Solar Powered Plane Has Successful Test Flight Over Switzerland

Today, April 7th, 2010, a plane equipped with 12,000 solar cells built into its wings took flight over Switzerland. A Reuter’s article reported: “It glided for 87 minutes above western Switzerland at an altitude of 1,200 meters (3,937 feet) with German test pilot Markus Scherdel at the controls.” This is just Step One.

According to the same article, “It took six years to build the carbon fiber aircraft, which has the wingspan of an Airbus A340 and weighs as much as a mid-size car (1,600 kg). []The propeller plane is powered by four electric motors and designed to fly day and night by saving energy from its solar cells in high-performance batteries.”

Step 2 is a plan to fly this solar plane non-stop around the world in 2012. It is designed to fly 24/7 without fuel and therefore creates zero emissions. Of course the best thing about the new plane is that it is free of anything harmful to the environment. But I have to say what a wonderfully quiet ride it must be too.

Read about it:


Exxon Mobil and Algae Biofuel Research; Wonders Never Cease

I’m really behind on this front. I recently caught an Exxon Mobil commercial where a researcher claimed he had been growing algae for years. I almost did a dance as the commercial went on to say the biggest oil company, one that has in the past adamantly claimed they are only in the business of oil, is investing heavily in algae as a viable and sustainable biofuel of the future. Well, the commercial may be new, but an article from the NY Times from July last year enlightened its readers that Exxon has joined “a biotech company, Synthetic Genomics Inc., to research and develop next-generation biofuels produced from sunlight, water and waste carbon dioxide by photosynthetic pond scum.” That is a major strategy change. Has Exxon seen the light environmental or the light relative to lost Navy contracts for Honeywell-based algae fuels?

At first I thought the Rockefellers finally leaned on Exxon enough to move forward.
And then I wondered if Exxon garnered the Navy contracts for algae biofuels for their jets? No that was Solyzyme using Honeywell based technology that got the Navy contract last year.

At any rate, the lost Navy contract may have been a wakeup call for Exxon. The Navy is moving forward on replacing jet fuel. Then it will be commercial airliners, then cars, then…If Exxon isn’t in the alternative game, it could become a dinosaur.

The Navy must have been impressed with the algae. It’s planning on producing its own now. So much for a recurring contract.

Let’s face it. It’s a heck of a lot easier and cheaper letting pond scum do its thing. As fast as the scum is harvested, it’s on it’s way to producing more, not so with drilling anymore. Oil that is available is harder and harder to get, and poses hazards in the form of oil spills along our coastlines.

In any event the best part of the article for me was this from Exxon Mobil:

The world faces a significant challenge to supply the energy required for economic development and improved standards of living while managing greenhouse gas emissions and the risks of climate change,” said Emil Jacobs, vice president of research and development at Exxon Mobil Research and Engineering Co. “It’s going to take integrated solutions and the development of all commercially viable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and effective steps to curb emissions. It is also going to include the development of new technology.

Did Exxon Mobil just admit greenhouse gas emissions are relevant to risks of climate change? It sounded like it to me.



U.S. Navy Jets to Use BioFuels

An article on Yahoo Green reported that the Navy would begin testing their fighter jets using biofuel. The F/A-18 Super Hornet jets will test a 50/50 blend of a non-food feedstock like jatropha, camelina, and algae that will be mixed with petroleum-based jet fuel. The Navy is calling for 40,000 gallons of the mix called JP-5.

Ground tests will take place at a GE facility first and then test flights will begin next year with a goal of approving a biofuel for use by 2013 not only for the jets but also the Navy’s ships.

The article also reported, “Boeing recently conducted a successful test flight of a 747 using a 50/50 blend of jatropha and jet fuel and saw significant fuel savings and emission reductions.” gave details about that flight:

Air New Zealand recently released the scientific findings from the jatropha-fueled test flight they conducted in late December 2008. The flight resulted in a 60-65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from the jatropha-jet fuel blend compared to traditional jet fuel flights.

The biofuel was responsible for a 1.2 percent savings in fuel over the 12-hour flight, which equaled 1.43 tonnes of fuel. Scientists also estimate that the decrease in fuel consumption saved around 4.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions. The biofuel used was a 50/50 blend of jatropha and Jet A1 fuel.

