H2OPower
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Mike Johnston


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Haynesville, the movie: how domestic natural gas will change our lives
12.07.09 (7:58 am)

 I think that it would be nice if we all had a visual aid to show to people when we try to educate them about the potential of natural gas as a cleaner, abundant, domestic energy source and one which can serve as a bridge to a green energy economy.


I found a documentary film, just released a short time ago, that does all these things. It profiles the lives of people in the Haynesville Louisiana area after the find of massive gas deposits there. It also uses a group of experts in the areas of energy and the environment to flesh out all of the things that we have been saying about natural gas. Many of the comments sound like things Boone has been saying since last year...

I am thinking that Army members could use the film to hold screenings for their friends/family/governement representatives/community, etc. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words and so a film must be worth a million, lol

Many Army members have told me that they don't know what to say to people or things of that nature and a film like this does the talking for you. At the moment I am working to bring the film to Plan members but I thought I would put this up for the state leaders so you can go have a look at the film website and trailer at least.

Website: http://www.haynesvillemovie.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/haynesvillemovie
30 Comments
My Hydrogen Energy Research
11.17.08 (6:45 am)
I have mentioned the research I did previously in relation to producing hydrogen from water and I thought that I would post an overview of what I was doing and the outcome. I will try to do it without a lot of boring detail and just hit the high points. I still see hydrogen from water as being the inevitable fuel of the future and I think that a lot of confusion exists in the way that people understand the potential of hydrogen fuel.

My focus has been in making the process of producing H2 from water more efficient. There are a lot of things I would like to explore further but the core of it has been 1) resistance and 2) power.

An electrolysis cell is only as resistive as its individual components. Each of these components can be designed to yield whatever level of resistance you want. This is important for a lot of reasons and since the quantity of H2 produced is based solely on the amount of current that flows the lower the resistance the more H2 you produce from a given power source.

If you have a series of cells with very low resistance you can pretty much eliminate the resistance of that series of cells or bring it down to the resistance level of the wire in the circuit. At this point you short circuit the power source of course but the point is that it isn't cell resistance which is limiting H2 production from a given power source.

The heat that is produced in a cell during conduction is also more related to resistance than it is "heat of reaction". I say this because I have found that the heat which develops in a cell during conduction is directly related to the conductivity of the cell. The more resistive the cell the hotter it gets and conversely the more conductive it is the less heat that is created. This is also observable in AC powered cells wherein the heating effect is more readily observable. So the conclusion is that conduction in a liquid is very much like conduction in a metal in relation to resistance.

The other factor that affects or limits the number of cells that you can put in series and therefore the amount of H2 produced is capacitance. Each cell acts like a capacitor in that each has to build up and maintain a specific potential difference in relation to the ions in the cell in order for an electric current to flow through the cell. As long as this minimum voltage is maintained current will flow. This is very different from the commonly accepted picture of the limits of electrolysis cells and is not taken into consideration properly when figuring the efficiency of electrolysis cells.

At this point I started looking at water with an electrolyte as kind of ready made electrolysis generator that just needed the right situation in order to allow electricity to flow. For example, in a metal conductor there are many free electrons which just need direction in order to flow from one place to another and a potential difference has to be created in order to have electrons flow from a place of low higher concentration to one of lower concentration. The metal is however electrically neutral overall.

Water too is electrically neutral. There are no free electrons and water molecules (except for a tiny percentage of ions) are very stable so water is an insulator or dielectric.

After an electrolyte is added however (example SO2 + 2H2O ---> 4H+ + SO4-- ignoring one intermediate step) the situation changes. The solution is still electrically neutral overall but the reason for this neutrality is totally different. In pure water there are no charges but in this solution there are an equal number of positively and negatively charged particles so the solution is neutral. However it is electrically charged at the same time.

An example could be the Earth. If you look at the planet as a capacitor with the ionosphere serving as one plate and the ground as the other plate the air is the dielectric between. The ground has an electron charge and the ionosphere an ion charge. In the air dielectric there is also water and water with various impurities such as sulfur which create ions in that water (and acid rain).

