Tag Archives | Energy

America To Become More Like A Third-World Petro-State?

petroleumVia Guernica, Michael Klare argues that that’s what the giant energy companies are aiming for:

The “curse” of oil wealth is a well-known phenomenon in Third World petro-states, where millions of lives are wasted in poverty and the environment is ravaged while tiny elites rake in the energy dollars and corruption rules the land. Recently, North America has been repeatedly hailed as the planet’s twenty-first-century “new Saudi Arabia” for “tough energy”—deep-sea oil, Canadian tar sands, and fracked oil and natural gas.

Here, then, is the energy surprise of the twenty-first century: with operating conditions growing increasingly difficult in the global South, the major firms are now flocking back to North America. To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles. It will, in other words, have to use its version of deep-pocket persuasion to convert the United States into the functional equivalent of a Third World petro-state.

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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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A War Tax at the Gas Pump?

Gas PumpInteresting point of view from Jeff Klein on Counterpunch:

It’s hard to miss the higher cost of gas every time we fill up our cars these days, but the News Media doesn’t do a very good job of explaining why. There isn’t any mystery, though, if you read the financial press and oil industry sources: We’re paying extra for gas because of rising tensions in the Middle East and especially the scare over a possible US or Israeli attack on Iran. In effect, we’re paying a “war tax” at the gas pump, and the cost will only get higher unless we put aside the talk of war and get down to serious diplomacy to settle the differences in the region.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say recently, under the headline “Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery”:

Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S.

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Israel To Demolish Palestinian Solar Energy Program

West BankVia Common Dreams:

A sustainable energy program in ‘Area C’ of rural West Bank is being threatened by Israeli authorities. The program, which recently installed solar panels and wind turbines in 16 communities, is providing 1,500 Palestinians with electricity — who were formerly without reliable energy.

The foreign aid program, thus far successful, has become a new target for Israel as it threatens to demolish the structures that supposedly lie within Israeli ‘administration’.

Der Spiegel reports:

The best part is when the lights in the tents go on, one by one, says Elad Orian. Electricity here, in the hills south of Hebron, was long unreliable. Either it was not available or it was too expensive, produced for just a few hours each day by a noisy, diesel-guzzling generator. That changed when Elad Orian and Noam Dotan, two Israeli physicians who had tired of conflict, came along three years ago and installed solar panels and erected wind turbines.

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Newt Gingrich Is Right About Having A Permanent Moon Base

Earth To MoonYes, “Gingrich” and “right” in the same sentence is very strange: Saturday Night Live managed to successfully mock this derided idea in a recent well received sketch (which I thought was reminiscent of that show’s style from the ’70s). Here is a differing perspective presented by Robert T. Gonzalez on io9.com:

Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has promised us a permanent Moon base by 2020. Many people have been calling Newt’s vow a publicity stunt, while others have chimed in by attacking the idea of a lunar base in and of itself, with assertions like “real scientists know [a Moon base] is fantasy.” We won’t speak to Newt’s political maneuverings, but we’re sure as hell not going to sit idly by while people bash the feasibility or scientific potential of a lunar settlement. In fact, we’ve got 185 reasons we should set a course straight away …

An Off-World Energy Source: We spoke to astrophysicist Michael Shara — curator of the astrophysics department at the American Museum of Natural History — about the scientific potential of a permanent Moon base, and one of the first things to come up was lunar resource utilization.

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Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat Cold Fusion

Source: ecathome.com

Sterling D. Allan reports on the Energy Catalyzer (also called E-Cat), a purported cold fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) heat source built by inventor Andrea Rossi. Temper your enthusiasm in the knowledge that his website, Pure Energy Systems News, has a business relationship with Mr. Rossi:

This past week saw at least 80 stories on the web, 4 from mainstream news, regarding Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat powered by LENR or cold fusion. The hottest theme was Rossi’s assertion that he is in discussion with Home Depot to distribute 1 million home heat units this Autumn for less than $2,000 USD. Reality will probably dictate a longer time-line.

Once again we bring you a compilation of various news items about Andrea Rossi’s E-Cat…

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Solar Paint Your House With Nanoparticles

This paste of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles could turn large surfaces into solar cells. (Credit: ACS Nano)

This paste of cadmium sulfide-coated titanium dioxide nanoparticles could turn large surfaces into solar cells. (Credit: ACS Nano)

Via ScienceDaily:

Imagine if the next coat of paint you put on the outside of your home generates electricity from light — electricity that can be used to power the appliances and equipment on the inside. A team of researchers at the University of Notre Dame has made a major advance toward this vision by creating an inexpensive “solar paint” that uses semiconducting nanoparticles to produce energy.

“We want to do something transformative, to move beyond current silicon-based solar technology,” says Prashant Kamat, John A. Zahm Professor of Science in Chemistry and Biochemistry and an investigator in Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology (NDnano), who leads the research.

“By incorporating power-producing nanoparticles, called quantum dots, into a spreadable compound, we’ve made a one-coat solar paint that can be applied to any conductive surface without special equipment.”…

Read more here.… Read the rest

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Strange Growth on Nuclear Waste Might Be “Biological in Nature”

SRSRob Pavey reports in the Augusta Chronicle:

Savannah River Site scientists are working to identify a strange growth found on racks of spent nuclear fuel collected from foreign governments.

The “white, string-like” material was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools within the site’s L Area, according to a report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a federal oversight panel.

“The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterized, but may be biological in nature,” the report said. Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample in hopes of identifying the mystery lint — and determining whether it is alive …

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Global Carbon Emissions Reach Record 10 Billion Tons

SmokestacksVia ScienceDaily:

Global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels have increased by 49 per cent in the last two decades, according to the latest figures by an international team, including researchers at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia.Published December 4 in the journal Nature Climate Change, the new analysis by the Global Carbon Project shows fossil fuel emissions increased by 5.9 per cent in 2010 and by 49 per cent since 1990 — the reference year for the Kyoto protocol.

On average, fossil fuel emissions have risen by 3.1 per cent each year between 2000 and 2010 — three times the rate of increase during the 1990s. They are projected to continue to increase by 3.1 per cent in 2011.

Total emissions — which combine fossil fuel combustion, cement production, deforestation and other land use emissions — reached 10 billion tonnes of carbon* in 2010 for the first time.

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Dead People Power: UK Crematorium to Sell Power for National Grid

CrematoriumJasper Copping reports in the Telegraph:

Durham Crematorium wants to install turbines in two of its burners, which would use the heat generated during the cremation process to provide the same amount of electricity as would power 1,500 televisions.

A third burner is to be used to provide heating for the site’s chapel and its offices. The scheme would be the first of its kind in the UK but industry experts say that it could be followed by other similar projects.

Many crematoria are currently replacing their furnaces, to meet government targets on preventing mercury emissions from escaping into the atmosphere. Up to 16 per cent of all mercury emitted in the UK comes from crematoria because of fillings in teeth. Left unchecked, that figure is predicted to rise to 25 per cent by 2020.

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