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How much energy is require to remove a small amount of CO2 from the atmosphere?

  1. Mar 20, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Estimate how much energy is required to remove a small amount of CO2 from the atmosphere if we were to do a clean-up operation to take back greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere by human activity. Give the estimate in energy per molecule of CO2. Compare this with the energy released by burning one atom of carbon to form one molecule of CO2. Assume the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 400 ppm. The heat of combustion of carbon is 30 kJg-1

    2. Relevant equations

    (Carbon 12) + 2(Oxygen 16) → (Carbon dioxide)

    3. The attempt at a solution

    • It says to remove a small amount, so I assume this to be 1 kg.
      I then want to work out how much energy is in a CO2 molecule.
      Then compare this to the energy in individual C and 2 O atoms.
      The difference is the energy required to remove one CO2 molecule.
      Work out the mass of CO2 and scale up the energy difference

    This was my general train of thought but I doesn't involve either of the given quantities; the 400 ppm or the heat of combustion! Should I be using the 400 ppm as the "small amount" I want to remove? Any help is appreciated.
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data



    2. Relevant equations



    3. The attempt at a solution
     
  2. jcsd
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