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Jeffery J. Haas, logtroll
Total Likes: 2
Original Post (Thread Starter)
#337343 10/18/2021 5:53 PM
by TatumAH
A breakthrough in carbon capture and storage: turning CO2 into coal

I ran across this innovative method of carbon dioxide sequestration, while looking up some information about fungi. It is a clever use of Gallium alloys that have melting points near room temperature, to serve as electrodes with doping of other catalytic ions (cerium etc) to reduce CO2, which is pretty hard to reduce. The product of the reduction is a carbonaceous solid, that had previously been a problem as it "coked" up previous electrodes. (Not that kind of COKED UP, you druggies) The advantage of the liquid metal electrodes is that the coke-like product falls off in sheets that are easy to capture.

The black carbonaceous material can be buried, but it sure looks similar to Bio-Char to me.

Does anyone know why this hasn't caught on as a carbon sequestration method, particularly since it produces a product that could be utilized in compost and soil improvements?

I have enjoyed playing with Woods metal, one of the low melting alloys, that was quite toxic from cadmium, unlike Gallium. We cast some spoons of it that melted when used to stir coffee grin
Liked Replies
#337388 Oct 19th a 03:46 PM
by TatumAH
Thats why I put them in two places! grin Same url as in title, but fixed it in edit anyway!
1 member likes this
#337487 Oct 22nd a 02:16 PM
by TatumAH
I start a lot of my posts with "ironically" lately!
Ironically the development of no-till farming to save the rapidly eroding topsoil, required the use of herbicides like glyphosate to control weeds previously controlled by tillage, Note that they use the "when applied as directed on the label" but larger and larger doses are needed to control increasingly resistant weeds.
. Tillage vs Herbicides

In his post, he documents a number of studies that look at the effects on soil of glyphosate, insecticides, fungicides, tillage and synthetic fertilizers.

For example, he references a 2016 meta-analysis of 36 glyphosate studies (Nguyen et al.) that found “‘field application rates [of glyphosate products] had no significant effect on SMR [soil microbial respiration] or SMB [soil microbial biomass].’ They did find effects when applied at higher rates, but that is why we have the EPA and pesticide labels.”

He cites several other studies that make similar statements and says “While not conclusive, this evidence does not raise any red flags about the use of herbicides and their effect on the soil.”

A study by Bunemann et al. that reviewed all agricultural inputs suggests that some insecticides and fungicides “proved to be quite toxic,” yet a review by Imfeld and Vuilleumier (2012) said “the literature on the effects of pesticides on soil micro-organisms suggests that they only have minor or transient effects when they are applied at the recommended doses.”

McGuire also referenced a meta-analysis of 107 data sets from 64 long-term trials that looked at the effects of synthetic fertilizers and concluded that fertilizer applications actually led to increased microbial biomass compared to unfertilized control treatments.

Tillage, on the other hand, as no-tillers know, degrades soil structure, causes erosion and compaction, kills earthworms and destroys the soil ecosystem. As the NRCS says, “Tilling the soil is the equivalent of an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, and forest fire occurring simultaneously to the world of soil organisms. Simply stated, tillage is bad for the soil.”

Granted, these studies are limited to looking at the effects of these products on soil microbes and don’t get into effects on human health, persistence in the environment and the like. Nor do they look at the potential benefits of a no-till organic system.

But in terms of how pesticides and fertilizers compare to tillage and the long-term outlook for soil degradation, McGuire clearly makes the case that “if protecting the soil is the first requirement for sustaining agricultural production, then clearly tillage is not our first choice if other, less damaging tools, like herbicides, are available. The tradeoffs between herbicide use and tillage favor herbicides.”

With the help of cover crops and new weed management tools, many no-tillers are making headway toward reducing these inputs as well, which is fantastic. But as the population continues to grow, it’s comforting to know that no-tillers are on the right path where soil health is concerned and that the judicious use of fertilizers and pesticides can be part of a sustainable agricultural system.
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