As part of their Ventus project, a team of researchers at Arizona State University will reward the person who can provide the most usable information about a power plant’s location, carbon dioxide emissions, and other operational features with a trophy, author inclusion on a future research paper, and, according to their Web site, the title of “Supreme Power Plant Emissions GURU.” While the competition is open to everyone, the team is hoping to attract people who work at or live near a power plant, particularly “the thousands of new facilities in the developing world about which little data exist.” Contributors can register anonymously if they like.
What’s the Big Idea?
Approximately 30,000 power plants are in operation around the world, and together they account for some 40 percent of carbon emissions. About 25,000 of these plants have already been located using a Google Maps interface, and for these, registered visitors can add or modify existing operational information. The members of the Ventus project plan to use the collected data to improve global carbon cycle models, which will help further basic climate change research.