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Capturing Carbon With Garbage Heaps

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the something-america-can-do-well dept.

Earth 186

davide marney writes "In a Washington Post opinion piece, Hugh Price argues that using a decidedly low-tech solution to sequestering excess carbon — making piles of agricultural waste — is better than many 'green' solutions already in practice. Sometimes the easy answer is the right answer. After all, it's how coal forms, and we know that works pretty well."

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Yeah (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626470)

but how can you have huge federal bureaucracies and sell carbon credits and implement strange new taxes if everybody uses the simple and elegant solution? Clearly this proposal has a fatal flaw.

Re:Yeah (2, Funny)

gilleain (1310105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626560)

but how can you have huge federal bureaucracies and sell carbon credits and implement strange new taxes if everybody uses the simple and elegant solution? Clearly this proposal has a fatal flaw.

I know what you mean, but this has surely the first time that a big pile of plant matter has been referred to as "elegant"...

Re:Yeah (2, Informative)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626608)

Actually the federal government already gives away tons of money to farmers to farm stuff then keep it inside a giant silo instead of selling it.

Re:Yeah (0, Offtopic)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626638)

The flaw is that it still does not address the root issue:

Overpopulation.

Yep, if there is indeed "anthropogenic global warming" (or, *cough cough* 'climate change'), then the root problem lies with the 'anthropogenic' part, right? Just too many damned people. Fix that shit first, and the problem will solve itself... No need for non-solutiuon, stop-gap measures like 'sequestration' or 'carbon credits' or more new taxes by which to further hold down individuals under the thumb of Big Gov't...

But that doesn't serve the purposes of those who know better than we do what is good for us... {roll_eyes}

Re:Yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626678)

The flaw is that it still does not address the root issue:

Overpopulation.

So contibute to the fix: kill yourself.

You can smugly pat yourself on the back when you're done.

Yep, if there is indeed "anthropogenic global warming" (or, *cough cough* 'climate change'), then the root problem lies with the 'anthropogenic' part, right? Just too many damned people. Fix that shit first, and the problem will solve itself... No need for non-solutiuon, stop-gap measures like 'sequestration' or 'carbon credits' or more new taxes by which to further hold down individuals under the thumb of Big Gov't...

But that doesn't serve the purposes of those who know better than we do what is good for us... {roll_eyes}

Pot. Kettle.

Re:Yeah (0, Troll)

capnkr (1153623) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626782)

How about I just continue with the plan I came up with over 25 years ago, when even as a child I saw where we were heading, and not reproduce.

Yes, I walk my talk. I haven't, and won't, make additional consumers of Earth's resources. I drive an older, small, efficient car, and keep it up so that it remains that way. I live in a boat made the same year as I was born, 'recycling' it, and do so without air conditioning or television. I use a composting toilet that I made. Etc, etc... Compared to most people, especially the ones who preach at us about 'climate change' and 'carbon credits' and who want to tax me even more, my 'carbon footprint' is non-existant. This 'pot' wishes more 'kettles' were black.

Tell us about yourself there, anon? Do you live what you believe, or do you choose the modern day equivalent of paid absolution?

Re:Yeah (0, Flamebait)

wampus (1932) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626938)

Not good enough. You've suggested that people stop producing so many fucking people, therefore you are evil. Duy.

Re:Yeah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627016)

...

Yes, I walk my talk.

...

No, you DON'T.

Simply by continuing to exist you contribute to your overpopulation claim.

But then you excuse YOURSELF with a bunch of self-congratulatory claptrap.

You're so SPECIAL that YOU get to continue to exist. EVERYONE ELSE is the problem.

You're one smug, arrogant, self-important, "special" idiot with delusions of intelligence.

Re:Yeah (3, Insightful)

GreatBunzinni (642500) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627180)

If you did in fact "walk your talk" then you would simply had committed suicide. Meanwhile you are still carbon-negative by wasting precious resources by eating and by purchasing goods and services. If you touch any technology that you hadn't hand-made yourself from minerals you've extracted from the earth yourself, vegetable fibres or even animal parts then you have been contributing directly for this state of affairs since you were born. And here you are, posting comments on an online forum, wasting precious electricity, using a resource-wasting worldwide system which is the internet through a resource-wasting global source of pollution which is the personal computer.

So, don't try to mask your pathetic misanthropy and psychopathy under this thin veneer of righteous ecology. Just because you hate the world and suffer from some mental illness it doesn't mean your actions are committed to preserve the environmnent*

* your statement is even more pathetic considering that this "go green" movement is based on the premise that if the environment isn't protected then our descendants will not be able to live a comfortable and sustained life. That means that your decision for not reproducing (is it really your choice?) is based on the premise that not reproducing will make the world a better place for your offspring to live in. WTF?

Re:Yeah (1)

mickwd (196449) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627346)

If you did in fact "walk your talk" then you would simply had committed suicide.

So, don't try to mask your pathetic misanthropy and psychopathy under this thin veneer of righteous ecology. Just because you hate the world and suffer from some mental illness...

Mental illness?!

With comments like those, be careful of the blackness, Mr Kettle.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33628236)

No, he really is in the right. The worst part about the green movement is the implication that we have to limit ourselves and sacrifice everything for the good of the planet. Fuck that.

Re:Yeah (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627856)

If you did in fact "walk your talk" then you would simply had committed suicide.

  at the compost pile. so as not to waste that sack of toxic waste you'll call a corpse.
and where did you find a wind up computer and magic fairies to bring you the internet, Mr. Kaczynski [wikiquote.org]

Re:Yeah (2, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627566)

How about I just continue with the plan I came up with over 25 years ago, when even as a child I saw where we were heading, and not reproduce.

But the earth will be inherited by the children of those who do NOT follow that plan.

