Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Scientists Use Crowd-Sourcing to Help Map Global CO2 Emissions

Climate science researchers from Arizona State University are launching a first-of-its-kind online “game” to better understand the sources of global warming gases. By engaging “citizen scientists,” the researchers hope to locate all the power plants around the world and quantify their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The game officially begins today and is housed on a website called “Ventus.” Ventus (the Latin word for wind) has a simple interface in which users enter basic information about the world’s power plants. By playing the game, people around the globe can help solve the climate change problem.

Kevin Gurney, an associate professor with ASU’s School of Life Sciences in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and lead scientist for the project, estimates there are as many as 30,000 power plants around the world burning fossil fuels. While a list of those facilities (created by the Center for Global Development) does exist, scientifically accurate information the researchers need to map each power plant’s location and carbon dioxide emissions – does not.

“Of all the fossil fuel CO2 emissions in the world, power plants account for almost half – so a pretty big portion of the climate change problem is due to the production of electricity everywhere in the world,” said Gurney, also a senior sustainability scientist with ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability. “While you might imagine that we would know where they are and how much they’re emitting, it turns out we don’t. With the growth in countries such as China, India and Brazil, this lack of information poses challenges for both basic science and climate change solutions.”

"The Ventus project will empower citizen scientists with a simple tool that can truly make a difference in solving a significant climate change problem,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “With more accurate scientific information on every power plant in the world, international leaders in political and scientific fields can work together more effectively to address carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”

Players who know the amount of CO2 emissions from a specific power plant have valuable information to use in the game. Additionally, Gurney and his team need three other pieces of information: the location of the facility (within a few hundred meters); the fuel used; and the amount of electricity produced. Players may enter all, or only a portion of the information. Researchers have started the process by entering approximately 25,000 power plants onto the map so people can see what already exists in the Ventus database.

“Ventus uses a Google Earth map which allows someone playing the game to drop pins on the power plants,” explained Darragh O’Keefe, the ASU research scientist who built the website. “Our logic is that for every power plant in the world, there are probably at least a dozen people who live near it, work at it, or know someone who works at it. With the proliferation of phones and GPS, it makes it pretty easy to locate things.” In addition, the Ventus website will be translated into several other languages to help facilitate worldwide participation.

Players will be free to look at all the data researchers currently have from many power plants around the world. Then, players can adjust that information or make edits to their previous entries. The game does not require registration to play, however, Gurney and his team will choose a winner who, at the end of the first year, has provided the greatest amount of usable information. To be considered for the competition, players must register.

While crowd sourcing a problem such as this one is unusual in the science community, Gurney’s team believes this innovative effort might work to solve a fairly profound problem. And, Gurney believes that most people around the world care about what happens to our environment.

“Through Ventus, people around the world can play an active role in helping to solve the climate change problem,” Gurney said. “We hope to gather a global team of people who want to make a difference – and do so, right now. The information we gather from Ventus can ultimately help determine what we as a society can do locally and globally about climate change.”

Gurney is also affiliated with the School of Geographical Sciences & Urban Planning. The Ventus project is funded by a National Science Foundation CAREER award.

Connect with Ventus:; Facebook:; Twitter: @ventus_project; Pinterest:

Sandra Leander | Newswise
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

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

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

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: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Advanced analysis of brain structure shape may track progression to Alzheimer's disease

26.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

More VideoLinks >>>