Jun 30, 2009

Wisconsin DNR News Updates

Effort to prevent spread of VHS fish disease, invasive species s to increase over July Fourth weekend
MADISON - At popular shore fishing locations and boat landings this Fourth of July holiday, conservation wardens and paid and volunteer watercraft inspectors will be making sure that people take ... Read Full Article

Lake levels and other topics tackled in online FAQ
MADISON - People who flock to Wisconsin 15,081 lakes over the long holiday weekend can find online answers to their questions about lakes, including water levels, blue green algae, and other ... Read Full Article

New resources on electronics recycling available
MADISON -- Wisconsin businesses, institutions, local governments and organizations involved in recycling and refurbishing unwanted electronics have new tools to help them comply with state and ... Read Full Article

Read All DNR News Releases

Recovery Act Announcement Announces up to $32 Million Initiative to Expand Hydropower

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced up to $32 million in Recovery Act funding to modernize the existing hydropower infrastructure in the U.S., increase efficiency, and reduce environmental impact. Today’s announcement is designed to support the deployment of turbines and control technologies to increase power generation and environmental stewardship at existing non-federal hydroelectric facilities.
“There’s no one solution to the energy crisis, but hydropower is clearly part of the solution and represents a major opportunity to create more clean energy jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “Investing in our existing hydropower infrastructure will strengthen our economy, reduce pollution and help us toward energy independence.”

Secretary Chu also noted another key benefit of hydropower: potential hydro energy can be stored behind dams and released when it is most needed. Therefore, improving our hydro infrastructure can help to increase the utilization and economic viability of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar power. Secretary Chu is committed to further developing pumped storage technology to harness these advantages.

Today’s funding opportunity announcement under the Recovery Act will be competitively awarded to a variety of non-federal hydropower projects that can be developed without significant modifications to dams and with a minimum of regulatory delay.

Projects will be selected in two areas:
* Deployment of Hydropower Upgrades at Projects >50 MW: These include projects at large, non-federal facilities (greater than 50 MW capacity) with existing or advanced technologies that will enable improved environmental performance and significant new generation.
* Deployment of Hydropower Upgrades at Projects < 50 MW: These include projects at small-scale non-federal facilities (less than 50 MWs) with existing or advanced technologies that will enable improved environmental performance and significant new generation.

Read full from EERE

What People Are Saying about the Climate Bill...

World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Director of U.S. Climate Policy Lou Leonard:
"I applaud this important step, but more work is needed. Passing a strong domestic climate change bill is critical to the success of international negotiations on the new global climate agreement. Only with a global partnership can we solve this inherently global problem. Investments in international climate cooperation will also open up markets for American companies for clean technologies and help communities build resilience to climate change impacts."

Greenpeace USA executive director Phil Radford:
"Despite the best efforts of Chairman Waxman, this bill has been seriously undermined by the lobbying of industries more concerned with profits than the plight of our planet. While science clearly tells us that only dramatic action can prevent global warming and its catastrophic impacts, this bill has fallen prey to political infighting and industry pressure. We cannot support this bill in its current state."

cnet senior writer Martin LaMonica:
"There is concern that the targets won't effectively cut back on global warming emissions. But on the whole, green technology advocates and business people were pleased to see the U.S. move forward with some form of regulation to put a price on carbon emissions."

The American Wind Energy Association:
"We are concerned that the significantly lower renewable targets currently being discussed, as compared to proposals from President Obama, Chairman Bingaman and Chairman Markey, will severely blunt the signal for companies like ours that manufacture turbines and components to invest billions of dollars to expand production and our workforces in the U.S."

Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein:
"there is no question that there are few pieces of legislation that are likely to have a more profound effect on the U.S. economy. It would bring about dramatic changes in the relative prices of energy and goods produced by energy-hungry industries. It would redistribute trillions of dollars in business sales and household income and generate hundreds of billions in government revenue. And it would represent the most dramatic extension of government's regulatory powers into the workings of the economy since the early days of the New Deal."

NYTimes - Interview With President Obama on Climate Bill

Regarding President Obama's recent press meeting about Climate Bill H.R.2454

Great words from White House transcript interview with President Obama, provided by the NY Times.

President Obama: ...I think that at the end of the day this bill represents an important first step. There are critics from the left as well as the right; some who say who doesn't go far enough, some who say it goes too far. I am convinced that after a long period of inaction, for us to have taken such a significant step means that we're going to be in a position to advance technologically, obtain huge gains in efficiency. I think what we're going to see is that if we're able to get this in place that it's going to be very similar to the Clean Air Act of '91 or how we approached acid rain, where all the nay-sayers are proven wrong because American ingenuity and technology moves a lot faster when incentives are in place.
President Obama: Well, here's my bottom line. I think you have to have meaningful targets so that by 2020, by 2050 we are actually seeing reductions in carbon emissions. I think we have to have a strong push toward energy efficiency. We know that's the low-hanging fruit, we can save as much as 30 percent of our current energy usage without changing our quality of life. So we've got to go in that direction. I think that there has to be a strong renewable energy component in it. And it has to be deficit-neutral, consumers have to be protected from huge spikes in electricity prices.

So I've got some broad criteria the House bill meets. There are going to be provisions in the House bill and in the Senate bill which I question, in terms of their effectiveness. I'm not going to have a line-item veto, so ultimately -- you know, I'll take a look at the final product. And if it meets those broad criteria -- moving the country forward on energy efficiency -- then it's a bill that I will embrace.

President Obama: Which I think is fascinating, because that tells me those guys are 16 years behind the times. I mean, here they are having an argument about the 1990s and we're in 2009 -- and they're making the same argument on health care. They're doing the same thing. They are fighting not even the last war, they're fighting three wars ago.

The American people have moved forward. They are way ahead. And for all the fear-mongering I think that, as I said, there's a recognition that the status quo is unsustainable.

We have now an additional 15 to 20 years under our belts where we've seen energy prices continue with their volatility, the environmental consequences moved more rapidly than anybody had anticipated, our economy has not been strengthened -- we've actually been -- we've actually fallen behind other countries on this front. The same is true on health care, what we've seen is huge increases in health care costs, less satisfaction, decreases in quality.