Re:Yeah (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627650)

The problem is while you think you are doing good, you're not. Both you and I are contributing to the marching of the morons. If you look at the stats those of us with 150+ IQs are having one child if we have any at all (my sister passed away leaving me two wonderful high IQ boys to raise so I figured that was enough for me) while those with less than 100 IQ are having on average 4. It really doesn't take Einstein to see where this is heading, and how sadly Idiocracy will end up being a documentary in a couple of hundred years.

Short of a worldwide plague that targets the stupid I'm afraid we are all gonna be buried alive in dumbass, if we aren't already. Considering the brain dead ideas I've been hearing lately, everything from carbon credits (scam) to "clean coal" and of course every word coming from both sides of the political aisle, I'm afraid we may already be too late.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33628112)

How about I just continue with the plan I came up with over 25 years ago, when even as a child I saw where we were heading, and not reproduce. ...

"Planned".

Yeah, right.

Can't get laid, eh?

Re:Yeah (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626770)

Um, no. If we reduce the number of people then each of them will wallow in all the surplus energy, guzzling it and releasing huge amounts of CO2.

The "root problem" is that the economy has been based on fossil fuels for so long that everybody's mindset is broken. eg. Coal power is far more dangerous/dirty than nuclear power but nobody seems to be rushing to switch over.

It also doesn't help that most of the people who make policies bought their way to power using the profits from oil. Getting them to promote alternatives is like trying to push shit up a hill.

Re:Yeah (1, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626822)

>>>If we reduce the number of people then each of them will wallow in all the surplus energy, guzzling it and releasing huge amounts of CO2.

I doubt that. If the US and EU population was reduced by 1/10th (to 80 million), we wouldn't have to worry about global warming at all. at least in our half of the world. Sure some of us might get greedy & burn 1.5-2 times as many coal-generated KWH, but overall it would still be a huge drop in CO2 emissions.

I agree with the grandparent poster - the root cause is the same cause when a bird has 6 chicks instead of 2 - a soiling of our nest by overpopulation. Reduce the population and the nest will be a lot cleaner. The pollution will all but disappear.

Re:Yeah (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627332)

It isn't the overpopulated countries which are responsible for CO2 emissions, in general. The places with high birthrates generally have very low CO2 emissions, with the notable exception of Saudi Arabia.

Re:Yeah (2)

psycho12345 (1134609) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627356)

We already have the solution to overpopulation, it just will take the next 50 years. It's education mixed with birth control. Simple as that. For proof, look at the birth rates of most Western, developed nations (USA, Japan, Korea, Western Europe). Their birth rates are hovering at replacement rate, and Japan IIRC is below the replacement rate. Simply put, those countries populations are at the tipping edge between growing and shrinking and most are headed towards shrinking. The only question is whether it will be enough to compensate for growing energy appetite of growing middle classes worldwide.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627582)

Humanity is not going back to hunter gather lifestyle, the only true Green Way. So we have to figure out a way that works and slaughtering large chunks of the population is not one of them.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626748)

The other fatal flaw is that it took millions of years for this method to "sequester" the amount of carbon that we are using. When the plant material decays most of the carbon is released as carbon dioxide. Policy makers and gas bag bloggers need to take some math classes rather than just wish away difficult problems.

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33628166)

you missed the point of piling it up - so the plants DO NOT DECAY

Re:Yeah - Idiocracy vs. Agricultural Revolution (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627186)

I'm surprised that most people have missed this in the first thread. The #1 primary fatal flaw, is that the 'waste' being plowed under isn't waste at all. Farmers plow it under instead of removing it because it's the cheapest and best fertilizer that you don't need money to buy. The remaining plant matter that gets plowed under is exactly the material that the next crop of the same plant needs to grow.

It blows me away that they figured this out in the middle ages and we've forgotten it. This is one of the primary rules of agriculture that we learned about in the Agricultural Revolution [wikipedia.org] .

P.S. It's what plants crave.
P.P.S. Captcha: charcoal. Is it just me or are an inordinate number of the captchas on slashdot relevant to the subject of the article? Maybe I missed that post.

Re:Yeah (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627372)

A) Cap and trade is proven to have worked regarding acid rain.

B) Who said there is a silver bullet solution and only one option can be tried?

C) You don't deserve that karma, your statement was trite and counterproductive.

Re:Yeah (0)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627526)

This is definitely not good for Al Gore's businesses - this must be crushed. We'll establish a bureaucracy to outlaw this based on some flimsy science from scientists gorging themselves at the public trough.

Actually (2, Informative)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626474)

I read TFA and his answer is two fold: 1. stop burning waste or plowing it from forests/farms and instead pile it (as the summary says), and 2. plant more trees and plants.

It's a pretty interesting idea, but it seems like it would be really hard to get traction because people won't believe it work. To be fair, while the theory seems pretty sound to me, it still seems like it wouldn't work. Why this is, I cannot say. Perhaps because it seems too easy.

Re:Actually (2, Interesting)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626686)

I think what bothers you (and anyone who hears this idea), is that we expect to do something to capture CO2. Here we are actually supposed to do nothing, or more precisely, prevent the plants from decomposing. This is somewhat counterintuitive.
Although I'm no expert in the field, the reasoning in article is sound. A few weeks ago, my brother asked me a question: If we eat, how come we don't gain weight? Granted, the food is used to make energy, but energy is only the bonds between atoms/molecules. To make energy the body just breaks those bonds. So his question was what actually happens to the atoms/molecules so that we don't gain weight (assuming a balanced diet). After a few minutes' thought, Biology 101 came back to me and the answer was easy - Part of the energy-making process (Glycolysis, Citric Acid Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation*) involves the outputting of CO2. i.e. certain molecules come in (Glucose, Acetyl-CoA, succinate, NADH + O2) and energy + CO2 come out. Simply put, the molecules are broken down to CO2 while releasing energy.
So, if we stop these processes, we can stop the creation of CO2. Plants consume CO2 and produce different molecules + O2. Animals and bacteria break down the plants and produce CO2. If we grow plants and don't let them be eaten/burned/decomposed, we should have a negative CO2 balance.

