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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
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    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2019
     
    There's an interesting piece on the economics of carbon capture at
    http://www.softmachines.org/wordpress/?p=2346
    and the implications for current UK political strategy.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2019
     
    I would agree with the basic point that 'the whole world will decarbonise is if low carbon energy – primarily wind, solar and nuclear – comes in at a lower cost than fossil fuels, without subsidies or other intervention' - though I'd strike nuclear from his list and add various types of water-related power. And make the case for market support mechanisms while the price falls.

    What I wouldn't want to see is the cost-effectiveness of CCS being improved by using the captured carbon to pressurise otherwise uneconomic oil and gas fields to aid extraction (enhanced oil recovery), as was advocated in the Oxburgh Report - http://www.sccs.org.uk/images/expertise/reports/oxford/oxburgh_report_the_critical_role_of_CCS.pdf
    • CommentAuthorsam_cat
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019
     
    " without subsidies or other intervention"

    How about the subsidies for fossil and nuke are also removed, level playing field...
    "£10.5bn a year in support for fossil fuels in the UK"
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: sam_cat"How about the subsidies for fossil and nuke are also removed, level playing field...
    "£10.5bn a year in support for fossil fuels in the UK"


    I agree with the principle - though some issues - like phasing out the VAT reduction on domestic fuel will be politically difficult.

    Just look at the details, that figure apparently (https://www.eceee.org/all-news/news/uk-has-biggest-fossil-fuel-subsidies-in-the-eu-finds-commission/) comes from the 2016 Eurostat data, prepared by Tinomics, which provides a figure of 26.3 B€ for all UK energy-related subsidies in 2016.

    The annexes to that report (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/documents/energy_prices_and_costs_-_final_report_-_annexes_v12.3.pdf) include several interesting graphs for the UK on page 429. For example showing that subsidies in the UK fell in 2016... almost exclusively by slashing 1.29 B€ support for energy savings.
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019
     
    This is mentioned in the linked article, but not all industrial processes can be made CO2 emissions free, like cement manufacture. Also fuel may be needed for aircraft etc (hydrogen is technically possible but with the obvious perceived risk).

    So CCS is helpful as a way to capture some of these emissions, or draw net carbon from the atmosphere if biomass (hopefully mostly waste) is being burned.

    Stabilising sea level, for example, requires reducing temperatures to pre-industrial levels, not just stopping at 2 degrees.

    Also fossil thermal power plants can be relatively easily switched on or off (dispatchable), which would be useful for filling the gaps in a grid that is largely renewables, or meeting intermediate/peak loads in a nuclear grid.

    I wouldn't be surprised if CCS played some small role eventually, but it is not the least-cost emissions-control method at the moment...
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019
     
    The simplest & cheapest way to achieve CCS is to start growing hemp on a worldwide industrial basis, then turn it into houses.

    gg
  1.  
    Posted By: gyrogearThe simplest & cheapest way to achieve CCS is to start growing hemp on a worldwide industrial basis, then turn it into houses.gg


    Providing you don't need the land to grow food
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: finnianif biomass (hopefully mostly waste) is being burned
    That's another thing - waste (meaning black bin/landfill waste, what remains after ever-more-complete recycling) is either mainly plastic, with precious metals/minerals, or non-combustible; is our future supply of raw (very raw) materials once the oil fountain is switched off.

    It should be stockpiled aka landfilled until ever-more-sophisticated automatic sorting technologies intersect with rising rarity/price of hydrocarbons and precious metals/minerals, so that the stockpiles can be quarried, once drilling/quarrying of virgin materials grinds to a near halt, as it must.

    It's consuming our seedcorn, to burn it.

    There's vast amounts of already-extracted materials in circulation in the biosphere, while the quantity of material required for any given purpose is decreasing.

    Time to stop quarrying, start serious 100% recovery and recycling.
    CCS only for that purpose - recovery - def not as a band-aid to allow biz-as-usual.
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2019
     
    Burning waste, then CCS is a pretty good first step to recovering the raw elements in it: this separates the solids (fly ash and bottom ash) and the CO2. The ash can in principle be mined. Some is currently made into bricks (needs not too much heavy metal in the waste stream).

    The CO2 can potentially be made into synthetic fuel, then turned back into plastic. Or buried.

    Think CCS is going to be too expensive to allow business as usual, anyway: this is why the pilot schemes have shut down. Renewables are just cheaper and easier.
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019 edited
     
    Posted By: finnianAlso fuel may be needed for aircraft etc (hydrogen is technically possible but with the obvious perceived risk).

