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Category Archives: Renewable hydrogen

Global warming and climate change are the topics of the day and doomsday predictions are abounding. In a divided world of differing ideologies and dogmas, emotions play a major role and all conclusions are drawn out of such emotions. Emotional intelligence is the key and in-depth analysis will clear the clouds of doubts and disbeliefs and not just raw emotions.

When quantum science emerged as a mainstream science substituting classical science the world changed dramatically often leading to spirituality or eastern philosophy of ancient India. When Albert Einstein said, “I hope the moon is still there when I am not looking at it”, it had huge implications and a few decades later quantum science confirmed that Einstein was wrong. In other words, it is the conscience that creates the reality. With  this is the reality of science  one may wonder whether “reality” has anything to do with “science” at all. Albert Einstein in his own words said, “As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality”.

Let us examine about the science of global warming due to man-made GHG emissions resulting in climate change. Electricity was a new form of energy discovered in eighteenth century and it became part of human civilization ever since. But it was already existed in nature in the form of lightning, but we were unable to recognize it or reproduce it in the scale that can be useful to us. Then the question is whether electricity was discovered by human beings at all and if so, can we reproduce “lightning?” and use this electricity without emitting any carbon emission at all. The answer is no, at least for now due lack of technology to predict lightning, tapping it economically and storing it for distribution. Theoretically lightning alone can supply all the electricity world needs but practically it is almost impossible to utilize it for the above reasons. When electromagnetism and electricity were discovered they did not relate it to “lightning” but claimed as a separate discovery between the relationship between magnetic and electric charges which resulted in generating electricity. Then later we were able to explain “lightning” due to positive and negative charges between the cold clouds and rising hot air with water.

Science is nothing but explaining nature with theoretical concepts and physical demonstrations. That is why yoga sutra describes the world as a phenomenal world and it is an irreducible experimental substance. That is the peculiarity of science because it is the human conscience that creates this scientific reality. I too conclude that “as far as law of science of climate change refers to reality, they are not certain; as far as they are certain they do not refer to reality.” Similarly, science has nothing to do with economics and but we human beings made economics as a measure of one’s life and his or her success. This is the fundamental flaw in human thinking. One can conclude that all man-made theories and practices are fundamentally flawed which is evident from the world of turmoil we are witnessing and living in. We failed to ask emotionally intelligent questions by endless pursuit of happiness through money and materials in the name of science.

As I mentioned in my previous article we developed generating electricity from thermal source and we ended up digging fossil fuels at enormous cost and added further value by combustion with air generating huge amount of CO2.But we never estimated the cost of CO2 at that time and we never realized the future impact of such a CO2 emissions from fossil fuels till now. Even now we do not want to put a price for CO2 emissions and continue to emit by simply denying the fact that such unabated emissions will have consequences. We conveniently use science and economics when it suits us, otherwise we reject them outright when it does not suit us. All climate change denials come from the fear of economic collapse unconsciously.

Therefore, the first step in achieving zero carbon emission is to eliminate fossil fuels completely or impose penalty to discourage emissions if we accept global warming and climate change as the reality. Without taking this first step we cannot move forward.

Now there is a new awakening that Hydrogen will substitute fossil fuels with zero emissions. This is again a mistake. Imaging all cars and power plants using hydrogen and fuel cell and emit (only) water vapour into the atmosphere. I am sure that will drastically change our climate in a very short span of time. The atmospheric moisture will dramatically increase trapping enormous amount of heat and precipitation. The consequences will be dire. Every kg of Hydrogen will require 9 kgs of water. Renewable Hydrogen is a precious commodity and it can be used only to decarbonize the fossil economy and cannot be used a fuel directly. Such an attempt will be a failure.

Alternatively, we can continue to use fossil fuel as usual but eliminate CO2 emission by simply recycling in the form of RNG (renewable natural gas) using renewable hydrogen. This may look as an expensive proposal at the first instance, but it will become a norm in the long run and we human beings have a capacity to adopt to this new reality.  It is now possible to capture CO2 economically and substantially while generating power using direct Carbon fuel cell with highest electrical efficiency. It can be easily recycled in the form of RNG. Why Governments don’t act?

In the absence of above alternative, we may have to face the consequences of climate change due to man-made emissions and simply be content with an American slogan, “In God we trust”.

References:

  1. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2013.11.122
  2. ,DCFC by Fuelcell Energy and Exxon.

 

 

CO2 capture using DCFCMCFC for bottom cycling for CO2 capture

What is CRT?

CRT is a process technology that captures CO2 from existing and operating base load (24 x 7) power plants using fossil fuels and substituting the Oxygen in CO2 with renewable Hydrogen thereby converting CO2 into RNG (renewable natural gas). Then RNG becomes the renewable fuel for the above power plant. It is a perfect example of a circular economy with Zero Carbon emissions.

