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...

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
ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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.

tjbrewer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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. 

liamsienna | Student

EPA's purpose is to ensure that:

  1. all Americans are protected from significant risks to human health and the environment where they live, learn and work;
  2. national efforts to reduce environmental risk are based on the best available scientific information;
  3. federal laws protecting human health and the environment are enforced fairly and effectively;
  4. environmental protection is an integral consideration in U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade, and these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy;
  5. all parts of society -- communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments -- have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks;
  6. environmental protection contributes to making our communities and ecosystems diverse, sustainable and economically productive; and
  7. the United States plays a leadership role in working with other nations to protect the global environment.
azenethcande | Student
Maybe the right question is, is EPA really as good as they say or just another government environmental fraud? The problem is the EPA has created the most extensive set of rules in the world and the rest of the government is not taking that into account when dealing with industry. EPA rules add up to a 30% penalty to the cost of goods made in the USA, yet the government and EPA say nothing about goods coming from Asia.
evietamsin | Student

The EPA has some environmental measures that make no sense. Environmentalism has become more of a reactionary science, rather than one based on fact. It's a shame really...politics destroys everything, even science.

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