I am not sure if it is possible. Is a guaranteed no-pollution boiler possible? You see, we all know we need one, but a necessity doesn’t mean you are safe from the blame of the earth’s destruction.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The answer to your question will depend somewhat on your definition of pollution but I suspect the answer for you will be no.  First let's define a boiler.  For home use, a boiler is basically a furnace that burns some type of fuel to heat water to produce steam.  The fuel can be oil, natural gas, propane, wood, or coal.  All of these fuels contain carbon and the burning of all of them will produce off-gasses.  Even the cleanest burning hydrocarbon will always produce carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.  While CO2 is not dangerous to humans in terms of toxicity, it could be contributing to global climate change.  So if you consider carbon dioxide a pollutant, then you absolutely cannot have a pollution free boiler for home use.  On an industrial scale you can use nuclear fuel to heat a boiler but this is not feasible for a house (and it produces radioactive waste among other issues).  You could use resistance heat like in an electric hot water heat, but this is highly energy intensive and would cost a fortune to heat a house.  Also, if your area power company produces the electricity by burning coal, then you really aren't helping the environment in the long run, anyway.  If you could find a way to power a boiler with solar panels, then you might be onto something but I am pretty sure that they will not be able to generate enough electricity to meet a boiler's needs.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I don't know that there is such a thing, as all means I know of generating heat energy to power a boiler, are either combustion or nuclear.  Most combustion generates greenhouse gases, and nuclear generates dangerous radioactive wastes, that could be even worse pollutants that greenhouse gases.  Greenhouse gases are still speculative -- although it's agreed that the Earth is getting warmer identical warming trends on Jupiter and Mars indicate that human greenhouse emissions are not the cause and its questionable if the rate of 1 degree every 150 years is a crisis -- but the dangers of radioactivity are well documented, just touching the materials at Hanford, WA or INL would be fatal. 
The only boiler that wouldn't generate known pollutants would be Hydrogen combustion, but it takes more energy to produce Hydrogen than it releases from combustion. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team