Tag Archives | Energy

With All This Natural Gas, Who Needs Oil?

National Grid LNG TankAlexandra Marks says there are limits to how far the US can tilt toward a natural gas economy, in the Christian Science Journal:

Bob Mann leans against his wife’s 2006 Volkswagen Jetta in his tool-packed garage. The mechanic and inventor has just converted the car, which is the color of a ripe crab apple, to run on natural gas. He shakes his head.

“It’s a no-brainer. We could jump-start the economy overnight, put 100,000 people to work – easy – and help the environment,” says Mr. Mann, a former Volkswagen technician who’s as comfortable talking about global energy solutions as he is around a socket wrench.

From his suburban home in a wooded neighborhood once known for its shipbuilding prowess, Mann is crafting automotive gadgets for a future that many believe could help solve the nation’s long-intractable energy woes – one fueled mostly by natural gas. During the past five years, Mann has converted more than 10 cars to run on compressed natural gas, in addition to gasoline, using a device he invented, the “CNG Fogger,” which boosts the vehicles’ mileage.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

As Ice Cap Melts, Militaries Vie for Arctic Edge

KV Svalbard

Photo: Marcusroos (CC)

Via Common Dreams:

While the corporate media continues to keep alive a false narrative that the world’s scientists are still divided over global climate change — new reports show the military has moved beyond that debate. The Associated Press reports today that “to the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over.”

Instead, military planners from a number of nations that border the Arctic are gearing up for a new cold war – a battle for control of the vast treasure of mineral and oil resources and control of new, strategic sea lanes. As the ice cap melts, the war for the North Pole is heating up.

Greenpeace reported last year: “WikiLeaks releases … have shown the Arctic oil rush is not just a threat to the environment and our climate, but also to peace.”

“The documents show how deadly serious the scramble for Arctic resources has become.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

In France, A Reactor Is Being Built Which Will Make Stars

To_Pit_Radial_2Soon we may have a glimpse of the world’s first star garden — imagine sitting within its confines on a summer night. BLDG BLOG writes:

An artificially excavated limestone pit in the south of France will soon host star-making technology. Construction involves inserting a supergrid of rebar into the quarried pit, securing the limestone walls with concrete foundation work, then pouring seismically-stabilized plinths that will support the so-called International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, a kind of concrete garden that produces stars.

Nestled in its semi-subterranean, mine-like site and buzzing inside with radiation-resistant robot elevators, the ITER will recreate, again and again, “the process that powers the sun and most other stars. At extremely high temperatures, hydrogen nuclei will fuse to form helium, spitting out more energy than the process consumes, something that has never yet been achieved by a human-made device.”

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Middle America Is Experiencing a Massive Increase in Earthquakes

Middle America Earthquake ZoneAlexis Madrigal writes on the Atlantic:

Earthquakes are striking the heartland from Alabama to Montana at an unprecedented rate — and human activity is probably to blame.

A new United States Geological Survey study has found that middle America between Alabama and Montana is experiencing an “unprecedented” and “almost certainly manmade” increase in earthquakes of 3.0 magnitude or greater. In 2011, there were 134 events of that size. That’s six times more than were normally seen during the 20th century.

While the changes in the area’s seismicity began in 2001, the trend has really accelerated since 2009, the geologists note. That happens to coincide with increased oil and gas production using new extraction techniques in some parts of the area.

The new work is being presented at the Seismology Society of America’s conference later this month. An abstract for the presentation is available online. In some regions, the increase in earthquakes is even greater than six fold.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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

Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

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...
Continue Reading