* - Wikipedia is your friend.

Re:Actually (1)

andre.david (1373517) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626830)

A few weeks ago, my brother asked me a question: If we eat, how come we don't gain weight? Granted, the food is used to make energy, but energy is only the bonds between atoms/molecules. To make energy the body just breaks those bonds. So his question was what actually happens to the atoms/molecules so that we don't gain weight (assuming a balanced diet).

Hmm... I thought any balanced diet included going to the toilet.

Re:Actually (1)

Kilrah_il (1692978) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626926)

Yep, but you usually output about 100-200 gr of feces (that's the figure I remember from my Physiology class, can't find a citation; The best I found on-line is here [poopreport.com] ). Since we usually eat a lot more than that, the mass should be leaving the body by other means. We don't lose much heavy molecules through the urine and perspiration. The latter contains mostly water and salts, while the former also contains some waste molecules, but not in a meaningful amount (weight-wise). That leaves only one other venue - CO2 in our respiration.

Re:Actually (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627160)

Don't ignore water content: whether urine is "mostly water and salts", it counts as mass, and is included both in water or fluids we drink and as a significant part of most food.

Re:Actually (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627348)

Don't ignore water content: whether urine is "mostly water and salts", it counts as mass, and is included both in water or fluids we drink and as a significant part of most food.

In addition to this correct remark, decomposition of e. g. hydrocarbons not only leads to the production of CO2, but also of significant amounts of water: C6H12O6 + 6xO2 -> 6xCO2 + 6xH2O. Some animals do hardly need any water in their diet, because this water generated by "burning" is enough to feed their needs.

Therefore, the urine we piss and the sweat we transpire do contain some percentage of the solids we have ingested.

Re:Actually (2, Informative)

andre.david (1373517) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627500)

Yep, but you usually output about 100-200 gr of feces (that's the figure I remember from my Physiology class, can't find a citation; The best I found on-line is here [poopreport.com] ). Since we usually eat a lot more than that, the mass should be leaving the body by other means. We don't lose much heavy molecules through the urine and perspiration. The latter contains mostly water and salts, while the former also contains some waste molecules, but not in a meaningful amount (weight-wise). That leaves only one other venue - CO2 in our respiration.

Bingo: water.
Not just feces and urine should account for a lot of what comes out, most folks forget that most things we eat also have a lot of water.

Also your conclusion is wrong, since breathing puts out a lot of water (as does keeping our skin nice-looking; "hydrating" creams acts by sucking water from the lower skins layers to the top).

I think the amount of carbon we emit in the form of CO2 has got to be puny. But let's see:

Normal breathing uses 6 l/min of air and when it comes out it goes from 0.04% CO2 to (4 to) 5% CO2 [wikipedia.org] .

Now, 6 l/min = 8640 l/day or (340 to) 430 liter of CO2 exhaled per day. That's (630 to) 790 gram of CO2 output per day. That is actually in line with an estimation of 1 kg [epa.gov] .

But the O2 was not actually coming from us; it is taken from the air and given back with the C attached to it. The carbon atom is 27.3% of the CO2 atomic mass, so we are actually putting out (172 to) 216 gram of carbon per day.

So let's peg that as 200 gram/day of matter output through CO2 rejection. Now, to put this into perspective, we need to somehow estimate how much mass a person inputs per day. The problem is that this varies wildly. I think we can agree on 2 kg/day of water from drinking fluids. On top of this we have food; I just looked up a couple of snacks (150 g) and instant meals (350 g) and I think that a 3 meal day with a couple of snacks could easily get to 1.4 kg/day of food.

That's a total of around 3.4 kg/day of mass coming in and 0.2 kg/day of mass going out through CO2 in breathing. That's around 6% of our mass loss.

So, please tell your nephew - supposing he has a good diet with plenty of fluids - that >90% of what he ingests goes out as urine, perspiration, water loss in respiration and feces.

ps - I have not counted nails, hair and skin cells, which are always growing (the former) and being renewed (the latter).
pps - I found a study that puts feces at 300 g/day [ams.ac.ir] and a post that puts water loss at 2.8 kg/day [google.com] . Add to that the 200 g/day of carbon out through CO2 and you get a good match to the supposed 3.4 kg/day total input.

Re:Actually (1)

dachshund (300733) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626834)

If it was tested successfully and had no unexpected consequences, I think most people would rejoice. Politicians would get to solve global warming without raising taxes or implementing any unpopular measures. This is what every successful politician wakes up hoping to do (the distorted view you see sometimes on Slashdot notwithstanding).

The problem is those unexpected consequences. I've been hearing about crop residue sequestration for nearly a decade, but the problem has always been in the sequestration process. Will it stay sequestered? Is it economical to get it there? Will it lock up vast amounts of necessary nutrients? I've heard plans to dump it into the ocean but understood those were derailed when some experiments showed that this had some pernicious effects (working from memory, may be wrong here.). There have been similar proposals to seed iron in the ocean in order to fertilize phytoplankton, but they haven't really panned out either.

In short, I'm dying for a quick technological fix, hell we all are. Possibly literally. But that doesn't mean there is one.

Too easy? Try too simplistic. (3, Insightful)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627014)

Besides the fact that the entire idea boils down to "plant a shitload of trees and then bury them" it is a rather uninformed... well... brain-fart. Literally.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compost_pile#Industrial_systems [wikipedia.org]

Mechanical sorting of mixed waste streams combined with anaerobic digestion or in-vessel composting, is called mechanical biological treatment, increasingly used in developed countries due to regulations controlling the amount of organic matter allowed in landfills.
Treating biodegradable waste before it enters a landfill reduces global warming from fugitive methane; untreated waste breaks down anaerobically in a landfill, producing landfill gas that contains methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

And the "treatment" basically boils down to inducing either pre-emptive anaerobic or aerobic process - which produces either methane or CO2.
Also, being all enthusiastic about the "After all, this is how all that coal and oil formed in the first place", author of the Washington Post story has obviously forgotten that natural gas (i.e. methane) is found in abundance wherever there is oil.

