Tag: Carbon Dioxide

A Sublime Way to Chill Out


Dry Ice pellets

Dry Ice pellets

Sublime has a number of meanings, such as lofty, noble, above the rest.  However, in the world of chemistry, sublime means to go directly from solid to gas, do not pass liquid, do not collect in a flask.  The classic example of this is dry ice, solid carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide gas is everywhere (a fact that sends Al Gore into conniptions) as the product of combustion and biological use of carbon sources like sugars and fats. This means it is easily available for scientific study. As scientists sought to chill this gas, they found that they could not liquefy it at atmospheric pressure, no matter how much they cooled it down. Liquid carbon dioxide only exists at high pressures. That means the solid left no liquid behind as it sublimed – thus the name dry ice.

Dry ice is in common use as the cheapest way to get temperatures well below freezing. Dry ice sublimes at −78.5°C (−109.3°F) which has a wide range of uses – including ice cream and fog machines. (Be careful with the fog – it has elevated CO2 levels and is dangerous without good ventilation.) Two of these uses are ones I encounter regularly in the lab.

Electric Cars, Nuclear Power, and Being Green


A bill to extend tax credits for the purchase of electric cars is before the Congress.  It has bipartisan support, and supporters specifically cite the threat of global warming as a reason for this measure.  It is estimated that this extension will cost $16 billion in lost revenues.

The idea that electric cars are so “green” that tax credits to encourage their sales are warranted lacks foundation.  Although they are frequently termed “zero emission”,  electric cars are not emissions-free.  It’s just that the electric power plants do their emitting for them.  Given that the National Energy Institute says that on average 0.95 kg of carbon dioxide is emitted to produce one kilowatt-hour (kWh)  of electrical energy, of which the Tesla needs 75 kWh to go about 210 miles (real world estimate), as much carbon dioxide is emitted to power a Tesla Model S as is emitted by a similar sized conventional car given recent improvements in gas mileage.

Member Post


Inspired by a post that referenced how environmental alarmists lie about most everything they say, I thought I would add this for your entertainment. Carbon dioxide, CO2, the most dreaded gas of the environmentalists, is in fact the most life giving substance in the world. Especially if you count animal or plant life of similar […]

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Overreach at the EPA


Last week, Tennessee’s public utility regulator, Kenneth Hill, argued in the Wall Street Journal that states should boycott the EPA’s Clean Coal Plan, forcing the feds themselves to take full responsibility for whatever obligations they impose. I examine that argument and other aspects of the proposed program in my new column for Defining Ideasand find the entire project wanting:

EPA [Administrator Gina] McCarthy praises the flexibility of her plans, by noting that the EPA “can look at stringency, timing, phasing-in, glide path,” and a lot else to make sure that grid reliability is not impaired. But therein lies part of the problem, for the question is just how much discretion should the EPA have in making decisions that could cost individual states and firms billions, especially since it appears that its direct regulatory authority to implement on its own only direct regulation of emissions from designated facilities. It looks therefore that the threat of very heavy direct cuts in output could be used to lever states to make alterations in local policy that the EPA is powerless to impose under its own authority. At this point, the crafty game of extending powers through threats does give rise to a serious constitutional challenge, as the EPA seeks to implement indirectly measures that it could not impose directly.