But long term, I look at America's history and that tells me that we don't shy away from the future.

Please read full transcript, of an interview with President Obama, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Carol M. Browner, the White House coordinator of energy and climate policy, provided by the White House at NY Times.

Haase - Although I often blog about disagreements, it is VERY important to understand that I agreed more with the ideas of President Obama and Dr. Chu than disagreed. 
(it is just part of democracy, it gives balance and is vital)

In this transcript there is so many ideals I whole heartily agree with in energy independence, environmental protection and resurrecting Americas job markets.
I also agree that this is a 'first step' at achieving it... but not a step forward.  We have much better options outlined
throughout this blog, EPA and other organizations.

I do not believe this bill does enough to protect the environment, get us off foreign fuels fast enough or curbs our bleak future of coal and nuclear power... I hope the president, senate, congress and public will look through enough of the CEO fluff run by lobbyist and energy interest companies, to hear the strong view points of EPA and long standing environmental groups to understand we can not afford to make compromises at this time.

All of this clean coal and nuclear interest will be the fiscal energy demise, bankrupting of all viable programs that we can and should have within a decade... not 'neverland'.

We need a stronger bill that provides MORE renewable energy for geothermal, hydro, waste energy, manf. building efficiencies, community wind and liquid fuels from bio-waste.

These ALL work now, ALL invest in American innovation, ALL can support transport and home needs and return on investment before the first phase of this proposed bill would even make a dent.

Just listen... Listening to all the past reasoning, passion and intelligent ideas by Dr. Chu and President Obama regarding energy and the environment, it does not appear they are disagreeing with me on technology or feasibility, but are compromising with bureaucracy to achieve short gains in the same areas of past failures...

I understand that three decades of no progress makes anyone feel pressured to make 'change', even if it's baby steps.

I am only asking them not to compromise that 'change'.  The inarguable, irreconcilable and fiscally crippling issues with clean coal and current nuclear energy are enough to mark this a 'draft'.

With my help (please ask), I will ensure an uncompromised  'final bill'  that would be something no one could look back on as a mistake.

After decades of them, we need to reflect long and hard on this bill.

Waxman-Markey investments overseas...

But, as the National Mining Association shows, the energy tax will require us to send more money overseas to pay for carbon offsets:

If this energy tax is supposed to spur the American economy, how will that happen when it forces Americans to send billions of dollars to foreign countries?

EPA - NOT suppressing stories, upholding professional standards...

Updated from 'Skeptical Report of Global Warming Quashed'

Thomas Fuller:
...a skeptic whose ideas are being suppressed is probably far from the truth.

The Environmental Protection Agency was kind enough to return calls and send emails responses regarding the "suppressed story".
Essentially, the EPA notes that the analyst was allowed to present his opinion both inside and outside the agency, and they were published on at least four occasions.

If this is true, then the Competitive Enterprise Institute has a serious problem.

The EPA also noted that they are trying to find out how to make the analyst's report available.

The analyst in question is Alan Carlin, an economist who has been with the EPA since 1972. Although this has been presented as if his report was skeptical of the received wisdom regarding climate change, a report found on his website (Why a Different Approach Is Required if Global Climate Change Is to Be Controlled Efficiently or Even at All), Some of his opinions differ from the IPCC consensus and most probably differ from the EPA proposal to treat CO2 as a pollutant.

Based on the above, I'm striking out the rest of this article.  I'd delete it, but that doesn't seem fair to any of the players - Thomas Fuller

Another Gristy perspective...  by Jonathan Hiskes
...a “suppressed” report at the Environmental Protection Agency continues to grow, despite the fact that the agency appears to have done nothing worse than holding its employees to professional standards.

The charge spreading through the news media is that the EPA quashed an internal report because it didn’t fit with the agency’s official position that climate change endangers public health. Al Carlin and John Davidson of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics wrote the report, disputing the scientific consensus that human activities are driving global climate change and calling on the EPA to halt its plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

“We have become increasingly concerned that EPA and many other agencies and countries have paid too little attention to the science of global warming,” write authors Al Carlin and John Davidson of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics. They go on to criticize the EPA’s reliance on climate science from the fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“It [the report] was an inconvenient study,” Sam Kazman, CEI general counsel, told me in an interview last Wednesday. “The administration had already decided on a certain course of action, and this would not help.”

But the emails reveal little more than a rather tedious employee-management dispute. Carlin’s boss, Al McGartland, tells Carlin that his report won’t be included in the EPA’s official findings and asks him to get back to work on other issues. EPA Press Secretary Adora Andy noted that Carlin’s education and work expertise are largely in economics, not climatology. That’s why his comments on climate science were not included.

“Certain opinions were expressed by an individual [Carlin] who is not a scientist and was not part of the working group dealing with this issue,” she said.

“Nevertheless, several of the opinions and ideas proposed by this individual were submitted to those responsible for developing the proposed endangerment finding.  Additionally, his manager allowed his general views on the subject of climate change to be heard and considered inside and outside the EPA and presented at conferences and at an agency seminar.  The individual was also granted a request to join a committee that organizes an ongoing climate seminar series, open to both agency and outside experts, where he has been able to invite speakers with a full range of views on climate science.  The claims that his opinions were not considered or studied are entirely false.”

Read more
by Jonathan Hiskes  and Grist’s original story

Jun 29, 2009

Clean energy for plug-in cars not ready anytime soon...

The $787 billion stimulus spending bill enacted in February promotes plug-in electric cars for use by the federal government, and eventually, the public.

Purpose of these plug-in cars is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions and wean America off foreign energy sources.

That sounds good, except it won’t work.

America doesn’t have the electrical capacity to make it work, and a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says the plug-in vehicles being pushed by the Obama administration won’t decrease greenhouse gas emissions.  

Regarding electricity, on June 16, Lloyd Yates, CEO of Progress Energy told directors and members of the County Economic Development Council at a lunch in the Crystal Coast Civic Center that while Progress Energy supports the push toward renewable, responsible and sustainable energy, goals must be realistic, measurable and at a minimum cost to end users of electricity.