Electrical reactions are possible within the dielectric/acidulated water between the two plates of the Earth capacitor which are independent of the charge on either "plate". One way to look at this would be that the H+ ions within the acidulated water dielectric are attracted to and follow the Earth's magnetic lines of force and fikkiw them up and out of the air dielectric (either as ions or after picking up free electrons which are constantly transferring in the air). This exiting of H2 is called the Polar Wind of course. In response negatively charged particles are left in the water in the atmosphere and these charges build up over time and eventually discharge to ground as lightning. I am just using this as an example not saying this is exactly what happens.

This would imply though that a similar situation could be set up within an electrolysis cell so that all you would have to do is supply an external potential difference (which could be static) and then set up conditions within the cell so that an electric current could flow and hydrogen be produced without the current being necessary through the power source which supplies the potential difference. This would really change the amount of H2 produced per supplied charge and I have some very promising physical evidence in respect to this being possible.

Another avenue of research was to look at using AC electricity as the charge source. I have done a little work in respect to setting up experimental cells and wiring to allow a DC current to flow through the cells while using an AC power source and need to do more. On paper though it looks like the necessary route to follow.

Remember that the goal is to produce as much H2 as possible per given charge so it will be necessary to have a large current flowing through our series of cells while using the least possible amount of energy from the supplied charge. This is where the ability to manipulate the cell resistance really comes in handy.

Maybe the easiest way to illustrate this is to show you a hypothetical circuit. I don't know that this will work as described but it illustrates the concept. A tank circuit consists of induction and capacitive elements. Inductors store and release supplied charge so without any load they can return to the power source nearly all of the energy they take while charging. A capacitor also stores and returns the supplied charge. If the two are in a circuit and in resonance with each other a large current can flow within the tank circuit but the circuit returns all of the power it takes. The only thing that limits the amount of power returned is the resistance of the components of the tank circuit.



From that beginning you can see the potential for having many inductors wired in parallel to each other. Each would be charged with the total voltage of the power source and then return that power so no energy would be used. If you created the situation where you had two sets of such inductors, each set 180 degrees out of phase with each other one set would be charging while the other discharged and they would essentially be charging each other. Of course there are always some losses and you still need the power source to keep the cycle going but hopefully you see what I mean.

I think that electrolysis cells can take advantage of a setup like this because, as I said earlier, the only two things we have to be concerned with them are resistance and capacitance. We can manipulate resistance and so the situation can be created where the series of cells in such a tank circuit would have no more electrical resistance than the wire in the circuit.

With that factor dealt with all we are left with is the capacitance of the cells. In an RC circuit however I think that this capacitance could be dealt with as a component of the entire capacitance of the tank. In that case the only challenge is to create a situation where DC current can flow through the electrolysis cells while not affecting the AC current in the tank. If that can be achieved then it pretty much changes everything in relation to how much H2 can be produced from a given power source and that should be obvious.

So that is what I have done to date in relation to H2 fuel. I can go into a lot more detail on specific points but the next step is really to just build an experimental model and see what happens.
18 Comments
Imus:”Pickens Plan Makes Sense to Me!”
10.26.08 (4:29 pm)
Morning Man Don Imus says Boone is on to something with the Pickens Plan and praises the million strong Pickens Plan Army. Come to Nashville for the Pickens Plan RFD-TV Live Town Hall Meeting with Boone, Wednesday, October 29 at 9pm eastern. Check your local cable listings for the channel. Also on Direct TV and DISH.

 

103 Comments
Nearly Nine-in-Ten Voters Support T. Boone Pickens’ Energy Plan
10.24.08 (3:09 pm)
Washington, DC-- October 24, 2008 – A national survey of voters released by Public Opinion Strategies and Hart Research found overwhelming support for the Pickens Plan. Nearly nine-in-ten voters agree that it is important that the Pickens Plan be included in an overall strategy to deal with our energy problems.

The voters surveyed also expressed a strong belief that solar power, wind power, and natural gas will be the top three energy resources to solve the nation’s energy problems, with oil imported from other countries ranking last on the list.

“Even in tough economic times energy issues remain front and center on the American agenda,” said Neil Newhouse of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican pollster. “Americans believe the nation is facing an energy crisis and they aren’t looking to imported foreign oil to solve the problem. Rather, they put their faith in a future based on renewable energy sources: solar, wind, hydroelectric power; and increasing domestic sources of natural gas and oil."

