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    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 29th 2009
    This is one of those" probably too good to be true" stories.

    Simple barriers on the ground underneath wind turbines channel more wind past the turbines, increasing the effective speed. Supposedly power output can be increased by 30% and the barriers can be retrofitted to existing turbines.


    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 15th 2009
    First really practicable home wind turbine:

    Recently EarthTronics, which is based in Muskegon, Michigan, has developed a wind turbine that can be used by individual homes. EarthTronics also claims that it can operate at speeds as low as 2 miles an hour. Consequently, homeowners this fall will be able to buy a wind turbine at hardware stores that tackles the small wind industry’s bete noire: slow wind. This turbine is named as Honeywell Wind Turbine and it will be distributed through Ace Hardware stores in the U.S. It will be sold for $4,500. WindTronics developed the turbine and licensed the technology to buildings systems giant Honeywell.


    Of course 2000 kilowatt hours a year would save the average consumer $400-600 a year assuming it all gets used. so unless the turbine lasts well over 10 years it really isn't going to make a lot of financial sense.
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2009
    The UK and US governments each released surveys of how climate change will affect those countries this week.

    A summary of and link to the UK study is here from BBC News.

    New Scientist links to the US study and a Google Map of the predictions here.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJun 19th 2009 edited
    Australia released a similar report a few months back.

    Summary: "OMFG, we're all going to die!"
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2009 edited
    I just looked up my current address on that sea level projections map. I'm just far enough back from the bay, set back on a hill, that my apartment is pretty much guaranteed to be beachfront property in 20 years. Now I'm a bit ambivalent about stopping climate change.
    • CommentTimeJun 20th 2009
    OMFG, we're all going to die! So let's cut our emissions 5-15%!

    ... I'll be honest, I don't understand the logic of the Australian government.
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
    Well, if you look at all the science data, there are more scary projections then the whole global warming situation. It does suck, its something people need to work on changing, starting with getting the batshit crazy Evangelical southern US people on board. We don't need them bombing projects like they love to bomb abortion clinics. Its either that or we just need to give them water laced with infertility drugs. God made us do it.. :)

    Anyways, what I was gonna mention was that the who affects of global warming is wayyy less then the effects of our solar system falling into a black hole, or giant solar flares etc etc. However, we can only tackle things we can handle, which leaves us to worry about global warming.
    • CommentTimeJun 28th 2009 edited
    Here's an interesting article on a pickup modified to run on everyday organic waste - wood, garbage - through gasification technology from the 1890's.

    Green steampunk technology! If the thing was covered in brass and had a few extra analog gauges on it, he'd make a mint.
    His pickup truck appears to run like any other and easily reached 40 mph and above on local roads on a recent day, but it has no gas tanks. Nichols says he can get it up to more than 80 mph. The only noticeable difference is a contraption, right behind the cab's rear window, that takes up some of the back and looks somewhat like a wood stove.

    A metal barrel, where the heating occurs, extends just above the cab's roof. The gas is captured from the barrel and a vacuum system sucks it through piping that runs under the truck to the engine.

    Nichols says he's driven it 10,000 miles without gas, including a trip about three months ago when he loaded up the back with about 400 pounds of wood and drove some 600 miles across Connecticut, then to New Hampshire and Boston before returning home. A pound of wood or other material will fuel his truck for 1 to 2 miles, meaning that the truck costs about 8 cents a mile to fuel, compared to roughly 19 cents per mile if it used gasoline at today's prices.

    The Wikipedia article states there is little current wide-scale industrial use of gasification. There's an interesting pilot program at the University of Iowa to use locally sourced syngas. Although not currently using gasification, the university is currently burning oat hulls in their physical plant to extend/dilute their current coal usage with a carbon-neutral source.
  1.  (4859.49)
    So, you know how nuclear power is cheap and reliable and will solve all our problems?

    Maybe not.

    Finnish reactor is three years behind schedule and faces massive cost overruns.

    Canada cancels two reactors due to cost blow-outs
  2.  (4859.50)
    The G8 summit ended with the developed countries agreeing to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.

    The five major developing countries also present say they'll set a 2050 target for themselves by December.

    The problem is there's no binding mechanism and no intermediate target.

    The Indians apparently offered to commit to a 50% reduction by 2050 if the G8 would commit to a 2020 reduction target of 25-40%.

