Just as new ways to apply computer science to the everyday world continue to pop up, so do innovations in environmental science and the use of electricity.
A new computer model from a California university combines to the two sciences, which some experts say will make the capture of carbon emissions to reduce greenhouse gases a much more affordable reality. Armed with a computer science degree or training in computer engineering information, the researchers set out to find a way to more efficiently capture carbon dioxide. Current technologies use about one-third of energy generated by plants, but the new computer model would increase that amount, according to ScienceDaily.
"The current on-the-shelf process of carbon capture has problems, including environmental ones, if you do it on a large scale," said Berend Smit, chancellor's professor in the university's department of chemical and biomolecular engineering and a faculty senior scientist in the Materials Sciences Division at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. "Our calculations show that we can reduce the parasitic energy costs of carbon capture by 30 percent with these types of materials, which should encourage the industry and academics to look at them."
Governments and scientists from around the world have begun to pay more attention to the capture and storage of carbon, which often is stored underground. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the practice could contribute 10 to 55 percent of the worldwide energy mitigation effort in the rest of the 21st century, Time magazine reported.
While some have questioned the safety of the practice, other experts - like Norway's Bjorn Berger - said safety disasters such as one in 1986 in Cameroon that killed 1,700 people are unlikely. In fact, his country recently captured and buried carbon and told Time that it's still in tact.
"We study it very carefully and know exactly what it does," he said. "If we get realistic about the fact that we need the fossil fuels in the development of places like China and India, then this is a way to make that acceptable."