Saturday, January 8, 2011

Why Do We Need to Reduce Emissions ?

Why Do We Need to Reduce Emissions ?
This article is partially extracted from my white paper “environmental framework for emissions, discharges and waste management program” in oil & gas industries.
This white paper, presented in one of the most prominent “environment health and safety” conference and workshop recently.
I have tried to customize  this article from “complicated technical articles”  to “as friendly  articles as possible”,  so enjoy it and let’s be a part of green team.

Why do we need to reduce emission?
By nature, greenhouse gases  are  necessary to warm our planet to an ideal temperature. Why ? because the greenhouse gases have the ability to absorb and hold heat in the atmosphere and this phenomenon is known as “the greenhouse effect” .
The greenhouse effect (source:time)
This Greenhouse effect regulates the earth’s temperature. When the greenhouse effect would not exist, the whole earth would be covered in ice.
The main greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons water vapour and ozone. There are also small amount quantities of gases in our planet’s atmosphere such as sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons and nitrogen trifluoride.
Now, what is emission?           Well,…. emission is a terminology used to describe the gases and particles which are put into the air or emitted by various sources; by natural process and by human kind activities.
Unfortunately,  emissions as a result of human kind activities increase the balance of greenhouse gases, which in turns affecting the planet ideal temperature.
Most of  human kind  activities resulting emission are related to  burning solid fuel,  farming practices, transportation, fossil fuel based power plants & industries , factories, deforestation, population growth and of course oil & gas  exploration & production.
The amounts and types of emissions increase rapidly every year inline with the changes of emerging and vibrant world nation’s economy ,……… more industrial activity  means … more emission, more technology improvements lead to more production…inturns ……more emission ,   more transportation means more emission  and many other factors.
These activities distort and accelerate the natural process by creating more and more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.  In turns, affecting the process of maintaining our planet’s ideal temperature,  which so called environmental & health issues on last decade  and current global warming issues.
In last two decade, the oil and gas industrial’s environmental & health issues, were  mainly concerned with emissions which are or could be harmful to people, namely criteria pollutants. The criteria pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead (Pb), nitrogen dioxide(NO2), ozone (O3) and particulate matter (PM).
However, inline with global warming, the most current issue in  oil& gas industies is  challenging to totally participate to prevent reversible climate disaster.   How?……by deploying an appropriate technonogy, environmental friendly for  oil and gas exploration-production facilities to reduce the emission of   NOx, Sox, CH4 and CO2.
So, what the most invironmental problem realy are ?     Well……………. it is all about  five dominant gases called CO2, SOx, CFC’s, NOx and CH4 which are the most important greenhouse gasses.
Why ? well… we need to understand the resources, properties and the effect of these gaseous.
NOx (nitrogen oxides),  is a group of the gaseous compounds NO, NO2 and N2O. Nitrogen Oxides forms when fuels are burned at high temperatures (gas turbines, boilers, transportation, Flare.
Flare membakar gas lebih, menambah emisi (sxgani)
Flare membakar gas lebih, menambah emisi (sxgani)
The dilemma of modernization is the more the country produce, the more  nitrogenoxides they produced.
This is the the basic of developing countries claimed the China and United State to reduced their emmision significantly. Record says that 21% of the emitted NOx is from the power plants and this is the most contributor in forming acid rain.
It  forms fine particles and Ozone smog that has harmful effects on health as well as leadind oxygen depletion which degrades water quality and harms fish.

CFC’s or Chlorofluorocarbons is a kind of the substant  that we used for refrigeration, and aerosal product up to late neighty.  CFC’s damages the ozone layer, creating a huge hole through  allowing dangerous ultraviolet light penetrates to our beloved earth surface.
Btw, the ultraviolet rays cause a dramatic increase in the number of cases of skin cancer and eye cataracts. Without ozone, our planet would be a very different place or at least, life as we know it-wouldn’t exist.
The affect on the food chain could  be disastrous, because the ray  kills plankton in the sea. Consequently , all fish, whales and other creatures  that live off of plankton would eventually starve and disappear. This would then affect the next link in the food chain…… at least, life as we know it-wouldn’t exist.
By 1989 nation around the world realized that the damaging CFC gases had to be replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives. This is based on Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, 1989.
SOx (sulfur oxides) is basically a group of gaseous compounds SO2 and SO3. This sulfur oxides which dissolved esily in water, is produced  when sulfur or a fuel that contains sulfur is burned.
ice melting at h.tavern natl-park austria (sxgani)
ice melting at h.tavern natl-park austria (sxgani)
When this dissolves water  is heated, resulting vapor to form acid, and fortunalty will interacts with other gases.
The particles interaction in the air forms sulfates and other products  can be harmful to people and their environment.
It is the fact that this is the main cause of  a wide variety of health and environmental impacts such as:
1.Respiratory Effects from Sulfate Particles
2.Visibility Impairment
3.Acid Rain
4.Plant and Water Damage
Environmental impact around industrial complex  can be identified by looking at the housing that using zink material for their roof;  all corroded with brown color.
CH4 (methane) is greenhouse gas, the simplest organic hydrocarbon, commonly referred to as natural gas.
Other sources of CH4 are  from decomposed plantation and Coal. If the coal layer in the earth is drilled and compressed with high pressure by mean of fluids, the methane will be extracted from coal and piped to surface, ready for used.
Methane gas trapped underneath ice at nothern territory  such as alaska  will be released and goes to atmosphere whenever the the permanent ice melted.   Moreover, whenever gas methane is burnt to produce energy, it also releases carbon dioxide and water.
CO2 (carbon dioxide) is an organic compound produced when burning a carbon fuel with air.   Fossil fuel combustion for energy generation causes about 70-75% of the carbon dioxide emissions. Increasing carbon dioxide emissions cause about 50-60% of the global warming.
Carbon dioxide emissions have risen from 280 ppm in 1850 to 364 ppm in the 1990s,  the figure increased more on 2000 and next 2010; mainly due to human activities in these emerging industrial era
Worthy to know that based on 2006 report ,  450 kg of CO2 remains in atmosphere out of  1 (one) metric ton CO2 emissions released to atmosphere.! Meaning 50% of emission released, will stay in atmosphere,  ……..thus more and more greenhouse gases accumulated and distort the balance of greenhouse gases in startosphere !
What does it mean? ………….It tells us that planet’s natural processes to clean up the excess CO2 due to human activities have not been able to keep up at the same rate.
So,… let’s be a part of green team, start from our small family.

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