Environment Protection - Umweltschutz

Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2009

Making Fuel from Water

ISIS Report 01/07/09

An efficient and robust catalyst for oxidizing water brings us closer to converting sunlight into fuel Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

The holy grail of artificial photosynthesis is to mimic and improve on the green plant’s ability to turn sunlight directly into electrochemical energy that can be used as fuel [1] (Harvesting Energy from Sun with Artificial Photosynthesis, SiS 43). Research and development in this area within the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries date back to the 1970s; and major efforts have been renewed by the United States Department of Energy (DoE) since 2007 [2].

These efforts are paying off. Important progress has been made by researchers Heinz Frei and Feng Jiao at DoE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory recently, bringing the dream of making fuel from water a closer to market. They’ve found that nano-sized crystals of cobalt oxide improves the status of the art by 1 550-fold

Effective photo-oxidation requires a catalyst that is both efficient in using solar photons and fast enough to keep up with the solar flux to avoid wasting those photons. Clusters of cobalt oxide nanocrystals are sufficiently efficient and fast, and also robust and abundant,” said Frei [3]. “They perfectly fit the bill.”

Efficient and robust catalysts required

The direct conversion of carbon dioxide and water to fuel depends on the availability of efficient and robust catalysts for the photochemical transformations [4] (see Splitting Water with Ease, SiS 43). Catalysts need to have high turnover frequency (TOF) and density to keep up with the solar flux at ground level (1 000 Wm-2) to avoid wasting incident solar photons. For example, a catalyst with a TOF of 100 s-1 requires a density of one catalytic site per square nanometre.

Catalysts with lower rates or taking up a larger space will require a high surface area nanostructure support that provides tens to hundreds of catalytic sites per square nanometre. Furthermore, catalysts need to work close to the thermodynamic potential of the redox reaction [1] so that a maximum fraction of the solar photon energy is converted to chemical energy. Stability considerations favour all- inorganic materials, as does the ability to withstand harsh reaction conditions of pH or temperature.

For the water oxidation half reaction, Jiang and Frei had found that iridium oxide fulfils these requirements in robustness, and has a reported TOF of 40 s-1 for IrO2 colloidal particles suspended in water. The catalyst was driven by a [Ru3+ (bpy)3] unit (bpy, 2,2-bipyridine), generated photochemically with visible light using the established [Ru2+(bpy)3]/persulphate (electron donor/acceptor) system and a modest overpotential of 0.37V. (The overpotential is the potential in excess of the theoretical electrochemical potential of 1.23V required [1] due to inefficiencies in the system.)

The researchers have previously demonstrated that the all- inorganic IrO2 nanoclusters (~ 2nm) directly coupled to a single centre chromium(VI) or a binuclear TiCrIII charge- transfer chromophore (a chemical group that gives colour to the molecule) [4] gave oxygen evolution under visible light with good quantum yield. While iridium oxide closely approaches the efficiency and stability required as catalyst for water oxidation, iridium is the least abundant metal on earth and is therefore not suitable for use on a very large scale. So Jiao and Frei explored more abundant metals, inspired by nature’s MnCa cluster of photosystem II; nature tends to use the most abundant materials [5] (Living with Oxygen, SiS 43). So they focussed on Co3O4 nanoclusters, and struck gold [6].

Read the rest of this article here
//www.i-sis.org.uk/makingFuelFromWater.php



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Montag, 29. Juni 2009

Mighty Mekong River Must Forever Flow Freely

ACTION ALERT

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

By Ecological Internet's Rainforest Portal with Rainforest Rescue //www.rainforestportal.org/ & //www.regenwald.org/international/englisch/ June 28, 2009

TAKE ACTION HERE NOW: //www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=mekong

The mighty Mekong River in Southeast Asia faces a devastating threat from eleven new proposed dams. If even one of the dams are built in Cambodia, Laos or Thailand; they would block major fish migrations and otherwise ecologically disrupt this vitally important river, placing at risk millions of people who depend upon the Mekong for their food security and income. Help "Save the Mekong" and this affinity campaign in seeking to pressure regional governments to shelve the plans.

