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(Forbes)   Scientists create new fuel source from all that CO2 we've been dumping in the atmosphere. Because if there's anything humans do best, it's screwing ourselves over and then benefiting from it   (forbes.com) divider line 26
    More: Cool, carbon dioxide, hydrogen gas, genetic engineering, fuels  
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2582 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Mar 2013 at 8:29 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-03-27 08:39:17 AM
But it causes cancer.
 
2013-03-27 08:44:47 AM
   ... and I bet Al Gore has controlling stock in the company that made this "discovery".
 
 Can we please let this pant-load of lies and hysteria fade into obscurity and come up with a new one to be afraid of and cost us ridiculous amounts of money for no reason?  Where's our new chicken little? I'm bored with the old one
 
2013-03-27 08:46:48 AM
It uses potassium benzoate....
 
2013-03-27 08:47:46 AM
What would happen if it escaped the lab, can it convert CO2 from ambient air? I'm thinking that would be bad. Not enough details in TFA, but it sound like it needs a source of Hydrogen too... you could get that from electrolysis of water from solar power in the final process.
 
2013-03-27 08:49:36 AM

Ohlookabutterfly: ... and I bet Al Gore has controlling stock in the company that made this "discovery".
 
 Can we please let this pant-load of lies and hysteria fade into obscurity and come up with a new one to be afraid of and cost us ridiculous amounts of money for no reason?  Where's our new chicken little? I'm bored with the old one


you sound pissed.

Do you deny that the Earth isn't getting warmer and weather patterns are, in turn, getting more chaotic? Do you deny that this has been occurring faster than geological records indicate it has happened in the past? Are you telling us that you don't believe that humans being incredibly industrial hasn't, maybe, accelerated the process of changing the climate?

answer me those in a well-reasoned way, and I'll take your argument seriously.
 
2013-03-27 09:19:44 AM

somedude210: Ohlookabutterfly: ... and I bet Al Gore has controlling stock in the company that made this "discovery".
 
 Can we please let this pant-load of lies and hysteria fade into obscurity and come up with a new one to be afraid of and cost us ridiculous amounts of money for no reason?  Where's our new chicken little? I'm bored with the old one

you sound pissed.

Do you deny that the Earth isn't getting warmer and weather patterns are, in turn, getting more chaotic? Do you deny that this has been occurring faster than geological records indicate it has happened in the past? Are you telling us that you don't believe that humans being incredibly industrial hasn't, maybe, accelerated the process of changing the climate?

answer me those in a well-reasoned way, and I'll take your argument seriously.


 Um, no. I don't have to answer anything. I'm not the one trying to ram my beliefs down YOUR throat. I don't care if you take me seriously or not, because I sure as hell don't care what any of you have to say anymore. I just want you all to shut the hell up and go do something useful with your energies.
  Do you deny there are better things you could be doing that would benefit people now, like volunteering at a homeless shelter or start a food drive for a food bank? You know, real problems.
 
2013-03-27 09:31:50 AM

Ohlookabutterfly: Do you deny there are better things you could be doing that would benefit people now, like volunteering at a homeless shelter or start a food drive for a food bank? You know, real problems.


no, but those homeless shelters tend to overflow whenever a major natural disaster strikes, which is becoming more frequent, especially along the coasts now that ocean temperatures are rising, creating and feeding more powerful hurricanes that can stay strong for longer distances.

This isn't religion, there are no beliefs, there's science to back this. But you're right, you don't have to answer anything. But failing to acknowledge reality or outright denying the existence of scientific evidence saying that there has been a massive rise in atmospheric temperature since the Industrial revolution, that is unlike anything in a similar timeframe in Earth's history is just being ignorant.
 
2013-03-27 09:31:51 AM
I have nothing against bacteria based bio fuels, but this is really just an inefficient form of solar.
 
2013-03-27 09:31:58 AM
All it requires to create those chemicals is carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and some hydrogen gas.

Um... I know you are required by law to twist any interesting scientific discovery or engineering achievement around repeatedly until you can make some stupid, tenuous connection between it and global warming, but I feel obligated to point out that most Hydrogen used for science and industry is made by the syngas process, which, um... involves oxidizing Methane (i.e. a fossil fuel) into CO2 for each four molecules of H2 produced.

So... no.  This isn't "a solution to global warming", it's just an interesting way to process organic materials in the future.  Which, again, still awesome, it just has nothing to do with your premise.

