Feb 26, 2009

The mistakes of our fathers

I am not kidding... are they. 30 years, where have we gotten?
Looking at past 30 year investments and return value:
  • Oil peak panic - trillion$... no answer
  • Afghanistan - billion$... no answer
  • Solar across America - dead after billion$ of Carter ERA cash
  • Fusion Since 50's trillions... no answer
  • Iran - Billions... no answer
  • Korea - Billions... no answer
  • Preventing market, debt, credit crashes of the 80's - trillions... no answer
  • Nuclear waste - billion$... no answer
  • Now Three Mile Island ???
And where are we headed? At some point we need to listen to all the answers buried in this website and in history to solve all these problems... or be destine to fail by continuing to make the same mistakes.
I would not be critical of any of these problems if I did not offer dozens of better ideas.
Haase - Genius is simplifying the most complex and inefficient ideas into simple actions we can all do.

Sony To Unveil New Fuel-Cell Prototype

"On Friday, Sony plans to unveil their newest portable fuel-cell technology, "The system contains both a methanol fuel cell and a Li-on battery" and can "intelligently switch between power from the battery, fuel, or even both under high-draw circumstances." Sony intends to show off two models claimed to power your cell for a week or a month, respectively, as well as the latest developments with their sugar-batteries that can now run purely off your favorite cola beverage. This model builds on Sony's 2008 model, their first commercially-demonstratable prototype, and could make waves with Sony's OLED devices Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Feb 24, 2009

"drill baby drill" for clean and free geothermal power.

As previously blogged by After Gutenberg, particularly suitable locations are those easily connected to the Grid and where geothermal energy can be combined with concentrating solar thermal energy. Since geothermal energy is continuously available, it can be used to maintain enthalpy of utility scale solar thermal electric power generation. It is more of a challenge, read added expense, to operate steam turbines on intermittent solar energy alone.

U.S. Geothermal PotentialFor eight years politics have kept geothermal power under funded and hidden from view in the US. Meanwhile, in California geothermal power has quietly grown to where in 2007 it produced 2.3 times as many killowatt hours as wind and 23 times as many as solar power!  Since geothermal plants produce power continuously, a megawatt plant produces as many kilowatt-hours as 3 MW of wind or 5 MW of solar power.

Now that California has shown the way, many other western states are drilling geothermal wells at a rapid pace. But until recently federal support was totally lacking. The Senate has been a big stumbling block with many states in the pocket of coal and oil interests. Also, Eastern states feel left out because drilling expense is much higher there because the hot rocks are deeper. With better drilling technology Enhanced Geothermal Systems can work virtually anywhere.

Google just invested $10 million in EGS Geothermal, including $4 million to Potter Drilling who have a new technique that can drill hard rock five times faster. Drilling costs currently grow exponentially with depth because drill bits must be periodically brought to the surface to be replaced. Drilling technology development has been driven by the needs of the oil industry, which uses smaller bore wells, often in soft sedimentary rock.

We have already drilled a lot of holes to pump oil out of the earth. In Texas alone they have drilled over 600,000!  Many of those wells are so deep that the oil comes up hot enough to be useful for power generation. Water flooding is used in many of the wells to push oil out from cracks in the rocks. In the Gulf States alone over fifty billion barrels of hot water a day are produced this way. This water is considered a nuisance because it must be separated from the oil and disposed of or reinjected. Much of this water is hot enough that it could be used to generate electricity — just like water from a geothermal well. In fact, similar water injection can make geothermal power practical anywhere because there are hot rocks underfoot everywhere on the planet.

The oil and gas industry has made great progress in recent years with drilling technology. There has been a gold rush to retrieve natural gas from shale deposits, which were previously considered uneconomical. They now routinely drill very deep wells that turn horizontal for several thousand feet. They then fracture the rocks all along the horizontal run to let the gas out of the shale. This fracturing of the shale used to take months of work but new techniques allow fracturing five zones in 30 hours. (To see an amazing movie of how this works click on "Excape" here.)

All of these tricks are perfect for EGS geothermal, where you need to run water over a large area of hot rocks deep underground to extract the heat. Rocks aren’t very good conductors, so if you want to pull a lot of energy out of them you must do it over a large area or they will just cool down. The moving water moves the heat like a conveyor belt up to a turbine above ground. 

To generate significant amounts of geothermal power we will have to extract heat from a very large area.  This means an incredibly large number of holes will have to be drilled — many more than the 600,000 oil wells in Texas. Oil carries much more energy than hot water: In a typical oil-fired power plant, one gallon of oil can generate about 40 kilowatt-hours. It takes about 350 gallons of 350° F water to generate the same amount in a geothermal plant. Clearly, we will need to drill a lot more holes it we’re going to power the world with geothermal power instead of oil.

If we can learn to drill larger boreholes and run them horizontally with fracturing we may be able to draw heat from a large area of hot rocks with much fewer holes. This would be a major breakthrough, building on the innovations already developed for extracting gas from shale. Some of these deep, hot shale deposits are in coal country: The Marcellus shale in Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York could provide clean geothermal power without having to ruin the countryside. Politically, this could be very important, as the coal states have often blocked green energy legislation.

