Carbon Neutral Power
A Zero Sum Game
Yes, we can and here is how.
We know how to capture carbon from the air or from sea water. This carbon can be combined with hydrogen taken from water (H2O) to create methane (CH4) which is the same as natural gas, but pure with no contaminants. Using a process well-known in the industry (we don't need to invent anything), we can create liquid fuels that behave the same as diesel, gasoline, or even jet fuel, all for competitive pricing.
And there are lots more ways to be carbon neutral.
An even simpler process is to use crops such as perennials specifically grown for the purpose, or by-products from making sugar or waste from saw mills. Because these plant materials capture carbon from the air, when they are burned as fuel, they return the same carbon back to the air. While this doesn't remove carbon, neither does it add any extra carbon to the air - so it is a carbon-neutral process. The disadvantage of biomass like corn is that it competes with agriculture intended for food. In a world with an increasing population, agricultural land will soon be at a premium. Cutting down native forests to make biomass is completely inefficient and actually creates carbon emissions.
Biomass energy can be considered a “bridge” solution while we figure out a way to transition to completely carbon free fuels.
Concrete Produces 5% of the CO2
5% of the Atmospheric CO2
Cement is used everywhere for infrastructure, but it is also a source of 5% of the total CO2 emissions.
To produce Portland cement, crushed limestone and aluminosilicate clay is heateed to a very hiigh heat using coke in a kiln. Calcium carbonate from the limestone splits into calcium oxide (content) and CO2. Decarbonizing emissions can be accomplished by changing the process. Either Conventional clinker is replaced by alternative materials that include volcanic ash, certain clays, finely ground limestone, ground bottle glass, and industrial waste products—namely blast furnace slag (from manufacturing iron) and fly ash (from burning coal).
Another method is to capture CO2 from the atmosphere or sea water and add it directly to cement. This effectively creates a carbon neutral cement
Build with WoodMost people would think only steel and concrete are strong enough to build tall buildings. New technology including high-strength wood, like glued laminated timber (glulam) and cross-laminated timber (CLT), make tall buildings possible.
Why build with wood? Wood captures and sequesters carbon - that's how they grow. A timber is about 60% carbon, so if you buiold with wood you lock that carbon away. Wood is simpler to produce than cement and steel with far less carbon emissions.
Can these wood buildings burn? Not very easily withthe new materials used to laminate the wood - and they can be prefabricated so are far simpler to erect.