Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Wood, the local tip and climate change

19.09.2005


How long does paper last?



A young Sydney researcher has been digging up landfill sites, and has shown that burying wood products, such as floor boards and furniture, can effectively prevent them from contributing to global warming.

The work shows that timber can be a greenhouse friendly material, if the products are properly disposed of at the end of their life.


For the past five years, Fabiano Ximenes and colleagues from the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting have been following what happens to carbon when the wood in trees is harvested, milled, used in products, and then discarded at the end of its service life.

Fabiano is one of 13 early-career researchers who have presented their work to the public and media for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a national program. One of the Fresh Scientists will win a trip to the UK courtesy of the British Council to present his or her work to the Royal Institution.

To complete their study, they had to retrieve a wide variety of wood products buried in landfill for up to 46 years.

They then analysed them to check how much carbon was stored and how much released to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas.

They found that carbon is stored in wood products for much longer than previously thought. “We found magazine articles that we could still read clearly. Many of the wood products were still in very sound condition,” Ximenes says.

Australians dump about 4.5 million tonnes of wood and paper products in landfill each year. Greenhouse gas emissions from the decay of this material had previously been estimated as equivalent to 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year—about the same as the combined emissions from all the aircraft and trains in Australia.

“But we found that a maximum of only 3.5 per cent of the carbon originally in the wood had been lost through decomposition to carbon dioxide and methane."

"Previous estimates assumed decomposition rates of between 20 and 25 per cent based on experiments conducted in the laboratory under optimised conditions, which are clearly very different from actual landfill.”

The data gathered by the dump diggers is being used by the Australian Greenhouse Office, and has generated scientific and industry interest in Australia and abroad.

Fabiano Ximenes is an employee of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and worked with DPI researchers on this project. The research was funded by the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting, in which NSW DPI is a partner.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:
http://www.scienceinpublic.com/sciencenow/2005/fabianoxiemenes/fabianoxiemenes.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>