By Harry Babad © Copyright 2010, All right Reserved

Introduction

Read about my paradigms views, prejudices and snarky attitudes @:

https://mhreviews.wordpress.com/2010/05/23/the-greening-continues-a-column-intro-may-23-2010/

The materials I share in the articles that follow come from the various weekly science and environmental newsletters to which I subscribe. When I have time, I also check a variety of energy related and environmental blogs. In addition, I subscribe to New York Times, Time Magazine, The Economist, Business Week, Wired, National Geographic, Smithsonian – all which I skim for articles of interest.

Some of what I chase is called out in publications by the libraries of the Pacific Northwest [NewsBridge], Sandia, Argonne and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories, which are managed by the US Department of Energy. Other articles I found interesting come from technology feeds from the, Discover Magazine, various international energy and green advocacy groups as well as The American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS], from the American Nuclear Society [ANS] magazine Nuclear News is a source and for chemistry related news C&EN from the American Chemical Society [ACS].

Article selection (my article – my choice} are obviously and intentionally biased by my training, experience and at rare times my emotional and philosophical intuitive views of what works and what will not… But if you have a topic I neglect, send us feedback and I’ll give it a shot.

Remember, conditions, both technical and geopolitical continuously change – So if you’ve made up your mind about either the best way to go, or about its all a conspiracy, move on to the next article in our blog. Today’s favorite is tomorrow unintended consequences. However, that’s better than sticking one’s head in the sand or believing in perpetual motion. Remember, there’s no free lunch and you must always end up paying the piper!

Since my tid-bit are only a partial look at the original article, click on through if you want more details, as well as, often, added similar or related articles on the same topic(s).

Doc.

Now, As Usual, in No Formal Order, a Bakers Dozen Snippets

——— A List of Their Titles ———

  • Will Electric Cars Destroy Your Neighborhood Power Grid? No, But…
  • How Algal Biofuels Lost a Decade in the Race to Replace Oil.
  • Ten Ideas To Save The Planet From Coal — Burying The CO2 Problem.
  • World’s Largest Working Hydroelectric Wave Energy Device Launched.
  • At Issue Sustainability — The Big Paradigm Shift — Four principles for the shift from a fossil fuel based society plus one from Doc.
  • FACTBOX: What is the Non-Proliferation Treaty?
  • U.S. Set To Fund More Stem Cell Study — New lines approved.
  • Five Key Cyber Security Areas for DHS to TackleGeneral Accountability Office [GAO] Advice.
  • The Carpal Tunnel Survival Guide — You know this but…
  • Highest rate of CO2 emissions growth since 1990 – Data 1990-2005
  • Dams Could Alter Local Weather, Cause More Rain
    {Emphasis added by me.}
  • Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems Unveil World’s First Commercial-Scale Solar-Thermal Plant, The Suncatcher
  • Icy Crystals — Methane Hydrate — Heat Up

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Will Electric Cars Destroy Your Neighborhood Power Grid? No, But…

Over the next 12 months, carmakers will introduce several new plug-in electric vehicles. One question that’s frequently asked of GreenCarReports.com–and many others too: Does recharging electric cars pose a threat to the electricity grid?

The 2010 Fisker Karma and the 2011 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrids, among other electric-drive vehicles, are scheduled to roll out next year. Without a range-extending engine, the 2012 Nissan Leaf electric car will be even more reliant on the grid. So it’s a reasonable question.

The answer, in short, is: No. The current power grids in the U.S. are more than capable of handling incremental demand from the small numbers of plug-in cars that will be sold over the next few years.

However, depending on were you live and how popular the electric cars prove to be, utilities in some areas will need to take a bit of longer-term planning action sooner than others.

It should be noted that in a two-volume report, Environmental Assessment of Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles, concluded that the gradual rollout of electric vehicles would impose a very small load on the grid. Since an electric car recharging equals the load of four or five plasma TV sets, overall demand won’t be notably affected.

By John Voelcker – Senior Editor, CarGreenReports.com. November 23rd, 2009

http://www.greencarreports.com/blog/1038392_will-electric-cars-destroy-your-neighborhood-power-grid-no-but/

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How Algal Biofuels Lost a Decade in the Race to Replace Oil

For nearly 20 years, a government laboratory built a living, respiring library of carefully collected organisms in search of something that could grow quickly while producing something precious: oil.

But now that collection has largely been lost. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientists found and isolated around 3,000 species algae from construction ditches, seasonal desert ponds and briny mashes across the country in a major bioprospecting effort to find the best organisms to convert sunlight and carbon dioxide into fuel for cars.

