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Clean Technology and Energy

by | Apr 15, 2022 | Renewable Energy

Clean Development Mechanism

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is an UN-run carbon offset program that allows governments to fund greenhouse gas emission-reduction projects in other countries and claim the reduced emissions as part of their efforts to fulfil international emissions goals.

Described in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, the CDM was created to help non-Annex I countries (mostly developing nations) achieve sustainable development and decrease their carbon footprints, as well as to help Annex I countries (mostly developed nations) meet their emissions reduction targets (greenhouse gas emission caps).

When a project (such as a solar energy farm) in a developing country reduces total emissions, it is compensated with ‘carbon credits,’ known as Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), depending on the quantity of emissions cut. These CERs can be purchased instead of investing in emissions reductions in an industrialized nation (or a corporation located there) that has to cut its emissions.

Applicants must first get authorization from the host nation before submitting an application to the Clean development mechanism Executive Board for approval.

The applicants must show “additionality” — that is, the clean technology project would result in a larger reduction in emissions than would have occurred otherwise — and explain how much emissions would increase if the project were not approved.

The planned clean technology project must subsequently be validated by an independent body to ensure that it will result in genuine, quantifiable, and long-term emission reductions.

Carbon Trading

Carbon trading is market-based for lowering greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, primarily carbon dioxide released by fossil fuel combustion.

The practise of buying and selling permits and credits that enable the permit holder to emit carbon dioxide is known as carbon trading.

One emissions permit is equal to one tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in emissions trading, where greenhouse gases are controlled. Carbon credits, Kyoto units, assigned amount units, and Certified Emission Reduction units (CER) are examples of other emission allowances.

These clean technology permits can be sold privately or on the international market at the current market price. These trade and settle globally, allowing for the transfer of permits between nations. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change certifies each international transfer (UNFCCC).

Emissions trading programs, such as the European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS), allow private trade of permits in addition to the Kyoto Protocol’s country-to-country trading. A national or international authority assigns permits to individual companies based on established criteria. This is to meet national or regional targets, also referred to as Kyoto targets, at the lowest overall economic cost. Such programs are commonly coordinated with the overall national emissions targets following the framework of the Kyoto Protocol.

 

Clean Energy

Biodiesel

Biodiesel is a biodegradable, renewable fuel made from vegetable oils, animal fats, or restaurant waste. Biodiesel fulfils the Renewable Fuel Standard’s biomass-based diesel and general advanced biofuel requirements. Biodiesel is not the same as renewable diesel, sometimes known as “green diesel.”

Biodiesel is a liquid fuel that is sometimes referred to as B100 or “neat” biodiesel. Biodiesel, like petroleum diesel, is used to power compression-ignition engines.

Green diesel is an alternative fuel under clean technology made by hydrogenating oils derived from renewable sources such as algae. Green diesel, unlike biodiesel, is made from the hydrogenation of fats and oils and has a chemical makeup that is quite similar to petroleum-based diesel.

Biodiesel is generated by a chemical process called transesterification, which converts fats and oils into fatty acid methyl esters (FAME). About 100 pounds of fat or oil are combined with 10 pounds of short-chain alcohol (usual methanol) in the presence of a catalyst (often sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide) to produce nearly 100 pounds of biodiesel, and with that, 10 pounds of glycerin (or glycerol).

Biodiesel provides several environmental advantages. The fundamental advantage of biodiesel is that it is considered “carbon neutral.” This signifies that the fuel creates no carbon dioxide as a net output of carbon (CO2).

 

Clean Energy

Natural Compost

Composting is a natural, very beneficial and one of the clean technology-based processes. Composting is basically an organic phenomenon of converting organic matter like twigs, leaves, and food scraps like fruits peel and bread into beneficial manure(organic fertilizer) that is very beneficial for both soil and plants. What does Composting do? This process accelerates the decomposition by creating favourable conditions for decomposing organisms (such as bacteria, fungi, worms, sowbugs, and nematodes).

