Cool Enviro-News Roundup

Lots of interesting news today relating to Alternative Energy Research, Technology, and Policy.

  1. President Bush is set to announce new initiatives to make building Nuclear Power plants more attractive, building oil refineries on old military bases, extending tax incentives to clean Diesel cars and building more Natural gas terminals. Kind of an odd mix. I’m happy to see emphasis finally being put on Nuclear power. In the near term, it is really the only feasible way to create electricity in place of fossil fuels.
  2. Mercedes is producing a new diesel-electric hybrid. Interesting because all the hybrids currently on the North-American market are gas-electric. Diesel is more efficient than Gas
  3. Along the same lines, Cal-Cars is advocating “plugin hybrids”. That is, regular Hybrid Toyotas, Hondas or whatever, that allow you to plug in the car to charge its’ batteries. Thus eliminating the need to gas up the car, yet without removing the capability to drive long distances using the gas engine. Makes sense to me!
  4. Honda in America selling a Natural Gas powered Civic as an option to buyers. I don’t know of any other manufacturer who sells alternative fuel vehicles off the lot.
  5. The fourth link to Gizmag reveals that the American Army in cooperation with GM has introduced its’ first Fuel Cell powered Hummer. You may dismiss it out of hand.. but remember than most technology that we use today has its’ roots in the military. Indeed, I wouldn’t be typing on this computer if it weren’t for the DOD. And the US Army also represents the largest fleet of vehicles in the World.. so entering into that market is important for further fuel cell research and success.
  6. Now for the really far-out stuff! New Scientist reports that scientists demonstrated nuclear fusion… at a desktop level. That is, Nuclear fusion created at normal temperatures on a small scale… very cool stuff!
  7. And Finally… scientists have discovered that if you electrocute bacteria with micro-amounts of electricity, you can get that bacteria to break down waste effluent/water into Hydrogen! This could be a nice way to clean up water and biomass from agricultural, industrial and residential sites and reduce costs by selling the Hydrogen produced for use in fuel cells or what have you.
  8. Thats’ about it. Enjoy!

4 replies on “Cool Enviro-News Roundup”

  1. From Kathleen Parker, conservative opinion writer:

    “Earth is getting warmer, contributing to weather changes and other well-documented events; and that,

    ; Man is contributing to global warming by driving gas-guzzling cars (projections are that the number of active cars will increase from 800 million today to 3.25 billion by 2050, thanks mostly to India and China), and by burning coal (half of the electricity generated in the United States and 40 percent of the world’s comes from coal);

    And assuming that reducing emissions would reduce warming trends as well as minimize our reliance on foreign oil, some of which finances terrorism … wouldn’t it make sublime sense to err on the side of conservation? To provide incentives to produce and buy hybrid cars that gets 40 miles per gallon? To offer companies incentives for seeking alternative energy sources?”

    So it’s not just you lefty liberals who think we need to do something. If she weren’t a conservative, I probably wouldn’t have even bothered to read this piece. Now I’m glad I did and have at long last started to worry about GHG and global-warming.
    Are you happy now? lol

  2. Hey it’s all good Jane… eventually everyone on all sides will be singing the same tune. The only ones not will be those with an agenda… though as it gains prominence it is inevitable that the “agenda” will shift as well.

  3. #7 sounds like the most promising. My concern with natural gas-powered vehicles mirrors that for the pebble-bed nuclear technology. Natural gas is a Division 1 explosive gas, as is hydrogen. Storage in a vehicle will require significant safety features which may make any automobile too heavy or unwieldy–might be of use in other vehicles, though. Option 7 may allow for the concurrent production of fuel during its use, reducing the storage problem.

  4. I’ve seen lots of cars and trucks (mostly trucks and taxis) that use CNG as their fuel. It seems relatively safe. I’ve just never seen it actually being sold off the lot.

    #7 is indeed very interesting and promising. Any technology that simultaneously deals with the huge amounts of waste that humans dole out and produces renewable energy is good in my books. And as you said, the article states that the hydrogen “feed” could be managed more like electricity.. with hydrogen being directly piped into a system, thus limiting the risks of storage.

    Cool stuff.

    I also see now that the Nuclear “initiative” that President Bush was supposed to announced turned out to be not so great. Oh well. It was a nice thought.

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