There are also high heat flow areas in other states such as Illinois and New Hamshire. The Haynesville shale in Texas and Louisiana is very deep with bottomhole temperatures averaging over 300° F. Even North and South Dakota have hot aquifers that may be usable for geothermal power. The problem is that because of political deadlock we haven’t even been looking for geothermal resources outside of California until recently. Germany and Australia started looking a few years ago and have found rich resources. We need to get our oil and gas exploration companies busy working on geothermal. They don’t do it now because the billions in subsidies that apply to oil and gas don’t apply to geothermal development. We desperately need new laws that will level the playing field and recognize the staggering hidden costs of fossil fuels.

Please read full by jcwinnie

Feb 23, 2009

2008 Was Earth's Coolest Year Since 2000

Climatologists at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City have found that 2008 was the coolest year since 2000. The GISS analysis also showed that 2008 is the ninth warmest year since continuous instrumental records were started in 1880. Read more at nasa.gov

Nuke'em "Solar and wind will not cut it,"?

MSN is on board pushing nuclear power bill... ah the days when I remember MSN telling me 'our nation should go 100% corn ethanol and how important their green sweeps week was'
 
 
Kudos on another bleak attempt to help the planet.
100's of studies from our government, leading universities and organizations have documented that a future built on 'current' nuclear technologies is a economic, ecological and sustainable nightmare. Other than 'fear and greed marketing propaganda', why else would MSN 'pick' this to be a headline story? Summary from:www.msnbc.msn.com/id/29258035
 
Lawmakers signaled their interest to go nuclear, approving legislation that would streamline the state's regulatory process and provide new incentives  to build a nuclear power plant.
 
Two bills were approved by the House Energy and Utility Regulation Committee Tuesday after nuclear power proponents warned that other alternative energy sources alone, like solar, wind and geothermal energy, will not be enough to meet future power needs as the state and nation reduce their reliance on foreign oil.
 
Listen to the proponents 'fear and greed propaganda',
"Solar and wind will not cut it," said Raman P. Singh, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater.
"I think we have a responsibility to our children and our children's children,"
"If this state does not do it, other states will."
"Very little if any pollution comes out of these plants,"
 
Opponents
"nuclear energy is not a viable industry for the state because of its enormous cost."
"Officials said a nuclear power plant would cost up to $8 billion and take 10 or 12 years to build."
"It is too cost prohibitive,"
"Nuclear power plants do vent radioactive nuclear gases every single day,"
"All forms of cancer can be induced by radiation."
 
The bill also requires the commission to consider the cost of power and energy from the nuclear power plant "compared to alternatives" and the benefits of fuel diversity.

 
HAASE - "compare cost to alternatives"?  ...there is a time and place for all forms of energy we can harness. But the continued use of out of date, out of cost and subsidize energy options has to end for a future of sustainable and secure energy options.
 
 
Ironically, I am not 'against' nuclear energy
... I am trying to exemplify a future that can make nuclear energy a sustainable, safe and secure part of our energy mix... and it would do everyone a lot of good to listen to scientists who are only fighting for the future of mans utilization of sustainable energy options. 
 
Nuclear has hope, but the current proposals for outdated high waste producing reactors throw away finite sources - Current light water reactors make relatively inefficient use (using only 3%) of nuclear fuel, fissioning only the very rare uranium-235 isotope.  And  of all 132 U.S. nuclear plants built (52 percent of the 253 originally ordered), 21 percent were prematurely and permanently closed due to reliability or cost problems, while another 27 percent have completely failed for a year or more at least once. Normally operating nuclear plants must shut down, on average, for 39 days every 17 months for refueling and maintenance.[56]

The should really 'read up more' on the subject before making three more decades of mistakes... DOE, MIT, Haase - Are we wrong or is it 'special interest propaganda'?

Feb 20, 2009

Town of 8,000 Generates 161% of Energy Needs From Renewables.

From David Schaller -  A Japanese Town of 8,000 Generates 161% of Energy Needs From Renewables. The Japanese town of Kuzumaki, population 8,000, has over the past decade transformed itself into a model of energy self-sufficiency no longer dependent on oil. With 21 MW of wind turbines on nearby hills, photovoltaic panels on school roofs, dairy cows producing biomass waste for energy conversion, and wood pellets for heating stoves, the town now generates 161% of its annual electricity demand. The town sells the surplus to neighboring communities via the grid. Read more from Time Magazine

Restoring the TRI program!

In December 2006, the EPA dramatically reduced the amount of information the agency collects on toxic pollution under the TRI program. Since 1987, polluting facilities have provided detailed information about which chemicals are released, in what quantity, and where they go. TRI is widely recognized as one of the most effective environmental programs ever created. For example, TRI resulted in companies reducing toxic pollution by 50 percent within the program's first ten years.

In 2006, EPA significantly raised the threshold for detailed reporting on toxic pollution. The threshold went from 500 pounds to 5,000 pounds with an additional requirement that only 2,000 pounds of that pollution be released directly to the environment. The new rules also created an unprecedented exemption for reporting low-level disposals of persistent bioaccumulative toxins (PBTs), including lead and mercury, which have been proven to be dangerous in even the smallest quantities. The agency made these changes despite overwhelming opposition from the American people, scientists, academics, public interest groups, and many others.