"On energy independence, the public 'gets it' and demands that something be done,” adds Democrat Peter D. Hart of Peter D. Hart Research. “With its focus on renewable wind energy, the Pickens Plan is right on target, and the public, Democrats, Republicans and political independents, overwhelmingly supports it."

The Pickens Plan would reduce foreign oil dependency, which is currently 70 percent of the United States’ imports by more than one-third. Much of this oil is acquired from some of the most volatile countries in the world, putting our national security and economic security at risk. The Pickens Plan calls for investing in power generation from domestic renewable resources such as wind and using our abundant supplies of natural gas as a transportation fuel in heavy-duty fleets, replacing more than one-third of our imported oil, saving more than $230 billion a year.

The survey, conducted from October 7-12, 2008, underscores the growing national concern about the energy crisis and a remarkably high level of confidence in the Pickens Plan as a viable solution. The survey highlights the following:

1. Voters are clear: America is facing an energy crisis.
More than half of voters (54%) say America is going through a real energy crisis right now, and another 32% say the country has serious energy problems. Just 10% say our energy problems are not serious, and a mere 3% say the country does not have an energy problem. A majority of Republicans (52%), Independents (57%), and Democrats (54%) all agree the country is in an energy crisis.

2. Energy is considered more of a national security/economic issue.
While one-third (34%) of voters believe energy is a national security issue, 29% say it is an economic issue, 18% say it is an environmental issue, and 16% volunteer the response that it is a mix of all three of these issue areas.

3. Wind and solar top the list to solve the nation’s energy problems.
Voters were asked to rate nine different energy sources on a scale of one to ten with one meaning that energy source could contribute very little to solving America’s energy problem and ten meaning it could contribute a great deal. Solar and wind power, top the list, with natural gas, domestic oil production and hydro-electric power closely bunch in the next spot, and oil imported from foreign countries falling to the bottom.


(% 8-10) Contribute a lot/great deal
Solar power
61%
Wind power
57%
Natural gas
50%
Domestic oil production
49%
Hydro-electric power
48%
Nuclear power
39%
Coal
30%
Ethanol and biofuels
30%
Oil imported from foreign countries
16%

4. Voters believe The Pickens Plan will help solve our energy problems and that it should be included as part of an overall energy strategy.
Nearly three-fourths of voters (74%) say The Pickens Plan will contribute “a great deal” or “a fair amount” to helping solve America’s energy problems. And, almost nine-in-ten voters (87%) say it is important – with a majority (51%) saying it is “very” important – for The Pickens Plan to be included in an overall strategy to deal with our energy problems. There is broad agreement across party lines on these measures:

The Pickens Plan
Republicans
Independents
Democrats
It will contribute "a great deal/a fair amount" to solving America's energy problem.
68%
76%
77%
It is "very/somewhat" important that it is part of an overall strategy to deal with our nation’s energy situation.
86%
86%
89%
1 Comments
Pickens, Gore and Natural Gas
10.20.08 (6:36 am)
It always surprises me how any issue can be made to be divisive in some way. Even clean energy, despite it's universal importance to the future of our planet, can serve as a tool for the media to create controversy and to divide the people. It is interesting to look from that perspective at the treatment that has been given by the media to two men, T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore, who have both launched almost simultaneous campaigns which are aimed to focus public attention on the energy issue and to begin to draw a roadmap toward our common future.

T. Boone Pickens is often painted as a rich man looking to make himself richer and although Pickens is indeed wealthy and does have financial stakes in both the wind and natural gas industries he doesn't need to spend millions on a national campaign in order to make money. Natural gas sales are showing no signs of slowing down and he has already financed his wind farm in Texas. So what could be motivating him to spend millions on this public initiative? Perhaps it is pretty much just like Pickens says; he wants to wean America off foreign oil and onto new, sustainable energy sources and he sees the need for a national commitment to this future which goes beyond what even he can do all by himself and his Pickens Plan is the best way that he can come up with to start this process today, not in 5 or 10 years.

Al Gore, despite being on the corporate board of both google and Apple, writing a bestselling book which was later made into a movie and winning the Nobel Prize, is on the other hand is seen as more of a "man of the people" who is promoting totally green solutions such as solar and wind without any ties to the bad old days of fossil fuels or financial gain to himself. Does Al Gore have a financial interest in this process though, or is he just running his We Campaign out of his deep moral convictions as is often the way the media paints him? The answer may surprise many of you.

