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Thread: Submarine Buoyancy

  1. #91
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    Here are my powerpoint slides for my talk at the University of Queensland this morning.

    http://rtulip.net/yahoo_site_admin/a....349130803.pdf

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    Here are my powerpoint slides for my talk at the University of Queensland this morning.

    http://rtulip.net/yahoo_site_admin/a....349130803.pdf
    Great presentation but I cringe at that balloon, it looks all wrong. Don't say I never told you.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  3. #93
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Great presentation but I cringe at that balloon, it looks all wrong. Don't say I never told you.
    Messages of the jarring and counter-intuitive picture of a hot air balloon under water include that this volume of heated air in the atmosphere can lift a small basket holding two or three people. Under water that same volume of air can lift the four thousand tonnes it displaces, in the form of a disk of sand 50 metres wide and 1.3 metres high. This lifting power driven by tide etc can do useful work, moving large volume of water at minimal cost, to support the emerging negative emission technology of large scale ocean based algae production.

    Tidal Pumping can address the constraints of space, energy and nutrient that have stopped commercial expansion of algae production on land. Simple new methods could deliver big results.

    The world oceans are our main frontier in efforts to achieve the <2° target through disruptive innovation for climate stability. Tidal powered algae production supports what we could call the PLANET Accord - Paris Leaders Agreement on Negative Emission Technology.

    My conversations at UQ were excellent, recognising that Queensland has strong comparative advantage to lead in this work which addresses core emerging themes in climate innovation for biodiversity protection. The photo in my presentation which one wag called the "quadruple bottom line" includes my mother on the left, and Professor Don Nicklin next to her. Don went on to become UQ Professor of Chemical Engineering and had the building next door to where I was presenting named after him. They are looking out towards the Coral Sea from Eimeo Beach in 1940, little imagining the threats and changes to the world that lay just over their horizon.

  4. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    Messages of the jarring and counter-intuitive picture of a hot air balloon under water include that this volume of heated air in the atmosphere can lift a small basket holding two or three people. Under water that same volume of air can lift the four thousand tonnes it displaces, in the form of a disk of sand 50 metres wide and 1.3 metres high. This lifting power driven by tide etc can do useful work, moving large volume of water at minimal cost, to support the emerging negative emission technology of large scale ocean based algae production.

    Tidal Pumping can address the constraints of space, energy and nutrient that have stopped commercial expansion of algae production on land. Simple new methods could deliver big results.

    The world oceans are our main frontier in efforts to achieve the <2° target through disruptive innovation for climate stability. Tidal powered algae production supports what we could call the PLANET Accord - Paris Leaders Agreement on Negative Emission Technology.

    My conversations at UQ were excellent, recognising that Queensland has strong comparative advantage to lead in this work which addresses core emerging themes in climate innovation for biodiversity protection. The photo in my presentation which one wag called the "quadruple bottom line" includes my mother on the left, and Professor Don Nicklin next to her. Don went on to become UQ Professor of Chemical Engineering and had the building next door to where I was presenting named after him. They are looking out towards the Coral Sea from Eimeo Beach in 1940, little imagining the threats and changes to the world that lay just over their horizon.
    Not sure I understand this post; I do not doubt your fine idea about encouraging algal growth by pumping, which is why I am trying to point you in the right direction with regard to your float. Are you now thinking I am wrong about your underwater hot air balloon? Or are you saying it's just graphics, not a real suggestion? As a diagram OK but that is not what a large underwater float can look like.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Are you now thinking I am wrong about your underwater hot air balloon? Or are you saying it's just graphics, not a real suggestion? As a diagram OK but that is not what a large underwater float can look like.
    It is just graphics to illustrate the idea of using a pressurised air container at sea for lifting. As I said yesterday in this thread, the optimal shape might be a bell jar formed by a hemisphere on top of a cylinder, or maybe an elliptic paraboloid with an open bottom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Tulip View Post
    It is just graphics to illustrate the idea of using a pressurised air container at sea for lifting. As I said yesterday in this thread, the optimal shape might be a bell jar formed by a hemisphere on top of a cylinder, or maybe an elliptic paraboloid with an open bottom.
    OK how do you plan to design the optimal shape? The lift forces are equal to the weight of water displaced by the air. The pressure forces on the air and its containment device go up with depth. What is the objective in having a deep shape?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    OK how do you plan to design the optimal shape? The lift forces are equal to the weight of water displaced by the air. The pressure forces on the air and its containment device go up with depth. What is the objective in having a deep shape?
    That is a great question where I would very much seek expert advice. There are tradeoffs between cost and strength. The bottom of the shape can be open to the water. Unlike a balloon, there is no need to bunch it at the bottom. On the 4000 tonne lift model, ie displacing four megalitres of water, a sphere of radius about ten metres is needed. Ropes in a circle of ten metre radius with a plastic sheet fixed to their central meeting point will form a paraboloid as the shape is filled with air.

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    I was wondering how the long term sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is going to be implemented under this kind of project, growing algae is a very efficient way of turning CO2 into biomass, but how is that going to be removed from the global carbon cycle?

