Tag Archives | Energy

New Report Shatters Myth of ‘Nuclear Renaissance’

A solar park in the UK. (Photo: RTPeat/flickr/cc)

A solar park in the UK. (Photo: RTPeat/flickr/cc)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. See more of Andrea Germanos’ articles here.

If renewable energy advocates need more evidence that solar and wind are better investments than nuclear power, a new report may offer just that.

The findings come from the newly released World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2015, which looks at global nuclear developments over the past year.

Marking a first in five decades, Japan went without nuclear power for an entire year, the report states. And three of the world’s largest economies—China, Germany, Japan—as well as Brazil, India, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Spain, now all generate more electricity from non-hydro renewables than from nuclear.

In the UK, renewable energy, including hydropower, provided more electricity output than nuclear in 2014.

Global generation from solar was up 38 percent, and wind power increased over 10 percent.

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Urine Power to Light Camps in Disaster Zones


Via ScienceDaily:

A toilet, conveniently situated near the Student Union Bar at the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), is proving that urine can generate electricity.

The prototype urinal is the result of a partnership between researchers at UWE Bristol and Oxfam. It is hoped the pee-power technology will light cubicles in refugee camps, which are often dark and dangerous places particularly for women.

Students and staff are being asked to use the urinal to donate pee to fuel microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power indoor lighting.

The research team is led by Professor Ioannis Ieropoulos, Director of the Bristol BioEnergy Centre located in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory at UWE Bristol.

Professor Ieropoulos says, “We have already proved that this way of generating electricity works. Work by the Bristol BioEnergy Centre hit the headlines in 2013 when the team demonstrated that electricity generated by microbial fuel cell stacks could power a mobile phone.

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Jewelry That Harvests Energy From Your Body

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I don’t think that I’ll be wearing any of this any time soon, but it’s a cool concept.

Kristy Hamilton writes at IFL Science:

Naomi Kizhner, an industrial designer and graduate student from Hadassah College in Jerusalem, has designed jewelry that theoretically extracts energy from the wearers own body. The ‘speculative’ jewelry is embedded into the person’s veins and uses their blood to turn small wheels inside the device.

Of course, the jewelry is not supposed to be a viable source of energy. Rather it’s a statement piece about declining resources and humanity’s incessant need for them.

According to Kizhner’s website,

A speculative a project that responds to a possible future of depleting resources. the work delves into a world in which there is a significant decline, which forces humanity to seek all the more forcefully for alternative ways of cultivating power. the suggested solution to the dilemma is based on the idea of biological wealth, harvesting energy directly from the body. 

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Fossil Fuel Propaganda Misfire Goes Viral

Peter Sinclair writes at Climate Denial Crock of the Week:

Every once in a while we can pull back the curtain and get a good look at the evil elves and Madison Avenue Orcs deployed by the fossil fuel barons. Look hard, climate deniers. This is the man pulling your strings.

Posted by a front group called the “Environmental Policy Alliance”, this corporate forged “viral” video popped up a couple days ago. Had to check and make sure this wasn’t a joke, but it’s real.

Check out the video above for the hilarious/bad caricature of Bill Mckibben, and for the ‘fossil fuel” girl friend, who I guess is supposed to be attractive, but unfortunately for the producers, looks disturbingly like “Mr Hanky” of South Park fame.  The piece is getting a lot of views, but maybe not for the reasons the client hoped.

Sourcewatch:

Big Green Radicals is a front group operated by the PR firm Berman & Co.

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US coal mines record lowest death rate with 16; total of 24 die in non-coal mines

Via Casper Star Tribune

The nation’s coal mines set a record for the lowest number of on-the-job fatalities last year, with 16, the federal mining agency said Monday.

There were two fewer deaths than the previous low of 18 in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration. The agency said it is the lowest annual number of coal mining deaths ever recorded.

Forty miners died in 2014 in all mines, which include metal and non-metal operations.

Main has credited increased federal enforcement efforts after the 2010 Upper Big Branch underground mine explosion in West Virginia, which killed 29 workers. Main said more surprise team inspections at troubled mines and other efforts are helping curb safety violations.

The Upper Big Branch mine was owned by Massey Energy at the time of the 2010 explosion. Massey’s former CEO, Don Blankenship, was indicted in federal court in November on charges he conspired to violate safety and health standards.

