Tag Archive for: Air Pollution

From the foundations of Rome to global carbon emissions reduction

Does the solution for over 5% of world CO2 emissions lie in the 2000-year-old concrete-making technology from ancient Rome?

Concrete is the second most consumed substance on Earth after water.  Overall, humanity produces more than 10 billion tons (about 4 billion cubic meters) of concrete and cement per year.  That’s about 1.3 tons for every person on the planet— more than any other material, including oil and coal.  The consumption of concrete exceeds that of all other construction materials combined. The process of making modern cement and concrete has a heavy environmental penalty, being responsible for roughly 5% of global emissions of CO2.

Scientists explain ancient Rome’s long-lasting concrete

So could the greater understanding of the ancient Roman concrete mixture lead to greener building materials? That is what scientists may have discovered and published in a 2017 study, led by Marie Jackson of the University of Utah.  Their study uncovered the Roman secrets for formulating some of the most long-lasting concrete yet discovered.  Our ability to unlock the secrets of ancient concrete formulas is dependent upon interdisciplinary analytical approaches utilized by the Jackson heat group and could lead to further discoveries that would reduce cement-based carbon emissions.

Unlike the modern concrete mixture which erodes over time, the Roman concrete-like substance seemed to gain strength, particularly from exposure to sea water.  And most importantly, the process generates fewer CO2 emissions and uses less energy and water than “modern”, Portland cement-based concrete.

[sc_icon icon=”chevron-right” shape=”circle” color=”#52a6ea” size=”small” link_target=”_self”] Read the full article here.

EPA plans to regulate carbon emissions from aircraft

The US Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced plans to limit carbon emissions from aircraft.

The EPA issued a final scientific assessment that concluded that carbon emissions from aircraft endanger public health and welfare, a legal prerequisite the agency must take before regulating those emissions.

EPA officials said last year when first proposing the aircraft scientific assessment that any regulation would be implemented in coordination with the International Civil Aviation Organization, a branch of the United Nations, which is drafting a global standard for airline carbon emissions.

Emissions from aircraft represent about 2% of total global carbon emissions, and the U.S. is the largest contributor to global aviation greenhouse gasses, according to federal data. The EPA said aircraft are the third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. transportation sector, accounting for about 3% of such emissions in the country.

EPA has already set effective GHG standards for cars and trucks. EPA anticipates moving forward on standards that would be at least as stringent as ICAO’s standards.

Military and small piston-engine planes often used for recreational purposes would be exempt from the new regulation. Excluding these two categories, the EPA’s scientific finding applies to 89% of all U.S. aircraft carbon emissions.

Airlines for America, the trade association representing U.S. airlines and air cargo carriers, said it commends the EPA’s action because it is working within the coming international framework.

In 2009 the International Air Transport Association, a global trade group, agreed to achieve carbon-neutral growth by 2020, meaning any future growth in air travel wouldn’t produce a net increase in carbon emissions.

Then, from 2020 through 2050, the industry aims to reduce its 2005 emission levels by half, largely through the use of sustainable fuels. The effort to use sustainable fuels has already started, and manufacturers and airlines support of alternative fuels is high.

Carbon management.

EPA to regulate aircraft emissions.

To that end, the US biofuels leader, Amyris, Inc. and oil company Total have partnered to develop an alternative aviation jet fuel made with a sustainably-sourced hydrocarbon using Amyris’s proprietary synthetic biology platform. In 2014, Amyris received industry acceptance and regulatory approval for renewable jet fuel in key U.S., European and Brazilian markets. The New York Times writes that Amyris renewable jet fuel “holds the elusive promise of better energy security, reduced carbon emissions, and lower fuel costs. Amyris’ jet fuel can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent compared with petroleum fuels, when compared unmixed to petroleum fuels on a one-to-one basis, according to Amyris. Renewable fuels like Amyris farnesane ‘would help reduce the carbon footprint of commercial aviation,’ the Federal Aviation Administration said.”

Amyris announced that, on May 29, 2016, Cathay Pacific commenced a two-year program of flights from Toulouse to Hong Kong using Amyris renewable jet fuel.  The initial 12-hour flight was the longest flight using a renewable jet fuel to date, further underpinning the ‘drop-in’ characteristics of Amyris Biojet fuels. Cathay took delivery of a new Airbus A350-900 that flew from the Airbus facility in Toulouse, France, to Hong Kong using a 10% biofuel jet blend provided by Amyris with the commercial and industrial support of Total S.A. The combination of the new airplane’s improvements in fuel efficiency (about 25% better than current aircraft) and the fuel’s properties resulted in an estimated 30% reduction in CO2 emissions according to Cathay when compared to comparable flights in recent-generation aircraft using fossil fuels.