    One idea I was wondering about would be to grow large amounts of organic mass like algae, then convert it to light crude through processes like thermal depolymerization. Then pump that back into depleted oil reservoirs, places like the Gulf coast of the US would be good for this. Instead of pipelines coming from the oil fields carrying crude oil, you could have the converted biomass being sent back into the old oil fields. In landlocked places like Alberta you could have large plantations of fast growing trees like poplars or other similar species that could be chipped and run through a catalytic process to break the long chain organic molecules into shorter ones then pump that light crude back into the ground.

    This would avoid some of the issues with trying to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide directly into geological containment where it might migrate into ground water, seep to the surface where it become a deadly threat or react with water to create carbonic acid.
    Last edited by starcanuck64; 2015-Dec-21 at 02:39 AM. Reason: punctuation & clarity

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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    I was wondering how the long term sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is going to be implemented under this kind of project, growing algae is a very efficient way of turning CO2 into biomass, but how is that going to be removed from the global carbon cycle?

    One idea I was wondering about would be to grow large amounts of organic mass like algae, then convert it to light crude through processes like thermal depolymerization. Then pump that back into depleted oil reservoirs, places like the Gulf coast of the US would be good for this. Instead of pipelines coming from the oil fields carrying crude oil, you could have the converted biomass being sent back into the old oil fields. In landlocked places like Alberta you could have large plantations of fast growing trees like poplars or other similar species that could be chipped and run through a catalytic process to break the long chain organic molecules into shorter ones then pump that light crude back into the ground.

    This would the avoid some of the issues with trying to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide directly into geological containment where it might migrate into ground water, seep to the surface where it become a deadly threat or react with water to create carbonic acid.
    I like that, we refill the battery for the next wave of intelligent life to use when they reach the internal combustion stage. We could put little time capsules in too, so they know what happens next.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I like that, we refill the battery for the next wave of intelligent life to use when they reach the internal combustion stage. We could put little time capsules in too, so they know what happens next.
    I hadn't thought of that, but it's a good point. And any intelligent species would probably be able to figure out from the isotopic evidence of the oil itself that it didn't originate underground but was put back there. Which would raise the question of why billion of tons of oil was placed back into the ground.

  11. #101
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    Well I think they would find the oil and use it before being able to work out where it came from, like we did. The question is technology versus science. In the meantime can technology save us and maybe put the oil back?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  12. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    I was wondering how the long term sequestration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is going to be implemented under this kind of project, growing algae is a very efficient way of turning CO2 into biomass, but how is that going to be removed from the global carbon cycle?
    Hypothetically it could be possible to use 1% of the world ocean to grow algae containing twenty gigatonnes of carbon each year, about double total human emissions. Estimating how this scale of operation may contribute to climate stabilization would be complex. This carbon could be mined for food, feed, fabric, fertilizer, fuel, bitumen and construction materials, each of which decay and return to the atmosphere and sea at different rates.

    I think we should start thinking on that scale, since we have already added enough greenhouse gasses for a big overshoot in warming, even if that then goes to the other extreme like in the trend in the early Holocene with the Younger Dryas. Large scale algae production could be a way to help insulate and insure the earth climate against massive sudden swings, such as in this Greenland temperature record, damping the momentum that is already added to the system.

    If algae is made into oil, it may be that geostorage is the safest option. I was thinking maybe the oil could be stored in the deep sea in submerged fabric spheres of diameter one kilometer, with about twenty such spheres sufficient for long term bankable storage of more carbon than we emit each year. While this would store carbon in a form that could later be used for energy, at a scale that would drive down the atmospheric carbon level while allowing the carbon based internal combustion economy to continue, it may not be safe and feasible.

    If algae carbon is stored as bitumen, each tonne of carbon per metre of road would sequester a gigatonne for each million kilometres of seal. Bitumen could be as stable over the long term as deep burial of CO2. Use of carbon in housing and office construction is a similarly large scale medium term useful storage site. Use of algae oil to make plastic rope to build new ocean based algae farms could be a major sequestration method. Short term use for food, biochar fertilizer, fish feed and other products would not involve storage to the same extent, but would put the carbon into continual flow in useful commercial activity rather than CO2, to shift the economic paradigm to a new level of global abundance.

