The extraction and
supply of fuels for heating,
transport and electricity generation can result in significant local
environmental impacts. By-product wastes raise particular concerns.
Other energy impacts, such as atmospheric pollution, can be globally
harmful. Carbon dioxide emissions are noted for their potential to
accelerate global warming. Sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides are noted
for enhancing the acidification of rain. Phosphates are noted for their
impacts on biodiversity in the oceans, and numerous other elements are
noted for their potential to add toxicity to the environment by air,
land, and water pathways.
An example of this,
researched by The Open University, involves the sequestration of
methane, formed from the decomposition of waste within municipal
landfills. This waste can be co-processed to minimise its volume and
environmental impact, and to generate low-carbon electrical power.
The integrate waste systems group focuses on sustainable resource and
waste management especially in relation to energy and waste.
further information on OU energy and the environment research, please
contact Dr Stephen Peake (Senior Lecturer in Environmental Technology):