    Hydrogen is already in use on a test basis: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen-powered_aircraft
    The first (small, short distance) electric planes have just gone commercial: https://qz.com/1650449/electric-airplanes-take-flight-at-the-paris-air-show/
    Hybrids are under development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zunum_Aero
    And airships look like going commercial (again) from 2022: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-03-10/china-s-hoping-airships-will-revolutionize-air-transport

    Posted By: finnian
    Stabilising sea level, for example, requires reducing temperatures to pre-industrial levels, not just stopping at 2 degrees.

    ..which could take >1,000 years (old 2009 paper, so would be no surprise if current estimate is longer: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127163403.htm)

    Posted By: finnian
    Also fossil thermal power plants can be relatively easily switched on or off (dispatchable), which would be useful for filling the gaps in a grid that is largely renewables, or meeting intermediate/peak loads in a nuclear grid.

    Though 100% renewables seems possible in Europe by 2050:https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0306261918312790

    ...and in most of the rest of the World too: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/09/countries-100-renewable-energy-by-2050/

    And Iceland has already done it: https://www.100-percent.org/iceland/
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019
     
    Hydrogen powered aircraft are a potential solution but I wonder whether airlines/public will be willing to accept them based on safety fears (whether justified or not). Also, you have to capture the resulting water rather than dump it in the stratosphere, because this is otherwise almost as bad as CO2.

    If you go to net negative emissions, you can bring down CO2 levels faster than on a 1000 year timescale, but this is obviously an issue for future generations.

    Note that the Europe 100% renewables plan you linked to involved burning quite a lot of biomass. So I guess I should have said that dispatchable thermal power plants are useful for keeping the lights on whether or not they burn fossil fuel. How much biofuel is sustainable anyway? Probably not very much. Burning biomass in Drax is not counted as 'renewable' by some accounts...
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019 edited
     
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019
     
    Posted By: finnianAlso, you have to capture the resulting water rather than dump it in the stratosphere, because this is otherwise almost as bad as CO2.

    It looks like an alternative is to avoid / minimise creating contrails, as it's the cirrus cloud they cause that results in most warming. There already seems to be work on that, and that the absence of soot / sulphur / NOx from a hydrogen engine / fuel cell helps too, as their presence causes nucleation of ice crystals.

    https://www.reading.ac.uk/news-archive/press-releases/pr586136.html
    https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04068-0
    https://dspace.lib.cranfield.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/1826/2966/Noppel%202007.pdf
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019
     
    Well, if you are using fuel cells that gives you a lot of options for reducing contrails or not emitting water at all at high altitude (eg storing it or dropping it as 'hail').

    That's probably the way to go in the long term, but power density of fuel cells is still not there for airliner-speed flight.

    Nearer-term is using hydrogen in conventional turbines. Deals with sulfur/soot issue (although just removing the sulfur from jet fuel isn't that hard), but not necessarily NOx. About twice as much water vapour per Joule though.

    Minimising contrail production is a good idea... think there are easier options than converting all the planes to hydrogen though. Just moving some flight routes and altitudes a bit would help a lot. And using clean fuel.
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019
     
    Also, the climate effects of planes are complicated: agree that contrail production is major but other effects (combined) possibly slightly bigger..

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-challenge-tackling-aviations-non-co2-emissions
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJun 25th 2019
     
    ? aircrafts ?

    Not a single mention of airfield rubber removal !

    gg
    • CommentAuthorMike1
    • CommentTimeJun 26th 2019
     
    Looks like NASA are spending some small change on aircraft fuel cell technology: https://grainger.illinois.edu/news/30918
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2019
     
    "UK's biggest carbon capture project is step-change on emissions
    Tata-owned Cheshire plant to turn 40,000 tonnes of CO2 a year into useful products"

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jun/27/uks-biggest-carbon-capture-project-is-step-change-on-emissions

    The photo caption says "Biomass fuel produced at Drax power station in north Yorkshire" - presumably from the captutred CO2 - a bit self-defeating?!
    But that's not mentioned in the article.
    • CommentAuthorgyrogear
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2019
     
    I've heard of "green power", but lemon sherbet power sounds much more interesting...

    gg
    • CommentAuthorfinnian
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2019
     
    As far as I can tell the photo/caption has little to do with the article (some subeditor decided anything Drax-related was relevant). I believe Drax (in the US) makes biomass pellets before they ship them to the UK (but from wood etc).

    I wonder how many pounds of sherbet the average person would want: thinking that 40,000 tonnes probably saturates the market.
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