    All these examples illustrate how the current language of ‘decarbonisation’ of the world economy may need to change as we look at sustainable use of carbon, including from fossil sources. Recycling carbon with a profit driver of innovation depends on our ability to convert CO2 into useful products. Tidal pumping to grow algae at industrial scale at sea could be a breakthrough technology on that frontier.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    One idea I was wondering about would be to grow large amounts of organic mass like algae, then convert it to light crude through processes like thermal depolymerization.
    Yes, University of Illinois work on hydrothermal liquefaction http://algae.illinois.edu/projects/Hydrothermal.html is heating a 30% algae slurry to 350° C and pressurizing it to 20 megapascals to break down the cell walls and convert into biocrude oil. HTL may prove the most promising path to large scale commercial biofuel, including at sea, but the technology looks only nascent.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    Then pump that back into depleted oil reservoirs, places like the Gulf coast of the US would be good for this. Instead of pipelines coming from the oil fields carrying crude oil, you could have the converted biomass being sent back into the old oil fields. In landlocked places like Alberta you could have large plantations of fast growing trees like poplars or other similar species that could be chipped and run through a catalytic process to break the long chain organic molecules into shorter ones then pump that light crude back into the ground.
    Trees don’t grow anywhere near as fast as algae. As well, the ocean has more available energy, nutrient and space than comparable areas on land. It is likely better to make biofuel with algae than with trees. Algae oil could prove more economic to store at sea than in former oil fields in view of the re-extraction cost, if safety can be assured.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    This would avoid some of the issues with trying to sequester large amounts of carbon dioxide directly into geological containment where it might migrate into ground water, seep to the surface where it become a deadly threat or react with water to create carbonic acid.
    Yes, the current CCS models of carbon capture and storage have to evolve to strip the oxygen off the carbon and add on a few hydrogen atoms to produce useful products, by way of photosynthesis.

    Splitting the atom at scale may prove to have been something of a guide to the logistic challenge of splitting the excess CO2 molecules which infest our air, and then using the contained 12/44th carbon towards building a new stable world economy.

  13. #103
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    Wow twenty gigatons of carbon as algae, we had better invent algal concrete and make islands. Or floats, I guess the dried mass is lighter than water? Wrap bales with a baler using self amalgamating plastic and there are your floats for expansion.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  14. #104
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    The submersible storage of a liquid within a flexible balloon of any strength will have to deal with the enormous total lateral pressure of the presence
    of any current existing in the immediate area of this container. Like a canoe which has been flooded completely with water and is carried down stream with amazing force . It's like a big water bed that wants to run away with the current. I think this will be a spectacular force to be reckoned with.
    It deserves consideration.
    Less a problem in a fresh water lake , more stability in the water column.

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    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    The submersible storage of a liquid within a flexible balloon of any strength will have to deal with the enormous total lateral pressure of the presence of any current existing in the immediate area of this container.
    My thinking on this is that building large submarine containers from flexible fabric can best proceed by mimicking whales, starting with dolphins and gradually and incrementally expanding in size, using the baleen whales as models for collection, storage and transport of algae and its products.

    Baleen itself could be a good model for algae slurry concentration methods. Herman Melville tells a great story in Moby Dick of right whales cavorting in a golden sea of krill - http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/42/moby-di...apter-58-brit/
    “Steering north-eastward from the Crozetts, we fell in with vast meadows of brit, the minute, yellow substance, upon which the Right Whale largely feeds. For leagues and leagues undulated round us, so that we seemed to be sailing through boundless fields of ripe and golden wheat.
    On the second day, numbers of Right Whales were seen, who, secure from the attack of a Sperm-Whaler like the Pequod, with open jaws sluggishly swam through the brit, which, adhering to the fringing fibres of that wondrous Venetian blind in their mouths, was in that manner separated from the water that escaped at the lips.
    As morning mowers, who side by side slowly and seethingly advance their scythes through the long wet grass of marshy meads; even so these monsters swam, making a strange, grassy, cutting sound; and leaving behind them endless swaths of blue upon the yellow sea.
    That part of the sea known among whalemen as the “Brazil Banks” does not bear that name as the Banks of Newfoundland do, because of there being shallows and soundings there, but because of this remarkable meadow-like appearance, caused by the vast drifts of brit continually floating in those latitudes, where the Right Whale is often chased.
    But it was only the sound they made as they parted the brit which at all reminded one of mowers. Seen from the mast-heads, especially when they paused and were stationary for a while, their vast black forms looked more like lifeless masses of rock than anything else. And as in the great hunting countries of India, the stranger at a distance will sometimes pass on the plains recumbent elephants without knowing them to be such, taking them for bare, blackened elevations of the soil; even so, often, with him, who for the first time beholds this species of the leviathans of the sea. And even when recognized at last, their immense magnitude renders it very hard really to believe that such bulky masses of overgrowth can possibly be instinct, in all parts, with the same sort of life that lives in a dog or a horse."
    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Like a canoe which has been flooded completely with water and is carried down stream with amazing force .
    Think of a flexible fabric pod designed for the ocean currents, able to move around the great currents which are kilometres deep, such as around Antarctica in the Southern Ocean, or around the North Pacific Gyre, submerged beneath the surface waves.
    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    It's like a big water bed that wants to run away with the current.
    So at teralitre scale, working in cubic kilometres, such structures would need to float submerged in the ocean current, unless a fixed structure could be designed to be safe against dislodgement or leakage and collapse.
    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    I think this will be a spectacular force to be reckoned with.
    The ocean currents certainly are a spectacular force – such as the biggest waterfall in the world flowing from the Arctic to the Atlantic through the Denmark Strait, and the immense power of the water in the Drake Passage between Argentina and Antarctica.
    Wikipedia states “There is no significant land anywhere around the world at the latitudes of Drake Passage, which is important to the unimpeded flow of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which carries a huge volume of water (about 600 times the flow of the Amazon River) through the Passage and around Antarctica.”
    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    It deserves consideration.
    Starting with robot dolphins, and gradually scaling up to robot whales, submarine buoyancy could replace container ships as a more cost effective and ecologically benign method of bulk ocean transport and storage.
    Quote Originally Posted by danscope View Post
    Less a problem in a fresh water lake , more stability in the water column.
    Important to do studies in sheltered waters before venturing to the high seas.

