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An in-depth discussion about the state of contemporary geothermal...



...amid the rush to alternative energies, geothermal advocates sense a new chance to mine the heat rising from Earth's white-hot core. They plan to generate man-made steam by pumping water deep underground into hot, dry rocks in what's called enhanced or engineered geothermal systems. They also despair that governments and businesses aren't investing enough in the sophisticated technology needed to unlock the deep-seated energy.

"There's a window of opportunity where geothermal can play a part in our energy future, and we risk missing it," says David Blackwell, a geophysicist at Southern Methodist University
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(NationalGeographic)
 

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Discussion Starter #222
How McGuinty’s windmill dreams became a nightmare.
Critics of the premier’s ambitious schemes were dismissed as cranks and nutters infected with a not-in-my-backyard syndrome.

To ensure that these self-seekers and know-nothings didn’t interfere with the government’s bold plans, Queen’s Park stripped municipal councils of their power to regulate wind turbines.
Trotting around through all of this is the unassuming Bob McMurtry.

He heads up a new international body of doctors and scientists investigating wind power called the Society for Wind Vigilance. Throughout small-town Ontario, he is in great demand as a speaker.

“There’s a real level of anger there,” he told me. “Rural Ontario is on fire.”
 

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Discussion Starter #223
Interesting article on a gas turbine engine on a chip the size of a quarter.

The resulting device could run 10 times longer than a battery of the same weight can, powering laptops, cell phones, radios and other electronic devices.

It could also dramatically lighten the load for people who can't connect to a power grid, including soldiers who now must carry many pounds of batteries for a three-day mission -- all at a reasonable price.
The engineering involved in this would be just...cool!
 

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Discussion Starter #225
Nothing beats fossil fuels!
Well, here is an interesting twist on that theme:

UK-based Cella Energy has developed a synthetic fuel that could lead to US$1.50 per gallon gasoline. Apart from promising a future transportation fuel with a stable price regardless of oil prices, the fuel is hydrogen based and produces no carbon emissions when burned. The technology is based on complex hydrides, and has been developed over a four year top secret program at the prestigious Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford. Early indications are that the fuel can be used in existing internal combustion engined vehicles without engine modification.
I don't know if it's legit or not, but could be very interesting if so...
 

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Can Beautiful Turbines Help Critics Embrace Wind Energy?



With knock-down-drag-out fights erupting over the aesthetics of proposed wind farms from Cape Cod to Canada, it stands to reason that the turbines themselves could use a makeover. Leave it to NL Architects -- the Dutch design brains behind this ingenious flipper bridge and this insane rotating amphitheater -- to dream up something terribly clever: wind turbines that could moonlight in an art gallery.
Their idea is to cluster egg-beater turbines on a lanky fixture to evoke delicate buds on a tree. Far from the eerily isolated wind farms of California and beyond, the trees would be "planted" smack dab in the middle of cities -- in parks, along boulevards, and around homes. Think of them as the new family oak for an environmentally minded age.
(FastCoDesign)
 

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Oh my, You are making the Tesla generation cry,
If only Tesla were alive today, He'd find a better way of making energy.
Some folks at Colorado College where he worked for a while maintain that he did, but chose not to pursue it as he felt it would end up being used as weaponry.

Who knows?
 

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Discussion Starter #229
Can Beautiful Turbines Help Critics Embrace Wind Energy?
Making them "prettier" isn't going to address the inherent flaws in the whole system.

So, no...
 

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Discussion Starter #230
More on hydrogen storage technologies...

Now, scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have designed a new composite material for hydrogen storage consisting of nanoparticles of magnesium metal sprinkled through a matrix of polymethyl methacrylate, a polymer related to Plexiglas. This pliable nanocomposite rapidly absorbs and releases hydrogen at modest temperatures without oxidizing the metal after cycling—a major breakthrough in materials design for hydrogen storage, batteries and fuel cells.
 

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Making them "prettier" isn't going to address the inherent flaws in the whole system.

So, no...
Agreed. The turbines are just a green wet dream.
 

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Solar Power Breakthrough Claimed By Stanford Researchers



It’s the Holy Grail at clean energy research labs all over the world and something which could address long term energy issues domestically and beyond: more efficient photovoltaic solar. We’ve told you about scientists studying full-spectrum cells, using textured substrates, trying self-regenerating nanomaterials – we’ve even reported on an anti-reflective film inspired by a coating found in moth eyes. Now a Stanford team is claiming a breakthrough in making cheaper, more efficient panels by adding a single layer of organic molecules to solar cells.
(Huffington Post)
 

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I used to be a huge fan of windmills until my visit to the Hawaiian islands. My Hawaiian friend escorted me throughout all the islands for almost three months. The one glaring thing I saw constantly were rows upon rows of windmills sitting idle. In one case a field of them sat rusting away. It was an ugly sight and something I don't want to see here. The working windmills I saw sat idle the majority of the time even though there were constant breezes off the sea. I asked about them and was told they can only be used as back up power. They are a great idea on paper but don't work so well in reality.

