Wind Power Storage
April 25, 2013 02:36 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
One of the problems with wind power is that when there is no wind then there is no power. Offshore wind could provide abundant electricity — but as with solar energy, this power supply can be intermittent and unpredictable. A new approach from researchers at MIT could mitigate that problem, allowing the electricity generated by floating wind farms to be stored and then used, on demand, whenever it’s needed.
EV Range Anxiety Cure?
April 24, 2013 06:15 AM - Roger Greenway ENN and Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit
As an electric vehicle fan, I can appreciate the range anxiety concern. I am driving a Chevy Volt which is great since it has a range extending gasoline engine. Since I enjoy driving in in EV mode so much, and that range is only 35 - 40 miles for me, I decided to go all electric and ordered a Tesla Model S. This will be EV all the time, but with no on-board back up generator, will not be usable for really long trips until the charging infrastructure improves a lot. So I am keeping an older internal combustion engine car for use on long trips! ENN Affiliate TriplePundit reports on an approach to ending range anxiety for people who don't want, or can't keep an internal combustion engine back up car around. Fiat and BMW feel your pain and have come up with a solution of sorts that might boost their EV sales: They will give customers free access to conventional gas-powered cars when they need them for long trips. BMW's i3 electric car is entering the U.S. market this year, and will come with a free loaner conventional car for trips that exceed its 80- to 100-mile range. Customers also will have the option of adding a gasoline generator to the i3 for about $4,000, which would double its range. The retail price for the i3 is estimated at $42,000 to $48,000.
Earth Day - Hollywood Style
April 22, 2013 03:14 PM - BILL KEITH, The Credits
For years, Hollywood has celebrated Earth Day in order to raise awareness about environmental issues and to strike up a memorable dialogue about sustainable practices. And the film studios’ embrace of Earth Day has only strengthened over time. From PSAs to Paramount’s new micro-turbines, we take a look at the industry’s dedication to spotlighting one of the most important advocacy dates on the calendar. In 1990, the holiday got a pretty big boost from Hollywood when Time Warner called on some of their favorite talent to hammer home proactive things Americans could do to reduce their footprint on the planet. (Our favorites? A pony-tailed Kevin Costner teaching Meryl Streep how to recycle and Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser giving a press conference about the health of his patient, "Mother Earth.") But in 2013, the film business's efforts have far exceeded PSA productions, and the good news is that a lot of progressive practices like electric car fueling stations, composting, a ban on plastic bags in commissaries, and required carbon emission reporting have become all but de rigueur on most major lots. As each of the main studios shoot to achieve "100% sustainable" status in the coming years, the pressure is on to determine creative ways to be the first to get there, and then some. In honor of Earth Day, we take a look at some of the ways Hollywood is committed to 'greening' up their practices:
US Greenhouse Gas Emissions are Down
April 21, 2013 10:01 AM - ANDREW BURGER, Global Warming is Real
Anthropogenic US greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) amounted to a CO2-equivalent 6,702.3 million metric tons in 2011, down 1.6 percent from 2010 and 6.9 percent below 2005 levels. Longer term, US GHG emissions have increased at an annual average rate of 0.4 percent since 1990, according to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 18th annual US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (Inventory) report, which was released April 15. A decrease in the carbon intensity of fuels used in electricity generation due to increased use of natural gas as opposed to coal, a "significant increase in hydropower" generation, and "relatively mild winter conditions, especially in the South Atlantic Region of the US" were the main factors underlying the drop in national GHG emissions in 2011, according to the EPA’s "The Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks: 1990-2011."
U.S. Air Force is Really Reducing Energy Use
April 17, 2013 09:00 AM - Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The U.S. Air Force is the largest energy user in the federal government. The federal government accounts for about one percent of total U.S. energy use, most of that is used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The Air Force accounts for 48 percent of the DOD's energy costs, which equates to about 2.5 billion gallons of aviation fuel, 64 trillion BTUs a year, and 35 metric tons of carbon. In 2012, the Air Force spent over $9 billion on energy, and 85 percent went to aviation fuel, which accounted for eight percent of the Air Force's budget. In 2003, energy was only three percent of the total budget.
Seismic Airgun Testing for Oil and Gas Threatens Marine Life and Coastal Economies
April 16, 2013 06:50 AM - Editor, Oceana
According to government estimates, 138,500 whales and dolphins will soon be injured and possibly killed along the East Coast if exploration companies are allowed to use dangerous blasts of noise to search for offshore oil and gas. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) is considering allowing geophysical companies, working on behalf of oil and gas companies, to use seismic airguns to search for offshore oil and gas in the Atlantic Ocean, from Delaware to Florida. These airguns use compressed air to generate intense pulses of sound, which are 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine.
Discovery finds waste sulphur can boost electric car industry
April 15, 2013 08:59 AM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
A new chemical process can transform waste sulphur into a lightweight plastic that may improve batteries for electric cars, reports a University of Arizona-led team. The team has successfully used the new plastic to make lithium-sulphur batteries and discovered other potential applications, including optical uses.
Solar Natural Gas
April 12, 2013 11:15 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Solar power or natural gas power? How about both? Natural gas power plants can use about 20 percent less fuel when the sun is shining by injecting solar energy into natural gas with a new system being developed by the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The system converts natural gas and sunlight into a more energy-rich fuel called syngas, which power plants can burn to make electricity.
EU Looking Favorably on Shale Gas Development
April 11, 2013 06:09 AM - Anne Glover, EurActiv
The EU’s chief scientific advisor has said that evidence allows the go-ahead for extracting shale gas, the energy source at the centre of a European policy tug-of-war. The EU executive launched a green paper on 27 March, setting out Europe's energy and climate aims for 2030, with Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger taking a favourable position on shale gas. "I am in favour of producing shale gas, particularly for safety reasons, and to reduce gas prices," he said. "In the United States, which is a big producer of shale gas, the price of gas is four times less than in Europe."
April 9, 2013 09:38 AM - Andy Soos, ENN
Algae biofuel is an alternative to fossil fuel that uses algae as its source. Several companies and government agencies are funding efforts to reduce capital and operating costs and make algae fuel production commercially viable. Taking an approach similar to that used for discovering new therapeutic drugs, chemists at the University of California, Davis, have found several compounds that can boost oil production by green microscopic algae, a potential source of biodiesel and other green fuels. The work appears online in the journal Chemical Biology. Microalgae are single-celled organisms that, like green plants, use photosynthesis to capture carbon dioxide and turn it into complex compounds, including oils and lipids. Marine algae species can be raised in saltwater ponds and so do not compete with food crops for land or fresh water.