  16. #106
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    I have lost track of your proposal now. Where do the large underwater bags fit in? I understand surface production of algae. Plus surface processing in huge islands. What next?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    I have lost track of your proposal now. Where do the large underwater bags fit in? I understand surface production of algae. Plus surface processing in huge islands. What next?
    The goal of this work is to contribute to climate stability. That means using the ideas here about the global scale of climate change in order to explore the dimensions required to dampen the pending climate oscillations. We are adding ten gigatonnes of carbon to the air each year, with the shift of CO2 by 50% from 280 to 400ppm creating a slow forcing, a framework in which the planet will eventually establish a new equilibrium suited to the higher level of contained warmth created by the 400 ppm level. So the urgent global security challenge is to return CO2 to 280 ppm, the level which gave our planet stable sea level for ten thousand years.

    My view is that storing carbon in very large bags floating in the sea is the best way to achieve a rapid removal of the excess carbon that threatens a sudden tipping point. I think it would be possible to grow algae in the tropics, on bags linked to ocean atolls especially in locations such as Kiribati and Tuvalu, and then store this carbon as oil in large fabric spheres floating in the current, positioned in such a way that they never come near any threats that could cause oil release to the environment.

    Climate stability by this method alone would require algae production on several million square kilometres of ocean, as much as 1% of the planet sea. I don't know if this is possible. A long term good algae oil storage location may be a kilometre deep in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, floating around Antarctica. There is abundant space in this current, which is 600 times the size of the Amazon River, and if leakage risk can be removed the environmental and economic impacts would be entirely positive.

    Thinking about building large fabric bags floating in the sea, it may be possible to achieve a hydrodynamic shape by copying marine mammals, in much the same way aviation has copied birds.

    I just finished reading The Two-Mile Time Machine: Ice Cores, Abrupt Climate Change, and Our Future Reprint Edition
    by Richard B. Alley, http://www.amazon.com/The-Two-Mile-T.../dp/0691102961 The relevance to this thread is the excellent demonstration of how global climate oscillations have been very sudden, for example with the ocean current conveyor belt of the North Atlantic very sensitive to sudden shifts in fresh water flow, just like a spanner in the works in a factory. Fossil emissions have all the appearance of a spanner in the works of the global climate factory, as something we should be working immediately on large scale to remove before the gears come to a sudden grinding halt.

    Past climate oscillations that produced counter-cyclical spikes such as the Younger Dryas have shifted the global temperature into different millennial phases. Imagining that Holocene stability can be sustained without rapid global scale technological intervention is foolish. Tax incentives for emission reduction alone are nowhere near enough to provide adequate damping of the likely climate change this century, which requires carbon mining of the type I have described, storing excess carbon in the best available economic location where it can later be used in a sustainable way.

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    Thanks for explaining that. I would think more permanent on land storage would be better because an oil spill is known to be a disaster at sea. I would think the oil could be cross linked or saponified or pumped underground as jokingly discussed above. The dried algae with its oil left in the bio matrix is surely a solid which can be stored in large bales ?
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    Thanks for explaining that. I would think more permanent on land storage would be better because an oil spill is known to be a disaster at sea.
    Ocean current transport and storage could be safer and more economic and scalable than storage of carbon products on or beneath the land. The attached diagram shows a route to move algae grown in the tropics to polar seas using deep ocean currents.

    Ocean_Current_Carbon_Transport_Storage_System.362124809_std.png
    http://rtulip.net/yahoo_site_admin/a...124809_std.png

    The large ocean currents are the circulation system of our planet, akin to the veins and arteries of blood circulation of a body. Fossil emissions are like cholesterol in the arteries of the world ocean, potentially causing disruption of the entire system. The immediate global climate challenge is to remove more carbon from the air and sea than we add, in order to restore climate stability and insure against massive sudden change.

    The stable ocean currents can be used as transport and storage systems for algae, beginning at small scale to test safety and efficacy, possibly using bags containing fresh water, and building upon scientific knowledge of ocean current size and behavior https://www.whoi.edu/main/topic/ocean-circulation.

    Growing algae in large bags in the Pacific Ocean at the equator can be a way to utilize the global ocean currents for energy, nutrient and space to contribute to climate stabilization. By sinking produced contained algae blooms to the ocean floor using tidal pumping or other methods, and applying heat and pressure, the algae can be concentrated and converted to useful commodities including oil and bioplastics. Products such as oil can then be transported in bags made of bioplastic on the deep ocean subsurface currents, if these bags can be proven to be safe and effective.

