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Tag Archives: Global warming

Rise in fossil fuel usageTornadoetsunamisuper bugssealevel riseFish deathFloodingEnvironmental refugeesDraughtbushn firesPresident Obama seized his ‘moment of truth’ when he announced his decision to cut carbon emission by 30% by 2030 in USA. His decision may not be popular in USA and in many parts of the world but it is the right decision. He was able to address to some extent ‘ the inconvenient  truth’ that has nagged him during his second term in office. He  introduced his decision through EPA (Environmental protection authority) effectively bypassing congress. In fact the purpose of creating EPA was to address the environmental issues but it failed in many ways and rest of the world followed such failures time and again. This has resulted in an accumulated carbon both in the atmosphere and in the sea in an unprecedented scale causing disease and environmental degradation world-wide.

Air pollution is costing the world’s most advanced economies plus India and China $3.5 trillion per year in lives lost and ill-health, with a significant amount of the burden stemming from vehicle tailpipes, according to a report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In the 34 OECD member states, the monetary impact of death and illness due to outdoor air pollution was $1.7 trillion in 2010. Research suggests that motorized on-road transport accounts for about 50 percent of that cost. In China, the total cost of outdoor air pollution was an estimated $1.4 trillion in 2010. In India, the OECD calculated the toll at $500 billion.

The costs were calculated based on survey data of how much people are willing to pay in order to avoid premature death due to ailments caused by air pollution. The method assigns a cost to the risks of emissions that decision makers can use in weighing public policy decisions.

In addition to the health cost the environmental degradation due to carbon pollution includes global warming resulting in mass extinction of species, causing  mega bush fires that are wiping out forests including rain forests, creating new bugs that are resistant to antibiotics, increasing sea level  that erodes coastal cities and submerge remote islands in pacific displacing millions of people as refugees, acidified oceans with massive extinction of species including fish stock. Such degradation is nothing but suicidal.

When a food or drug is introduced in the market it is subject to scrutiny by FDA (Food and drugs authority), but when it comes to environmental clearance to set up a coal-fired power plant or to set up a seawater desalination plant it is relatively easier to get such clearance from EPA. When  power plants emitted gaseous emissions initially EPA was able to limit the emissions of oxides of nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorous, soot and particulate matter , other organics including mercury and arsenic except carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide has been accepted as part of the air we breathe in; otherwise no power plant could have been approved because bulk of the emissions are only carbon dioxide. Had EPA acted timely in sixties or even in seventies to curb CO2 emissions an alternative  energy  would have emerged by this time.

Industries and economics were high in the political agenda and the environment was overlooked.  Many drugs were introduced during this period to cure diseases that were actually caused by environmental pollution such as carbon dioxide. Both power industries and drug industries grew side by side without realizing that environment is degraded slowly which causes chronic diseases.

Australia is the largest consumers of power in terms of per capita consumption in the world and yet the new Government in Australia is pushing a bill in the parliament to repel Carbon tax introduced by previous Government. They are also planning to raise revenue up to $ 26 billion for medical research over a time. On one hand politicians want to freely allow unabated carbon emissions into the atmosphere and on the other hand they want to introduce new drugs that can cure diseases  actually caused by  such pollution. It is an anomalous situation created by politics of climate change. Unfortunately carbon pollution has turned into an energy related issue and attracted political attention world-wide. The high cost of cleaning carbon pollution has turned many politicians into skeptics of science on carbon pollution and climate change.

“More than 170 nations have agreed on the need to limit fossil fuel emissions to avoid dangerous human-made climate change, as formalized in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change .However, the stark reality is that global emissions have accelerated (Fig. 1) and new efforts are underway to massively expand fossil fuel extraction by drilling to increasing ocean depths and into the Arctic, squeezing oil from tar sands and tar shale, hydro-fracking to expand extraction of natural gas, developing exploitation of methane hydrates, and mining of coal via mountaintop removal and mechanized long wall mining. The growth rate of fossil fuel emissions increased from 1.5%/year during 1980–2000 to 3%/year in 2000–2012, mainly because of increased coal use.” (Ref : 1)

The coal usage continues to grow especially in Asia due to expanding population and industrial growth and demand for low-cost energy.  USA is expected to achieve energy independence by 2015 which means more fossil fuels are in the pipeline. India and China are planning more coal-fired power plants in the coming decade. Australia is planning for massive expansion of coal and LNG and Coal seam methane gas for exports. Fracturing and hydrocracking of shale deposits are adding to the fuel.

Countries are more concerned with economic growth than the consequences of climate change. Despite recent warning from NASA that the depleting arctic glaciers have reached a ‘point of no return’ and the predicted sea level rise up to 10 feet is irreversible, there is a little reaction from countries across the globe.

There is a clear evidence that shows Green House Gas  emission will continue to increase in the future in spite of growing renewable energy projects because renewable solar panels, wind turbines and batteries will need more power from fossil fuels.  It is critically important to reduce carbon emission with great urgency by substituting fossil energy with renewable energy. For example, concentrated solar power (CSP) can be used instead of large-scale PV solar to reduce carbon footprint.

Solar energy is the origin of all other energy sources on the planet earth and solar energy will be the solution for a clean energy of the future. But how fast solar energy can be deployed commercially in a short span of time is a big issue. The increasing growth of fossil fuel production dwarfs the growth of renewable energy exposing the planet to catastrophic climate change. The GHG emission can be contained only by an aggressive reduction of CO2 emission into the atmosphere as well as by drastic reduction of fossil fuel production. This is possible only by using renewable Hydrogen. The cost of renewable hydrogen is high  but this is the price one has to pay to clean up the carbon pollution before the climate is  changed irreversibly. The obvious method to reduce carbon emissions is to tax carbon in such a way that it will no longer be economically viable to emit carbon to generate power or to transport. Paying carbon tax will be cheaper than paying for diseases and environmental degradation and natural disasters. Clean environment is the key for the survival of our planet and life on earth and one cannot put a price on such a life.

Ref 1:  Citation: Hansen J, Kharecha P, Sato M, Masson-Delmotte V, Ackerman F,et al (2013) Assessing ‘‘Dangerous Climate Change’’: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature. PLoS ONE 8(12): e81648. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0081648

 

 

 

Jet fuel from seawatersynthetic  Crude oil -Pilot plantFT recator for syntehtic crudeRecent news from USA has got the attention of many people around the world. “Scientists with the United States Navy say they have successfully developed a way to convert seawater into jet fuel, calling it a potentially revolutionary advancement. Researchers at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) developed technology to extract carbon dioxide from seawater while simultaneously producing hydrogen, and then converted the gasses into hydrocarbon liquid fuel. The system could potentially shave hours off the at-sea refueling process and eliminate time spent away from missions.” They estimate the cost of the jet fuel will be anywhere between $3 and $6 per gallon.  It may not be able to compete with traditional petroleum sources due to high energy requirement. However, the main attraction of this process is to extract Carbon dioxide absorbed by the ocean to avoid acidification and to mitigate climate change while making petrol as a Carbon neutral fuel. Ocean has become a rich source of Carbon (Carbon sink) absorbing excess atmospheric Carbon dioxide caused by human beings. Generating Carbon neutral fuel such as SNG (synthetic natural gas), diesel and petrol from air and sea water will be the fastest way to reduce Carbon from the atmosphere. Probably Governments, business and industries will embarrass this concept much quicker than any other mitigating methods simply because it is a revenue generating proposition with a potential to earn carbon credit.