TAKE ACTION NOW: //www.rainforestportal.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=mekong

DISCUSS THIS ALERT: //www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2009/06/mighty_mekong_river_must_forev.asp

Donnerstag, 25. Juni 2009

Water Electric

ISIS Report 25/06/09

Water charges up with electricity when exposed to sunlight, offering the potential for an inexhaustible supply of squeaking clean energy and challenging conventional understanding of bioenergetics Dr. Mae-Wan Ho

Put some water next to any hydrophilic (water-loving) surface and expose it to sunlight, or even light from an ordinary light bulb, and the water will charge up with electricity all by itself. This is the latest in a series of extraordinary discoveries about water from the laboratory of US bioengineer Gerald Pollack at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Water forms massive exclusion zones of ordered molecules next to gel surfaces It began when Pollack and his student Zheng Jian-ming discovered that suspensions of colloids and dissolved substances are excluded from a region extending some hundreds of micrometres from the surfaces of hydrophilic gels [1] (Water Forms Massive Exclusion Zones, SiS 23). An ‘exclusion zone’ (EZ) of this magnitude is in direct contradiction to the generally held assumption that interfacial water forming at liquid-solid, or liquid-air interfaces can be no more than a few layers of molecules thick. Instead, what’s observed is a million layers or more.

Similar exclusion zones were found next to any hydrophilic surface including surfaces coated with a monolayer of hydrophilic molecules, and around ion exchange resin beads [2] (see Fig. 1). Electric charge appears to be important, as EZ failed to form around charge-exhausted resin beads. Although EZ can form in pure water, it is enhanced and stabilized by low concentrations of buffer (2 to 10 mM at pH 7).

Figure 1. Exclusion zones millions of layers of water molecules deep clear of suspended microspheres form around charged resin beads

The EZ was characterized by several spectroscopic methods, all of which showed that it had features very different from the bulk water, suggesting an unusually ordered crystalline phase where the molecules are less free to move [3, 4] (Liquid Crystalline Water at the Interface, SiS 38). The UV and visible absorption spectrum gave a single absorption peak at ~270 nm in the UV region, which is completely absent in the bulk phase. The infrared emission record showed that the EZ radiates very little compared with bulk water, as would be expected on account of the reduced mobility of water molecules. The magnetic resonance imaging mapping similarly gave a transverse relaxation time (T2) of 25.4 + 1 ms, which is shorter than the 27.1 + 0.4 ms recorded for the bulk water phase, again indicative of restricted motion.

Such coexistence of distinctly different phases has been demonstrated in 1999 in by Japanese water researcher Norio Ise and colleagues in Kyoto University [5] (Water and Colloid Crystals, SiS 32) using a dispersion of colloid latex particles in water and digital video recording. They captured a random phase, in which thermal motion of the particles is of the anticipated magnitude, right next to a crystal-like phase where the particles had separated regularly from one another by several micrometres and the deviations from their average positions are lower by an order of magnitude

Read the rest of this article here
//www.i-sis.org.uk/WaterElectric.php



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Montag, 15. Juni 2009

Protect Montana's Glacier National Park from Canadian strip-mining pollution

//action.wilderness.org/campaign/glacier_park#



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Sonntag, 14. Juni 2009

Goldrausch-Ökonomie im Amazonas

Die wirtschaftliche Entwicklung vieler Städte im brasilianischen Regenwald erinnert an heute vergessene amerikanische Siedlungen, die nach kurzem Goldrausch ein langes Siechtum erlebten.

