Energy Challenges: The Habitable Planet: Introduction (01:29)
Fossil fuels provide approximately 80% of our energy but emit carbon dioxide. The Midwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership investigates returning carbon dioxide to underground rock formations. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory creates biofuels from American farm products.
Carbon Capture & Sequestration (02:22)
Approximately 40% of fossil fuel electricity comes from coal. Dr. Neeraj Gupta discusses reducing carbon dioxide. Batetelle Memorial Institute members study the viability of capturing carbon dioxide emissions and injecting it into underground rock formations.
RE Burger Power Plant Research Site (04:00)
Crews drill an 8,000-foot hole in search of reservoirs for carbon dioxide. Geologist Phil Jakucki discusses long-term storage. Experts discuss requirements for potential rock reservoirs.
Geological Storage Sites (04:30)
Seismic survey information suggests the RE Burger Power Plant site is an optimal non-faulted location for carbon sequestration; possible injections zones include the Oriskany and Clinton Layers. Crews drill a hole 8,000 feet deep to confirm findings.
Reducing CO2 Emissions (01:06)
Carbon sequestration may reduce contributions to climate change while providing affordable energy. Renewable energy resources and energy efficiency will help provide sustainable energy.
Cellulosic Ethanol (02:05)
The burning of 350 million gallons of petroleum every day in the U.S. emits approximately 700 million metric tons of CO2 a year. George Douglas discusses renewable transportation fuel. Experts in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) biomass program develop ways to derive fuel from plants.
Most of the ethanol produced in the U.S. comes from corn but has limitations. NREL experts work to make fuel from the non-edible parts of plants; cost-effective conversion is a challenge. Andy Aden discusses biomass and its benefits.
Biomass Conversion (02:39)
Biomass has three primary components, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. NREL's pilot plant tests ways to improve the creation of ethanol from cellulosic material. Aden explains the three-step process: pre-treatment, cellulose enzymes, and fermentation.
Dr. Bill Adney researches ways to improve cellulose-degrading enzymes. Aden explains fermentation in the biomass conversion process.
Reducing Energy Use in Biomass Conversion (01:50)
Aden explains the role of lignin in the energy process. Douglas believes with added efficiency half of liquid fuels in the U.S. could come from local biofuels.
Credits: Energy Challenges: The Habitable Planet—A Systems Approach to Environmental Science (00:39)
Credits: Energy Challenges: The Habitable Planet—A Systems Approach to Environmental Science
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