Navigation Links
Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy
Date:10/22/2010

Rice University has created a Green Carbon Center to bring the benefits offered by oil, gas, coal, wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and other energy sources together in a way that will not only help ensure the world's energy future but also provide a means to recycle carbon dioxide into useful products.

Whether or not one believes in anthropogenic climate change, the fact is humans are throwing away a potentially valuable resource with every ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, said James Tour, Rice's T.T. and W.F. Chao Chair in Chemistry as well as a professor of mechanical engineering and materials science and of computer science. Far from being a villain in the global warming debate, carbon will be a boon if the world can learn to use it well, he said.

"The key is to turn carbon dioxide into a useful material so it's no longer waste," he said. "We want the center to partner with energy companies -- including oil, natural gas and coal -- to make carbon a profitable resource."

A number of strategies are detailed in a paper in today's online edition of Nature Materials by Tour, Vicki Colvin, Rice's Pitzer-Schlumberger Professor of Chemistry and of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Carter Kittrell, a Rice research scientist.

Tour said the paper presents a taste of what Rice's new center intends to be: a think tank for ideas about the future of energy with a focus on green carbon and the technological know-how to back it up. As part of Rice's Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology, the Green Carbon Center will draw upon the combined knowledge of the university's nanotechnology experts, for whom the development of clean and plentiful energy is a priority.

"Eighty-five percent of our country's energy comes from fossil fuels, and Houston is the world capital of the industry that makes and produces and transports those fossil fuels to all of us," Colvin said. "So we are in a unique position as the leading university in Texas to transform that industry, to develop it in a green way, to make it sustainable and to teach people that just because it's carbon doesn't mean it has an environmental consequence, but it can in fact help us transition to a renewable energy economy of the future."

"The whole idea," Tour added, "is to lower the carbon dioxide footprint and to show you don't have to get rid of anybody's energy source.

"We want to say to the oil and gas and coal companies that even as we go to renewable forms of energy, we need you. We need oil for all of our manufacturable products -- plastics and fibers and building materials," he said. "We need coal for syngas and for the manufacture of chemical compounds. And we need natural gas to provide energy at least into the next century, as well as for the production of hydrogen."

The Rice researchers wrote in Nature Materials that the rapid expansion of solar and wind energy and the promise of a hydrogen-based energy economy do not negate the continuing, long-term need for carbon-based energy, particularly since so many American jobs depend on the digging, drilling and distribution of fossil fuels.

They suggested carbon dioxide separated from hydrogen through steam methane reformation could either be repurposed immediately as a basic feedstock for chemicals or sequestered temporarily in tapped-out oil wells, which would hold vast amounts. Compressed and liquefied carbon could even replace another precious resource -- water -- to enhance oil and gas recovery.

"It costs a lot to capture carbon dioxide and pump it underground, and that can negate the advantages of sequestration," Tour said. "But solar and wind power could replace coal-fired boilers to compress and transport carbon dioxide."

If an efficient catalytic process can be developed, water-based conversion of carbon dioxide back to methanol, formaldehyde or other small molecules "would be a tremendous scientific advance for humanity," the authors wrote.

They also noted a potential market for carbon dioxide in dry cleaning, where it could replace harmful chlorocarbons, and as a refrigerant to replace materials more than 1,000 times as potent as greenhouse gases.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. How green is your campus?
2. Going green: New program provides vital support for plant scientists
3. Interdisciplinary research looks at Charlottes green mystery
4. GEN reports on the greening of the life sciences
5. Greener than expected
6. Lethal backfire: Green odor with fatal consequences for voracious caterpillars
7. Greening your flat screen TV
8. $240 billion of green photonics by 2021
9. Dwindling green pastures, not hunting, may have killed off the mammoth
10. US greenhouse gas emissions and capture, regionally
11. NOAA awards grant to investigate impacts of land use and climate change on hypoxia in Green Bay
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... DUBAI , UAE, April 20, 2016 ... can be implemented as a compact web-based "all-in-one" system ... in the biometric fingerprint reader or the door interface ... requirements of modern access control systems. The minimal dimensions ... the ID readers into the building installations offer considerable ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... CHICAGO , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can ... weight, pulse and body mass index, and, when they ... quick and convenient visit to a local retail location ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 23, 2016 ... kombiniert im Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und ... Xura, Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ... heute bekannt, dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro ... insbesondere aus der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/3/2016)... Calif (PRWEB) , ... May 03, 2016 , ... ... industry leading fertility clinics and IVF laboratories. A contingency of reproductive endocrinologists, including ... treat men and women experiencing infertility and to help them build families. , ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the Feline ... their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces the ... food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , Since ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... Transparency Market Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology ... Trends, and Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation ... US$ 10,665.5 Mn in 2014 and is projected ... 2015 to 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016 ... the latest update to its industry-leading treatment planning software, ... that Monaco version 5.11 provides ... now attain calculation speeds up to four times faster ... . With the industry,s gold standard Monte ...
Breaking Biology Technology: