• Category Archives: Alternative Energy

    Wind power- is it worth all the hype

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    Alternate energy is the new investment mantra for power generation, but is this all just a rosy picture? The biggest problem with wind energy is the unavailability of wind on all parts of the globe. Coal the current source of 50% all energy produced for the country, along with natural gas making up about 21%, and nuclear power comprises about 20%. Hydro and oil each contribute a bit as well, while traditional renewable – wind, solar, biomass and geothermal – ring in at only 3% combined. A billionaire oilman has been hitting the airwaves, pitching a plan to use wind to replace all the natural gas that’s used to produce electricity, then using that saved natural gas to fuel cars. To make sure enough power is available when the wind isn’t blowing, backup generators would be needed this causes, that could mean maintaining those natural gas plants that cause harm to the environment. In case of emergency a wiser idea would be implementing even more novel ideas like systems in Europe that use excess wind electricity to pump water uphill when the wind is blowing, then release it through hydro dams when the wind stops.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 26, 2008
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    Rubbish converted to fuel for cars will cause less pollution

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    Ineos a British chemicals company seems to have found the answer to soaring fuel prices; an alternative fuel derived from rubbish. They have patented a method of producing fuel from municipal solid waste, agricultural waste and organic commercial waste. Apparently they can produce about 400 liters (90 gallons) of ethanol from one tone of dry waste. The procedure is thus: they heat the waste to produce gases, which is then fed to bacteria, who in turn produce ethanol that can be purified into a fuel. Ineos plans to sell the environmental product in industrial quantities by the end of 2010. Peter Williams, the chief executive of Ineos Bio, said: “This should mean that, unlike with other biofuels, we won’t have to make the choice between food and fuel.”

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 22, 2008
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    Artificial Photosynthesis moves one step closer to reality

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    Will we ever be able to see our energy being generated from the plants and trees that surround us? Photosynthetic organisms use the energy from light to break down water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen then reacts with carbon dioxide to help synthesize carbohydrates, the molecules organisms use to store energy. Photosynthesis falls into a class of reactions known as multiple electron systems. Nobody has succeeded in making artificial multiple electron systems that could provide the necessary energy for artificial photosynthesis. Existing systems can donate and receive only one electron at a time. Chemists have long tried in vain to reproduce the process in vain, but a group of researchers at the Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology in Qinhuangdao, China, have found that single-walled carbon nanotubes could act as the chemical heart of a multiple electron system.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 14, 2008
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    SHEC Labs develops super efficient Solar Thermal technology

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    When in school most of us have tried lighting a match stick with a magnifying glass, focusing all its power on one point to get fire. Well, what if you take that principle and develop a device that can provide energy for a generator to work? Canadian energy company Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation (SHEC) Labs has developed the world’s most efficient solar thermal technology. They have developed a concentrator and complementary receiver technology that is able to concentrate sunlight up to 5,000 times the intensity that normally would fall on a surface on earth. This immense solar concentration can create heat at the focal point that approaches the surface temperature of the sun at 6,000 °C (11,000 °F). Metal placed at the focus is instantly melted. In commercial scale systems, SHEC expects that the concentrations could be as high as 11,000 to 16,000 times the intensity of the sun. Applications of this technology are power generation; process heating, district heating, water distillation, synthesis gas (syn gas) production which can be used for the production of alternative fuels including hydrogen and other applications. Using thermal heat to convert methane, such as is collected off landfills, into hydrogen and syngas. The combined H and syngas, also called “hythane” can be used in vehicles that run on natural gas. A landfill in Texas, in process of implementing this technology by SHEC, will be able to fuel 5,000 fleet vehicles per year. Another plant further along in Regina, SK, Canada, will produce enough gas to fuel 800 vehicles per year. SHEC says their technology has been very challenging to develop, taking the span of a decade to work out the details of the process and materials. The materials and method for making this receiver tube are proprietary, but the materials consist of natural, not exotic, elements.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 14, 2008
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    GM’s Spain plant to go solar

