Wired has a fascinating article on coal, a natural resource that, while looking like "a relic of the 19th century, black stuff piled up in Victorian alleys," is actually providing 40% of the electrical needs of the world to make up for what renewables can't produce. The goal, then, is to embrace coal, but also finding ways to reduce or eliminate the environmental impact it has, using carbon capture methods.
GreenGen is one of the worlds most advanced attempts to develop a technology known as carbon capture and storage. Conceptually speaking, CCS is simple: Industries burn just as much coal as before but remove all the pollutants. In addition to scrubbing out ash and soot, now standard practice at many big plants, they separate out the carbon dioxide and pump it underground, where it can be stored for thousands of years.
Many energy and climate researchers believe that CCS is vital to avoiding a climate catastrophe. Because it could allow the globe to keep burning its most abundant fuel source while drastically reducing carbon dioxide and soot, it may be more importantthough much less publicizedthan any renewable-energy technology for decades to come. No less than Steven Chu, the Nobel-winning physicist who was US secretary of energy until last year, has declared CCS essential. I dont see how we go forward without it, he says.
Unfortunately, taking that step will be incredibly difficult. Even though most of the basic concepts are well understood, developing reliable, large-scale CCS facilities will be time-consuming, unglamorous, and breathtakingly costly. Engineers will need to lavish time and money on painstaking calculations, minor adjustments, and cautious experiments. At the end, the world will have several thousand giant edifices that everyone regards as eyesores. Meanwhile, environmentalists have lobbied hard against the technology, convinced that it represents a sop to the coal industry at the expense of cleaner alternatives like solar and wind.
|Quick, Draw With Google Neural Network|
|Made in China: 30-Story Prefab Skyscraper Built in 15 Days|
|iPad, Meet Baseball Bat|
|Born-to-Die: Electronic Devices Designed to 'Self-Destruct' in Contact With Water|
|Turn Your Pee into Electric Power|
|"Fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business."|
|“The release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”|
|Nerf John Wick|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|Top 10 Reasons Men Are Scum|
|“One of the major concerns with asteroid mining is, of course, getting to the asteroids.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|“You can make spaceships much bigger than anything we’ve seen so far in history.”|
|“That glazed-over look a grandma has at a Vegas slot machine is the same look Facebook chases in its users scrolling the feed.”|
|Loneliness is Not an Old Friend|
|“The use of AI assistants may dramatically accelerate and broaden what might be looked back on as a global period of cognitive decline.”|