//www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/30/30492/1.html

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Bundesregierung fördert Ausbeutung des Amazonasgebietes

Indianer in Peru verteidigen ihr Land und den Wald unter Einsatz ihres Lebens

Im Amazonasgebiet von Peru ist der Streit zwischen Ureinwohner und der Regierung eskaliert: Hintergrund ist die katastrophale Wirtschaftspolitik Perus bezüglich der Nutzung des Regenwaldes. Das Land verhandelt nun mit der Europäischen Union über ein Freihandelsabkommen. Die EU-Staaten möchten sich in Peru neue Absatzmärkte und den Zugang zu Rohstoffen sichern, die den ständig wachsenden Energiehunger der Industrie stillen soll. (Start: 13.06.2009)

Protestaktion
https://www.regenwald.org/protestaktion.php?id=420



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Mittwoch, 13. Mai 2009

The Century of The Rights of Mother Earth

//www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/12-2

Why don't we stop hurting the planet?
//www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/may/22/climate-change-children-education-books



//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=Leonardo+Boff

Donnerstag, 7. Mai 2009

Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon

ACTION ALERT

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

By Rainforest Rescue with Ecological Internet //www.regenwald.org/international/englisch/ & //www.climateark.org/ May 6, 2009

Malaysia's government owned and subsidized oil palm cooking oil and biofuel industry -- the scourge of Asia and the world's rainforests -- is continuing to expand, this time into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon

BRIEF BACKGROUND: Malaysia‘s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) will soon break ground on a joint venture with a Brazilian firm to establish 30,000-100,000 hectares (ha; 75,000 – 250,000 acres) of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Similar oil palm development continues to devastate Asia-Pacific's rainforests, and increasingly the world, with some thirty square miles of carbon and biodiversity rich habitat being cleared a day to provide cooking oil and transport biodiesel. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate change mitigation measure, yet the initial rainforest clearance leads to much more carbon release than its production and use avoids.

Large scale biofuel production runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil and water. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams. The amount of primary and old growth forests that have been lost has already overshot the carrying capacity of Earth. Globally there are not enough old forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total. Local peoples must be assisted to fully protect, restore and benefit from intact, standing forests.

TAKE ACTION NOW: //www.climateark.org/shared/alerts/send.aspx?id=amazon_oil_palm

DISCUSS THIS ALERT: //www.rainforestportal.org/issues/2009/05/alert_malaysian_oil_palm_threa.asp

--------

Friends of The Earth: Biofuels Slated to Receive More than $400 Billion in Federal Subsidies

//www.commondreams.org/newswire/2009/05/07-8



//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=oil+palm
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Mittwoch, 18. März 2009

Water Scarcity "Now Bigger Threat Than Financial Crisis"

Geoffrey Lean, The Independent UK: "Humanity is facing 'water bankruptcy' as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilizing the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity."

//www.truthout.org/031709EA



//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=water+scarcity
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Sonntag, 8. März 2009

Gemeinsam eine Million Bäume retten

Jährlich landen in deutschen Briefkästen 660.000 Tonnen Werbeprospekte. Weltweit werden hierfür jedes Jahr 2,7 Millionen Bäume abholzt.

//sonnenseite.kjm4.de/ref.php?id=d8741685491ms144,Gemeinsam+eine+Million+Baeume+retten,35,a12265.html



Werbesendungen ökologisch und ökonomisch fragwürdig

Ca. 1,3 Mio. Tonnen Werbesendungen landen jährlich in den Briefkästen der Bundesbürger. Mehr als die Hälfte wandert ungelesen in den Müll.

//sonnenseite.kjm4.de/ref.php?id=d8741685501ms144,Werbesendungen+oekologisch+und+oekonomisch+fragwuerdig,6,a12307.html



FAO: Unzureichende Strategien gegen Überfischung und Klimawandel

Die UN-Organisation für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (FAO) fordert die Fischindustrien und die Staaten deshalb dringend auf, die 1995 aufgestellten freiwilligen Richtlinien für verantwortliche Fischerei jetzt umzusetzen und noch auszubauen.

//sonnenseite.kjm4.de/ref.php?id=d8741685515ms144,FAO-+Unzureichende+Strategien+gegen+Ueberfischung+und+Klimawandel,6,a12282.html



//freepage.twoday.net/search?q=Klimawandel
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Donnerstag, 26. Februar 2009

Amazon Teetering on the Edge

//www.commondreams.org/headline/2009/02/26-6



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