Currently, New York and twelve other states are suing the EPA to restore the old reporting thresholds. OMB Watch and U.S. PIRG are gathering signatures on a
letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. In the letter, we urge Administrator Jackson to take the necessary steps to settle the TRI lawsuit and restore the TRI program.

With a new administration settling into the White House and a new administrator taking charge at EPA, we now have an excellent opportunity to restore and improve the TRI program. The more voices we have calling for this move, the better our chances of quickly restoring the public's right to know.

Please take a moment to add your name or your organization to
the letter.

Feb 19, 2009

Why and What of YardScaping

Reason #1: Water quality Carpet-like lawns and beautiful yet hard to grow plantings add value and enjoyment to any home. But these benefits can come at tremendous cost to our environment. Yard care practices can impact water quality. The pesticides and fertilizers you apply to your yard may wind up in our waterways. At risk are lakes, streams and eventually the ocean.
 
Reason #2: People, Pets and Wildlife Too often people think pesticides are safe because they can be bought at the hardware store. This is absolutely not true. Pesticides are designed to be toxic--that means they kill something. If used incorrectly, a pesticide could pose risks to people, pets and beneficial creatures and plants. Yardscaping will allow you to grow lawns and landscapes that create better habitats and demand less of any chemical.
 
Reason #3: Money A yardscape can save you money. Shrinking your lawn and growing hardy plants will reduce out-of-pocket costs: gasoline, pesticides, fertilizers, water, plants and planting materials. Plus, preserving natural resources, like lakes, from polluting chemicals will increase your property value unlike the alternative.
 
Reason #4: Time. Growing a Yardscape, which uses low maintenance plants and has only the amount of lawn your lifestyle needs, adds up to more play time for you.
 
Reason #5: Air pollution Think of it this way: one power mower = 40 cars. In fact, a lawnmower pollutes as much in one hour as an automobile driving 350 miles. It is estimated the average American spends 40 hours every year mowing their lawn.
 
Reason #6: Make a statement A landscape rich in diverse vegetation is unique. It expresses a property's own character. Better yet, a lush Yardscaping property conveys an important message
dandelions

 No yard is perfect.
Dandelions are beautiful.
Nature is wild and wonderful.
 
You can make practical yard care choices that won't harm people, pets, plants, wildlife and our natural resources.
 
In general, remember when you garden and landscape:
think of environmental consequences not just conveniences
plan for a greater harmony with your natural surroundings
be conservative and resourceful rather than wasteful

Find out more at yardscaping.org

 

Solid-state lighting (SSL) DOE workshop for R&D community

More than 400 solid-state lighting (SSL) technology leaders from the R&D community, lighting designers, and architects gathered in San Francisco, CA to participate in the "Transformations in Lighting" Solid-State Lighting Workshop on February 3-5, 2009. The workshop, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), was the sixth annual DOE meeting to accelerate SSL technology advances and guide market introduction of quality SSL products. The workshop brought together a diverse gathering of participants from industry, research organizations, universities, national laboratories, manufacturing, energy efficiency organizations, utilities, and municipalities to share insights, ideas, and updates on the rapidly evolving SSL market.
 

GM, Chrysler don't get it

After receiving billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded bailouts over the last few months, General Motors and Chrysler returned to Washington on Tuesday to shake their chrome-plated tin cups again.
 
But at a time when boldness is demanded, the plans lack innovation. They call for laying off more workers, cutting pay and benefits, and reducing the number of models that are manufactured. And GM even had the chutzpah to cut its projected fuel economy by 10% from what it promised in the survival plan it submitted to Congress in December.
 
What the automakers don't get is this: What's good for America is good for GM (and Chrysler), and not the other way around. With billions of dollars of taxpayer cash in their bank accounts and billions more coming, GM and Chrysler work for us now. And they have to start thinking about how to serve the country.
 
Americans need cars that go farther on a gallon of gasoline, pollute less and save money at the pump.
 
... automakers reacted to the law by launching an all-out attack on it. They successfully pressured the Bush administration not to grant an Environmental Protection Agency waiver necessary for states to enforce the (high MPG) law.
 
It was bad enough when automakers teamed up with dealers to fight laws that benefited the country. But now that the companies have bailout money from the taxpayers, their pursuit of legal and political challenges is abhorrent.
 
GM and Chrysler should forgo these credits and meet the law without them.
 
Automakers boast that they have improved the energy efficiency of their cars. But most of these gains have gone to making cars bigger and faster rather than less-polluting and cheaper to run.
 
According to a recent study presented to the Society of Automotive Engineers, if all the efficiency improvements developed since 1988 had been directed at getting more miles per gallon, cars would now average 45 mpg instead of 30.3 mpg.
 
Congress should require that in exchange for any new bailout, automakers raise their average fuel economy to 42 mpg by 2020, rather than the 35-mpg standard now set as a minimum for that year.
 
Detroit's survival depends on a change in mind-set.
 

Environmentalists vs. eco-scammers

Some people are truly concerned environmentalists. Some people are eco-scammers.
 
The  examiner has some examples of environmentalism or eco-flimflamism? Fire up your facts and figures and stats and arguments and counterarguments and “yeah, buts” and let the din of the spin begin. Everyone has an opinion but few have the facts.
 
