This news item was created by students Rachel Weaver, Jessica Smith, Mark Delhougne, Joe Mudd, Brian Chmiel, and Shaun Eckerle as part of their Chemistry 210 Semester Project in WS99 under the guidance of Prof. Rainer Glaser.

Glaser's "Chemistry is in the News"
To Accompany Wade Organic Chemistry 4/e.
Chapter 2. Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules.

For each of the following questions, please refer to the following article:

Exploring Options for Carbon Dioxide Capture and Management
by Carola Hanisch (Environmental Science & Technology, February 1, 1999)

Editorial Comments

Global warming has become a growing concern among countries over the past decade. Emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and various nitrous oxides have led to a notable climate change worldwide. In 1997, the world agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Kyoto Conference.

Recently, new technologies have been explored by the Kvaerner and Sleipner companies to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by capturing and using it productively. Carbon dioxide sequestration and management gives economic incentives to businesses. Oil recovery, for example, can be enhanced by the use of carbon dioxide. This gives carbon dioxide a market value so that it can be bought and sold as a commodity. Methane, a gaseous alkane which can be burned and used as a source of energy can also be recovered more efficiently through carbon dioxide management.

Benefits such as enhanced fossil fuel and methane recovery, the use of captured carbon dioxide in greenhouses to produce heat and stimulate plant growth, the production of electricity from the Norsk Hydro power plant, and halting global warming by the decrease in carbon dioxide expulsion could soon be a reality.

You may ask how all this is possible if this new technology can be contained and stored properly for future use. Development of absorption technology and aquatic storage is currently underway. However, the financial increase required for the use of carbon dioxide capture and management decrease its popularity along with higher carbon taxes. Another potential downfall could be the possible detrimental effects on aquatic life resulting from releasing liquid carbon dioxide into the ocean. The context of this article will answer these questions among many others pertaining to carbon dioxide capture and management.

Pertinent Text References
Chapter 2: Structure and Properties of Organic Molecules


Question 1: What incentives do countries and businesses have to manage carbon dioxide?

A. Circumvention of high carbon taxes. Using carbon dioxide for enhanced oil recovery or enhanced coalbed methane recovery. Selling gas to greenhouses for heat and plant growth.

Question 2: What are some possible mechanisms for the decomposition of carbon dioxide? Are there any intermediates?

A. CO2 ----> CO + O -----> C + O2

Question 3: The article talks about capturing carbon dioxide in the pre-combustion and post-combustion stages of burning fossil fuel. It is stated that the process is easier to capture the pre-combustion gas, but it doesn't state whether or not this method is more efficient than post-combustion carbon dioxide capture. Take a look at the link Carbon Dioxide Capture by Carbon Dioxide Capture by Pre-Combustion Decarbonisation of Natural Gas and try to determine which method is more beneficial.

A. The last chart in the link gives a complete comparison between the pre- and post- combustion decarbonisation and shows the pre-combustion decarbonisation would be a more beneficial process for the future.

Question 4: The article discusses the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide and methods for storage and sequestration. View the following link on the greenhouse effect and determine how carbon dioxide creates the "greenhouse effect."

A. A "greenhouse effect" is caused by the increase in carbon dioxide, methane and other gases. These gases allow solar radiation to reach the earth's surface, but hinder outward flow of infrared radiation. The gases reabsorb and radiate the outgoing radiation. A net warming thus occurs.

Question 5: Forestry is also an option for absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This absorption occurs in photosynthesis: 6CO2 + 6H2O + sunlight --------> C6 H12O6 + 6O2 Give the three dimentional representation of the reactants. Show the dipole moment of water. Also look at the link carbon dioxide absorption through forestry to see what percentages of carbon dioxide are absorbed by forestry.

A. The amount of world terrestrial carbon dioxide absorbed through forestry is 90%.

Question 6: Your local power supplier asks if you would be willing to pay 3 cents more per kilowatt hour so that they may harness energy in a fashion similar to the Norsk Hydro procedure. Explain to your frugal roommates why you would want to pay for this procedure, or why you would not want to pay the additional 3 cents.