Sustaining Future

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Just a few more words on bacteria. The main purpose of the bacteria is to convert the excretion (ammonia etc) of the fish into plant's food (nitrate). To remove the nitrate, plant is used. These nitrate and nitrite converting bacteria is very sensitive to Chlorine. So it is better to use rain water. If tap water is used, make sure they are left for a while before introduction of fish. If you have a friend who has a running fish tank, get some gravels from she/him will help a lot.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Carbon Sequestration:Forest

Yes, we need to remove carbon from atmosphere. We have already pumped too much already. The question is of course HOW.
Fritz Scholz and Ulrich Hasse from the University of Greifswald introduce a possible approach to a solution: deliberately planted forests bind the CO2 through photosynthesis and are then removed from the global CO2 cycle by burial.

Here is some numbers:
1. Current world carbon emission is 32 gigatons of CO2.
2. Fritz and Ulrich estimated that the world needs about 1 sq km of forest [my notes: world's Irrigated land in 2003 is 2,770,980 sq km]
3. "This project could be financed by an additional tax of 0.11 € per liter of gasoline or 0.003 € per kilowatt-hour of electricity." I don't know how this figure is arrived. From Wikipedia, the 2004 worldwidth energy consumption is 5x1020 Joules or 1.4x1014kilowatt-hour. That would represent a value of US$644B.
"The forests should be planted in countries that are suitable for growing forest and also have the necessary sites for burial of the wood," stresses Scholz. "Other countries, the primary consumers of fossil fuels, can pay them for it. This would produce a global trade that would benefit everyone involved."

This is a market a lot of big companies will be interested in.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

This is how it should be done

These two videos from ClimateCare have several common themes. Watch first and then see if you agree with me.

  1. High tech low tech
    Using high tech to discover area of improvement and then implement the solution in low tech.

  2. Local
    The solution is implemented locally using local resources and local labour, including local skill development to maintain the solution.

  3. Micro finance
    for rapid deployment to those who can afford.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Bushfire & Charcoal

CSIRO scientists in Australia discovered that the pollutant (such as benzene and toluene, as a result of industrial pollution) absorption ability of charcoal depends more critically to the combustion temperature at which the charcoal was found. The critical temperature was within the scope of temperatures as observed for bush fire.

Nature's initiation of bush fire is a way of generating filters to eliminate pollutants.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

Charcoal: Economics of carbon sequestration

from Carbon Commentary

Besides all the benefit of improvement to soil, the carbon sequestration itself already worth the effort:

A tonne of good quality biochar has an energy value of about 28 gigajoules (GJ), slightly less than the best quality coal. (Pure black carbon is about 32 GJ/tonne.) Standard coal costs about £1.50 per GJ. If a power station operator is prepared to pay the coal-equivalent price, biochar is worth about £42 per tonne in the UK.

Burning a tonne of biochar will produce about three and a half tonnes of CO2. (Pure carbon would generate 3.667 tonnes.) The current price of CO2 in the European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is about £16, meaning that sequestering 3.5 tonnes ought to be worth approximately £56. Since £56 is greater than £42, the economic logic suggests that we should hold the carbon in the soil rather than burning it. This is before considering the secondary climate change benefits of reduced fertiliser use and lowered nitrous oxide emissions. [my emphasis]


Friday, May 09, 2008

DIY Charcoal Producing Hiking Stove

Here is a good description of a wood gasifier hiking stove made from some cans.

According to the author, the total weight is just 14oz and you don't have to carry any fuel.

The author recommends to completely burn the fuel to ashes. However, if you pour water over the fire after you have boiled whatever you have intended, the charcoal left can be buried in the soil as a soil improving agent as well as carbon sink.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008

By production managememnt (aka waste management)

By recognizing that there is value in the by-product (any by-product), we may have hope to maintain our living standard without adding more burden on the environment. Here is a suggestion:

Hope someone will fund startups making that happens

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

7 years window for stablising the climate

[Image from TreeHugger]
Here’s Rajendra K. Pachauri’s [Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) ] panic-inducing assertion: We have a window of seven years to stabilize CO2 at today’s levels if we are to limit our global mean temperature increase to around 2.40C. A world this hot would be a very unpleasant place to be. Pachauri lays out unequivocal” evidence of climate change, and describes how extreme precipitation events, heat waves and other natural catastrophes will become more frequent, endangering vast swaths of humanity. We stand to lose 20-30% of species if warming exceeds 1.5 to 2.5 0C. Pachauri also notes this “scary prospect”: the rapid loss of ice sheets on polar land, leading to sea level rises of several meters, and the flight of large populations in response.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Forget Nuclear

from Rocky Mountain Institute

This article analysis the economical fallacy of relying on nuclear power for replacement of carbon-based electricity generation.
The Economist observed in 2001 that “Nuclear power, once claimed to be too cheap to meter, is now too costly to matter”—cheap to run but very expensive to build. Since then, it’s become several-fold costlier to build, and in a few years, as old fuel contracts expire, it is expected to become several-fold costlier to run. Its total cost now markedly exceeds that of other common power plants (coal, gas, big wind farms), let alone the even cheaper competitors described below.

My biggest objection to nuclear power, however, is not just economic. The fact that the spent fuel will need million of years of safe protection is an impossible position for any rational (wo)men to consider the use nuclear power in the first place. No technology, nor political procedure exists to ensure that spent fuel will not be leaked into the environment and hence creating wide-spread radioactive health impacts to all life form.

The article also suggested a solution: micro-generation at end-user locations using a diverse methods and 'negaWatt1'. This is a video from Greenpeace about distributed power generation

Another video (17 min) from youTube about using alternate power in Australia

1NegaWatt refers to "negative watt' - the power saved by more efficient mean of using the energy.