Scientists Harness Wasted Energy; Make Hydrogen Fuel

An article on Science Daily reported, “Materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have designed a way to harvest small amounts of waste energy and harness them to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel.” The authors of the new paper wrote: “This study provides a simple and cost-effective technology for direct water splitting that may generate hydrogen fuels by scavenging energy wastes such as noise or stray vibrations from the environment.” It was a little ambiguous what they were doing at first.

The scientists grew nano crystals of common crystals and applied noise vibrations to them producing piezoelectricity. Piezoelectricity is electricity produced by mechanical pressure on certain crystals (notably quartz or Rochelle salt); alternatively, electrostatic. The scientists had 18% efficiency with the nano crystal fibers. They then used that energy to break the chemical bonds of water to separate the oxygen and hydrogen gas. The hydrogen can then be used as fuel. Neat.

Xu one of the scientists involved believes, “With the right technology, [] this method [would be] useful for generating small amounts of power from a multitude of small sources — for example, walking could charge a cell phone or music player and breezes could power streetlights.

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311131802.htm.

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Wealthiest Arab Country Invests Billions in Alternative and Renewable Energy

 

Abu Dhabi, which borders Saudia Arabia, is the wealthiest Emirate of the United Arab Emirates. It owns 10% of all the world’s oil reserves. Even so, Abu Dhabi is investing billions of dollars in research and development for alternative and renewable energy sources.

 

So much for “drill, baby, drill.” Even the Arabs know their oil supplies are going to dry up sooner or later and want to be well prepared for a smooth transition to say solar power  because that area of the world enjoys non-stop sunshine.

 

The 3 day summit that took place last week in Abu Dhabi highlighted the quickly growing trend there for investing in “research, education and technology in the renewable sector,” according to an article by Ahmed Shihab-Eldin for the Huffington Post. It’s no surprise that the billions in funding comes from oil profits.

 

Abu Dhabi uses an enormous amount of energy for all the extreme hotels and entertainment the city showcases. Imagine the carbon footprint of a structure that sits on the beach in the hot desert sun that features snow skiing inside. From what I watched on TV, the cheapest hotel room is $1700/night. Abu Dhabi is excess at its finest, and boy does it cost in energy. 

 

So the Saudis want to be on top of things when oil wanes and alternatives become necessary so their comfort margin isn’t diminished, while I still argue with misinformed U.S. citizens that claim environmentalism is just a ruse, global warming is made up by Al Gore, and there is plenty of oil so why not drill…

 

I’m starting to believe the biggest obstruction to advancement for a cleaner future for our own health, the earth’s health, and a new job market full of opportunity are mostly here in the U.S.  Some citizens here soaked up the doubt presented to them by our former political leaders who set aside science for the oil lobby. And it stuck no matter what science, and obviously the rest of the world thinks. And there you are. The U.S. again runs the risk of being dinosaurs. This anti-intellectual, non scientific mindset of doubt serves to slow us down while the rest of the world passes us. BTW, forget pointing to China. They have enough people over there to jumpstart and surpass everyone even when they might seem well behind.

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ahmed-shihabeldin/oil-rich-emirate-hosts-wo_b_161969.html

 

 

 

 

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Natural Gas Prices Will Be Much Higher This Winter

The U.S. has an overabundant supply of natural gas. We’re being told that it’s a fuel for the future. Other countries are creating cars that run on natural gas and the U.S. is losing out. Are we?

I heard on ABC news the other day that natural gas is going up 22% this winter when we use the stuff to heat our homes. Looking around at some of the country’s newspapers it appearsthe increase may be higher. Parts of Pennsylvania expect over a 33% increase, and Frankfurt, Kentucky claims that natural gas is up 70% from last year. If you’re wondering why natural gas is going up when it’s oil that’s high not the gas, and oil never seemed to affect the price of natural gas before, it’s because of demand.

So here we are again with a fossil fuel that has to be extracted, and boy are we devastating some beautiful places in America extracting the stuff, while demand continues to rise so the costs are getting out of hand no differently than oil. And we’re still screaming for offshore drilling for more oil? This should be a big kick in the pants to get away from fossil fuel forever.What is it we’re not getting?

Natural gas prices weren’t all that bad until oil got so outrageously expensive. Industries that can either use oil or natural gas have switched to gas. Meanwhile, we started using more natural gas to produce electricity. Natural gas consumption always used to be predominantly in the winter months, for heating purposes, now because of industry and demand for electricity for A/C, natural gas prices aren’t fluctuating cyclically. They’re just plain going up and up.

