Energy

Asian biodiesel plants sit idle as costs soar
January 14, 2008 04:37 AM - Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - For many of southeast Asia's struggling biofuel makers, the global debate over using crops for food or as transport fuel is irrelevant -- a surge in palm oil prices has brought the industry to a standstill. Even oil prices at $100 a barrel aren't helping companies who have invested tens of millions of dollars into plants that convert Indonesian or Malaysian palm oil into near zero-pollution diesel -- at a cost some 30 percent higher than regular diesel.

Beijing car ownership soars along with traffic woes
January 13, 2008 06:25 AM - Reuters

More than 400,000 new cars hit the roads in China's capital in 2006, state media said on Monday, or more than 1,000 a day, snarling Beijing's efforts to control the city's notorious traffic ahead of the 2008 Olympics. Beijing authorities expect the number of cars in the city to continue to grow by about 10 percent a year for the forseeable future, Xinhua news agency reported.

Next-generation biofuels edge to center
January 12, 2008 09:43 AM - Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The quest by executives and venture capitalists to build a next-generation biofuels industry has made strides this year as oil reached $100 a barrel and the world's largest energy consumer laid down ambitious new mandates for alternative fuels.

It is too early to sell carbon offsets: scientists
January 11, 2008 09:07 AM - University of East Anglia

Prof Watson said: "While we do envision the possibility of iron fertilisation as an effective form of carbon offsetting, we believe larger scale experiments are needed to assess the efficiency of this method and to address possible side effects. "There remain many unknowns and potential negative impacts."

Energy Saving Program in Seattle Puts Consumer in Control
January 11, 2008 08:57 AM - , Environmental Graffiti

Today, the New York Times reports on such a pilot experiment involving 112 homes in the Seattle area. The project by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory of the Energy Department, showed that ‘if households have digital tools to set temperature and price preferences, the peak loads on utility grids could be trimmed by up to 15 percent a year. Over a 20-year period, this could save $70 billion on spending for power plants and infrastructure, and avoid the need to build the equivalent of 30 large coal-fired plants.’

California agency presses EPA on ship exhaust
January 10, 2008 10:35 PM - Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A Los Angeles-area air quality agency on Thursday petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to immediately set tougher standards on global-warming pollutants for ocean vessels calling on U.S. ports.

Swedish commuters' body heat to warm office
January 10, 2008 10:08 AM - Reuters

Body heat already warms the station itself but the surplus, currently let out in thin air, will be redirected to provide as much as 15 percent of the heating in a planned 4,000 square meter office building, real estate firm Jernhusen said.

Ames Lab "Beefing" Up Magnets for Electric-Drive Cars
January 10, 2008 08:55 AM - Ames Laboratory

The Ames Lab senior metallurgist and Iowa State University adjunct professor of materials science and engineering is playing a major role in advancing electric drive motor technology to meet the enormous swell in consumer demand expected over the next five years. He and his Ames Lab colleagues, Bill McCallum and Matthew Kramer, have designed a high-performance permanent magnet alloy that operates with good magnetic strength at 200 degrees Celsius, or 392 degrees Fahrenheit, to help make electric drive motors more efficient and cost-effective. The work is part of the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Program to develop more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly highway transportation technologies that will enable America to use less petroleum.

Britain starts new push for nuclear power
January 10, 2008 08:13 AM - Reuters

Britain gave the go-ahead to a new generation of nuclear power stations on Thursday, setting no limits on nuclear expansion and adding momentum to atomic energy's worldwide renaissance. The government argues that Britain must build nuclear plants to help meet its climate change goals and to avoid overdependence on imported energy amid dwindling North Sea oil supplies.

Smarter U.S. power usage could save $120 billion: study
January 9, 2008 06:45 PM - Reuters

Technology to help Americans reduce electricity use when the grid is stressed could help utilities save $120 billion on spending for new power plants and transmission lines, government officials and researchers said on Wednesday after a study in the Pacific Northwest. A year-long "smart grid" study showed consumers saved 10 percent on power bills and cut power use 15 percent during key peak hours, the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory announced.

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