In the end, this could never come even close to being productive. Nor cheap.
HUGE amounts of (agriculturally usable) space to plant the trees/plants would be needed. We're talking about enough trees/plants to suck up all the CO2 produced by every power-plant.
Plants would need to be something that grows year-round, sucks up a lot of CO2, doesn't need fertilizer or nutrient rich soil and preferably grows vertically to take up less space. Hemp would probably be ideal, combined with pines or some other evergreen for the colder months.
Acres and acres would have to be planted for every single power-plant.
Plus, we are back to "carbon-credits" here as it would be physically impossible to plant all that shrubbery around the powerplants.

Then, more space would be needed to build the treatment plants that would suck out the carbon.
Also, energy and money to run it as it would probably not be breaking even monetarily. Would it be breaking even carbon-vise is a whole new ballgame.

Then, the now nearly inert waste would need to be transported to the landfills buried/piled there - i.e. more energy, more CO2 released, more money.

More you go into it, the more does the whole "as big as the plant itself, costing $700 mil." [scientificamerican.com] deal sound attractive.
Although, personally, I find the idea of burying the gas underground to be even dumber than the "piling garbage idea".

Re:Too easy? Try too simplistic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627634)

Maybe if we could find a cheap and clean way to make large amounts wood (or any biomass) heavier than water, we could dump it to deep ocean floor. There it wouldn't release methane directly to atmosphere.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627136)

Anyone associated with agriculture will tell you that the best thing to do with organic matter is to mix it back into the soil. The polite term for it is "residue" but most farmers call it "trash" [purdue.edu] , and having lots of trash is a good thing. Healthy soil holds about 40 tons of carbon per acre [usda.gov] ..

Re:Actually (4, Interesting)

Will.Woodhull (1038600) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627606)

This cannot work the way TFA suggests: TFA is far too simplistic. Just piling up agricultural byproducts would only produce a large compost heap. It would remain bioactive until it either caught fire through spontaneous combustion or turned into soil. Either way, the carbon has not been sequestered; it remains in the biosphere. The cycle of repose in the large heaps is just too short to be useful.

That said, there is an approach that would work, in those parts of the world that have snow in the winter. We could create artificial peat bogs.

Dig pit a couple of acres in cross section and a thousand feet deep. Make it water tight and fill it to the brim with icy cold (4 degree C) fresh water-- it doesn't have to be potable and sea water might work but I only know about fresh water peat bogs, Add a compression mechanism, such as a sinkable platform the size of the pit, weighed down with some of the rock from the digging. Let it sink to the bottom of the pit. Chip the plant material down to a size that will compact easily, then slowly force the chippings under the compressor. That's it. Once operating, the main cost is that of stuffing the new chippings into the bottom of the pit.

There will be some slow anaerobic activity but so long as the pits are small in diameter relative to their depth, the water will stay cold, stagnant, and deoxygenated. The chip injector needs to be designed to avoid stirring the waters: you want that stagnation. You want dead, cold water that will minimize bioactivity.

A peat farm of ten pits each 2 acres by 1,000 feet deep could accept more than 4,000 acre-feet of agricultural byproduct each year for one hundred years before it fills, and then it would continue operations indefinitely. For at that point the compressor could be removed since the weight of the old peat would be enough to hold new chippings at the bottom, and the top few feet of finished peat could be removed each year for longer term storage elsewhere. Such as tilling it into desert sand dunes to stabilize them or stuffing it into depleted mine shafts, or storing blocks of the stuff in the Greenland or Antarctic iceboxes.

Eventually most of the carbon in the peat would return to the biosphere, but this approach would help buy us time to get off our fossil fuel dependency. For that matter, peat is not only a useable substrate for developing petroleum products, it is an effective fuel all by itself. It could be that peat farms could directly replace coal and oil, once we get our needs for petrochemicals down to sustainable levels.

Re:Actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627608)

So recycling paper is bad for the environment? Next you'll be telling me nuclear power is good for the Earth!

Newspaper (1)

taniwha (70410) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627702)

I've always been a big fan of recycling but recently I've realized that recycling newspaper is probably wrong - it drives down the cost of wood pulp at a time when we ought to be providing economic incentives for people to plant more trees. We're better off sequestering its carbon - down some old coal mines or the equivalent - yes I know there are issues with methane and land fills but I see those as being things that one can spend some money on researching technological solutions for not just a reason for rejecting the idea out of hand.

Re:Newspaper (1)

Scott Wood (1415) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628248)

I'm not sure that providing an incentive to plant and cut down trees is better than reducing the incentive to cut down the trees that already exist.

Tax large-scale treecutting, and use the proceeds to plant trees.

Re:Actually (1)

IhateMonkeys (874193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628070)

Oh the process will work. But no one will use it because you can't make money of off it.

Find a way to profit from it and it will flourish.

I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626484)

It's probably close to a decade ago, that I had had this specific idea. Also, burying all sorts of "energy" waste, such as difficult-to-recycle cardboard, paper, wooden and polymer products. But I guess my idea was way ahead of time, hence I'm not filthy rich.

Actually, even now, nobody gets filthy rich from capturing carbon.

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (2, Informative)

bdleonard (931507) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626696)

Somebody from De Beers will be calling you shortly to correct your last statement.

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626772)

If you have a way to capture carbon, manage to get your method certified for working as intended and measure how much you capture, then yes you can get filthy rich. That is, if your method is cheap enough, that you can sell your certificates to co2 producers at a profit.

