Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

July 19, 2017 by  
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Carbon sequestration , or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it long-term, could help us fight climate change . It’s a complex chemical reaction , but a team of six scientists led by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) just made a breakthrough in speeding up a slow part of the reaction. They were inspired by oceans, which naturally absorb carbon dioxide. Study co-author Jess Adkins said, “This is one of those rare moments in the arc of one’s career where you just go, ‘I just discovered something no one ever knew.” Right now, the oceans hold around 50 times the carbon dioxide as the atmosphere. But in seawater, carbon dioxide is an acid, and the acidified waters are gobbling away at coral reefs . The acidified water eventually makes its way to the ocean floor, where calcium carbonate shells neutralize the carbon dioxide – but that process takes tens of thousands of years to finish. It was while studying how fast the coral will dissolve in this whole process that the scientists made their breakthrough. Related: World’s first commercial carbon-sucking plant goes live in Zurich They added an enzyme, carbonic anhydrase, during the carbon sequestration reaction. This enzyme, according to Caltech, is the same one that helps uphold the pH balance of blood in some animals and in humans. Adding the enzyme made the rate-limiting step of the chemical reaction move 500 times faster. The team’s research will be published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America ; a paper about the work was put up online in advance of publication. Scientists from the University of Southern California and Hebrew University of Jerusalem collaborated on the paper. Lead author Adam Subhas, a graduate student at Caltech, said, “While the new paper is about a basic chemical mechanism, the implication is that we might better mimic the natural process that stores carbon dioxide in the ocean.” Via ScienceAlert and Caltech Images via Tim Marshall on Unsplash and Yanguang Lan on Unsplash

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Caltech scientists accelerate part of carbon sequestration process by 500 times

Solar-powered prefab homes for struggling millennials can be set up in a day

July 19, 2017 by  
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An increasing number of people in the United Kingdom make too much money to qualify for social housing, but struggle to afford high rent prices. Prefabricated homes manufactured at the Legal & General Leeds factory could meet housing needs for that group, largely millennials, and the first houses from the factory recently popped up in the London area. Called LaunchPod , the 280-square-foot homes were ordered by housing association RHP , and designed by architecture firm Wimshurst Pelleriti . They’ll be available to rent for less than the average cost of a nearby one-bedroom apartment. Legal & General is an insurance company which is now churning homes out of a new factory – at a rate of 3,500 flats and houses a year. Their modular homes arrive at a location nearly finished and can be set up in one day. The homes are energy efficient, made out of cross laminated timber (CLT), and can be built to Passivhaus standards. A kitchen, curtains, fitted carpet, bathroom, and even furniture can be part of the home arriving on site. Legal & General says they can manufacture homes from detached houses to apartments 20 stories high. Related: Six factories will supply the UK with 25,000 prefab houses every year RHP nabbed the first houses out of the factory for a site in Richmond, a town southwest of London. A LaunchPod makes creative use of space to sneak in features that would more commonly be found in a larger flat, according to Wimshurst Pelleriti. But they said RHP didn’t want to resort to space-saving gimmicks like fold-down beds. Instead, features like raised mezzanine beds hide storage beneath, and the height of the homes, which are taller than normal, make them feel spacious. A LaunchPod is equipped with a luxury kitchen and lounge, bedroom, bathroom, and veranda. They have underfloor heating and are solar-powered , so residents will only pay around $13 a year in electricity. Neither Legal & General nor RHP would say how much the units cost, according to The Guardian. But RHP did say the price is around 15 percent less than the £2,600 to £3,000 per square meter cost common to conventional homes in the area, suggesting a LaunchPod could cost around £60,000 to £70,000, or around $78,155 to $91,182. But these particular modular homes will be rented, and as opposed to the typical rent of a one-bedroom flat in the area, which is a little over $1,300, the LaunchPods will be rented for between $782 and $912 a month. + Wimshurst Pelleriti + RHP + Legal & General Via The Guardian Images via Andrew Holt/Wimshurst Pelleriti

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Solar-powered prefab homes for struggling millennials can be set up in a day

Turning dirt into climate goals via carbon farming

July 11, 2017 by  
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Hawaii’s commitments to a low-carbon future include a task force that will identify agricultural and aquacultural practices to improve soil health, increase climate resiliency, and improve carbon sequestration.

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Turning dirt into climate goals via carbon farming

L’Oreal, Chanel and Nespresso pioneer ‘carbon insetting’

February 28, 2017 by  
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The trees planted under this targeted approach do more than offset emissions. They make supply chains more resilient.

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L’Oreal, Chanel and Nespresso pioneer ‘carbon insetting’

You’ll never guess how CO2 can save us

December 13, 2016 by  
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Carbon dioxide is a waste product that is heating up our planet — but it also may be an unexpected solution to climate change.

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You’ll never guess how CO2 can save us

Unleashing trees in the battle against climate change

November 22, 2016 by  
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Did you know that wood construction materials can act as a carbon sink?

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Unleashing trees in the battle against climate change

Colorful wind-powered community in Scotland is everything an eco-village should be

October 28, 2016 by  
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Built on a former brownfield site at the edge of Findhorn, the colorful design prioritized passive solar design at every turn. Each home includes sunspaces, which allow residents to make the most of passive solar gain, and the roofs are built with a south-facing pitch to maximize solar absorption during the Spring and Autumn equinox, said, according to the architects, to be the most beneficial times to accumulate solar energy . Related: Scotland reaches gutsy emissions goal six years early The architects explained the Findhorn community was deeply involved with the design process, and their shared values are obvious in every detail. In addition to ensuring maximum energy efficiency, with insulation that’s nearly as tight as a Passivhaus , carbon-sequestering Scottish Larch cladding, a heat-recovery system, and underfloor heating fed by an air source heat pump, the community puts pedestrians and bicycles before cars, and makes plenty of communal space available – including a commercial grade kitchen where residents can sell what they make. Also included in the community are “flexi units” for either workshops, studios, or home offices. The residents of East Whins at Duneland also planned for the future. “The masterplanning exercise examined the implications of climate change and raising sea levels on the site and concluded it was the best site in the surrounding area to avoid future flooding,” the architects write in their design brief. “The detailed design allows for future climate changes such as heavier rain storms, higher wind speeds and hotter summer days.” This community boasts more greatness than we can cover here, including permaculture design and soft landscaping designed to minimize impact on the surrounding dune ecosystem, which is carefully managed by Duneland. + John Gilbert Architects Photos by Tom Manley Photography

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Colorful wind-powered community in Scotland is everything an eco-village should be

Want to win $20 million? Recycle your carbon

July 1, 2016 by  
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“Instead of letting CO2 go up into the atmosphere and cause climate change, could you capture that and use it? Could you turn it into something?” That is the $20 million question according to Paul Bunje, head of energy and environment at XPRIZE Foundation.

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Want to win $20 million? Recycle your carbon

This is not your parents’ conversation about carbon capture

May 26, 2016 by  
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What’s changing the conversation and technology around carbon storage? Watch for a “back to the future” approach.

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This is not your parents’ conversation about carbon capture

Where should we stash carbon? Look down

February 24, 2016 by  
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At GreenBiz 16, filmmaker Peter Byck and author Paul Hawken explore novel ways to keep carbon out of the air.

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Where should we stash carbon? Look down

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