WATER AND RENEWABLE ENERGY RESOURCES

AYON sa https://www.diffen.com, the words science and technology, can and often, are used interchangeably.  But the goal of science is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake while the goal of technology is to create products that solve problems and improve human life (and human life’s daily activities).  Simply put, technology is the practical application of science. –Thus, invention is the fruit of both science and technology.

Sinasabi nito na ang invention ay bunga ng siyensya at teknolohiya.  Subalit  kung walang inventor, ang science at technology ay mananatiling karunungan o bunga lamang ng mga natutunan sa paaralan. Ang inventor ang buhay ng anumang invention at isa sa mga haligi ng pag-unlad ng bawat bansa.  Kaya napakahalaga na maghubog ng mga kabataang inventor na may talento sa pagtuklas (science) at pag-imbento (technology) ng mga bagay o mga gamit sa pang-araw-araw nating pamumuhay.

Isa sa mga nahubog mula pagkabata sa larangan ng pagtuklas (science) ay si Dr. CheloDR CHELO S. Pascua, Ph.D. na Environmental Mine­ralogy and Geochem-istry (2006) sa Kanazawa University, JAPAN; at BSc. & MSc. Geology (1997, 2001) sa University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Napakaraming research projects o pagtuklas ang isinasagawa ni  Dr. Chelo, but our focus in this issue ay ang interest niya sa Water and Renewable En-ergy Resources, particularly on Carbon (dioxide) Capture and Storage technology or CCS. Kasama niya sa project na ito ang kapuwa scientists na sina Dr. Carlo A. Arcilla, at Dr. W. Russell Alexander.

Ano nga ba ang carbon  dioxide o CO2?

Ang carbon dioxide o CO2 ay greenhouse gas na nagiging sanhi ng environmental problems such as climate change or global warming kapag naimbak na ito sa atmosphere. Mayroon itong ill-effects on humans and animals health caused by long-term continuous CO2 exposure tulad ng ma­tinding pagka-hilo at maa­aring pagkamatay. Ang mas nakababahala sa patuloy na pagdami ng CO2 sa ating environment ay magiging irreversible o mananatili na sa mahabang panahon ang napakasamang epekto nito sa ating mundo at sa buhay ng mga naninirahan dito.

Ano naman ang Carbon Capture and Storage or CCS technology?

Wikipedia defines CCS as the process of capturing waste carbon dioxide from large point sources such as fossil-fueled power plants, transporting it to a storage site, and depositing it where it will not enter the atmosphere, normally an underground geological formation.

Marami nang maya­yamang bansa worldwide ang sinubukang tumangkilik in large-scale sa CCS para mabawasan ang pagkalat at pagdami sa atmos-phere ng CO2 na ibinubuga ng kanilang fossil-fueled power plants o mga planta ng kuryente na ang mga panggatong ay coal, gasoline at petroleum gas. Su­balit ang mga bansang ito ay nagsitigil na sa paggamit ng CCS dahil sa naranasan nilang matinding problema sa storage (pag-imbak) at energy penalty (malaking gastos sa pag-capture o pagkuha mula sa kanilang planta ng ibinubugang CO2) na tatalakayin natin sa isyung ito later.

May tatlong components o paraan ang CCS sa konseptong ito. 1. CO2 capture; 2. transport; 3. storage.

Sa storage component ng CCS ng iba’t ibang mayayamang bansa, ang captured CO2 ay ini-inject o ibinabaon nila sa napakalalim na lugar ng karagatan or kailaliman ng lupa.  Kaya lang sa rami ng CO2 na maiimbak sa kailaliman ng seafloor o lupa, malaki ang possibility na muling sumi­ngaw ito sa atmos-phere in the near future.

According to Greenpeace International, however, cracks expose risks of carbon dioxide storage.  To actually deliver CO2 reductions, the emissions captured and injected must stay underground permanently. If leaked back into the atmosphere, they would only make climate change worse and threaten people and animals.  Attempts to store carbon dioxide underground or in seafloor have only highlighted the risks.  Ibinigay na halimbawa ng Greenpeace ang nangyari sa mga bansang ito:

  • Salah, Algeria: One of the world’s few-large scale CCS projects shut down indefinitely in 2011 because injecting carbon dioxide into sandstone caused earthquakes. This cracked the denser overlaying rock (cap rock) that is meant to prevent the carbon dioxide from leaking out.
  • Sleipner, Norwegian North Sea: When scientists studied the seafloor at one of the world’s oldest injection sites for carbon dioxide, they found huge fractures in the region where the gas was stored, and there were many potential paths for leakage. They concluded that it is likely for carbon dioxide to eventually leak from the reservoir where it is stored.

Sa mahabang research o pananaliksik ng grupo ni Dr. Chelo, natuklasan nilang ang Filipinas ang isa sa dalawang bansa na puwedeng solusyon sa stor-age problem ng CCS. The other country is Jordan.

Ang procedure o method na nasaliksik at maituturing na invention nina Dr. Chelo ay pinamagatan nilang Hyperalkaline Groundwaters and Tectonism in the Philippines: Significance to natural Carbon Capture and Sequestration.