CRT becomes a link between fossil power industry and renewable industry, and it can achieve zero Carbon emission in the shortest possible time frame averting a catastrophic climate change.

Why CRT?

The climate change is a global issue and it requires a global solution and eliminating CO2 emission by few countries will not address the problem and it will require a collective solution. CRT can provide such a solution.

The world is now divided than ever before into two segments. One segment believes Carbon emission is causing global warming and climate change and therefore CO2 should be curtailed or eliminated completely, and all future energy should come only from renewable energy sources such as solar wind etc to avert climate change.
The other segment believes the science of climate change is not well established and dismisses the theory that CO2 causes global warming and climate change. They believe such a change is a natural phenomenon and it has nothing to do with CO2 emissions.  They fear by simply eliminating fossil fuel usage in the absence of a clear substitute the energy industry will be seriously disrupted causing economic collapse and the security of a nation. For example US has become the largest exporter of oil and gas in the world due to their aggressive policy of exploiting oil and gas reserves using techniques such as fracking. However these resources are finite and their CO2 emissions will become a stumbling block in the near future.

It is a useless exercise to engage in argument without a clear path forward. But I am sure they will certainly agree and support a substitute fuel such as renewable natural gas (RNG) that can generate a base load power with zero carbon emission.

CRT will be able to convince both the above segment of people because it will meet the requirements of both the parties.

The bottom line is we need a system that can guarantee to generate an uninterrupted power 24 x7 with zero Carbon emission irrespective of a method we use if it is sustainable and environmentally friendly.

How do crew in space shuttle get rid of their CO2 emission from their cabin is shown below by NASA.

Carbon recycling technology is like the above process except CO2 is generated by combustion of natural gas as a by-product of base load power generation which is being removed and recycled in the form of RNG (renewable natural gas) using renewable

Hydrogen. Capture Carbon recycling in space

 

(Utility scale battery storage)

Advanced-Batteries-for-Utility-Scale-Energy-Storage-880x660Methan from CO2SNG plant(Methanation plant for CO2 to SNG)

Renewable energy is a low efficient and intermittent source of energy and it may not meet the world’s energy requirement at the current rate. It will require massive energy storage technologies to be deployed in the shortest possible time frame. According to NREL report a 100 Mw PV solar with 240 Mwh storage battery will cost approx. USD 188 mil. To meet a base load power of 2400 Mwh/day the cost of the system will be USD 1.88 billion. The life of storage battery is assumed only at 12 years and will require replacement at least twice in 24 years of its life cycle. The same capacity 100 Mw combined cycle power plant using natural gas will cost only USD 105 mil with a life of at least 25 years. Therefore, renewable energy alone cannot solve the problem of climate change in its current form. It will be prudent to use renewable energy to generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) from water (even seawater) and use it to decarbonize the fossil economy. In fact, this is the solution  world needs right now.

Large(utility) scale battery will require massive amount of exotic material such as Lithium, Nickel, Cobalt etc which are not renewable and will have a large carbon footprint and disposal of depleted batteries will create massive environmental problems in the future. They are simply not sustainable.

Combined cycle power generation using natural gas is a proven technology that has been used for decades and all the infrastructure required are already in place.

What is involved in CRT?

CRT will involve the following three sections:

  1. Renewable energy facility such as PV solar, Concentrated solar or wind, geothermal, OTEC and hydro etc.
  2. Renewable Hydrogen facility to generate and store Hydrogen using the above renewable energy sources.
  3. Combined cycle base load power plant with CO2 capture and storage using either pre or post combustion technologies.
  4. Conversion of captured CO2 into renewable natural gas RNG which can substitute natural gas in the above base load power plant with zero Carbon emission.

There are number of renewable energy industries established all over the world in the past decade and they are currently operational. The lowest power tariff quoted by renewable energy industry in India is as low as $ 0.035/kwh making it an attractive clean energy source. There are issues in exporting it to the grid due to peak hour supply and demand gap. This renewable energy can be used to generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) by electrolysis of water. Hydrogen can be used as a storage medium to generate power during peak hours using fuel cells. It can also be used to fuel Hydrogen (Fuel cell) cars. Hydrogen cars have many advantages over battery cars based on life cycle assessment. Renewable Hydrogen (RH) is going to help accelerating the decarbonization process of the world soon.

Currently bulk of the power is generated using fossil fuel such as coal, oil and gas. The CO2 emissions can be reduced by 25% by simply switching over from coal to gas. Exiting coal fired power plants can be modified to gas fired plants by replacing their existing boilers. By using RNG the power plant can achieve zero carbon emission while generating base load power.

