Focus on renewable energy, not carbon capture, say researchers

Rather than scrubbing the emissions from fossil fuel plants, a new analysis suggests we should simply replace those power plants with renewable alternatives.

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  • Retrofitting carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to fossil fuel-based power plants makes sense; our main problem, after all, is the CO2 these plants emit, right?
  • Early studies have suggested that these CCS solutions could be 85 to 95 percent efficient. A new study that is among the first to study actual field data suggests this wildly underestimates the impact of upstream and downstream sources of emissions, as well as the energy needs of CCS solutions themselves.
  • Instead, the researchers say, our best bet is to just replace fossil fuel-based power plants with ones that use renewable energy.
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MIT engineers unveil emissions-free cement

Electrochemical methods such as this could someday dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions around the planet.

Chiang et al.
  • Cement production accounts for 8 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions worldwide.
  • The new method uses renewable electricity to generate heat for the mixing process, while an electrochemical technique allows for carbon dioxide to be captured and stored.
  • This method isn't likely to be implemented at scale anytime soon, but it's an "important first step," the researchers said.
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New carbon capture method is a “paradigm shift," say MIT engineers

The new method appears to be more efficient and cheaper than current carbon capture technologies.

Sahag Voskian via Vimeo
  • Capturing and storing carbon before it enters the atmosphere is a promising technique that's already helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • However, current technologies are generally too expensive or inefficient to be used on a large-scale basis.
  • A new carbon capture method aims to change that by using electrochemical sheets to capture carbon from the air.
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Microplastics in the soil point to another potential ecosystem collapse

When these particles are eaten by earthworms, the results are not good.

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  • New research from Anglia Ruskin University states that microplastics in soil are causing earthworms to lose weight.
  • Soil affected by microplastics produces less crop yield due to less productive earthworms and lower pH levels.
  • If this trend continues, our entire agricultural system could be compromised.
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Are solar-powered airships the future of cargo delivery?

New technology offers us a look at the green future of aviation and cargo shipping.

The French company Flying Whales aims to deliver cargo to remote areas via airships by 2023.
Photo courtesy of Flying Whales.
  • A solar-powered airship built by a U.K.-based company could be a groundbreaking way to freight cargo internationally with lower emissions, and a big step towards a 100 percent renewable world.
  • Varialift's airship will use helium gas to lift off, which is a great deal safer than the hydrogen that airships of the past used.
  • It's been estimated that the cost of the Varialift aircraft would be comparable to a jumbo jet.
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