Freezing our way out of Global Warming?

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Madcap scientists sometimes come up with the most amazing suggestions, such as the latest notion to combat global warming – all you do is to build a series of giant refrigeration units all around the South Pole, which you use to extract harmful CO2 from the atmosphere on a massive scale but it is what happens afterwards that is interesting.

The gas would then be turned it into snow which is in reality nothing more than dry ice.  This product would then buried in huge underground vaults. There would be massive wind turbines erected to power chilling machines and the theory of course is that converting CO2 to a solid would be a way of slowing down climate change.

It is a widely held belief that this gas is what directs the pace of climate change, and of course right now there is a massive over-abundance of it in the atmosphere, speeding up the warming effect, and researchers at Purdue University have put together this bizarre scheme how the CO2 trapping idea would work, though they do concede that a lot of refrigeration units and a lot of costs will be involved.

 Whilst water vapour becomes snow at a balmy 32 degrees Fahrenheit, CO2 must be cooled to minus 220 degrees Fahrenheit to become solid, and since Antarctic temperatures are often around the minus 100 mark, the chilling process would get a great head start, though the team admit that it would take around 450 refrigeration units – using a closed-loop liquid nitrogen process – to transform the atmospheric CO2 into snow. This would require power from 16 X 1,200-megawatt wind turbines, and the cost would be enormous.

 It was during a discussion about Mars’ south polar ice cap – made up of CO2 – that this idea was proposed, the Antarctic coast the best place to site the turbines, getting fierce blasts of high-powered winds from the higher South Polar ice cap. Dry ice snow produced would go into insulated landfills, and as a bonus, excess heat from the production process, along with excess power generated by the turbines could be harnessed for use by Antarctic research stations.

Such CO2  schemes are not new, but the high associated costs have put investors off till now, though since the Richard Branson Virgin Earth Challenge is now offering $25 million to anyone creating a way of sequestering a billion tons of CO2 annually from the atmosphere, it seems something might finally start to get done sooner rather than too late.  

Image via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarctic#mediaviewer/File:Antarctic-Overview-Map-EN.tif


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  1. magdalenesunrise

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