Most people just keep recycling other people's opinions of other people's opinions of other people's opinions.
 
To most people, ideology means more than actual science when it comes to environmentalism.
 
WARNING - It will be hard to read for a few of you...  examiner

Government to introduce clearer "greenwashing" guidance

Steering group to update advertising guidelines on how to make accurate green claims
The government has today unveiled plans to help make it easier for firms to avoid the dreaded accusation of "greenwashing" by updating the guidance it issues for green marketing and advertising claims.
 
"Consumers are often confronted with all sorts of 'green' claims by companies and products," said Lord Hunt. "Working with industry and updating the Green Claims Code will support business to ensure that their claims are genuine and meaningful. It will also reassure consumers that when a green claim is made, they can feel confident it is truthful."
 
Read more from .businessgreen.com
 

Manure could power two million homes

Manure, slurry and food could be used to create enough energy to heat and power more than two million homes in Britain, the Government will claim.
 
The UK produces more than 100 million tonnes of organic material per year that could be used to produce biogas 
 
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is launching a task force to help sectors including farming and the water industry meet goals to produce energy from anaerobic digestion, which generates gas from the break down of organic material without oxygen.
 
According to Defra, the UK produces more than 100 million tonnes of organic material per year that could be used to produce biogas, 90 million tonnes of which comes from manure and slurry.
 
Speaking at the NFU conference in Birmingham today, Farming and Environment Minister Jane Kennedy is expected to say: "We're producing more organic waste in this country than we can handle, over 12 million tonnes of food waste a year - and farmers know too well the challenges of managing manure and slurry.
 
"There are alternatives to sending organic waste to landfill. Anaerobic digestion is a true solution."
 
"This material could produce enough heat and power to run more than two million homes - helping to prevent dangerous climate change by providing a renewable energy source as well as reducing our reliance on landfill.
 
Read full from telegraph
 
 
Photo from jcwinnie

Scottish renewables 31% of total electricity demand by 2011 and 50% by 2020.

Scottish Power Renewables last Friday released data showing that it had doubled its installed base of renewable power, from 382 MW to 665 MW in 2008. Renewable power generation more than doubled, rising 118% to 1,227 Gwh year-to-year.

The company erected more than 100 turbines at the Whitelee wind farm project near Glasgow and expects to have another 38 up and running this summer. If a second, recently filed expansion is approved by the Scottish government what's already the largest wind farm project in Europe will grow to include 221 turbines with a rated capacity of 614 MW, some 55,800 MW more than is required to supply all of Glasgow's 340,000 households, according to the company.

Following close on the heels of that announcement, management announced that it had been granted an “exclusivity agreement” by the Crown Estate to assess the potential for an offshore wind farm to be built west of Argyll and the island of Tiree. The site's potential wind power resources have been estimated to be anywhere from 500 MW to 1,800 MW, enough to run the lights, appliances and electrical equipment at 270,000 to 1,000,000 homes, according to a news report.

“Offshore wind power has massive potential, and the UK Government has already outlined ambitions to generate up to 33,000 MW of power off the UK coastline,” ScottishPower Renewables' director Keith Anderson said. "Scotland has the best onshore wind resources in Europe, and now it is taking its first steps towards harnessing its offshore potential, which will play a major role in helping to achieve renewable energy targets.”

Scottish Power Renewables was one of nine companies selected by the Scottish Crown Estate to assess and develop 10 offshore wind power projects. It's estimated that these could generate as much as 6 gigawatts of electrical power.

Overall, the Scottish government has set an interim target of renewable sources accounting for 31% of total electricity demand by 2011 and 50% by 2020.

Sun, Wind, and Now Waves & Tides Fuel Growth at Iberdrola

Spain's Iberdrola is well set to take advantage of the renewable energy and clean technology incentives and support included in the US's latest economic stimulus package. It's already the second-largest operator of wind farms in the States. More than 40% of the projects it's looking to develop are located here. PPM Energy, its US energy subsidiary, commissioned the 223.6-megawatt Klondike III wind farm Oregon this past March. Another five wind farms capable of generating as much as 460-megawatts of electrical power came on-line in December alone.

Iberdrola invested 3,803 billion euros in renewable power projects last year, increasing installed capacity by 2,204 megawatts to 9,302 MW. Net profits more than tripled to 390.2 million euros. What's more, the company's producing assets are throwing off a healthy, positive cash flow—earnings before interest and taxes rose 104.5% to 709.6 million euros. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA doubled to 1,185 billion euros. With a debt ratio of 22.4%, the company is keeping its balance sheet healthy and its financing powder dry during the most uncertain and problematic financial times seen since the Great Depression.

Iberdrola can boast of the renewable power industry's largest installed base and project pipeline. With renewable power plants now up and running in 23 countries, power generation increased 71.1% to 17,000 gigawatt-hours last year, avoiding 7.5 million metric tons worth of carbon dioxide emissions, according to company calculations.

Among those commissioned in 2008 were Andalusia's largest wind farm, El Marquesado in Granada, Klondike III in the US and a first wave energy buoy at Santo┼ła.

Kicking off 2009, it anticipates commissioning initial capacity at the Whitelee wind farm in Scotland—expected to be the largest in Europe—a solar thermal plant in Puertollano, and a biomass plant in Corduentes (Guadalajara).

