Monday, 8 April 2019

Using technology to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere


Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is a process when biomass is burned for energy and the emissions are captured and stored underground. During photosynthesis plants incorporate carbon molecules into their fibres and during decomposition or burning of plants, the carbon is released. Cardon dioxide has been utilized in many industrial processes from food production to the manufacture of fertilizers, so there is extensive knowledge on the capture and handling of the gas. In the 1990s the BECCS technology was a solution put forth by scientists to deal with rising global carbon levels. It has the potential to create negative carbon emissions as carbon is removed from the atmosphere and goes into the bedrock.

The main types of carbon dioxide capture systems

Pros: it can be used to support existing bioenergy framework on a local scale. Countries such as Brazil already use biomass as a fuel source. A BECCS system can be added to a biofuel plant to aid in carbon dioxide reduction. It can be used mitigation climate change in the long run as industries reliant on fossil fuels continue to release greenhouse gases. The technology is also cost effective in reducing CO2 concentration. It is also supported by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as they include it in their model on future environmental conditions. Cons: some versions of this process only allow storage for a few years and may not have climate benefits in the long run. Some scientists believe that it can have detrimental effects on the environment, since there are little studies on the technology hence, it is not rejected by sceptics.
In 2017, a group of scientists in Iceland called “CarbFix” embarked on a project which deposited a solution carbon dioxide rich water 1000 feet below the Earth’s surface into a volcanic basalt rock. The result produces a chalky film over the rock. The technology for the most part is not harmful to the environment as the carbon dioxide is stored securely and therefore does not interact with the environment for thousands of years.  Drax Group, earlier this year announced that it began a BECCS project at their power plant. In a demo, they were able to capture 1 metric ton of CO2 per day and the company hopes it recreate on a larger scale.

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the different climates mitigation scenarios. Adapted from P. Reid and J. Lermit, "Energy", 2005. 
However, the effects of additional carbon within a rock layer have not been fully studied. If this project is done on a large scale, it can reduce carbon emissions to preindustrial levels and also reduce global temperatures within a few decades.

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Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Wanderlust: Virtual Trip to Africa

Travel is something we all dream of doing. As a student currently supported by the parents it is particularly difficult to convince them to buy me a plane ticket to anywhere other than school or home. However, I recently had the opportunity to travel to the continent of Africa, specifically Uganda, Burkina Faso and South Africa, for free!!!

My university hosted the Africa World Film Festival from March 8th to 11th. It featured 
documentary style films from the continent and the diaspora. I was able to check out No place for a Rebel, BURKINABE RISING: The Art of Resistance in Burkina Faso, and The Good Ones.

No Place for a Rebel followed the life of a former child solider who grew up to a commander in the Lord's Resistance Army(LRA) of Joseph Kony. This is a rebel group in Uganda that terrorized many rural villages. In 2012, there was a large Facebook movement called 'Who is Kony?' which was popularized as the Ugandan officials were on the hunt for him. This documentary really opened my eyes to the hardships one can go through if they try to return to a normal life. The main character Opono returned to his village after leaving the LRA and faces isolation and rejection because of the horrible acts the LRA did to the community. He finds it difficult to readjust after being in a war environment for sixteen years. His education is also very basic so finding a job is difficult for him. His uncle supports him as he tries to get back on his feet and encourages to join a carpentry class since he has a passion for it. How ever due to the discrimination he faces when the villages find out that he was a part of the rebels, pushes him back into LRA.

Although it was a sad ending, it was very interesting to see how someone in this situation copes in this situation. Looking forward to the next one.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

An Green Oasis Within the Chaos.

Lush, green trees that bring life to a rather inorganic city, providing a rest stop for anyone in need of it. The City of Port of Spain has quite a few of these green spaces that offer a refreshing place for the weary traveler. On my visit to the capital, it was overwhelmingly hot and humid amongst the man-made giants but from the moment I stepped into Independence Square it was as though I was in a totally different place. The cool breeze that caressed my skin and the surreal quietness; it felt almost as though I was in my backyard but the sudden blearing of car horns of impatient drivers jolted me back to reality.
Cities are often divided into some kind of class structure. This is easily seen in Port of Spain with the lower class on the outskirts of the city, Sea Lots and Morvant; the middle class in St. Anns and Cascade; and the upper class in suburbs adjecant to the city in West Moorings and Diego Martin. However, within these urban spaces these boundaries to do exist because there is no restriction of people who can use it. The vagrants could sleep there whenever they need to, families can have picnics and spend quality time together and rich people can use it as a beautiful backdrop for their wedding photos.
Urban spaces refers to open spaces such as parks and savannas that are free for the public to use. In Trinidad they serve as important urban forms they improve the city's appeal and give citizens freedom to express themselves.

Using technology to reduce CO2 in the atmosphere

Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) is a process when biomass is burned for energy and the emissions are captured and store...