Energy and Mass Balances Related to Climate Change and Remediation


The goal of this paper is to provide a forum for a broad interdisciplinary group of scientists and engineers to see how concepts of climate change, energy, and carbon remediation strategies are related to quite basic scientific principles. A secondary goal is to show relationships between general concepts in traditional science and engineering fields and to show how they are relevant to broader environmental concepts. This paper revisits Fourier's early mathematical derivation of the average temperature of the Earth from first principles, i.e. an energy balance common to chemical and environmental engineering. The work then uses the concept of mass balance to critically discuss various carbon remediation strategies. The work is of interest to traditional scientists/engineers, but also it is potentially useful as an educational document in advanced undergraduate science or engineering classes.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


National Science Foundation (U.S.)


This material includes work supported by (while AL was serving at) the National Science Foundation.

Keywords and Phrases

Carbon capture; Climate models; Pollution; Carbon remediation; Carbon utilization; Engineering class; First principles; Mathematical derivation; Scientific principles; Scientists and engineers; Traditional science; Climate change; Carbon; Fossil fuel; Academic research; Carbon sequestration; Climate change; Climate modeling; Energy balance; Interdisciplinary approach; Mass balance; Remediation; Strategic approach; Bioenergy; Biomass; Biomedical engineering; Carbon cycle; Carbon utilization; Chemical industry; Climate change; Combustion; Ecosystem Restoration; Electromagnetic Radiation; Energy balance; Environmental management; Environmental parameters; Environmental temperature; Fourier analysis; Gas turbine power; Greenhouse effect; Human; Interdisciplinary research; Mass balance; Mathematical computing; Nonhuman; Nuclear energy; Renewable energy; Review; Sunlight; Carbon capture and storage

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2017 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jul 2017