Management's increasingly looking at the US, other EU and overseas markets as growth engines. Forty-one percent of projects in its pipeline are in the US, 24.6% are in Spain, 9.6% are in the UK with the remaining 24.7% spread out around the rest of the world.

Read more by Andrew Burger on Triplepundit

Feb 18, 2009

Give bailout to Scientists!

Jon Stewart talks to "Two Billion Cars" author Daniel Sperling

autobloggreen ...the day is coming when there will be two billion cars on the roads.
So says author and California Air Resources Board member Daniel Sperling. Sperling was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last week to discuss his new book and to give his predictions about which technologies would power these two billion cars. He said that "eventually" the "vast majority" of the two billion cars will be alternative-energy (pure electric, plug-in hybrids, biofueled, and hydrogen fuel cell) vehicles.

Sperling also claimed that we'd need "tens of billions" of dollars in government aid to make the large-scale shift to plug-ins and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Stewart, for his part, said that the automakers represent the past, and he wondered why we don't just let them fiddle with the deck chairs while others get fuel cell and electric vehicles on the road. Watch the full interview at
The Daily Show

Continue reading Jon Stewart talks to "Two Billion Cars" author Daniel Sperling

Total says oil output near peak...

 
The FT has a report on a peak oil prediction from French oil company Total - Total says oil output near peak.
The world will never be able to produce more than 89m barrels a day of oil, the head of Europe’s third largest energy group has warned, citing high costs in areas such as Canada and political restrictions in countries like Iran and Iraq.

Christophe de Margerie, chief executive of Total, the French oil and gas company, said he had revised his forecast for 2015 oil production downward by at least 4m barrels a day because of the current economic crisis and the collapse in oil prices.

He noted that national oil companies, which control the vast majority of the world’s oil, and independent producers, which play a key role in finding new sources, were “substantially limited in their ability to fund investments in the current [financial] environment”.

Oil prices have fallen from a record $147 a barrel in July to about $35 a barrel on Monday, with the world consuming 84m barrels of oil a day. This year oil consumption is expected to fall from 2008 levels.

Meanwhile, Mr de Margerie now expects a faster decline in production at older fields, such as those in the North Sea. At lower price levels, companies will find it harder to justify the greater cost of keeping such fields pumping.

Feb 17, 2009

DOE's verdict: Lithium-ion batteries are not ready for prime time.

FROM: altenergystocks

Last month the DOE released its 2008 Annual Progress Report for the Energy Storage Research and Development Vehicle Technologies Program. This report is a frank and relatively upbeat assessment of the current status of Li-ion battery research and development that also provides a stark wake-up call for investors in energy storage stocks.

The reality check has been done and the DOE’s verdict is clear: Lithium-ion batteries are not ready for prime time.

And like all the Billions thrown into fleeting bad vehicle ideas we have just put $2 billion in loans to manufacture these batteries....

http://thumb19.webshots.net/t/18/19/1/40/29/2577140290076867719PglZYn_th.jpgIn its description of ongoing research efforts to develop high-power batteries for HEVs, the DOE said: “High-power energy storage devices are among the critical technologies essential for the development and commercialization of HEVs. This effort is focused on overcoming the technical barriers associated with commercialization of high-power batteries, namely:
Cost, Performance, Abuse Tolerance, Life.... ouch.

I’m a simple-minded creature and I believe that little things like costs and benefits matter, particularly in the midst of the worst recession since the 1930s. When the Annual Progress Report from the DOE group responsible for supporting Li-ion battery research and guiding national policy concludes that:

  • Li-ion batteries will not be a cost-effective solution for HEVs unless and until somebody finds a way to slash manufacturing costs by 50%; and
  • Li-ion batteries will not be a cost-effective solution for PHEVs unless and until somebody finds a way to slash manufacturing costs by 67% to 80%;"

America’s energy problems are too urgent to overlook and its economy is too stressed to invest billions in technologies that may never become cost effective. Our only rational choice is to go to work today with the tools we have and be ready to embrace newer and better tools when they prove to be cost effective.


Read full at altenergystocks


"Post correction" While it sounds as if I am 'poo, pooing' Li-ion batteries... I would much rather see 40 billion of my tax dollars 'invested' in this area than 'burned by G.M. and other automakers'. The DOE and I have 'optimistic hope' in a viable future with Li-ion batteries, I am not sure we would say the same for G.M.

Only 'investing' in America will bring back America.

Feb 16, 2009

Prepare for the Best and thriving in new green future.

PREPARE FOR THE BEST - In his post hippy prospective , Paul Glover gets a little 'side tracked' and lost me with the 'free love and drugs crap'... but, he makes some valid and insightful points on building communities and prosperity. 
 
VIA Rachel's  ...through the terrible Depression years without jobs or dollars, while crime and hunger rose. Some districts here never escaped that Depression -- they're still choosing between heating and eating.
 
As usual, the future will be different... responses to global warming and market cooling, high fuel and food prices, health insurance, mortgages, student debt and war will decide whether our future here becomes vastly better or vastly worse.  But to hell with tragedy. Let's quit dreading news.
 