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Take it and Like it: Corporate America and the Manipulation of Public Opinion

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Brad Clinesmith (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Absurd Illusions of a Shining City on a Hill by Mark Weiser at Dissident Voice:

The average natural born citizen in any country is continuously indoctrinated into the national culture starting about the time they begin understanding the meaning of words. There’s one country in particular where reality is staring the public in the face, but the truth has been grossly distorted for decades by government, and mass media, bias and propaganda. If the citizens would suddenly see the truth, instead of what they’ve been conditioned to believe, they would find themselves in a strange and bizarre foreign land that’s contrary in many ways to their personal beliefs regarding home. For those who experience this sudden revelation, as soon as the truth is realized, it’s likely to provoke a profound and immediate sense of disbelief. Like emergency room personnel making insensitive jokes, laughter at some point becomes a self-defense mechanism for offsetting continuous parades of the absurd realities and outright horrors.

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‘Tactics as Dirty as Their Oil': Leaked Docs Reveal TransCanada’s Propaganda Plan

Keystone XL demonstration, White House, 8-23-2011 Josh Lopez, CC BY 2.0

Keystone XL demonstration, White House, 8-23-2011
Josh Lopez, CC BY 2.0

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Internal strategy documents prepared by a public relations firm on behalf of Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada reveal details of an enormous and well-organized effort by the oil industry to neutralize the transnational grassroots movement which has grown up around the industry’s effort to expand tar sands mining and the building of huge infrastructure projects designed to get “the world’s dirtest fuel” to market.

Obtained by Greenpeace and given to The Guardian newspaper, the documents show that TransCanada—which has proposed building a pipeline called Energy East to bring tar sands from Alberta to New Brusnwick through the largest such pipeline ever built—is aligned with other oil and gas companies placing serious resources of time, money, and personnel into countering the growing climate justice movement which has so far successfully delayed building the Keystone XL pipelein and affirmed its commitment to stopping similar projects in the name of fighting global warming and the resulting threat of climate change.

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$548 Billion In Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies “Rig The Game” Against Renewables

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via Clean Technica:

In the same week that a new study found that G20 nations, including Australia, were providing $US88 billion ($A102 billion) a year in subsidies just for fossil fuel exploration, another report – this time from the highly conservative International Energy Agency – has put a number to the global value of subsidies that artificially lowered end-use prices for all forms of fossil energy in 2013: $US548 billion.

It’s a huge number, and although $25 billion less than in 2012, the IEA notes that the $548 billion spent in 2013 – over half of which was directed to oil products – remains more than four times the value of subsidies to renewable energy and more than four times the amount invested globally on improving energy efficiency.

In its 2014 World Energy Outlook report, released on Wednesday, the IEA says the subsidisation of fossil fuels remains a big problem globally, imposing enormous economic, social and environmental costs.

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A Solar Cell That Stores Its Own Power

Credit: Yiying Wu, The Ohio State University

Credit: Yiying Wu, The Ohio State University

Via ScienceDaily:

Is it a solar cell? Or a rechargeable battery? Actually, the patent-pending device invented at The Ohio State University is both: the world’s first solar battery.

In the October 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications, the researchers report that they’ve succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device.

Key to the innovation is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery, and a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode. Inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery.

The university will license the solar battery to industry, where Yiying Wu, professor of chemistry and biochemistry at Ohio State, says it will help tame the costs of renewable energy.

“The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy,” Wu said.

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Terrestrial Energy Co.: Vanquish the Arrested Future of Nuclear Energy

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In a Sept 2014 talk at the Economic Club of Canada, Hugh MacDiarmid coolly lays out the groundwork of a new energy future, without the pie-in-the-sky wishes of fusion, the intermittent inadequacy of solar and wind, or the non-renewable carbon emissions of coal, oil, and gas.

Canadian company Terrestrial Energy is on track to make the first commercially viable molten salt nuclear reactor by early next decade, at first supplementing coal but ultimately supplanting it for electricity production. The molten salt reactor (MSR) is a type of Generation 4 reactor with roots in the 1950s at Oak Ridge National Lab and has manifold advantages over existing reactors. The MSR uses a liquid salt loop to contain its fissile material such as uranium, thorium, or plutonium oxides. Since the reaction occurs in liquid fuel, it is literally impossible to melt down, and since it reacts at atmospheric pressure there is no need for a massive reinforced containment vessel.… Read the rest

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