Carbon-neutral fuel is a synthetic fuel (including methanegasolinediesel fueljet fuel or ammonia) that is produced using  carbon dioxide recycled from power plant flue exhaust gas or derived from carbonic acid in seawater  and renewable Hydrogen. Such fuels are potentially carbon-neutral because they do not result in a net increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases.  It is a Carbon capture and recycling (CCR) process.

“To the extent that carbon-neutral fuels displace fossil fuels, or if they are produced from waste carbon or seawater carbonic acid, and their combustion is subject to carbon capture at the flue or exhaust pipe, they result in negative carbon dioxide emission and net carbon dioxide removal from the atmosphere, and thus constitute a form of greenhouse gas remediation. Such power to gas carbon-neutral and carbon-negative fuels can be produced by the electrolysis of water to make hydrogen used in the Sabatier reaction to produce methane which may then be stored to be burned later in power plants as synthetic natural gas, transported by pipeline, truck, or tanker ship, or be used in gas to liquids processes such as the Fischer–Tropsch  (FT) process to make traditional fuels for transportation or heating.

Carbon-neutral fuels are used in Germany and Iceland for distributed storage of renewable energy, minimizing problems of wind and solar intermittency, and enabling transmission of wind, water, and solar power through existing natural gas pipelines. Such renewable fuels could alleviate the costs and dependency issues of imported fossil fuels without requiring either electrification of the vehicle fleet or conversion to hydrogen or other fuels, enabling continued compatible and affordable vehicles.A 250 kilowatt synthetic methane plant has been built in Germany and it is being scaled up to 10 megawatts.” (Wikipedia).

We have been writing about renewable hydrogen (RH) for the past couple of years and often use the phrase, “Water and energy are two sides of the same coin” because we can mitigate climate change using renewable hydrogen (RH) even while the fossil fuel economy can carry on as usual.

By generating Carbon neutral fuels using excess Carbon from air and sea and hydrogen from water (even seawater) using renewable energy sources, the problem of global warming and climate change can be solved because we will not be adding any further Carbon into the atmosphere than what it is today!

Instead of generating solar and wind power and storing them in batteries it will be prudent to generate Carbon neutral fuel from CO2 already available in the system and use them as usual. Meanwhile Hydrogen based power generation and transportation   can be developed as a long term solution.

Fossil-fired power plants produce CO2 (Carbon dioxide) which could be captured and converted to CO (Carbon monoxide) for production of synthetic fuels. CO2 can be converted to CO by the Reverse Water Gas Shift Reaction, CO2 + H2–> CO + H2O. CO could then be used in the F-T reaction with additional hydrogen from water-splitting to produce synthetic fuel such as diesel and petrol as carbon neutral fuels.

 Synthetic fuel by CO2 Capture + H2 from Water-splitting:

Reverse Water Gas Shift                          CO2 + H2 —->  CO + H2O

F-T reaction                                             CO + 2H2 —-> CH2 + H2O

 

Water-splitting                              3H2O + Energy –> 3H2 + 3/2O2

Net reaction                         CO2 + H2O + Energy —>CH2 + 3/2O2

 

In this case, no coal is needed at all, and CO2 is consumed rather than produced. The excess O2 would be used in the fossil power plant that provides the CO2, simplifying CO2 capture. There is currently considerable effort underway on developing CO2 capture systems for new and extant power plants. The increasing concern with Global Climate Change suggests that there is a reasonable likelihood of such plants operating in the timeframe associated with synthetic fuel from carbon dioxide. Such a synergistic system has the potential to significantly reduce our current emissions of CO2 since the carbon in the coal is used once for power production and then again for liquid hydrocarbon fuel synthesis.

Synthetic fuel plant with capacities as low as 1000 barrels/day are commercially feasible using specially designed micro-reactors as shown in the attached photograph (ref: Velocys). Utilizing carbon dioxide from sea and air is the smartest way to mitigate climate change while maintaining fossil fuel based power plants and automobiles without any change or modifications. The same technique can also be applied for biomass gasification plants.

 

Can renewable energy really stop GHG emissions and global warming?

Renewable energy is slowly but steadily becoming a choice of energy of the people due to its potential to cut GHG emissions and global warming. The  changing weather pattern  around the world in recent times  are testimony for a warming globe. Can renewable energy really cut the GHG emissions and cut the global warming predicted by scientists? Thousands of large coal- fired power plants are already under implementation or planning stages. According to World’s resources institute, their key findings are :

1. According to IEA estimates, global coal consumption reached 7,238 million tonnes in 2010. China accounted for 46 percent of consumption, followed by the United States (13 percent), and India (9 percent).

2. According to WRI’s estimates, 1,199 new coal-fired plants, with a total installed capacity of 1,401,278 megawatts (MW), are being proposed globally. These projects are spread across 59 countries. China and India together account for 76 percent of the proposed new coal power capacities.

3. New coal-fired plants have been proposed in 10 developing countries: Cambodia, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Laos, Morocco, Namibia, Oman, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan. Currently, there is limited or no capacity for domestic coal production in any of these countries.

4. Our analysis found that 483 power companies have proposed new coal-fired plants. With 66 proposed projects, Huaneng (Chinese) has proposed the most, followed by Guodian (Chinese), and NTPC (Indian).

5. The “Big Five” Chinese power companies (Datang, Huaneng, Guodian, Huadian, and China Power Investment) are the world’s biggest coal-fired power producers, and are among the top developers of proposed new coal-fired plants.

6.  State-owned power companies play a dominant role in proposing new coal-fired plant projects in China, Turkey, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, Czech Republic and many other countries.

7. Chinese, German, and Indian power companies are notably increasingly active in transnational coal-fired project development.

8. According to IEA estimates, the global coal trade rose by 13.4 percent in 2010, reaching 1,083 million tonnes.

9. The demands of the global coal trade have shifted from the Atlantic market (driven by Germany, the United Kingdom, France and the United States) to the Pacific market (driven by Japan, China, South Korea, India and Taiwan). In response to this trend, many new infrastructure development projects have been proposed.

10. Motivated by the growing Pacific market, Australia is proposing to increase new mine and new port capacity up to 900 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) — three times its current coal export capacity.

The above statistics is a clear sign that GHG emissions by these new coal-fired power plants will increase substantially. A rough estimation indicates that these new plants will emit Carbon dioxide at the rate of 1.37 mil tons of CO2/hr or 9.90 billion tons of CO2 /yr in addition to the existing 36.31 Gigatons/yr (36.31 billion tons/yr) in 2009. (According to CO2now.org). If this is true, the total CO2 emissions will double in less than 4 years. If the capacity of new PV solar plants are also increased substantially then the CO2 emissions from PV solar plants will also contribute additionally to the above. There is no way the CO2 reduction to the 2002 level  can be achieved and the world will be clearly heading for disastrous consequences due to climate change.The best option to cut GHG emissions while meeting the increasing power demand around the world will be to recycle the Carbon emissions in the form of a Hydrocarbon with the help of Hydrogen. The cheapest source of Hydrogen is coal. The world has no better option than gasifying the coal instead of combusting the coal.