Imagine instead that, 20 years from now,  green economy enables everyone to work a few hours creatively daily, then relax with family and friends to enjoy top-quality local, healthy food. To enjoy clean low-cost warm housing, clean and safe transport, high-quality handcrafted clothes and household goods. To enjoy creating and playing together, growing up and growing old in supportive neighborhoods where everyone is valuable. And to do this while replenishing rather than depleting the planet. Pretty wild, right?
 
 
From Hope to Nonviolent Revolution
 
A few ideas from Paul Glover
FOOD: Grow it here
Build urban food army using vacant lots for growing fruits, berries and veggies... abandoned factories for vertical and roof farms, hydroponics, aquaculture, mushrooms. Plant the parks, too. Greenhouses extend seasons. Land breathes again when abandoned parking lots are depaved. Edible landscaping blooms meals. Edible community centers process neighborhood yields. Fallen leaves stay in neighborhoods to become new soil. Feeding kitchen scraps to worms (vermiculture) builds the food of food.
 
FUEL: Establish independent neighborhood utilities with wind, passive solar and micro-geothermal. Employ thousands to build and install these. Employ multitudes more to manufacture and install insulation made with newsprint and fly ash (a residue of coal combustion). We'll get free winter warmth from 500,000 solar windowbox heaters. District heating and cogeneration reduce fuel need. Municipal utilities reduce grid costs. Tree shade reduces cooling costs: Plant a million.
 
WATER: Amend code to permit filtered graywater use and waterless compost toilets. Install watersaving devices. Collect rainwater in rooftop tanks, barrels and swales. Plant xeriscapes. Depave driveways and abandoned parking lots. Start Progressive Street Reclamation, converting least-used streets and alleys to playgrounds and gardens.
 
Big picture: Clean water is becoming more valuable than gold. Nobody shits on gold.
 
Some of the proposals sketched here can be easily ridiculed, because they disturb comfortable work habits, ancient traditions and sacred hierarchies. Yet they open more doors than are closing. They help us get ready for the green economy, and get there first. Big changes are coming so we might as well enjoy the ride. You have good ideas, too -- bring 'em on.
 
Entirely realistic? Not a pipe dream? And more practical than cynical?
Read more of this giddy and optimist essay By Paul Glover focuses via Rachel's
 
 
 

EHS data timeline is on...

I crawl into a regulatory cave of solitude to help our companies and clients meet regulatory deadlines this month. Here are some dates to remember and other annual ones.

January:  Collect last year's fuel, waste, VOC, solvent, raw material consumption and other operating data needed to prepare annual inventories, reports and registrations noted below.  Note any changes to the quantities and types of equipment used since the year before last(source).
 
February:  Solvent degreaser annual reports 
February:  Surface coater annual registrations
February:  Automobile refinishers annual registrations
March:  Biennial hazardous waste generator reports
March:  "Tier II" hazardous chemical inventories
March:  Waste recycling reports for commercial businesses
April:  Earliest deadline for major air pollution source annual reports to EPA
April:  air emissions inventories due
May 1:  Annual underground tank precision testing where required (pipes and leak monitoring devices also)
May 1:  Begin DEM May-October asphalt plant records
June:  Annual US DOT registration fee for anyone offering hazardous materials for transportation
June:  Underground Storage Tank Environmental Results Program (ERP) Checklists Due 2005, 2007, 2009, etc.
July:  EPA "Form R" Toxic Release Inventories due
July:  US EPA polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) annual document logs
Varies:  Title V operating fees due (source)
October:  Complete May-October DEM asphalt plant records
November:  Annual DEM underground storage tank registration renewal and fee (date may vary)
November:  Annual nitrogen oxide emissions testing for affected major sources
December(or sooner):  Annual hazardous waste generator training
December(or sooner):   (or sooner):  3-Year Underground Tank Corrosion Surveys
December(or sooner):   Annual OSHA Hazard Communication (HAZCOM) employee training
December(or sooner):   Annual DEM tank inspection reports
Varies:  Annual Title V Operating Permit compliance certification submittals
 
Just email me if you need more... I have a rather large data matrix of regulatory compliance dates.

Combustible dust explosion inspections focus of upcoming seminars in Illinois

OSHA's North Aurora, Ill., Area Office and the Illinois Safety Council, which formed an alliance with OSHA's Illinois area offices, will host combustible dust explosion inspection seminars Feb. 18 and March 26 in Naperville, Ill. The seminars will offer instructions on OSHA standards relating to combustible dust and best practices to protect employees against dust explosions. To register, visit www.ilsafetycouncil.org

 

Employers are reminded to post OSHA injury and illness summaries

On Feb. 1, employers were to begin posting a summary of the total number of job-related injuries and illnesses that occurred last year. Employers are only required to post the Summary (OSHA Form 300A) -- not the OSHA 300 Log -- from Feb. 1 to April 30, 2009. Copies of OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301 are available on the OSHA Recordkeeping Web page.

