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Introducing a terrestrial carbon pool in desert bedrock mountains

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Growth of the Phoenix metropolitan area led to exposures of the internal bedrock structure of surrounding semi-arid mountain ranges as housing platforms or road cuts. Such exposures in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts reveal the presence of sedimentary calcium carbonate

Growth of the Phoenix metropolitan area led to exposures of the internal bedrock structure of surrounding semi-arid mountain ranges as housing platforms or road cuts. Such exposures in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts reveal the presence of sedimentary calcium carbonate infilling the pre-existing fracture matrix of the bedrock. Field surveys of bedrock fractures filled with carbonate (BFFC) reveal an average of 0.079 +/- 0.024 mT C/m2 stored in the upper 2 m of analyzed bedrock exposures. Back-scattered electron microscopy images indicate the presence of carbonate at the micron scale, not included in this estimation. Analysis of the spatial extent of bedrock landforms in arid and semi-arid regions worldwide suggests that ~1485 GtC could potentially be stored in the upper 2 m horizon of BFFCs. Radiocarbon dating obtained at one of the sites indicates it is likely that some of the carbonate was flushed into the bedrock system during glacial wet pulses, and is stored on Pleistocene timescales or longer. Strontium isotope analysis at the same site suggest the potential for a substantial cation contribution from weathering of the local bedrock, indicating the potential exists for sequestration of atmospheric carbon in BFFCs. Rates of carbon release from BFFCs are tied to rates of erosion of bedrock ranges in desert climates.

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2013

Is carbon sequestration "good" for the environment?: an evaluation based on current technology and methods

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Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is one of the important mitigation options for climate change. Numerous technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) are in development but currently, capture using amines is the predominant technology. When the flue gas reacts with

Carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) is one of the important mitigation options for climate change. Numerous technologies to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) are in development but currently, capture using amines is the predominant technology. When the flue gas reacts with amines (Monoethanaloamine) the CO2 is absorbed into the solution and forms an intermediate product which then releases CO2 at higher temperature. The high temperature necessary to strip CO2 is provided by steam extracted from the powerplant thus reducing the net output of the powerplant by 25% to 35%. The reduction in electricity output for the same input of coal increases the emissions factor of Nitrogen Oxides, Mercury, Particulate matter, Ammonia, Volatile organic compounds for the same unit of electricity produced. The thesis questions if this tradeoff between CO2 and other emissions is beneficial or not. Three different methodologies, Life Cycle Assessment, Valuation models and cost benefit analysis are used to identify if there is a net benefit to the society on implementation of CCS to a Pulverized coal powerplant. These methodologies include the benefits due to reduction of CO2 and the disbenefits due to the increase of other emissions. The life cycle assessment using ecoindicator'99 methodology shows the CCS is not beneficial under Hierarchical and Egalitarian perspective. The valuation model shows that the inclusion of the other emissions reduces the benefit associated with CCS. For a lower CO2 price the valuation model shows that CCS is detrimental to the environment. The cost benefit analysis shows that a CO2 price of at least $80/tCO2 is required for the cost benefit ratio to be 1. The methodology integrates Montecarlo simulation to characterize the uncertainties associated with the valuation models.

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2012

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Landscape planning and biogeochemistry: estimating and analyzing carbon sequestration efficacy in dryland open space

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Despite public demand for climate change mitigation and natural open space conservancy, existing political and design efforts are only beginning to address the declining efficacy of the biotic carbon pool (C-pool) to sequester carbon. Advances in understanding of biogeochemical processes

Despite public demand for climate change mitigation and natural open space conservancy, existing political and design efforts are only beginning to address the declining efficacy of the biotic carbon pool (C-pool) to sequester carbon. Advances in understanding of biogeochemical processes have provided methods for estimating carbon embodied in natural open spaces and enhancing carbon sequestration efficacy. In this study, the benefits of carbon embodied in dryland open spaces are determined by estimating carbon flux and analyzing ecological, social, and economic benefits provided by sequestered carbon. Understanding the ecological processes and derived benefits of carbon exchange in dryland open spaces will provide insight into enhancing carbon sequestration efficacy. Open space carbon is estimated by calculating the amount of carbon sequestration (estimated in Mg C / ha / y) in dryland open space C-pools. Carbon sequestration in dryland open spaces can be summarized in five open space typologies: hydric, mesic, aridic, biomass for energy agriculture, and traditional agriculture. Hydric (wetland) systems receive a significant amount of moisture; mesic (riparian) systems receive a moderate amount of moisture; and aridic (dry) systems receive low amounts of moisture. Biomass for energy production (perennial biomass) and traditional agriculture (annual / traditional biomass) can be more effective carbon sinks if managed appropriately. Impacts of design interventions to the carbon capacity of dryland open space systems are calculated by estimating carbon exchange in existing open space (base case) compared to projections of carbon sequestered in a modified system (prototype design). A demonstration project at the Lower San Pedro River Watershed highlights the potential for enhancing carbon sequestration. The site-scale demonstration project takes into account a number of limiting factors and opportunities including: availability of water and ability to manipulate its course, existing and potential vegetation, soil types and use of carbon additives, and land-use (particularly agriculture). Specific design challenges to overcome included: restoring perennial water to the Lower San Pedro River, reestablishing hydric and mesic systems, linking fragmented vegetation, and establishing agricultural systems that provide economic opportunities and act as carbon sinks. The prototype design showed enhancing carbon sequestration efficacy by 128-133% is possible with conservative design interventions.