Capturing carbon and recycling it as a fuel.

Solar power, wind power and other renewable energies generated 6.5%[1] of the world’s power in 2012.  This is part of a rising trend[2], but there is a very long way to go before renewable sources generate as much energy as coal and other fossil fuels.  Solar panel of 1m2 size requires 2.4kg of high-grade silica and Coke and it consumes 1050 Kwh of electricity, mostly generated by fossil fuel based power plants. But 1m2 solar panel can generate only 150kwh/yr and it will need at least 7 years to generate the power used to produce 1m2 solar panel in the first place. More solar panels mean more electricity consumption and more GREEN HOUSE GAS EMISSIONS. With increasing number of coal-fired power plants under implementation or planning and growing popularity of  Solar power plants around the world the GHG emissions are  likely to increase in the future to the detrimental of the climate.

It could take at least 30 years (probably a lot longer) before renewable energy is as strong in the marketplace as non-renewable sources.  In consequence, there is a need to use fossil fuels more effectively and less detrimentally until the renewables can play a major role in global energy production.

One approach tried for more than a decade has been carbon capture, which stops polluting materials getting into the atmosphere; however subsequent storage of the collected materials can make this process expensive.  Now an Australian based company has gone one step further and designed a process that not only collects CO2 emissions, but also turns it into a fuel by using the same coal!

Clean Energy and Water Technologies has developed an innovative solution to avoid carbon emissions from power plants. The novel approach uses coal to capture carbon dioxide emissions (CO2 ) from coal-fired power plants and convert them into synthetic natural gas (SNG).  Synthetic natural gas would then replace coal as a fuel for further power generation and the cycle would continue. No coal is required for further power generation.

Through this method, the captured Carbon could be recycled again and again in the form of a Hydrocarbon fuel (SNG) with no harmful gas emissions. Carbon is an asset and not a liability. If Carbon is simply burnt away just to generate heat and power then it is a bad science, because the same Carbon can be used to generate several products by simply recycling it instead of venting out into the atmosphere. Carbon is the backbone of all valuable products we use every day from plastics to life saving drugs!

As well as seeking a patent for this breakthrough innovation, Clean Energy and Water Technologies is seeking investment for a demonstration plant. The concept has already been proven and a reasonable scale of demonstration will convince the governments and companies around the world to look at this alternative solution to the GHG (Greenhouse gas) emission and possibly meet a meaningful target on Carbon emissions within reasonable time frame.

Once demonstrated, it would then be possible to retrofit current coal-fired power stations with the new technology, increasing their economic sustainability and reducing their impact on the environment.

  1. The Economic Pressures

Power is an integral part of human civilization. With the steady increase in human population and industrialization the demands for energy and clean water has reached unprecedented levels. The gap between the demand and supply is steadily pushing the cost of power and water higher, whilst the supply of coal, oil and gas is dwindling. The prospect of climate change has compounded problems.

Many countries around the world have started to use renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro and geo-thermal power; but emerging economies such as India and China are unable to meet their demands without using fossil fuels.  At present, it is far cheaper to use the existing infrastructures associated with non-renewable energy, such as coal-fired power stations.

Renewable energy sources are intermittent and need large storage and large initial investment, with advanced technologies pushing the cost of investment higher.  Governments could use environmental tariffs on power use to help make renewable energy more competitive, but politicians know that the public tend to not like such an approach.

  1. Demonstration Plant:

The estimated investment required for a demonstration plant is likely to be $10 million; however the potential for a  good return on investment is high, as shown by the following estimated calculation for a 100MW plant.

  • A 100MW coal-fired power plant will emit 98 Mt/hr CO2
  • Coal consumption will be about 54Mt/hr
  • To convert 98Mt/hr CO2 into SNG, the plant needs to generate 390,000m3/hr syngas by coal gasification.
  • The gasification plant will require 336 Mt/hr coal and 371 m3/hr water.
  • The net water requirement will be : 95.70m3/hr
  • The SNG generated by the above plant will be : 95,700m3/hr and steam as by-product : 115Mt/hr.
  • Potentially SNG can generate a gross power of 500 MWS by a Gas turbine with combined cycle operation.
  • The plant can generate 500MW (five times more than the coal-fired plant) from CO2 emissions.
  • Existing 100MW coal-fired power plant can use SNG in place of coal and sell the surplus SNG to consumers.
  • Surplus SNG will be about 75,000 m3/hr.( 2400 mm Btu/hr) with sale value of $36,000/hr. @ $15/mmBtu.
  • Annual sales revenue from sale of surplus SNG will be : $ 300 mil/yr.
  • The entire cost of coal  gasification and SNG  plant can be recovered back in less than 5 years.
  1. Carbon Capture and Storage

Carbon capture and storage is the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide (CO2 ) from large point sources, such as fossil fuel power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation. The aim is to prevent the release of large quantities of CO2  into the atmosphere. It is a potential means of mitigating the contribution of fossil fuel emissions to global warming and ocean acidification.  The long-term storage of CO2 is a relatively new concept. The first commercial example was Weyburn in 2000.

Carbon capture and storage applied to a modern conventional power plant could reduce CO2 emissions to the atmosphere by about 80–90%, but may increase the fuel needs of a coal-fired plant by 25–40%. These and other system costs are estimated to increase the cost of the energy produced by 21–91% for purpose-built plants. Applying the technology to existing plants could be even more expensive.Image

  1. Global Warming

Global warming is the rise in the average temperature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation. Since the early 20th century, Earth’s mean surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), with about two-thirds of the increase occurring since 1980. Scientists are more than 90% certain that it is primarily caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases produced by human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels by coal-fired power plants.

  1. Greenhouse Gases

Without the earth’s atmosphere the temperature across almost the entire surface of the earth would be below freezing.  The major greenhouse gases are water vapour, which causes about 36–70% of the greenhouse effect; carbon dioxide (CO2 ), which causes 9–26%; methane (CH4), which causes 4–9%; and ozone (O3), which causes 3–7%. According to work published in 2007, the concentrations of CO2  and methane have increased by 36% and 148% respectively since 1750. These levels are much higher than at any time during the last 800,000 years, the period for which reliable data has been extracted from ice cores.

  1. The Future of Global Warming?

Climate model projections were summarized in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They indicated that during the 21st century the global surface temperature is likely to rise a further 1.1 to 2.9 °C (2 to 5.2 °F) for their lowest emissions scenario and 2.4 to 6.4 °C (4.3 to 11.5 °F) for their highest.

  1. The Impact of Global Warming?

Future climate change and associated impacts will vary from region to region around the globe. The effects of an increase in global temperature include a rise in sea levels and a change in the amount and pattern of precipitation, as well a probable expansion of subtropical deserts. Warming is expected to be strongest in the Arctic and would be associated with the continuing retreat of glacierspermafrost and sea ice. Other likely effects of the warming include a more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events including heat waves, droughts and heavy rainfall, ocean acidification and species extinctions due to shifting temperature regimes.

