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Study of the carbon cycle and its impact on the Earth's climate

In our opinion, climate change is primarily driven by natural factors. The movement of tectonic plates, the transformation of the rate of carbon seepage from the subsurface can not only change the temperature, but even have a catastrophic effect on the planet. Proof of this incontrovertible fact is the severe climatic transformations that have occurred in the past, including from the very warm Cretaceous to the glacial Pleistocene.

Large-scale deep processes accompanied by volcanic eruptions provoke carbon dioxide emissions from the subsurface into the atmosphere. Their volume is tens of times greater than the emission of mankind. Research conducted in Antarctica by scientists of St. Petersburg Mining University together with their colleagues from the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute, revealed a strong link between global climate change and the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere. Moreover, this relationship was traced over four 100-thousand-year cycles. The latter was an irrefutable experimental proof of the role of greenhouse gases as enhancers of initially weak climatic transformations.

The energy sector is responsible for most of the anthropogenic emissions that also contribute to climate change, making the development of low-carbon technologies for generating electricity and heat an urgent task. It is believed that the large-scale distribution of renewable sources will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and slow down global warming. However, detailed calculations must also take into account the carbon footprint of RES-based power plants themselves.

In addition, it should be understood that the replacement of hydrocarbons with wind turbines and solar panels leads to a lower energy return on investment (EROI). This means that this process should be treated in a very balanced way, focusing primarily on improving the energy efficiency of the traditional fuel and energy complex, the development of carbon sequestration technologies, the utilization of unclaimed energy sources, such as associated petroleum gas, waste steam, exhaust gases, etc.


The following topics are being worked on at St. Petersburg Mining University:

Research in the field of energy efficiency of RES and alternative energy sources, such as petro-thermal energy, as well as CO2 injection into the old stock of wells;

Creation of hybrid energy complexes using Brighton, Rankine and Allam cycles;

Development of methods for year-round temperature stabilization of soils and permafrost;

Reducing the carbon footprint of oil production facilities through the use of modern technologies for associated petroleum gas utilization.