Al Gore (along with Colin Powell) recently became partners in the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. This is the same firm that financed the startup of google. Now they are interested in greentech and funding the startups of companies who are developing new energy technologies. Obviously then, having the United States move into a green energy economy would have tremendous financial benefits for KPCB, the companies they fund and for Al Gore personally. I think that it is safe to say that Mr. Gore stands to see a huge financial profit from the success of his campaign just as much if not more than T. Boone Pickens does.

What about the differences in the types of energy that the two campaigns promote? Most people think that Al Gore is all about totally green energy while Pickens advocates the use of natural gas (a fossil fuel) as a bridge to a totally green future. Would it surprise you to learn that Al Gore is also (at least by proxy) a big supporter of natural gas as a "green" fuel? It certainly did me.

I recently read a story on KPCB in the October 5th edition of the New York Times, Weekend Magazine that clued me in on this marriage between Al Gore and natural gas. It seems that KPBR has heavily funded a firm called Bloom Energy which the Times calls, "one of Kleiner Perkins’s biggest green-tech bets". Bloom Energy has developed a solid oxide fuel cell which uses natural gas as its primary fuel source. They see this fuel cell being installed in people's basements to provide 100% of the power for the home and, according to a story in ecogeek "Bloom Energy is looking to install 100 Kilowatt power units in everyone's houses. These will be flex-fuel, but likely running mostly on natural gas. They will also probably produce heat, and cooling, as well as power, making the devices roughly 85% efficient (thus generating two times less greenhouse gas emissions than a power plant per unit of power used.)".

Obviously, if this is the case, Al Gore is just as dependent as Pickens is on natural gas as a bridge to our energy future and both stand to make financial profits if we choose to adopt their respective plans. I don't see anything wrong with this though because that is part of our free market system and anyone who wants to invest in these same technologies or even the same companies can certainly find an avenue to do so and thereby share in the profits.The final analysis is that both T. Boone Pickens and Al Gore are accomplishing great things in their efforts to lead America toward a new energy future and both seem to be directing us into very similar pathways with natural gas being an important bridge fuel. I think that the media needs to get their facts straight and stop bashing either of these men without bashing both equally if bashing is what they need to do to in order to sell commercials.
7 Comments
Pickens Plan Citizens Video Contest
10.19.08 (11:39 am)
"You have watched my ads and now I want to watch yours!" T. Boone Pickens wants you to MAKE YOUR OWN ENERGY AD to push the candidates to endorse the Pickens Plan.

Visit www.youtube.com/pickensplan to submit your entry.


CONTEST GUIDELINES
Make a citizens video that will push the candidates to hear our voices and commit to the Pickens Plan!

We want you to be creative with music, video and pictures, but be respectful. The video should be no more than 60 seconds long.

To submit your entry, please use your personal YouTube account to upload a video and submit a "video response" to the "Pickens Plan Citizens Video Contest" video message from Boone at www.youtube.com/pickensplan. Entries are due by Midnight EDT on October 25, 2008.

On Monday, October 27, we will announce 5 finalists to be voted on by you.The winner will be featured on the Pickens Plan website in the week leading up to Election Day.

So, hurry up, make your video and send the Presidential candidates a message directly from you!
2 Comments
Understanding Coal To Hydrogen Technology
08.08.08 (12:25 pm)

Yesterday I attended a webinar on clean coal or coal to hydrogen technology. I think that this technology represents a way for us to transition from our current energy sources to a viable hydrogen economy in both the electric and vehicular fuel areas. When producing hydrogen from coal steam and coal (or another hydrocarbon) are reacted with each other and the hydrogen produced comes from the water primarily or partially depending on the hydrocarbon used.

One thing I am not fond of is that they are focusing mostly on fuel cells as a future use of hydrogen I pointed out that normal cars can be fitted to run on CNG and on hydrogen with the same system. Cars that are converted to run on CNG (compressed natural gas) can also run on gaseous hydrogen. If an on-board reformer is included in the system the consumer can cut their hydrocarbon fuel requirements by as much as 60% and their CO2 pollution by a similar percentage. So this process is a logical evolution of the Pickens Plan and, as such, should be interesting to members of the Plan.

Link to recorded webinar.

