can ceramics make our air cleaner? - air cleaner
Look at your front window with smoke hanging over the distance.
Then look at the ceramic vase on your coffee table.
There is an unexpected connection between the two-one that may end up dealing with another scourge.
British scientists have developed a method of using ceramics to reduce climate
Greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere through fossil fuels
Thermal power plants that continue to dominate power supply
A generation of landscape in North America.
The main supporter of this new idea is Ian Metcalfe, a chemical engineer at Newcastle-upon-Tyne University, who will use the inherent properties of ceramics to make natural gas, even coal, could be burned cleaner.
It is easier to capture the product.
Power plants are the main source of greenhouse gases, so the potential of this technology is huge.
But it turns out that the leap from the lab to the real world is bigger than people think.
This is because of an environmental problem. 22.
Although we avoid pollution sometimes
Relying on technology to solve many of the environmental problems we face leads to behavior, and the paradox is that we have little incentive to implement technology because we have no financial incentive to do so.
Even Metcalfe said that although his technology is promising, there is no hope of widespread adoption at present, because "it makes no economic sense to do so.
But, he added, "if costs go up, it will really affect people's utility bills, which will allow people to look for new technologies and change their behavior.
"The people who studied this said that the way to achieve this goal is through politics.
In the living room, ceramics are more important than your bathroom tiles or pottery jars.
Their definitions are broad, and scientists sometimes classify them according to what compounds are not: metals, semiconductors, or plastic polymers, says David Wilkinson, professor of materials science and engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton.
The ceramics have been used for gas separation for some time, says Wilkinson.
But Metcalfe's research "sounds like a good way to actually use this technology.
"This engineering is very technical, but the idea behind it is very simple.
Typically, in factories that use natural gas (mainly methane) to generate electricity, natural gas burns in the air.
The air is mainly composed of nitrogen and oxygen.
In the process, there is the usual fossil fuel.
Products: nitrogen oxide pollutants, nitrogen and greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
The gas soup is too mixed to sort out the individual ingredients, so it is released into the atmosphere.
It is best to burn natural gas in pure oxygen. Then the by-
The product will be just steam and pure carbon dioxide, easily separated by condensing the steam into water.
Carbon dioxide can be captured and put into use-making chemicals such as methanol, or being pumped back to the ground to help extract more oil-rather than being released.
Normally pure oxygen is produced by liquefied air, but this is expensive.
Thin ceramics have the ability to do this at a cheaper price by letting only oxygen ions-charged atoms-through their pores.
Metcalfe's method is to transport methane out through a fine ceramic tube, the width of the fine ceramic tubepoint pen.
These tubes allow only oxygen to spread through them so that methane burns clean.
If coal can be converted into natural gas in the first place, it can also be used in theory.
Research in this area is also under way.
So far, the Metcalfe process has worked in the laboratory.
In a huge power plant, millions of such pipes are needed.
"The challenge is to scale up," Metcalfe said . ".
"We did the experiment in a month or so.
We need to know this (ceramic)
The membrane can last for a year or two.
Also, will the membrane deteriorate in the presence of impurities?
These work at high temperatures so can you seal (the system)properly?
"In theory, the technology could have an impact here. Electricity-
According to Environment Canada, the power generation industry is Ontario's second largest carbon dioxide emitter after road transportation.
It also produces a large proportion of pollutants, which, like Mercury, cause smoke and heavy rain.
Poor air quality is an ongoing problem in Ontario.
Although Toronto's summer was better than the summer of 2005, when a record 48 haze warning days were issued, we still endured more than 20 days this season.
The provincial government initially promised to close high-polluting coal-
Ontario's power plants have been burned so far this year, but with the surge in electricity demand in Ontario, the power plants have gone backwards.
It now says they will end the legislation by 2014.
According to the Department of Energy, fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas, account for 26 of Ontario's electricity production.
The rest is nuclear power, which accounts for hydropower and other renewable energy sources.
The department says there are 102 plants in Ontario that use natural gas.
When it comes to the technological ocean that solves environmental problems-from chimney scammers to car catalytic converters to advances in waste incineration-the idea seems to be setting off the next wave.
Bill Van Haist, professor of environmental engineering and air quality expert at the University of Guelph, said these technologies were historically critical to providing solutions.
For example, 1960 and 1970 of hospital incinerators burning biohazardous waste discharge heavy metals and hazardous chemicals into the air, known as dioxin and furans.
He noted that the new incinerator is more efficient and releases fewer toxins.
Although not widely used, the chimney scrubber uses chemical reactions to help remove sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides from flue emissions.
Sometimes, technology can avoid the dilemma of "two evils are light.
For example, if the coal plant is closed, the price of natural gas may rise, and more electricity must be imported from places with less coal control.
Technology may help with coal-fired cleaners.
Van Haist said: "Technology has brought us to where we are today, and this may be a factor in reducing our environmental impact.
But he admits that what people can rely on is not the "silver bullet" philosophy.
"We have too many people now, and the impact we have is huge.
"These are the easiest things to do, such as turning off the lights," he said . "
"The benefits can be great by lowering my electricity bill.
However, humans are playing a strange environment game.
Many people like the idea of helping the environment, but it is difficult to change personal behavior.
"People choose not to do these things because they like the convenience that comes with higher utility bills," Metcalfe said . ".
So engineers like Metcalfe have developed a new technology to save the modern way of life.
But the experience of Metcalfe is that, in fact, this belief can create a vicious circle.
If those who can adopt these technologies are not forced to do so through economic means, they will not be adopted.
"It is only when carbon emissions are punished that you see people adopting these technologies," Metcalfe said . ".
"If you can somehow think that the damage to carbon emissions will bring costs, it will provide them with the incentive to reduce emissions through advanced technology.
"Even the carbon trading scheme already in place in Europe is not a cost incentive," he said.
On this side of the pond, Van Haist cited the example of Bullfrog Power where people can only get electricity from renewable sources.
But the cost is higher.
"Does this mean people who are not in good health --
Coal supply must be supportedfired plants?
Asked Professor Guelph.
"This is a strange economic system.
Metcalfe said that any amendment to the system must be political.
"If there is a will to change it, there must be political will," he explained . ".
In other words, through politics, you create economic conditions that make technology attractive to the environment.
Van hast agreed.
"The political agenda has been driving development in the environment.
When we deal with industry, why do companies voluntarily invest in pollution if there is no regulation --
Control devices don't contribute to their bottom line?
"Look at the smoke outside the window, and then look at the vase on the coffee table.
There seems to be an unexpected connection between the two, that is, money.