Energy in the 21st Century - Sarasota County Extension

Energy in the 21st Century - Sarasota County Extension

Roy Beckford

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Agent III

UF/IFAS, Lee County Extension



Natural Gas

The Carboniferous Period – 350 Mil yrs. ago

Since the Industrial Revolution,

humans have greatly increased the

quantity of carbon dioxide in the

atmosphere and oceans.

Atmospheric levels have increased

by over 30%, from about 275 parts

per million (ppm) in the early 1700s

to over 390 PPM today.

Scientists estimate that future

atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide

could reach an amount between 450

to 600 PPM by the year 2100.

The major sources of this gas due to

human activities include fossil fuel

combustion and the modification of

natural plant cover found in

grassland, woodland, wetland and

forested ecosystems.

Carbon is stored on Earth in the

following major sinks

(1)as organic molecules l in living


and dead organisms found in the

biosphere. Anything with carbon

molecules is an organic molecule

(2)as the gas carbon dioxide id in

the atmosphere

(3)as organic matter in soils

(4)in the lithosphere as fossil fuels

and sedimentary rock deposits

such as limestone, dolomite and


(5)in the oceans as dissolved

atmospheric carbon dioxide ide

and as calcium carbonate shells

in marine organisms.

The carbon cycle is the set of biogeochemical processes

(such as Photosynthesis th and Respiration) by which


carbon undergoes chemical reactions, changes form,

and moves through different reservoirs on earth,

including living i organisms such as plants and animals

Photosynthesis: th energy (sunlight) + 6CO2 + H2O C6H12O6 + 6O2

Respiration: i C6H12O6 (organic matter) + 6O2 6CO2 + 6 H2O + energy

Carbon is the main

component of biological


The term ‘organic’

synonymously means

‘containing carbon’

Combined with other

elements, carbon is a major

component of many minerals

The carbon cycle sustains

basic life patterns on Earth

Fossil fuel combustion remains the largest contributor

to increased CO2 releases into the atmosphere

Forest clearing reduces the ability of photosynthesis to

remove CO2 from the atmosphere, also resulting in a

net increase

CO2 increases the atmosphere’s ability to hold heat

Global temperature will increase between 1.4 and 5.8

degrees C over the next century as a result of increases

in atmospheric CO2

The Keeling Curve (above right) has been hailed as the most

rigorous and fundamental measure of global change



(Alternative) Renewable Energy Sources














With 90 500 l l t 42 000 tt h

With 90,500 solar panels, generates 42,000 megawatt-hours

or enough power to serve about 3,000 homes

Lee County Waste to Energy Facility

The facility processes 1,836 tons-per-day of solid waste while

generating up to 57.3 megawatts of clean, renewable energy with

approximately 50 megawatts sold to Seminole Electric Cooperative.

Marine Turbines

Bio-refineries – Vegetable oil

Bio-production - Ethanol

“The use of Vegetable

oils (Bio Diesel) for

engines may seem

insignificant today. But

such oils may become

in course of time as

important as

Petroleum and Coal

tar products of the

present time" - Rudolf

Diesel, 1912

Biomass and Biofuels

UF/IFAS Lee County Focus

• Camelina (Oil)

• Kenaf (Biomass)

• Jatropha (Oil)

Camelina sativa

• A member of the mustard family, is

a summer annual oilseed plant.

• Intercrops well with Jatropha curcas

• Adapted d to cool arid climates

• Camelina has nearly 40% omega-3

• Produces soy meal quality meal

and canola quality oil

• Meal can be used for special high

omega feed for fish, poultry, beef

and dairy cattle, hogs, goats and


Hibiscus canabanus (Kenaf)

• Four cultivars…fiber used as biomass

Kenaf and Carbon Sequestration

• One acre of Kenaf yields 10 tons of


• One acre of Kenaf sequesters almost

10 tons of carbon from the air

• Researcher Bill Loftus patented a

building block from kenaf (9 lbs)

• Block is super insulating and fireproof

(mixed with concrete)

• Pilot projects underway in Haiti and

South Africa

Grows well in tropics

Frost intolerant

Wild varieties invasive

in Florida

Large fruit/seed varieties in Paraguay

Oldest technology on

the Earth

Practiced by indigenous

people worldwide

Pulverized charcoal

identified d as a soil

amendment by south

American Indians

Referred to as ‘black

gold’ by Portuguese


Biochar is produced using pyrolysis, that is,

biomass is super-heated in the absence of

oxygen at high temperatures (350-700° C) in

specially designed furnaces.

The most sustainable feed stocks are what

are now considered waste: excess manure,

wood debris, construction waste, slash from

forest thinning (or land clearing), food

processing waste, residue from methane

digesters or urban tree trimmings.

In this modern method, volatile gasses,

hydrocarbons and most of the oxygen and

hydrogen in the biomass are burned or driven

off and captured, including greenhouse gases


These captured emissions are known as syngas

(synthetic gas) and can be used like natural a gas.

Liquids, called bio-oils, are also captured

creating another source of energy, leaving

carbon enriched biochar.

The heat generated during the pyrolysis process

can also generate electricity.



Tropical deforestation is

responsible for approximately

20% of world greenhouse gas


The water cycle is negatively

affected by deforestation

Shrinking forest cover lessens

the landscape's capacity to

intercept, retain and transpire


Damage to forests and other

aspects of nature could halve

living standards for the world's

poor and reduce global GDP by

about 7% by 2050

Tropical afforestation will

increasingly gysequester and

capture carbon dioxide.

The water cycle benefits from


Expanding forest cover

increases the landscape’s

capacity to intercept, retain and

transpire precipitation

Investments in afforestation and

other aspects of nature will

stabilize then improve living

standards for the world’s poor

and increase global GDP by 7%

by 2050

Scientists have

estimated that if

applied on a global

scale, such 'bioenergy

with carbon

storage' (BECS)

systems can bring

atmospheric CO2

levels back to preindustrial

levels by

mid-century (2050).

BECS is a biomass

technology or

approach that removes

CO2 from the

atmosphere and at the

same time deliver CO2

neutral energy carriers

such as heat, electricity


or hydrogen to society

Recognize that ongoing g changes in climate

and environment conditions raise new

challenges to agriculture, fishing and


Elaborate on theoretical messages and

practical measures for sustainable

development of agriculture and forestry

under changing climate and environment

Establish partnership between ‘government’

and ‘nongovernment’ to build new

foundations for environmental law, policy,

education and individual incentives for

addressing change.


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