Tag Archives | Bioenergy

Is Bioenergy Expansion Harmful to Wildlife?

1glowing-slimeVia ScienceDaily:

Despite the predicted environmental benefits of biofuels, converting land to grow bioenergy crops may harm native wildlife. Researchers at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig have developed a way to study the effects of increased energy crop cultivation on farmland bird populations.

“The Skylark is an indicator species for agricultural areas because it occupies many habitats of the wider countryside around the globe, breeds on the ground within fields and feeds mostly on insects” notes lead researcher, Jan Engel. “Improving the habitat suitability for Skylark, accordingly, would improve conservation of natural vegetation, insects, and other ground breeding farmland bird species.”

Mr. Engel and his colleagues developed a computer model that evaluated the habitat requirements of Skylark in a variety of bioenergy cultivation scenarios. The study, published in Global Change Biology Bioenergy, found that bioenergy crop expansion will not harm Skylark populations if field sizes are low, many crop types are present, and small natural areas, known as Integrated Biodiversity Areas, are included within the landscape.

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Can Fuel be Created from Human Fat?

SumoThis article proposes a new “transfer of energy stores that can ease our fuel burden” by harvesting human body fat for fuel!

“In energy terms, the average BTU of a gallon of human body fat is actually 11% higher than the BTU of a gallon of diesel gasoline,” reports science writer James Kent — noting that the IRS is already granting a 50-cent-per-gallon incentive for the conversion of other animal fats. (And he tells the story of a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon who powered his SUV with fat from his liposuction patients — plus his girlfriend’s SUV.)

While fat-sucking may seem like a strange response to gas shortages, there’s the equivalent of 637 million gallons of fuel stored in our fat, and the average person carries at least two gallons of high-grade biodiesel fuel in their body. (This article even suggests low-cost liposuction clinics — possibly covered by Medicare, and receiving government subsidies as an alternative fuel source.)”… Read the rest

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Plant Enzyme To Power Exhaust-Powered Cars

SoybeanFrom Discovery News:

An enzyme found in the roots of soybeans could be the key to cars that run on air.

Vanadium nitrogenase, an enzyme that normally produces ammonia from nitrogen gas, can also convert carbon monoxide (CO), a common industrial byproduct, into propane, the blue-flamed gas found on stoves across America.

While scientists caution the research is still at an early stage, they say that this study could eventually lead to new, environmentally friendly ways to produce fuel — and eventually gasoline — from thin air.

“This organism is a very common soil bacteria that is very well understood and has been studied for a long time,” said Markus Ribbe, a scientist at the University of California, Irvine, and a co-author of the new paper that appears in the journal Science.

“But while we were studying it, we realized that the enzyme has some unusual behavior,” he added.

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Are Plants Using Quantum Entanglement In Photosynthesis?

Michael Moyer writes in Scientific American:

As nature’s own solar cells, plants convert sunlight into energy via photosynthesis. New details are emerging about how the process is able to exploit the strange behavior of quantum systems, which could lead to entirely novel approaches to capturing usable light from the sun.

All photosynthetic organisms use protein-based “antennas” in their cells to capture incoming light, convert it to energy and direct that energy to reaction centers — critical trigger molecules that release electrons and get the chemical conversion rolling. These antennas must strike a difficult balance: they must be broad enough to absorb as much sunlight as possible yet not grow so large that they impair their own ability to shuttle the energy on to the reaction centers.

EntangledThis is where quantum mechanics becomes useful. Quantum systems can exist in a superposition, or mixture, of many different states at once. What’s more, these states can interfere with one another — adding constructively at some points, subtracting at others. If the energy going into the antennas could be broken into an elaborate superposition and made to interfere constructively with itself, it could be transported to the reaction center with nearly 100 percent efficiency.

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Evolver: 2012, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying & Love the Dimensional Shift

Where will you be when the 5,125 year Long Count Calendar of the Classical Maya ends on December, 21, 2012? Will you be hiding in an underground cave from global cataclysm and magnetic polar reversal? Will you be entering a multidimensional realm of hyperspace triggered by mass activation of the pineal gland? Will you be picking up the pieces of a ruined world or dancing the night away at the party at the end of time?

Considering that nobody knows what’s going to happen in 2012, the end of the Mayan Calendar functions as a tremendously intriguing meme upon which we can project our hopes and fears, dreams and desires. Hollywood has now offered up a massive collective shadow projection in the form of a $250 million disaster epic that takes the aesthetics of annihilation to a new pitch of perfection.  Paradoxically, this doom-riddled blockbuster could create a great opening to offer an alternative vision of what 2012 could be for our planet.… Read the rest

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The Tiny German Village That Went Off the Grid

JuhndeJonathan Scheff writes in Discover Magazine:

In 1998, the gears began turning to convert Jühnde, a tiny village in Saxony, Germany, into a bioenergy hub that receives every bit of its electricity (and most of its heat) from biomass. The system went live in 2005, and its subsequent success has turned Jühnde into a celebrity in green circles, as well as a model for other bioenergy-seeking towns and cities.

This image shows Jühnde’s unique bioenergy plant, with its two domed fermentation silos. The biogas plant has caught the attention of international communities and organizations such as Reynolds, Indiana—a.k.a. BioTown, USA.

There are lots of photos in addition to the one shown here; review them all at Discover Magazine.… Read the rest

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