According to “Jatropha is a group of plants, shrubs and trees that can grow in dry, less productive land. Jatropha curcas seeds contain up to 40 per cent oil which can be used for biofuel. Because Jatropha grows on land of lower productivity, it is sometimes considered to be a biofuel that does not compete with food growing land and resources. However, commercially viable production of Jatropha can still use productive land, water and fertilisers. Jatropha curcas is considered a potential weed in Australia.”

Good, if commercial airliners switch to jatropha and petro biofuel maybe I won’t have to cover my pool and flip my stack chairs upside down. We figured out that all the pitting, and graying that happened to the plastic tables and chairs, and the stain in the bottom of the pool was from jet fuel. It started happening as flight patterns increased over our house. The stain we couldn’t scrub off finally went away when we covered the pool. We looked for the source. It wasn’t until I was floating in the pool looking up at all the criss crossed jet fuel plumes that the light bulb went on. Now I flip all the plastic stuff and it lasts just fine. The bad thing is that we’ve been breathing it.


So Where Do We Stand on the Environment for 2008?

I just got through reading some current worldwide environmental news and have to say, we don’t seem to have a clear-cut view of anything. What we profess, what we say, and what we actually do is all contrary.  First, I saw the Pope give his blessing and speak on behalf of peace and the environment over the Christmas season to over one billion Catholics. And the World Council of Churches that represents 560 million Christians worldwide is calling concerns over global warming a matter of faith. The WCC has had a program about climate change since 1992 and books about ecotheology (I’m interested).  Dr. Samuel Kobia the Secy. General of the WCC stipulates that Christians are well aware that dominion over all living things was given to us. He said that meant, “We were entrusted with the care of the rest of God’s creation.” The emphasis is on the word “CARE” here.

Care doesn’t come under savagely taking a machete to an orangutan trying to defend it’s young, or hooking a live dolphin in the side and sending it to be stripped of skin before it’s even dead, while the resulting meat is basically poison from ingesting too many pollutants, or shooting 6 elephants dead for stepping into a coffee field that is supposed to be their sanctuary. We should actively try to get this stopped, but our demands for things like lumber and coffee encourage it.  Oh and don’t forget about native animals and the latest Internet hunting websites that have yet to be banned in over 20 states.

There was the news about a zoo tiger that got loose and killed one man, and maimed two others before it was shot dead. The media wanted to know and put this question out to the public if it is wise to keep caged and wild animals? 145,000,000 people visit zoos every year without incident. If we didn’t have zoos the likelihood of seeing a live polar bear, tiger, elephant, orangutan, gorilla, condor, panda…etc., would more than likely be nil. I have to wonder about the media here. Do they operate with any type of perspective about things, or just pounce on a bit of fantastic news with so much fervor it gets skewed out of proportion and normalcy? People are maimed in cars every day and no one says: “Gee, should we really be driving?”


We’ve heard about individual states taking their own course of action for the environment with many implementing their own environmental laws especially since the Supreme Court decided that the EPA is supposed to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases according to the Clean Air Act but has not done so. So what do I read? The Bush administration: “Thursday announced that it will block efforts by California, Maryland, and 15 other states to cut emissions of global warming gases from cars and trucks.” Now that is an example of talking out of two sides of one’s mouth isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to be forging ahead with alternative energy anyway?


This administration got elected based on a big moral majority. Do we or do we not celebrate animals? I hope we  understand the world is in our care. We simply can’t keep spreading and demanding, taking up room where other things live. We end up killing the very same animals we ooh and ah over at the zoo. We love cartoon movies with animals, little talking pigs, Flipper, the Lion King. We are supposed to teach our children to be kinds to animals. But when animals act out in their normal manner we talk about dispensing with them right away, like the zoo issue. We sacrifice living breathing creatures in our own species chain over things we need for our big houses or our big lifestyle. And we elect our president/vice president based on morality when this latest threat to block states trying to do right by the environment proves the opposite. So where do we stand between what we believe, what we say, and what we actually do about our world and everything in it because I can’t tell?


By the way, a current gallop poll has President Bush as the number one pick among the most admired men and women of 2007. Is that not the icing on the cookie for contradictions as far as you’ve read them here?




So We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

Now we’re finally getting solid documentation that man is indeed having a great impact on the environment. The NOAA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that humans caused nearly ˝ of the bad weather we experienced last year. This is not a U.N. conspiracy like some like to call environmentalism. This is that voice on the weather band on your car audio: “This is NOAA weather and hazard” at least that’s what it sounds like. This is our national weather service that did the study spanning 1998 to 2006.