There is a divided opinion among scientists on climate science.  Major power consuming countries like the US, Europe, Japan and Australia are reluctant to sign the Kyoto Protocol and agree to a legally binding agreement. This has resulted in non-cooperation among the nations and the world is divided on this issue.  Such disagreement has hampered development of non-renewable energy

Ahilan Raman is the inventor of the innovative process mentioned in the article.  If you have any further questions or interested in becoming a part of this innovative technology, please feel free to contact him directly by writing to this blog.

Web: http://www.clean-energy-water-tech.com

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[1] Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Excludes large hydro projects).

[2] Up from 5.7% in 2011, and 2.4 percentage points up on the 2008 figure.

“Over two-thirds of today’s proven reserves of fossil fuels need to still be in the ground in 2050 in order to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change” – a warning by scientists.

There is a great deal of debate on climate change due to man-made Carbon emissions and how to control it without any further escalation. The first obvious option will be to completely stop the usage of fossil fuel with immediate effect. But it is practically not feasible unless there is an alternative Non-Carbon fuel readily available to substitute fossil fuels. The second option will be to capture carbon emission and bury them under ground by CCS (Carbon capture and sequestration) method. But this concept is still not proven commercially and there are still many uncertainties with this technology, the cost involved and environmental implications etc.The third option will be not to use fresh fossil fuel  for combustion or capture and bury the Carbon emissions but convert the  Carbon emissions into a synthetic hydrocarbon fuel such as synthetic natural gas (SNG) and recycle them. By this way the level of existing Carbon emission can be maintained at current levels without any further escalation. At least the Carbon emission levels can be reduced substantially and maintained at lower levels to mitigate climate changes. It is technically feasible to implement the third option but it has to be implemented with great urgency.

One way of converting Carbon emission is to capture and purify them using conventional methods and then react with Hydrogen to produce synthetic natural gas (SNG)

CO2 + 4 H2 ———> CH4 + 2 H2O

The same process will be used by NASA to eliminate carbon built-up in the flights by crew members during their long voyage into the space and also to survive in places like Mars where the atmosphere is predominantly carbon dioxide. But we need Hydrogen  which is renewable so that the above process can be sustained in the future .Currently the cost of Hydrogen production using renewal energy sources are expensive due to high initial investment and the large energy consumption.

We have now developed a new process to generate syngas using simple coal, which is predominantly Hydrogen to be used as a Carbon sink to convert Carbon emissions into synthetic natural gas (SNG). The same Hydrogen rich syngas can be directly used to generate power using gas turbine in a simple or combined cycle mode. The Carbon emission from the gas turbine can be converted into SNG (synthetic natural gas) using surplus Hydrogen-rich  syngas. The SNG thus produced can be distributed for CHP (combined heat and power) applications so that the Carbon emission can be controlled or distributed. By implementing the above process one should be able to maintain Carbon at specific level in the atmosphere. Existing coal-fired power plants can retrofit this technology so that they will be able to cut their Carbon emissions substantially; they can also produce SNG as a by-product using their Carbon emissions and achieve zero Carbon emission at their site while generating revenue by sale of SNG.

Coal is the cheapest and widely used fossil fuel for power generation all over the world. Therefore it will be a win situation for everyone to use coal and also to cut Carbon emissions that can address the problems of climate change. Meanwhile research is going on to generate renewable Hydrogen cheaply directly from water using various technologies. But we believe we are still far away from achieving this goal and we require immediate solution to address our climate change problems.

Recently BASF made a press release : http://www.basf.com/group/press release/P-13-351‎ claiming a break-through technology to generate Hydrogen from natural gas without any CO2 emissions.

Brine dischage in Gulfchemical usage in desalinationDesal capacityDesalination capacity in the worldsalinity levels in Gulf regionwater cycle

Water and energy are two critical issues that will decide the future of humanity on the planet earth. They determine the security of a nation and that is why there is an increasing competition among nations to achieve self-sufficiency in fresh water and clean energy. But these issues are global issues and we need collective global solutions. In a globalised world the carbon emission of one nation or the effluent discharged into the sea from a desalination plant changes the climate of the planet and affects the entire humanity. It is not just a problem of one nation but a problem of the world. The rich and powerful nations should not pollute the earth, air and sea indiscriminately, hoping to achieve self-sufficiency for themselves at the cost of other nations.  It is very short-sighted policy. Such policies are doomed to fail over a time. Next generation will pay the price for such policies. Industrialised countries and oil rich countries should spend their resources on research and development than on weapons and invent new and creative solutions to address some of the global problems such as energy and water. With increasing population and industrialisation the demand for energy and water is increasing exponentially. But the resources are finite. It is essential that we conserve them, use them efficiently and recycle them wherever possible so that humanity can survive with dignity and in peace. It is possible only by innovation that follows ‘Nature’s path.

The earth’s climate is changing rapidly with unpredictable consequences .Many of us are witnessing  for the first time in our lives unusual weather patterns such as  draughts, flash flooding,  unprecedented   snow falls, bush fires, disease and deaths. Although we consider them as natural phenomena there is an increasing intensity and frequency that tells us a different story. They are human induced and we human beings cause these unprecedented events. When scientists point out human beings cause the globe to warm there were scepticism. We never believed we were capable of changing the entire weather system of the globe.

We underestimate our actions. By simply discharging effluent from our desalination plants into the sea, can we change the salinity of the ocean or by burning coal can we change the climate of the world? The answer is “Yes” according to science. Small and incremental pollution we cause to our air and water in everyday life have dramatic effects because we disturb the equilibrium of the Nature. In order to restore the equilibrium, Nature is forced to act by changing the climate whether we like it or not.

Nature always maintains“equilibrium” that maintains perfect balance and harmony in the world. If any slight changes are made in the equilibrium by human beings then Nature will make sure such changes are countered by a corresponding change that will restore the equilibrium. This is a natural phenomenon. The changes we cause may be small or incremental but the cumulative effect of such changes spanning hundreds of years will affect the equilibrium dramatically.

We depend on fossil fuels for our energy needs. These fossils were buried by Nature millions of years ago. But we dig deep into the earth, bring them to surface and use them to generate power, run our cars and heat our homes. Our appetite for fossil fuels increased exponentially as our population grew. We emitted Carbon into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels for hundreds of years without many consequences. But the emissions have reached a limit that causes a shift in Nature’s equilibrium and Nature will certainly act to counter this shift and the consequences are changes in our weather system that we are now witnessing. The only way to curtail further Carbon emission into the atmosphere is to capture the current Carbon emissions and convert them into a fuel so that we can recycle them for further power generations without adding fresh fossil fuel into the system while meeting our energy demands.

We can convert Carbon emissions into a synthetic natural gas (SNG) by using Hydrogen derived from water. That is why I always believe ‘Water and energy are two sides of the same coin’. But cost of Hydrogen generation from water will be high and that is the price we will have to pay to compensate the changing climate. Sooner we do better will be the outcome for the world.

