Making Natural Gas from Sunlight

December 1, 2011 by  
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Producing natural gas from wastewater and sunlight sounds like an idealized fuel production scenario, and that is just what a company called HyperSolar is claiming to be able to do. Unlike many other companies making fuel using microorganisms, the HyperSolar process is designed to mimic photosynthesis with a nanomaterial. Hydrogen is produced at normal pressure, and then reacted with injected CO2 to produce methane. Sunlight activates the nanomaterial particles and produces a charge which allows the particle to release hydrogen from the water. The process can even use untreated wastewater as a feedstock, and will produce clean water along with the natural gas. This kind of natural gas would, of course, be preferable to fossil natural gas, since it would use already freed CO2 and leave the sequestered fossil carbon undisturbed. Moreover, it would serve as a source of natural gas without the need for controversial extraction methods like fracking . Because the process takes place at normal pressure and temperature, it is less expensive than other systems that require large capital investments for the special equipment needed for their processes.

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Making Natural Gas from Sunlight

U.S. Geothermal Resources Could Replace Coal 10 Times Over

November 30, 2011 by  
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A new map of geothermal energy potential released by Southern Methodist University is the result of years of research funded by Google.org.  The map (click here to download and view in Google Earth) shows that there are enough viable geothermal resources in the U.S. to replace the current coal power capacity ten times over. Last year, SMU gave us a sneak peak of the research they’ve been doing by releasing a geothermal energy potential map for West Virginia .  Surprisingly, the state is a hot spot for geothermal energy recovery, a wonderful development in an area where coal power has dominated for a long time. The study limited its analysis to the top 6.5 km of the earth’s crust to accurately portray what was actually drillable, recoverable energy.  When the researchers applied limits to depth and excluded areas that were inaccessible due to being in large urban areas or national parks, the technical potential versus theoretical potential for geothermal energy production was revealed.  The technical potential was about 14 percent of the theoretical potential, yet still enough to crush our current coal power capacity ten times over. via Climate Progress

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U.S. Geothermal Resources Could Replace Coal 10 Times Over

Investments in Renewable Energy Topped Fossil Fuels Last Year

November 29, 2011 by  
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For the first time, investments in renewable energy projects surpassed those in fossil fuel power plants, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  Last year, $187 billion was invested in renewable energy installations, while $157 billion was invested in new natural gas, oil and coal plants. The increase in investments in the sector , even while in a down economy, has led to price drops in equipment and renewable energy power, making solar and wind power far more competitive with coal power. Renewable energy subsidies deserve a lot of credit for the spending increase:  about $66 billion in subsidies were handed out last year. It’s a great bit of news as another round of global talks on the climate crisis is likely heading nowhere as we speak. via LA Times

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Investments in Renewable Energy Topped Fossil Fuels Last Year

London Using Glue to Clean Up Air

November 28, 2011 by  
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The European Union is requiring member countries to have no more than 35 bad air days per year by 2012 or the countries will face fines of around $450 million.  In order to clean up air pollution to meet the EU’s standards, London is turning to glue.  Well, a glue of sorts.  The English capital is applying a calcium-based adhesive to streets to trap particulate air pollution and, believe it or not, it’s working. The city’s street sweepers have applied the adhesive to air pollution hot spots around the city and particulate levels in those areas have dropped 14 percent.  The project has cost the city $1.4 million so far, which is pretty expensive, but 14 percent is a pretty substantial reduction from glue alone and a far cry from a payout of $450 million if they didn’t meet the standards. London will be taking other action to reduce air pollution, including rolling out cleaner buses , retiring the most polluting taxis, enforcing stricter emissions standards and planting trees. via Grist

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London Using Glue to Clean Up Air

A Short-Range Electric Vehicle for $7,000

November 22, 2011 by  
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The StreetScooter is caled an open-source electric vehicle and has been developed to provide an affordable and sustainable option for mobility. The target price for the vehicle is only $7,000, although the batteries would have to be leased separately. The StreetScooter is intended as a Short Distance Vehicle (SDV) with a range of 40 kilometers (about 25 miles). While this doesn’t meet every need, it is suitable for many basic transport purposes. A consortium of 20 different companies has been behind the development of this vehicle concept, which was recently unveiled at the Frankfurt International Auto Show. The design team began with the idea of a vehicle that is intended for primarily short trips, and could then be priced accordingly. While it has a limited range, the Street Scooter has a top speed of 74 miles per hour (120 kph). The modular approach undertaken by the design team focused on each partner applying their expertise to the area they knew best and having to coordinate only where the different systems interconnected. Production is supposed to begin in Europe in 2013 and then to follow to the United States later on. The original site is in German, but this link gives a Google translated version that can give you some idea about the project. via: Slashdot

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A Short-Range Electric Vehicle for $7,000

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