    There are many problems which could prevent this idea from working. It is entirely new and innovative, a research concept rather than an active proposal. The scale of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, as the core of the stable planetary ocean circulation system combined with the other main oceans, gives potential for this method to be a major effective contribution to carbon removal, utilization and storage. Using the existing energy systems of planetary currents to mine carbon could be important to maintain the health and stability of the global ocean circulation system.

    The current California methane leak http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-1...rophe-bp-spill illustrates the risks of geostorage, especially where other mining occurs nearby.
    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    The dried algae with its oil left in the bio matrix is surely a solid which can be stored in large bales?
    Yes, and the whole range of storage possibilities should be explored, to find the products from algae that can best substitute for existing methods, addressing carbon capture, storage and utilization. Sequestering carbon into the ocean in stable and valuable form could mobilize the investment resources needed to scale and sustain action to deliver the Paris Leaders Agreement on Negative Emission Technology.

    This Planet Accord is implied in Paris Agreement http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015...eng/l09r01.pdf Article 5 1. “Parties should take action to conserve and enhance, as appropriate, sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gases…” The ocean is easily the largest carbon sink for the planet, dwarfing the scale of land based alternatives. Industrial systems could build carbon sinks in the ocean using algae manufacture and storage.

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    That sound like a major challenge to say the least. But then the consequences of not addressing this issue are profound, in economic terms the loss of most of the world's current coastal regions alone is going to be massive.

    The ocean may the largest current carbon sink, but ocean ecology is crucial to life on the planet. From producing over half the breathable oxygen to creating the richest source of protein on the planet, something that several billion people currently rely on. Any large scale carbon sequestration project undertaken there is going to have to make very sure it doesn't upset the vital balance in the oceans. Something that is currently already being done in a variety of ways now by human activity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    That sound like a major challenge to say the least.
    My view of climate science is that the oceans will be the frontier for the twenty first century in the way the atmosphere was a frontier last century. With safety paramount, aviation built an industry from Kitty Hawk to mass transit in a century.
    Terry Spragg’s Puget Sound waterbag voyage in 1996 is like the Kitty Hawk of ocean transport by bag. Although only achieving limited success and recognition, Spragg’s work has blazed a pioneer trail, alongside other ocean innovators such as Jonathan Trent of NASA and Russ George of the Haida Salmon Iron Project. A group called Ocean Foresters was recently recognized by Dr Tim Flannery in An Atmosphere of Hope as proposing exciting work in climate protection for its ideas on seaweed forests.
    To engage more intensively in ocean science and industry will make ocean management core to international cooperation. Managing the global currents of the world ocean is likely to prove a core stability and security task in reducing carbon levels to address threats to biodiversity and human conditions.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    But then the consequences of not addressing this issue are profound, in economic terms the loss of most of the world's current coastal regions alone is going to be massive.
    Climate changes at tipping points. On the model of the last ice age, climate overshoots during periods of rapid change between a cold and a warmer earth. We don’t know how the current 50% addition of extra CO2 into the air will first induce a tipping point, highlighting the need to step back from the precipice, as it were, and remove as much carbon from the air as possible to reduce the risk of sudden global climate change.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    The ocean may the largest current carbon sink, but ocean ecology is crucial to life on the planet. From producing over half the breathable oxygen to creating the richest source of protein on the planet, something that several billion people currently rely on.
    Large scale algae production would be a protective activity for ocean ecology, targeted to reduce acid, heat and nutrient where these factors present greatest peril and damage. Deep ocean algae production can create new zones of biological abundance, by increasing the surface nutrient flow through the ocean and managing nutrients for the benefit of biological planetary health.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    Any large scale carbon sequestration project undertaken there is going to have to make very sure it doesn't upset the vital balance in the oceans. Something that is currently already being done in a variety of ways now by human activity.
    The point is to target the main anthropogenic imbalances in the world ocean and identify measures to bring these systems back towards balance. Removing excess carbon is the primary need, and should be done in ways that make this carbon most useful for the world economy and biosphere in support of sustainable development.

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    Not a subject I know that much about, thank you for presenting your work.

    There's no doubt that oceans currents are very important for ocean mixing and transporting heat around the globe, I hadn't thought of them as storage corridors also. It's fascinating how they work, with deep water submergence off of Greenland powering the northern part of the conveyor and bottom water submergence off of Antarctica providing the southern component. There are multiple currents at multiple levels and due to the coriolis effect they travel in different directions as you descend. It's just a challenge mapping them out, utilizing them this way is going to take unparalleled technology and ingenuity.

  23. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    Not a subject I know that much about, thank you for presenting your work.
    I appreciate the opportunity to set out some big speculative scientific ideas on new technology in the hope of finding discerning readers. My work on these topics is strictly amateur, since I take an interest in so many different areas and how they relate to each other, while always eager to hear from experts.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    There's no doubt that oceans currents are very important for ocean mixing and transporting heat around the globe, I hadn't thought of them as storage corridors also.
    Storage corridor is a good name for what I am describing. There is an excellent wikipedia page on the Antarctic Circumpolar Current - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antarc...mpolar_Current It flows at a rate of about a teralitre every seven seconds, or 150 gigalitres per second, at around four km/h or one metre per second. The site does not say how wide and deep the current is on average, but it has a minimum seafloor depth of several kilometres. By my calculation this speed and volume would equate to a diameter of seven kilometres if the current was a cylinder, for flow area about 37 square km, an extremely large size.

