Carbon Reducing Technologies

Michael E. Kirst

May 12, 2022

 

 

According to Michael E. Kirst, as the world struggles with climate change, the development of new carbon reducing technologies is essential for our planet. These include CCS, LED lighting, High-performance windows, and advanced nuclear reactors. But which ones are right for our planet? Here are five of the most promising options:

 

CCS

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a crucial methodology for reducing emissions of CO2 and preventing global warming. The technology has been shown to prevent 90 percent of CO2 emissions from stationary energy sources. Three major technological routes are used to capture CO2: postcombustion, precombustion, and oxyfuel. These processes use different types of solvents to absorb CO2 and store it in the form of liquid or gas.

CCS can be carried out by injecting the gas into deep rock formations, such as mineralcarbonates or saline aquifers. It can also be stored in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. However, to achieve the desired level of security, storage must be one kilometer under the ground. One such project, Zero Carbon Humber, is currently underway in the southern North Sea. The project uses the Endurance aquifer, 1.6 km below the seabed. This site could store huge amounts of CO2 if the process is successful.

LED lighting

One of the simplest energy-efficiency improvements a homeowner can make is replacing incandescent bulbs with LEDs. Although this switch is expensive, LEDs are a welcome change, saving homeowners money on utility bills and the environment. LED light bulbs produce less heat during operation, converting 95 percent of their energy into light. This makes LEDs superior to incandescent bulbs and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs). However, they do have a higher negative environmental impact than CFLs and incandescent bulbs. However, scientists are confident that LED lighting will be available on the market in four to five years.

Since lighting is responsible for nearly 5% of global CO2 emissions, a worldwide switch to energy-efficient LED technology would save nearly 1,400 million tons of CO2 every year. This is the equivalent of avoiding the construction of more than 1,250 power plants. As the world’s middle class grows, the urgency for effective climate action is greater than ever. The carbon footprint of lighting is rising, and a global switch to LEDs can reduce that impact by 50 to seventy percent.

High-performance windows

Michael E. Kirst explained that, compared to conventional windows, high-performance windows reduce the amount of heat that escapes from a building. The technology used in such windows includes low-emissivity glass, tinted glass, and vacuum glazing. These technologies help reduce heat loss from buildings and contribute to reduced global carbon emissions. CRH plc estimates that high-performance windows can save up to $10.8 trillion in energy costs over the life of a building.

Inefficient windows account for nearly a tenth of building energy use. Although windows are a critical component in reducing energy consumption, they are a weak link in building energy efficiency. The vast majority of buildings use single-pane windows that are poorly insulated. The loss of heat through windows accounts for around $40 billion in energy costs each year and contributes to approximately 13 percent of building emissions. As a result, implementing high-performance windows is crucial to curbing global greenhouse gas emissions.

Advanced nuclear reactors

The United States is unlikely to build new large LWRs in the near future, and advanced reactor designs will not be commercially viable in the United States within a few decades. However, factory-manufactured SMRs could contribute a meaningful new nuclear carbon-free wedge to the energy mix. But generating such power would require hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies, and this is unlikely to happen unless competitive energy markets force it to happen.

In addition to Michael E. Kirst as the Nuclear Regulatory Commission prepares to license advanced reactors, it should streamline the licensing process and avoid introducing unnecessary layers of regulation. Regulatory reforms are necessary to speed the development of advanced reactors, but it’s crucial that they are done properly and in the right size. The NRC should modernize its process, rather than introducing layers of regulations that hinder the development of new technologies. And Congress should support its modernization efforts through ANIA.

 

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Energy storage technologies

These carbon reducing technologies can be installed in a wide range of scenarios. Because of their low capital cost, DCAES and PHS are typically deployed in more scenarios. These technologies can also be deployed in off-grid utility-scale facilities. These technologies have the potential to balance the intermittency of major renewable energy sources. In addition, they act as shock absorbers by matching electrical demand with clean power generation capacity.

The federal government regulates energy markets, and this regulation applies to utility-scale storage systems. The commission has proposed a rule allowing utilities to sell the electricity that they store and sell. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council, a nonprofit group that promotes renewable energy, says utilities should be able to make money from batteries that store excess energy. It is important to note that energy storage technologies are not yet widely deployed in the U.S. but some countries and states are producing more renewable energy than their grid can handle. Unfortunately, some of this excess energy will never be used, and is lost forever.