Despite meager funding, the Aquatic Species Program initiated under President Jimmy Carter, laid the scientific foundation for making diesel-like fuel from the fat that microscopic algae accumulate in their cells. Fifty-one varieties were carefully characterized as potential high-value strains, but fewer than half of those remain.

“Just when they started to succeed is when the plug got pulled,” said phycologist Jeff Johansen of John Carroll University, who collected algal strains for the program in the 1980s. “We were growing them in ponds and we were going to grow enough to have them made into a diesel fuel.” The program was part of the huge investment that Jimmy Carter made into alternative energy in the late 1970s. All kinds of research avenues were explored, but when the funding shriveled during later years, knowledge, experts and know-how were lost. The setback highlights the problems created by inconsistent funding for energy research.

Now, President Obama has trumpeted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the stimulus package, as the largest increase in scientific research funding in history. Scientists roundly applauded the billions of dollars that went into energy research, development and deployment. But what about when the stimulus money runs out in two years?

“One caution is that much of this has been funded with the stimulus package,” said Ernie Moniz at a Google-hosted panel on energy in late November. “So, we’re going to have to see what happens after these next two years, because what we need is not a drop, but a further increase in R&D commensurate with the task at hand.” And that’s exactly what didn’t happen in the last big energy R&D push. A discussion of algae comes back can be found on the linked site.

Alas, reinventing the wheel is an old bureaucratic fall back position since records are never really kept when a project is closed down by a lack of funding.

By Alexis Madrigal, Wired — December 29, 2009

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/the-lost-decade-of-algal-biofuel/#ixzz0uM8JAOOn

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Ten Ideas To Save The Planet From Coal — Burying The CO2 Problem

It may be expensive but with coal demand expected to soar by 2030 capturing and storing carbon emissions is as vital as ever. The UK’s top scientists tell us why.

What idea policy or technology holds the greatest promise for tackling climate change? That was the question the UK’s Channel 4 News posed to the scientific community over the past few weeks.

Among a number of scientists the verdict was unanimous – carbon capture and storage must work. 

 The Department of Energy and Climate Change predicts that by 2030 global coal demand will rise by 70 per cent.

But where and when coal burns carbon is emitted. And these emissions must be stored long term in order to combat our changing climate. 

”In the immediate future, I believe that the greatest promise is offered by technologies related to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS),” Dr. Andrew Yool from Ocean Modeling and Forecasting told Channel 4 News.

“In principle, these will allow technological societies to retrofit existing infrastructure while continuing to use fossil fuel resources without exacerbating either climate change or ocean acidification.

CCS is a means of capturing carbon emissions from source (fossil fuel power plants) and storing it away from the atmosphere under ground. 

Long term storage of CO2 is not only expensive but it is also a relatively new concept. 

Last year operations began at the world’s first ever coal-fired power plant with facilities to capture and store its own emissions. It was built as an extension of the Schwarze Pumpe plant in Germany; the mini power station is a pilot for CCS.

More on the technical specifics of the CCS concept check out both the link and at Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_capture_and_storage]

However efforts to do so in the US have been met with all sorts of bureaucratic stumbling blocks.

For other UK potential solutions to climate change check out the link below. Some are technical but many related to institutional, societal and attitude changes. These are always a harder task of course, unless misbehaving cost you personally – yes comes out of your pocket.

http://www.channel4.com/news/article.jsp?id=3426497

Channel 4 News, UK November 2009

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/science_technology/ten+ideas+to+save+the+planet+burying+the+problem/3430407

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World’s Largest Working Hydroelectric Wave Energy Device Launched

Queen’s University Belfast has helped the global wave energy industry take a major stride forward with the launch of the world’s largest working hydroelectric wave energy device by Aquamarine Power Ltd.

Known as Oyster, the device has been officially launched by Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond MP, MSP at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney.

It is currently the world’s only hydroelectric wave energy device producing power and is now producing power by pumping high-pressure water to its onshore hydroelectric turbine. This will be fed into the National Grid to power homes in Orkney and beyond. A farm of 20 Oysters would provide enough energy to power 9,000 three bedroom family homes.

Professor Trevor Whittaker from Queen’s School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, the principal investigator, said: “The concept of Oyster came about through research in our wave-tank facility at Queen’s. The launch of Oyster is both a major landmark in terms of carbon-free sustainable energy production and a proud day for Queen’s University Belfast, which already has a reputation as being one of the leading wave-power research groups in the world. In fact Oyster is the third prototype demonstration wave power project, which the team at Queen’s has instigated in the past 20 years.