I still think they are great but for limited uses. They cannot replace our current sources of energy and the costs are prohibitive for what we get back from the windmills. A combo solar/wind system is great in a closed energy system such as I've read in a family home or even a small village that wants to get off the grid. Thinking green is great but we need something to produce massive amounts of power 24/7. Wind and solar aren't it. I really wish it was otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter #234
New fossil fuel engine design

Little shy on details but the concept sounds interesting:

Michigan State University researchers have built a prototype of a remarkable new fossil-fueled engine design which

* is 5 times more efficient than conventional automobile internal combustion engines, and 3.5 times more efficient than hybrid automobile engines
* reduces auto emissions up to 90 percent, because the engine uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion, compared to a typical car engine that uses only 15 percent of fuel for propulsion.
* does not have pistons, crankshafts, valves, or a transmission system, cooling system, emissions regulation or fluids reducing costs of the engine system 30% and maintenance costs.
* can operate on natural gas, gasoline, hydrogen and other fuels.
 

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If we must go Nuclear at some point, it is way past time to look at this alternative. Protypes were built in the '50s but the US government wanted no part of this method as it does not produce any weapons grade Plutonium so the concept was never properly pursued.

While anything that says Liquid Fluorides does scare me, this concept overall sounds a lot safer and easier to contain and control than current nuclear reactors.

Time to reconsider.

Thorium and the Liquid-Fluoride Reactor: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle « Energy from Thorium
 

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Discussion Starter #236
Bacteria+sunlight+CO2=Renewable "petroleum"?

While I disagree with some of the far-reaching statements made in the article, the science appears to be sound.

Graduate student Janice Frias, who earned her doctorate in January, made the critical step by figuring out how to use a protein to transform fatty acids produced by the bacteria into ketones, which can be cracked to make hydrocarbon fuels. The university is filing patents on the process.

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The U of M team is using Synechococcus, a bacterium that fixes carbon dioxide in sunlight and converts CO2 to sugars. Next, they feed the sugars to Shewanella, a bacterium that produces hydrocarbons. This turns CO2, a greenhouse gas produced by combustion of fossil fuel petroleum, into hydrocarbons.
 

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Subsea thermal jets

YouTube - Marshall Hydrothermal Recovery System

Wife ran into this one. All the technology is available now. Certainly makes more sense than building more GE nuclear reactors when they are still trying to find a place for the 80,000 tons of Nuclear waste currently stored in big tanks above the reactor cores. That is just the U.S. share of the problem and each those tanks have 4-5 times the number of spent rods as were being stored in the melting reactors.
 

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A report from British wildlife preservationists, the John Muir trust indicate that Scotland's wind turbine program is a sad and expensive joke:

News from the John Muir Trust

Indeed, for numerous extended periods of time all the wind turbines in Scotland linked to the National Grid muster less than 20MW of energy - that's enough power for a mere 6,667 households to boil their kettles for a cup of tea.
Another disastrous example of forward-thinking government officials and scientists attempting to second-guess the real world of economics.
 

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Discussion Starter #239
More "settled science" bites the dust...

This one for the good, however.

The researchers found a way to make an "optical battery," said Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics.

In the process, they overturned a century-old tenet of physics.

"You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We've all been taught that this doesn't happen,"
said Rand, an author of a paper on the work published in the Journal of Applied Physics. "It's a very odd interaction. That's why it's been overlooked for more than 100 years."

Light has electric and magnetic components. Until now, scientists thought the effects of the magnetic field were so weak that they could be ignored. Rand and his colleagues found that at the right intensity, when light is traveling through a material that does not conduct electricity, the light field can generate magnetic effects that are 100 million times stronger than previously expected. Under these circumstances, the magnetic effects develop strength equivalent to a strong electric effect.
Emphasis mine.

Now, let's see what they can do with it.
 

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This one for the good, however.



Emphasis mine.

Now, let's see what they can do with it.
How can this be, the AGW crowd tells me that science once established can never evolve. They assure me with one of their faces perfectly flat, that the Sun does indeed revolve around the Earth!
 
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