A Solution To Global Warming?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jul 21, 2008 7:59 PM GMT
    http://www.physorg.com/news135820173.html

    I personally don't feel right about it. It may have massive unforeseen environmental consequences that might actually make things worse.

    Are there any chemists here? Is it plausible to you?
  • joggerva

    Posts: 731

    Jul 21, 2008 9:15 PM GMT
    Hmm, I'm not a chemist, but I saw some pretty funny and interesting comments on slashdot. Here's one that I thought was the most bubble-bursting:

    KazymyrThe process of making lime generates CO2, but adding the lime to seawater absorbs almost twice as much CO2. The overall process is therefore 'carbon negative'.


    There is a little bit of truth in this, but not much, and it cancels itself out eventually.

    So where do you get lime (calcium oxide/hydroxide)? From heating limestone (calcium carbonate) which releases CO2.
    CaCO3->CaO + CO2

    Then you hydrate it:

    CaO + H2O-> Ca(OH)2

    And add it to water. What happens is it absorbs 2 carbon dioxide, initially - and if the pH is right:
    Ca(OH)2 + 2CO2->Ca(HCO3)2 that is calcium bicarbonate.

    I guess this is why they say "it absorbs twice as much CO2".

    The problem with all that is, calcium bicarbonate is unstable and will eventually decompose, liberating back CO2:

    Ca(HCO3)2->CaCO3 +H2O +CO2

    And there you have it, all the CO2 is released (2 molecules in, 2 molecules out), and all you accomplished in the end is just moving the limestone from the mountains to the bottom of the ocean.
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    Jul 21, 2008 9:56 PM GMT
    How long does it take for Calcium Bicarbonate to decompose? It may at least give us longer time to plant more trees. Heh

    EDIT:

    I found some things:

    Calcium Bicarbonate doesn't or very rarely exist in solid form and exists in nature only as a solution in water. It seems Calcium bicarbonate only (?) releases the extra CO2 through boiling or evaporation of the 'hard water'.

    From: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/chem99/chem99492.htm

    It's fairly easy to
    lose the first carbon dioxide from Ca(HCO3)2; all you need to do is heat
    an aqueous solution of calcium bicarbonate: Ca(HCO3)2 = CaCO3 + CO2 + H2O.
    This is the "boiler-scale reaction," which is responsible for a lot of the
    white scale in hot-water heaters, and is also responsible for building up
    those beautiful terraces of Mammoth Hot Springs in Yellowstone National
    Park. It's a lot more work to lose the second carbon dioxide; this
    requires the elevated temperatures in cement kilns: CaCO3 = CaO + CO2.

    From: http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/hard+water

    hard water

    Water that does not lather easily with soap, and produces a deposit or scale (limescale) in kettles. It is caused by the presence of certain salts of calcium and magnesium.

    Temporary hardness is caused by the presence of dissolved hydrogencarbonates (bicarbonates); when the water is boiled, they are converted to insoluble carbonates that precipitate as ‘scale’. Permanent hardness is caused by sulphates and silicates, which are not affected by boiling. Water can be softened by distillation, ion exchange (the principle underlying commercial water softeners), targeting with low frequency magnetic waves (this alters the crystal structure of calcium salts so that they remain in suspension), addition of sodium carbonate or of large amounts of soap, or boiling (to remove temporary hardness).


    Hm... I think that would really buy time.

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    Jul 21, 2008 10:19 PM GMT
    SDcollegian saidEven if this strategy did help to mitigate global warming, its effects on marine life would be unpredictable and probably detrimental.


    My thoughts exactly. :/

    Could be tested on a smaller scale though. This doesn't sound much worse than say... rain seeding.
  • treader

    Posts: 238

    Jul 22, 2008 1:37 AM GMT
    I was flipping channels last night and this show was interviewing a scientist who was building an artificial 'tree' which would remove CO2 from the air. One of the challenges was to make sure that it didn't use more electricity than the 'work' that it was doing. Otherwise, you have to burn more fossil fuels just to power the device releasing more CO2 in the atmosphere than the machine would absorb.

    The device appeared to work but then they realized that they didn't have any plan what to do with the CO2 that the 'tree' builds up. They suggested that countries could follow Norway's lead and start building pipes to pump the extracted CO2 underground. Of course if this 'storage' of CO2 ever leaked, you would have to start all over again. It was a fascinating program.

    There's no easy solutions for this problem. I really wonder that they have essentially screwed future generations. I hope that I'm wrong. icon_sad.gif
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    Jul 22, 2008 1:45 AM GMT
    All these "solutions" are predicated on the premise that the results will be what the originator thinks. Sorry, as others have pointed out, this may have unforeseen effects on marine life....but, as a meteorologist, I can guarantee that this might have an equally unforeseen effect on the atmosphere, which is a highly non-linear system.

    Each scheme, from small to grandiose, obscures the real issue. Mitigate the initial "experiment" humans are running, which is interfering with the atmosphere....which means, mitigate the emission of greenhouse gasses at the source.

    Actually, the atmosphere has quite a bit of inertia with respect to external forcings. Initially, while effects are measurable (increases in temperature globally, ablation of the Arctic ice pack, recession of most glaciers), they are not yet catastrophic.