“Devices such as these have the power to revolutionize the world’s energy industry, at a small scale, and help combat climate change. Doc sez if it is cost effective w/o subsidies, no mater what the scale, every KWh helps, especially if it prevents more CO2 from being released in the generation of electricity.

The Product and Design Development Web Page, November 30, 2009

http://www.pddnet.com/news-worlds-largest-working-hydro_electric-wave-energy-device-launched-113009/

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At Issue Sustainability — The Big Paradigm Shift — Four principles for the shift from a fossil fuel based society

I’ll keep one this short to raise you temptation level. Needless to say I agree with Jim Lane about the pitfalls of not recognizing the problems created by global warming and energy shortfalls.

In the 2010 Dodgen Lecture at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences, and in the Q&A that followed, I described four principles that must be observed in order to successfully complete the transition away from a fossil-fuel based society.

  1. The Right To Clean, Affordable Energy:
  2. Energy Must Be Consumed Within The Radius That It Is Produced: NIMBY be dammed
  3. An Energy Finance System Must Permit Individuals To Participate:
  4. Energy Must Be Recognized As A Special Class Of Investment:

The Missing Paradigm Change

  1. If its subsidized, it’s not paying for its self, and is likely be a long term looser. [Doc]

More at http://www.biofuelsdigest.com/, some of which I agree with.

Article by Jim Lane, Editor, Biofuels Digest, February 2, 2010.

http://www.pddnet.com/blogs.aspx?id=81658&blogid=102&terms=’Sustainable+energy

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FACTBOX: What is the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

The objective of the treaty, which took effect in 1970, is to halt the spread of nuclear weapons-making capability, guarantee the right of all members to develop nuclear energy for peaceful ends and — for the original five nuclear weapons powers — to phase out their arsenals. Here are some key facts about the Non-Proliferation Treaty. An addition description can be found in he Wikipedia article on the same subject.

It’s been in the news lately usually making headlines but with any detail what the treaty is all about, whether discussed as part of President Obama’s new initiative, Israel’s lack of membership in the treaty organization, or the recalcitrant behavior if the Iranian government. So link-in!

Reuters News, Mon Nov 30, 2009

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5AT47120091130

Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_Nonproliferation_Treaty

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U.S. Set To Fund More Stem Cell Study — New lines approved

The Obama administration has begun approving new lines of human embryonic stem cells that are eligible for federally funded experiments, opening the way for millions of taxpayer dollars to be used to conduct research that was put off-limits by President George W. Bush.

Launching a dramatic expansion of government support for one of the most promising but most contentious fields of biomedical research, the National Institutes of Health on Wednesday authorized the first 13 lines of cells under the administration’s policy and was poised to approve 20 more Friday.

“This is the first down payment on what is going to be a much longer list that will empower the scientific community to explore the potential of embryonic stem cell research,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins. “Today’s announcement is the first wave.”

An additional 76 stem cell lines are waiting vetting, and researchers have indicated that they plan to submit at least 254 more for approval.

The NIH has already authorized 31 grants worth about $21 million for research on human embryonic stem cells, money that was contingent on new lines passing government muster. The grants are for a variety of research, including work aimed at developing cells that could be used to treat diseases of the heart and nervous system.

But opponents of the research, who argued that the work is not only unethical but also unnecessary, because of the availability of adult stem cells, condemned the announcement and other more recently identified alternatives.

The article goes on to discuss both <1> Opponents Views, including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and the background of, and <2> information about the new NIH guidelines.

Doc Sez: That so far the data about the usefulness and efficacy of stems cells not derived from embryos has been disappointing. In addition much the rest of the world is more concerned about curing present day ills that in ‘saving’ unwanted embryos that will be destroyed.

In addition I believe the new golden rule should apply – Do unto others what they would do unto them selves. That means any one objecting to the use of therapies based on embryonic stems cell should not use them – put you life where your mouth is.
For information on the New NIH Guidelines for Obtaining the Cells see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/content/graphic/2009/12/02/GR2009120203985.html?sid=ST2009120204269

Article by Rob Stein, Washington Post Staff Writer, December 3, 2009

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/02/AR2009120201955.html?sub=AR

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Five Key Cyber Security Areas for DHS to Tackle — GAO Advice Presented at Senate Hearing on Post 9/11 Security

Five key cyber security challenges the Department of Homeland Security should tackle were outlined in testimony delivered Wednesday at a hearing on post-9/11 transportation challenges.

