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Discussion Starter #242
E10 Debacle Puts the Brakes on Biofuels

An attempt to introduce the biofuel mixture E10 in Germany has been a disaster, after motorists refused to buy the supposed green gasoline. Car makers, oil companies and politicians have all tried to blame each other for the mess. Even environmentalists oppose the new fuel.
And people are starving to death while the eco-shysters are forcing us to put corn in our fuel tanks...
 

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Discussion Starter #243
Alternative energy investors run for the exits

Do we need any more of a signal that this was all just a bad idea?

New investment in renewable energy dropped to the lowest in two years in the first quarter, weighed down by low natural gas prices in the U.S. and subsidy cuts in Europe, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

Money flowing into the industry through asset finance, share sales, venture capital and private equity fell more than a third to $31.1 billion in the first three months of the year from a record $47.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010, the London-based researcher said today in a statement.

Countries including Germany and Spain have announced reductions in the guaranteed prices that they pay for electricity from renewable sources while in the U.K. the government is reviewing the rates. Gas in the U.S. in September fell to its lowest price since 2002 amid a glut in production.
Summary:

So as long as governments are willing to pay exorbitant amounts in subsidies, investors are willing to put money into “clean” energy. But once they’re faced with the prospect of actually producing a competitive product that people will pay for, they run for the exits. Great business plan, that.
In the mean time, giant fans are being erected all along hiway 3 in my backyard.
 

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Discussion Starter #244
And, for those of you with coal powered, I mean, electrical cars

Washington state looking for its pound of flesh:

Owners of electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf (100-mile driving range) and the Tesla Roadster (211-mile driving range) have the advantage of traveling on America's roads without having to spend a penny on gasoline. And even though the Chevrolet Volt uses a gasoline engine when its battery pack is exhausted, some drivers have managed to average 1,000 miles between gas stops.

The State of Washington, however, isn't too keen on EV drivers skirting the state's gas tax, which helps to maintain the roads that EV drivers travel on every day. According to the Associated Press, Washington has a $5 billion dollar deficit, and hitting the pockets of EV owners is just one way to help close the gap.
 

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Discussion Starter #245
Solar power, with a side of hot running water

In going over a few pages of this thread, there is practically nothing heard from these guys again.

Wonder if we'll actually ever get to reap the rewards from any of this stuff...

Oh, well:

MIT researchers and their collaborators have come up with an unusual, highly efficient and possibly less expensive way of turning the sun’s heat into electricity.

Their system, described in a paper published online in the journal Nature Materials on May 1, produces power with an efficiency roughly eight times higher than ever previously reported for a solar thermoelectric device — one that produces electricity from solar heat. It does so by generating and harnessing a temperature difference of about 200 degrees Celsius between the interior of the device and the ambient air.
 

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Discussion Starter #247
Navy-funded effort to harness nuclear fusion

Little blurb on fusion reactor development stateside. Kind of interesting.

EMC2 Fusion doesn't have tens of millions of venture capital to play with — but it does have a $7.9 million Navy contract to test a plasma technology known as inertial electrostatic confinement fusion, also known as Polywell fusion. The idea is to accelerate positively charged ions in an electrical cage to such an extent that they occasionally spark a fusion reaction, releasing energy and neutrons. The concept was pioneered by the late physicist Robert Bussard, and carried forward by the EMC2 Fusion team in Santa Fe, N.M.

...

Although fusion is the process behind the power of the sun and an exploding H-bomb, physicists have never been able to achieve a net energy gain in a controlled fusion reaction. But based on the experiments so far, Park thinks there's a chance that it could be done in a sufficiently large Wiffleball reactor, costing on the order of $100 million to $200 million. That sounds like a pretty good deal, especially in comparison with the $3.5 billion that's been spent so far on fusion research at the National Ignition Facility and the $20 billion expected to be spent on the international ITER fusion project.
 

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Discussion Starter #248

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Little blurb on fusion reactor development stateside. Kind of interesting.
Cool.

For decades I've been of the opinion that the long term survival of our species hinges on two essential developments: zero population growth and sustainable energy. Controlled fusion is among my favourites for addressing the latter.

cheers
 

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The figures they gave indicated very heavy subsidies were needed with or without the exhorbitant property taxes.
I love this statement:

“That Michigan property tax burden works out to a cost of 12.3 cents per kilowatt hour,” Field said. “That amount is more than the retail value of the electricity.”
They're getting 45 cents per kilowatt from the idiots buying energy worth less than 12.3 cents per kilowatt--and they're still losing money!!
 