15% Renewable energy used yet CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram

Reported on SPIEGEL ONLINE:  Wind Turbines in Europe Do Nothing for Emissions-Reduction Goals
Germany's renewable energy companies are a tremendous success story. Roughly 15 percent of the country's electricity comes from solar, wind or biomass facilities, almost 250,000 jobs have been created and the net worth of the business is 35 billion per year. Despite the boom in solar and wind energy, CO2 emissions haven't been reduced by even a single gram. Now, even the Green Party is taking a new look at the issue
 
But there's a catch: The climate hasn't in fact profited from these developments. As astonishing as it may sound, the new wind turbines and solar cells haven't prohibited the emission of even a single gram of CO2.
Under current EU law, German wind turbines aren't helping to reduce CO2 emissions. They simply allow Eastern European countries to pollute more.
Even more surprising, the European Union's own climate change policies, touted as the most progressive in the world, are to blame. The EU-wide emissions trading system determines the total amount of CO2 that can be emitted by power companies and industries. And this amount doesn't change -- no matter how many wind turbines are erected.
 
Experts have known about this situation for some time, but it still isn't widely known to the public. Even Germany's government officials mention it only under their breath. No one wants to discuss the political ramifications.
 
It's a sensitive subject: Germany is recognized worldwide as a leader in all things related to renewable energy. The environmental energy sector doesn't want this image to be tarnished. Under no circumstances does Berlin want the Renewable Energy Law (EEG) -- which mandates the prices at which energy companies have to buy green power -- to fall into disrepute.
 
At the same time, big energy companies have an interest in maintaining the status quo. As a result, no one is pushing for change. Everyone involved is remaining silent.
 
Not an Instrument against Climate Change
 
In truth, however, even the Green Party has recognized the problem, as evidenced by an e-mail exchange last year between party energy experts and obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE. One wrote the following message to a colleague: "Dear Daniel, sorry, but the EEG won't do anything for the climate anyway." Ever since the introduction of the emissions trading system, the Renewable Energy Law had become "an instrument of structural change, but not an instrument to combat climate change."
 
Read full on SPIEGEL ONLINE

Feb 14, 2009

Global Warming & Fuzzy Logic

A 'KISS' for valentines day!

KISS - Keep Is Simple Stupid Theory
 
The Complexity Theory... erosion of environmentalism
A discernible change is taking place in the forum of environmental awareness.
As the subject matures and our insights deepen, specific concerns are now accompanied by a general uneasiness as leading philosophers and scientists begin to examine the structure of our modern civilization and question its viability. One of these new avenues of consideration is Complexity Theory.
 
Complexity Theory argues that societies become progressively more unstable and vulnerable as the network of interconnections within them increases -- not particularly good news for a globalizing system in which increasing complexity is precisely the thrust of economics, finance, manufacturing, technology and almost everything else we do. The sobering implications may explain why many proponents of Complexity Theory preface their comments with an apology. "We don't want to tell you this," goes the essence of their message, "but we think you should know." When the New Scientist published two articles on Complexity Theory (Apr. 5/08), its editor anticipated some reader discomfort. "We are predisposed to pay attention to bad news," noted the editorial. "There is a good reason for this. We need to be warned of difficulty and danger so we can protect ourselves.... [But] if the warning is too scary or distressing, we attack the messenger as a doom monger."
 
Complexity Theory comes with its hint of doom, ominously reminding us that no civilization has ever survived the stresses of history,
 
The Collapse of Complex Societies, explains that "For the past 10,000 years, problem solving has produced increasing complexity in human societies" (Ibid.). Food production is a classical example. Each time people find the solution to a food shortage -- irrigation, fertilizer or plants with higher yields-- the population rises to meet the food supply and the next problem to solve is more complicated and challenging. Every solution adds extra levels of organization, complexity and interdependence, which adds inefficiency and diminishing returns for the total amount of energy expended.
 
Progress is a process of perpetual problem solving, with each new solution adding more specialists and more layers of peripheral tasks that don't directly address the problems being solved.
 
A civilization finally peaks at its maximum level of complexity when all its efforts are being used just to maintain its equilibrium.
 
Then an unusual adversity arises: invaders, crop failure, disease, climate change, depletion of a critical natural resource, or anything that stresses a structure already precariously balanced.
 
Then the civilization collapses and reorganizes itself at a simpler level.
 
Complexity Theory makes us more aware of our vulnerabilities. And it does argue for simplification and local self-sufficiency, particularly for essentials such as food supply and energy production. The incentive to begin thinking and acting with foresight should compensate for the need to be apologetic.
 

Feb 13, 2009

50-Billion Dollar 'Clean Coal' & Nuclear Subsidies

These are all more costly that geothermal?
real-cost-of-electric-power-US-image.jpgReal Cost Of Power In US. Image credit:Forbes, via DayDreaming Environmental News Service is reporting that the Senate Conference Committee has done good work:- 'Nuclear Pork' Cut Out of Final Recovery and Reinvestment Package. "While other interests are concerned with issues such as the balance between tax cuts and spending, many environmental groups are relieved that a provision in the Senate's version that could have been used to fund new nuclear reactors has been cut from the final text. The conference committee axed a proposal to include $50 billion in federal loan guarantees..." ... read more from a treehugger

Archive posts on nuclear subsidies.
New Generation of Nuclear Power Plants More Expensive than ...
Britain Approves Construction of Nuclear Power Reactors, Public ...
Gorbachev Sounds Off on Nuclear vs Renewables
Nuclear Energy - Screwing US Taxpayers Behind The Scenes