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (2, Interesting)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627824)

Actually I'd dare say my idea would probably be listed as crazier, but considering the answers we are getting like carbon credits and stuffing it in a hole, now I'm not so sure. everybody wants a "less painful" fix? One word...Supergun. Gerald Bull had the idea decades ago to launch objects into space by use of a supergun, and with rail technology, powered by a nuclear reactor, it should be possible to get rid of carbon by compressing it into capsules and shooting it into space, where it could then be used for other projects such as to terraform Mars or even as fuel for spacecraft.

Considering some of the wacky ideas we've been hearing, I'd say mine isn't any crazier, and by using a magnetic rail gun powered by nuclear energy it should be a carbon negative way of getting rid of all that Co2.

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

Scott Wood (1415) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628266)

Would it be a more productive use of that nuclear energy than displacing fossil fuel for existing electricity generation?

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627836)

I've been telling people for years if they want to help the environment, to stop recycling paper. It makes some people angry. It makes other people think.

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627978)

I've been telling people for years if they want to help the environment, to stop recycling paper.

Yep, that would go some way towards capturing carbon, if the wood pulp for the paper is produced from tree farms (that is, continually replenished wood stock).

Re:I had this "idea" singe many years (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628288)

It doesn't have to be a tree farm, just a managed forest. For example, in my country (Canada) the forested are has increased for at least the last few decades because whenever any forest is cut, more new trees are planted than were taken. I think the situation is similar in most modern foresting countries.

No fertilizer allowed (1)

ThreePhones (1878176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626490)

It will work so long as we don't use modern farming techniques that contribute to CO2, such as fertilizer and diesel machinery. Can we really remember how to do that?

Re:No fertilizer allowed (4, Interesting)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626504)

Better use the waste to make biochar [wikipedia.org] . No artificial fertilizer necessary.

Re:No fertilizer allowed (2, Insightful)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626752)

Biochar is a great idea and it can also produce energy from sewrage. Trees are god but we coud cover the whole planet with trees and it would only make a minor dent in our emmissions. Unless we're willing to turn over most of the world's arable land to producing and burrying fast growing species such as bamboo, there simply is not enough land for the solution in TFA.

The simple soultion is to fix the root cause of the problem, ie: stop burning coal.

Re:No fertilizer allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627260)

Biochar is a great idea and it can also produce energy from sewrage.

Is that when you get angry by stepping on poo?

Trees are god

Damn greenies, they are indeed turning ecology into a religion.

i keed because I love.

Re:No fertilizer allowed (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626510)

yes, but it'll have the side effect of putting produce prices though the roof.

But when you think about, i trunk can do the work of 100 men in a day, would the carbon footprint be more or less then the 100 men doing the same job?

Re:No fertilizer allowed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626542)

One truck will have a smaller carbon footprint than 100 men doing the same job.

The trouble is that once we start using trucks we don't have them doing the same job. When human labour moved food from the field to the table we weren't eating meals grown on the other side of the country (or world).

Re:No fertilizer allowed (2, Interesting)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626536)

then explain why "old school" techniques in Africa are so inefficient and ungreen (e.g. huge releasers of CO2).

Re:No fertilizer allowed (1)

ThreePhones (1878176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626600)

It's only a problem if you do slash and burn. The point is that the life-cycle carbon impact of whatever framing techniques are used needs to substantially less than the carbon sequestered.

Paper is easier. (2, Insightful)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626498)

It seems to me it would just be easier to stop recycling paper, and create tax incentives for the consumption of more paper. ;)

Re:Paper is easier. (1)

ThreePhones (1878176) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626552)

It takes lots of energy to manufacture paper and it is very polluting. The idea in the article is better.

Re:Paper is easier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626564)

Maybe he meant actually eating the paper.

Re:Paper is easier. (1)

maeka (518272) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626566)

It takes almost the same amount of energy to recycle paper as it does to start from virgin wood. Bleach too.

Re:Paper is easier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627110)

Nope, sorry, wrong. But, even if that were true, there are still very good reasons to recycle paper such as saving trees - they don't grow overnight

Re:Paper is easier. (1)

woolpert (1442969) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627220)

But, even if that were true, there are still very good reasons to recycle paper such as saving trees

Saving them from what? A life of indentured servitude? Seriously, the use of old-growth timber in paper making is a whole other topic, one which need not be used to muddy the merits of using paper products as a carbon sequestration vector.

Re:Paper is easier. (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627858)

It takes more energy to recycle it, apparently.

We probably don't need to consume more of it, but we could certainly stop recycling the huge amounts of paper we currently use.

I suggested not recycling paper on Slashdot before. It really pissed people off. ;)

Hmm (4, Interesting)

DrMrLordX (559371) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626514)

Kinda had this thought some time ago . . . plus, locally, we have numerous "brown fields" that are so loaded down with industrial waste from the 19th and 20th century that they aren't entirely safe for humans and certainly can't grow much of anything, outside of maybe, oh I don't know, gypsum weed. Or maybe jatropha curcas, I hear that stuff is pretty hardy.

I don't know what plants like gypsum and/or jatropha would actually pull out of soil like that, aside from water and some other nutrients, but if they could be used to leech toxins/industrial waste out of the soil, they could then be "piled high" to create a combination CO2 heap and toxic waste dump. Of course, you'd just be moving some of the nasty crap that made "brown fields" possible from one "brown field" to the next, and I would expect the NIMBYs to be rather upset about that. Still, seems like an okay idea. Let's face it, if you've got an area cordoned off to be your CO2 dump, it's not like you want anything disturbing it anyway, so may as well infuse it with horrible toxic waste that would cost a fortune to dump elsewhere.

Methane (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626524)

One word methane. It results from anarobic decomposition and is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.