CRT is a simple and straight forward process technology that can avert global warming and climate change without disrupting existing fossil fuel infrastructure and its power generation while achieving ZERO CARBON EMISSION in the shorted possible time frame. It will promote renewable energy industries in a big way and help decarbonize our economy on a global scale. The cost of renewable energy should further come down so that renewable hydrogen (RH) as well as renewable natural gas (RNG) will become cheaper. Removal of fossil subsidies, taxing carbon emission and subsidizing renewable energy can facilitate such a transition and quicken the process of decarbonization and avert the climate change. A detailed financial model will reveal how quickly and effectively CRT can help countries reduce their emissions.

High CO2 emitting countries such as China, US, India, Australia, Japan, EU and others should adopt this technology .This technology is compatible with transportation technologies such as electric vehicles and Hydrogen (Fuel cell) vehicles because it can generate base load power (24 x 7) with Zero Carbon emission which are essential for the success of the above transport applications. WithoutCRT the transport applications will collapse even if they are “the state of art” technologies. CRT will be an ideal technology for energy intensive industries such as Caustic soda, Aluminium, Steel as well as Carbon intensive industries such as cement.

 

 

 

 

When mother nature buried Carbon under the ground by way of fossil, we human beings mined them at enormous cost and added further value by combustion with air converting it into CO2 (carbon dioxide). In fact, we human beings added enormous value to carbon that remained buried (with zero value) for millennia. We were interested in the heat of combustion but forgotten about the CO2 emission. This is the fundamental flaw in the commercialization of thermal power using fossil fuels. Now there is a price to pay. There are only 2 options to overcome this problem.

  • We can completely ignore and ban fossil fuel all together at enormous cost (we have already invested in trillions in mining, processing, transporting and storing) and seek completely a new solution without any Carbon at all. This is unlikely to happen.
  • We can continue to use fossil fuel and generate base load power as we have been doing for decades but capture CO2 and convert it back into fuel so that it can be recycled with Zero CO2 emission. This is certainly feasible.

Many “so called innovators” are suggesting alternatives to fossil power generation using renewable source of energy. These sources were available with us from the beginning of the world as we know it, but they are intermittent. We are used to 24 x7 base load power using fossil fuels.

The real solution lies in using intermittent renewable energy to generate base load power with zero Carbon emission. Renewable Hydrogen (RH) can achieve this goal. In doing so battery can also play a small role but not a major role. Couple of things should happen to achieve this goal.

  1. Capturing CO2 at the lowest cost. It can be best achieved using Oxy combustion of fossil fuel such as LNG (because it is a purified form of natural gas) using Brayton cycle with 100 % CO2 capture.
  2. Generate renewable Hydrogen (RH) using electrolysis using renewable energy source such as solar and wind etc. Technology is well proven and commercially available.
  3. Convert captured CO2 into CH4 using methanation reaction (which is already commercially practised) and recycling CH4 as a fuel to continue the base load power generation as usual. The newly generated CH4 becomes a renewable natural gas (RNG) substituting fossil Hydrogen with renewable Hydrogen(RH). The above described technology is known as Carbon Recycling Technology (CRT) dveloped by CEWT, Australia. The process uses LNG only for a start up and then continue to generate its own RNG to continue the power generation using RH.

The above process is the only economical, commercial and environmental solution to the problem of global warming and climate change. All other methods will be expensive, time consuming with no guaranteed results and are unlikely to happen in the shortest time we have. By scraping fossil subsidies and taxing Carbon @ $100/Mt of CO2 (at least) and offering liberal subsidies to renewable energy the cost of renewable Hydrogen (RH) will be reduced. The cost of renewables is coming down and it can generate RH to the lowest so that CRT can be deployed everywhere. This technology will help achive Zero carbon emission while  a base load (24 x7) power is generated while keeping the Carbon below the earth as nature has done for a long time.

We at CEWT (Clean Energy and Water Technologies, Australia) sco2-power-cycleCO2 cloudcoal power plantoxy-fuel-directly-heated-sco2-power-cycle-flow-diagram-1have the solution (not just theoretical but practically and commercially implementable immediately) and we seek like-minded partners and investors to team up with us so that we can show case the technology and implement them worldwide. ( https://www.clean-energy-water-tech.com)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas have helped transformed our power and transport industries for decades till now. But recent geo-political situations, depleting fossil sources and Carbon pollution, global warming and climate change have raised serious questions about the future of fossil fuels. However, countries who have massively invested in fossil fuel infrastructure and who have been heavily relying on supply of fossil fuels have started realizing an inescapable truth that they are running out of time to find an alternative to fossil fuels. Recently Hydrogen has been suggested as an alternative source of energy and many countries are gearing up to promote Hydrogen on a massive scale. The countries who have been traditionally using fossil fuels are now focussing on generating hydrogen from fossil fuels as an easier option. But the basic problem with this approach is they still depend on fossil fuels which means they still contribute to Carbon emission and climate change. They can conveniently dispute or deny the fact that man-made Carbon emissions cause global warming in order to score political points among the ‘gullible public’. Democracy is all about numbers and as along as these number stack up the political parties will take advantage of the system and try to push their agenda. But all these efforts are only short term and they still cannot escape the truth that man made Carbon emission is transforming our world for the worst and the future looks bleak.

