[ExI] cure for global warming

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sun Dec 26 03:50:20 UTC 2010

On Sat, Dec 25, 2010 at 7:13 PM,  John Clark <jonkc at bellsouth.net> wrote:

> On Dec 21, 2010, at 10:32 PM, Keith Henson wrote:
>> The best way I see is to come up with an energy source considerably
>> less expensive than fossil fuels.
> That would be a great way to cure global warming but unfortunately nobody has figured out how to make a cheap clean substitute for fossil fuels yet, nobody has figured out a cure for CO2 emissions (if that is indeed the cause of the problem) that is not worse than the disease.

You must not have read the rest of my post where I discussed how to do it.

The *easy* part is making a clean cheap substitutes for fossil fuels.
We know how to suck CO2 out of air at a cost of around 100 kWh/t (360
kWh per ton of carbon).  We know how to make hydrogen either directly
from heat (S I process) or by electrolysis.  We, or rather Sasol,
knows how to bulid a plant that will turn these two into synthetic
fuel at a cost of around $10 per bbl.

$1 B written off over ten years is $100 M/year.  The plant makes
34,000 bbls of oil a day or  about 12.5 M B of oil a year at a capital
cost of $100 M per year.  So the capital cost is around $8 per bbl
plus maybe $2 per bbl maintenance and labor.  It's using gas as the
source of carbon and hydrogen, but it would be just as happy on carbon
dioxide from the air and hydrogen from water.

The hard part is getting energy cost down to where you can make
inexpensive synthetic hydrocarbons.  StratoSolar *might* do it.  The
engineering to cope with maximum wind is very hard.

Power satellites could also do it if you can get the launch cost to
GEO down to $100/kg.

>So until somebody dose figure that out and if the problem is really as catastrophic as the doomsayers say it is then we'd better have another idea; and Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technical officer at Microsoft, may have one, build an artificial volcano.
> Mt Pinatubo in 1991 became the best studied large volcanic eruption in history, it put more sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere than any volcano since Krakatoa in 1883. There is no longer any dispute that stratospheric sulphur dioxide leads to more diffuse sunlight, a decrease in the ozone layer, and a general cooling of the planet. What was astonishing was how little stratospheric sulphur dioxide was needed. If you injected it in the arctic where it would be about 4 times more effective, about 100,000 tons a year would reverse global warming in the northern hemisphere. That works out to 34 gallons per minute, a bit more than what a standard garden hose could deliver but much less than a fire hose. We already spew out over 200,000,000 tons of sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere each year, but all of that is in the lower troposphere where it has little or no cooling effect, the additional 100,000 tons is a drop in the bucket if you're looking at the tonnage, but it's in the!
>  stratosphere where its vastly more effective.
> Myhrvold wasn't suggesting anything as ambitious as a space elevator, just a light hose about 2 inches in diameter going up about 18 miles. In one design he burns sulfur to make sulphur dioxide, he then liquefies it and injects it into the stratosphere with a hose supported every 500 to 1000 feet with helium balloons. Myhrvold thinks this design would cost about 150 million dollars to build and about 100 million a year to operate. In another design that would probably be even cheaper he just slips a sleeve over the smokestack of any existing small to midsize coal power plant in the higher latitudes and uses the hot exhaust to fill hot air balloons to support the hose.

It's a lot harder than you might think.



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