    Current flows most strongly in the middle of the stream. To use the current as a storage corridor would require a submerged container able to automatically steer to remain in the fastest part of the current using sensors, monitoring to avoid icebergs and other possible hazards.

    One way to imagine it is as like a railway train, with the locomotive a vast fabric whale shape and the freight cars a string of fabric pearls each one kilometer in diameter, with the whale flukes powered by capturing the energy of the current to steer and propel the train.

    That scale is a goal which could be slowly approached over time through incremental expansion of design. If contents are stored as algae rather than as oil there would be no risk of environmental damage from breakage, although design should be able to prevent failure. The aim is a profitable business predicated on low operating and capital cost ratios against the value of its products, as a social enterprise model with the goal of protecting biodiversity through climate stability.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    It's fascinating how they work, with deep water submergence off of Greenland powering the northern part of the conveyor and bottom water submergence off of Antarctica providing the southern component.
    The map at http://rightbasicbuilding.com/earth-...s-polar-views/ provides an excellent pole-centred projection to illustrate main global currents at different depths.

    Considering the role of ocean currents in climate stability, it becomes fairly easy to see how the Younger Dryas cool relapse at the start of the Holocene was caused by the sudden flood of the melting Lawrentide Ice Sheet covering the Atlantic with cold fresh water when the big Hudson Ice Dam broke. This massive global impact was like a spanner in the works for the ocean current circulation system, temporarily switching off the Gulf Stream like a global heart attack. We certainly don’t want anything similar to happen this century.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    There are multiple currents at multiple levels and due to the coriolis effect they travel in different directions as you descend.
    The Coriolis Effect is an idealized model, with the location of continents a large determinant for ocean current patterns. The Holocene has had stable big currents. Preventing the risk of these currents changing their flow is a bit like using a good diet to prevent heart attack and diabetes, by reducing the highest risk factor. For ocean currents the big risk is the 50% excess level of carbon in the air and sea compared to pre-industrial times, which could induce a tipping point at any time through unknown sensitive feedback mechanisms.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    It's just a challenge mapping them out, utilizing them this way is going to take unparalleled technology and ingenuity.
    There are many parallels for the technology and ingenuity that I am proposing, which is actually simple in concept compared to many other things that people have invented. Aviation and shipping, telecoms, the internet, nuclear science, energy, mining, vehicular transport, retail logistics, robotics, space travel and petrochemicals among others have all grown through application of technological ingenuity on industrial scale. All these industries have big lessons for how this project could proceed.

    The main ocean currents are so big that mapping them has largely been done, although of course that remains a work in progress, such as with floats and drifters - https://www.whoi.edu/main/instruments/floats-drifters.

    Perhaps the ingenuity needed here is to get climate scientists to take an interest in this proposal, which involves something of a paradigm shift for world energy supply and climate management.
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2015-Dec-31 at 02:37 AM.

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    I'm just starting to get a grasp of what's being proposed here, but the impression I'm getting is this is a really elegant solution to the current situation.

    I was thinking that it wouldn't be effective because it wouldn't permanently remove the carbon from the natural cycle, but it can and will do that, it just delays the process from what I see. If you use bio-degradable plastic bags to contain the algae you have some control over when and where it's released and if delivered to the benthic zone over a long enough time period and over a broad enough region it won't overwhelm the natural systems and will permanently remove the carbon from the cycle. It's like putting billions of tons of carbon into a holding pattern inside timed release capsules. You can either send them to the deep ocean to be deposited along with the millions of tons of organic matter that rains down on the ocean floor each year where it's converted over millions of years into stone or petrochemicals or transfer the algae to somewhere it can be used for economic purposes as you say.

    This really is an elegant solution if the engineering is worked out and the needed infrastructure built.

    On thinking of my idea of using depleted oil, gas and coal fields to store carbon there are serious issues with doing that. Industrial activity has altered them in some cases to a great degree making long term or even short term integrity problematic as you point out with the leak in California.
    Last edited by starcanuck64; 2016-Jan-02 at 05:27 AM. Reason: clarity

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    To help illustrate how storage of carbon in fabric bags in ocean currents is an elegant solution to the climate problem, I would like to make some comments on a recent article from Foreign Policy, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/...lobal-warming/, The Dirty Secret of the Paris Climate Deal, by Simon Lewis, published on December 17, 2015

    This article argues “In order to hit the goal of warming “well below” 2 degrees Celsius, we’re relying on a host of unproven, risky future technologies.” That is true in terms of the current state of research into Negative Emission Technology.

    The Paris climate change agreement involved what Lewis called “clever geopolitical maneuvering by vulnerable, low-lying states — buttressed by social movements, activist groups, and NGOs — for the world to agree to a deal stating that global temperature increases will be held well below 2°C” above pre-industrial levels, and that countries will go further, “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.”