The only witnesses at a Senate Commerce Science and Transportation hearing on post-9/11 transportation challenges Wednesday was Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, but the managing director for homeland security and justice at the Government Accountability Office delivered a written statement for the record that outlined five key cyber security challenges the Department of Homeland Security should tackle.

According to the statement prepared by Cathleen Berrick, the five key cyber security areas include:

  • Bolstering cyber analysis and warning capabilities;
  • Completing actions identified during cyber exercises;
  • Improving cyber security of infrastructure control systems;
  • Strengthening DHS’s ability to help recover from Internet disruptions; and
  • Addressing cybercrime

Berrick said DHS has made progress in strengthening cyber security, such as addressing some lessons learned from a cyber attack exercise, but further actions are warranted. “DHS has since developed and implemented certain capabilities to satisfy aspects of its responsibilities,” she said, “but it has not fully implemented GAO’s recommendations and, thus, more action is needed to address the risk to critical cyber security infrastructure.” To read Ms. Berrick register and then check: http://www.govinfosecurity.com/regulations.php?reg_id=1799

Article by Eric Chabrow, Executive Editor, GovInfoSecurity.com, December 2, 2009 http://www.govinfosecurity.com/articles.php?art_id=1975

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The Carpal Tunnel Survival Guide

My index finger went completely numb. You could poke it and I wouldn’t feel a thing. That was the flashing red neon sign telling me something was wrong. The culprit: laptops. My esteemed partner in crime, Patrick Miller, recently wrote about what bugs him about laptops. Now it’s my turn, but I want to share a personal tale with you. Along the way, I’ll tell you how to avoid the same mistakes I made.

Carpal Tunnel: A Loathe Story — Carpal tunnel syndrome and RSI–the bane of the modern computer user–hit home for me because I spent too much time using poorly placed touch pads and seriously scrunched keyboards. But I’ve gleaned a thing or two about ergonomics as a result. My misery is your chance to learn.

Go on; hold your hand near a laptop’s touchpad and mouse buttons. Every time you start tapping out a document on the bus, at the coffee shop, or on that flight to the big meeting you’re likely forcing your hands into uncomfortable positions. As my doc told me the other day: “Don’t buy a laptop based only upon what you plan to do with it. First and foremost, make sure that it conforms to your body’s needs–not the other way around.”

Dr. Thomas M. Marsella, MD, with the Occupational Health Services department of the Physician Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center has a couple other suggestions.

The advice Related Topics

  • Take Breaks – There’s even freeware to help
  • Do Some Stretches – The examples
    Stretch 1: Evil Genius.
    Stretch 2: Hands Down.
    Stretch 3: Double Chin.

I know, you know all about this, but do you practice healthy computer ergonometrics or do you just hope your wrists are stronger then those other wimps?

Also check out 9 Things I Hate About Laptops By Patrick Miller, PC World, November 17, 2009. http://www.pcworld.com/article/182448/9_things_i_hate_about_laptops.html

Darren Gladstone, PC World, Dec 2, 2009

http://www.pcworld.com/article/183545/the_carpal_tunnel_survival_guide.html

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Highest rate of CO2 emissions growth since 1990

According the article posted in mongabay.com, CO2 emissions rates have been increasing worldwide since 2009 and had reached all-time highs in 2005.  The reported information was derived from emissions data from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC).

Alas I did not have time to check the data against the information available from with the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information site,  [http://www.eia.doe.gov/] or the Oakridge data, but can see no reason, a priori, to dispute it. The article is simply a compilation of data, in tabular forms, and draws no conclusions or posits no future actions. That is left to the users of such data including regulatory agencies, and to concerned with international climate change.

I’ve reproduced the summary findings, and added information about the United States below, for your convenience.

  • Between 1990 and 2005 Vietnam had the highest rate of emissions growth among countries that emitted more than 100 million tons of CO2 in any year during the past three decades.
  • Vietnam’s emissions from fossil fuel use, cement manufacturing, and gas flaring increased 376 percent from 5.8 million metric tons of carbon to 27.8 million tons between 1990 and 2005. Malaysia ranked second with a 224 percent increase.
  • China topped the rankings in terms of total carbon emissions growth over the period. China’s carbon emissions from fossil fuel combustion, cement manufacturing, and gas flaring increased by 875.7 million tons of carbon to 1.53 billion tons of carbon (5.62 billion tons CO2) in 2005. Most of the increase came from coal burning, which accounted for 1.116 billion tons of the country’s carbon emissions in 2005. China’s emissions have since climbed by another 25 percent to 1.923 billion tons of carbon in 2008, according to preliminary figures from CDIAC.
  • The United States had the second highest growth rate in carbon emissions and released the third highest amount of carbon dioxide.
  • The biggest drop in emissions between 2000 and 2005 came in Germany, which reduced carbon emissions by 6.4 million tons of carbon or 3 percent of its total emissions.
  • Belgium had the greatest rate of reduction at 7 percent over the period.

