betting it can play. In the absence of climate policies like a cap-and-trade system or carbon tax, the economics just don’t work.”
“That might change if the gas could be turned into a valuable product. Researchers have previously devised methods for using carbon dioxide to make liquid fuels like methanol, but those products have been relatively low-value commodities. Given the cost of today’s batteries, the new method makes a kilogram of carbon dioxide six times more valuable than one that is converted into methanol, says Stuart Licht, a professor of chemistry at George Washington.”
“Replacing commonly used graphite anodes with carbon nanotubes can boost the storage capacity of advanced batteries. In proof-of-concept lab tests, Licht and his colleagues showed that nanotubes made with their process gave a small boost to the capacity of small lithium-ion batteries and almost quadrupled the capacity of sodium-ion batteries, an emerging energy storage technology.”