Re:Methane (1)

stazeii (1148459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626876)

Good, I'm glad someone said it. The whole time I'm reading this article a voice in my head is screaming "METHANE". That's what you get when you don't turn your compost, or let stuff rot without O2. This article is retarded. I mean, he has a point. Yes, remove the carbon from the chain, you can help try to balance it out. But you would have to fire it off into space to actually remove it from the chain. And that process would produce CO2, methane, etc. Just even mentioning that burning oil could be made up for by burying crops?! The guy is an idiot. Next hair-brained idea? We'd be better off doing everything we can to REDUCE methane production, and replace that with CO2 production. Methane is about 20x more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2, and plants DON'T pull it out of the atmosphere.

Re:Methane (2, Informative)

stazeii (1148459) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626886)

doh... methane is about 10x (not 20x) more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2... stupid typo.

Re:Methane (4, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627024)

But if we capture that methane, we can burn it to produce energy.

Convert methane to methanol (3, Informative)

voss (52565) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627224)

You can convert methane to methanol.

Methanol is FAR cheaper than ethanol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol_fuel [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol_economy [wikipedia.org]

Re:Convert methane to methanol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33628110)

And far more toxic. Even methane fumes can make you go blind.

Re:Convert methane to methanol (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33628150)

Unfortunately an engine running on methanol produces formaldehyde in it's exhaust fumes, which is one of the main reasons that oil refiners went with Ethanol instead when they needed a new anti-knocking agent because the government told them that they could no longer use Tetraethyl Lead. That's why Unleaded Gasoline has 10% Ethanol.

Methanol also has an even lower energy density than Ethanol, so you'd have to burn even more of it to get the same amount of horsepower.

Re:Methane (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627892)

Sure, NOBODY has thought of that.

There are lots of ways to avoid releasing methane. You can bury it deep enough, bury it somewhere cold, or create biochar. Probably lots of other ways too.

If you do end up with some methane it's awfully handy for things like heating homes and generating electricity.

Better yet (1)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626544)

How about: extract energy from that agricultural waste using biogas (possible now) or some combination of physical/chemical process (being worked on, with success here & there)? That way:

  • You don't need to pile up anything or waste land to do that.
  • Each kWh extracted from the waste, is one kWh you don't need to produce using oil / natural gas / coal / nuclear.
  • Which saves you from the effort of obtaining those other fuels, like: less need to drill for oil in deep see or start war in oil-rich country.
  • Can be done small(er) scale, locally, so there's less stuff to haul around (and low to zero risk when transporting that agricultural waste).

Seems like more effective way, and required tech is available now.

Not such a good idea (4, Insightful)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626556)

One of the examples was to bury agricultural waste instead of plowing it into the ground. The obvious problem is that the "waste" is what becomes the soil in a few years, putting back minerals, nitrogen and other elements that the plant needs to grow. Without putting this "waste" back into the ground, the only way to get the same full, lush plants that are soaking up all this carbon is to use man made fertilizers, which are a big enough problem with ground water that we don't need to adopt a new agriculture method that requires even MORE of them.

If we could separate out all the carbon from our garbage and bury it in the way he talks about, great, there will be coal in a few millennia. But generally speaking, this sounds incredibly unworkable and naive.

Re:Not such a good idea (2, Funny)

gabebear (251933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626584)

bah... you evidently keep beating me by seconds... You have an ID that is only 2 less than mine.

by Pharmboy (216950) on Sunday September 19, @08:46AM (#33626556)

by gabebear (251933) on Sunday September 19, @08:46AM (#33626558)

No it isn't, read the article (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626662)

They are talking about using what is almost entirely carbon,hydrogen and oxygen - stalks, leaves and bark. Plants convert as much of their available nitrogen as possible into fruiting bodies or over-winter energy stores (tubers). Leaves of deciduous plants actually fulfil some of the function of our kidneys; when they turn brown and drop off, this is because all available nitrogen and minerals has been extracted, and waste products are transported to the leaves, preventing buildup. Deciduous plants are more successful than conifers partly because of this efficient mechanism for recycling biological assets.

In organic farming it's common to plant winter crops that fix nitrogen and then plow them in in the spring, but this is completely different from plowing in straw. Until burning of stubble was banned in Europe, this was the commonest fate of straw. Plowing it in has downsides - including returning pest eggs, fungi and viruses to the soil. Removing it completely would have many of the benefits of stubble burning with none of the pollution downsides. I suspect this is neither unworkable nor naive, but it is a solution that doesn't involve lots of pork and so will be resisted by bureaucrats.

Re:No it isn't, read the article (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626986)

I'm afraid it's naive. Every gram of plant material removed from the fields represents a gram of soil and water, removed from the local ecosystem. The field does not care where it is restored from, whether manure, river silt, or petrolum based fertilizers. But if the material is not replenished, the field will lose topsoil and productivity. Topsoil also isn't that thick: 50 foot thick topsoil is considered rare and extremely valuable. The layer in many "farm belts" is quite thin from over-use.

So just carting it away, or washing it away from badly eroded fields, is a big problem.

Plant mass != soil + water removed (2, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627238)

I have no idea where you get this from. Plant stems and dead leaves roughly have a composition as if they were made of CnH2nOn, i.e. approx. 1 atom of carbon to each water molecule. This is because the basic building block of plant matter is a 6-carbon sugar. If you don't understand this I am sure Wikipedia will help.

Now, the carbon came from the atmosphere and so did the water. The basic equation here is n(H2O) + n(CO2) -> n(CH2O) + n(O2), with carbon dioxide removed from the air and replaced with oxygen. Since hay and dead leaves are pretty dry, the effective water content is likely to be equivalent to a centimeter of rain equivalent at most.

Looking at grasses, the main structural rigidity element is silicon dioxide, which is why grass stems are abrasive.

This means that removing plant stems and dead leaves only really removes very small amounts of nitrogen and elements other than CHO, and insignificant amounts of water. The silica arises from stone weathering, again not morally a problem.