They act on organic matter and form Compost. Compost is the decomposed matter that looks like fertile garden soil. Compost, often known as “black gold” by farmers, is nutrient-rich and may be utilized in gardening, horticulture, and agriculture.

Composting helps to limit the quantity of the garbage that ends up in landfills. It decomposes anaerobically (without oxygen) and produces potent greenhouse gases, particularly methane, which leads to global warming and climate change. Home composting for a minimum of a year can save the equivalent of all the carbon dioxide (CO2) your kettle produces annually or produced by a washing machine is approx three months.

The compost is utilized to boost agriculture and forestry initiatives, assuring nutrient recirculation and increased carbon sequestration in the soil. By boosting plant growth, stabilizing soils, and decreasing the impact of flooding and droughts, the compost also improves environmental tolerance and climate adaptation.

Also, see https://www.nrdc.org/stories/composting-101#:~:text=Community%20Composting-,What%20Is%20Composting%3F,can%20enrich%20soil%20and%20plants.

Eco–Friendly Plastic

Plastics that can be degraded by living creatures, mainly bacteria, into the water, carbon dioxide, and biomass are known as eco-friendly plastics or biodegradable plastics. Renewable raw resources, microorganisms, petrochemicals, or a mix of all three are widely used to make biodegradable polymers.

Although the phrases “compostable,” “bioplastics,” and “oxo-degradative plastics” are sometimes used for “biodegradable plastics,” they are not equivalent. Regular plastic garbage is now recycled, incinerated, or disposed of through the waste management system. The use of biodegradable polymers in ordinary trash infrastructure involves various environmental risks.

Compostable Plastics: Composting of some compostable plastics necessitates precise control of environmental parameters such as higher temperatures, pressure, and nutrient content, as well as specific chemical ratios. Only industrial composting units, which are rare and far between, can duplicate these conditions.

Bioplastics: If plastic is made mostly or entirely from biologically derived polymers, it is referred to as bioplastic. If the plastic can decompose into the water, carbon dioxide, and biomass in a certain amount of time, it is termed biodegradable (dependent on different standards). Bioplastics aren’t entirely biodegradable.

Oxo-degradable plastics: Oxo-degradable polymers are widely regarded as biodegradable. They are, however, just ordinary polymers with chemicals called prodegredants that speed up the oxidation process. While oxo-degradable plastics degrade quickly in the presence of sunshine and oxygen, they remain as massive amounts of microplastics rather than biological stuff.

Alternate Energy

Alternative energy is a term used for non-fossil fuel energy sources. This consists of all renewable energy sources and nuclear power on the list. Nuclear power is not a renewable energy source but can be considered a clean technology. Renewable energy is generated from non-depleting or replenishable resources that can be renewed during a human lifetime.

Nuclear power is made from non-renewable materials such as uranium and thorium, which are mined. Some other alternative energies are – Solar, Wind, Hydropower, Ocean energy, geothermal energy, biomass, and hydrogen energy.

Renewable energy accounts for around 20% of worldwide energy consumption, including about 30% of electricity. Traditional biomass accounts for around 8% of total energy usage, although this is decreasing. Heat energy from contemporary renewables, such as solar water heating, accounts for over 4% of total energy consumption, while electricity accounts for over 6%.

Civil nuclear power generated approx. 2,586 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2019. This was a huge success since it accounted for nearly 10% of clean technology energy output worldwide. This made nuclear power the second-largest low-carbon power source after hydroelectricity.

Solar panels alter the surface’s albedo, and therefore, if employed on a wide scale (say, covering 20% of the Sahara Desert), they may alter global weather patterns.

Alternative energy sources are renewable and considered “free” sources of energy. Clean alternative energy, such as household solar power systems, will assure man’s existence into the twenty-first century and beyond when combined with recycling.

 

Author

  • The author has done a master's in Environmental science and is currently working as chief Environmental Advisor with New Delhi State Government.

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