In other word the cost of energy will certainly go up whether we price the Carbon by way of trading or impose Carbon tax or pay incentives for renewable energy or spend several billions of dollars for an innovative technology. There is no short cut. This is the reality of the situation. It will be very difficult for politicians to sell this concept to the public especially during election times but they will have no choice.

Similarly serious shortage for fresh water in many parts of the world will force nations to desalinate seawater to meet their growing demand. Saudi Arabia one of the largest producers of desalinated water in the world is still planning for the highest capacity of 600,000m3/day. This plant will discharge almost 600,000 m3/day of effluent back into the sea with more than double the salinity of seawater. Over a time the salinity of seawater in the Gulf region has increased to almost 40% higher than it was a decade ago. What it means is their recovery of fresh water by desalination will decrease or their energy requirement will further increase. Any increase in salinity will further increase the fossil fuel consumption (which they have in plenty) will increase the Carbon emission. It is a vicious cycle and the entire world will have to pay the price for such consequences. Small island nations in pacific will bear the brunt of such consequences by inundation of seawater or they will simply disappear into the vast ocean. Recent study by NASA has clearly demonstrated the relationship between the increasing salinity of seawater and the climate change.

According to Amber Jenkins Global Climate Change Jet Propulsion Laboratory:

“We know that average sea levels have risen over the past century, and that global warming is to blame. But what is climate change doing to the saltness, or salinity, of our oceans? This is an important question because big shifts in salinity could be a warning that more severe droughts and floods are on their way, or even that global warming is speeding up...

Now, new research coming out of the United Kingdom (U.K.) suggests that the amount of salt in seawater is varying in direct response to man-made climate change.  Working with colleagues to sift through data collected over the past 50 years, Peter Stott, head of climate monitoring and attribution at the Met Office in Exeter, England, studied whether or not human-induced climate change could be responsible for rises in salinity that have been recorded in the subtropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean, areas at latitudes immediately north and south of Earth’s tropics. By comparing the data to climate models that correct for naturally occurring salinity variations in the ocean, Stott has found that man-made global warming — over and above any possible natural sources of global warming, such as carbon dioxide given off by volcanoes or increases in the heat output of the sun — may be responsible for making parts of the North Atlantic Ocean more salty.

Salinity levels are important for two reasons. First, along with temperature, they directly affect seawater density (salty water is denser than freshwater) and therefore the circulation of ocean currents from the tropics to the poles. These currents control how heat is carried within the oceans and ultimately regulate the world’s climate. Second, sea surface salinity is intimately linked to Earth’s overall water cycle and to how much freshwater leaves and enters the oceans through evaporation and precipitation. Measuring salinity is one way to probe the water cycle in greater detail.”

It is absolutely clear that the way we generate power from fossil fuels and the water we generate from desalination of seawater  cannot be continued as business as usual but requires an innovation. New technologies to generate power without emitting Carbon into the atmosphere and generating fresh water from seawater without dumping the highly saline effluent back into the sea will decide the future of our planet. Discharge of concentrated brine into sea will wipe out the entire fish population in the region. The consequences are dire. Oil rich countries should spend their riches on Research and Developments to find innovative ways of desalinating seawater instead of investing massively on decades old technologies and changing the chemistry of the ocean and the climate forever.

 

The arctic ice cover is steadily shrinking over a period opening new polar shipping routes. Recently a Norwegian ship was carrying a LNG Carrierto Japan through Russia, marking the beginning of new polar shipping route. There was a short documentary film on disappearance of an entire Aral Sea from the map, due to evaporation, caused by construction of dams by Russian authorities restricting the flow of rivers into Aral Sea. These dramatic events are happening right in front of our eyes. Yet, there are many Governments and people around the world are still questioning whether Global warming is real and is it man-made? Well, people do not accept science when it come to global warming because it causes them much inconvenience and embarrassment for Governments. They do not want to face the reality but prefer to postpone it for another day. This is what happening with super powers and industrialized countries in the world. But how long can they sustain such skepticism and postpone urgent actions that are necessary to save the future generation of mankind?

• Arctic sea ice is projected to decline dramatically over the 21st century, with little late summer sea ice remaining by the year 2100.

• The simulated 21st century Arctic sea ice decline is not smooth, but has periods of large and small changes.

• The Arctic region responds sensitively to past and future global climate forcing, such as changes in atmospheric greenhouse gas levels. Its surface air temperature is projected to warm at a rate about twice as fast as the global average.

Attached  Sea ice concentrations simulated by GFDL’s CM2.1 global coupled climate model averaged over August, September and October (the months when Arctic sea ice concentrations generally are at a minimum). Three years (1885, 1985 & 2085) are shown to illustrate the model-simulated trend. A dramatic reduction of summertime sea ice is projected, with the rate of decrease being greatest during the 21st century part. The colors range from dark blue (ice-free) to white (100% sea ice covered).

“Satellite observations show that Arctic sea ice extent has declined over the past three decades [e.g., NOAA magazine, 2006]. Global climate model experiments, such as those conducted at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), project this downward trend to continue and perhaps accelerate during the 21st century.

The Arctic is a region that is projected to warm at about twice the rate of the global average [Winton, 2006a] – a phenomenon sometimes called “Arctic amplification”. As Arctic temperatures rise, sea ice melts—a change that in turn affects other aspects of global climate.

While beyond the scope of GFDL’s climate model simulations, other research suggests that Arctic sea ice changes can impact a broad range of factors — from altering key elements of the Arctic biosphere (plants and animals, marine and terrestrial, including polar bears and fish), to opening polar shipping routes, to shifting commercial fishing patterns, etc.

An Ice-Free Arctic in Summer

The three panel’s attachments are snapshots of how late summer Northern Hemisphere sea ice concentrations vary in time in a GFDL CM2.1 climate model simulation. The figures depict

Sea ice concentration – a measure of how much of the ocean area is covered by sea ice, and the climate model variable that is most similar to what a satellite observes.

By the late 21st century, the GFDL computer model experiments project that the Arctic becomes almost ice-free during the late summer. But during the long Arctic winters (not shown) the sea ice grows back, though thinner than is simulated for the 20th century. The rate at which the modeled 21st century Arctic warming and sea ice melting occurs is rapid compared to that seen in historical observations. Abrupt Arctic changes are of particular concern for human and ecosystem adaptations and are a subject of much current research (Winton 2006B).

The modeled summertime Arctic sea ice extent (the size of the area covered by sea ice) does not very smoothly in time, as a good deal of year-to-year variability superimposed on the downward trend. This can be seen in the graph to the right and also in animations found at www.gfdl.noaa.gov/research/climate/highlights.

By the end of the 21st century, the modeled summer sea ice extent usually is less than 20% of the simulated for 1981 to 2000. The Arctic sea ice results shown here are not unique to the GFDL climate model. Generally similar results are produced by computer models developed at several other international climate modeling centers. Though some uncertainties in model projections of future climate remain, results such as these, taken together with observations that document late 20th century Arctic sea ice shrinkage, make the Arctic a region that will continue to be studied and watched closely, as atmospheric greenhouse gas levels increase.