At the end of the webinar I was able to ask the expert panel questions about this process and while their answers weren't exactly what I had hoped for because they advocate producing the hydrogen at central facilities and then selling that to the consumer and this erases the personal savings the consumer would see by having the processor on board the vehicle it was a good explanation of the process overall.

2 Comments
Understanding Coal To Hydrogen Technology
08.08.08 (4:39 am)

Yesterday I attended a webinar on clean coal or coal to hydrogen technology. I think that this technology represents a way for us to transition from our current energy sources to a viable hydrogen economy in both the electric and vehicular fuel areas. When producing hydrogen from coal steam and coal (or another hydrocarbon) are reacted with each other and the hydrogen produced comes from the water primarily or partially depending on the hydrocarbon used.

One thing I am not fond of is that they are focusing mostly on fuel cells as a future use of hydrogen I pointed out that normal cars can be fitted to run on CNG and on hydrogen with the same system. Cars that are converted to run on CNG (compressed natural gas) can also run on gaseous hydrogen. If an on-board reformer is included in the system the consumer can cut their hydrocarbon fuel requirements by as much as 60% and their CO2 pollution by a similar percentage. So this process is a logical evolution of the Pickens Plan and, as such, should be interesting to members of the Plan.

Link to recorded webinar.

At the end of the webinar I was able to ask the expert panel questions about this process and while their answers weren't exactly what I had hoped for because they advocate producing the hydrogen at central facilities and then selling that to the consumer and this erases the personal savings the consumer would see by having the processor on board the vehicle it was a good explanation of the process overall.

0 Comments
T. Boone Pickens Explains The Plan
08.01.08 (8:02 am)

In this video T. Boone Pickens explains more of the objectives of his Plan for America's energy future:

http://push.pickensplan.com/video/video/show?id=2187034:Video:485771

 

0 Comments
A Wind Turbine For Your Home
07.28.08 (3:52 pm)
They call it "wind turbine in a box," a simple off-the-shelf but high-performance wind turbine.

The innovative wind turbine is the first major launch of a commercial product from the Grand Valley State University energy center in Muskegon. Plans are to sell the turbine at home improvement stores for less than $2,000 to homeowners who can use it to provide up to 20 percent of their electricity.



E-Net LLC -- a technology development company brought to GVSU's Michigan Alternative and Renewable Energy Center by the center's executive director, Imad Mahawili -- has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Muskegon-based EarthTronics to develop, manufacture and market the WindTronics turbine line.

Link to entire story.
0 Comments
John Deere's renewable energy harvest
07.28.08 (3:42 pm)

Realizing farmers can make money on more than just crops, the maker of green tractors puts its cash behind wind turbines.

By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer September 5 2007: 11:18 AM EDT NEW YORK

(CNNMoney.com) -- For Steve Tiedeman, a farmer in Woodstock, Minn., it hasn't been all that great of a year. The weather's been dry, and he's lost about a third of the corn on his 1,000 acre farm. But Tiedeman, along with a growing number of farmers across the Midwest, can now rely on another, more stable crop: wind power.

Pickens urges action With the help of big companies that put up the cash, farmers once tied to the weather, government subsidies or the fluctuations of the commodity market can now rely on the relative stability of the wind.

Link to entire story.

0 Comments
Energy in China: 'We call it the Three Gorges of the sky. The dam there taps water, we tap wind'
07.28.08 (11:41 am)
In the vast natural wind tunnel that is Dabancheng, the gales that roar between the snow-capped mountain ridges get so strong that trains have been gusted off railway tracks and lorries overturned.

Such is the ferocity of the elements that police sometimes have to stop the traffic that passes through this arid, six-mile-wide plain on what was once part of the Silk Road. That used to be bad for business in Xinjiang, the most westerly region of China, which formerly depended on the trade route between central Asia and the densely populated cities in the far east.

Today, however, the gales themselves have become big business in Dabancheng. The area is home to one of Asia's biggest wind farms and a pioneer in a Chinese industry that is forecast to lead the world by the end of next year.

Link to full story.
0 Comments
Will Artifical Trees Solve Our Energy Woes?
07.28.08 (5:58 am)
According to a story on the Nature magazine news site scientists have finally figured out the structure of the last of three hydrogenase enzymes. Why is this important? Because hydrogenase enzymes are the key to splitting hydrogen from water to create carbohydrates in the natural world. Green plants and some microbes and algae use this process. It has long been assumed that, if we understand the structure and operation of these enzymes, we will be able to produce artificial Photosynthesis and through that process and an endless supply of fuel in the form of carbon/hydrogen compounds.

