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News — methane

Permafrost Study Uses K-30 Sensors

Researchers are studying permafrost in Alaska to get long-term data on the release of carbon dioxide as the result of weather changes. The team is led by Dr. Houston Miller, Professor of Chemistry at the George Washington University. It includes GWU students, researchers from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.  Funded by a grant from NASA's Terrestrial Hydrology Program, the team is combining satellite measurements, climate modeling, and ground-level measurements of greenhouse gas concentrations during seasonal permafrost melting seasons. According to Dr. Miller, “[Our project is] a multi-disciplinary, multi-scaled study to measure methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide...

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Optimizing Biofuel Production from Algae using CO2

The combustion of fossil fuels drives the world’s energy production, but it also emits carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. In recent years, researchers have worked to cultivate alternative, renewable energy sources, including using algae-based systems. Now, a team reports in ACS’ journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research (subscription required) a way of optimizing biofuel production from algae that also removes CO2 emissions from the environment. Algae-based biorefineries only need nutrients, water, sunlight and CO2 to run. The aim of these systems is to produce cleaner energy in the form of biodiesel, methane or ethanol. However, current configurations are costly both...

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CO2 in Aerobic, Anaerobic Composting

Composting is a common method for organic waste disposal. In composting, micro-organisms convert waste into useful products like fertilizer. There are 2 kinds of composting: aerobic (with air) and anaerobic (without air). Although both break down organic matter, aerobic composting depends on micro-organisms that get oxygen from the air, whereas anaerobic composting depends on micro-organisms that get oxygen directly from the waste matter. Aerobic Composting The advantages of composting is that it naturally kills pathogens like E. coli, converts ammonia nitrogen to organic nitrogen and reduces the waste volume. The disadvantages of composting are the loss of some nutrients including...

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Methane Sensor Used in Science Fair Project

Which animal waste has the potential to produce the most methane? That was the question posed by Sean Weiss in his “Waste to Watts” science fair project that won the Orange County Science Fair for Alternative Energy. Sean, who currently attends middle school in California, said the idea for the project first occurred to him while he was cleaning up after the family dog. “Before starting this experiment, on one of our family trips I learned that some cow farms in the northern part of the Central California basin were using some of the methane from the waste to power...

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Renewable Energy Gets a Little Cheaper with New Biogas Meter

CO2Meter has developed a new, low cost combination carbon dioxide and methane gas level meter for use in the biogas industry. It can measure up to 100% methane (CH4) and 50% carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in real-time, or can be used as a data-logger to record gas levels over time. The meter is available as a permanently-mounted NEMA4 enclosure. It uses a built-in micro-pump to take a sample via a tube port, measure the sample, and return it via a second tube port to form a closed-loop gas measurement system. “Our CO2 and methane meter was developed after talking to...

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