From InstaPundit comes this link: Dog park lighted by dog poop. Gotta love scientists. And dogs.
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Quick chemistry lesson in this dog poop to park lighting process:
Carbon has a simple ring structure with 8 places, making all organic molecules, each containing carbon, very different than the water solubles. Methane is CH4, so it’s looking for 4 partners. Most digestive processes produce this gas, whether it be in the form of farts, burps, or poops.
This makes methane highly explosive or burnable, as it joins quickly with O2 in air, releasing light or heat. Thus we boil water to make tea with methane.
The energy we need to run our lives is available without the extraction and transport of more carbon. We simply need to learn how to use what we excrete or discard already.
Many landfills produce commercial quantities of burnable methane.
Perhaps Walt can add some details.
At the risk of boring the FWIW readership that comes here looking for racy pictures, let me continue with the hard truth about carbon.
Carbon lives naturally and happily in the atmosphere as a natural green house gas, functioning for the earth like the glass roof of a greenhouse, trapping heat from the sun. The function of plants in general and forests in particular is to trap or fix the carbon in organic forms, which become fuel for us to eat or burn. This could be ocean plankton eaten by fish, sugar cane or corn turned into fuel, or vast layers of coal, oil and gas buried in the earth, as it was during the carboniferous age of Earth’s ancient natural history.
Upon digestion or combustion, the carbon recombines with oxygen, returns to the atmosphere, leaving only water behind.
It is the industrial age that has moved vast tons of carbon back to the air, and changed the climate. And it is man that has accelerated this to a state of climate imbalance.
That’s what the climate change debate is all about – man’s influence in speeding this natural cycle up is a matter of factual history – and dire consequences for warming the Earth until we can grow enough forests on the land, and plankton in the oceans to stabilize climate.
When this process runs away without control, you end up with an atmosphere like Venus. Not good for life.
Digesting dog poop to burn in park lighting is cute, but not a good answer. Here we transport park dog poop to the garbage-to-energy plant in Bridgeport, which produces the same effect, except it powers the CFL bulbs in your homes.
The long term answer for energy is to extract all we need from the sun or core of the Earth without carbon. As posted last week, the fusion potential of sea water is vast as well, with one gallon being equal in power to 300 gallons of gasoline.
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