However, there is a silver lining in the dark clouds of global warming and climate change in the form of renewable Hydrogen. It is now possible to generate Hydrogen using renewable energy sources such as Hydro, solar, wind, geothermal and OTEC (ocean thermal energy conversion systems) that can used not only decarbonize our present economy and also has the capacity to transform future energy and to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. It is now possible to achieve a circular economy in energy sector which means the CO2 emission from existing and operating power plants using fossil fuels can be reversed using renewable Hydrogen so that one can continue to generate power but with Zero Carbon emission. This is a huge transformation.

However, the usage of fossil fuels will continue in other industries such as petrochemicals, polymers and additives, and other synthetic materials. But one can take advantage of using renewable Hydrogen even in such industries using Green Chemistry initiatives so that they can become more sustainable.

However Renewable Hydrogen is a currently very expensive though it is generated from abundantly available natural resources such as sun, wind and water because PV solar panels are made from high purity silicon material again made from simple sand. We cannot afford to take natural resources lightly because they are precious commodities. With limited usage of renewable energy at current levels the cost of PV solar panels is still very expensive but likely to come down as we deploy more and more solar panels in the future. We should also be careful how we use renewable Hydrogen. Our first and foremost usage of renewable Hydrogen should be to decarbonize the fossil economy and achieve a circular economy. It means we must convert CO2 emissions into renewable natural gas (RNG) suing renewable Hydrogen so that the Carbon can be recycled indefinitely with Zero Carbon emission while power plants using fossil fuels can continue to generate a base load power. By this way we will be able to address two issue namely meeting the rising energy demand at a cheaper price while eliminating global warming and climate change. All other use of renewable hydrogen such as Hydrogen vehicles for transportation using fuel cell etc will be secondary because they are not our priority. If we can generate a base load power (24 x7) using renewable Hydrogen with zero Carbon emission, then that should be our focus whether we believe it climate science or not. This will also help us conserve fossil fuels that may be rarely used to meet certain critical needs while substantially reducing the carbon emission.

Renewable hydrogen will require massive deployment of renewable energy projects all over the world. One can generate renewable energy and use it directly for domestic or commercial use. But they are intermittent and require large scale energy storage. Moreover, all HT transmission lines are old and designed for transmitting base load power. Such an approach will not help decarbonizing fossil economy currently widely used. That is why renewable Hydrogen will have to play a key role in the future energy mix. Renewable hydrogen can be used as a fuel for transport industries using fuel cell and Japan is leading the way in this field. But such an application has along way to go and it requires massive investment and creation of infrastructure by way of filling stations. Countries like Japan do not have vast land area for solar industries, and they are likely to use cheap nuclear power and sea water to generate large scale hydrogen infrastructure. By this way they can supply power to both hydrogen as well as electric (battery) vehicles. Alternatively, they are looking to import liquified hydrogen (LH2) from countries like Australia who are ready to use cheap brown coal to generate Hydrogen by gasification despite CO2 emissions. Currently Australian government is not very keen about cutting CO2 emissions, but they are keen to encourage LH2 from cheap coal. They have already approved a pilot plant in the state of Victoria and only future can tell whether such a decision is prudent or not. Japanese companies may prefer to invest in Australia to generate and export clean liquid hydrogen leaving behind all emissions including CO2 in Australia. They may generate LH2 from natural gas and export it to Japan, but it may not be acceptable by Japanese companies because it has a potential to poison the Platinum catalyst used in their Fuel cell cars. In fact, Australia has an enormous potential to generate renewable hydrogen and then use it locally as well as to export. This will be more sustainable in the long run.Toyota mirai layoutToyota mirai power supplyToyota miraiCO2 cloud

Carbon footprint of capital per person as a function of GDP per capitaCarbon emission caused by human beings has become a major issue for our environment and future economy due to changing climate. But there are still few countries who are skeptical about the science of climate change and reluctant to act and refuse to be a part of United Nation’s action on climate change. These countries are either fossil fuel producers such as coal, oil and gas or large economies who have been traditionally depending on usage of fossil fuel for their economy and security. The transition from Carbon economy to non-Carbon economy may not be easier for them is the absence of an alternative technology that can guarantee not only complete elimination of CO2 emission but also efficiency and sustainability. There is a strong political motivation too behind such dithering and they create a fear of slowing economy and large-scale unemployment among the people in the absence of a viable alternative energy source. Therefore, United Nation has an important role to play at this critical juncture of transition to non-carbon economy and save the planet earth from imminent danger of environmental and economic collapse. UN can also stop mass extinction of species and migration of refugees for a better life.