    But then Lewis lobs in a howler, a claim that is manifestly absurd and simply should not appear in any rigorous publication, except that it has entered modern climate mythology as a supposed fact. Lewis says “to stabilize temperatures requires decreasing emissions of carbon dioxide to zero.” Many readers would skate over this claim as a statement of the obvious. But the error in it is that if we decrease emissions to zero over the next decades then we will have built in further warming, and while temperatures will eventually stabilise as the system equilibrates to the forcing, it will be at a higher temperature than any that humans have lived under. Zero emissions would not stabilize temperature, contrary to Lewis’ statement. The fact is that to stabilize temperatures requires removing more carbon from the air and sea than we add, achieving negative emissions. The myth that emission reduction could stabilise temperatures is possibly the most dangerous error in climate policy, because it defers the need to invest in research and development of negative emission technology.

    Next Lewis notes that the current list of commitments by countries is nowhere near sufficient to deliver the Paris Leader’s Agreement. He then opens another one of those simple clear explanations that are also wrong – the idea of a world carbon budget, a remaining amount of total possible emissions we think we can get away with. Carbon budget logic presumes that a 450ppm world would be safe. This is not true. The last time the world was at 450 ppm CO2 the seas were many metres higher than today. Stabilising at that level would build in the forcing for ice sheet collapse, over what time we could not say, but past climate change has often been sudden, a bit like plate tectonics with tension released in a massive phase shift.

    Lewis correctly observes that “an immediate steep decline in global carbon dioxide emissions, down to essentially zero, by about 2050… still won’t cut it. We would still probably overshoot 1.5 degrees.”

    This brings him to negative emission technologies to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it somewhere else. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenarios all “assume that NETs will be successfully deployed in order to give a 50:50 chance of remaining below 2 degrees. For 1.5 degrees, negative emissions are essential.”

    His quick survey discusses carbon sinks such as forest restoration, using plant biomass to produce charcoal, spreading silicate rocks, carbon capture and storage underground in geological deposits, using biomass in power plants and artificial trees. I call these PLANET CRUST methods – Paris Leaders Agreement Negative Emission Technologies - Carbon Removal Use and Storage Tracks.

    The critique Lewis makes of these ideas notes that none are yet proven as safe and effective means to deliver climate stability. I am interested to see how the concept of large scale ocean based algae production compares.

    He says “the amount of land available for growing crops and trees for energy use is finite.” The ocean is over twice as big as the total land area. Use of the ocean for algae production can enhance food, biodiversity, climate, energy and infrastructure goals, and unlike on land, we are nowhere near engaging with the finite boundaries of ocean energy potential.

    CCS has failed in efforts to deliver what Lewis calls “a potential lifeline for the fossil fuel industry.” “It is both more expensive and, technically, much more difficult than initially thought. During one industrial experiment in Algeria, for example, oil giant BP and others had to stop injecting CO2 underground in 2011 after concerns that the gas may begin leaking out; this, for a project whose total cost came to $2.7 billion.”

    All this leads to the policy trade-off argument, what Lewis calls the “danger that policymakers will not reduce emissions now and increasingly bet on NETs to come to the rescue.” Pouring cold water on this prospect, Lewis says “We can expect to suck some carbon out of the atmosphere later this century, but the quantities will be limited. To keep to 1.5 degrees requires attaining zero emissions over the next 30 years, and then negative emissions… there is no magic negative emissions bullet.” That is a truly dismal prognosis, and a recipe for catastrophe. The unstated implication is that we can put off a focus on NET because such a focus would take pressure away from emission reduction. Lewis then almost likens emissions reduction to a moral cause, citing the need to “confront complex social and political challenges” to achieve the needed agreements.

    My preferred approach is that climate science should not try to confront complex social and political challenges, but should just focus on mobilising resources for research into negative emission technology. That way the only “challenges”, apart from the scientific and practical ones, will come from people who don’t want us to apply technical ingenuity but want us all to reduce our economic growth.

    A focus on technology is a line of reasoning that many business leaders are now coming to, with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breakt...ergy_Coalition and Mission Innovation Fund https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mission_Innovation launched at Paris to accelerate public and private clean energy innovation to address climate change. There is also the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Apollo_Programme Global Apollo Programme which aims to make carbon-free baseload electricity less costly than electricity from coal.

    These recent world initiatives have not yet formed policy on the whale in the room, the central role of the world oceans in achieving rapid climate stability. Lewis notes that a review of NET proposals found limited prospects. A review of aviation prospects in 1903 would have provided similar doubts. A better path is to look with optimism and enthusiasm to the world ocean as the new frontier for Negative Emission Technologies, as the best option to insure against sudden climate change.
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2016-Jan-03 at 05:57 AM.

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    [posted at same time as post above.]

    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    I'm just starting to get a grasp of what's being proposed here, but the impression I'm getting is this is a really elegant solution to the current situation.
    Elegance is the highest compliment in science. The goal of my proposal is to work with the main natural energy and resource factors of our planet to stabilize the climate. Whether that problem admits of elegant and parsimonious solutions remains to be seen.

