What is the Most Cost-Effective Way of Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions Relying Solely On Solar, Wind, And Batteries

What is the Most Cost-Effective Way of Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions Relying Solely On Solar, Wind, And Batteries

What is the Most Cost-Effective Way of Lowering Greenhouse Gas Emissions Relying Solely On Solar, Wind, And Batteries

Climate change is a complex pressing issue, but it’s only just another one of the many complex issues affecting life on our planet. So, every resource spent on tackling climate change deprives us of resources that could be channeled to address other challenges, including healthcare, income inequality, and technologies to raise our quality of life.

Therefore, a cost-effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emission is a much more prudent choice than a mere greenhouse gas emission reduction strategy that does not come at a lower cost than the use of oil, natural gas, and coal. 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the UK

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the UK

Guidelines for a Cost-Effective Decarbonization Blueprint

A team of MIT researchers experimented with over a thousand different combinations of zero carbon and low-carbon electricity sources, to figure out the most cost-effective decarbonization strategy, taking into account geographical circumstances and ruling policies which affect the availability and cost of these resources.

The researchers have ascertained that the cost of electricity upticks as a standalone wind, solar, or batteries system approaches zero greenhouse gas emission, but when other low-carbon power sources are blended into the standalone systems, the increase in cost becomes less dramatic as the system approaches zero emission.

According to the researchers, a push for the use of a standalone wind, solar or batteries electricity system in large-scale, high-voltage power grids to generate flexible electricity supply puts an unwarranted pressure on alternative energy industries to reduce the costs of acquiring these resources.

flexible electricity

However, a more inclusive electricity system featuring a mix of solar power, wind power and energy storage batteries like flow batteries, together with low-carbon power sources can keep the increase in cost at modest levels as the system comes closer to zero emission, and also make for easier scalability and flexibility, regardless of prevailing policies or geographical factors that affect the cost and availability of these carbon-free resources.

In effect, the inclusion of low-carbon sources in blueprints for decarbonizing power systems minimizes risks and costs.

How Carbon Captures Can Be Used Efficiently in Decarbonization Strategies

Carbon captures are proper mechanisms for reducing the amount of greenhouse gas emitted from power plants and other industrial facilities. However, one of the major challenges of the technology has been the low capacity of current materials to retain CO2, as well as the high temperatures needed for their operations.

For instance, carbon capture systems made with zeolites struggle to cope with the moisture from gas streams, and others based on clays and metal oxides are energy-intensive, requiring more than 900F to function. However, as scientists are coming up with better materials for trapping greenhouse gas at much lower temperatures, the prospects of more cost-effective decarbonization strategies are growing more stronger by the day.

One of the new carbon capture system materials for carbon capture systems is made of magnesium oxide, which has been found to trap greater quantities of carbon at significantly lower temperatures. Researchers have also discovered that they can boost the carbon retention capabilities of magnesium oxide particles by up to 10 times by coating them with substances known as alkali metal nitrates. This can also lead to more cost-effective decarbonization strategies.

Natural magnesite crystal

Natural magnesite crystal (4 microns wide)

Other Cost-Effective Ways of Reducing Carbon Footprints Through the Use of Solar, Wind, and Batteries

  • Reduce and Recycle: By reducing and recycling product packages, you can save up to 2,400 pounds of CO2 annually.
  • Minimize Air Conditioning: Ways to minimize the use of air conditioning include insulating walls properly, installing weather stripping around doors and windows, installing a programmable thermostat, and turning off the heat when no one’s home. These measures can help you reduce CO2 emissions by up to 2,000 pounds annually.
  • Use LED and CFL bulbs: CFL bulbs use two third less energy, lasts 10 times longer, and give off 70% less heat than incandescent bulbs.
  • Opt for Energy Efficient Products: These days, energy efficient modules of products are more readily available than ever.
  • Cut Back on Driving Time: For every gallon of gas you save, you also save 20 pounds of CO2.
  • Switch Off Appliances When Not in Use: Avoid keeping appliances running when not in use.
  • Plant a Tree: A single tree can trap up to one ton of CO2 during its lifetime.

Conclusion

The wide use of continental-scale carbon-free electricity supply is still several years away. However, by implementing the decarbonization strategies outlined above, which show the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using solar, wind and batteries, we can propel ourselves quicker into a future of zero emissions.

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