Monday, April 14, 2014

Poll: Renewable Fuel Standard

Majority supports renewable fuel standard, poll shows
April 09, 2014 - Sixty-five percent of people in the United States support the renewable fuel standard (RFS) that mandates production and blending of a certain amount of fuel from renewable sources, according to a survey commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA).

This is the third year in a row that RFA surveys have shown a majority favors the standard, the group said Wednesday. Support has grown since 2012, when 61 percent favored it.

Twenty-six percent of people oppose the standard, the RFA said.

“It is telling that support for the RFS continues to grow in spite of the relentless attacks on ethanol and the RFS financed by Big Oil’s deep pockets,” RFA President Bob Dinneen said in a statement. “Repeatedly Americans have decisively said they place a premium on energy independence, job creation and a cleaner environment.” read more>>>

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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Approving Flagship Renewable Energy Reform

German cabinet set to approve flagship renewable energy reform
Apr 7, 2014 - The German government will give its blessing on Tuesday to a sweeping reform of renewable energy laws designed to slow cost increases as Europe's largest economy moves to nearly double its green power share to 45 percent by 2025.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet will adopt reforms to put the 'Energiewende', or transition to renewable energy, on a sustainable path as Germany attempts to wean itself off of nuclear energy and fossil fuels without killing off industries and jobs.

The reforms will slow the rapid expansion of green power, which already accounts for 25 percent of Germany's electricity; force new investors in green power to take some risk; and protect households from bearing the brunt of future cost rises by forcing industry to pay more. read more>>>

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Saturday, April 12, 2014

Creating Fuel from Seawater

Energy Independence: Creating Fuel from Seawater
April 11, 2014 - Throughout history, there have been many wondrous tales of people gifted with the ability to convert one object into another. Greek gods could change shape. King Midas had a golden touch. Alchemists could turn plants into potions strong enough to bend the heart or control the mind.

But those were all just stories.

This is real life, and in real life, the Naval Research Laboratory has announced that they have been able to successfully convert seawater into usable, legitimate fuel.

In a proof of concept test, using the molecularly restructured seawater, they successfully flew a radio-controlled aircraft with an unmodified internal combustion engine. read more>>>

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Thorium Reactors, Asgard’s Fire

Thorium, an element named after the Norse god of thunder, may soon contribute to the world’s electricity supply
Apr 12th 2014 - WELL begun; half done. That proverb—or, rather, its obverse—encapsulates the problems which have dogged civil nuclear power since its inception. Atomic energy is seen by many, and with reason, as the misbegotten stepchild of the world’s atom-bomb programmes: ill begun and badly done. But a clean slate is a wonderful thing. And that might soon be provided by two of the world’s rising industrial powers, India and China, whose demand for energy is leading them to look at the idea of building reactors that run on thorium.

Existing reactors use uranium or plutonium—the stuff of bombs. Uranium reactors need the same fuel-enrichment technology that bomb-makers employ, and can thus give cover for clandestine weapons programmes. Plutonium is made from unenriched uranium in reactors whose purpose can easily be switched to bomb-making. Thorium, though, is hard to turn into a bomb; not impossible, but sufficiently uninviting a prospect that America axed thorium research in the 1970s. It is also three or four times as abundant as uranium. In a world where nuclear energy was a primary goal of research, rather than a military spin-off, it would certainly look worthy of investigation. And it is, indeed, being investigated.

India has abundant thorium reserves, and the country’s nuclear-power programme, which is intended, eventually, to supply a quarter of the country’s electricity (up from 3% at the moment), plans to use these for fuel. This will take time. The Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research already runs a small research reactor in Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, and the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai plans to follow this up with a thorium-powered heavy-water reactor that will, it hopes, be ready early next decade. read more>>>

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Data Centers Getting Greener

Apple, Facebook, Google Internet data centers getting greener, report finds
Apple Inc, Google Inc and Facebook Inc have made significant progress in adopting renewable energy sources to power their Web services, the environmental group Greenpeace said in a report on Wednesday.

But energy-hungry data centres operated by some of the Internet industry’s top companies remain overly reliant on carbon-emitting coal and gas, the report said.

Apple Inc, which built an on-site solar panel farm and fuel-cells at its North Carolina data centre and has procured renewable energy directly at its other three facilities, earned the highest marks on the “scorecard” of Internet company data centers that Greenpeace issues every two years.

Greenpeace rated Apple’s efforts in transparency, renewable energy policy and renewable energy deployment with an A grade in each category, compared with a mix of D and F grades two years ago when the group released its last report. read more>>>

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Tidal Energy is Already Progressing

Going Under the Sea for Clean Energy
APRIL 2, 2014 - A black-and-red tower with what look like white wings juts out of the water in Strangford Lough, a fjord that runs from the Irish Sea deep into the farm country of Northern Ireland.

Curious seals stick their heads up as a boat draws close, but they don’t seem to be bothered by the strange-looking device, which is actually a windmill, except its blades are under water.

SeaGen, as the machine is called, might be the most convincing evidence available that the large-scale harnessing of tidal power is becoming more than just an engineer’s fantasy.

Since 2008, SeaGen has been fixed to the sea bottom about 80 feet below the surface in a narrow channel where the tides race in and out of the 18-mile-long Strangford Lough. The fast-moving currents spin the machine’s twin propellers. When they are operating, lowered into the water along the shaft of the tower, they generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes, producing an estimated 3,000 pounds, or $5,000, per day in revenue.

With the wind and solar energy industries well advanced, the oceans are looking more attractive as a new source of clean energy to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There are obvious pluses: The tides, especially along the coasts of some countries, including Britain, are powerful and more predictable than wind. read more>>>

Harnessing the Power of the Ocean

China Bets On Harnessing The Ocean For Clean Energy
April 1, 2014 - China is chasing Europe’s lead and wants to capture the ocean’s waves and tides for clean and renewable energy.

The country is investing large amounts of money and entering into ventures with Lockheed Martin and partnering with the Netherlands to develop various tidal power projects.

China has 11,000 miles of coastline and, if it becomes affordable, harnessing the sea could be the key to reducing pollution and advancing the renewable energy sector in Asia and elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Bellini joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details. read more>>>

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