“Don’t underestimate how this is going to change — the costs of energy go up,” he said, noting nuclear power will play a dominant role in the company’s federally mandated move toward cleaner energy alternatives.

We surmise, as does everyone, that this is doable.

We believe, however, that it’s only doable if Progress Energy is given the green light — no pun intended — to build more nuclear power plants.

Nuclear power plants cost money, tons, because meeting all the environmental safeguards is exorbitantly expensive.

Second, aside from the exorbitantly expensive environmental safeguards, which we know would be met with any new nuclear power plant construction, are the environmental roadblocks that will, if history is any lesson, be thrown up to halt or delay any nuclear power plant construction.

Mr. Yates said Progress Energy added 18,000 new customers in 2008, in a down economy.

Saying concerns over “global warming” and fuel market volatility require new alternatives, including improved efficiency, he said increased reliance on renewable energy sources and construction of nuclear power plants is absolutely necessary.

He added that Progress Energy’s goal of doubling efficiency over the next decade means convincing customers to conserve and alter their “electrically intense lifestyles.”

“We have to convince people to use less energy. Customers must change their behavior,” said Mr. Yates, adding, those “who need energy efficiency most can least afford it.”

.... the idea of plug-in electric cars comes from a scam driven by ideology and money.

Read full from News Times

‘Peakonomics’ the Stone Age didn’t end because they reached ‘peak rocks.’

Doomer alert -  What do salmon dinners, SUVs, and subprime mortgages have in common?
Peakonomics' - Peak water, peak fish and the end of everything
They all depend on cheap oil, at least according to the book jacket of Jeff Rubin's bestselling new book, Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller.

At its essence peakonomic thought rejects the foundational economic principle of our civilization, that over the long term, increased productivity leads to ever-higher levels of prosperity, social stability, and well-being. Instead, peakniks suggest output will soon crest in any number of sectors, followed by an extended or permanent period of decline. The assumption is all historical trends in production and consumption inevitably continue along their current path, with no hope for innovation, no leaps in technological progress or improvements in institutional design.

But why should we buy this assumption?
It is weirdly ahistorical to think we're not going to get massive innovation in each of those sectors. Over the past 100 years, life in the developed world got steadily better by almost any conceivable measure. Life expectancy rose while infant mortality dropped; the air quality of our cities improved, food got cheaper and more nutritious, and the workplace became safer as wages steadily climbed. There is no reason to think this sort of across-the-board progress cannot be sustained. From global warming to food production to the current economic crisis, the odds are we're going to figure things out.

Peak oil may just be a much-needed first stop toward progress. As President Obama's new energy secretary, Steven Chu, has argued, most of our energy technology is 19th-century technology. Compared with other areas of innovation—computers, biotech, information technology—energy saw a period of almost total stagnation in the 20th century. The simple reason is, there's so much energy in oil that nothing else could compete. Oil's ridiculously low price-to-energy ratio was also a barrier to technological innovation, so high prices should eventually lead to a better solution. To put it another way, the Stone Age didn't end because they reached "peak rocks."

But that's historical amnesia for you. Peakniks are driven not just by pessimism about the economy or the environment, but a deeper distrust of the entire modern project. Call them doomers, dystopians, or neo-Malthusians, but they are at heart "declinists." And what motivates declinism is an abiding distaste for the modern world—the urban alienation, the individualism, the shallow entertainments and mindless consumerism.

For declinists, peakonomics is not a threat but a hope: once the collapse happens we'll be thrown back into a low-impact hyper-local subsistence economy—precisely the sort of lifestyle most declinists think we should be adopting regardless.

Read more of Peak water, peak fish and the end of everything

Nissan to offer Electric Cars for the Middle Class Incomes

What will electric car companies consider affordable now that America’s economic turmoil continues to spiral downward.

It appears that companies are realizing that zero emission electric vehicles should not just be for the “rich”. In May, Nissan announced that it would begin electric cars in the U.S. to be available in 2010. This week, they announced they would mass produce a zero-emissions electric car by 2012 that would be affordable.

According to an AP Nissan , “If it’s not affordable, it’s not gonna work. We are not going to come with a very high price. We are gonna come with a reasonable price,” he said. “We are here to mass market them.”

Read more of this story at gas2.org

Focus on unsustainable, limited hope energy investments with no ROI?

WHY do we need a 'carbon market'? Apparently to drive us off the brink of 'no return' on the environment and energy.

With everything to the left on the chart below offering 'win, win' options in reducing consumption and costs...

Why are we investing everything on the right and not the left? Everything on the right can be done NOW and offers quick return on energy, costs and makes HUGE impacts on reducing consumption, CO2 and finite resources....

Just examine the technical cost and feasibility of everything on the right and have any expert tell you that these are expensive, unproven, overly optimistic programs with massive scale, longterm and cost issues... they will take decades to work while we continue to throw away all viable options to change.

From the words and chart of David Hone- a rush to calculate the “cost” of climate legislation – some with the view of destroying the bill and others to reassure us that it won’t impact us at all.

...have a look at the McKinsey abatement curve for the USA

Click image for larger picture

There are two parts to this curve, the left hand side where no carbon price is actually necessary to deliver the reductions, and the right hand side where a carbon price is needed.

Haase - Apparently 'geothermal' is so far to the left it is off the chart as it!
When everything tangible is right then the left IS wrong....

H.R. 2454 - won't address the problem. In fact,it might make the problem worse.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich
"I oppose H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.
...The reason is simple. It won't address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse.

"It sets targets that are too weak, especially in the short term, and sets about meeting those targets through Enron-style accounting methods. It gives new life to one of the primary sources of the problem that should be on its way out"" coal "" by giving it record subsidies. And it is rounded out with massive corporate giveaways at taxpayer expense. There is $60 billion for a single technology which may or may not work, but which enables coal power plants to keep warming the planet at least another 20 years.

