Yeomans Carbon Still used for scientific research in Italy

The Yeomans Carbon Still has been instrumental for the collaborative research of an international team of environmental management and climate change researchers, resulting in an important scholarly publication.

Led by Professor of Ecology Augusto Zanella from University of Padua, the research project takes the small island of Albarella (near Venice) and asks what might be needed to rapidly minimise its carbon emissions. Transport, housing, food, waste management, and vegetation are all modelled to understand the maximum possible reduction. The research team asks: if carbon emissions could be radically reduced on Albarella, then could this be scaled up to transform the way we live on the entire planet?

This compelling project involved a team of more than 30 researchers from around the world, including Italy, France, Austria, China, Germany, and Australia. The Australian contribution came from Allan Yeomans and Dr Lucas Ihlein, whose art/science research project Baking Earth: Soil and the Carbon Economy brought the Yeomans Carbon Still to wider public attention during the high profile Shapes of Knowledge exhibition at Monash University Museum of Art in 2019.

Following the exhibition, in which a fully working model of the Yeomans Carbon Still was used to demonstrate Allan Yeomans’ system of soil carbon measurement, the University of Padua acquired two of the devices. These were used for baseline testing the soil on the island of Albarella. The resulting research paper, “Tackling climate change: The Albarella island example”, which has been published in the journal PLOS Climate, shows how carbon emissions for Albarella could be cut to a quarter of current levels within ten years, offering a “grain of hope” for global climate change.

Read a Media release by the University of Padova here.

Access the new research paper here.

Read another paper entitled “Land Use, Microorganisms, and Soil Organic Carbon: Putting the Pieces Together” published in the journal Diversity, from the same research team. This paper also uses the Yeomans Carbon Still for soil carbon measurement.

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1 Comment

  1. Thank you Lucas, it’s just like you say, let’s hope we can make it.
    The final synthetic results are these:
    1) we can cut emissions by 3/4 (solar panels and new diet);
    2) the remaining quarter is due to energy dispersions and the fact that humans have to eat: irreducible, or we must save (consume less);
    3) we have extended these results to the entire planet (if we do at the planet level what is programmed for Albarella), mathematically, by bringing the island to the size of the planet land surface and with 8 billion inhabitants:
    the concentration of CO2 in the air would reach 500 ppm in 2032 (now it is 424 ppm), and then would increase with a speed of 1/4 the present; we could stay below +2°C until 2050. The conditions to get there are quite restrictive, however: no longer oil, everything based on solar energy or equivalent, half of the humans becoming vegetarians;
    4) HARSH REALITY: many humans have bigger problems (hunger, wars, lack of work…) than the climate change.
    (we published a continuation to the paper “Land use..”, which corrects and reinforces the previous results, namely that biodiversity is a question of connection between species: ).

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