Biofuels: Let's look before we leap
December 19, 2007 09:05 AM - , SciDevNet

A commitment to biofuels should be based on a careful assessment of their prospective benefits and costs, not a blind leap of faith. Several years ago, faced with growing food shortages, the government of Burma — now Myanmar — ordered farmers throughout the country to start growing rice, whatever type of land they owned. But rice proved to be totally unsuitable for many of the regions in the country, with the result that many farmers were forced even further into poverty, from which they have yet to recover.

Nanotechnology and Meeting Our Energy Needs
December 19, 2007 09:00 AM - Andrew Burger, Organic Consumers Association

Source: Triple Pundit The US electricity distribution grid is around 100-years old and aging faster than new construction renews it while peak demand for electricity is projected to rise 19 percent nationally during the next decade--capital investments in electrical generation, transmission and distribution are forecast to grow by only 6 percent over the same period, according to the Electrical Power Research Initiative. Researchers at E2TAC, the Energy and Environmental Technology Applications Center at the University at Albany's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) are researching and developing a range of leading edge nanoscale technologies that hold out the promise of realizing greater yields at lower costs across a range of conventional, as well as renewable alternative power generation technologies.

EU agrees steep fines to cut car CO2
December 19, 2007 06:41 AM - Reuters

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission agreed on proposed legislation on Wednesday to force down emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) from cars with steeply rising fines on manufacturers that fail to comply, an EU source said. The European Union executive set a four-year phase-in period for fines on manufacturers whose fleets exceed an average of 120 grams per km of the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming from 2012.

Biggest U.S. solar panel farms open in Nevada, Colo
December 18, 2007 08:10 PM - Reuters

A 14-megawatt solar farm covering 140 acres opened at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday. It will generate 30,000 megawatt hours a year and will supply about a quarter of the electricity used at the air base. About 12,000 people live and work on the base.

Texas vows to attract other carbon-capture plants
December 18, 2007 06:59 PM - Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A Texas regulator said Tuesday that while the state was not able to land a $1.5 billion "near-zero" emission coal plant, he wants to find ways to attract other projects that seek to capture and store carbon dioxide, a gas blamed for global warming. Mattoon in central Illinois was named Tuesday as the home for the proposed FutureGen coal plant, beating out Jewett and Odessa, Texas, and another Illinois site in a national competition.

Alberta orders Suncor to solve emission problems
December 18, 2007 06:34 PM - Reuters

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - The Alberta government said on Tuesday it ordered Suncor Energy Inc to come up with a plan to cut emissions of deadly hydrogen sulfide at its oil sands operations after several reports of high concentrations this year.

FutureGen picks Illinois for coal project
December 18, 2007 06:34 PM - Reuters

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The FutureGen Alliance selected a site in Illinois to build a $1.5 billion electric generating plant that industry officials say is needed to research and test technology to burn coal and control carbon dioxide emissions which are blamed for global warming.

N.J. sues Reliant coal plant over emissions
December 18, 2007 04:02 PM - Reuters

New Jersey claims emissions of smog and acid rain components sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from Reliant's Portland Generating Station in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, drift into its territory.

Explosives at the microscopic scale produce shocking results
December 18, 2007 01:48 PM - Lawrence Livermore Labs, Newswire

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- U.S. troops blew up enemy bridges with explosives in World War II to slow the advance of supplies or enemy forces. In modern times, ski patrollers use explosives at ski resorts to purposely create avalanches so the runs are safer when skiers arrive. Other than creating the desired effect (a destroyed bridge or avalanche), the users didn’t exactly know the microscopic details and extreme states of matter found within a detonating high explosive. In fact, most scientists don’t know what happens either.

A Unique Way To Lower Energy Costs
December 18, 2007 01:32 PM - UC San Diego, California Newswire

San Diego, California - UC San Diego undergraduate students have designed, built and deployed a network of five weather-monitoring stations as a key step toward helping the university use ocean breezes to cool buildings, identify the sunniest rooftops to expand its solar-electric system, and use water more efficiently in irrigation and in other ways. The network, which will be expanded to 20 stations in 2008, is unprecedented in the United States for the density of weather data to be collected.

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