"Worse, the bill locks us into a framework that will fail. Science tells us that immediately is not soon enough to begin repairing the planet. Waiting another decade or more will virtually guarantee catastrophic levels of warming. But the bill does not require any greenhouse gas reductions beyond current levels until 2030.

"Today's bill is a fragile compromise, which leads some to claim that we cannot do better. I respectfully submit that not only can we do better; we have no choice but to do better. Indeed, if we pass a bill that only creates the illusion of addressing the problem, we walk away with only an illusion. The price for that illusion is the opportunity to take substantive action.

"There are several aspects of the bill that are problematic.
1. Overall targets are too weak.
2. The offsets undercut the emission reductions.
4. EPA's authority to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the short- to medium-term is rescinded.
5. Nuclear power is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out.
6. Dirty Coal is given a lifeline instead of phasing it out.
7. The $60 billion allocated for Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) is triple the amount of money for basic research and development in the bill. We should be pressuring China, India and Russia to slow and stop their power plants now instead of enabling their perpetuation. We cannot create that pressure while spending unprecedented amounts on a single technology that may or may not work. If it does not work on the necessary scale, we have then spent 10-20 years emitting more CO2, which we cannot afford to do. In addition, those who will profit from the technology will not be viable or able to stem any leaks from CCS facilities that may occur 50, 100, or 1000 years from now.
8. Carbon markets can and will be manipulated using the same Wall Street sleights of hand that brought us the financial crisis.

9. It is regressive. Free allocations doled out with the intent of blunting the effects on those of modest means will pale in comparison to the allocations that go to polluters and special interests.
10. The Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) is not an improvement. The 15% RES standard would be achieved even if we failed to act.
11. Dirty energy options qualify as "renewable"-: The bill allows polluting industries to qualify as "renewable energy."- Trash incinerators not only emit greenhouse gases, but also emit highly toxic substances.
12. It undermines our bargaining position in international negotiations in Copenhagen and beyond.
13. International assistance is much less than demanded by developing countries.

"Passing a weak bill today gives us weak environmental policy tomorrow,"- Kucinich.

Read more by congressman Dennis Kucinich at opednews

Jun 28, 2009

370 miles of underground science lab

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Far below the Black Hills of South Dakota, crews are building the world's deepest underground science lab at a depth equivalent to more than six Empire State buildings — a place uniquely suited to scientists' quest for mysterious particles known as dark matter.
The site is ideal for experiments because its location is largely shielded from cosmic rays that could interfere with efforts to prove the existence of dark matter, which is thought to make up nearly a quarter of the mass of the universe.
The deepest reaches of the mine plunge to 8,000 feet below the surface. Some early geology and hydrology experiments are already under way at 4,850 feet. Researchers also hope to build two deeper labs that are still awaiting funding from Congress.
Scientists hope to start construction on the two deepest labs by 2012 and open them by 2016. The projects are expected to cost $550 million.
    * Sanford Underground Lab: http://sanfordlaboratoryathomestake.org/
    * Homestake DUSEL: http://www.lbl.gov/nsd/homestake/

Skeptical Report of Global Warming Quashed

See Updated post " EPA - NOT suppressing stories, upholding professional standards..."

"I was told for probably the first time in I don't know how many years exactly what I was to work on," said Carlin, a 38-year veteran of the EPA. "And it was not to work on climate change." Carlin has an undergraduate degree in physics from CalTech and a PhD in economics from MIT. His Web site lists papers about the environment and public policy dating back to 1964, spanning topics from pollution control to environmentally-responsible energy pricing.
"I'm sure it was very inconvenient for the EPA to consider a study that contradicted the findings it wanted to reach," Rep. James Sensenbrenner, the senior Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said in a statement. "But the EPA is supposed to reach its findings based on evidence, not on political goals. The repression of this important study casts doubts on the EPA's finding, and frankly, on other analysis the EPA has conducted on climate issues."
"slashdot ....that less than two weeks before the EPA formally submitted its pro-carbon dioxide regulation recommendation to the White House, an EPA center director quashed a 98-page report that warned against making hasty 'decisions based on a scientific hypothesis that does not appear to explain most of the available data.'
In an e-mail message (pdf) to a staff researcher on March 17, the EPA official wrote: 'The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward...and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision.'
The employee was also ordered not to 'have any direct communication' with anyone outside his small group at EPA on the topic of climate change, and was informed his report would not be shared with the agency group working on the topic. In a statement, the EPA took aim at the credentials of the report's author, Alan Carlin (BS Physics-Caltech, PhD Econ-MIT), describing him as 'not a scientist.' BTW, the official who chastised Carlin also found himself caught up in a 2005 brouhaha over mercury emissions after top EPA officials ordered the findings of a Harvard University study stripped from public records."
The revelations could prove embarrassing to Jackson, the EPA administrator, who said in January: "I will ensure the EPA's efforts to address the environmental crises of today are rooted in three fundamental values: science-based policies and programs, adherence to the rule of law, and overwhelming transparency." Similarly, President Barack Obama claimed that "the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over... To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy. It is contrary to our way of life."
"All this talk from the president and (EPA administrator) Lisa Jackson about integrity, transparency, and increased EPA protection for whistleblowers--you've got a bouquet of ironies here," said Kazman, the CEI attorney.

Jun 27, 2009

EPA Releases third National Assessment of Toxic Air Pollutants

EPA has released the latest version of a state-of-the-science tool that estimates health risks from breathing air toxics in the United States. The National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA), based on 2002 air emissions data, helps federal, state, local and tribal governments identify areas and specific pollutants for further evaluation to better understand risks they may pose.

Air toxics are of concern because they are known to or are suspected of causing cancer and other serious health problems, including birth defects. The report assessed 180 air toxics plus diesel particulate matter from stationary sources of all sizes and from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, buses and construction equipment.

The 2002 NATA estimates that most people in the United States have an average cancer risk of 36 in 1 million if exposed to 2002 emissions levels over the course of their lifetime. In addition, 2 million people—less than one percent of the total U.S. population—have an increased cancer risk of greater than 100 in 1 million. Benzene was the largest contributor to the increased cancer risks.

