Energy

NOAA: Sunspot is harbinger of new solar cycle, increasing risk for electrical systems
January 7, 2008 02:46 PM - NOAA Research

A new 11-year cycle of heightened solar activity, bringing with it increased risks for power grids, critical military, civilian and airline communications, GPS signals and even cell phones and ATM transactions, showed signs it was on its way late Thursday when the cycle’s first sunspot appeared in the sun’s Northern Hemisphere, NOAA scientists said.

Environmentalists Up In Arms Over New $2600 Car
January 7, 2008 02:25 PM - , Environmental Graffiti

An Indian firm is selling new cars for under $2,600, a move that has been criticized as a ticking time bomb by environmental groups. The so-called “People’s Car”, the RS 1 Lakh, is manufactured by Indian giant Tata, which is reportedly in talks to buy British carmaker Jaguar from current owners Ford. Tata is marketing the car as a safer alternative to motorbikes for Indian families. Tata chairman Ratan Tata said: ‘That’s what drove me - a man on a two-wheeler with a child standing in front, his wife sitting behind, add to that the wet roads - a family in potential danger.’

South Korea to ban single-hulled tankers after spill
January 7, 2008 02:38 AM - Reuters

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will ban single-hulled tankers from traveling in its waters by 2011, earlier than the international regulation that calls for a ban from 2015, Seoul's maritime ministry said on Monday. A single-hulled tanker was involved in South Korea's worst oil spill in December, leaking around 10,500 tons of crude oil after a seabound crane mounted on a barge punched holes in the tanker's hull.

High oil a blessing and a curse for farmers
January 5, 2008 02:25 AM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Sky-high crude oil prices are both a blessing and a curse for U.S. farmers, who have seen a sharp jump in their energy-based input costs but also higher revenues from crops used for renewable fuel production.

Clean power for Norwegian oil and gas rigs seen costly
January 5, 2008 02:19 AM - Reuters

OSLO (Reuters) - Norway's hopes of supplying cleaner electricity to offshore oil and gas platforms to help fight global warming suffered a setback on Friday when an official report projected higher-than-expected costs.

EU considers carbon tariff
January 5, 2008 02:01 AM - Reuters

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Commission is debating whether to push for a carbon tariff on imports from countries that do not tackle their greenhouse gas emissions, as part of climate change proposals due out this month.

UK govt scientist sees few benefits from biofuels
January 5, 2008 01:39 AM - Reuters

OXFORD (Reuters) - Rising production of biofuels has distorted government budgets, helped to drive up food prices and led to deforestation in south-east Asia, the chief scientist of Britain's farm ministry said on Friday.

Chicken Fat Converted Into Biodiesel Using Methanol
January 4, 2008 08:59 AM - University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

“Major oil companies are already examining biodiesel as an alternative to petroleum,” said R.E. “Buddy” Babcock, professor of chemical engineering. “With the current price of petroleum diesel and the results of this project and others, I think energy producers will think even more seriously about combining petroleum-based diesel with a biodiesel product made out of crude and inexpensive feedstocks.”

Welcome to the Solar Century
January 4, 2008 08:42 AM - , Environmental Graffiti

New technology means solar power could one day provide all the world’s energy needs – but governments must do their bit. Until a few years ago the suggestion that solar power might provide the answer to the intertwined problems of long term energy security and climate change would have been dismissed as a pipedream. The high cost of solar cells, their inefficiency in converting the sun’s rays into electricity and the lack of state investment or assistance for renewable energy start-ups meant there was little hope.

Groups seek to stop relicensing of nuclear plants
January 4, 2008 07:35 AM - Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A coalition of East Coast environmental and anti-nuclear groups filed a petition with U.S. regulators on Thursday to suspend all pending relicensing efforts by nuclear reactors in the United States. A coalition called Stop the Relicensing of Oyster Creek joined with Riverkeeper to petition the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to suspend the license renewal process "until objective and independent analysis" is used, the groups said in a release.

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