Also Check Out NASA: Last Decade Was Warmest on Record, January 2, 2010,

http://www.cleanskies.com/articles/nasa-last-decade-was-warmest-record

Article posted on December 4, 2009

http://print.news.mongabay.com/2009/1204-carbon_emissions.html

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Dams Could Alter Local Weather, Cause More Rain

Note: I found this article informative, especially when it may be just another example of the Laws of Unintended Consequences that plague our decision making. [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unintended_consequences]. Although the Wikipedia article focuses on the social science, as we should by now be aware, the physical sciences are no exceptions to it applicability But let’s not stick our heads in the sand, we’re sure to lose them. along with the rest of our bodies.

As if America’s aging dams were not in enough trouble already, new research suggests that their reservoirs could be increasing the intensity of extreme rainstorms in their immediate vicinities.

That’s a problem because the dams were designed for the climate that existed in the area before they were built. If by virtue of their creation, they increase the chance that an extreme weather event will exceed the dams’ capacity, they could be less safe than previously thought.

“What if the dam itself, its reservoir, could have accelerated or intensified the heavy rainfall patterns?” said Faisal Hossain, a hydrologist at Tennessee Tech University, who has co-authored a paper and editorial on the topic accepted for publication in Natural Hazards Review and Water Resources Research, respectively.

There is strong evidence that a standing body of water, like a lake, can alter precipitation patterns, Hossain said. Increasing the amount of liquid water in a region increases the amount of evaporation in a region, too. That water vapor will eventually condense and fall as precipitation. So, it’s logical to think that a dam’s reservoir could have the same impact. And dams allow irrigation, which can transform the land in the area, possibly leading to local climactic impacts.

Marshall Shepherd, a research meteorologist at the University of Georgia, called the findings “interesting and plausible” in an e-mail to Wired.com. “The literature contains many examples of how extreme land use changes alter precipitation patterns,” wrote Shepherd, whose own work focuses on climactic changes induced by cities.

Shepherd would like to see more detailed analysis of the mechanics behind how a dam could change local precipitation.

There’s a bit more summary information in the article, but alas no detailed references – that’s a string I would have pulled.

Also check out a related article Old American Dams Quietly Become a Multibillion-Dollar Threat By Alexis Madrigal Wired Magazine, August 25, 2009

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/agingdams/#ixzz0uNYze1cO

The image in this article is the result of a busted gate in the Folsom Dam in Northern California let water pour through in 1995. AP/Bob Galbraith. See Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folsom_Dam

Read More — http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/08/agingdams/#ixzz0uNZcTVsC

This article is by Alexis Madrigal, Wired Magazine, December 3, 2009.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/12/dam-weather/#ixzz0uNVCXz1I

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Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems Unveil World’s First Commercial-Scale Solar-Thermal Suncatcher Plant

Only four months after breaking ground, Tessera Solar and Stirling Energy Systems (SES) showcased the highly anticipated Maricopa Solar power plant at a special event for key partners, stakeholders and media. Maricopa Solar is the first commercial project for the SunCatcher™ concentrating solar power technology designed and manufactured by SES. Joining in the celebration were Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and officials from Sun River Power [SRP], local and state government, the U.S. Department of Energy, Sandia National Laboratories, utility customers, suppliers and the international energy group NTR plc, Tessera Solar and SES’s majority shareholder.

“Maricopa Solar represents a genuine breakthrough in solar energy and demonstrates that Dish Stirling engine based solar power is now ready for commercial deployment in the US and around the world. With this milestone now behind us we look forward to breaking ground on our initial 1,500 megawatts of projects in California and Texas later this year.”

Maricopa Solar is comprised of 60 SunCatcher dishes and will provide 1.5 megawatts of renewable energy to SRP customers in Greater Phoenix, Arizona.

“Through partnerships such as Maricopa Solar, we will be able to learn a great deal about this emerging solar technology while helping to create green jobs, economic development opportunities and clean energy for SRP and our customers, said SRP Associate General Manager Richard Hayslip. “The Maricopa Solar project is just one example of SRP’s commitment to building a renewable energy portfolio that is beneficial to our environment and customers.”

