Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ORNL researchers focus on the CO2 big picture

23.04.2004


Spring’s lush green lawns and hot pink shoes contribute at least in a small way to the world’s total carbon picture, say researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.



Indeed, the latest fashions on Fifth Avenue and fertilizers that help homeowners achieve that "barefoot" lawn have their associated carbon dioxide costs, and ORNL’s Gregg Marland and Tristram West keep up with them. Their task is to track the total carbon produced worldwide and estimate how much is taken up and cycled through trees, plants, soil and goods produced from these resources. The overall goal is to determine the net impact that people and their activities have on our planet.

"Energy use is embodied in everything that we use and buy," Marland said. "And just because you may not be burning the fossil fuel yourself, don’t kid yourself into thinking that someone isn’t burning it on your behalf."


Each person’s annual share of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States is 5.4 metric tons, or nearly 12,000 pounds. One-third of those emissions is from power generation, another third is from internal combustion-powered vehicles, and the remaining third is from other sources, including fossil fuels used in factories, office buildings, homes and for daily activities like lawn mowing.

Carbon dioxide, considered a greenhouse gas, is increasing in the atmosphere each year and is thought to be a major factor in climate change.

"From producing the latest in shoes to building cars and home improvement products, it all requires electricity and power plants to generate that electricity," Marland said. "So staying in fashion can actually be costly to the environment because people are constantly replacing perfectly good clothing, shoes, furniture and home accessories with the latest styles."

A recent analysis by West shows that nearly 22,000 manufacturers in the textile and apparel industry emitted about 12 million tons of CO2 in 1998. And West noted that this number doesn’t include the energy and emissions associated with the nearly 19 billion square meters of garments imported to the U.S. each year.

Looking at lawns, West noted that there are a number of associated costs to the environment, ranging from mining lime and manufacturing fertilizer to the greenhouse gases emitted from fertilized lawns. And grass that grows faster needs to be mowed more frequently, which further increases CO2 emissions.

Putting this into further perspective, fertilizing one acre of lawn at the recommended rate of 137 pounds per acre results in 405 pounds of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions from the production, transportation and application of the fertilizer. This includes CO2 and N2O emissions, which are both reported in units of CO2.

These emissions are equivalent to the amount of CO2 released from an average family sedan driven about 440 miles. But residential use of fertilizer accounts for just a fraction of the more than 11 million tons of nitrogen fertilizer used in 2002 in the U.S. The majority of fertilizer is used in agriculture, and West noted that their research focuses primarily on management of agricultural lands.

"A change in agricultural practice can increase carbon sequestration in agricultural soils," West said. "To know the net effect on greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere, however, we consider associated changes in CO2 emissions resulting from the consumption of fossil fuels, emissions of other greenhouse gases and effects on land productivity and crop yield."

Marland, West and Bernhard Schlamadinger of the Institute of Energy Research in Austria study these impacts using a model they developed called the Graz/Oak Ridge Carbon Accounting Model. It allows them to evaluate the net flux of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere for various forest management and agricultural alternatives.

ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy.

Ron Walli | ORNL
Further information:
http://www.ornl.gov/info/press_releases/get_press_release.cfm?ReleaseNumber=mr20040422-00

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Factory networks energy, buildings and production
12.07.2018 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

nachricht Manipulating single atoms with an electron beam
10.07.2018 | University of Vienna

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nano-kirigami: 'Paper-cut' provides model for 3D intelligent nanofabrication

16.07.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

New players, standardization and digitalization for more rail freight transport

16.07.2018 | Transportation and Logistics

Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide

16.07.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>