Carbon Conservation & Energy Efficiency


Bruce Rowse & Team

Archive for December, 2009

What’s happened at Copenhagen?

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

There was a tremendous build up to this international climate conference. There was lots of anticipation by the public. It was declared to be the ‘most important international gathering of our time’. Peaceful public demonstrations all around the world intensified as the date of the conference approached. People in numerous countries publicly declared that they want change to avoid a global disaster due to greenhouse emissions. They clearly indicated that they’ve had enough of talk and wanted action, now. So did the climate conference live up to the expectations?

The following statement by Yvo de Boer sums up the outcomes succinctly:

”The Copenhagen Accord, which was expected highly to lead to a legally binding treaty, aroused opposition from several developing countries, who said the emission reduction targets were not ambitious enough and refused to adopt it. Yvo de Boer, the Executive Secretary of UN Framework Conventionon Climate Change said at his closing press briefing that the Copenhagen Accord not only failed his hope of achieving a legally binding treaty, but also failed the hope of an agreement for such a treaty. But he still believed that countries should strive for such goals at the next UN climate conference in Mexico in 2010.”

Unfortunately lots of the sceptics predicted this result (and I’m not talking about climate change sceptics either but sceptics who don’t believe that we should place our faith in governments and leaders). Respected climate scientists are urging for immediate cuts to GHG emissions to prevent a more than 2C increase in global temperatures. Well-known international economists are insisting on allocating more funds towards low carbon technologies but again without support from the top people are cautious about investing in the renewable energy market. The fossil fuel market must become non-profitable to drive investments in the low-carbon economy.

Another statement by Monbiot again summarises where we are at: “The longer a comprehensive agreement is delayed, the steeper the emissions cuts will have to be if we are to avoid climate breakdown. Beyond a certain point the scale of the cuts becomes politically, economically and technologically infeasible. That point must already be close”.

So we will have to wait another year to see whether the international leaders can agree on some sort of binding treaty instead of everyone doing their own thing without any scrutiny. In the mean time you don’t have to wait to make a change. Start living a more sustainable lifestyle and support renewable energy and companies that are genuinely trying to make a difference to our planet.


Carbon Capture at Hazelwood

Monday, December 7th, 2009

The Hazelwood coal fired power station in the state of Victoria is the most greenhouse intensive plant in Australia. It generates around 17 million tonnes of carbon emissions every year. The plant was originally due for decommissioning in 2005, but controversially had its licence extended until 2031.
I was thinking surely Hazelwood is expected to improve its environmental performance if left operational. And sure enough Hazelwood has been successful in securing a grant for a Carbon Capture demonstration project.

One of eight plants at Hazelwood has been fitted with a Carbon Capture Module, which removes around 90% of carbon (C02) from the flue gases. Explaining the process is quite complex, but essentially half the C02 is sequestered into a mineral call calcium carbonate. This is done by taking the captured C02 solvent and injecting it into ash water, a by-product of coal fired plants, that has a high concentration of calcium hydroxide (not nice stuff!). This generates a reaction that results in the production of fine particles of calcium carbonate. This is a non-hazardous mineral that sequesters the C02 and can be used as an additive for production of varying man-made materials such as cements and plastics.

The remaining C02 is captured and stored, with stage 2 of the project aiming to dispose of the C02 via possible geosequestration (pumping the C02 underground) or transport to other sites for water treatment or other industrial applications. The project is the first retrofit to an existing coal fire station in Australia and while the results are promising it’s still a long way off cleaning up Hazelwood.