Tag: Green Tech

Can Carbon Capture Stop Climate Change?

by Kunaal Venugopal

Carbon Capturing is the process of capturing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and storing it where it cannot get out, typically deep underground. However, the CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) movement has not gained much traction, even with the first CCS projects dating back to 1996 in Norway. The International Energy Agency set a goal that 23,500 million tons of CO2 should be captured and stored by the end of the decade, but just 2 percent of this goal has been reached thus far.

Why has Carbon Capturing and Storage not been readily adopted across the world?

A major concern with Carbon Capture is the substantial cost it has in the short-term. In the long-term, CO2 that is stored deep underground may eventually leak, which would lead to a plethora of problems, including the question of who would have to pay to fix the leaks. Furthermore, the risks of leaks are exaggerated by those who fear fossil fuels and believe that CCS is not a viable solution to the issue of greenhouse gas emissions. Many also relate CCS to fracking due to the underground aspect. Fracking has a much higher risk than CCS, as it can lead to earthquakes and oil spills, while CCS leaks could only put CO2 in the atmosphere that would have been there without CCS.

Ultimately, when considering solutions to greenhouse gas emissions, we must consider the most effective yet feasible option. For industrial plants, for example, CCS is the only solution to reducing emissions. When taking into account a cost-benefit analysis of CCS, the potential of reducing a significant amount of emissions with the risk of leaks outweighs the option of allowing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without mitigation attempts. However, with the exponential rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the world, we must ask ourselves if Carbon Capturing and Storage is the solution.

Here’s how Plant-Based Meats are Reducing the Carbon Footprint of the Agriculture Industry

by Arun Balaji

The Beyond Burger (NASDAQ: BYND) and Impossible Burgers, among many others, have taken the country by storm as cost-effective and great tasting plant-based alternatives to meat based cuisine. More than just a namesake, gag, and the subject of challenges for many that appear on YouTube, these alternatives provide a legitimate solution to those that want to remove meat from their diet without missing out on “that meaty flavor.” 

Furthermore, scientists have recently found that meat consumption is actually detrimental to humans, as among many reasons, the digestive systems simply aren’t built to process animal meat. Studies have also linked meat consumption to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancer. Additionally, animaltarian efforts that argue the immorality, inhumanity, arguing the ethics of taking a life, an angle that hasn’t been challenged in recent memory.

Hence, it’s to no surprise that the prominence of animal agriculture and the consumption of red meat and poultry has experienced a steep decline over the past decade, as plant-based substitutes garner a steady follower base. 

What is surprising, though, is the little-known superlative benefit surrounding plant meat consumption. It’s actually good for the environment. Researchers found that the slaughtering of cows and other animals releases an extraordinary amount of nitrogen into the environment. Although it isn’t carbon, the element most commonly associated with pollution, nitrogen is a greenhouse gas, and it is warming our Earth at an unnatural level. This process is unavoidable, and even after iterations of improvements, the production of nitrogen is still significant. As a result, animal slaughtering has produced 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones in the ocean, emitting more greenhouse gas emissions than all of the cars, planes, and all other forms of transportation combined. Plant-based substitutes avoid all of these emissions, providing a clean and environmentally friendly option to consume meat.

So the debate is brought up once more in our time. Should we eat meat? Ultimately, this question really doesn’t have an answer as the nutritional benefits meat offers has its negative counterparts, much like everything in our plant– everything has its positive and negative. Though this debate can stand the test of time, our planet is on a ticking clock as global warming persists, and little changes to our diet could be the deciding difference.

Picture credit: Impossible Foods

Meet the World’s Greenest Car: Sony’s Fisker Ocean

by Sudhit Rao

Tesla’s pure domination of the electric car market might soon come to an end with the unveiling of Sony’s new Fisker Ocean, an affordable electric sports utility vehicle. The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2020 featured a countless number of great products but Sony’s Fisker Ocean certainly stole the show as most surprising. The electric car boasts a price of just $29,999 after federal tax incentives, cutting off Tesla’s most popular and affordable car, the Model 3 priced at $35,000. 

Headquartered at the heart of technological innovation, California, Fisker Ocean’s mission runs parallel with creating a cleaner and greener future for the world. The car company hopes to “Provide the world’s most sustainable vehicles through an e-mobility service” and envisions “A clean future for all”(Fisker Ocean).  

While their purpose is certainly in the hopes of a better, more green future, how does the company hope to accomplish this? Fisker Ocean implements various techniques such as recycling and renewable power to do just that. The car’s exterior body is created from recycled materials such as discarded fishing nets and plastics that would instead be left in the ocean, unused. The interior of the car consists of recycled polyester such as T-Shirts and fibers and recycled plastics. This has enormous benefits to the environment as the polyester manufacturing process primarily requires gasoline. To top that, Fisker Ocean is the first car to implement a solar roof, claiming that it would provide users with an additional 1,000 miles of range for zero cost. The roof would improve fuel performance as well as reduce the overall CO2 emissions. More information about the sustainability of the car can be found here

Fisker Ocean is a serious contender as a pure electric car due to its affordability, but more importantly, a far more important issue is being tackled by the car company, environmental sustainability. The sustainability of the car can prove extremely beneficial to the environment by reducing carbon emissions and recycling materials that would otherwise go unused but only time will tell if Fisker Ocean is crowned king as the world’s most sustainable car. 

Fees for Going Green? How State Governments are Charging the Public for Trying To Reduce Emissions.

by Kaushal Kumar

Starting in 2020, more states are looking to increase or add fees to the registration of electric or hybrid vehicles. This year more than 8 states have added or increased their fees on the registration of electric vehicles. Most notable of these states are California, Iowa, Oregon, and Utah whose populations of electric car drivers is over 50% of the national total. 

While many electric vehicle drivers are not welcoming the addition of these fees, more than half of US states have some form of fees for electric drivers implemented. Most states choose a set fee every year that is paid when renewing the registration of the hybrid or electric vehicle. However, other states like Utah and Oregon have different options that, if drivers choose, will charge them a set fee for every mile driven in their electric car in the year, capping off at the car’s registration fee.

These instituted fees will pay for the lost tax revenue that the state normally receives through taxes on gasoline and diesel and will go towards the development of state infrastructure. Before the implementation of registration fees, or fees for using the states’ roads, electric car drivers were not contributing to the total cost of the upkeep of our country’s roads. According to Ryan Glon, “the driver of a sedan that returns 25 mpg pays $301 in taxes annually, and a $187 chunk goes to the state. The driver of a 50-mpg plug-in hybrid contributes $150 to the budget, which reduces the state’s share to $93, while those who commute in an electric car, absent taxes, pay precisely $0.” The current fees in place have drivers paying anywhere from $50 to $200 dollars per year, depending on the state and plan that the driver chooses (Source).

These fees hint at a larger problem that seems to be looming with the soaring popularity of electric vehicles. Fees like this show how our government cannot maintain offering benefits for owners of green technology. Similar things can be seen in the cuts to the tax benefits electric car owners used to receive due to the large increase in hybrid and electric vehicles. While charges like these are necessary to allow the government to pay for the preservation of state and national infrastructure, it draws from the incentive to buy an electric vehicle, and in the long run may hurt our world in its battle against climate change.