Click here for full story.
1 Comments
Global Warming: Human Induced Or Natural Cycle and Does It Really Matter?
07.23.08 (10:44 am)

I have been following the Climate Change phenomenon for a long time now and the recent argument over whether the reality of Climate Change is man-made or a natural cycle has become much of the focus of the media. To me this is something of an obfuscation of the reality at hand. The opponents of man-made Climate Change go to great lengths to prove that humans are not in any way responsible for the events that we are observing. The man-made Climate Change proponents on the other hand are arguing just as vociferously in support of their model.

 

Click here for full story .

1 Comments
Human rights a 'compass' for climate change policies
07.21.08 (7:53 am)

Katherine Nightingale

17 July 2008 | EN | 中文

climatechange_ItzaFineDay-140.jpg

Climate change can have an effect on human rights

Flickr/ItzaFineDay

Human rights can be a "compass" to guide research and policy development for climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, according to a report.

The International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) says climate change will threaten — directly or indirectly — almost all human rights, including the right to food, health and a livelihood. But they have received little attention on the policy stage so far.

Human rights can be used as thresholds or minimum standards that climate change, or policies to deal with it, must not breach, says their report, released last month (24 June).

Link to full story

My Thoughts: Unfortunately human rights are often the first thing that is forgotten in any disaster of the magnitude as is possible as a result of Climate Change. 

2 Comments
The Honda GX NGV As A Model For Natural Gas Vehicles
07.20.08 (7:42 am)
Many people have never heard of using Natural Gas as a vehicle fuel. Many municipal fleets of cars and buses have been using natural gas fuel for some time but even so how many people have really considered using natural gas to fuel their car? There has not been any real mass media exposure to popularize domestically natural gas or to show consumers what the advantages are of using it. Despite this, Honda has developed and is selling a CNG version of its popular Civic and so I thought I would take a look at that car with an eye to price and fueling so that visitors to this site can learn more about real world applications of the Pickens Plan which already exist.


Photo From The Honda Website



With a manufacturers suggested retail price of $24,590.00 the natural gas Civic is definitely cost competitive with gasoline fueled vehicles of a similar type. This may be the most important factor for most consumers because, as much as we may want to do something positive for the environment on a personal level, it always seems to come down to the age old question of "what's in it for me?". If I can see a benefit to myself or my family from using alternative fuels then I'm on board but if switching means some kind of personal sacrifice or the expenditure of more money or effort for "the common good" with no personal payoff I (like nearly everyone else) will be much less likely to do it.

Another reason to look at the Honda GX is because I already posted a blog on the cost and process of converting an existing vehicle to run on CNG. The cost of the conversion, as quoted in that post, seemed to average more than $10,000 per vehicle. I think that kind of investment would be prohibitive for many people, even with the available financial incentives from the government. It would be much easier just to use that money to put a substantial down payment on a new Honda GX or similar vehicle.

The Phill home fueling station from Fuel Maker



Once you have your new CNG fueled vehicle where do you go to fill up your tank? It isn't like there is a natural gas pump at your local gas station. Honda links to the site of a company called Fuel Maker who produces a home fueling appliance for CNG car owners called Phill. I haven't been able to find a price for the fueling system yet but will post that as soon as I find it.

If CNG vehicles catch on it will be a short time before filling stations spring up and in the meantime I am sure CNG vehicle owners who have Phill appliances could create their own network to refuel each other while traveling. The fuel cost being set by their local supplier.

All in all I think that CNG vehicles offer a great alternative because they could create competition between suppliers of different types of fuel. This competition would be expected to create better service and reduced prices for the consumer as suppliers struggle to capture and maintain their market share among vehicle owners.
3 Comments
A Bottle of Wind
07.20.08 (5:58 am)
Trying to decide the best energy course for the planet is not an easy task. There is so much information out there and so many competing technologies making so many claims that it gets more than a little mind boggling. I like the fact that The Pickens Plan is keeping it simple. It consists of developing and promoting two technologies which are already in place to some extent. Even so, these technologies can and probably will lead to the further implementation of other beneficial systems. Wind can provide the energy for transportation systems or personal vehicles for example and tie in very nicely with electric cars.