    Making attempts to lower emission of greenhouse gasses could allow the atmosphere to not spin into a series of positive feedbacks that could lead to a step like change in climate. These schemes assume that we do nothing to lower those emissions. It's a little like someone in a car with his foot on the gas pedal, trying to slow it by putting the emergency brake on, but leaving his gas on the pedal. Meanwhile, he's shouting, "...I am doing all I can to stop the car..."
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    Jul 22, 2008 12:39 PM GMT
    The real issue here is carbon sincs. The oceans of the world are the primary carbon sincs but; the foliage on land play a big part too. Deforestation has been rampant and needs to be stopped. If you want to look for a culprit, emmissions aren't the only ones.
    That's one of the reasons I don't see the Al Gore alarmists as being serious. If carbon dioxide were that big of a deal we would use force to stop the deforestation of the Amazon and other countries that over cut their lands of forests.
    You would think that our scientists would be able to figure out an artificial means of photosynthesis. I don't care for the idea of adding lime to the oceans.

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    Jul 22, 2008 12:58 PM GMT


    Aside from the fact that we have failed to predict accurately the amount of CO2 the oceans can absorb at their present state it seems like bad idea to start messing the the pH of an Eco-system that covers 3/4 of the globe.

    The effect would not be limited to the ability of aqueous components of the oceans increasing Calcium carbonate in water increases the growth and photosynthesis of plants. Increased organic matter produces more oxygen and traps more carbon. More oxygen, more organic plant life brings about more animal life. At least this has been shown in lakes so a similar effect could be expected in the ocean


    Theirs a biological solution with the same effect. There are large areas of the ocean with the complete organic nutrient profile with the exception of a ferrous component.

    It's been suggested that dumping a truck load of iron would cause a massive algal bloom trapping carbon and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean and becoming sedimentary rock. While continual iron supplementation would eventually lead to development of an ecosystem
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    Jul 22, 2008 6:13 PM GMT
    AMT87 said

    Aside from the fact that we have failed to predict accurately the amount of CO2 the oceans can absorb at their present state it seems like bad idea to start messing the the pH of an Eco-system that covers 3/4 of the globe.

    The effect would not be limited to the ability of aqueous components of the oceans increasing Calcium carbonate in water increases the growth and photosynthesis of plants. Increased organic matter produces more oxygen and traps more carbon. More oxygen, more organic plant life brings about more animal life. At least this has been shown in lakes so a similar effect could be expected in the ocean


    Theirs a biological solution with the same effect. There are large areas of the ocean with the complete organic nutrient profile with the exception of a ferrous component.

    It's been suggested that dumping a truck load of iron would cause a massive algal bloom trapping carbon and then sinking to the bottom of the ocean and becoming sedimentary rock. While continual iron supplementation would eventually lead to development of an ecosystem


    Algal blooms however are more often than not, deadly to ecosystems. I should know, lol, I had pet goldfish in an outdoor pond. One day, someone left the tarp covering off and it got full sunlight, in a span of hours, the whole pool was covered with green scum and the fish we're gasping for oxygen. They all died. icon_cry.gif

    John43620If carbon dioxide were that big of a deal we would use force to stop the deforestation of the Amazon and other countries that over cut their lands of forests.


    OMG... force?! John, your republican side is showing again. icon_lol.gif

    treader
    The device appeared to work but then they realized that they didn't have any plan what to do with the CO2 that the 'tree' builds up. They suggested that countries could follow Norway's lead and start building pipes to pump the extracted CO2 underground.


    Sounds fascinating. For some reason it reminds me of Mars, which has a predominantly CO2 atmosphere but has rich deposits of oxygen trapped in the rocks (I think).

    fastprofThese schemes assume that we do nothing to lower those emissions. It's a little like someone in a car with his foot on the gas pedal, trying to slow it by putting the emergency brake on, but leaving his gas on the pedal. Meanwhile, he's shouting, "...I am doing all I can to stop the car..."


    Yeah. I guess. Still these measures can buy time while the global economy shifts from its fossil fuel dependence to cleaner sources of energy. We ARE shifting from fossil fuels after all. In less than a decade, I think fossil-fueled cars would be history... I hope. icon_confused.gif
  • joggerva

    Posts: 731

    Jul 29, 2008 7:16 PM GMT
    For anyone interested in this topic, this little tidbit just popped up in my inbox... although it really just opens up more questions.

    http://www.awwa.org/publications/MainStreamArticle.cfm?itemnumber=39815
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    Jul 29, 2008 7:38 PM GMT
    joggerva saidFor anyone interested in this topic, this little tidbit just popped up in my inbox... although it really just opens up more questions. http://www.awwa.org/publications/MainStreamArticle.cfm?itemnumber=39815


    That's another example of how careful we need to be in trying to "solve" global warming issues by going downstream of the initial stressor...greenhouse gases. By "downstream" I mean concentrating on "solutions" that assume our continuation of pumping greenhouse gasses into the earth-atmosphere system. Each such solution has its own set of non-linear interactions with the earth and atmosphere....none of which we can adequately model.


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    Jul 29, 2008 7:41 PM GMT


    There's no quick fix.

    To my neighbours- is it necessary to drive 10 blocks to Tim Horton's 6 times a day for coffee? MAKE SOME!! To my other neighbours- stop running your deisel delivery truck for 45 minutes to 'warm up' before work every morning.
    To the family that likes to go shopping etc together. You don't need one car for each member. CAR POOL!
    To big business- DUH! Stop exporting our apples to China and importing their apples to us! Apple juice is the latest nuttiness around that one.
    Back away from the world's environment- we all share it. Focus on ourselves. As a species, we seem to be very good at that, so let's put it to good use. Like we do with our bodies. The natural world is, collectively, our body.

    Wow. My fists are a-hurtin' from a-bangin' on that pulpit.

    -Doug