Cost Effective Technology

Mass implementation of simple, inexpensive technologies to reduce world wide soot generation will quickly eliminate most climate change, and the even more serious problem of toxic heavy metal pollution.  

Paragon recognizes that only technologically and economically superior systems will be quickly implemented for infrastructure development designed to address these urgent social, environmental, and climate problems.  Bottom line: any successful long-term technology implementation strategy must take into account human nature and economic reality.  

New readily available pollution-free electrical generation technologies have already reached grid parity with current carbon-based offerings.  And while the world can not realistically afford to scrap all dirtier vehicles and power plants currently in use today, existing power plants can be modified to run cleanly with other technologies.  (See the brief technology summary below.)

More importantly for the decade ahead, there are clean new emerging technologies that should be introduced in the next 2-3 years that will rapidly change the way we all live and operate everyday.

The most exciting, disruptive, and transformational are new technologies that use recently discovered breakthroughs in particle physics to produce 200 times more energy than conventional combustion chemistries.  Paragon will release more information about these in the months ahead.

While these and other green technology already available today can be used to ensure clean power generation in the future, there is also a significant need for “add-on” technologies to clean up the emissions of older dirtier technology currently in use. 

Particle Scrubbing Technologies for Diesel Ground Transportation Applications

A diesel particulate filter, sometimes called a DPF, is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel engine. Wall-flow diesel particulate filters usually remove 85% or more of the soot, and can at times (heavily loaded condition) attain soot removal efficiencies of close to 100%. A diesel-powered vehicle equipped with functioning filter will emit no visible smoke from its exhaust pipe.

In addition to trapping  particulate, filters need to be cleaned in some manner. Some filters are single use (disposable), while others are designed to burn off the accumulated particulate, either through the use of a catalyst (passive), or through an active technology, such as a fuel burner which heats the filter to soot combustion temperatures, through engine modifications (the engine is set to run a certain specific way when the filter load reaches a pre-determined level, either to heat the exhaust gases, or to produce high amounts of NO2, which will oxidize the particulates at relatively low temperatures), or through other methods. This is known as "filter regeneration." Fuel sulfur interferes with many "regeneration" strategies, so almost all jurisdictions that are interested in the reduction of particulate emissions, are also passing regulations governing fuel sulfur levels.

Particulate filters have been in use on non-road machines since 1980, and in automobiles since 1996. Diesel combustion produces a variety of particles generically classified as diesel particulate matter due to incomplete combustion. The composition of the particles varies widely dependent upon engine type, age, and the emissions specification that the engine was designed to meet. Two-stroke diesel engines produce more particulate per horsepower output than four-stroke diesel engines, as they burn the fuel-air mix less completely.

Historically diesel engine emissions were not regulated until 1987 when the first California Heavy Truck rule was introduced capping particulate emissions at 0.60 g/BHP Hour.  Since then progressively tighter standards have been introduced for both On-Road and Non-Road diesel engines.

While particulate emissions from diesel engines was first regulated in the United States, similar regulations have also been adopted by the European Union, most Asian countries, and the rest of North and South America World List of Standards.

While no jurisdiction has made filters mandatory, the increasingly stringent emissions regulations that engine manufactures must meet mean that eventually all on-road diesel engines will be fitted with them.  The American 2007 heavy truck engine emissions regulations cannot be met without filters.  In the European Union, filters are expected to be necessary to meet Euro.VI heavy truck engine emissions regulations currently under discussion and planned for the 2012-2013 time frame. PSA Peugeot Citroën was the first company to make them standard fit on passenger cars in 2000, in anticipation of the future Euro V regulations.

It is expected that non-road diesel engines will be regulated in a similar manner.