Map of Estimated County Level Carcinogenic Risk

NATA provides broad estimates of risk over geographic areas of the country and not definitive risks to specific individuals. The results are best used to prioritize pollutants and areas for further study, not as the sole basis for regulation or risk reduction activities.

Read more from source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Another Combined Heat and Power for the Home Now

The generation of most electricity produces enormous amounts of heat which is typically wasted - literally up the chimney.


Cogeneration - or "Combined Heat and Power" - systems make use of this otherwise wasted heat to warm buildings. Much of Manhattan is heated this way courtesy of several con-edison plants in the vicinity. It's a brilliant solution to improve energy efficiency in an urban area, but doesn't work so well in less urban areas. There, people typically rely on their own natural gas furnaces to heat their homes. But what if you could reverse the cogeneration idea? Imagine taking an already efficient gas furnace and generating a home's electricity directly from it, while it heats? That's the reality that Marathon Engine has in store for the North American market today. While not quite a start-up (they've been selling units in Europe for 5 years), the company's "EcoPower MicroCHP" units look set to sell well, despite, or perhaps because of the economy downturn. Read more here at triplepundit

Jun 26, 2009

War-Time Fungus and pooo Make new breed of Biofuels

(Bloomberg) -- When the U.S. Army fought in the Pacific during World War II, it discovered a fungus eating soldiers’ cotton tents. Six decades later, scientists have genetically engineered the organism to make cheaper biofuels.

Producing a cheaper automobile fuel from plant chaff has become the environmental grail also for Denmark’s Novozymes A/S, Royal DSM NV of the Netherlands and DuPont Co. They’re seeking new business in the U.S., where $2 billion of government aid was approved for non-crop biofuels to wean some of the nation’s 250 million registered vehicles off gasoline.

“If we can look at strange and unconventional places to find enzymes, we do,” Feike Sijbesma, chief executive officer of Heerlen-based DSM, said in an interview. “Nature has been busy for millions of years.”

Enzymes and yeasts pioneered by the developers may be worth $5 billion a year by 2025 in a $60 billion to $80 billion market for fuel alcohol from plants, said Jens Riese, head of biofuels at the consultant McKinsey & Co. For a market that big, costs must tumble. Making the “second-generation” biofuels currently costs as much as four times more than “first-generation” fuel from edible crops such as corn, wheat or sugar cane, he said.

Crop Waste, Grasses
“You need to optimize the entire process,” honing yeasts and enzymes, Riese said. Food-crop waste and fibrous grasses must be treated with heat, steam or chemicals, then enzymes are used to break the plant’s cell walls, or cellulose, down into its constituent sugars. Yeasts convert those into fuel alcohol.

Ethanol from inedible plant-matter may not be available in significant quantities at competitive prices for a decade due to the need to build factories and buy feedstock, said Simo Honkanen, senior vice president at Neste Oil Corp., which makes 170,000 tons of conventional biofuels at a factory in Finland.

“Resolving this problem and commercializing these fuels is not around the corner,” Honkanen said. “The main challenge is the scale. It’s going to take a while to build up the supply chain and all the infrastructure and operations.”

Read more from bloomberg

Climate bill will increase imports and add more volatile prices

Big Oil's Answer to Carbon Law May Be to Boost Imports, Idle Refineries America's biggest oil companies will probably cope with U.S. carbon legislation by closing fuel plants, cutting capital spending and increasing imports.

Under the Waxman-Markey climate bill that may be voted on today by the U.S. House, refiners would have to buy allowances for carbon dioxide spewed from their plants and from vehicles when motorists burn their fuel. Imports would need permits only for the latter, which ConocoPhillips Chief Executive Officer Jim Mulva said would create a competitive imbalance.

"It will lead to the opportunity for foreign sources to bring in transportation fuels at a lower cost, which will have an adverse impact to our industry, potential shutdown of refineries and investment and, ultimately, employment," Mulva said in a June 16 interview in Detroit. Houston-based ConocoPhillips has the second-largest U.S. refining capacity.

Read more from bloomberg

Get in on DOE Thermoelectrics Workshop

US Department of Energy is planning to hold the 2009 Thermoelectrics Applications Workshop 29 September to 2 October in San Diego, CA. The purpose of the Workshop is to expand the interest in thermoelectrics for automotive as well as other applications, such as directly converting waste heat from industrial processes, geothermal, stationary power prime movers (gas turbines and diesels), rail, marine and off-highway equipment to electricity.

The DOE Vehicle Technologies (VT) Program has been supporting the development and application thermoelectrics in vehicles. As a result, it is expected that within 5 years, the first generation thermoelectric generators that will directly convert engine waste heat to electricity will be commercially introduced in the automotive market.

DOE/VT is also jointly funding, with the California Energy Commission (CEC), competitively selected project teams headed by Ford and GM to develop automotive thermoelectric heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (TE HVAC) systems, using the zonal concept of cooling or heating only the occupants and not the whole cabin.

TE HVAC systems are strong candidates to replace current vehicular air conditioners using the refrigerant gas R-134a with a global warming potential that is 1,300 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The successful deployment of these two automotive applications will greatly expand the volume of thermoelectric materials to supply the auto market here and abroad, providing an added stimulus to develop more efficient thermoelectrics, improve scale up production capabilities, and reduce cost with volume production as has historically been the case with semiconductor devices.

Read full from greencarcongress

GM Volt FAIL - Will be made in China

I did not think GM could make more mistakes with the volt - I was wrong.

Just as Nissan and China announce they both have plans to invest billions in the U.S. and open massive plants in America...
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that GM will indeed build the Chevy Volt in China, but that all the Volts built in China will remain in China.

Track the demise of the volt on this blog.... just search gm, volt

Hansen - Waxman-Markey bill: "This is just stupidity."

James Hansen rails against the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill as watery slop and is critical of environmental-organizations-turned-Washington-insiders.

Here's Mr. Hansen on environmental groups supporting the Waxman-Markey bill: "This is just stupidity...the fact that some of these organizations have become part of the Washington `go along, get along' establishment is very unfortunate."