California’s Cap-and-Trade Program Gains Confidence

At last month’s carbon allowance auction, the fourth ever held, the California cap-and-trade program reached an important milestone. The auction of “current year allowances”, or permits that companies can use for this year’s carbon pollution, have sold out at every auction thus far- but this was the first time the auction completely sold out of its permits for future carbon pollution, for the year 2016 to be exact.

California sold almost 10 million future year permits at a clearing price of $11.10 per allowance, and almost 14 million current year permits at a clearing price of $12.22 per allowance. Never before has there been this great of a demand for future permits. Most believe this surge in interest reflects a growing confidence in California’s cap-and-trade program, and increasing recognition by state businesses that this program is here to stay.

The cap-and-trade program, that took effect in 2012, was enacted to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced in California that cause climate change. The programs intention is to aid California in meeting its goal of reducing GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and overall accomplishing an 80 percent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.

The recent carbon auction is a small achievement toward reaching this long-term goal. Locus fully supports these efforts; we were one of the first accredited verification bodies for greenhouse gas emissions, and our staff have also been certified as carbon offset verifiers under the California Air Resources Board. From our years of experience reporting greenhouse gases, Locus knows that participants in the cap-and-trade program have many options available to them in how they calculate and report their GHG data, and it is our personal goal to help them choose the best methods, through our technical experts or by using Locus’ cloud-based GHG software.

EPA Updates Rules to Reduce Air Pollution from Stationary Engines

Starting off the year of air with a bang, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently finalized revisions to standards to reduce air pollution. Specifically, pollution from stationary engines that generate electricity, and power equipment at industrial, agricultural, oil and gas production, power generation and other facilities.

These revisions were made to the 2010 “National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Reciprocating Internal Combustion Engines (RICE)” rules. The updated rule will reduce the capital and annual costs of the original rules by hundreds of millions of dollars, and also reduce air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds by thousands of tons.

This is extremely important because the pollution emitted from these engines can cause serious health defects. The updates were meant to make the standards both reachable and cost-effective while reducing emissions, and the EPA estimates the updated standards will be worth $830 million to $2.1 billion in annual health benefits.

Saluting 2013, the Year of Air

In the past few years the focus has been on energy and water, and now in 2013 it will be on clean air. Being recognized predominantly in Europe, the ‘Year of Air’ will shine the spotlight on air pollution and emissions: an area where some progress has been made, but also where an immense problem still exists.

With air pollution being the main cause behind debilitating lung conditions, and even death, it is imperative that we take the necessary steps in order to improve our air quality. After all, it is mostly a result of human activities and man-made apparatus. The mission behind the year of air is for there to be a general focus on understanding the health effects of air pollution, its main causes, and what can be done to cut back on pollution and improve the quality of our air.

One necessary step in supporting this focus on clean air is for organizations to properly manage their emission inventory. Especially in 2013, companies must do their part to ensure they stay in compliance with regulations, and show they are not negatively affecting air quality. Locus’ Air and Greenhouse Gases module within ePortal software assists companies in managing emission inventory and permit compliance programs. Users are able to easily collect, calculate, compare, and report on their emissions data all in one centralized system.

EPA Makes Public Fracking Rules, Delays Compliance Until 2015–New Rules Deal With Emissions, Not Drinking Water

Companies using hydraulic fracturing technique will have until 2015 to comply with new rules designed to reduce air pollution. The Environmental Protection Agency released today long-awaited rules on hydraulic fracturing, in one of its first efforts to regulate the widely used technique of extracting oil and natural gas. There was no mention about groundwater protection.

The rules, first proposed in July 2011, would require drillers to capture the emissions resulting from drilling the wells. The oil and gas industry representatives last week told the EPA that controls on wells that have low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from drilling-related emissions won’t be cost-effective. American Petroleum Institute (API) opposed the rule and suggested that it should only apply only to wells whose gas stream is at least 10-percent volatile organic compounds.

“By ensuring the capture of gases that were previously released to pollute our air and threaten our climate, these updated standards will not only protect our health, but also lead to more product for fuel suppliers to bring to market,” EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said in a statement.

After All, EPA to Regulate Climate Change via The Clean Air Act

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to make final new air-pollution standards for coal-fired power plants by mid-December, sparking disagreement among power companies about how quickly aging coal plants need to be pushed offline.

The EPA wants to give coal-fired plants three years to comply with the new standards—either by shutting down or going through expensive retrofits—with the possibility of a one-year extension.

The maintenance of baseload power is likely to be appropriate in many locations, meaning some coal fired and natural gas fired plants will not be de-commissioned. However, the likelihood of investors preferring the lower costs of green energy will mean that they will replace most sources.