Climate implications of shrinking summer sea ice Melting sea ice can influence the climate through a process known as the ice-albedo feedback. Much of the sunlight reflected by sea ice returns to space and is unavailable to heat the climate system. As the sea ice melts, the surface darkens and absorbs more of this energy. This, in turn, can lead to greater melting. This is referred to as a “positive feedback loop” because an initial change (sea ice melting) triggers other responses in the system that eventually acts to enhance the original change (inducing more sea ice melting).

At GFDL, research has focused on the role of the ice-albedo feedback in the enhancing simulated Arctic warming and on the potential for this positive feedback loop to lead to abrupt changes [Winton, 2006a]. A somewhat complex picture has emerged that shows the ice-albedo feedback as a contributor, but not necessarily the dominant factor in determining why modeled Arctic surface air temperatures warm roughly twice as fast as the global average. It also has been found that, for the range of temperature increases likely to occur in the 21st century, the Arctic ice-albedo feedback adjusts smoothly as the model’s ice declines, by reducing the ice cover at progressively earlier times in the sunlit season. This smooth adjustment maintains a fairly constant amplification of Arctic temperature change on global average warming.

The details of how Arctic feedback processes act in climate models at various modeling centers differ, and so analysis and computer model development work continues to better understand and to cut uncertainties in Arctic climate change simulations.”

While many scientists are alarmed by the widening expanse of open water in the Arctic, blaming it on global warming, shippers see a new international route. The MV Nordic Barents is lugging 40,000 tonnes of iron ore from Norway to China on a shortcut through melting ice – and is making a little history in the process. It is the first non-Russian commercial vessel to attempt a non-stop crossing of a route that skirts the receding Arctic ice cap.

Business Times, Singapore report (6 September 2010):

The MV Nordic Barents is lugging 40,000 tonnes of iron ore from Norway to China on an Arctic Ocean shortcut through melting ice – and is making a little history in the process.

Steaming east along Russia’s desolate northern coast, the ship departed on Saturday as the first non-Russian commercial vessel to attempt a non-stop crossing of a route that skirts the receding Arctic ice cap.

‘We’re pretty much going over the top,’ said John Sanderson, the Australian CEO of the Norwegian mine where the iron ore comes from.

By using the northern route from Europe to Asia, the Nordic Barents could save eight days and 5,000 nautical miles of travel thought to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to the owners of its cargo.

While many scientists are alarmed by the widening expanse of open water that the ship will traverse, blaming it on global warming, shippers see a new international route.

Sanderson’s ASX-listed Northern Iron Ltd has sent 15 ships to China since it began mining in the northern Norwegian town of Kirkenes last October. All steamed south, then east through the Suez Canal or around the Cape of Good Hope.

To reach Chinese steel mills hungry for ore, they had to brave pirates in the Indian Ocean.

The Arctic route is no picnic either. On Saturday the polar ice sheet remained almost as big as the US mainland. But over the summer it has shrunk about as far from the Russian coast as it did during the biggest Arctic melt on record, in 2007, according to the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center.

And the Russians are waking up to the business potential of a route that was mostly reserved for domestic commercial vessels in the past.

‘Suddenly there is an opening that gives this part of the world an advantage,’ said Felix H Tschudi, whose shipping company is Northern Iron’s largest shareholder.

Willy Oestreng, chairman of research group Ocean Futures, called the trip of the Nordic Barents ‘historic’.

‘The western world is starting to show an interest and a capability to use that route,’ he said.

Two days after Russia and Norway agreed last April to settle a 40-year-old dispute over economic zones in the Barents Sea, government and business leaders of the two countries met in Kirkenes to sweep away hurdles to international shipping.

Russian law still requires icebreaker escort even where ice danger is small, due to a lack of onshore mechanical or medical support. But fees and rules are starting to loosen.

‘Russian companies and Russian authorities are now ready to assist,’ said Mikhail Belkin, assistant general manager of the state-owned Rosatomflot ice breaking fleet.

Lots of Russian vessels have plied the passage, and two German ships traversed it last year with small cargos delivered to Russian ports. But the Nordic Barents, an ice-class Danish bulk carrier chartered by Tschudi, is the first non-Russian ship with permission to pass without stopping.

Rosatomflot has assigned two 75,000-horsepower icebreakers to the vessel for about 10 days of the three-week voyage.

Tschudi won’t say how much Rosatomflot is charging but praised it as ‘cooperative, service-minded and pragmatic.’

‘Today the route is basically competitive with the Suez Canal, and we can subtract the piracy risk,’ he said.

Excluding icebreaking fees, a bulk ship that takes the Arctic route from Hamburg to Yokohama can save more than US$200,000 in fuel and canal expenses, Mr. Oestreng said. — Reuter.

Disappearance of Aral Sea from he map.

“In the 1960s, the Soviet Union undertook a major water diversion project on the arid plains of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The region’s two major rivers, fed by snowmelt and precipitation in faraway mountains, were used to transform the desert into farms for cotton and other crops. Before the project, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya rivers flowed down from the mountains, cut northwest through the Kyzylkum Desert, and finally pooled together in the lowest part of the basin. The lake they made, the Aral Sea, was once the fourth largest in the world.

Although irrigation made the desert bloom, it devastated the Aral Sea. This series of images from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite documents the changes. At the start of the series in 2000, the lake was already a fraction of its 1960 extent (black line). The Northern Aral Sea (sometimes called the Small Aral Sea) had separated from the Southern (Large) Aral Sea. The Southern Aral Sea had split into eastern and western lobes that remained tenuously connected at both ends.

By 2001, the southern connection had been severed, and the shallower eastern part retreated rapidly over the next several years. Especially large retreats in the eastern lobe of the Southern Sea appear to have occurred between 2005 and 2009, when drought limited and then cut off the flow of the Amu Darya. Water levels then fluctuated annually between 2009 and 2012 in alternately dry and wet years.

As the lake dried up, fisheries and the communities that depended on them collapsed. The increasingly salty water became polluted with fertilizer and pesticides. The blowing dust from the exposed lakebed, contaminated with agricultural chemicals, became a public health hazard. The salty dust blew off the lakebed and settled onto fields, degrading the soil. Croplands had to be flushed with larger and larger volumes of river water. The loss of the moderating influence of such a large body of water made winters colder and summers hotter and drier.

In a last-ditch effort to save some of the lake, Kazakhstan built a dam between the northern and southern parts of the Aral Sea. Completed in 2005, the dam was basically a death sentence for the southern Aral Sea, which was judged to be beyond saving. All of the water flowing into the desert basin from the Syr Darya now stays in the Northern Aral Sea. Between 2005 and 2006, the water levels in that part of the lake rebounded significantly and very small increases are visible throughout the rest of the time period. The differences in water color are due to changes in sediment.”