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    Solar cell arrays on houses are commonly a handful of kilowatts, or thousandths of a megawatt. On big commercial buildings, installations of one or two megawatts have become common. A one-megawatt installation will run about 1,000 window air-conditioners simultaneously, at least as long as the sun is shining. Energy Conversion Devices has planned to solarize the General Motors assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain. The project will be putting out 12 megawatts, a huge number in a field where most arrays are measured in kilowatts. The project will use solar devices manufactured in rolls, like carpet runners. Installation will be completed this fall, according to the company, which is based in Rochester Hills, Michigan Energy Conversion will supply the equipment to Veolia Environment and Clairvoyant Energy, which will lease the rooftop space from GM and own and operate the installation, which will be two million square feet.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 10, 2008
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    Germany says no to Nuclear power announces 30 wind Farms

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    Germany’s Bundestag or lower house of parliament passed a law last month aimed at increasing the amount of power generated by renewable energy sources like wind or solar power to 30 percent from the current 14 percent by 2020. The rise in the oil price has made this all the more pressing and the interest from investors’ shows that it is economically viable. The government is aiming to obtain “25,000 megawatts of energy from wind farms by 2030.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 7, 2008
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    LG builds Korea’s biggest solar plant

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    LG completed construction of the Korea’ biggest solar panel plant, as part of the group’s strategy to make inroads into the alternative energy market. The LG solar plant in Taean county, about 110 kilometers southwest of Seoul, is capable of producing 14 megawatts of electricity a year, equivalent to the demand by some 8,000 homes, LG said. The solar plant is part of LG’s move to provide alternative energy amid rising oil prices. LG spent 110 billion won (US$105 million) to build the facility.
    Via – Fareastgizmos

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 7, 2008
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    Hawaii makes solar water heaters mandatory for new city dwellers

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    In order to reduce its 90% reliance on imported fossil fuel Hawaii has proposed a new bill that does not allow new housing licenses to single-family homes without solar water heaters installed. Some exceptions will be allowed, such as forested areas where there are low amounts of sunshine. The bill was signed into law by Governor Linda Lingle, a Republican. It requires the energy-saving systems in homes starting in 2010. State Sen. Gary Hooser, vice chairman of the Energy and Environment Committee, first introduced the measure five years ago when he said a barrel of oil cost just $40.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 4, 2008
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    Ricoh flashes it green on Times Square

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    Time Square in the dark is now impossible to imagine, with its Las Vegas like lights flashing with adverts, it makes it an overwhelming sight for the first time tourist. Yes looking at that makes us wonder as to how much power is being consumed and in turn wasted when the street is desolate. Japanese electronics maker Ricoh has decided to do something radical in spirit of the environment. It is erecting a 47 x 126-foot billboard at Seventh Avenue and 42nd Street that will be completely powered by the sun and wind. Fueled by 45 solar panels and four wind turbines, the billboard won’t even need a backup electric generator.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on July 4, 2008
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    Lithium Vs Hydrogen – The new war of the alternatives

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    If you still haven’t realized how serious the fuel problem is, it could only mean two things either you live on an island disconnected from the rest of humanity or your filthy rich. The price of fuel doesn’t seem destined to fall anytime soon even though Saudi Arabia promises to ease up on trade norms. The automobile manufacturers didn’t see the present fuel crisis as a long term situation, and automobile manufacturers somehow thought that announcing better fuel efficient hybrid vehicles to be launched years from now will ease our present woes. Toyota is slipping out info of its next generation Prius almost everyday, and Honda soon coming out with its Clarity FCX Fuel Cell car. What are we to do by knowing of future cars being more fuel efficient while we drain our money into $4 a gallon gas everyday till the next hybrid is out that promises 40Mpg. With the plethora of new alternative fuel projects being announced everyday, it makes it very hard for us to decide on which technology will stand the test of time in the new war of the alternatives. It is the same reason car companies are hesitant to roll off alternative fuel cars into the market; they simply cannot afford watching more loss graphs already donated to them by the recent gas price inflation. The technology to build alternative fuel cars simply hasn’t been available until recent years.

    Posted in Alternative Energy on June 28, 2008
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