Jorge Chapa

CAN CERAMIC TUBES STOP GLOBAL WARMING?

by , 09/17/07

LSCF, ceramic, tubes, power plants, retrofitting, retrofit, greenhouse gases, Ian Metcalfe, Alan Thursfield

One of the biggest global problems in trying to reduce carbon emissions is the extremely large existing infrastructure built entirely around fossil fuels. Of course there are individual actions we can all take to reduce our emissions, but for at least the next 20 or 30 years, there will still be coal-powered power plants and gas guzzling automobiles. So the biggest hope for us in fighting global warming will be to remove those emissions before they ever reach the atmosphere – by designing systems to remove carbon from power plants and automobile exhaust. Here’s where the work of Ian Metcalfe and Alan Thursfield from the University of NewCastle comes in: the two have developed a system of ceramic tubes that could be retrofitted for existing power plants with the sole purpose of cutting back on greenhouse emissions.

The main component of this system is a series of tiny tubes made out an advanced ceramic material known as LSCF, which was originally developed for fuel cell technology. This material has a rather unique property that makes is suitable for this process: LSCF (which stands for lanthanum-strontium-cobalt-ferric oxides) is able to filter oxygen out of air. By controlling the combustion process with these tiny tubes, the fuel is able to be burned in pure oxygen, which has the effect of producing pure CO2 and steam.

But, you may ask, why are we creating pure CO2, don’t we want to get rid of CO2? Most power plant emissions contain a large number of chemicals, such as methane and nitrogen oxide, mixed in with the CO2 making the mixture more threatening and unsuitable for any other use. Pure CO2, on the other hand, can be piped back into a processing plant to be turned into something useful such as methanol.

So far the tests in the laboratory have been successful on a small scale, though it is unclear whether or not the tubes could survive the conditions inside a power station chamber. Further tests are scheduled to occur soon.

+ Ceramic tubes could cut greenhouse gas emissions from power stations

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11 Comments

  1. Leithauser November 28, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    If these tubes could be added to cars, it seems that the would result in greter fuel economy, less hydrocarbon emmisions, and fewer byproducts like N2O.

  2. Leithauser November 28, 2009 at 12:51 pm

    If these tubes could be added to cars, it seems that the would result in greter fuel economy, less hydrocarbon emmisions, and few byproducts like N2O.

  3. Beanah vulgaris November 25, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    basic reality is,
    1. We need a fuel source (many sources; cultural infrastructure determines source and form)
    2. We need something to convert that fuel source into usable work efficiently (engines reaching the 90% efficiency would be nice…. maybe a ceramic disk turbine to conserve heat?).
    3. We need a method and form to store/direct that work towards the desired goal that is efficient and culture friendly. (capacitors sound nice, with methods of modifying the ceramics on a nanoscopic level i see no reason why the high silicon content of the earth cant be used for designing specialized capacitor banks that can store more energy per pound than other methods.)
    (there are also ways of using the earth to eliminate the need for wires to conduct power. MIT has proven some of Nikola Telsa’s work, the staff at MIT have worked valiantly to give us a solution to the increasing copper prices. )
    4. We need technologies and incredibly gifted people to bring the material and social reality around to the previous changes. We will need fossil fuels for a very long time, but while we put the dinosaurs finally to rest, inventions like these tubes will facilitate the change.
    5. individuals will have to show by example how these changes can be made. This is the true hour for the entrepreneur .

    and as a side note, we have a huge star in our general vacinity that shoots off high energy particles. all you need is a big magnetic field to catch some power there…. or just set up more solar collectors.

    – thx for your time :)

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  6. Nick Simpson September 19, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    They’re being researched Zed – we can’t roll these things out until we know whether they’ll work and how to make them work on a large scale…

    On a separate note it’s brilliant to see my Uni coming out with such potentially important research!

  7. zed September 18, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    you hear all these ideas and why isnt going through? just like that green box that turns the emissions to something else because of the algae contained in the box? they said it was revolutionary but you dont see it getting bigger? what happens to all these ideas.

  8. Bryce September 18, 2007 at 12:10 am

    If this works, it will be a fantastic thing.

  9. Can Ceramic Tubes Curb ... September 17, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    [...] Inhabitat: One of the biggest global problems in trying to reduce carbon emissions is the extremely large [...]

  10. DiggUser September 17, 2007 at 11:44 am
  11. eco-a September 17, 2007 at 1:56 am

    If this tech. works on a large scale operation, we as people should demand that these systems be installed on all power plants. Creating a product from a by product is a true concept of sustainability. What needs to be done now is to develop ceramic filters that could filter emissions out of the ozone. A Giant Ionic-Breeze concept but with ceramic filters instead of ionizing air.

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