There is a raging debate going on around the world especially in US about the global warming and its causes, among scientists and the public alike. When IPCC released its findings on the connection between greenhouse gas emission and the global warming and its disastrous consequences, there was an overwhelming disbelief and skepticism in many people. In fact many scientists are skeptical even now   about these findings and many of them published their own theories and models to prove their skepticism with elaborate ‘scientific explanations’.   I am not going into details whether greenhouse gas emission induced by human beings causes the globe to warm or not, but certainly we have emitted billions of  tons of Carbon in the form of Carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since industrial revolution. Bulk of these emissions is from power plants fueled by Coal, oil and gas. Why power plants emit so much Carbon into the atmosphere and why Governments around the world allow it in the first place?  When the emission of Oxide of Nitrogen and Sulfur are restricted by EPA why they did not restrict Oxides of carbon? The reason is very simple. They did not have a technology to generate heat without combustion and they did not have a technology to generate power without heat. It was the dawn of industrial revolution and steam engines were introduced using coal as a fuel. The discovery of steam engines was so great and nobody was disturbed by the black smoke it emitted. They knew very well that the efficiency of a steam engine was low as shown by Carnot cycle, yet steam engine was a new discovery and Governments were willing to condone Carbon emission. Governments were happy with steam engine because it could transport millions of people and goods in bulk across the country and Carbon emission was not at all an issue. Moreover carbon emission did not cause any problem like emission of oxides of Sulfur because it was odorless, colorless and it was emitted above the ground level away from human beings. However the effect of Carbon is insidious. Similarly, power generation technology was developed by converting thermal energy into electrical energy with a maximum efficiency of 33%.This means only 33% of the thermal energy released by combustion of coal is converted into electricity. When the resulting electricity is transmitted across thousands of kilometers by high tension grids, further 5-10% power is lost in the transmission. When the high tension power is stepped down through sub stations to lower voltage such as 100/200/400V further 5% power is lost. The net power received by a consumer is only 28% of the heat value of the fuel in the form of electricity. The balance 67% of heat along with Greenhouse gases from the combustion of coal is simply vented out into the atmosphere. It is the most inefficient method to generate power. Any environmental pollution is the direct result of inefficiency of the technology. Governments and EPA around the world ignore this fact .Thank to President Obama who finally introduced the pollution control bill for power plants after 212 years of industrial revolution.  Still this bill did not go far enough to control Carbon emission in its current form. Instead of arguing whether globe is warming due to emission of Carbon by human beings or not, Scientists should focus on improving the science and technology of power generation. For example, the electrical efficiency of a Fuel cell is more than 55% compared to conventional power generation and emits reduced or no carbon. Recent research by MIT shows that such conversion of heat into electricity can be achieved up to 90% compared to current levels of 35%.Had we developed such a technology earlier, probably we will not be discussing about GHG and global warming now. MIT research group is now focusing on developing new type of PV and according to their press release: “Thermal to electric energy conversion with thermophotovoltaics relies on radiation emitted by a hot body, which limits the power per unit area to that of a blackbody. Micro gap thermophotovoltaics take advantage of evanescent waves to obtain higher throughput, with the power per unit area limited by the internal blackbody, which is n2 higher. We propose that even higher power per unit area can be achieved by taking advantage of thermal fluctuations in the near-surface electric fields. For this, we require a converter that couples to dipoles on the hot side, transferring excitation to promote carriers on the cold side which can be used to drive an electrical load. We analyze the simplest implementation of the scheme, in which excitation transfer occurs between matched quantum dots. Next, we examine thermal to electric conversion with a glossy dielectric (aluminum oxide) hot-side surface layer. We show that the throughput power per unit active area can exceed the n2 blackbody limit with this kind of converter. With the use of small quantum dots, the scheme becomes very efficient theoretically, but will require advances in technology to fabricate.” Ref:J.Appl.Phys. 106,094315c(2009); http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3257402 Quantum-coupled single-electron thermal to electric conversion scheme”. Power generation and distribution using renewable energy sources and using Hydrogen as an alternative fuel is now emerging. Distributed energy systems may replace centralized power plants in the future due to frequent grid failures as we have seen recently in India. Most of the ‘black outs’ are caused  by grid failures due to cyclones, tornadoes and other weather related issues, and localized distribution system with combined heat and power offers a better alternative. For those who are skeptical about global warming caused by man-made greenhouse gases the question still remains, “What happened to billions of tons of Caron dioxide emitted into  the atmosphere by power plants and transportation  since industrial revolution?”.          

We have used Hydrocarbon as the source of fuel for our power generation and transportation since industrial revolution. It has resulted in increasing level of man-made Carbon into the atmosphere; and according to the scientists, the level of carbon has reached an unsustainable level and any further emission into the atmosphere will bring catastrophic consequences by way of climate change. We have already saw many natural disasters in a short of span of time. Though there is no direct link established between carbon level in the atmosphere and the global warming, there is certainly enough evidence towards increase in the frequency of natural disasters and increase in the global and ocean temeperatures.We have also seen that Hydrogen is a potential candidate as a source of future energy that can effectively substitute hydrocarbons such as Naphtha or Gasoline. However, hydrogen generation from water using electrolysis is energy intensive and the source of such energy can come only from a renewable source such as solar and wind. Another issue with electrolysis of water for Hydrogen generation is the quality of water used. The quality of water used for electrolysis is high, meeting ASTM Type I Deionized Water preferred, < 0.1 micro Siemen/cm (> 10 megOhm-cm).

A unique desalination technology has been developed by an Australian company to generate on site Hydrogen directly from seawater. In conventional seawater desalination technology using reverse osmosis process only 30-40% of fresh water is recovered as potable water with TDS less than 500 ppm as per WHO standard. The balance highly saline concentrate with TDS above 65,000 ppm is discharged back into the sea which is detrimental to the ocean’s marine life. More and more sweater desalination plants are set up all over the world to mitigate drinking water shortage. This conventional desalination is not only highly inefficient but also causes enormous damage to the marine environment.

The technology developed by the above company will be able to recover almost 75% of fresh water from seawater and also able to convert the concentrate into Caustic soda lye with Hydrogen and Chlorine as by-products by electrolysis. The discharge into the sea is drastically reduced to less than 20% with no toxic chemicals. This technology has a potential to revolutionize the salt and caustic soda industries in the future. Caustic soda is a key raw material for a number of chemical industries including PVC.Conventionally, Caustic soda plants all over the world depends on solar salt for their production of Caustic soda.Hydrogne and Chlorine are by-products.Chlrine is used for the production of PVC (poly vinyl chloride) and Hydrogen is used as a fuel.

In the newly developed technology, the seawater is not only purified from other contaminants such as Calcium, Magnesium and Sulfate ions present in the seawater but also concentrate the seawater almost to a saturation point so that it can be readily used to generate Hydrogen on site. The process is very efficient and commercially attractive because it can recover four valuable products namely, drinking water, Caustic soda lye, Chlorine and Hydrogen. The generated Hydrogen can be used directly in a Fuel cell to generate power to run the electrolysis. This process is very ideal for Caustic soda plants that are now located on seashore. This process can solve drinking water problems around the world because potable water becomes an industrial product. The concentrated seawater can also be converted in a salt by crystallization for food and pharmaceutical applications. There is a growing gap between supply and demand of salt production and most of the chemical industries are depending upon the salt from solar pans.

Another potential advantage with this technology is to use wind power to desalinate the water. Both wind power and Hydrogen will form a clean energy mix. It is a win situation for both water industry and the environment as well as for the salt and chemical industries. In conventional salt production, thousands of hectares of land are used to produce few hundred tons of low quality salt with a year-long production schedule. There is a mis match between the demand for salt by large Caustic soda plants and supply from primitive methods of solar production by solar evaporation contaminating cultivable lands.

