Jul 20, 2012
Geo-engineering concept punted as possible climate change mitigatorBack
Engineering|PROJECT|The Philippines|Insurance Policy|Paint|Mount Pinatubo|Peter Davidson
© Reuse this
Dispersing fine light-scattering particles into the upper atmosphere could help combat climate change, suggests a member of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) and Royal Academy of Engineer- ing chartered chemical engineer Peter Davidson.
The technology involves dispersing benign titanium dioxide particles found in paint, inks and sunscreens into the stratosphere to deflect the sun’s rays.
“We have called for this geo-engineering concept to be properly researched as an insurance policy to cope with the possible catastrophic effects of global warming if we don’t manage to reduce emissions fast enough,” says Davidson.
He explains the concept mimics the earth-cooling effects of large volcanic eruptions, which occur several times during a century.
In 1991, Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines, erupted and caused a 0.5 ºC global reduction in temperatures.
The eruption released 20- million tons of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere, forming a fine mist of sulphuric acid particles, which spread around the globe within months.
“Volcanic aerosol particles are similar to the wavelength of sunlight in size, enabling them to reflect some light back into space,” says Davidson.
He claims that titanium dioxide is stable in air, nontoxic and seven times more effective at scattering light than sulphuric acid.
“The total capital cost of the project could be £500- million plus a further £600- million in yearly operating costs, which are about 30 times lower than the next best technologies offered to complete such a mammoth task,” he says.
Further, more than a million tons of titanium diox- ide would need to be dispersed each year for 50 to 150 years to keep global warming under control.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Science and Technology News
Recent Research Reports
This Week's Magazine
The international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope – which is to be jointly hosted by South Africa and Australia with, later, outstations in other countries – may not yet exist, but international scientific working groups are already deciding what...
A free Web-based solar power plant capacity-planning tool offers project planners and developers, as well as governments, a means to assess the solar energy potential of thin-film solar PV power over an area of land. The tool was developed by thin-film solar...
As yet, no specific methodology, timeline or costs have been finalised to remedy the water ingress, excessive to contractual specifications, into the Gautrain tunnel between emergency shaft two (E2) and Park Station, says Bombela Concession Company technical and...
The “seriously disruptive” electricity outages in South Africa have cost packaging group Astrapak more than R2-million in “irrecoverable downtime costs”, the company said on Monday, adding that the power cuts were negating some of the benefit of energy saving...
Bakkies and more affordable cars dominated South Africa’s new vehicle market in 2014. Unaudited data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shows that South Africa’s most popular vehicle in 2014 was the Toyota Hilux, selling 37 562 units.