The NOAA ran 42 different tests using data of weather conditions relative to human activity and El Nino’s. The article I read on MSN went into detail how they did it, why it took awhile, and the not so surprising results. At least a growing majority of us are seeing and believing. It’s a pretty good weather page from MSN.

Look at some of the weather reports on there for just this past week:

A cyclone hit the coast of Bangladesh with winds up to 155 mph.  At least 425 people were killed, 1000 fishermen, and hundreds more are unaccounted for. The summer floods there just killed 1000 people.

Vietnam flooded last weekend. 100,000 people have no food. They lost it all, 190,000 houses are submerged. The flooding has been going on for a month with over 250 dead.

A major 7.7 earthquake in Chile “crushed cars, damaged thousands of houses, blocked roads and terrified people for hundreds of miles around Wednesday. Chilean authorities reported at least two deaths and more than 150 injuries.

The quake, which struck at 12:40 p.m., shook the Chilean capital 780 miles to the south of the epicenter, and was felt as far away as the other side of the continent — in Sao Paulo, Brazil, 1,400 miles to the east.”

The next day the northern part of Chile was hit with huge aftershocks of 6.2 and 6.8 injuring about 100 people and killing 2.

Atlanta’s out of water.

This is a wake up call. The longer we wait for policy, the more it’s not going to be pretty. On the NOAA weather site they have listed the major catastrophic weather events going back to 1990. I did the same about 2 years ago, and wouldn’t have now that I see how nicely they’ve compiled it!  I went back to 1990 and printed a list of all catastrophic events per page for each year to 2001. 1990 barely filled a quarter of a page. 2001 was 2 ˝ pages printed no double spacing. I don’t think I used NOAA, but another International Weather Service that had the events by year but not in a neat little list.

Check out the NOAA website yourself and scan the climate events. There are many recently and as you scan down to 1990 it dwindles to about 2 or 3 events. That’s a scannable eye opener. Every line scanned represents a catastrophe somewhere in the world where someone died.


Watch CNN’s “Planet in Peril” Tonight at 9:00pm

This should be pretty good. I watched the one on the Science Channel. It answered quite a few of the questions I’ve heard floating around and showcased some of America’s most energy efficient cities like New York. I will be blogging about that soon.

 CNN appears to be more accessible to the general public than the Science Channel but I still think that every major network should keep the environment in our faces until we realize duh, it sustains us, we should take better care of it than stripping it bare of everything and leaving a trail of pollution.


Jet Fuel Additive Widespread in Our Food Supply

You know I’m amazed at people that don’t believe man has any hand in global warming. Especially since my house sits in a jet zone. Oh I don’t mean I can hear my house shake when they take off. They are pretty high up there. When I look up, they look to be about inch in size. No one let homeowners know where the flight patterns were going to be when they enlarged Detroit Metro. I got lucky and now the sky above me is full of planes coming and going. I’m listening to one right now. It’s loud because it’s flying lower. I’ve turned down the TV before to see if it’s thunder or a plane.  With all these planes criss-crossing in the sky but doing so way, way up there, most people wouldn’t notice any problem. But just last weekend my husband closed our pool and in 2 short days time without a solar cover on that pool, we could see a gas slick on the surface of the water. We left it off for a week once before and a stain appeared at the bottom. 

I don’t need someone telling me man has created a big pollution problem due to fossil fuel use. I can see it! Out of curiosity I went rummaging around the internet to see just how much jet fuel falls on me everyday and found an article that jet fuel additive is in our food supply. Not a surprise to me. Fuel in my pool, fuel in the protected wetlands marsh behind my house. So it follows it’s in the groundwater, our drinking water, and our food supply. Our population has had 100% exposure to a jet fuel contaminant called perchlorate. The article went on to say: “The shocking thing is that it appears to be very widespread in the food supply. No one knows for sure, because the FDA has not done the studies they need to do to document its complete presence in the food supply.” Gee, I wonder why?