Feb 11, 2009

Volt FAIL - BG's Electric Vehicle Cleared for Production

BG , recently announced that their mass-produced electric vehicle the C100 has just been approved by the Department of Transportation! Perfect for commuting and daily urban driving, the sprightly vehicle gets an impressive 60-120 miles per charge and will be available for less than $20,000. (read more from inhabitat)

 
Chevy Volt... $40,000. Range 40 miles.
Status - Not ready for primetime...
www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

Google Debuts PowerMeter Energy Monitoring Tool

Inhabitat:

From joule-counting energy jars to twittering power monitors we’ve got power meters on the brain as of late, what with the upcoming Greener Gadgets Conference and Design Competition. Proving that great minds really do think alike, we’re excited to hear that Google is getting into the energy-saving act with their recently debuted PowerMeter. The application will collect information from utility meters and energy monitors and provide easy access to energy statistics right from your iGoogle homepage.(more…from Inhabitat)

 

Feb 10, 2009

Who paid off the WRI?

In this recent post from World Resources Institute preisdent Jonathan Lash he debates the merits of a carbon tax or a cap and trade system as the centerpiece of federal legislation to reduce emissions that fuel global warming.
 
Here are some highlights from his posty at mongabay.com
 
Q: WRI supports a cap and trade program over a carbon tax with the objective of federal climate legislation to control emissions of greenhouse gases that require Congress to put a price on carbon using one of two options: by mandating a specific price on carbon, via a tax... WRI therefore believes the most effective way to control greenhouse gases is through a cap and trade mechanism...
 
All of the solutions for 'climate change' and 'peak energy' are both PROFITABLE and sustainable. A 'green' market SHOULD be driven by market investors utilizing EROI financial models and not the 'trading of credits for finite resources of third world countries who do not know any better than to trade these resources for the basic commodities for survival'
 
Yet these greenwashing greed driven markets push unsustainable solutions to make the holy dollar on the backs of theses nations that have always suffered and will soon suffer on biblical levels as they rob these nations of the last of their finite natural resources.
 
The reason big industry is 'pushing for a cap and trade' is that gain more by the control over manipulating markets than escaping taxes.
 
As OECD countries begin to tax their own economies by charging growing fees on CO2 emissions, their their trading partners will diminish rapidly.... killing the GDP of those countries whose supply chains depend on OECD countries.
 
FACT: Developing World - Principal Source of Emissions.
Total global emissions have risen by a cumulative 25% since the beginning of the decade. But only a small fraction of those emissions came from North America, Western Europe and OECD economies. In fact, emissions in the most advanced economies of the world have grown by a paltry 5%, one-tenth the 50% increase seen of the developing world. This completey removes the aurguemnt of cap and trade measures being 'the most effective way to control greenhouse gases is through a cap and trade mechanism'.
 
 
Who and what are we controlling and why?
 
I would agree that the taxing of high carbon unsustainable commodities is a strong tool to fight for longterm conservation and sustainable communities... but blanket taxing the resources that economically sustain basic energy, health and infrastructure to non-OECD nations will only continue a sustainable economy for coffin makers.
 
 
Trading markets for 'co2' and 'carbon' ideas of clean coal, biofuel harvested from rainforest's and food pools?
 
Seriously, these are the same people who brought you the pet rock and bottled energy water.
 
I don't feel sorry for the gullible until they invest the future of others on magic beans.
 
 
Here are just a few supporting posts the World Resources Institute needs to read and understand.
The economic impacts of S. 2191,  summarized from IER 

economies bleakest since the oil shock of the early 1970s

 
 
Picture Source: OECD
The outlook for the world’s developed economies is the bleakest since the oil shock of the early 1970s, an indicator of future activity released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development showed Friday.
Adding to the gloom, the OECD’s leading indicator data suggest that the large developing economies are increasingly being dragged down by the recession in richer nations.
 
The OECD’s leading indicator for its 30 developed-country members fell again in December, as did the individual indicators for each of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations. The leading indicators for non-members China, India, Russia and Brazil also fell sharply.
 
“Leading indicators…continue to point to a weakening outlook for all the major seven economies,” The OECD said. “The outlook has significantly deteriorated in the major non-OECD member economies who are now also facing strong slowdowns.”
 
Important parts of some G-7 economies are already experiencing slowdowns on a scale last seen in the early to mid 1970s, when a surge in oil prices and a shortage of energy led to severe cutbacks in industrial production.
 

Feb 9, 2009

Energy & Tech Chip revolution

'probabilistic computer chip': The chip, which thrives on random errors, ran seven times faster than today's best technology while using just 1⁄30th the electricity.
 
Just think: One need never again worry about draining an iPhone battery in a day or even a week.
 
"The results were far greater than we expected," said Palem, a Rice University professor who envisions his chips migrating to mobile devices in less than a decade.
 
"At first, I almost couldn't believe them," he said. "I spent several sleepless nights verifying the results."
 
Probabilistic computer chips have already caught the attention of industry, especially with the end of Moore's Law looming for conventional chips.
 
"This logic will prove extremely important, because basic physics dictates that future transistor-based logic will need probabilistic methods," said Shekhar Borkar, director of Intel's Microprocessor Technology Lab.