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Solar Power Reservoir Topping Project Done



Just a few short months ago, than San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom announced that the city’s proposed Sunset Reservoir Solar Project would provide a whopping 5 megwatts of power, effectively tripling the city’s solar capacity. Now BASS Electric has announced that this gound-breaking renewable energy project is complete. The twelve-acre, 5 MW solar photovoltaic system has been installed on top of Sunset Reservoir.
The Sunset Reservoir Solar Project is expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 109,000 metric tons over the course of its 25 year lifetime, equivalent to taking more than 1,000 typical San Francisco homes off the grid. The project has created dozens of green jobs in the city, the majority of which have been by San Francisco residents.
The Sunset Reservoir Solar Project is believed to be the largest solar PV system in California, and the largest municipal installation in the country
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(EarthTechling)
 

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Discussion Starter #255
More fusion news:

Building on almost 20 years of research, in January this year, fusion-watchers were shocked and skeptical when two Italian scientists Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi demonstrated a small nuclear device in front of a number of independent physicists, producing abundant heat, with little or no radiation or waste, and no carbon dioxide.

They promise to be operating a 1MW power-plant by October 2011 at an estimated cost of $10 per MWh; 10 times cheaper than conventional power, nuclear, and 20 times cheaper than renewable energy sources.

Of course, it sounds like one of these energy scams and many have said it’s “too good to be true”. But a number of successful verifications have followed, including with the skeptic society of Sweden. Now, Rossi has signed a contract with a large firm with a history of contracting to the US Department of Energy.

According to Rossi’s patent, his Energy Catalyzer (ECat) consists of a heated tube of powdered nickel (Ni) and proprietary catalysts, through which hydrogen (H) is pumped at high pressure, surrounded by boron and lead shielding, and encased in a water jacket. Rossi claims the power results from conversion of nickel to copper and other lighter elements. Full conversion of 58g of nickel would produce the energy equivalent of burning 30,000 tons of oil. The radiation emitted during operation of ECat was barely detectable above background.
Again, very interesting.

Wonder what economy of scale could reduce the cost to...

Also be interesting to see if this is something that could be affordably manufactured on the scale of running a small town up to a large city (ie, getting rid of cross country transmission lines and associated problems).
 

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It's also interesting in that the vested interests in preventing such a process--if true--now include the fossil fuel cadre and a number of greenies who were never so much against CO2 as they were against industrialization. Would love to see this one pan out.
 

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Gemasolar: The Solar Power Plant That Generates Electricity At Night



What sets the Gemsolar Power Plant in Spain apart from the others is that it generates electricity at night. That's right, "the regular sunshine in southern Spain means the facility can therefore operate through most nights, guaranteeing electrical production for a minimum of 270 days per year, up to three times more than other renewable energies." Video after the break.
(TechEblog)
 

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Discussion Starter #259
While I in no way endorse electric cars, anything that improves our current battery technology is a step ahead.

That being said...

Here are the technical details: The idea of a conventional battery is that two solid electrodes are immersed in a fluid-like substance (they may be dangled in there, or sandwiched in a complex multi-layered structure, but the design is the same) that allows for flow of chemicals--when charged, the battery chemistry enables the liquid to huddle up to the solid electrodes so electrons flow out of the battery and into the circuitry you're using. To charge it up, you push electrons back in to the battery, and the internal chemistry re-arranges itself ready to be discharged.

In MIT's system, the electrodes and battery fluid (electrolyte) are still separate, but they're all mingled up as a kind of sludgy liquid. The electrodes are made of tiny particles suspended in liquid electrolyte, and to discharge it you pump the fluid through a special kind of filter--thus allowing electrons to flow out of your battery. It's called a semi-solid flow cell, and though it's not brand new tech, no one's been able to achieve the kind of useful high energy density MIT has managed.
 

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McGuinty's "explosion" of green energy? Would you believe implosion?

The Ontario Premier imagined a vibrant green-energy industry that would help ease the transition to a post-auto-manufacturing economy.

He would do it by offering power producers premium rates for wind and solar power as long as they committed to using Ontario-made equipment and labour. By the end of next year, there would be billions of dollars worth of investment and 50,000 new jobs
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It hasn’t quite worked out that way. The explosion he envisioned is looking more like an implosion.
...key trading partners Japan, the U.S. and Europe are challenging the legality of the plan’s buy-local provisions at the World Trade Organization.
Last week, Japan requested a formal WTO panel to decide the case, after Canada – on Ontario’s behalf – refused to budge during a mandatory consultation period. The U.S. and Europe are backing Japan in the dispute.

Trade lawyer Lawrence Herman said the case is being closely watched around the world as a test of what governments can legally do to promote a green economy.
(Globe & Mail)
 
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