Mr. Hansen has few critiques... In part, this is because Mr. Hansen favors a carbon tax. In the article, he calls for an emissions tax that would add roughly $1 per gallon of gasoline. And that's just a start point: he would like to see the tax go up from there.

But it leads us to wonder: Is advocating a carbon tax really such a naïve vision of beltway politics. Consider the list of other folks who think a carbon tax is the most practical, sensible way forward.

There's Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson and consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Add in Al Gore, who likes to call it a "pollution" tax. And then there's Chinese leadership, who have at times flirted with a carbon tax.

Read full from Wall Street Journal Blog

Haase Comment - However critical I have been about some of the ideas proposed by Mr. Gore and Mr. Hansen ... their ideas become 'realistic alternatives' compared to the monumental mistake the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill will do to our environmental and energy crisis. And I would openly 'agree to disagree' with Mr. Gore and Mr. Hansen on all of our previous differences to work together on a carbon tax, regulatory reform and energy conservation program that will not crush all hope we have prosper.

I sincerely believe that within a month I could have
Mr. Gore and Mr. Hansen endorsing a program that reduces home energy cost, dependency on foreign oil, eliminates coal and builds a sustainable future and economy within THIS decade while pulling our economy out of the crapper....

Remember under the Waxman-Markey Bill there will be No Cuts until 2026!

Water - The REAL problem... not CO2, carbon, energy or oil.

World water poverty - the war is on...Water Use Graphic

The top five biggest average daily users of water are the U.S., Australia, Italy, Japan, and Mexico - all five of these use well over 300 liters daily. The countries where water poverty is the worst and water usage is the lowest are Mozambique, Rwanda, Haiti, Ethiopia, and Uganda - these five use 15 liters or less daily. While some parts of our water footprint, including how much corporations and agriculture use or waste water, are not under our control, we can find simple ways to cut our daily water use, and even save money. (Image Via Waterfootprint.org)

Where's the beef? It's our big water footprint

The U.S. has one of the largest water footprints, and the absolute highest daily household use of 575 liters. Our large footprint is primarily because of our beef habit - large consumption of meat per capita. High consumption of water-guzzling industrial products also contributes.

Amazingly, one kilo of boneless beef takes a massive 16,000 liters of water to produce, much of that used to grow the grain the cows will eat. One hamburger uses 2,400 liters of water! We in the U.S. also have the dubious distinction of being one of the eight countries - the others are China, India, the Russian Federation, Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, and Pakistan - that together represent 50% of the entire world's water footprint. Weekday vegetarianism, here we come. We can also stop buying bottled water (the bottle itself entails the use of 7 liters of water) and really reduce paper consumption (10 liters per sheet).

India: Biggest water problems, and promising solutions

The simple truth is that in many countries, water is pumped up for agricultural use at a higher rate than it can be replenished. While India's water footprint is below average at 980 cubic meters per capita, the massive population makes the country's overall footprint 12% of the world's total. India has faced dire water shortages, but on the bright side the country has adopted more rainwater harvesting than in other regions. By harnessing rainwater, villages like Rajsamadhiya have become self-sufficient in their water supplies. India's higher incidence of vegetarianism (approximately 30% of the population) does play a role in keeping individual footprints lower - the water contained in our diets varies with a vegetarian diet using 2.6 cubic meters of water each day.

China: low individual use but big water problems

In many parts of China, people are getting by with just two 86 liters of water each day (2002 figures). Compare that to the Italians (380 liters) or to us (575 liters). Two of the biggest water variables, however, are population and diet. China's big population gives it one of the world's biggest water footprints (12% of the global footprint, as opposed to the United States' 9% share), and as the country develops, per capita meat consumption is also rising. Water shortages are concentrated in Northern China, so the challenge is for regions of China to become water self-sufficient.

Read more from a hugger

The die we die - frogs... like bee's but better

Didn’t know frogs were in such shoddy shape? Don’t worry, you’re the norm. Which is precisely the reason Dr. Kerry Kriger started Save the Frogs! in the first place. He realized he was writing scientific papers about how bad the situation is globally for frogs, which then got published in journals “normal people don’t read.” On top of all that, he and other scientists were making recommendations based on that research, but there was no one to carry them out.

His current vision for the organization is simple but powerful: “that everyone in America know that frogs are disappearing.” Once general awareness is established, especially among the younger generation, it is Kriger’s hope that grassroots and legal action to protect frogs and their habitat will follow.

When asked why the average citizen should care about some dying frogs on a mountain somewhere, Kriger took a minute to measure his answer.

“Frogs have been around 250 million years,” he said. “They’ve outlived the dinosaurs ... But in the last 30, 40, 50 years, they’re now going extinct.”

Because thin-skinned frogs live both on land and in the water, they are biological indicators of the planet’s health—the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. With over one-third of these species in imminent danger of extinction, what’s really alarming is that most of us have no idea what’s going on.

If that’s not cause for concern, he reasoned, you only have to look as far as human disease and medicine. Little-known fact: 10 percent of Nobel prizes in medicine and physiology recognized research that was performed, in part, by researchers using frogs. Additionally, frogs eat disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes, reducing the spread of malaria, dengue fever, and other less-than-desirable conditions people don’t want to catch.

Read more GRISTY news about frogs here

WI: Wisconsin E-waste Bill Passes in Senate!

MADISON, Wis. -- An electronics waste bill that would make manufacturers responsible for recycling the products they sell passed the Wisconsin Senate last week and arrived in the Assembly Tuesday.
Senate Bill 107 must now clear the Assembly and get approval from the governor before becoming law. The move could bring the number of states with e-waste recycling laws to approximately 20. The U.S. lacks a federal e-waste mandate.  

The Wisconsin law would require manufacturers of select consumer electronics -- computers, printers and video display devices, such as TVs or monitors -- to collect and recycle 80 percent of the weight of sold devices beginning in September.

Manufacturers must register with the state’s Department of Natural Resources and report the list of brands sold in the state. Beginning in February 2010, retailers can’t sell electronics made by manufacturers that are not registered with DNR.

Manufacturers failing to meet their targets would be subject to a shortfall fee after 2010. Those who exceed their goals may be eligible for recycling credits.