 This is just another way to keep under wraps the real pollution that’s taking place right under our noses in favor of the fossil fuel industry. For more about Jet Fuel Additive you probably ate tonight read:


Continuing Glacier Melt Should Prompt Closer Look at Environmental Issues and Fast

The “Galloping Glacier” in Greenland has receded 9 miles in the past 5 years. The water produced in one day from this glacier melt equals what N.Y. uses in one year. This could mean that Boston, Galveston, and Seattle will be under water by mid–decade. Anyone notice these predictions keep moving closer and closer? 

This isn’t a pretty picture. Michigan should start looking at environmental issues a little closer, a little faster. Indiana has some sweet deals going with one of the nation’s largest bio-diesel plants and 2 more to follow, plus 6 ethanol plants to be built. This looks like a lot of jobs for Indiana. So what about Michigan? We’re still courting big polluters as everything appears to be stagnating. It’s one thing to save jobs but a decent economy also requires getting more jobs, like Indiana!

Read more about Indiana’s new bio-diesel plants:  


Heathrow Airport Expansion Gathers Environmental Protestors

The BBC announced this morning that a large protest by environmentalists would take place this weekend over Heathrow Airport’s plans to expand. Are you kidding me? They are that aware of the environmental problems jet fuel poses that they are organizing protests? Finally, someone has the foresight to see an environmental problem ahead of time and the stamina to start doing something about it right away. The protesters saidHolding the camp at Heathrow aims to highlight the lunacy of the government’s airport expansion plans,” says a statement from campaigners,” according to the BBC. What’s wrong with the lunacy in America?
While they are setting up camps to thwart efforts to expand Heathrow because that will mean more jet fuel released into the atmosphere exacerbating the CO2 problem, which aggravates global warming, Michigan is seeing to a massive expansion right here at Metro airport. Instead of protestors, we have people rubbing their palms together. Just like the so so response I got on the Monroe talks blog about BP’s dumping more sludge and ammonia into Lake Michigan. Someone responded that it’s all right, the EPA signed off on it. EPA in this administration? Right. The idea that it creates more jobs (80), and oil for us overrode any environmental problems it produced.
And finally what do you think the protestors would think about our Dream Cruise where hundreds of cars from across the country will show up here to dump a big load of CO2 in the air over Michigan in just one weekend? Oh, but it brings income into the state and is so much fun. Money is the name of the game. I hope people learn to eat and drink money when there is no fresh water, or decent food to eat. Without irrigation in the ever-increasing intense heat, we will not be able to grow anything, including corn for ethanol. 39 people have died in the south so far because of scorching heat.
As always, Americans have their heads buried in the sand about our environmental gaffs in lieu of money, always money. I blame this administration for the spin they’ve put on an ever increasing and obvious weather problem. This administration has done more evil by altering reports about everything including the war than anything else. What they’ve done is create doubt. And as the earth’s weather gets more and more erratic, the doubters cling to the validity altered government reports. I think feeding the public lies about climate change is a crime against humanity.  A 4.6 earthquake in Hawaii, and 7.9 earthquake in Peru, with over 590 dead so far and thousands injured, and now this morning a 6.2 earthquake in Indonesia again. The satellite view of hurricanes show spinning masses everywhere in the oceans. There is a searing heat wave hovering across many states, and massive fires across our country. But all is well. Our government said so.
Many people do not see the correlation between earth quakes and global warming but doesn’t it stand to reason if excess pressure builds up on the earth’s surface due to an unusually heavy atmosphere from CO2, there will be consequences beneath that surface? Peru’s earthquake was 25 miles deep! Some thing is going on. The protestors in England have my admiration; unlike the response I get here about environmental problems in a country that is supposed to have the best of everything but the truth.
Michigan has a law in effect against outdoor burning right now as we proceed ahead with an airport expansion and the Dream Cruise. More CO2, more global warming and more fires. 18,000 acres burned in the UP and the fire is only 62% under control.  Is this irony at it’s finest? We’re just not getting it.


No Interest in Smoking Ban

I  had to jump in here and be a wise guy. Of course no one is interested in a smoking ban. Monroe has a nuclear power plant, a coal burner, and trash dump. Why worry the small potatoes?  We’re being killed off in small increments by more insidious forms of pollution.  No one seems to care as long as our car starts, our house is warm, our tv works, and we eat.

Blowing smoke on someone is a smaller version of blowing our CO2 on everyone else in the world. If second had smoke is irritating, imagine what the rest of the world feels about our CO2? We have a bad attitude. It probably won’t change until the lakes dry up or as some would believe, pigs fly.