Archive by category | Technology

AGU 2009 Joint Assembly: Solutions, and sayonara

The concept of active human efforts to artificially limit or reverse climate change has been around for some years. Collectively called geoengineering, many such plans, some more fanciful than others, have been proposed by the scientific community, and several were discussed during the final days of the AGU Joint Assembly in Toronto.  Read more

Australia’s carbon capture institute

Australia, the world’s largest coal exporter, launched an institute last week to galvanise large-scale demonstrations of carbon capture and storage (CCS) (or ‘clean coal’) technology [see Nature coverage here; press release].  Read more

World leaders fail to stimulate green economy

Leaders of the world’s 20 richest nations “missed an opportunity” to kick start the green economy in their efforts to arrest the global financial downturn at a summit in London yesterday.  Read more

Results cast doubt on potential ‘climate fix’

Results cast doubt on potential ‘climate fix’

Cross posted from The Great Beyond A controversial experiment which poured iron into the Southern Ocean has also poured cold water on the idea that such ‘ocean fertilization’ can mitigate against climate change. The Lohafex project was investigating suggestions that carbon dioxide can be removed from the atmosphere by promoting algal blooms with iron. Despite protests from some groups, researchers aboard the Polarstern research vessel carried out their experiment this month. However, the Alfred-Wegener institute, which was backing Lohafex, says “only a modest amount of carbon sank out of the surface layer by the end of the experiment. Hence, the  … Read more

NASA’s next challenge

NASA’s next challenge

The loss of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), which last week ended up in the ocean rather than in orbit, is a hard blow not only to the team who devoted much of the last decade to getting it off the ground but to scientific – and especially climate – research.  Read more

Could we count on air capture?

Could we count on air capture?

Among the many proposed techno-fixes for climate change, ‘air capture’ seems like one of simplest solutions – what could be more straightforward than sucking greenhouse gases out of air and storing them somewhere else?  Read more

The truth about thermoelectrics

The truth about thermoelectrics

Among the many technologies contending for a role in the future energy mix, thermoelectricity is one area where researchers have hoped that a big breakthrough in technology could reap equally large benefits in improving energy efficiency. Up until this point thermoelectric technologies, which use materials to draw electricity from heat, haven’t been widely applied to electricity generation owing to their high cost and inefficiency. But changing the materials and their properties could — in theory at least — make a wide range of products more energy-efficient at a lower cost. Last year the field made some important gains and seemed  … Read more