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Integrating Energy Production and Use
Greenhouse Gas Management:

Science and Technology Development


Many anticipate that the Kyoto Protocol to control greenhouse gas emissions will not be implemented. Russia seems reluctant and her ratification is needed to satisfy the conditions of implementation. General interest in climate change and greenhouse gas management will wane for a while. Scientific work on climate change will continue. Our society will continue to need and use energy. Those of us who reason that climate change is, or may become, an important issue will need to retrench.  

Life on earth depends on the cycling of carbon and energy. Plants take carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, lakes and oceans to manufacture their food using water and energy from light. Plants, and animals, use that carbon carrying food as an energy source. Lifeless carbon bearing material from plants and animals is incorporated into the soil, oceans, fossil fuel and other carbon reservoirs or “sinks”. Humans have learned how to recover fossil fuels. We are recycling them by burning them in power plants, planes, trains, and automobiles to release carbon dioxide and water vapor to the atmosphere. Their carbon content is thus returned to the cycle of life. The whole complex process is driven by flows of energy. 

The presentation reviews the carbon cycle from an engineers point of view. Potential future human modifications to the cycle through science and technology to manage atmospheric greenhouse gas are considered. Examples include greenhouse gas free energy, sequestration of carbon dioxide from coal, hydrogen production, and soil carbon enhancement with charcoal or black carbon. The review suggests that humans will likely need to ingeniously exploit even more energy to integrate energy use with control of atmospheric greenhouse gases. The  presentation is provided as a slide show with notes. (DRP 04/05/08)


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