UN was successfully able to bring together 174 countries to the negotiating table during Paris climate change conference. However, they failed to reach a unanimous Agreement and announce a concrete action plan to act. They failed to articulate the ways and means of reducing or eliminating man made CO2 emissions in a stipulated time frame. They also failed to bring powerful nations such as USA to the table which made the task even harder. But this situation can be changed if UN is able to articulate a concrete Action plan which is agreeable to all the parties involved. This is possible only if UN can address all the issues involved such as the alternative technology, funding, implementing in a stipulated time frame, measuring and monitoring the progress and achieving the final goal. UN should first be able to create the same level playing field where all Countries can take part equally without any discrimination. It depends completely on focusing the type of technologies to be deployed to achieve the above goals and It should be able set a specific date to implement such a plan. Currently renewable energy is considered as one of the alternatives along with renewable Hydrogen which can act both as an energy storage and as well as energy carrier. But renewable Energy is intermittent and energy storage has become part of the system. With our limited experience in renewable energy deployment over a decade renewable energy alone Cannot be the solution to address the issue of CO2 emissions. One must estimate the life cycle CO2 emissions of hardware used in renewable energy systems such as PV solar panels, Solar concentrators, wind turbines, storage batteries. Renewable Hydrogen generators, Fuel cells etc. Each of them has their own Carbon footprint that must be incorporated in life cycle assessment.

Similarly, even fossil fuel-based power generators such as boilers, steam or gas turbines, pumps and compressors etc too have Carbon footprint that should be assessed. Carbon footprint should be assessed as fixed carbon footprint and variable carbon footprint and then these data should be used to arrive at the Carbon footprint to generate power (tons of CO2/Mwh) Once a life cycle assessment of their Carbon footprint is estimated then it will be easier to rate each technology based on their “Carbon Rating” which will be a measure of their Carbon footprint. The Carbon rating is measured and allocated “number of stars” based on Carbon footprints. Lowest emitting technology will be rated with highest number of stars while highest emitting technologies will get the lowest number of stars.

Carbon rating will be a good measure to assess the technology that can be used worldwide. Countries who are reluctant to reduce CO2 emissions will be discouraged to participate in government and private tenders worldwide and exports. Such countries will be treated as “Pariahs” and rejected by consumers due to their low Carbon rating. Technologically advanced countries or companies who can use fossil fuel but with lowest or Zero CO2 emissions will also be able to compete with renewable energy technologies. Carbon Rating will offer everybody the same level playing field. Carbon is the fundamental building block of organic life on earth which is essential for human survival but unabated CO2 emission by human activities is the culprit. I strongly believe Zero Carbon emission can be achieved even while using fossil fuels by constantly recycling CO2 in the form of regenerated synthetic natural gas. It will not only eliminate CO2 emission but also generate synthetic fuel using renewable Hydrogen without any necessity to exploit fresh fossil fuels. Using renewable Hydrogen as a storage medium or as energy carrier may be expensive due to inherent nature of Hydrogen atom. UN can introduce Carbon Rating as a single tool to measure the Carbon footprint of a specific technology with the lowest or Zero CO2 emission worldwide to start with. They should be more proactive in promoting technologies with highest Carbon rating and encourage countries to adopt such measures.

 

Generating electricity using fossil fuel is a well-established technology, that has been practiced over several decades all over the world, despite its low efficiency. But this technology inherited certain disadvantages even before it was commercialized such as post combustion emissions, large amount of waste heat, and water intensity. Millions of people died of Carbon pollution over decades. Large scale usage of water both inland and on shore power stations created shortage of drinking water in many parts of the world resulting in desalination technologies creating its own environmental issues. Large scale mining of coal and unsustainable exploitation of oil and gas both on shore and off shore caused enormous environmental pollution. However, such emissions were completely ignored while the world celebrated the discovery of electro-magnetism, steam engine and petrochemicals. Millions of people were employed, and industries grew worldwide. Energy became synonymous with security of a nation. Population grew exponentially. However, we have reached a point in the history of mankind and all great discoveries once acclaimed as human achievements have started a new painful chapter of warming globe and changing climate for new generations to deal with. It is a great challenge of our time, but new generation can take this challenge and convert them into opportunities. The past lessons can show them a new clean and sustainable pathway while dealing with ever increasing population growth.

