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Our globe is currently facing one of the most monumental crises in history, a rapidly warming climate. The most notable cause of climate change is the Greenhouse Gas Effect which stipulates from burning fossil fuels and biomass. Scientists have already begun to record damage correlated to a warming climate such as the sustainability of coral reefs. Carbon capture technology can possibly help mitigate CO2 pollution. Using today’s technology of carbon capture can possibly mitigate carbon emissions harness them to produce plastics and create more energy. Currently, carbon capture is available, but the cost is exorbitant and efficiencies are not applicable to mitigate carbon emissions. According to ExxonMobil, their carbon capture fuel cell research could be groundbreaking for the following reasons: concentrate emissions to store underground, cleaner air, and generating power using the cells (ExxonMobil Fuel Cell Solution 2016). From above, it is very clear that the capability and technology is available, but it is still costly and inefficient. Although, this technology is absolutely crucial to keep our climate stable. This technology has been gaining momentum in recent years, which scientists and engineers are considering a feasible solution. The public, mostly elected leaders and officials need to become educated on this topic, so more research and development can be completed to help future generations.
Three of the most widely known and most agreed upon causes of climate change in the scientific community are reflectivity, greenhouse gases, and changes in the sun’s solar energy output. Greenhouse gases are a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and biomass, for example, methane, carbon dioxide, and even water vapor. Greenhouse gases absorb energy, (energy is heat), these slow the time it takes for the heat to disperse in space, hence, holding heat closer to Earth, for example, when combustion engines burn gasoline or diesel the byproduct is CO2. The increasing level of CO2 gas is therefore absorbing heat and causing the global temperature to rise. Another plausible factor of climate change is reflectivity. Reflectivity is the process where tiny particles absorb or reflect heat, for example sulfur emissions from an eruption of a volcano and volcanic ash reflect heat causing a cooling effect (Climate Change Science EPA 2017). On the other hand, a substance known as black carbon absorbs sunlight which translates to heat. Black carbon is a result of combustion of fossil fuels and is also naturally occuring. Additionally as of January 2015 according to the IEA (International Energy Agency) , the world consumes a little over 34 billion barrels (1.428 trillion gallons) of oil per year. Every gallon of gasoline combusted is equivalent to 16.15 pounds of CO2 released into the atmosphere. From this data, it is almost inevitable that our climate would begin to change.
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Carbon emissions have become an increasingly large problem. The planet is warmer from the North Pole to the South Pole. The average global temperature has increased since 1906 from 1.1 to 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit, and the increase is even larger in the polar regions. This increase of heat is melting glaciers, precipitation patterns are changing, and this has caused many species of animals to be severely impacted by the rising temperatures. An example of this is the decline of the penguin population. It has dropped from 32,000 breeding pairs to 11,000 in 30 years. Other impacts are some alpine plants, and butterflies, such that alpine plants have moved farther north, increased rainfall internationally, and the spruce bark beetles have rapidly increased in Alaska. This invasive species is thriving due to the 20 years of warmer summers. The insects are stated to have chewed 4 million acres of spruce trees, and the sea level has been rising more quickly over the last century, for example, since 1993 the sea level rose 2.6 inches in 2014. The globe is recording more radical weather patterns, such as more hurricanes for extended periods of “hurricane season.” Other examples of how heat is melting glaciers and sea ice, shifting precipitation patterns, and setting animals moving from their natural habitat. Using today’s technology of carbon capture can possibly mitigate carbon emissions to produce plastics and create more useful and renewable energy. Currently, carbon capture is available, but the cost is exorbitant and efficiencies are not applicable to mitigate carbon emissions. According to ExxonMobil, their carbon capture fuel cell research could be groundbreaking for the following reasons: concentrate emissions to store underground, cleaner air, and generating power using the cells (ExxonMobil Fuel Cell Solution 2016). From above, it is very clear that the capability and technology is available, but it is still costly and inefficient. Although, this technology is absolutely crucial to keep our climate stable.
Microelectronics is playing a huge role in reversing CO2 pollution, such as creating more efficient and more capable electrical components for renewable energy applications. Electric vehicle technology is increasing rapidly every day, microelectronics is paramount for this technology. Photovoltaic cells (PV Cells) harness UV radiation from the sun and convert it into usable power for various applications. But one major problem with PV Cells is the manufacturing cost. About 8 years ago the electronic industry began using Crystallin Silicon Wafers as the default for microelectronics. These wafers have allowed engineers and scientists to design more compact, efficient chips, and better cooling dynamics for the chips.
The ultra thin wafers provide good mechanical stability, increased integration factor, and increased performance. But one compromise is the spacing of elements on chips, which can cause manufacturing and data storage problems. This microelectronic technology is promising because of their efficiency and compact size, and it can greatly improve the efficiency of PV Cells. The most high-end PV Cells currently are only about 25% efficient. Some marketers have suggested that we are on the cusp of this technology becoming mainstream. This holds some truth, but as stated above the price has not reached a point that is affordable to most of the market.
Another important aspect that coincides with wafer technology is Moore’s Law. This Law states the number of transducers in a dense integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. This law has held true for over three decades. Although many scientists and engineers have argued that no curve is infinitesimally sustainable. In other words, this technology will reach a point where there can be no more progress as before without some different innovation. I tend to agree with this methodology because we have not been able to sustain this “curve” with anything in society.
Carbon Capture is a key technological advance, and it is regarded as a possible enormous leap into harnessing and removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere to progressively halt climate change. During the last two decades, the globe has experienced more than 15 record temperature peaks of the globe’s average temperature, and scientists have also recorded steady increases in temperature. The globe is seeing more frequent hot temperatures, radical weather patterns, and less precipitation, and coincidently, scientific observations and data continuously present a problem that is not being addressed appropriately. Carbon Capture is a possibility that must not be taken for granted, and needs to be researched and developed further. STEM education is more important than ever, youth need to be engaged because of technological problems rising more and more frequently.
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