TVs and electronics often end up in landfills although they are made with toxic materials, such as mercury, lead and cadmium. The EPA estimates about 244,000 tons of electronics were collected for recycling, compared to 1.3 million tons ready for disposal.

Environmental advocacy group Clean Wisconsin estimates only 10 percent of e-waste is recycled in the state.

Indiana became the 19th state in the country to pass an e-waste law last month.

An e-waste law went into effect in New York City Monday, but environmental groups are criticizing New York Gov. Daniel Patterson over an e-waste bill he proposed two weeks ago. According to Crain’s New York Business, Patterson’s bill would require manufacturers to collect half of what is currently collected through voluntary programs.Read full from greenercomputing

Jun 25, 2009

National Lab Makes Key Progress for Fourth Generation Nuclear Reactors

Key milestones have been passed after three years of planning, machining, wiring and welding, in the progress of the Advanced Graphite Capsule project. This six-phase project will test over 2,000 different samples of graphite in INL's Advanced Test Reactor facility over a roughly 10-year period that will last until 2020.

Today, nuclear experts envision two different versions of gas cooled VHTRs for next-generation use. Both designs will require large amounts of high-quality graphite.

The "pebble-bed" style reactor uses billiard-ball-size "pebbles" of nuclear fuel particles coated with several layers of silicon-carbide and carbon. The pebbles enter the reactor from the top, work their way down through and exit the reactor from the bottom. There, they are monitored for remaining fuel to make another pass. Or, if the useable fuel is consumed by the time it reaches the bottom, it is collected for disposal. A second design utilizes a honeycomb block of graphite into which fuel rods would be inserted.

A critical step in developing new Very High Temperature Reactors (VHTR) is certifying the graphite that is used in many parts of the reactor's core

This information will allow those who build advanced nuclear reactors to be sure that communities will, for generations, reap the benefits of clean, safe, inexpensive and abundant energy to power their progress

Read more from nextbigfuture

Population control FAIL ... John and Kate plus tons

Of the 54,656 infants born through Assisted Reproductive Technology, 48% were multiple-birth deliveries. The risk for a multiple-birth delivery was highest for women who underwent ART transfer procedures that used fresh embryos from either donor eggs (39%) or their own eggs (31%). Approximately 1% of U.S. infants born in 2006 were conceived through ART. Those infants accounted for 18% of multiple births nationwide. Approximately 9% of ART singletons, 57% of ART twins, and 96% of ART triplets or higher-order multiples were low birthweight. Similarly, 14% of ART singletons, 65% of ART twins, and 97% of ART triplets or higher-order multiples were born preterm.

Read more from source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC) via docuticker


WSP - The Lao People’s Democratic Republic lost an estimated 5.6 percent of gross domestic product, due to poor sanitation and hygiene, according to a report released today by the Water and Sanitation Program.

As the impacts evaluated in Economic Impacts of Sanitation in Lao PDR, health contributes 60 percent to overall estimated economic costs, followed by 18 percent for accessing clean drinking water, 13 percent for additional time to access unimproved sanitation, and nine percent due to tourism losses.

“These impacts are expected to cause a mixture of direct financial losses as well as indirect or nonmonetary economic losses to the Lao population, who have to pay for health services or for accessing clean water supplies, or who may lose income due to poor health,” said the report’s author and Senior Economist with the Water and Sanitation Program Guy Hutton.

Poor sanitation, including hygiene, causes at least three million disease episodes and 6000 premature deaths annually. The resulting economic impact is more than US$115 million (LAK 1.1 trillion) per year based on 2006 data, the report says.

Poor sanitation also contributes significantly to water pollution, adding to the cost of households accessing safe and clean water supplies. The associated economic costs of polluted water attributed to poor sanitation exceed US$35 million (LAK 350 billion) per year. This excludes the costs of accessing clean water for non-drinking purposes, as well as loss of productive value for fisheries and agriculture due to polluted water. Link here for a copy of the full report,

Thanks for visiting the blog... did you need more info?

Gary Luquette of Chevron Thanks for visiting the blog...

Regardless if it was Mr. Luquette or just a Chevron director I always like to see visitor I.P.'s to this blog that reflect influential individuals from industries that control our future. A huge rise in individuals and GOV traffic from the DC and Virginia also give me optimism on the 'crap-n-trade' and 'cash-4-clunkers' future.

Visitors - I hope you found the answers you were looking for that can help our energy crisis.

But did you need more information?

I would also encourage any visitor from private, GOV and EDU sectors to give me a call or shoot me an email for more data and information I am not a liberty to publicly disclose.

I solely volunteer my personal time and small volunteer army to this effort as confidential, non-bias and problem 'resolving' EHS professionals.

Our combined experience in Environmental, Health, Safety, Energy and Hazardous Materials is over a hundred years spanning two decades.

We do not care what your spin on the cause or crisis is... as long as the 'true intent' is to protect people and the planet.

Global warming? Cooling? Peak Oil? Peak Population? Peak Water? .... are really irrelevant arguments as they detract away time and resources from the same root causes to all of them.

We have very large, tangible energy, water, air, national security and safety issues that are falling further behind the more we debate effects and ignore the cause and solutions - Haase

If Waxman-Markey bill becomes law...

Even if the bill were to become law, it totally ignores the fact that all the other nations of the Earth will continue to generate “greenhouse gases" at a growing rate that has already surpassed the U.S. and industrialized countries. Without a global market...

What the reductions will do to "greenhouse gases"
Its limits are, by definition, meaningless...

Like the Kyoto Protocol, we are exempting the largest growing "greenhouse gases" sectors  China, India, and all undeveloped nations because they will not join.

What the reductions will do to economic and energy crisis
The Waxman-Markey bill will, by 2035, reduce the aggregate domestic product (GDP) by an estimated $7-9 trillion. Our present annual GDP is about $14 trillion. It is estimated to destroy 844,000 jobs on average with peak years seeing unemployment rise by over 2,000,000 jobs. It will raise electricity rates 90% after adjusting for inflation. Prices for gasoline and natural gas will rise by 74% and 55% respectively.