Just dandy huh? We need to get off this merry go round and realize that in the future we must adapt to a potpourri of energy sources, like some wind, some solar, some geothermal, etc., or we’re just going to keep hitting the same demand wall.

Calling for the U.S. to move solely to electricity may sound like we’re putting all our eggs in one basket too but electricity is the one source of power that appears to know no bounds for it’s generation. All types of things can be converted to electricity. With the advent of the hydrogen fuel cell and PEM’s, electricity will have even more ways to keep us in power in the future.

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A Fossil Fuel State

I’m sorry to read that Michiganpersists withpollution policy instead of sound environmental policy. We need to get the corporate friendly senate moving in a cleaner direction. We have an obligation in this state to at very least try to keep the water clean. If we keep goofing off, someone might decide we are poor stewards and should share the wealth and management of our water. Does adding more coalburners to the list of 19, including the country’s second largest in Monroe, sound like anyone here pays attention to health issues, future problems with water shortages, or the earth? The latest out of MI senate is a push to alter abortion issues in Michigan. That’s the big priority? People need jobs; we need a decent and moral economy. By moral, I mean we do our utmost not to disturb life in the process of living and producing. A green economy can offer plenty of jobs but that ride is being held up either on a state or federal level and benefits the oil industry.

We know for instance about oil leases that have been sold in pristine areas and/or habitat for polar bears, seals and all types of birds. Drilling there is pending and the oil industry wants to get moving. It’s becoming obvious that placing the polar bear on the endangered list is purposely being stalled. All that is needed is a great motivator. Bingo, gas will go up beyond $4.00 per gallon shortly. We’re already being taunted by that forecast. People are expected to cry drill, drill, drill and to hell with the animals. And we’ll probably do that, instead of seeing the big picture and how we’re being manipulated by the utilities. Even Warren Buffet commented that we’ve been sticking straws into the earth and sorry but it’s a finite practice. We will eventually run out. We collectively had over 500,000 wells. Our demand is ridiculous, and growing and it all revolves around the same fossil sources.

Heaven forbid we advance in technology and perfect wind and solar power for the individual home, and make it cheap. Houses would stand-alone without need for utilities. It’s almost laughable isn’t it? We are street smart enough to know the powers that be won’t let that happen. Anyway, our airwaves will be controlled shortly. Can’t even get free air anymore, besides there is that ever lovin entertainment/sports world that’s always going to charge too.

We could practice conservation. We could develop an RPS for Michigan, (more on that in another blog), which would entice green developers to come here. I’ve been saying this for quite awhile. What green industry is going to plant themselves next to a bunch of pollution? We’ll never get away from polluting industries once they are established without paying for it dearly. The buck will pass on to us for corporation’s stubborn business sense if and when in the future a big conservation effort needs to be enacted because, gee, we really are polluting ourselves to death.

I was reading the Sierra Club’s “The Mackinac” and it states what I’ve been reading elsewhere, that many places in this country are not giving permits to more coalburners. The front-page article said 44 proposed coal-fired plants were either denied or withdrawn in 2007 thanks to The Sierra Club. So what happened here?

There were five more coalburners looking for environmental permits in Michigan, with three more new plants under discussion the article said. It also stated that the challenge to put a moratorium on coal-fired plants in Michigan is daunting. Well I guess, especially with a corporation friendly senate. It said, “The state has refused to regulate the CO2 from coal plants that contribute to global warming (so long as the applicants address other pollutants, the state will let them be built). So that’s why the rush to install scrubbers? The scrubbers address other pollutants that are breathing irritants, but not the mercury that is permeating through the water to the fish, to the birds, and eventually anyone who drinks the waterone of the world’s largest freshwater supplies that is no longer so fresh. Or the CO2, that’s warming us up and causing some really bad weatheralmost tornado season. What’s the sense of the Great Lakes Legacy Act? What a tail chase, and meanwhile the water and Michigan loses, while the polar bears, seals, fish, and birds, the entire earth, take a back seat to our excess.

Take a stand and participate. Read: http://michigan.sierraclub.org/.

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Green Investment Stocks Website

I’ve been interested in investing in “green” business and/or stocks but didn’t know who or where to look for these particular type of stocks and ran into this great website, InvestorIdeas.com, that lists almost 400 “green” stocks in 16 categories. There are a handful of mutuals featured too.

Every company listed is an active link and has a little description and history about the company. I especially liked the categories. Already people have preferences. I know I lean toward hydrogen fuel cell technology and yup it’s a category. There is the basic solar, wind, geothermal, and hydrogen technologies along with biogas, ethanol, and clean power plants to the companies that supply parts like turbines and flywheels.

