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New Research Uses Geothermal Energy to Slash Emissions From Buildings

New Research Uses Geothermal Energy to Slash Emissions From Buildings

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New research uses geothermal energy to slash emissions

Research at the University of Canterbury (UC) seeks to use geothermal energy to reduce emissions from buildings. UC PhD student Karan Bains is exploring how carbon dioxide can be injected into hot water at a geothermal well for added benefit.

Geothermal is a reliable baseload technology that meets significant grid stability and resilience needs without the unpredictable nature of wind or solar energy. With the right incentives in place, geothermal could become an increasingly attractive low-carbon partner to renewables in meeting megacities' ambitious decarbonization targets.

Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS)

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a promising research technique that could reduce emissions from fossil fuel power plants by 80-90%. CCS works by capturing carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere and transporting it to either an underground repository or other suitable site for storage.

The technology relies on extracting CO2 from exhaust gas of fossil fuel-powered power stations and storing it underground. It involves multiple processes, such as chemical absorption, polymer membrane separation, porous material adsorption and chemical looping separation.

Capture technologies are currently employed at a few commercial facilities worldwide, yet there is room for improvement. Furthermore, these projects must reach economic viability and receive public support in order to become integral parts of the climate response effort.

Current CCS systems are around 90 percent effective at reducing emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants, but to reach 100% efficiency requires further technological advances and economic innovation.

Many obstacles stand in the way of CCS deployment, such as high costs and poor public acceptance. Some of these issues can be addressed through government policies and regulations; however, others must be tackled by industry.

CCS systems tend to be more costly than other carbon-reduction technologies such as renewable energy or energy efficiency, making them difficult to scale up for maximum benefit and helping limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. Nonetheless, CCS holds great promise but unfortunately remains cost prohibitive for now.

Other obstacles to CCS adoption include a lack of an accessible CO2 market and limited storage options. To address these problems, policymakers must create incentives for technology development and adoption while the industry should focus on developing more cost-effective technologies.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) remains a valuable tool for cutting emissions and combatting climate change. It plays an especially significant role in implementing the Paris climate agreement's target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To meet these ambitious climate targets, governments must adopt more aggressive climate plans as well as take measures to expedite CCS deployment over the coming years.

Carbon Dioxide Injection (CDIA)

Recent research has identified a way that geothermal energy can be harnessed to reduce emissions and protect the planet. It involves capturing CO2 waste from coal-fueled power plants and using it to reheat geothermal steam, which then has industrial or agricultural applications.

The idea behind this initiative is to take action at a large scale to reduce carbon emissions from the power industry, which accounts for approximately three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we need to reduce our CO2 emissions by around 43 percent by 2030 and stop adding any more to the atmosphere by early 2050 in order to mitigate climate change's worst impacts.

One integral element of this strategy is using renewables like geothermal, hydropower and solar to reduce emissions. When combined, these techniques create a circular system of energy production and consumption that is completely sustainable.

However, for these techniques to be truly successful, they need to be developed and implemented on a large scale. For instance, the United States - which produces over one billion tons of CO2 each year - could cut its CO2 emissions in half with different technologies and strategies if it adopted multiple initiatives simultaneously.

One technique is carbon injection, which involves injecting high-pressured gases into underground formations such as saline formations or oil and gas reservoirs. These complexes possess the necessary characteristics for safe storage of carbon, such as a confining zone, seal rocks with adequate porosity and permeability, along with adequate integrity within the storage area.

One form of carbon capture is geologic sequestration, which seeks to remove CO2 from the air and store it underground. This strategy may be beneficial for facilities that generate and release a lot of emissions during production such as metal fabrication factories or coal-fired power plants.

The government has created a national key R&D program for these technologies, using open competition mechanisms to select the top candidates. They are also assessing the performance of institutions of higher learning, scientific and research institutes and state-owned enterprises in green and low-carbon technological innovation.

Geothermal Bioenergy and Carbon Capture and Sequestration (GECCS)

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most prominent greenhouse gas, contributing to global warming by trapping heat in the atmosphere. To mitigate climate change's worst consequences, countries must drastically reduce their CO2 emissions; carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) has emerged as one of the most effective methods for doing so.

The US has long been the leader in CCS technology. As the world's largest economy, it has an edge due to its early involvement with enhanced-oil recovery which created industry expertise and infrastructure.

To meet the rising demand for energy, the US has been actively pushing to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon sources. To do this, new technologies for CO2 capture, storage and utilization must be developed.

There are various potential methods to store CO2 underground, such as geological formations, deep saline aquifers and depleted oil/gas reservoirs. These techniques utilize trapping mechanisms such as residual trapping, solubility trapping, structural trapping and mineral trapping in order to retain CO2 at this location underground.

However, these methods come with a number of drawbacks such as the cost and difficulty in finding suitable sites, plus the potential risk of leakage which could contaminate groundwater resources or trigger earthquakes. Furthermore, injecting CO2 into these formations could have detrimental environmental effects.

Geological storage has become an increasingly attractive option for long-term CO2 storage, particularly given climate change concerns. A variety of geological formations are suitable for this purpose: basalt rocks, saline aquifers and other water-permeable rock types.

CO2 injection into geological formations can also be used to extract heat and other minerals that could offset the costs of CCS. This process, known as carbon mineralization, holds great potential for storing large amounts of CO2 in natural formations.

Though this technique has been successful at some locations, it is currently too costly for widespread commercial application. Capturing and mineralizing CO2 can cost upwards of $30 per ton.

A cost-effective, more sustainable option is the CO2-EGS combined storage and geothermal extraction system. This system utilizes carbon dioxide instead of water to extract thermal energy that's more efficient at reducing carbon emissions.

Organic Rankine Cycle Engines

Reduced emissions are becoming a pressing necessity. To accomplish this, more efficient and less carbon-intensive ways of using heat for electricity generation in various industries is needed. One promising new research technique that may provide some relief is the Organic Rankine Cycle Engine.

This method allows the utilization of low temperature heat sources. It has applications in waste heat, solar and geothermal energy production. Furthermore, it uses a working fluid which requires less energy to evaporate than water in a traditional steam Rankine cycle.

However, it's essential to remember that ORC systems operate under various conditions. Variables like source temperature and mass flow rate of hot fluid as well as its cooling affect expansion device pressure drop and exergy destruction; ultimately affecting both thermal efficiency and turbine isentropic efficiency.

Optimizing an ORC system's performance necessitates tailoring both its process and working fluid to each application. Common solution approaches focus on steady-state applications, but dynamic behavior must not be ignored.

Deliberate design of a system designed for dynamic situations is paramount for efficient energy conversion and secure operation. This can be accomplished through an integrated model that considers both the effects of both the system and its employed control system.

A novel approach to designing an ORC system for dynamic applications relies on physical-based Perturbed-Chain Statistical Associating Fluid Theory (PC-SAFT) simulation. This simulation method accurately models the dynamic behavior of an ORC system and provides detailed insight into factors affecting it.

High boiling point fluorocarbon working fluids such as HFC-245fa, HCFO-1233zd(E) and HFO-1336mzz(Z) have excellent technical properties and safety characteristics, making them suitable for ORC systems as they can enhance efficiency, reduce power generation costs and lower CO2 emissions.

Organic Rankine Cycles can be an efficient means of tapping into various low-grade heat sources. While the technology has yet to gain widespread adoption, it holds great promise for making a significant contribution towards decarbonisation objectives.

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