Ticking Time Bomb

Login Form






Lost Password?
No account yet? Register

Home
More rubbish needed
User Rating: / 0
Sweden, birthplace of the Smörgåsbord, Eric Northman, and the world’s preferred solar-powered purveyor of flat-pack home furnishings, is in a bit of a pickle: the squeaky clean Scandinavian nation of more than 9.5 million has run out of garbage. The landfills have been tapped dry; the rubbish reserves depleted. And although this may seem like a positive — even enviable — predicament for a country to be facing, Sweden has been forced to import trash from neighboring countries, namely Norway. Yep, Sweden is so trash-strapped that officials are shipping it in — 80,000 tons of refuse annually, to be exact — from elsewhere.
You see, Swedes are big on recycling. So big in fact that only 4 percent of all waste generated in the country is landfilled.
Good for them! However, the population's remarkably pertinacious recycling habits are also a bit of a problem given that the country relies on waste to heat and to provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes through a longstanding waste-to-energy incineration program. So with citizens simply not generating enough burnable waste to power the incinerators, the country has been forced to look elsewhere for fuel. Says Catarina Ostlund, a senior advisor for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency: “We have more capacity than the production of waste in Sweden and that is usable for incineration.”
Public Radio International has the whole story (hat tip to Ariel Schwartz at Co.Exist), a story that may seem implausible in a country like garbage-bloated America where overflowing landfills are anything but scarce.
As mentioned, the solution — a short-term one, according to Ostlund — has been to import (well, kind of import) waste from Norway. It’s kind of a great deal for the Swedes: Norway pays Sweden to take its excess waste, Sweden burns it for heat and electricity, and the ashes remaining from the incineration process, filled with highly polluting dioxins, are returned back to Norway and landfilled.
Ostlund suggests that Norway might not be the perfect partner for a trash import-export scheme, however. “I hope that we instead will get the waste from Italy or from Romania or Bulgaria or the Baltic countries because they landfill a lot in these countries," she tells PRI. "They don’t have any incineration plants or recycling plants, so they need to find a solution for their waste."
 
Solar power stored in rust
User Rating: / 1

Using the power of the sun and ultrathin films of iron oxide (commonly known as rust), researchers at the Technion, Israel's Institute of Technology, have found a novel way to split water molecules to hydrogen and oxygen. The breakthrough, published this week in the scientific journal Nature Materials, could lead to less expensive, more efficient ways to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen-based fuels. This could be a major step forward in the development of viable replacements for fossil fuels

"Our approach is the first of its kind," says lead researcher, Associate Professor Avner Rothschild, of the Department of Materials Science and Engineering. "We have found a way to trap light in ultrathin films of iron oxide that are 5,000 thinner than an office paper. This enables achieving high solar energy conversion efficiency and low materials and production costs."

Iron oxide is a common semiconductor material, inexpensive to produce, stable in water, and — unlike other semiconductors such as silicon — can oxidize water without itself being [oxidized], corroded, or decomposed. But it also presents challenges, the greatest of which was finding a way to overcome its poor electrical conductivity properties. "For many years researchers have struggled with the tradeoff between light absorption and the separation and collection of the photogenerated charge carriers before they die out," says Rothschild. "Our light-trapping scheme overcomes this tradeoff, enabling efficient absorption in ultrathin films wherein the photogenerated charge carriers are collected efficiently."

The breakthrough could make possible the design of inexpensive solar cells that combine ultrathin iron oxide photoelectrodes with conventional photovoltaic cells based on silicon or other materials to produce electricity and hydrogen. According to Rothschild, "these cells could store solar energy for on-demand use, 24 hours per day." This is in strong contrast to conventional photovoltaic cells, which provide power only when the sun is shining (and not at night or when it is cloudy).

 
Industrialization fallout
User Rating: / 0

It is increasingly unlikely that global warming will be kept below an increase of 2C (3.6F) above pre-industrial levels, a study suggests.

Data show that global CO2 emissions in 2012 hit 35.6bn tonnes, a 2.6% increase from 2011 and 58% above 1990 levels.

The researchers say that emissions are the largest contributor to future climate change and a strong indicator of potential future warming.

The findings have been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Meanwhile, the data has been published in the journal Earth System Science Data Discussions.

Many low-lying nations have used the UN conference, which is currently under way in Doha, to call for a threshold temperature rise less than 2C, arguing that even a 2C rise will jeopardise their future.

"These latest figures come amidst climate talks in Doha, but with emissions continuing to grow, it's as if no-one is listening to the scientific community," said Corinne Le Quere, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia.

"I am worried that the risks of dangerous climate change are too high on our current emissions trajectory," Prof Le Quere said.

"We need a radical plan."

The researchers' paper says the average increases in global CO2 levels were 1.9% in the 1980s, 1.0% in the 1990 but 3.1% since 2000.

Recently, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reported that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a new record high in 2011.

In its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, the organisation said that carbon dioxide levels reached 391 parts per million in 2011.

The report estimated that carbon dioxide (CO2) accounted for 85% of the "radiative forcing" that led to global temperature rises.

Other potent greenhouse gases such as methane also recorded new highs, according to the WMO report.

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Results 33 - 36 of 193

Polls

What's your preferred energy generation options?
 
© 2017 The Environmentalist
Joomla! is Free Software released under the GNU/GPL License.