The above case is an example of how clean energy technologies can change water, salt and chemical industries and also generate clean power economically, competing with centralized power plants fuelled with hydrocarbons. Innovative technologies can solve problems of water shortage, greenhouse gases, global warming, and environmental pollution not only economically but also environmental friendly way. Industries involved in seawater desalination, salt production, chemical industries such as Caustic soda, Soda ash and PVC interested to learn more on this new technology can write directly to this blog address for further information.

The unabated emission of Carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels by human beings is altering the chemistry of our oceans at an unprecedented rate in the last 65 million years. When excess Carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater it forms Carbonic acid, which is weak and unstable and increase the Hydrogen ion concentration in seawater. It decreases the pH value. The seawater is alkaline and the mean ocean surface pH  was measured at 8.2 in 1750.This acidity has  increased by 30% in recent times due to absorption of vast amount of man-made carbon dioxide since pre-industrial time. The amount estimated are about 500 Giga tones or 25% emitted into the atmosphere. According to UN report: “If we continue at this rate the ocean pH will decline by a further 0.3 by the end of this century, an unprecedented 150% increase in ocean acidity. This rate of change has not been experienced for around 65 million years, since the dinosaurs became extinct. Such a major change in basic ocean chemistry is likely to have real implications for ocean life in the future, especially organisms that need calcium carbonate to build shells or skeletons. Not all organisms will react at the same rate or in the same way to decreasing carbonate ion concentration. There are three naturally occurring forms of calcium carbonate used by marine organisms to build shells, plates or skeletons: calcite, aragonite and high magnesium calcite. For example, microscopic plants called coccolithophores surround themselves with protective calcite plates; aragonite is used by periods to build their shells and corals use it to make their skeletons that help to form reefs; while some echinoderms – starfish, sea urchins, brittle stars – utilize magnesium calcite to form their exoskeletons. Magnesium calcite is more soluble and sensitive to ocean acidification than aragonite; with calcite being the least soluble of the three. A lowering of pH and reduction of carbonate ions will make it more difficult for organisms to sustain their calcified shells, and in under saturated conditions, waters become corrosive to these minerals.

Additionally, most multicellular marine organisms have evolved a regulatory system to keep up the hydrogen ion balance of their internal fluids and spend energy doing this so an increase in hydrogen ions in seawater means that they will have to divert more energy away from important processes such as growth and reproduction to do this. However, studies of mussels, crab and sea urchin species have shown they have only a partial or no, compensation mechanism potentially making them more vulnerable than those organisms that possess a compensation mechanism”.(Ref:UNEP)

The contribution of marine food in the form of Protein to food security is substantial. Fish supplies about 15% of animal protein for about 3 billion people worldwide. Further one billion people depend on fisheries for their primary source of Protein. Steadily increasing population is pushing the demand for protein even further, while the fish stock is dwindling in many parts of the world due to over fishing and environmental degradation.

“Productivity ‘hotspots’ such as upwelling regions where cold water is rich in both nutrients and CO2, coastal seas, fronts, estuaries and sub-polar regions often supply the main protein source for coastal communities. However, many of these areas are also projected to be very vulnerable to ocean acidification this century.” (Source: UNEP)

Global warming has a much wider ramification than originally thought. It is not just warming the globe but threatens the food security and our own survival as human beings.

The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals ...

The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals shown as cross-sections with color-coded probability density (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hydrogen is well-known as a potential source of clean energy of the future. But it is not available in a free form; its generation from   water using Electrolysis requires more energy than, a free Hydrogen can generate.  It requires about 5kws power to generate 1 m3 Hydrogen gas, which means, it requires about 56 Kw power to generate 1 Kg Hydrogen using water electrolysis. But 1Kg Hydrogen can generate only about 15-20 Kw Electricity using a Fuel cell. This anomalous situation makes Hydrogen generation using water electrolysis uneconomical for clean power generation. That is why most of the Hydrogen is now generated by steam reforming natural gas. Another reason for using natural gas is, to cut the cost of Hydrogen and also, to make a smooth transition from fossil economy to Hydrogen economy using existing infrastructures. Power generation and transportation using Hydrogen and Fuel cell has been commercially tested, proven and ready for deployment. However, we still have to deal with emission of greenhouse gas during steam reformation of natural gas due to the presence of carbon atom in natural gas.

Meanwhile, one American company recently announced a break-through technology that will generate free thermal energy from atomic Hydrogen using a patented process. The inventor of the process claims, when atomic Hydrogen is allowed to react with a specific Catalyst, Hydrogen atom undergoes a transition to a new atom called “Hydrino”, releasing energy while the electron in the atom shifts to a lower orbit close to proton. It was believed so far that the electron in Hydrogen atom is at its lowest level (ground level) and the closest to proton. This is the first time somebody claims that there is a lower state than the ground state  in Hydrogen atom and the amount of energy released in this transition to ‘Hydrino”,  is  in between by an uncatalyzed Hydrogen atom by combustion and nuclear energy. Unlike nuclear energy, this energy is non-radioactive. But the energy released by this process is more than 200 times than energy released by Hydrogen atom by normal combustion. The reaction does not create any pollution or radio-active materials as by-products. The process has been tested, verified and certified by scientists in few  laboratories and universities.

The above process offers great hope to generate a clean, non-polluting energy at the lowest cost. The ‘dihydrino and Hydrogen is separated and Hydrogen is recycled back to continue the process while’dihydrino’ has other potential commercial applications. The inventor has named this power as “Black power” as he hypotheses that such phenomena explain the presence of “dark matter” in Galaxies. According to quantum mechanics, the energy level of a normal Hydrogen atom is at its ground level as its minimum level (N=1), but its energy level increases at higher states such as N=2, 3, 4.When the energy level jumps from higher (excited state) to a lower level, it emits energy in the form of photon of light (Quanta).The spectrum of such emission matches the ultraviolet light of the sun. Since sub-quantum atoms are non-radioactive, the inventor claims that he is duplicating the above process of Nature by a catalytic thermal process in the state of Plasma using a specific Catalyst.

If such a large thermal energy is released by formation of ‘Hydrino’atom in the above process, then such energy can be used to generate Hydrogen by conventional water electrolysis at a fraction of the cost.

Then, Hydrogen economy can become a commercial reality and the above technology has a potential not only to generate power at fraction of a cost of the fossil fuel but also to generate a clean and non-polluting power. The inventor has also hypothesised a “grand new unified theory” of atom as the basis for the above invention. Mainstream scientists have always have been reluctant to support such “free energy” theories but, when someone can prove the process of generating an excess energy (more than 200 times than the theoretical energy released by an exothermic chemical reaction) and it is non-radioactive then mainstream scientists may be sidelined by world community. It is always possible to prove something unique without any theory   and come out later with a theoretical explanation to satisfy the scientific community. Many discoveries in the past were by mere accidents and one should have an open mind to look into any new concepts without any bias, especially if the discovery can resolve serious problems of humanity at  times  of crisis.

 

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