Category Archives: energy

Bringing Sexy “DC” Back

Interesting article I read from EcoGeek via Greentech Media… http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/2346/.  I never knew that computers and LEDs ran on DC power…  hybrid AC/DC buildings might be the way of the future for consumer cost savings and overall sustainability. 

Brief overview of DC Electricity http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/dc.htm

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And we really wonder why we are in a financial crisis!?

Can someone please help me logically justify the rate of return on “investing” $12 billion a month on the war in Iraq? Is that really what the oil reserve in Iraq is valued at?  I assume more if you include inflation over the past 5 years.  WTF.

For more insane statitics from US Senate and Congressional Services please read this article http://usliberals.about.com/od/homelandsecurit1/a/IraqNumbers.htm

On a related topic; GM, Ford, Chrysler are on the brink of collapse and along with it millions of jobs resulting in the ripple effect.  I know Micheal Moore can be a bit out of this world at times but he brings up a valid point in his appearance on Larry King Live .  I think he couldn’t be more correct in comparing Roosevelt’s WWII era policy to Obama and our financial crisis. The need to overhaul the auto industry into a mass transit, light rail and hybrid manufacturing powerhouse is really the only solution (status quo is obviously not cutting it).  This will be a real chance for the US and so be it the world to take our next step in financial and political evolution a.k.a the Synergism Hypothesis. Could this be the end of capitalism?

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Bioethanol from Olive Stones

I read this article on Gizmag Bioethanol from Olive Stones and it slapped me in the face.  Living in Turkey, I see a lot of olive trees.  Not just a lot but A LOT.  Albeit I absolutely despise the taste of olives, I love every other product that comes out of the incredible fruit.  And now reading this article on how we can produce ethanol fuel from the stones, I am just couldn’t help myself to do an early Saturday morning brain teaser.

After a little research Olive Growing in Turkey, I roughly calculated that Turkey produces 1.808 million tonnes of olives (16 million world production, Turkey produces 11.3%).  From the first article, about 25% of an olive is the stone which leaves 450,000 tonnes of stone for biofuel production.  Converting the stones to kg leaves 450,000,000 kg.  If 100kg of stone produces 5.7kg of ethanol, then a quick calculation means that Turkey could potential produce 25,600,000 kg of ethanol.  Converting to a usable scale in liters, ethanol has a density of 0.789 kg/L,  leaving 20,198,400 L of ethanol as an untapped resource in Turkey.  Interesting to say the least.

FYI Henry Ford designed the first mass-produced automobile, the famed Model T Ford, to run on pure anhydrous (ethanol) alcohol—he said it was “the fuel of the future”.

For Reference: (Random google searches)

7.6 liters ethanol from 100 kg wood waste

24.3 liters ethanol from 100 kg corn waste

40.2 liters ethanol from 100kg corn

1.1 liters ethanol from 100kg sugar cane

6.23 liters ethanol from 100kg sugar beet

Further reading material; Ethanol Fuel, Curing the oil crisis: Starch or Sugar based Ethanol versus Cellulosic Ethanol

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192 Lasers, Nuclear Weapons and Fusion Power

The human brain is incredible…

The National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory was built by the Department of Energy to gather data on the thermonuclear reactions that occur inside atomic weapons. And as an excellent side bonus, NIF (rhymes with stiff) could unlock the secret of harnessing fusion for unlimited, clean electricity.

To achieve these high-fallutin’ goals, NIF contains 192 of the world’s most powerful lasers, which wend their way through a series of amplifiers inside the three-football-fields-long laser bay. At the end of their journey, their energy is focused onto a tiny target about the size of the end of your pinkie.

When the facility is up to full-power, sometime next year, the physicists hope the lasers will fuse hydrogen atoms inside the target into helium, giving off more power than was pumped into them.

Check out the Wired Video blog to try and understand how the system will work… http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/10/video-podcast-6.html

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The Loneliest Organism on Earth

I am fascinated to find out what kind of scientific breakthroughs are going to come about from studying  Desulforudis audaxviator.  Any predictions?

Check out the article in Wired, http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/10/one-organism-ec.html.

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The Self-Sustaining Data Center

The title may not be 100% accurate, but I just came across an article documenting a new patent that Google just won this past August. The patent is for a floating datacenter that is run on wind power and is cooled by the water. The implications of this are obviously huge and far reaching. To put this in perspective Rackspace which is one of the larger datacenters recently bought the carcus of a very large shopping mall to host their new server facility. These datacenters are huge power hogs. If Google can move these data centers off-shore (literally) and into the vast ocean while at the same time increasing their energy efficiency, there is no limit to their capacity. The article which can be found here is worth checking out as it goes into much more detail.

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The Energy “Non-Crisis”

Last week, I attended a presentation by Pierre-Olivier Pineau, a professor at HEC Montreal who specializes in energy policy. He delivered a presentation entitled “The Energy Non-Crisis.” His basic thesis is that the current state of global energy consumption does not meet the definition of a crisis. He asserts that at our current rates of consumption we could survive for at least a century, and thereby there is no immediate need to curb usage of non-renewables.

Obviously, and I believe intentionally, this perspective excludes a number of critical arguments, not the least of which being rising rates of demand across the developed and undeveloped world and the environmental impacts of our energy habits. He does this to establish a bookend perspective. One (untenable) position is that we maintain the status quo. The other (unlikely) position is that the world wakes up tomorrow with the political and economic will to dramatically and materially change the way energy is produced and consumed.

The net effect this has is to open up the middle ground, and allow the rest of us to debate exactly what the appropriate actions to take are. For our generation, this question is particularly poignant. 100 years seems like a long way off, but when we turn 65, this will become an immediate concern.

For the most part, we say all the right things. We research new technologies, we talk about reducing our carbon footprints, and we chide our parents about the gas-guzzling minivans they drove carpool in when we were young. But what can we do to have an impact beyond our small spheres of influence? How do we expand our scopes to the communities around us?

I believe that the way to affect change is by engaging actively in the political process, working with our elected representatives to develop an implement meaningful change. Ultimately, we will be in a position to become those elected representitives, and will hopefull be campaigning to a more educated and concerned population. I suspect, however, that many of my peers disagree with this, and feel that politics is an old man’s game with no real impact. So what does everyone out there think? How can generation Y, on the cusp of self-sufficiency, drive our respective communities to take action while energy is still a “non-crisis”?

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