    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    I was thinking that it wouldn't be effective because it wouldn't permanently remove the carbon from the natural cycle, but it can and will do that, it just delays the process from what I see.
    Permanency is only relevant when carbon is stored as a greenhouse gas. When carbon is in a form such as algae hydrocarbon it can add to the natural cycle in a way that delivers a permanent reduction of GHG level, even without being permanently removed from the cycle.

    Given the choice of sinking hydrocarbons to the ocean floor or using them productively, especially in non-emitting form such as bitumen, economic solutions are likely to be the rule.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post

    If you use bio-degradable plastic bags to contain the algae you have some control over when and where it's released and if delivered to the benthic zone over a long enough time period and over a broad enough region it won't overwhelm the natural systems and will permanently remove the carbon from the cycle.
    The planetary equation is that we have 50% more carbon in the air than the amount needed for climate stability. Benthic storage could prove a simple way to reduce this level rapidly, but has to be assessed against other methods of least cost abatement. The important thing to note is that compared to GHG emission reduction alone, direct removal of carbon from the air and sea is likely to be an order of magnitude more effective as a strategy as a way to permanently reduce GHG levels.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    It's like putting billions of tons of carbon into a holding pattern inside timed release capsules.
    Yes, and decision about what to do with the held carbon capsules can be deferred. This also means that the need to shift away from the fossil fuel economy would become less urgent, if negative emission technology can remove carbon far faster than reduction of emissions alone. If we could store twenty billion tons of carbon each year in bags in ocean currents, double total emissions, we would achieve an order of magnitude more than the Paris 1.5 degree emission reduction goal. Timed release capsules could plan for release far in the future, depending on whether materials in the deep ocean can be built for long term carbon containment.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    You can either send them to the deep ocean to be deposited along with the millions of tons of organic matter that rains down on the ocean floor each year where it's converted over millions of years into stone or petrochemicals or transfer the algae to somewhere it can be used for economic purposes as you say.
    Carbon mining ought to consider how best to use earth’s largest stable energy, nutrient and spatial systems, namely the ocean currents. The balance between benthic deposit and economic use of carbon is a question that should be solved on a quantitative basis. Benthic storage is a bit like gas flaring in reverse, as a method that could be applied where there is no better use for algae, with the difference that benthic storage removes carbon while gas flaring adds it.

    Retention of algae in surface waters for fish production would have many locations where it would be an immediately better option than raining carbon below the thermocline. Over fifty million square kilometres of the ocean surface (~15%) has no surface chlorophyll. One possible design to address this problem of large ocean deserts is to make fabric jellyfish, aiming for square kilometer scale, to float in the deep ocean and use wave energy to pump deep water to the surface to power the production of contained algae blooms.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post

    This really is an elegant solution if the engineering is worked out and the needed infrastructure built.
    Thank you Starcanuck, I appreciate your interest and helpful comments.

    Working out the engineering is the topic that I hope can be a next step.
    Quote Originally Posted by starcanuck64 View Post
    On thinking of my idea of using depleted oil, gas and coal fields to store carbon there are serious issues with doing that. Industrial activity has altered them in some cases to a great degree making long term or even short term integrity problematic as you point out with the leak in California.
    Land fill sites are not big enough and are far too expensive and dangerous. The ocean is massive and stable. Cost effective use of the ocean should be the primary strategy for climate stability.
    Last edited by Robert Tulip; 2016-Jan-12 at 12:37 AM.

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    I think working with the natural systems to the greatest degree as possible while having the least negative impacts is the best way to proceed, which is why I think this is an elegant solution. From what I see, it's operating on multiple levels to have the greatest positive benefit, both ecologically and economically.

    I've spent the last decade or so trying to educate myself as much as possible to the reality of human forced climate change and there's very little doubt in my mind that a negative carbon emissions regime is needed to avoid some pretty nasty tipping points such as the breakdown of the polar ice sheets which would in turn almost certainly result in other feedbacks that could take the global system effectively out of our control. I think I started with a book by Tim Flannery called "The Weather Makers" and went on from there to many other sources including a lot of the work from GISS and James Hansen. The situation was already stark when Flannery published his book in 2005, there's a lot less room to work and wait than many policy makers seem to understand or communicate I think.

    I've also looked into some of the other technological solutions to this such as energy production from low carbon emitting sources like nuclear power. Nuclear waste will always be an issue, but with its high energy density and large reserves of fuel I think uranium and especially thorium provide an alternative to fossil fuels that should be implemented on a large scale globally.

    http://thebreakthrough.org/index.php...alvin-weinberg

    The way to do this was largely worked out a half century ago by some very capable scientists but was ignored largely due to the politics of the day.

    I think it is possible to maintain positive economic growth and not kill ourselves off from too much heat added to the global system and too many ecosystems and species being removed to allow an overall ecological integrity to be maintained.

    But it's going to take the kind of paradigm shift you're describing here. The old ways are rapidly coming to an end, what replaces them is going to have to be both effective and sustainable which will mean using all the knowledge, technology and insight we have.

    Best wishes on this, it's good to see some thinking in terms of a positive future that includes impressive opportunities for coming generations instead of programming us all for destruction due to institutional inertia.

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