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Dry waste organic matter and invasive plants and bury in dry caves.


Description

Summary

The atmosphere  holds a lot of the accumulated emissions of excess CO2, and this will not be absorbed by the ecosystem for thousands of years. So, not only must we stop burning fossil fuels, we must also draw down the accumulated CO2 in the atmosphere. Ocean acidification will also decrease if the CO2 is removed from the atmosphere.

   We already dispose of organic waste in ways that end up creating CO2. But, if most organic matter is very dry, it will not be decomposed by fungi, bacteria, or termites.

  I propose building solar thermal dehydrators, that heat the material to over the boiling point of water. This usually reduces the weight of the material by over 50%. The material would then be crushed, and buried in deep mines or caverns.  Essentially, we would be generating coal. 

Naturally, desert areas would be ideal for the thermal drying operation, where it would also be possible to recover the water from the dehydration process, and use it for various purposes. It might even be used to locally grow fast growing plants that could in turn be dried out and buried.

There are also invasive plants in the naturally wetter areas that are not desired. These could either be dried locally, or transported to the dry areas for dehydration. 

 


Category of the action

Reducing emissions from waste management


What actions do you propose?

 It is necessary to research the burial locations for the dried material, and gain necessary approvals.  It is also necessary to design and build the solar thermal kilns. The compactors are likely to be available already. The sources of bio-material would also have to be determined. Ideally, the whole operation should be localized, but that is difficult because the most common sources of bio-matter are in wet areas where sequestering is unlikely. Likely it would be more efficient to do the drying near the source of bio-matter so that the transport of the dry compacted material would require less energy. Ultimately, electrified rail would be the preferred mode of transport. 

The solar thermal kilns will require concentrating, solar tracking mirrors in order to be efficient in achieving the required temperature for drying. It is likely that radiators would be employed to transfer the solar heat generated to the air. Blowers would move the hot air through the 'green' biomass. Cooling the moist air through a counter flow heat exchanger would condense the moisture for use outside the drying facility, while minimizing the use of solar energy. Solar PV or wind could be used to provide power for the blowers and other equipment.

 

There are various ways to fund the activity. While we are still using fossil fuels, this could be funded by carbon offsets. Inasmuch as current emissions are only a small fraction of the accumulated carbon in the atmosphere and ocean, eventually (when humanity no longer uses fossil fuels), it would have to be funded by taxes.  There is no reason to wait until 2050 to start this action, since a pound of carbon buried offsets a pound of carbon burned.   


Who will take these actions?

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Where will these actions be taken?


What are other key benefits?


How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?


What are the proposal’s costs?


Time line


Related proposals


References