So there are a lot of choices out there already. I guess I lean toward hydrogen fuel cells because Daimler-Chrysler was the company that supplied Iceland with their first commercial hydrogen buses back in 2003, and recently GM said that was an avenue they will pursue. Just yesterday I saw the commercial for Honda’s new fuel cell car that emits only “clean water vapor.” Hydrogen is on its way. If you ever get a chance to catch the Eco Tech series on the Science Channel watch for the engineer that invented hydrogen pellets that supply power on demand. He commented that we may be putting pellets in our tanks before long.

While I don’t know about that one, automakers are leaning toward hydrogen. Hopefully we will utilize hydrogen power and clean our water in the process. Now I would like a piece of that!

Check out this informative investment website: http://www.renewableenergystocks.com/Companies/RenewableEnergy/Stock_List.asp.

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Ford is Using New Paint on Its Vehicles

I read an article that Ford Motor Company has formulated a new type of paint for its vehicles. The new paint is being tested on 200 Ford E series trucks, which have been delivered to U-Haul locations across the country. By using this new paint Ford is able to reduce CO2 emissions from its paint facilities by 15%, and VOC emissions (volatile organic compounds) by about 10 percent, and save on production costs. That’s pretty good. I guess the paint has a higher ratio of color pigment in it. World-wire.com says, “The technology combines an advanced chemical formulation of high-solids, solvent-borne paint with an innovative three-wet application process that requires a smaller, less expensive and cleaner paint shop than traditional automotive paint facilities.” This means it has more color pigment, based in a solvent not water, but because pigment is heavy there isn’t a lot of paint flying around. The paint pretty much covers in one coat, then gets coated again, and coated for a third time without drying time in between. This cuts out the air-conditioning process and the need for a low temperature oven. Interesting. Ford said it can save $7 on each car, but that probably doesn’t include smaller paint booths or operations that will save even more. The paint was introduced at Ford’s Ohio Assembly Plant. This shows that a little ingenuity toward helping the environment can save a company money. I’d like to know what both Ford and GM are cooking up for cars? Both companies announced hydrogen as their choice for alternative fuels for their cars in the future. GM has said that it will concentrate on service fleets of automobiles first, which represents the biggest amount of CO2 output. I know New York cab drivers are testing hybrids, and have reported very good savings. So police cars, maintenance vans of all types, buses, and company trucks will more than likely be fueled by hydrogen, which leads me to ask what’s cooking on that level? I’ll have to hunt around and see if I can find out more on hydrogen production in Michigan. I was sad to here Michigan plans on 17 more ethanol facilities which is just not the way to go at all. I’m glad to see GM and Ford settling on hydrogen.

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Paying for the War; Federal Budget Cuts to the Environment

NASA had to shelve a $200 million dollar satellite mission headed by a MIT professor because of budget cuts by the Bush administration. They also had to cancel the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a project that measures global precipitation, and the launch of a new satellite to replace one of our aged, primary weather satellites. All would help scientists better understand the impact of global warming.

What does that mean for us? With the weather growing more erratic, we won’t know sooner, but possibly later, maybe too late, what lies in store for us as far as droughts, floods, and hurricanes. It also affects the accuracy of severe weather forecasts and scientist’s ability to improve climate models with greater precision so that we know what’s going to happen far enough ahead of time to save our lives.

And where are the funds going instead? Well, president Bush has a goal to complete the International Space Station and get astronauts back on the moon by 2020. Is it just me, or is he out of sync with everything just a tad on purpose? After all, it is a fact that the present administration is anything but environmentally friendly since it has a vested interest in big oil. It’s just a little too coincidental that funding to NASA has been cut, and it’s goals redirected by the president, especially when NASA scientists were the ones to come forward in protest that their expertise and predictions about global warming were censored by this administration. Evidence about those alterations aired on BBC news.

Many cuts are being made by this administration as we run into the red more and more because of a war no one seems to want any longer. While Bush signs a $100 billion Iraq war funding bill, most of us should be wondering and inquiring how we’re paying for it. So far I’ve found federal funding to communities to repair/replace aging water lines has been cut, NASA’s funding has been cut, $78 million has been cut for federal energy efficiency programs, $2 million has been cut from FEMA’s budget, and Bush/Cheney have attempted another backdoor entry into the Artic Refuge for oil drilling, whiletheycontinue to propose to auction land in our National Parks to the highest bidder. And finally, please contact our representatives about the Farm Bill. Cuts have been made to almost two-thirds of the $23 million designated for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that was allotted in the 2002 Farm Bill.