The challenge for the new generation is to curtail and eliminate Carbon pollution completely while meeting the energy demand in a time bound manner because we are running out of time. Currently renewable energy generation is too low to meet these challenges within the time frame to avert disastrous consequences scientists predict. Renewable Hydrogen is a potential substitute for fossil fuel to eliminate Carbon pollution but that will not solve our current problem soon because renewable energy generation is too small and too slow while our energy demand is huge. Battery technology is only a storage technology and without a base load power generation all other forms of technologies will not meet our current challenges. I am not discounting the potential of renewable energy and its critical role in the future energy mix but that alone will not solve the current crisis. Hydrogen is a weak and unstable atom and it requires a backbone such as Carbon. That is why Hydrogen do not exist in a free state in Nature, but it exists in the form of water or natural gas. Therefore, it is only logical to convert renewable hydrogen into renewable natural gas so that it can be used as a fuel as we have been using for decades. It does not require to create a special type of infrastructure such as required for Hydrogen or any storage technologies.

Our focus should be to achieve Zero Carbon emission in the shortest time scale possible while generating a base load power of 24 x7 using a renewable energy source. It looks like a daunting task but, it is not too big a challenge to overcome. In fact, the technologies are already available, and we are almost there to achieve the above, but governments should understand the challenge and its gravity and extend all the support it requires. Government around the world should implement the following with great urgency to achieve the above objectives.

1.Tax Carbon with immediate effect and minimum tax should be $500/ Mt of CO2 emitted. It should be centrally monitored by government agencies with appropriate technology implementations.

  1. Encourage Oxy combustion technologies for coal, oil and gas-based power plants with incentives to eliminate emissions pollution and reduce the cost of Carbon capture.
  2. Encourage large scale deployment of super critical Carbon dioxide power generation technologies with liberal grants and low interest loans for research and development of super critical CO2 technologies using Brayton cycle using fossil fuels with Zero Carbon emission.

4.Encourage large scale deployment of SNG plants using CO2 and renewable Hydrogen.

By using the above steps all fossil fuel-based power plants existing and operating can be converted and continue to generate base load power 24 x7 with Zero Carbon Emission within a time frame. Simultaneously it will generate large scale renewable hydrogen and renewable synthetic natural gas which can generate base load power with Zero Carbon emission. Such Zero emission power plants can then power all electric and fuel cell cars and eliminate Carbon pollution completely from our roads. The above implementation will create millions of jobs worldwide!

The greatest advantage of these technologies is to recycle Carbon indefinitely while generating power using renewable natural gas with Zero Carbon emission and fresh fossil fuel usage will be gradually eliminated from our planet earth.

 

“The method adopted in Vedanta to impart the knowledge of Brahman is known as the method of superimposition (adhyaaropa) and subsequent negation (apavaada). In the Bhashya, Bhagavatpada says, “The transmigrating self is indeed Brahman. He who knows the self as Brahman which is beyond fear becomes Brahman. This is the purport of the whole Upanishad put in a nutshell. It is to bring out this purport that the ideas of creation, maintenance and dissolution of the universe, as well as the ideas of action, its factors and results were superimposed on the Self. Then, by the negation of the superimposed attributes the true nature of Brahman as free from all attributes has been brought out. This is the method of adhyaaropa and apavaada, superimposition and negation, which is adopted by Vedanta.”  (Ref: What are Upanishads? : An over view by S.N. Sastri on Luthur.com)

The analogy that is often used to describe the process of superimposition and negation is that of ‘using a thorn to remove a thorn’. Finally, when the last thorn is removed, the thorn used to remove it is thrown away as well. Similarly, Carbon can be used to reduce carbon emission while power is generated!

Let us consider the issues of Carbon emission and global warming resulting in climate change in the above context. Recent conference in Climate change held in Paris is acclaimed to be a success to the planet earth collectively adopted by 195 countries both developed and developing. In a nutshell they all have agreed to reduce their carbon emissions to limit the global warming to less than 2C or even 1.5 between 2030 and 2050. Is it really practical to achieve the above target given the nature of reduction and the complexity of imposing such a reduction within the time frame? It is a big question mark.

The only practical method to reduce CO2 is by using Hydrogen CO2 + H2-à CO + H2O and then convert CO into a useful product such as Urea NH2CONH2 a fertilizer. Production of Urea requires additional Hydrogen which is again obtained by combustion of fossil fuel resulting in CO2 emission. Moreover, CO2 will eventually be released at the point of usage of urea later. While trying to reduce Carbon emission one will end up with more Carbon emission in the atmosphere.