When experts have already agreed that raising both these costs will make current 'recession look like a good thing' and enter a era of American poverty that has never existed.

Please call, write, fax, and email your representatives in Congress to express your concerns about the negative impact of this bill... and let them know we have better, viable alternatives.

Source: 'Everyone'

Haase Comment- IT IS vitally important that the U.S. leads the world on energy conservation, environmental protection and emission reductions and if I felt this bill would benefit ANY of these factors I would vote for it 100%.  It is also important that continue to pass a bills that improve energy conservation, environmental protection and emission reduction efforts... this bill appears to do the opposite.  Unless the largest world energy consumers and environmental polluters agree to make the changes (and they should, but won't) the U.S. will be at in a situation even I can not 'plan for without pain'.

Jun 24, 2009

BAD economy = BAD Safety

"A lot of times, when there is a general downtick in the economy, safety is one of the things that companies don't seem to put a lot of effort and money into."

Quote by - Allen McNeely, deputy commissioner and director of OSHNC

Go to the full story in WRAL-TV via cal-osha.com

Billions more thrown at Unicorn fuel-efficient car Dreams

Associated Press
In an announcement to day
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu said the three automakers would be the first beneficiaries of a $25 billion fund to develop fuel-efficient vehicles.

General Motors Corp.  requested $10.3 billion in loans from the energy program, while Chrysler Group LLC has asked for $6 billion... Yet Energy officials have said the loans could only go to “financially viable” companies, preventing GM and Chrysler from qualifying for the first round of loans.

The loans were designed to help auto manufacturers meet new fuel-efficiency standards of at least 35 mpg by 2020, a 40 percent increase over current standards.

“These loans will help the auto industry meet and even exceed the president’s tough fuel standards,” Chu said at Ford’s Research and Innovation Center. “This means the most fuel-efficient cars in the world must be made right here in America.”

Read full from

Haase Comments:

Since the 1990's we have had the ability to make nice
70 mpg vehicles that are fast, safe and affordable (Examples below or search blog for 100's more)

However, we have decided once again to give billion dollar companies, billions more to maintain 'status quo'.

Now that we have floated these automakers billions more can they just bring the existing 50mpg* vehicles they 'currently' manufacture to U.S. show rooms*?

But Tesla???  Ford and Nissan at least have dozens of projects 'ready for primetime'. By the time Tesla is ready, peak problems will be solved by nearly every other big player in the field who already has 'done that and been there' with electric cars.

And giving Nissan and ford money to go against Tesla is like giving Coke and Pepsi money to go against TAB.

Regardless of EVERY problem that is being thrown at the U.S. car market to 'stimulate' sales... investing public money into 'researching technological advances that has existed for decades'  may be the largest ponzi scheme yet. This could lead to a 'end of game scenario' that stifles actual progress, leaving consumers with NO oil and NO options by 2015...

*Examples (sorry they are painful but necessary)

Fords 100 year old electric car tech is new
$7,000 builds you a 70 mpg 0-60 in 7 sec...
70mpg was possible in 1995
The 65 mpg Ford the U.S. Can't Have
60 mpg American made ' Best Cars For The Environment'
We can already have 35mpg trucks...how about 50mpg!
 Full electric cars starting at $1,000 and coming to a Costco or Wal-Mart
5 Passenger 62mpg Ford Fiesta - Not yours!
 110 mpg safe family car in 1984
 YEP... Another GM 60 MPG Vehicle We Don't Have...
 VW - 60 MPG, 90% Emissions Reduction 60 mpg anyone can do for $400
 The 204hp - 45mpg Engine we all can have (BMW)
40 MPG BioDiesel MiniVan you can not buy in USA!
 VW Polo 73 mpg will not come to U.S.
General Motors (GM) 200 mpg lean machine
Non-Hybrid Combined 70 mpg (Not Yours in U.S.)
3 Out of 4 Americans want Clean Cars

'cash for clunkers' rewarding the cause of the problem.

From CNN

The "cash for clunkers" bill just passed by Congress won't do much for car owners who want to trade in for a more fuel efficient model. If you own an SUV, though, you could stand to gain.

The reason this rule won't help car buyers is that most cars, even older ones, aren't inefficient enough to qualify as "clunkers."

Read more about this biblical failure to improve massive fuel consumption problem from CNN as they throw away billions to try to get you to buy MORE SUV's at

Jun 23, 2009

$80 dollar oil could trigger a new recession

Subsea Headlines (VIA OilDrum)

With the ‘green shoots’ of recovery more numerous by the day, dark warnings of a new spike in oil prices are also multiplying. Saudi Oil Minister al-Naimi has warned that under-investment in oil capacity may lead to a return to $150/barrel oil, “or even worse”.

New research by Wall Street energy business analysts, Douglas-Westwood, suggests that when oil consumption costs exceed 4% of US GDP, recession almost always occurs. And in general, a sustained rise in the oil price of 50% or more has always been followed by a recession.

“In every case when oil consumption breeched 4% of GDP, the US suffered a recession and indeed, the current US recession began within two months of oil hitting the 4% threshold, most recently, when oil reached $80 a barrel,” said Steven Kopits, Douglas-Westwood’s LLC Managing Director.

Kopits added, “Another factor is the maximum rate of adjustment for the economy, which appears to be about 0.8% of GDP per year. That is, the economy cannot shed oil consumption instantaneously; society needs time to adjust. When the economy is adjusting at full speed, it will tend to struggle. Adjustment will tend to be characterized by recession, inflation or generally low GDP growth.

“Our research suggests that a return to $80 oil could kill the present recovery and trigger a new recession – today’s oil prices means we are again teetering on the edge.

“Looking ahead, our own firm and others have the view that the world is likely to reach a peak of oil production capacity within the next five years and that will, of course, have massive implications for oil prices.

 “Should oil return to $150/barrel, as Saudi Oil Minister, al-Naimi, and others have warned, the statistics are not ambiguous. Expect a recession, and a severe one at that.”
The full research note with graphics can be downloaded here