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2012

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Mechanistic studies of one-electron reduced bipyridine reactions relevant to carbon dioxide sequestration

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Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have

Increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will inevitably lead to long-term changes in climate that can have serious consequences. Controlling anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, however, represents a significant technological challenge. Various chemical approaches have been suggested, perhaps the most promising of these is based on electrochemical trapping of carbon dioxide using pyridine and derivatives. Optimization of this process requires a detailed understanding of the mechanisms of the reactions of reduced pyridines with carbon dioxide, which are not currently well known. This thesis describes a detailed mechanistic study of the nucleophilic and Bronsted basic properties of the radical anion of bipyridine as a model pyridine derivative, formed by one-electron reduction, with particular emphasis on the reactions with carbon dioxide. A time-resolved spectroscopic method was used to characterize the key intermediates and determine the kinetics of the reactions of the radical anion and its protonated radical form. Using a pulsed nanosecond laser, the bipyridine radical anion could be generated in-situ in less than 100 ns, which allows fast reactions to be monitored in real time. The bipyridine radical anion was found to be a very powerful one-electron donor, Bronsted base and nucleophile. It reacts by addition to the C=O bonds of ketones with a bimolecular rate constant around 1* 107 M-1 s-1. These are among the fastest nucleophilic additions that have been reported in literature. Temperature dependence studies demonstrate very low activation energies and large Arrhenius pre-exponential parameters, consistent with very high reactivity. The kinetics of E2 elimination, where the radical anion acts as a base, and SN2 substitution, where the radical anion acts as a nucleophile, are also characterized by large bimolecular rate constants in the range ca. 106 - 107 M-1 s-1. The pKa of the bipyridine radical anion was measured using a kinetic method and analysis of the data using a Marcus theory model for proton transfer. The bipyridine radical anion is found to have a pKa of 40±5 in DMSO. The reorganization energy for the proton transfer reaction was found to be 70±5 kJ/mol. The bipyridine radical anion was found to react very rapidly with carbon dioxide, with a bimolecular rate constant of 1* 108 M-1 s-1 and a small activation energy, whereas the protonated radical reacted with carbon dioxide with a rate constant that was too small to measure. The kinetic and thermodynamic data obtained in this work can be used to understand the mechanisms of the reactions of pyridines with carbon dioxide under reducing conditions.

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2015

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Development of an optimized fitting routine for comparing theoretical data with experiments on moisture sensitive beads for carbon dioxide capture

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Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gas. Its concentration in the atmosphere has increased to very high levels since the industrial revolution. This continues to be a threat due to increasing energy demands. 60% of the

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the most dangerous greenhouse gas. Its concentration in the atmosphere has increased to very high levels since the industrial revolution. This continues to be a threat due to increasing energy demands. 60% of the worlds global emissions come from automobiles and other such moving sources. Hence, to stay within safe limits, it is extremely important to curb current emissions and remove those which have already been emitted. Out of many available technologies, one such technology is the moisture swing based air capture technology that makes use of resin material that absorbs CO2 when it is dry and releases it when it is wet. A mathematical model was developed to better understand the mechanism of this process. In order to validate this model, numerical simulation and experimentation was done. Once the mechanism was proved, it was seen that there are many factors and parameters that govern this process. Some of these do not have definite value. To find the best fit value for these parameters, an optimized fitting routine needs to be developed that can minimize the standard deviation of the error. This thesis looks into ways in which the optimization of parameters can be done and the possible future work by using substantial data.

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2016

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An improved mathematical formulation for the carbon capture and storage (CCS) problem

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Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a climate stabilization strategy that prevents CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. Despite its benefits, impactful CCS projects require large investments in infrastructure, which could deter governments from implementing this strategy. In this sense,

Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a climate stabilization strategy that prevents CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere. Despite its benefits, impactful CCS projects require large investments in infrastructure, which could deter governments from implementing this strategy. In this sense, the development of innovative tools to support large-scale cost-efficient CCS deployment decisions is critical for climate change mitigation. This thesis proposes an improved mathematical formulation for the scalable infrastructure model for CCS (SimCCS), whose main objective is to design a minimum-cost pipe network to capture, transport, and store a target amount of CO2. Model decisions include source, reservoir, and pipe selection, as well as CO2 amounts to capture, store, and transport. By studying the SimCCS optimal solution and the subjacent network topology, new valid inequalities (VI) are proposed to strengthen the existing mathematical formulation. These constraints seek to improve the quality of the linear relaxation solutions in the branch and bound algorithm used to solve SimCCS. Each VI is explained with its intuitive description, mathematical structure and examples of resulting improvements. Further, all VIs are validated by assessing the impact of their elimination from the new formulation. The validated new formulation solves the 72-nodes Alberta problem up to 7 times faster than the original model. The upgraded model reduces the computation time required to solve SimCCS in 72% of randomly generated test instances, solving SimCCS up to 200 times faster. These formulations can be tested and then applied to enhance variants of the SimCCS and general fixed-charge network flow problems. Finally, an experience from testing a Benders decomposition approach for SimCCS is discussed and future scope of probable efficient solution-methods is outlined.

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2017