The problem arises, in fact, from the removal of the actual crop. It is this that contains the essential soil elements you mention - the N,P,S, the trace elements like potassium,magnesium, selenium and chromium - that have to be replenished with either fertiliser or manure. Removing the parts of the plant that are actually waste from the view of plant reproduction is not a problem. The manure produced by ruminants contains the trace elements because their diet contains plant fruiting bodies and tubers. If you tried to feed cows on straw rather than hay, you would rapidly appreciate the difference - though you wouldn't last long as a dairy farmer.

As for 50ft topsoil....merely to have written this suggests your connection with farming is extremely tenuous. I on the other hand live in a farming district, I'm well aware of local farming practices, and we grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables. It isn't naive to know what parts of the plant represent renewables, and what part represents non-renewables.

Re:Plant mass != soil + water removed (1)

johno.ie (102073) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628318)

> As for 50ft topsoil....merely to have written this suggests your connection with farming is extremely tenuous.

Absolutely, that statement baffled me too. I've dug many pits down to over 5 meters and I've never seen topsoil more than 2 meters deep. In those cases it wasn't even proper topsoil, more like loose turf which collects on low lying land due to erosion and percolation. The average is roughly 0.5 meters in my area and it is renowned for the quality of the agricultural land.

Re:No it isn't, read the article (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627912)

Wow. Way to not even read his post.

GP claimed that there are negligible useful materials aside from carbon stored in many plant parts. Whether that's true or not, your reply didn't even address it.

By planting appropriate nitrogen fixing plants you could probably wind up with a net improvement in soil fertility while still removing carbon.

Re:Not such a good idea (1)

Sciurus 6.487ED511 (1885922) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627078)

Good point, Pharmboy. I can't think of any organic agriculture product that isn't used, if nothing else, for fertilizer. As far as waste, nice organic material like paper and wood usually has uses as well. I suppose as the article says, it might be cheaper than carbon recapture, though. But what about plastic. Some is recycled, certainly, but we could melt it down and pump it back into depleted oil wells.

Re:Not such a good idea (1)

Tisha_AH (600987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627654)

You hit it right on the nose. In their efforts to solve what they see as a problem with one element (carbon) this process would also strip the other nutrients from the soil like nitrogen and potassium (potash). Do this long enough and all you are left with is sand and clay. Incapable of growing crops in any normal sense and would be about as successful as making a desert fertile without the use of supplements.

If folks doubt that this can happen they should do some research on how cotton agriculture so severely depleted the soil in the southern US that big areas of lower Alabama are only useful for growing pine trees.

We have been borrowing against the future for thousands of years and even the normal process of agriculture where crops are removed for consumption is an ongoing form of depletion. Food products are shipped off to cities and after consumption, end up as sewage. Then, this excellent fertilizer (human waste) is contaminated with all of the other toxins of city life and made unusable for agricultural purposes.

In an ideal system the biological waste would be returned to the soil to replenish the nutrients and you would have a long term, sustainable agricultural system. The current scheme in this article would just accelerate the process of soil depletion.

How about Soylent Green... at least then the largest sources of environmental damage (humans) would be put to good use.

Plowing under? (3, Insightful)

gabebear (251933) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626558)

How much gas and money would be used by NOT plowing under leftover stuff in the field? Plowing under organic-mater enriches the soil and the collection and transportation of all this stuff would take a lot of energy.

Make charcoal (3, Interesting)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626658)

One variation of this proposal that I have seen is a bit more technical. It heats the agricultural waste in a reduced oxygen atmosphere to generate syngas and charcoal. The syngas you can burn to generate power. The charcoal you bury in old mines. The advantages were that you burn less fossil fuel and the the charcoal was less smelly than rotting waste. Disadvantage is that its more complicated.

Re:Make charcoal (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626780)

You can plow the charcoal into the ground, it's a great "fertliser".

Yes, and... (1, Interesting)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626666)

sometimes making "simple" solutions actually work is more complicated than the "complex" alternative. As an engineer you run into this all the time, the manager who's so enamored of his brilliance he can't see the flaws in his idea.

This guy is talking about creating artificial peat bogs. It actually *is* an intriguing idea, but I don't see it as "simple". It certainly isn't an "alternative" to government subsidies or regulation. Somebody is going to have to pay the farmers to do this, and to buy the land and transport the waste there, and to deal with the effects of removing so much biomass from th cropland.

Things like grassahol subsidies are supposed to incent the development of new technologies. If those technologies ever make grassahol cheaper than oil, then the subsidies will have bootstrapped a new private grassahol market. That's a big "if", but so is research in energy technologies like fusion. What is problematic is that the farm lobby distorts the program, just as it would a farm waste sequestration program. So it's not a politically simpler solution.

$100 million dollars to scrub 1.5% of the carbon out of the atmosphere sounds like a huge amount of money, until you consider this. A single F22 Raptor cost half again as much (150 million), and we've managed to purchase 166 of those. Most people would admit that is a lot of money, but there are still people that think buying a few more would be a good investment. When you're talking about an entire national economy like the US, 100 million to accomplish something important isn't that much.

Now consider the damage figure for Hurricane Katrina, which stands at 81 billion. Now you can't say that any hurricane was *caused* by global warming, but severe hurricanes are more *frequent* under an AGW scenario. If the frequency of such hurricanes increases, a few billion dollars to dial that down wouldn't be that much money, much less 100 million.

Wrong science (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626674)

Price says, "Without access to oxygen, bacteria cannot break down plant material."