    • CommentTimeJul 17th 2009
    I just committed an act of bloggery here. Just a summary of an energy market report and a Commons debate, but it's actually the first blog I've ever written, so vaguely exciting (to me).
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2009
    I haven't read the full article yet but this looks pretty reasonable:

    "Done right," biofuels can be produced in large quantities and have multiple benefits, but only if they come from feedstocks produced with low life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions, as well as minimal competition with food production. This consensus emerges in a new journal article by researchers from the University of Minnesota, Princeton, MIT and the University of California, Berkeley.
    The paper coincides with climate change policy debates in Congress, and tackles land use issues that have generated much controversy in recent years: Specifically, the greenhouse gases released when land is cleared to grow biofuel crops (or when other lands are cleared to compensate for food crops displaced by biofuel crops) can-for decades to centuries-exceed those from petroleum use.
    To balance biofuel production, food security and emissions reduction, the authors conclude that the global biofuels industry must focus on five major sources of renewable biomass:

    + Perennial plants grown on degraded lands abandoned from agricultural use

    + Crop residues

    + Sustainably harvested wood and forest residues

    + Double crops and mixed cropping systems

    + Municipal and industrial wastes

    These sources can provide considerable amounts of biomass, at least 500 million tons per year in the United States alone, without incurring any significant land use carbon dioxide releases.

    "We need to transition away from using food for biofuels toward more sustainable feedstocks that can be produced with much less impact on the environment," said the U of M's Hill, a resident fellow of the Institute on the Environment.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2009
    I thought up this idea a long while ago but of course no idea is new and maybe a year ago or so I saw someone on the daily show talking about it but what about towers that produce food, maybe raise livestock on different floors. I always thought about this specifically for food but this could also be used I assume for producing biofuel. It also might turn more of a profit in that way giving more incentive to do it. Does anyone else know what I'm talking?
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2009
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2009
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeAug 14th 2009
    Treehugger discusses the European carbon trading system:

    It's one of the most common lines you hear from cap and trade opponents: "Well, just look at Europe." You see, the European Union Emissions Trading System was long thought to be a spectacular failure. It initially allowed utility companies to reap massive profits, since they were given their permits for free and passed the cost of carbon onto consumers--nearly the opposite of what was supposed to happen. Additionally, for a long time, many thought ETS would be sorely inadequate to get EU nations to meet their Kyoto targets, making the whole process a waste of time. Well, the days of bashing Europe's cap and trade are over--a new report reveals that despite its major stumblings, it's actually been a spectacular success.

    According to Climate Progress, the report, Climate Policy and Industrial Competitiveness (pdf), completed by the economists, climate scientists, and academics of the German Marshall Fund, reveals that Europe's cap and trade has lead many countries in the EU to meet their carbon targets as agreed to in the Kyoto Protocol.

    The trading system has created a healthy carbon market now worth 56 billion US dollars, and has reduced Europe's emissions by 50-100 million metric tons a year since 2005. In other words, the cap and trade has been responsible for Europe reducing its carbon emissions by 2.5-5% annually. Which is indeed a pretty impressive achievement. And the success has been largely due to the fact that the system's design separated its implementation process into 3 phases, so there would be pause for analysis and adjustment. This allowed policymakers to consistently reevaluate the system, and they were able to stop problems, like the aforementioned practice of sticking consumers with the cost of carbon.

    So, let's see. Hugely significant amounts of carbon emissions cut, and Kyoto targets within reach? Check. A robust, investment-attracting carbon market? Check. Flexibility and room for further improvement? Check. Sounds like a success to me.
    • CommentAuthorlooneynerd
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2009
    More proof the environment was fucked long before the industrial age. This is a theory that's been floating around the environmental branch of history for a while, but I guess we're not getting some hard proof.
    • CommentAuthorgzapata
    • CommentTimeAug 19th 2009
    I remember reading somewhere that when the american indians were wiped out there was a time between then and when the europeans took over where the forests regrew and took a massive amount of the greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere as it began to heal itself. I can't remember it very well but it was an interesting thought
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2009
    Thought this was interesting:

    So you can have an operating solar farm and farm sheep on the same land.

    • CommentAuthorPrestwick
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2009
    Meanwhile in the hard-nosed world of the Military, the US Army plans to build a 500 megawat solar plant in the desert. They and DARPA are also doing research into renewables as they are frankly more reliable than what they're using at the moment which are deisel generators at the mercy of supply lines vunerable to enemy attack.

    This comes at a time when the US Air Force is trying to reduce its reliance on foreign oil by switching more and more to biofuels.

    The most interesting aspect? The US Military has regular blogger conference calls.