KarmicDisaster: What would happen if it escaped the lab, can it convert CO2 from ambient air? I'm thinking that would be bad. Not enough details in TFA, but it sound like it needs a source of Hydrogen too... you could get that from electrolysis of water from solar power in the final process.


The atmospheric content of H2 at our level (sea-level to a few thousand feet) is negligible and cellular life can't do electrolysis.  Biologically-produced hydrogen is produced by an analogue of the syn-gas process for the most part, you have to feed your whatever sugars and produce CO2 as well.  So, similar answer to the above, this doesn't really have much to do with CO2 reprocessing in a manner useful to addressing bulk emissions.  It's more a nanotech thing.

//I know the claims are of carbon-neutral fuel at the end of TFA, but without accounting for their H2 source that's more "arbitrary optimism" than any kind of serious claim.
 
2013-03-27 09:36:30 AM
If only there was some sort of commonly-found organism that absorbs CO2 and releases O2. Even better if it was solar powered.
 
2013-03-27 09:44:05 AM

Son of Thunder: If only there was some sort of commonly-found organism that absorbs CO2 and releases O2. Even better if it was solar powered.


Oh oh! I know this one! It's people, right?!?

No wait... that's not quite right... it has to be solar-powered, so definitely not people (we're cheeto-powered).

OH! It's whales!! That's why they have to come to the surface every now and then, to get their solar energy. I didn't know whales absorbed CO2 and released O2 though. That's pretty awesome!
 
2013-03-27 10:06:31 AM
somedude210:
Do you deny that the Earth isn't getting warmer

No - the Earth has definitely gotten slightly warmer over the last 100 years, due to a combination of natural (mostly) and human (slightly) influence. That warming has effectively stopped over the last decade or so, though, which is contrary to all predictions in AGW theory.

and weather patterns are, in turn, getting more chaotic?

Nobody has found any actual evidence of this claim. No increase in hurricanes, severe weather, et cetera. For that matter, it seems like some events have gotten less common (like droughts).

Do you deny that this has been occurring faster than geological records indicate it has happened in the past?

Yes. The folks who claim it's happening faster than previous warming episodes compare modern direct observations to recreations from things like ice cores, which have a tendency to "smear" temperature changes. They compare thousand-year periods to decade-long periods, and see more temperature "noise" in the short-term graphs.

Are you telling us that you don't believe that humans being incredibly industrial hasn't, maybe, accelerated the process of changing the climate?

It has - a very small amount. Not enough to worry about, despite the frantic claims of people who point to their proven-inaccurate computer model predictions.

Here's a counter-question for you: do you believe in the predictions of global warming - even though the observed warming is nearly 0.2 degree C below their most-probable-case prediction?

They had three different prediction tracks - one with an accelerating increase in CO2 emissions, one with a linear increase in CO2 emissions, and one with a slowing increase. The current observed temps are at the bottom edge of the "lower CO2 through drastic cuts" prediction - even though CO2 increase has accelerated. In any other scientific field, this would go into the "that theory is broken" category, but the warmists still believe.
 
2013-03-27 10:45:45 AM

cirby: No - the Earth has definitely gotten slightly warmer over the last 100 years, due to a combination of natural (mostly) and human (slightly) influence. That warming has effectively stopped over the last decade or so, though, which is contrary to all predictions in AGW theory.


What? You understand that global temps have risen steadily over the last 50 years by a degree or more per year.

cirby: Nobody has found any actual evidence of this claim. No increase in hurricanes, severe weather, et cetera. For that matter, it seems like some events have gotten less common (like droughts).


The mid-west would like to have a word with you. And yes, we have been having an increase in more severe weather. Looking at hurricanes alone, since keeping records of them, we've had a significant increase of Category 2+ making landfall. Hell, from the 1940s-2004, we've had 23 Cat2s, 32 Cat3s, 7 Cat4s and 2 Cat5s. That's a shiatload of storms. At least half of the most damaging storms (in terms of financial amount of damage) came from the last 20 years. We're facing more frequent, intense storms and it coincides with our industrial push from the 1800s.

cirby: Yes. The folks who claim it's happening faster than previous warming episodes compare modern direct observations to recreations from things like ice cores, which have a tendency to "smear" temperature changes. They compare thousand-year periods to decade-long periods, and see more temperature "noise" in the short-term graphs.


if you are having similar weather trends to two time periods and one of them is in a smaller time span, then something is horribly wrong with the weather, if it's causing decades long weather fluctuation in a fraction of the time.

cirby: It has - a very small amount. Not enough to worry about, despite the frantic claims of people who point to their proven-inaccurate computer model predictions.