I’m warning everyone about the Farm Bill putting a pinch on farmers right at a time when we need to support farms in America if we want to eat untainted food again. As the Union for Concerned Scientists stated recently about the Farm Bill “These people rely upon grant and loan programs to support energy efficiency improvements and the purchase of renewable energy systems including wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy sources. At a time when America’s rural communities are facing economic challenges, funding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects would help establish an additional income source for landowners, create jobs, and lower energy costs for rural consumers. The Bush administration also attempted to slash this program in the 2005 and 2006 budget proposals.” Nice, real nice.

Some might argue that Bush has raised federal funding for solar power to $148 million and doubled biomass research to $150 million. Butit’s curious thatgeothermal and hydropower has been eliminated altogether. To me this just looks like he’s playing to monopolizing capitalists that can charge for corn (biomass) like they do for oil, using the same infrastructure nationwide. By limiting what types of alternative energy we promote, leads to less diversity in a country where one region, like Michigan, might benefit from hydrogen power more realistically than the desert of the southwest where solar power would prevail, and the northwest where geothermal activity might produce energy for that region.Butheaven forbid there would be a reduction innational monopolies like big oil.We’re long overdue to think outside the box. This should be a time of welcome innovation for renewable energy sources and a surge in entrepreneursfor the “green.”

NASA had to shelve a $200 million dollar satellite mission headed by a MIT professor because of budget cuts by the Bush administration. They also had to cancel the Deep Space Climate Observatory, a project that measures global precipitation, and the launch of a new satellite to replace one of our aged, primary weather satellites. All would help scientists better understand the impact of global warming.What does that mean for us? With the weather growing more erratic, we won’t know sooner, but possibly later, maybe too late, what lies in store for us as far as droughts, floods, and hurricanes. It also affects the accuracy of severe weather forecasts and scientist’s ability to improve climate models with greater precision, so we know what’s going to happen far enough ahead of time to save our lives.

And where are the funds going instead? Well, president Bush has a goal to complete the International Space Station and get astronauts back on the moon by 2020. Is it just me, or is he out of sync with everything just a tad on purpose? After all, it is a fact that the present administration is anything but environmentally friendly since it has a vested interest in big oil. It’s just a little too coincidental that funding to NASA has been cut, and it’s goals redirected by the president, especially when NASA scientists were the ones to come forward in protest that their expertise and predictions about global warming were censored by this administration. Evidence about those alterations aired on BBC news.

Many cuts are being made by this administration as we run into the red more and more because of a war no one seems to want any longer. While Bush signs a $100 billion Iraq war funding bill, most of us should be wondering and inquiring how we’re paying for it. So far I’ve found federal funding to communities to repair/replace aging water lines has been cut, NASA’s funding has been cut, $78 million has been cut for federal energy efficiency programs, $2 million has been cut from FEMA’s budget, and our illustrious leader has attempted another backdoor entry into the Artic Refuge for oil drilling, while he continues to propose auctioning land in our National Parks to the highest bidder. And finally, please contact our representatives about the Farm Bill. Cuts have been made to almost two-thirds of the $23 million designated for renewable energy and energy efficiency programs that was allotted in the 2002 Farm Bill.

I’m warning everyone about the Farm Bill putting a pinch on farmers right at a time when we need to support farms in America if we want to eat untainted food again. As the Union for Concerned Scientists stated recently about the Farm Bill “These people rely upon grant and loan programs to support energy efficiency improvements and the purchase of renewable energy systems including wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy sources. At a time when America’s rural communities are facing economic challenges, funding renewable energy and energy efficiency projects would help establish an additional income source for landowners, create jobs, and lower energy costs for rural consumers. The Bush administration also attempted to slash this program in the 2005 and 2006 budget proposals.” Nice, real nice.

Some might argue that Bush has raised federal funding for solar power to $148 million and doubled biomass research to $150 million. But curiously geothermal and hydropower has been eliminated altogether. To me this just looks like he’s playing to monopolizing capitalists that can charge for corn (biomass) like they do for oil, using the same infrastructure nationwide. By limiting what types of alternative energy we promote, leads to less diversity in a country where one region, like Michigan might benefit from hydrogen power more realistically than the desert of the southwest where solar power would prevail, and the northwest where geothermal activity might produce energy for that region.But heaven forbid there wouldn’t be any national monopolies like big oil anymore.

Read more about cuts to the environment at: http://www.ucsusa.org/news/positions/president-bushs-fy-2007-budget.html.

 

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