For many years climate change has been subject to many opinions; scientific, philosophical and biblical. More recently, climate change is being seen through a thick financial lens. Perhaps this will be the way in which those driven solely by the financial aspect of life will wake up to the notion that the tides are changing.
The most recent estimation reveals that climate change could cost the world up to 60 Trillion Dollars. This is a topic of mass debate at the moment, pricking up the ears of the previously uninformed.
Albert Einstein was one of the most respected thinkers of his day, and his legacy carries on in the work he left behind. He also left behind a quote that says if you are looking for the solution, remaining at the level of the question will keep you within the boundaries of the question. In the spirit of answering the question of climate change, looking at the possible solutions is the road to follow.
According to John Roach at NBC news, the answer may reside in the greenhouse gas emission in question. Power plants and many other industrial mechanisms around the world could offer us a vast energy source. The following is new research which presents a ‘proof-of-concept technique’ to harvest it.
A combination of chemistry and mechanics is used to harvest the carbon dioxide already being released from plants. The study describes how this energy can be used as an alternative source to generate electricity.
“The energy is there,” Bert Hamelers told NBC News.
“You only need a turbine to get it,” says the lead researcher at Wetsus, the Center of excellence for Sustainable Water Technology in the Netherlands.
The system Hamelers and his colleagues designed is published in the American Chemical Society Journal, Environmental Science and Technology Letters. It details the process of gathering energy from CO2, by interchangeably mixing water or another liquid solution with combustion gas. It is necessary for the combustion gas to have a high concentration of CO2.
Hamelers describes how the pumping of the liquids between particular membranes produces and electric current. The concentration gradient between the combustion gas and air is where the current comes from.
Chemical differences between seawater and saltwater have been investigated in a similar mixing approach to generate currents. However the mix of air and combustion gas by Hameler and his team is the first of its kind.
Reaping energy from CO2 is similar to the alternative energy source of wind harvesting, as it does not increase greenhouse gas emissions. Hameler says, “For the same emissions, you get more energy.”
Hameler is very clear in communicating that the approach does not eliminate CO2.
“You use the energy that is now wasted. You bring it in and get the extra energy out, but you cannot sequester it.”
The energy is now ‘up-cycled’.
1, 570 billion kilowatt hours could be produced with the effective implementation of this system in power plants and other high-ranking activities around the world.
The researchers embraced a relativity simple technique for the ‘proof-of-concept’. Gas and air is bubbled through the liquid solution, a process that has an energy input greater than its output. Hamelers says that there are other membrane-based processes that produce an even smaller amount of energy.
“The objective for us was to show that, yes, there is this source of energy and, yes, you can harvest it,” he says. “Of course you need a lot more technological development before this is a system that can be practiced.”
Hamelers study seems to aim the spotlight not only on the existing and un-tapped energy source available, he also highlights that an advance in technological development is needed as a supporting factor in the bid to be living with the answer for climate change.