Here's a counter-question for you: do you believe in the predictions of global warming - even though the observed warming is nearly 0.2 degree C below their most-probable-case prediction?

They had three different prediction tracks - one with an accelerating increase in CO2 emissions, one with a linear increase in CO2 emissions, and one with a slowing increase. The current observed temps are at the bottom edge of the "lower CO2 through drastic cuts" prediction - even though CO2 increase has accelerated. In any other scientific field, this would go into the "that theory is broken" category, but the warmists still believe.


a .2 degree change is still enough to cause significant changes in weather.

Considering that China, India and other Asian countries are ramping up industry, I'm not terribly shocked at all the CO2 emissions have increased. Btw, when you say "accelerating increase" do you mean an exponential increase curve or are we talking a linear line that's just going at an increased rate of change?
 
2013-03-27 10:52:02 AM

Grither: OH! It's whales!! That's why they have to come to the surface every now and then, to get their solar energy. I didn't know whales absorbed CO2 and released O2 though. That's pretty awesome!


They don't do it directly, but whale poop provides essential nutrients (such as iron) to phytoplankton which do absorb CO2.
 
2013-03-27 11:38:51 AM

Son of Thunder: If only there was some sort of commonly-found organism that absorbs CO2 and releases O2. Even better if it was solar powered.



It wood be even cooler if it could beused as a fuel source or a building material.
 
2013-03-27 12:04:26 PM
somedude210: cirby: No - the Earth has definitely gotten slightly warmer over the last 100 years, due to a combination of natural (mostly) and human (slightly) influence. That warming has effectively stopped over the last decade or so, though, which is contrary to all predictions in AGW theory.
 
What? You understand that global temps have risen steadily over the last 50 years by a degree or more per year.

cirby: Nobody has found any actual evidence of this claim. No increase in hurricanes, severe weather, et cetera. For that matter, it seems like some events have gotten less common (like droughts).

The mid-west would like to have a word with you. And yes, we have been having an increase in more severe weather. Looking at hurricanes alone, since keeping records of them, we've had a significant increase of Category 2+ making landfall. Hell, from the 1940s-2004, we've had 23 Cat2s, 32 Cat3s, 7 Cat4s and 2 Cat5s. That's a shiatload of storms. At least half of the most damaging storms (in terms of financial amount of damage) came from the last 20 years. We're facing more frequent, intense storms and it coincides with our industrial push from the 1800s.

cirby: Yes. The folks who claim it's happening faster than previous warming episodes compare modern direct observations to recreations from things like ice cores, which have a tendency to "smear" temperature changes. They compare thousand-year periods to decade-long periods, and see more temperature "noise" in the short-term graphs.

if you are having similar weather trends to two time periods and one of them is in a smaller time span, then something is horribly wrong with the weather, if it's causing decades long weather fluctuation in a fraction of the time.

cirby: It has - a very small amount. Not enough to worry about, despite the frantic claims of people who point to their proven-inaccurate computer model predictions.

Here's a counter-question for you: do you believe in the predictions of global warming - even though the obse ...


 and this is why you can't have a logical discussion with someone who has never once been wrong in their entire life,  sigh.
 
2013-03-27 12:58:45 PM

somedude210: The mid-west would like to have a word with you. And yes, we have been having an increase in more severe weather. Looking at hurricanes alone, since keeping records of them, we've had a significant increase of Category 2+ making landfall. Hell, from the 1940s-2004, we've had 23 Cat2s, 32 Cat3s, 7 Cat4s and 2 Cat5s. That's a shiatload of storms. At least half of the most damaging storms (in terms of financial amount of damage) came from the last 20 years. We're facing more frequent, intense storms and it coincides with our industrial push from the 1800s.


Not to be a denialist, but this argument is spurious. Of course the most damaging storms have been the most recent. As we develop our cities more and the population grows, there is more stuff for the storms to break. Also, how do you compare the amount and severity of storms in the modern era, which we can quantify in all kinds of ways, to those from the pre-electronic times, when just about the best you could get was only a barometric reading?

Use better arguments please.
 
