Projects

Please read the old content below, it is still relevant. At the moment (5/5/16) I should be getting back to my PhD project where I am evaluating and attempting to manipulate, naturally occuring micro-algae communities in wastewater ponds for the purpose of enhanced biomass production for biofuel feedstock, stabilised carbon for carbon sequestration, and water remediation.

As part of my project I have had to modify an existing method for concentrating algae samples, constructed customised counting cells for my microscope work, and have designed and am trying to construct a prototype microalgae screening apparatus to screen and concentrate samples for the tub growing experiments I have yet to perform in Spring. I have constructed my 5 micron prototype unit, it was very tedious and time consuming so I am constructing apparatus to cast the components for the 10, 20, 40, 80, and 140 micron units I have yet to construct. As I have no funds left and my working partner is supporting me as best she can, I am casting my components using an epoxy elastomer. I would rather have dies manufactured and get a company to injection mold my components in plastic but I cannot afford it and my University is also short of funds and I currently lack the confidence to approach UNE for more support as I have battled many setbacks recently and have had to extend my completion date as far as I could (mid 2017). However, if a wealthy Philanthropist feels like backing my project please track me down for consultation, I will not provide a contact here yet because I do not have time for a lot of extra correspondence but a resourceful person can easily find me from other info such as my name on my thesis - but there is a Professor with the same name as me at UNE, I am number 26. It may be possible to patent my algae screen. I could also probably arrange to 3d print the components but I am concerned that the digital files might compromise the chance of a patent, and the focus would probably fall on the 3d printing tool which seems common lately, and I would rather control the quality and final design of each of the components myself, hopefully it will end up ok.

Note: page still under construction

Outline of 'Energy, Water, carbon and climate control system' (EWCCS) pilot plant proposal near port Augusta. Please access my original pilot project proposal from link Here (pdf 583KB) because I am still working on this page.

Port Augusta proposal

The following section outlines the need for, uses, and basic composition of a sustainable energy and water supply, carbon and climate management system and provides an outline of a pilot plant proposal for Port Augusta, South Australia.

The Outline is also available as a 4 page pdf (5 pages with references), the document is a bit rough but should serve as an introduction to the issues. for a pdf copy, click here (same pdf as above).

A sustainable integrated water, energy and fuel system to address climate change in Australia

R. S. Baker

Current ‘solutions’ to energy supply and climate change
Addressing the current and growing issues of climate change such as; increasing temperature, aridity, and increasingly extreme events such as droughts, catastrophic fires and floods which threaten food security, quality of life, and ecosystems are high on the political and research agenda of many nations.  Major themes adopted by the Australian Government to seek solutions to this issue are to establish a ‘Carbon “Pollution” Reduction Scheme’ [CPRS], and ‘clean coal’ technology, on the basis that coal fired electricity generation is responsible for the largest proportion of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The most recent manifestation of the Government's climate change policy is their intent to introduce a 'carbon tax'. While it is essential to reduce or reverse carbon emissions to the atmosphere and a price on carbon is neccessary to 'internalise the externality' of the damage and cost of excess atmospheric carbon.

However, our Government could be doing much more to initiate the construction of alternative energy sources so that we are not forced to use fossil burning systems. There are many alternative technologies that can be more economical than fossil fuelled systems even without a carbon tax. If we are properly prepared for a carbon price we will not have to pay it because we will not be emitting excess carbon, We may even profit from a carbon price if we become carbon negative, we can charge other emitters. This section (when finished) will outline how we can become carbon negative. In the meantime please access the old pdf of this page linked above, and my thesis linked on the top right of my homepage, these documents contain sufficient information for an informed person to work out how we can 'solve' climate change and prosper at the same time.

Greenhouse gases are not the only problem
It is important to remember that anthropogenic Climate Change is driven by a multitude of factors, not solely driven by human activities that emit excessive amounts of greenhouse gases. The replacement of deep-rooted perennial vegetation with shallow-rooted annual vegetation has been shown to have caused significant increases in regional temperatures and reductions in rainfall [climate change] across our most productive [and altered] landscapes (McAlpine et al. 2007). Excessive loss of topsoil leading to reduced soil water storage, fertility and landscape productivity and the reduction of westward flows in the Murray Darling Basin can only exacerbate the effects of landscape change and accelerate the process of desertification in Australia. Consider the following maps.

Map of Australian land cover change since European settlementMap of Australian rainfall trends

Figure 1: Vegetation changes, source Carnaham et al. (1990)    Figure 2: Rainfall trends, source BOM (2009)

An integrated solution
Any serious attempt to mitigate, adapt or even reverse the manifold negative impacts of climate change in Australia must consider the direct impacts of landscape modification on regional climates in terms of direct climate feedback from the landscape as well as direct and indirect effects of landscape modification on the regional and global carbon cycle. An integrated problem demands integrated solutions, the following pages will outline such a solution to Australia’s current and future climate change enhanced ecosystem degradation problems.

An Outline of Australia’s only sustainable response to climate change
Australia’s landscape degradation has progressed to a point that simply removing dams and planting trees will not sustainably improve environmental conditions. The solution lies in replacing Australia’s current energy and water supply systems with renewable energy and water supply systems integrated within a proactively managed landscape. This dynamic system will not only provide electricity and water, but also solid, liquid and gaseous fuels, stock feed, fertilisers, plastics and chemical feedstocks, in addition to removing CO2 from the atmosphere, moderating regional climates and enhancing regional; productivity, hydrological functions and ecosystem resilience. A modular schematic representation of such an integrated system is presented below.

Diagram of an integrated renewable energy, water supply, carbon and climate management system

Back to top

mouseover