Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy

Date:
October 22, 2010
Source:
Rice University
Summary:
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.

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.

Related Articles


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 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.

Visit the Green Carbon Center at http://greencarbon.rice.edu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rice University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. James M. Tour, Carter Kittrell, Vicki L. Colvin. Green carbon as a bridge to renewable energy. Nature Materials, 2010; 9 (11): 871 DOI: 10.1038/nmat2887

Cite This Page:

Rice University. "Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160302.htm>.
Rice University. (2010, October 22). Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160302.htm
Rice University. "Green Carbon Center takes all-inclusive view of energy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101022160302.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

EU Gets Climate Deal, UK PM Gets Knock

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) EU leaders achieve a show of unity by striking a compromise deal on carbon emissions. But David Cameron's bid to push back EU budget contributions gets a slap in the face as the European Commission demands an extra 2bn euros. David Pollard reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

Raw: Tornado Rips Roofs in Washington State

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) A rare tornado ripped roofs off buildings, uprooted trees and shattered windows Thursday afternoon in the southwest Washington city of Longview, but there were no reports of injuries. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Fast-Moving Lava Headed For Town On Hawaii's Big Island

Newsy (Oct. 24, 2014) Lava from the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island has accelerated as it travels toward a town called Pahoa. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins