Friday, November 21, 2008 by Bishakha Shome
In the day and age of technology, while we are getting dependent on electrical energy, its existence is usually taken for granted. Most of the time one prefers ignoring the consequences nature and other living beings are bearing to provide us with such a necessity. With the escalating expansion of technology, requirement and demand of this particular energy is also mounting. At present, Gujarat itself is house to almost 23 power plants, out which 9 are thermal and many more are joining in.
Fossil fuels, which include coal, natural gas or petroleum for thermal power plants pose as major threat to the future. International Energy Agency presumes that by 2035, 85% of the energy market of the world will be accounted by fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are an unsustainable resource; formed from the decay of plants and animals over millions of years, our planet has a finite number of deposits. Consumption of large amount of fossil fuel is not only exhausting our natural resource bank but burning of these is creating disastrous impact on the environment.
Fossil fuel like coal constitute of momentous depository of carbon, emissions created by the burning of coal results in conversion of this carbon into carbon dioxide, which is then released into the atmosphere. Increase of this augments the greenhouse effect and contributes to the heating up of earth process or global warming. Depending on the fossil fuel and the method of smoldering other emissions like Ozone, sulphur dioxide and other gases may also be produced. Fossil fuel like coal also contain dilute radioactive material and burning them in very large quantities releases this material into the environment leading to local as well as global radioactive contamination.
Recent research presented by Texan engineers brings in hope in contrary to the grim feeling created by this kind of report. According to them, dissolving carbon di oxide CO2 in salt water could improve the prospects of storing the greenhouse gas in underground aquifers. A lot of research and proposals have been prepared on how to capture and store the gas which arises from the CO² concentration of fossil fuel burning. There have been proposed solutions of creating systems that compress the gas(CO ) and then directly inject it underground into water-bearing porous rocks.
Query and doubts arise on the feasibility of CO remaining stored in this way over many decades or whether it will slowly leak from the aquifers it is dumped into. (Now cmon, we are already trying to figure out reduction of emission of CO in the atmosphere are going to repeat the process for the CO dumped under the earth,
In the recent Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies International Conferenace, chemical engineer Steven Bryant from Texas University presented his teams’ feasibility study of developing a method that ensures the gas stays put.
The team solution suggests pumping salt water out of a suitable aquifer, dissolved the gas into the brine in a mixing tank above ground and then inject the CO laden solution back into the aquifer.
According to them, this might reduce the chances of CO escaping from aquifers because the mixture is denser than the surrounding water and less likely to rise towards the surface. This presentation has lead to debates about the costing and viability of such a process, it is assumed that the total estimate of such a project will be double the capital investment. But the team believes the method to be an acceptable option to prevent sequestration leaks!!
I haven’t yet read much about alternative energy possibilities for thermal power plants, but after reading this report I was wondering that knowing the fact that we are on our way to exhaust our natural resources is significant enough to concentrate on finding alternative energy sources. These propositions might solve few related issues but what about the nature bank we are wearing??? If anybody reading this has more information, I will be very grateful if you share with me..as of now, for me today’s green resolution is to know about this entire issue by next week.