Price, who obviously knows nothing about biology, is forgetting about the vast majority of all species on the planet: anaerobic microbes. They are quite good at turning organic material into carbon dioxide and methane. This happens in all animal guts, including yours, as well as anaerobic digesters, soils, underwater sediments, bogs, etc. His garbage heap "solution" sounds, to me, like an anaerobic digester. It would transform the waste into carbon dioxide and methane. Methane, by the way, has a green house gas equivalent of about ten times that of carbon dioxide. However, you can capture the methane and burn it to generate electricity. But, there's nothing novel about this; we've been doing it with our agricultural waste for decades. Especially in Europe where, for example, Germany has 4,500 cooperative facilities solely for the purpose of anaerobic breakdown of agricultural waste and capturing the methane produced, to be used as green energy.

Re:Wrong science (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627874)

You're absolutely right.

Brainfart. Doesn't deserve a response really but:

"Help yourself a freakin' science book, cause you're talkin' like a freakin' retard. Du kur duuur!"

Re:Wrong science (2, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 4 years ago | (#33628292)

It depends on the plant material. But cellulose (the primary component of wood and stems) is mostly carbon. It doesn't have enough oxygen and hydrogen to convert the entire biomass to carbon dioxide or methane. And if the layer of refuse is rather thick, then most of it will be hot enough to inhibit microbe growth. You could also coke the plant material first (which conveniently is somewhat exothermic), getting fairly pure carbon.

Weeds (1)

FridayBob (619244) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626692)

Perhaps weeds would be able to help us out here, since they grow quickly and don't seem to require any fertilizer. Needing only water, farmers could be subsidized to plant endless crops of some particularly fast-growing (genetically tailored?) varieties that would subsequently be harvested and buried. Perhaps burial would also help to prevent these oxygen-deprived organic masses from turning into sources of methane, which as a greenhouse gas is 25 times more potent than CO2. Or, maybe the methane could be trapped and burned to produce energy. This would produce CO2, but not be nearly as bad as letting the methane escape into the atmosphere.

Re:Weeds (1)

eriqk (1902450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33626888)

Kudzu?

You can't change (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33626952)

how people think until it's too late (or about to be too late). That is the root of the problem. People in this country (USA) are too conditioned to believe what their government, church or political party tells them to believe. Chang that and anything is possible. Shoehornjob

It works, but ocean dumping is more efficient (3, Interesting)

Thorfinn.au (1140205) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627074)

Professor Gregory Benford has papers on it. http://www.physics.uci.edu/faculty/benford.html [uci.edu] There are several papers here going back several years discussing geo-sequestration of carbon in a manner non returnable to the atmosphere. The proposal here does not lock the carbon away.

Re:It works, but ocean dumping is more efficient (1)

Anonymous Cowpat (788193) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627484)

The problem with ocean-dumping is that it displaces water (naturally, I haven't examind the paper to see wether that is addressed), which we've got enough problems with as it is.

My idea (which has taken me an aggregate of about 2 minutes to think of) is to grow fast-growing trees, cut them down, bury them in old mineshafts, fill the remaining space with sea water, seal & forget.

If you fill all the coal mines with wood, you fill the same volume of space as the coal you took out and burnt - coal probably has a higher carbon-density than wood, but then you're filling space that wasn't coal-bearing in the first place. And there are other kinds of mine which could be used.

The salt water preserves the wood and stops it breaking back down into carbon dioxide or methane. It also takes a small amount of seawater (ok, probably a negligible amount) out of circulation.

Can I get a famous too, please?

Are we in April? (3, Interesting)

rcastro0 (241450) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627424)

This is April Fools' gold:
>Without access to oxygen, bacteria cannot break down plant material. (...)
>Instead of trying to manufacture ethanol from switchgrass, would it be more effective to burn oil and bury the switchgrass? We sometimes pay farmers not to grow crops to sustain prices; should we pay them to grow otherwise useless crops and stockpile them? (...)
> Can leaves, bark and branches that are now discarded or burned be piled up instead? Is it more beneficial to recycle paper or to collect it? (...)
>The writer is the director of production planning at The Post.

LOL In the end I get it. The writer of this Washington Post article is the guy in charge of printing the paper-version of the Washington Post (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/hugh-price/7/2a8/68a [linkedin.com] ). And he is trying to build an argument that producing paper and stockpiling it may be the solution to the environmental problems of our times! ("Help the Planet, Get the Paper Version instead of the online version!")
Reality can be funnier than fiction.

Garbage or trash? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627474)

If this is really garbage, you can do the same thing, but put it to better use, by converting it into biochar, then getting it back down deep in the soils on the farms from which it originated.

Just "capturing carbon" is retarded. We are a carbon based society, this is valuable stuff to keep us working and alive. We need to stop thinking of carbon as a problem, and start treating it as the wonderful asset it is. Just using it more wisely will help in every direction.

And FUCK wall street and that scam "carbon credits" nonsense, and all the deluded supporters of that stupid idea. I have no idea why so many "greenies" want to be useful idiot tools of wall street. I guess they just get told what to think and then run with that, like some sort of brainwashed cult.

RE: Warning No Science Detected (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627570)

Whoever wrote this article should probably get himself a science education. The article is nothing more than some guy in charge of paper recycling at the Washington Posts fantasy, and has 0 scientific merit to back up any of his fanciful claims.

If you have a science background, and want a good laugh, go read the article.

http://www.cs-carbonsolutions.de/htc-process.htm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33627778)

http://www.cs-carbonsolutions.de/htc-process.htm

Where to begin... (1)

Goghit (1120161) | more than 4 years ago | (#33627822)

There are so many things wrong with this article I'm not sure where to begin. Five minutes of Googling would have shown the author his "simple, elegant solution" is neither simple, elegant, nor a solution. He clearly has no understanding of the decomposition process taking place inside a compost heap and what is produced. His claim that there are no toxic leachates for example can be shown untrue by anyone who has had to work with industrial quantities of waste sawdust and bark. Pile this material high enough that the lower layers go anoxic and you get some interesting stuff leaking out of the heap.

Baseless opinion from a marketing droid who can't be bothered to do a bit of research. I'm sure Fox will love it.

 

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