Ventus Project

Ventus Project

Power plants burning fossil fuels constitute more than 40 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to the Earth’s atmosphere every year, according to Arizona State University researchers. Information regarding where the world’s power plants are located and how much each one is emitting is not well-known outside of the U.S. and a handful of industrial countries. In order for basic research on climate change and the global carbon cycle to move forward, researchers need this information.

The Ventus Project lets citizen scientists work with the scientific community by contributing this power plant information. Your role can be as simple as providing the exact coordinates of a single power plant near your home or work (or correcting the location of one already identified). Or, you may have information regarding a series of power plants including, not only location, but power generation, fuel type and CO2 emissions.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Kevin Gurney, Associate Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Arizona State University
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Citizen scientists contribute information via simple pin placements on Google Maps and filling out some forms. If you register, you can be a part of a game, competing with others to supply the greatest amount of useable information. You can get started first by registering with Ventus.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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