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Alternative energy or carbon sequestration

Since the beginning of civilization, man has always tried to resource his surrounding for his own benefits and needs. In the early times, man sufficed his need for energy by using wood in terms of fire for cooking and other purposes.

As and when the technology started developing we started venturing into the field of advanced sciences for extracting maximum energy for population needs.

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Fossil fuels have been the greatest source of energy that has been exploited for a very long time. But in the time of growing population and global warming reaching new peaks every year, the time for alternative process of energy has come.

One of the major challenges faced by today’s world is the sequential balancing between the impact on the climate and nature due to global warming and the immediate requirement of sufficing energy needs to vast and demanding population. To wriggle out of this situation, consideration has to be given on alternatives that can balance the equation and be beneficial for a longer term. Carbon sequestration is one of the latest technologies that have been put to use for the very same purpose. It is a process which would greatly reduce the carbon emission from high industrial belts and would to a great extent decelerate the process of global warming.

The system or its principle works on two stages; first is capturing the carbon dioxide from the environment and then storing in soil or oceans. However this technology or this scientific innovation is pretty much new and the process of capturing carbon dioxide is on far later stages than the technological advancement on the process of storing it. The primary stage of capturing works on the simple principle of photosynthesis in plants. The carbon dioxide is taken by plants from the environment and it gives out oxygen back to the atmosphere.

The carbon that is left within the plant is amalgamated into biomass and is very promptly released into the soil. It is estimated that there is a lot of carbon in the soil compared to the environment and due to which the concept of carbon sequestration seems validated when it transfuses carbon deep in the soil. The following will give evidence on the amount of carbon already existing in the soil, due to natural integration: ‘According to the FAO the carbon content of dry land soils is estimated to be 4 tons/hectare. Carbon content ranges between 7 tons and 24 tons in normal (non-depleted) soils, depending on the climate zone and vegetation’.

(Courtesy: Eco preservation society, “Carbon Sequestration and Storage in Soils Could Solve Global Warming”. June 19, 2008. Retrieved on November 27, 2008 from http://ecopreservationsociety. wordpress. com/2008/06/19/carbon-sequestration-and-storage-in-soils-could-solve-global-warming/? referer=sphere_related_content/) The technology of capturing carbon works on similar principle of photosynthesis where the carbon dioxide is taken into capture by the utilization of the syn gas on reactors and coal emitting industries. This reaction takes place before the carbon dioxide is mixed with the atmosphere.

Capturing of the carbon can also be done in two stages and i. e. pre combustion capture and post combustion capture. The process of carbon capturing is still in its novice stages and has been categorized in forms of storage procedures. Carbon can be stored in oceans in a liquid storage procedure; it can be stored real deep in saline formations and already utilized gas fields. The advantage of storing it in exhausted gas fields is that carbon helps retrieve the little percentage of fossil fuels which was out of reach becomes and due to this sequestration process it very much possible.

Also there is a procedure which is minimally used, in which it can just be stored in a solid form. However to survive in this planet with depleting natural energy resources, a cleaner form of energy is very much the immediate necessity. The crisis of fuel can be only understood from the fact that one of the major reasons of the world today going to recession is because of high fuel prices. Not only we are losing from an energy perspective but this depletion is causing havoc in the financial markets alongside bringing down economies.

The most surprising aspect of the world is that even when we had the biggest source of energy no proper advancement is done in the field of solar energy. The sun has the biggest potential to run the entire planet on the energy its providing yet only little development have been done in the field of solar energy. The sun’s energy can be basically converted into photovoltaic energy or can be put in terms of cells where the energy can be stored and then utilized. This technology makes the solar energy more producible in terms of a cleaner energy and gives an edge over all the sources of energy.

To add to the advantage, solar tracking devices can be adjusted with the solar panels, so that maximum solar energy can be grasped in terms of intensity and the solar panels can integrate themselves to a degree where the sun is at its highest. NASA uses this technology for hovering satellites around earth and if this energy is used in more periodic and systematic way, it can challenge any source of energy to its fullest. The following highlights the advantage of solar energy in terms of market and competitive edge over countries rich in oil:

‘This would automatically boost the market for renewable energy. Even countries with conventional energy reserves would lose their current cost advantages’ (Courtesy: Hermann Scheer, and Andrew Ketley, “The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Global Future”. Page 307. Retrieved on November 27, 2008. Published by Earthscan, 2004) The wind energy is also another source of clean energy. But this energy gets its limitations as it is suppose to have wind run at least 14 miles per hour for it to produce energy.

Also unlike solar energy which can be used in cars, with the help of solar panels, it would become tedious for wind energy to be implemented. For this world to have an alternative it is better first to focus on an alternate form of energy especially in the lines of solar energy over carbon sequestration. The major reason behind it is carbon in the end has to be released in the atmosphere with the cutting of forests and tilling of agricultural land. Also when carbon storing is done in water it increases the chances of acidification of water by a huge margin, making the storage process more vulnerable.

Also if carbon sequestration is done on a natural basis by the mean of planting more trees than it becomes a very slow process and the following can shed light on this issue: ‘Trees grow very slowly, although the potential to sequester carbon is very large, the actual carbon sequestration rate on an annual basis is very small especially for temperate climate found in climatic zones like Canada’. (Courtesy: Jagtar S. Bhatti, R Lal, M. J. Apps, M A Price, “Climate Change and Managed Ecosystems”. Page-99. Retrieved on November 27, 2008.

Published by CRC Press, 2006) The fact that solar energy should be more emphasized than carbon sequestration is that both the technologies haven’t reached their required advancement, and the amount of time taken to reach the pinnacle of the technology would approximately take the same time, which makes an alternative form of energy a better and viable option for top recommendation than a technology that is only going to rotate carbon from the atmosphere into soil or ocean, which in the end might get recycled back in the atmosphere.

Reference: 1) Eco preservation society, “Carbon Sequestration and Storage in Soils Could Solve Global Warming”. June 19, 2008. http://ecopreservationsociety. wordpress. com/2008/06/19/carbon-sequestration-and-storage-in-soils-could-solve-global-warming/? referer=sphere_related_content/ 2) Hermann Scheer, and Andrew Ketley, “The Solar Economy: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Global Future”. Page 307. 2008.

Published by Earthscan, 2004 3) Jagtar S. Bhatti, R Lal, M. J. Apps, M A Price, “Climate Change and Managed Ecosystems”. Page-99. Published by CRC Press, 2006 4) Jeffrey Gordon, “Solar Energy: The State of the Art”. International Solar Energy Society. Published by Earthscan, 2001 5) Thomas E Lovejoy, Lee Hannah, “Climate Change and Biodiversity”. Published by TERI Press 6) http://www. fossil. energy. gov/programs/sequestration/