Sunday, April 27, 2008

Technological Breakthrough In Fight To Cut Greenhouse Gases

This stuff is not THE answer but it can be AN answer. Plus, ever since I first poured the baking soda into the vinegar I've been fascinated by CO2 (and violent chemical reactions).
From ScienceDaily:

Scientists at Newcastle University have pioneered breakthrough technology in the fight to cut greenhouse gases. The Newcastle University team, led by Michael North, Professor of Organic Chemistry, has developed a highly energy-efficient method of converting waste carbon dioxide (CO2) into chemical compounds known as cyclic carbonates.

The team estimates that the technology has the potential to use up to 48 million tonnes of waste CO2 per year, reducing the UK's emissions by about four per cent.

Cyclic carbonates are widely used in the manufacture of products including solvents, paint-strippers, biodegradable packaging, as well as having applications in the chemical industry. Cyclic carbonates also have potential for use in the manufacture of a new class of efficient anti-knocking agents in petrol. Anti-knocking agents make petrol burn better, increasing fuel efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions....MORE

Here are a couple other approaches. Re: the first, whenever I write about baking soda I think of Arm & Hammer, which leads to Armand Hammer, which leads to Al Gore and family. In "Carbon Capture and Storage: Is This The Breakthrough? (Big Money if it is)" we wrote:

The answer isn't CaCo3. It's NaHCO3. Duh.

Sodium bicarbonate, otherwise known as baking soda. The stuff in the little yellow box, promoted by Arm & Hammer. Not to be confused with Armand Hammer, the Gore family friend, benefactor* and chairman of Occidental Petroleum. As Wikipedia says:

It is often claimed, incorrectly, that the brand name originated with or is related to tycoon Armand Hammer, who owned a considerable amount of Church and Dwight stock in 1980s and served on its Board of Directors. In fact, Hammer only bought a portion of the company as a joke.
Mr. Hammer wasted a lot of his shareholders' money and the stock rose upon news of his death. First time I had noticed such a thing.

On to the story. In November we had this post
"Can baking soda curb global warming?"**
If it works, it's huge. Worth the read, I promise.

*Here's the Wall Street Journal's John Fund on the Gore family's zinc mine. There are a whole lot of OXY/Gore links; some say Al Gore Sr. was a wholly owned subsidiary of Mr. Hammer.

**Here's a Skyonic investor:
TXU takes stake in Skyonic, will test pollution system in '07

Here's another approach, from Carbon8Systems:

Dr Paula Carey of UK start up Carbon 8 Systems explains how an innovative new carbon capture technology built around a simple chemical process has the potential to cut carbon emissions from waste incinerators and save businesses money...MORE