Sa isang interview kay Dr. Chelo, he cited the following as storage options for the country: a) dry petroleum wells and other sedimentary basins, b) ophio­lites (iron and magnesium rock formation), and c) geothermal wells.  Ophio­lites seem to be the most pro­mising.

What is Ophiolite?

Wikipedia defines ophio­lite as a section of the Earth’s oceanic crust and the underlying upper mantle that has been uplifted and exposed above sea level and often emplaced onto continental crustal rocks.

Napakaraming ophiolite (gabundok na mga bato) sites sa Filipinas na puwedeng i-inject at i-preserve ang tone-toneladang CO2 na ibinubuga ng fossil-fueled power plants.

Method o paraan nina Dr. Chelo sa pag-imbak o storage ng CO2 sa ophio­lite

Mula sa carbon emitter power station, ita-transport sa pamamagitan ng shipping or trucking ang na-liquefy na carbon dioxide gas. By the way, ang CO2 gas ay nagiging liquid kapag na-compress ito ng 75 pounds per square inch air pressure (5.1psi atmospheric pressure). Pangalawang paraan, at ang pina-ka-safe, ay sa pamamagitan ng pipe line. Mula sa CO2 emitter padadaluyin sa pipe line ang naging liquid na CO2 pa­punta sa ophiolite kung saan ito ii-inject ng specially designed ophiolite CO2 injecting device.

“This mechanism is analogous to what would be expected in the hyperalkaline groundwater pathways in an ophiolite being utilised for CCS and it is therefore expected that any such groundwater system will effectively self-seal.”  Ayon sa resulta ng research nina Dr. Chelo.

Conclusions ng CCS procedure nina Dr. Chelo Ophiolites have been proposed as potential sites for CCS facilities and, at first sight, they certainly ap-pear promising with the capacity of the Ca-rich, hyperalkaline groundwaters to soak up large volumes of CO2 by carbonate precipitation.

Unfortunately, evidence from natural analogue studies in Jordan (and the Philippines) suggest that groundwater flowpath self-sealing (with secondary carbonates) is likely to disrupt the original site hydrogeological conditions, leading to rapid pore clogging.

Interestingly, in tectonically active zones such as the Philippines, constant movement could repeatedly re-open sealed porosity, so allowing further re-action between the hyperalkaline groundwaters and CO2. The full implications of this mechanism have still to be quantitatively assessed, but this would be possible by dating both sealed fractures in Jordan and assessing the longevity of hyperalkaline springs in the Philippines.

Quantifying their research, Dr. Chelo, Dr. Arcilla and Dr. Alexander have potentially solved the third problem relating to CCS, which is storage.

Dr. Chelo, however, in my interview with him, admitted that the energy penalty on capturing CO2 remains an issue.

Ayon sa Greenpeace International: “CCS is a waste of money.  Another problem with CCS is the high cost of capturing, liquefying, transporting and burying carbon dioxide emissions.  CCS costs at least 40 percent more than solar, 125 percent more than wind, and 260 percent more than geothermal energy for each kilogram of carbon dioxide emissions avoided (per unit of electricity generated).  It is also costly in energy terms: carbon capture and storage can cut an existing coal plant’s power output by as much as 40 percent. CCS technology is expected to use between 10 and 40 percent of the ener-gy produced by a power station.”

Ayon naman sa The Guardian International Edition: “Petra Nova and Boundary Dam were built as demonstration projects, funded in an era when op-timism for CCS was high and renewables costs were two-to-three times dearer than now.

The owners of both projects have declined to invest further in the technology, having learnt the hard way that CCS doubles a coal power station’s capi-tal and operating costs and is an outrageously expensive way to cut carbon pollution. They’re not alone.  Data from the Australian headquartered Global CCS Institute shows there’s not a single large-scale CCS project under construction anywhere.”

Paliwanag ng U.S. Department of Energy: “It is not economical to retrofit existing coal plants with carbon capture technology. Existing CO2 capture technologies are not cost-effective when considered in the context of large power plants. Economic studies indicate that carbon capture will add over 30 percent to the cost of electricity for new integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) units and over 80 percent to the cost of electricity if retrofitted to existing pulverized coal (PC) units. A recent study from the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) confirms that additional alternatives need to be pursued to bring the cost of carbon capture down. In addition, the net electricity produced from existing plants would be significantly reduced – often referred to as parasitic loss – since 20 to 30 percent of the power generated by the plant would have to be used to capture and compress the CO2.”

Fortunately though, sa Philippines ay mayroong patent-pending invention na self-generating power machine at may kakayahang mag-capture ng carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fueled power  plants. Ito  ang  posibleng  kasagutan  sa  issue  tungkol sa energy penalty on capturing CO2 nina Dr. Chelo dahil ang CCS ay dependent on the electricity produced by the fossil-fueled power plants since it is incapable of generating power by itself, the reason why it is not cost-effective.

Ang binanggit kong bagong invention na power generating machine at may kakayahang mag-capture ng carbon dioxide emissions ay isa sa mga tatalakayin ko in this column soon.

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