The carbon emission from power plants can be substituted with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar at a very high cost but how the emissions from chemical plants such as urea or from automobile emissions, steel plants and cement plants be contained? We should also remember that silicon wafer to produce solar panels consume large amount of power which now comes invariably from fossil fuels. There is a long list of such plants emitting Carbon every day from all over the world.

But there is a possibility to reduce emissions substantially by converting CO2 emissions from power plants into a synthetic fuel which can then substitute fossil fuel to continue power generation. The CO2 resulting from combustion of synthetic fuel will be recycled in the same manner mentioned above thus completing a cycle. To convert CO2 into a synthetic fuel we will require Hydrogen either by renewable sources or non-renewable sources. The non-renewable sources for Hydrogen cannot be a long term solution but renewable Hydrogen is very expensive at this stage. Therefore, Hydrogen is the only source which will not only help reduce Carbon emissions but also help eliminate Carbon completely from planet earth. Renewable Hydrogen is the key to decarbonize the planet earth. However, it may be possible to decarbonize the planet temporarily by using Hydrogen derived from fossil fuel without emitting CO2! It is not just a theory but practical because the technology has already been tested! In this process the Carbon will remain in the loop where it will neither be buried nor emitted into the atmosphere but constantly recycled.

 

 

Nature has a wonderful way of capturing Carbon and recycling it through a process called ‘carbon cycle’ for millions of years. The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were restricted  within certain limits when it was left to Nature. But when human being started burning fossil fuels to generate power or to run cars, the GHG emission surpassed the limit beyond a point where global warming became an issue. The GHG level has increased to 392 ppm level for the first in our long history. Many Governments and companies are exploring various ways and means to reduce greenhouse emissions to avoid global warming. Some Governments are imposing taxes on carbon emission in order to reduce or discourage such emissions. Others are offering incentives to promote alternative energy sources such as wind and solar. Some companies are trying to capture Carbon emission for sequestration.

While we try to capture Carbon and store them underground, there are many potential commercial opportunities to recycle them. This means the Carbon emission is captured and converted into a commercial fuel such as Gasoline or Diesel or Methane so that future sources of fossil fuels are not burnt anymore. But this is possible only by using ‘Renewable Hydrogen’. Hydrogen is the key  to reduce carbon emission by binding carbon molecules with Hydrogen molecule, similar to what Nature does.

When NASA plans to send a man to Mars they have to overcome certain basic issues. Mars has an atmosphere with 95% Carbon dioxide, 3% Nitrogen, 1.6% Argon and traces of oxygen, water and methane.Nasa is planning to use Carbon dioxide to generate Methane gas to be used as a fuel and also generate water by using the following reaction.

CO2 + 4H2—–CH4 + 2 H2O

2H2O——-2H2 + O2

The water is electrolyzed to split water into Hydrogen and Oxygen using solar power. The resulting Hydrogen is reacted with Carbon dioxide from Mars to generate Methane gas and water using a solid catalyst. This methanation reaction is exothermic and self sustaining. How this can be achieved practically in Mars in those conditions are not discussed here. But this is a classical example on how the Carbon emission can be tackled to our advantages, without increasing the emissions into the atmosphere. There are several methods available to convert Carbon emission in to valuable products including gasoline. The  reaction of the methane with water vapor will result in Methanol.

2H2 + CO——– CH3OH

On Dehydration, 2CH3OH —– CH3COCH3 + H2O.Further dehydration with ZSM-5 Catalyst gives Gasoline 80% C5+ Hydrocarbon. Gas to liquid by Fischer-tropic reaction is a known process.

Carbon dioxide is also a potential refrigerant to substitute CFC refrigerants that causes Ozone depletion. Carbon recycling is a temporary solution to mitigate Greenhouse gas emission till Hydrogen becomes an affordable fuel of the future. It depends upon individual Governments and their policies to make Hydrogen affordable. Technologies are available and only a political will and leadership can make Hydrogen a reality.

We live in a carbon constrained world where carbon emission is considered as the biggest challenge of the twenty-first century. We unearthed fossil fuel which Nature buried for millions of years and burnt them for our advantage to generate power and to run our cars. Scientist pointed out that the unabated emission of greenhouse will cause the globe to warm with dire consequences. However this came as an ‘inconvenient truth’ to industries and Governments around the world. The economic consequences of stopping fossil fuels weighted more than the global warming. Governments were in a precarious situation and unable to take a concrete policy decision. Popular Governments were not willing to risk their power by taking ethical decisions and opted for popular decision to keep up their growth. Then the financial crisis became an issue, which has nothing to do with greenhouse emission or global warming. Yet, the economic and industrial growth stumbled in many developed countries and unemployment skyrocketed. Governments are caught in a situation where they need to take a balanced view between an ethical decision and economic decisison.The overwhelming evidence of global warming and their consequences are slowly felt by countries around the world by natural disasters of various sizes and intensities.