As of July 2006 the California Air Resources Board was looking at introducing regulations that will require retrofit of all diesel engines operating in the state by the year 2013 . Other jurisdictions may also do this. A variety of retrofit programs have been done:

2002 - In Japan the Prefecture of Tokyo passed a law banning trucks without filters from entering the city limits.
2003 - Mexico City started a program to retrofit trucks
2001 - Hong Kong retrofit program
2004 - New York City retrofit program (non-road)
2008 - London Low Emission Zone charges charging vehicles that do not meet emission standard encourages retrofit filters

The above information is found at 

Particle Scrubbing Technologies for Heavy Industrial Applications

Dirty industrial coal and oil refinery operations can also be quickly cleaned up with existing scrubber technologies. 

Electrostatic Precipitators:

Electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) are particulate collection devices which use an induced electrical charge to remove particles from flue gas. ESP has been the preferred technology for use at coal-fired power plants.

When working properly they can be highly efficient at particulate removal (typically 99.0-99.5 percent) and have minimal impact on air flow through the device. Since they do not require a large pressure drop, they have less of an impact on plant efficiency, compared to fabric filters. One primary challenge to an ESP’s efficiency is electrical resistance, which can result from combustion of low-sulfur coal. Though this is typically a dry process, it is possible to spray incoming air with moisture, which can improve the capture of fine particles, as well as reduce the electrical resistance of the incoming particles.

Dry ESP waste is adsorbed onto metal plates, then rapped to remove the particulate matter for disposal or potentially reuse (e.g., fly ash used in cement).   Wet ESP waste is flushed with water for treatment or disposal.  At present more than 96 percent of the coal power plants in China have ESP, however clearly these are not working as intended.

Fabric Filters:

Fabric filters, alternately referred to as baghouses, have been employed more widely than ESP since the 1970s, largely at the industrial scale (IEA, 2006c).  China has seen a similar increase in the use of baghouses, not only for industrial purposes but also for use at power plants. The choice between ESP and fabricfilters depends on coal type, plant size, and boiler type and configuration; additionally, if regulations require removal efficiency above 99.5 percent, fabric filters may be more cost-effective (World Bank, 2007). However, fabric filters require a decrease in pressure and thus a decrease in plant efficiency.1

Improved Rural Cooking Stove Technology

A cook stove is heated by burning wood, charcoal, animal dung or crop residue. Cook stoves are commonly used for cooking and heating food in developing countries like India and generate significant air pollution and soot.

Developing countries consume little energy compared to developed nations.  However, over 50% of the energy that they do use goes into cooking food.  The average rural family spends 20% or more of its income purchasing wood or charcoal for cooking.  Living in the city provides no refuge, as the urban poor frequently spend a significant portion of their income on the purchase of wood or charcoal.

Fuelwood and biomass burning is the primary reason for near-permanent haze and smoke observed above rural and urban India, and in satellite pictures of the country. Fuelwood and biomass cakes are used for cooking and general heating needs. These are burnt in cook stoves known as chullah or chulha, are present in over 100 million Indian households, and are used two to three times a day, daily.

Improved Cook Stoves (ICS) are designed to reduce the fuel consumption per meal and to curb smoke emissions from open fires inside dwellings. They are designed for developing country settings as a low cost bridging technology. It is generally claimed that the new designs burn the wood (or other fuel) more efficiently. Evidence refers to significant reductions on firewood consumption, time consuming wood extraction, and respiratory diseases. Important features may include a pipe (chimney) to vent the smoke and a different chamber design.

There are various designs, such as the Lorena stove and the ONIL Stove which uses mortar-less concrete blocks in its construction and costs $150 USD per stove. Another design is the Berkeley-Darfur stove that reduces smoke and is twice as efficient as a clay stove, with the goal of reducing the need for women to leave the camps in search of wood.

The most fuel-efficient type of cooker is the solar cooker, which uses no fuels of any kind. These devices of course require clear sunlight, but they are practical in many of the sunny regions of the world.

1Energy Futures and Urban Air Pollution: Challenges for China and the United States, Committee on Energy Futures and Air Pollution in Urban China and the United States, National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council in collaboration with Chinese Academy of Engineering and Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2008,
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