Wind energy is often criticized because it is only there "when the wind blows". This is of course true in a very basic sense but with an entire grid of wind towers that problem is less apparent because the wind is always blowing somewhere and the load can be shifted according to demand and availability. In addition, energy that is generated by the wind can be stored and many ways. Batteries are the first one that you think of and the most readily available. But batteries are bulky, heavy, expensive and contain chemicals which are usually dangerous.

Other ways to store wind energy range from the practical to the fantastic. Practical ways would include using wind energy to pump water up into a damed lake during off peak hours and then releasing that stored water through hydroelectric turbines during peak hours when electricity is more in demand and significantly more expensive. This is actually being done already with normally produced electricity. Other ways would be to use the wind energy to produce hydrogen from water and store the hydrogen in carbon nanotubes or to store the electrical energy produced by the wind turbines on the plates of Ultracapacitors (these show a lot of promise).


Image from greentechmedia.com



One of the more fantastic ways that is actually being proposed to store wind energy is to use the energy produced by wind turbines to compress air and then store that compressed air underground. Of course there are limited places where you can get airtight geologic formations which would let you do that. On the surface though it is very much like pumping water up to fill a dam. It is just a matter of storing the energy until it is needed more and can be sold at a higher price. If you couple that with the compressed air cars that are being developed you get an interesting picture of the future.

As I write this, somewhere in the back of my mind, Bob Dylan is singing; "The answer my friend, is blowin' in the wind...".
1 Comments
General Assembly President says climate refugees are already a reality
07.17.08 (10:32 am)

General Assembly President says ‘climate refugees’ are already a reality

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Climate change is forcing people around the world to leave their villages or even their countries because of the increased frequency of floods and droughts and the re-emergence of diseases, General Assembly President Srgjan Kerim said today.

“The topic of climate refugees is no longer a concept – it is a sad fact,” said Mr. Kerim at the first annual meeting of the Global Humanitarian Forum, held in Geneva. He said the impact of global warming was already so intense that it was altering the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people, calling for “a global alliance for action” to devise solutions to the problems raised by climate change.

My thoughts: I think that many people in the American midwest would agree after record floods caused thousands and thousands to flee their homes earlier this year. I guess that would make them "Climate Refugees" too.

 

1 Comments
Laos sunshine turns villagers green
07.17.08 (8:36 am)

Only 48 per cent of Laotians are connected to the electrical grid. Access to electricity is limited due to lack of infrastructure and high costs so most rural communities rely on environmentally unfriendly energy sources, such as firewood and kerosene. Solar-powered systems are a logical alternative but start-up costs are high.

To get around this, local company Sunlabob Rural Energy is renting solar-based systems to villagers. Solar-powered lanterns are available to rent at a competitive price and users can recharge the lamps for a small fee at a central facility in the village. Alternatively, a whole village can rent the equipment for generating solar electricity from the company and sub-lease power to individual houses.

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My Thoughts: You see? In other parts of the world locally produced power from renewable resources can and does work. Perhaps we here in the United States need to look outside our own box to find the solutions to our energy woes that really make sense.
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Its Easy Being Green: It Pays to Recycle
07.17.08 (6:54 am)

Recycling one glass bottle can net you five cents, if you live in the right state and find the right recycling facility. But what if earning money for recycling at home was even easier?

Philadelphia-based RecycleBank Inc., aims to do just that. The company rewards people with points for recycling at home in order to “change behaviors and attitudes—not as enforcers, but encouragers,” and to make “recycling understandable, easy and rewarding.

RecycleBank’s users place their recyclables in a recycling bin equipped with a monitoring chip. On pickup day the hauler will scan and weigh the recyclables. The weight of the recycled material in the bin is converted into RecycleBank points deposited into the resident’s account. Residents can check their "balance" online and cash in their reward points for a maximum of $25 a month or $400 a year at several dozen national chains. They are also able to keep track of how much they are recycling.

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My Thoughts: Ok so no one is going to get rich by recycling their waste but four hundred bucks a year is nothing to sneeze at. I like the idea. The fact that it is successful just proves what I have been saying; "the way to achieve change is through economic incentive to the individual consumer".

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