Midwest power plants face shutdown after EPA proposes denying requests to keep using unlined coal ash ponds
Carbon dioxide can be harvested from smokestacks and used to create commercially valuable chemicals thanks to a novel compound developed by a scientific collaboration led by an Oregon State University researcher. Published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A, the study shows that the new metal organic framework, loaded with a common industrial chemical, propylene oxide, can catalyze the production of cyclic carbonates while scrubbing CO2 from factory flue gases. - Phys.org
Coal Powered the Industrial Revolution. It Left Behind an ‘Absolutely Massive’ Environmental Catastrophe
What would you do with an extra $5,443 a year? Converting all home appliances and cars to run on electricity could eliminate a third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions while saving households $40bn a year by 2028, according to a new report. The report, Castles and Cars, by the new energy thinktank Rewiring Australia, found the average Australian household uses 102kWh of energy a day at a cost of $5,248 a year. Much of this cost comes from relying on petrol and gas to power cars, stoves, showers and heaters. - Guardian
The use of fossil fuels comes with a wide variety of externalized costs. The big focus tends to be on the carbon dioxide fossil fuel produces and its role in warming the climate. But fossil fuels also cause environmental damage when they're extracted, and burning them produces particulate pollution and ozone. Those substances have downstream effects on human health and agriculture. If all of these costs were included in the price of fossil fuels, then alternatives would be far more competitive.
There have been numerous attempts over the years to quantify these externalized costs. Some look at the issue from a purely economic perspective, and others look at efforts to inform policy. These efforts tend to be based on our best understanding at the time; however, as our knowledge improves, the figures can be worth revisiting. That's exactly what's been done by a team of researchers at Columbia and Duke Universities who use current climate scenarios and updated health data.
The researchers' results say that, even if you ignore the climate benefits, moving away from fossil fuels rapidly would lead to benefits that, in the US alone, can add up to trillions of dollars before the century is over. - ArsTechnica / CarbonBrief
During continuing hearings on Wednesday, the Arizona Corporation Commission voted not to permit Arizona Public Service (APS) to recover the full $450 million investment in its upgrades for the Four Corners coal plant, as the utility plans to close the plant earlier. APS would be able to recover $234.5 million from ratepayers. Following the threat of legal action from APS, the chair of ACC withdrew her proposal to cut rates $0.09/kWh from the current $0.1172/kWh. The commission plans to vote on Nov. 2 on the final rate package. - Utility Drive
Berkeley, California-based carbon transformation company Twelve and Tulsa-based Emerging Fuels Technology (EFT) today announced that they have produced the first fossil-free jet fuel from carbon dioxide using an electrochemical process. The project received funding from the US Air Force. The new biofuel, which is called E-Jet, can be used by both commercial and military aviation. Biofuels are notoriously expensive. But where many processes have proven the ability to yield 65% of jet fuel from initial feedstock, EFT says its process yields more than 80%. EFT has also signed a licensing agreement with Norwegian company Nordic Electrofuel, which also makes fossil-replacement fuels. Twelve and EFT state that fossil-free jet fuel E-Jet is a drop-in replacement for petrochemical-based alternatives, and no changes are required to existing plane design or commercial regulations. - Electrek
Saudi Arabia's crown prince said on Saturday that the world's top oil exporter aims to reach "net zero" emissions of greenhouse gases, mostly produced by burning fossil fuels, by 2060 - 10 years later than the United States. He also said it would double the emissions cuts it plans to achieve by 2030. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his energy minister said Saudi Arabia would tackle climate change, but also stressed the continued importance of hydrocarbons and said it would continue to ensure oil market stability. They were speaking at the Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) ahead of COP26, the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow at the end of the month, which hopes to agree deeper global emissions cuts to tackle global warming. The United States, the world's second-biggest emitter, is committed to achieving net zero, meaning that it emits no more greenhouse gases than it can capture or absorb, by 2050. But China and India, the world's biggest and third-biggest emitters, have not committed to this timeline. - Reuters
NextEra is doubling down on green hydrogen, with plans to build a 500-megawatt wind project to provide power to a hydrogen fuel cell company, the company noted Wednesday in a third quarter earnings call with analysts. The Florida-based energy giant said it continues to expand its wind portfolio as well, announcing on Wednesday's call a deal by its NextEra Energy Partners limited partnership to acquire a 100-megawatt wind project in California for $280 million, including taking on $150 million in existing project finance debt. Overall, NextEra said it has added more than 5,700 megawatts over the first nine months of 2021 to its backlog of renewable energy and storage projects. A large chunk of that — 2,160 megawatts — came during the third quarter, divided up between 1,240 megawatts of new wind projects, 515 megawatts of new solar projects and 345 megawatts of new storage assets. - Utility Dive
Record levels of renewable energy drove down electricity prices across Australia in the September quarter, with prices zero or negative for one-sixth of the time, the Australian Energy Market Operator has said in its latest report. There was also little sign of the Morrison government’s much-touted “gas-led recovery”, with a supply disruption at Victoria’s Longford gas plant initially leading to record or near-record spot prices for the fossil fuel in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne. Gas’s share of the power mix also slumped one-fifth from a year earlier for the quarter as a whole. - Guardian
WHENEVER A PLASTIC bag or bottle degrades, it breaks into ever smaller pieces that work their way into nooks in the environment. When you wash synthetic fabrics, tiny plastic fibers break loose and flow out to sea. When you drive, plastic bits fly off your tires and brakes. That’s why literally everywhere scientists look, they’re finding microplastics—specks of synthetic material that measure less than 5 millimeters long. They’re on the most remote mountaintops and in the deepest oceans. They’re blowing vast distances in the wind to sully once pristine regions like the Arctic. In 11 protected areas in the western US, the equivalent of 120 million ground-up plastic bottles are falling out of the sky each year. And now, microplastics are coming out of babies. In a pilot study published today, scientists describe sifting through infants’ dirty diapers and finding an average of 36,000 nanograms of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) per gram of feces, 10 times the amount they found in adult feces. They even found it in newborns' first feces. PET is an extremely common polymer that’s known as polyester when it’s used in clothing, and it is also used to make plastic bottles. The finding comes a year after another team of researchers calculated that preparing hot formula in plastic bottles severely erodes the material, which could dose babies with several million microplastic particles a day, and perhaps nearly a billion a year. - Wired
I started a CGCC Facebook page in May of '20 to share geo-environmental news but had accuracy concerns with FB. GeoNews is a response and partial solution, sharing a few items from reliable sources each week.