Some scientist suggested that there is nothing wrong using fossil fuels; we can continue with greenhouse emission without risking the economic growth by  capturing  the carbon emission and burying  them underground. Carbon sequestration and clean coal technologies became popular and more funds were allocated to them than renewable energy development.Countires like India and China are not in a hurry to discontinue fossil fuels but continue to make massive investments on coal-fired power plants. They neither tried to capture carbon nor bury them, but continue to emit carbon claiming that it is their turn of economic growth and right to emit carbon emission. The chief of UN panel on climate change headed by an Indian has no sayin the matter.Politicians push scientists into the background when the truth is inconvenient to them.

How feasible in the carbon sequestration technology and what is the cost? Even if we can come up with a successful technology of capturing carbon and burying them underground, there will be a cost involved. This cost will invariably be passed on to the consumer which  will  eventually increase the cost of energy. Constraining carbon emission without incurring a cost can only be a dream. Capturing carbon emission is nothing new; Carbon dioxide is absorbed by solvents like MEA (Monoethanolamine) in many chemical industries. The absorbed carbon dioxide can be stripped free of solvent and the solvent can be recycled. This carbon dioxide can be treated with Ammonia to get Urea, a Fertilizer. But the source of Hydrogen can come only from renewable energy sources. That is why ‘Renewable Hydrogen ‘is the key to solve global warming problem. We can produce Urea from “captured Carbon” and ‘Renewable Hydrogen’ so that we can cut a real quantity of greenhouse emission. Carbon recycling is a sustainable solution than Carbon capturing and burying. Countries like India who depend upon import of Urea for their agriculture production should immediately make Carbon recycling into Urea production mandatory. It is a win situation for everybody in the world.

Synthesis of Ammonia is one of the  remarkable achievements of Chemical engineering in forties .It is a precursor for Urea, the fertilizer  that  brought about ‘Green revolution’ in agriculture industry and helped to achieve record food production all over the world. It was a milestone in modern chemistry to synthesis a molecule containing I atom of Nitrogen and 3 atoms of Hydrogen, represented by NH3 called Ammonia. The HeberBosch process for the production of Ammonia is a well established mature, commercial technology.

The process uses a Hydrocarbon source such as Naphtha or Natural gas as the feed stock to generate a synthesis gas composed of Hydrogen and Carbondioxide.The gas mixture is separated into carbon dioxide and Hydrogen using PSA (pressure swing adsorption ) technology. The resulting Hydrogen is used to combine with Nitrogen to synthesize Ammonia.

The chemical reaction can be represented by the following equation.

N2 + 3H2 ———- 2 NH3

The above reaction takes place at a pressure of 100-200 bars and temperature of 300-500C in presence of  catalysts. It is an exothermic (heat releasing) reaction and the catalyst bed is cooled and maintained at 400C to be efficient.But this process of Hydrogen generation using Hydrocarbon emits greenhouse gases. Alternatively, Hydrogen can be generated using different methods using renewable energy sources using water electrolysis. Such process may be used in the future for this application.

Nitrogen is derived from atmospheric air. The air we breathe has about 79% of Nitrogen and 21% Oxygen. But these two gases can be separated by liquefying the air by cryogenic process and distilling them into two fractions. Alternatively, they can separated using pressure swing adsorption or membrane separation process, utilizing their density differences. In either way, Nitrogen can be separated from atmospheric air. By combining the above Hydrogen and Nitrogen, it is possible to synthesis Ammonia on a commercial-scale.

The ammonia can be easily split into Hydrogen and Nitrogen by passing Ammonia through a bed of Nickel catalyst at 200-400C as and when required to generate on site Hydrogen. This Hydrogen can be used for power generation or to run our cars using PEM Fuelcell.As we have seen previously, we are now looking for various sources of Hydrogen, and Ammonia is one of the promising sources for couple of reasons. The process and technology of Ammonia production, transportation and usage is well documented and has been practiced for few decades. It does not emit  greenhouse gases.Liquified Ammonia has been widely used in air-conditioning and refrigeration systems. Ammonia can be easily metered into any system directly from the cylinder.

It is easier to use Ammonia directly into a convention internal combustion engines in place of Gasoline and this technology has already been practiced in 1880. Ammonia is pungent and any leakage can be easily identified. The advantage of using Ammonia as a fuel in cars, it does not emit any smoke  but only water vapour.It can be admixed with Gasoline or used as 100% anhydrous Ammonia. It also helps in reduction of NO2 emission, especially is diesel engines.

Ammonia has a great potential as a source of future fuel provided the sources of Hydrogen comes from water using renewable technologies or by photo electrolysis using direct sunlight.

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