The new rules will make some coal powered plants to shut down as it will not be economical to retrofit them. They will most likely be replaced by the new plants powered by natural gas. Renewables will pick some slack, but that is negligible in the big scheme of things. Unfortunately, US nuclear industry is still not ready to come back. We will probably wait another 10 years, and at that time probably buy nukes from Chinese who will perfect new technology and get experience building AP1000 reactors (AP1000® pressurized water reactor or PWR. It is the only Generation III+ reactor to receive Design Certification from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)) long before we put one on the drawing board permitting process.

But in summary, EPA is moving to regulate climate change via The Clean Air Act, and because of the coal power plants shut down we may very well meet the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill–aka the American Clean Energy and Security Act, ACES, H.R. 2454. The bill would put a cap on emissions of greenhouse gases, and would require high-emitting industries to reduce their output to specific targets between now and the middle of the century. The bill covers 85 percent of the overall economy, including electricity producers, oil refineries, natural gas suppliers, and energy-intensive industries like iron, steel, cement, and paper manufacturers. Emission cuts would start in 2012 and EPA is right on track.

The goals for U.S. emission reductions, below 2005 levels are 3 percent cut by 2012; 17 percent cut by 2020; 42 percent cut by 2030; more than 80 percent cut by 2050. We may achieve 2020 goals with retrofitting and shutdowns of coal powered plants and slowing economy. We will not meet other goals without injecting nuclear power.

Tag Archive for: Air Pollution

Locus Technologies introduces new calculation engine for GHG emissions inventories

The Locus GHG calculation engine is fully integrated with the dynamic Locus Platform and will automate emissions calculations for large enterprises.

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., 20 November 2015 — Locus Technologies (Locus), the leader in cloud-based environmental compliance and sustainability management software, introduces an all-new calculation engine to its newest platform to redefine how companies organize, manage, and calculate their greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories. The Locus Platform offers a highly configurable, user-friendly interface to fully meet individual organizations’ environmental management needs.

With an increased focus on the role that GHG emissions play in climate change, ensuring that companies’ emissions are reported accurately is more important than ever. GHG emissions reports are coming under increased scrutiny from regulators, stakeholders, verifiers, and financial auditors. Choosing the right calculation engine plays a critical part in remaining compliant with these rapidly evolving requirements and regulations.

Locus GHG calculation engine eases compliance burdens for GHG tracking

GHG inventories may be the result of mandatory state, regional, or national reporting programs, such as California Air Resource Board (AB32), U.S. EPA Mandatory Reporting Rule, or European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Organizations need a GHG calculation engine that can calculate GHGs automatically and accurately from all emission-producing activities at all of their facilities anywhere in the world. The new Locus calculation engine supports simultaneous calculations using multiple methods so that users can input data once and report to federal, state, and voluntary reporting programs according to each proper protocol.

“The requirements and procedures for GHG reporting are varied, complex, and rapidly evolving. To ensure compliance, companies need a calculation engine that can handle complex equations using appropriate emission factors, conversion factors, and calculation methodologies for each reporting program. The right calculation engine can reduce the stress, time, and potential inaccuracies found in home-grown accounting methods,” said Neno Duplan, President and CEO of Locus.

New GHG calculation engine removes reporting inaccuracies

As a leading accredited GHG verification company in California, Locus observed challenges that many companies experience with GHG inventory calculation, coupled with the gross inadequacy of tools previously available in the market. Informed by the verification of hundreds of inventories, Locus developed the new calculation engine.

“Besides spreadsheets, many calculation engines are proprietary to software vendors and are not transparent. For GHG calculations to pass audits and meet cap & trade requirements, transparency is absolutely required. Some of these ’black box‘ calculation tools have not been sufficiently stress-tested in the market and are generating errors that cause enterprises to fail their GHG verifications. Locus’ calculation engine addresses these deficiencies and capitalizes on the architecture of the highly scalable Locus platform. All calculations are viewable and traceable through the tool to the original data inputs,” said J. Wesley Hawthorne, Locus’ Senior Vice President of Operations and an accredited GHG verifier.

When evaluating carbon management software with built-in calculation engines, companies must ensure that users are able to define both the calculation rules and display of calculated data for the purpose of reporting to various regulators. By giving end users the power to view, analyze, and make changes to analytic model data, Locus helps companies emphasize the transparency of the process and ensure that calculations are correct and that the company meets all verification requirements.

“We listened to industry users and created a configurable calculation engine that is easy to use, dynamically driven, transparent, provides reproducible calculations, and is easy to verify. This calculation engine, along with the Locus Platform, will improve companies’ data collection, analysis, and most importantly, reporting capabilities,” added Duplan.

Locus will conduct live demonstrations of the Locus Platform and calculation engine at the Locus booth at the National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM) 2016 Sustainability Software and Data Management Conference from March 15-16, 2016 in Tampa, FL.