2013-03-27 01:28:31 PM
not really as revolutionary as the headline suggests, but still a step in the right direction.  If we could get a bacteria or plant form to take sunlight and convert it into hydrocarbon chemical bonds at room temperature (in this case the requirement of 73 C amounts to an efficiency loss), it would pay great dividends in that we would not have to rapidly modify our existing infrastructure once fossil fuels (which are very much a finite resource) run out.  Olefins would be nice, as they have the added bonus of being the raw material for making many polymers.  (I think many people fail to realize that that most of the plastics that are used in durable materials come from fossil fuels...)

in principle we have been doing this for centuries when we ferment sugars into ethanol, we just need to either a) add an extra step to go from ethanol to the paraffins/olefins/etc that make up fossil fuels.  or b) genetically modify bacteria/plants to convert sunlight or sugars directly to fossil fuel hydrocarbons.  We still are limited by the energy flux by the sun and will need great efficiency increases to become self sustaining even with this model.  The biomass that created our existing cache of fossil fuels was the result of millions (?) of years of sunlight being converted to sugar and stored in organisms (which is a thermodynamic way of looking at AGW - we are digging up millions of years of sunlight stored in chemical bonds and breaking those bonds over the span of centuries, releasing some portion of that energy to the surroundings in the form of CO2)
 
2013-03-27 01:35:54 PM
except when we consume too much CO2 and the world goes into a food crisis.

fertilizer boosted crops use 3x more CO2
 
2013-03-27 04:00:20 PM
somedude210:
What? You understand that global temps have risen steadily over the last 50 years by a degree or more per year.

I'm   really hoping you mis-spoke or were exaggerating as it were, and aren't this foolish because there is no way in hell the average summertemperature where I live was in the 30'sin 1962.
 
2013-03-27 04:02:06 PM
Wow, even though I fixed the spacing issues with my last post on preview it's still all screwy.
 
2013-03-27 05:09:56 PM

Ohlookabutterfly: and this is why you can't have a logical discussion with someone who has never once been wrong in their entire life, sigh.


Were you trying to pass that off as legitimate criticism or was that a rare moment of self reflection?

If the former, I'd venture that your professed ignorance of the issue and gut feeling that nothing is wrong won't find too much purchase in a logical argument.
If the latter, congratulations. You've taken your first step in recovering from derp.
 
2013-03-27 06:43:34 PM
Oh look, a piss-poor troll.

Or a highly-excitable, annoying newbie. My advice: LURK MOAR. It's never enough.
 
2013-03-30 01:02:54 PM

theorellior: Oh look, a piss-poor troll.

Or a highly-excitable, annoying newbie. My advice: LURK MOAR. It's never enough.


So, he's definitely either a troll or not a troll. Well, that's good to know.
 
2013-03-30 01:20:23 PM

somedude210: Do you deny that the Earth isn't getting warmer


Assuming the double negative is in error, I am sceptical that we can call the last 15 years of slowly falling temps a "rise" and I do think 15 years is long enough not to be a "freak" occurrence. Climate alarmists have suggested explanations for this that preserve their central AGW thesis, but none have been verified by experiment, and none were folded into the models *before* the warming stopped, even though back then (late 1990s) they were already claiming "the science is settled".

and weather patterns are, in turn, getting more chaotic?

I am sceptical about such claims. There is evidence of people exaggerating current-year data while toning down past data. Also, a lot of cherry picking goes on, some unintentionally since it's so easy to do. People have been inventing religion based on weather phenomena for a very long time - we must be careful to ensure we are being properly rigorous.

Do you deny that this has been occurring faster than geological records indicate it has happened in the past?

You've been tricked. Alarmist pseudoscientists smooth the historical data (this is normally done to expose underlying trends) and then take that smoothed data and conclude the system itself was smooth over time, i.e. no short and sharp changes as was seen 1978-1998. You could look at the raw data - if you could get your hands on it.

Are you telling us that you don't believe that humans being incredibly industrial

Very much a value judgement. Plants still have a much bigger effect on climate than humans do. Doubly incredible!

hasn't, maybe, accelerated the process of changing the climate?

Don't bother asking people to confirm/deny a vague "maybe". It's a nasty cheap debating trick. I am sceptical about certain specific claims made by certain prominent warmists along those lines.
 
2013-03-30 01:29:43 PM

somedude210: cirby: No - the Earth has definitely gotten slightly warmer over the last 100 years, due to a combination of natural (mostly) and human (slightly) influence. That warming has effectively stopped over the last decade or so, though, which is contrary to all predictions in AGW theory.

What? You understand that global temps have risen steadily over the last 50 years by a degree or more per year.


Ah, I see. You're an idiot. And a fat one too, judging by your profile.
 
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