The innovative and highly-efficient SES SunCatcher is a 25-kilowatt solar power system which uses a 38-foot, mirrored parabolic dish combined with an automatic tracking system to collect and focus the sun’s energy onto a Stirling engine to convert the solar thermal energy into grid-quality electricity.

“The SunCatcher represents the next generation of grid-quality solar power technology providing clean, reliable and cost-effective solar power to address global climate change and reduce our planet’s carbon emissions,” said Steve Cowman, Stirling Energy Systems CEO.

SunCatcher has a number of advantages including the highest solar-to-grid electric efficiency, zero water use for power production, a modular and scalable design, low capital cost, and minimal land disturbance. SunCatcher was designed and developed in America, through a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy. The SunCatchers unveiled at the Maricopa Solar facility were manufactured and assembled in North America, mostly in Michigan by automotive suppliers.

January 25, 2010, No By-line

http://www.evwind.es/noticias.php?id_not=3616

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Icy Crystals — Methane Hydrate — Heat Up

A Houston engineer says he’s developed a technology that can economically extract energy on a large scale from an untapped — and vast — source.

The material, the source of the potential natural gas fuel is methane hydrate aka methane clathrate, the presumed culprit in several of British Petroleum’s problems in the Gulf, this time as a potentially extractable natural resource. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_hydrate Doc Sez: Did you know that oil drilling rigs flare off this valuable resource – for shame.

Vast deposits of methane, trapped in ice-like crystals under Alaska’s frozen tundra and beneath ocean floors worldwide, could play an important role in the nation’s energy future.

But after more than two decades of study, major oil companies and governments are still trying to crack the code to large-scale extraction of these energy rich substances called gas hydrates.

Wickrema Singhe, a Houston-based engineer and project consultant to some of the world’s biggest oil companies, has wrestled with the same problem. And recently, he’s developed a technology he believes could provide at least part of the answer.

The technology involves using low-energy microwaves to melt the icy structures and unlock the gas, in contrast to leading industry methods that Singhe says use far more energy or are too costly for commercial production.

The concept has attracted interest from oil companies including BP and Chevron Corp., as well as Japanese oil and gas firms.

He hasn’t found a taker yet, but he fervently believes in the concept and is pitching for universities including Texas A&M to do more testing.

“I’m fairly confident I’ll find a way to get to the next step,” Singhe said.

Gas hydrates are ice-like solids that trap gas molecules inside. They are found in high-pressure, low-temperature environments, like seabeds and beneath frozen ground. The most common gas found in them is methane, the chief component of natural gas. That’s why they’re often called methane hydrates.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that methane hydrates may contain more energy than the entire world’s fossil fuels combined. As such, methane hydrates could represent a “global paradigm shift in energy supply,” Ray Boswell, manager for methane hydrate research and development programs at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, told a U.S. congressional committee in July. There’s more check it out.

Article by Brett Clanton, 
 The Houston Chronicle, Jan. 23, 2010

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/6831612.html

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Copyright Notice: Product and company names and logos in this review may be registered trademarks of their respective companies.

Some of the articles listed in this column are copyright protected – their use is both acknowledge and is limited to educational related purposes, which this column provides.

Sources & Credits: — Most of these items were found in the newsletter NewsBridge of ‘articles of interest’ to the libraries technical and regulatory agency users. It is electronically published by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratories, in Richland WA.  I then followed the provided link to the source of the information and edited the content (abstracted) the information for our readers.

In Closing

I’ll be posting articles for you comfort and anger in the next few months. I never respond to flaming, but will take time to provide evidence in the form of both primary technical and secondary {magazine articles} references for those who ask. However, most of you can reach out and Google such information for your selves.

May your world get greener and all creatures on Earth become healthier and able to fulfill their function in this Gaia’s world.

Harry, aka doc_Babad

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Comments
  1. mikeh2013 says:

    Harry:

    I loved the entire article, especially your comments on “U.S. Set To Fund More Stem Cell Study”. I wholeheartedly agree – if it is offensive, refuse those treatments but don’t try to prevent others from getting care for their health problems.

  2. Your Garden says:

    The Greening Continues ? July 23, 2010 « Mike's and Harry's ……

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

  3. Finally… Someone who knows what their talking about, glad I stopped in. Nice blog BTW! You can be sure I’ll add it to my browse list. Keep up the good work!

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