Archive | January 2014

“Put a plastic bag in your tank”


Converting polyethylene waste into liquid fuel

Researchers in India have developed a relatively low-temperature process to convert certain kinds of plastic waste into liquid fuel as a way to re-use discarded plastic bags and other products. They report full details next month in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management.


Eureka moment!!

Blue Energy


Question: What is Blue Energy?

Answer: Blue Energy is the envisioned tidal and wave energy industry of Europe. The European Union issued its “Action Plan” on January 20th 2014. The project outline is shown below.


This is not to be confused with its namesake from Holland, which creates electricity from the mixing of salt water from the sea with cold water from the reservoirs behind the dykes.


Your’e Fired


The energy sector faces profound change, according to Jim Rogers, who has stepped down as chairman of Duke Energy.

Rogers: There’s going to be a continuing battle between central and distributed generation. If we have to retire every nuclear plant and most coal-fired plants by 2050, that’s going to translate into significant cost increases to replace them. If we don’t build more nuclear, it’s going to have a significant impact on our carbon footprint because 70 percent of our carbon-free electricity today comes from nuclear. There will be companies in the industry putting solar on rooftops, deploying energy-saving technologies within the home and supplying 40 percent or more of the electricity utilities historically provided to that home. You’ll see the development of a significant number of microgrids that will protect the grid against cyber-attack.

Rogers:If I was coming into the industry again, I would come into the industry as David Crane. Maybe I should take that back. I would come into the industry as someone who is an attacker, not a defender. I’d want the solar on the rooftop. I’d want to run that. I’d want the ability to deploy new technologies that lead to productivity gains to the use of electricity in homes and businesses. I would go after the monopoly that I see weakened over the last 25 years.  My goal would be to take customers away from utilities as fast as I could, because I think they’re vulnerable. Regulations will not be changed fast enough to protect them.  The business model will not be changed fast enough.

Rogers: Every decision we make today we make with the knowledge that there will someday be carbon regulation in this country. There will be a price on carbon. And since we make decisions for 30, 40 and 60 years, we need to take that into account. Our industry needs to lead on environmental issues. We need to lead on productivity gains in the use of electricity. That’s a critical way for us to continue to reinvent ourselves as an industry.


When the outgoing CEO of America’s largest utility says the current business model is dead, it’s time to pay attention.


Maybe he was also confirming that currently profits come from tax subsidies and not real income growth. It looks like the game has changed. Goldman Sachs certainly thinks so.

“Great Barrier Reef authority approves dredging and dumping to expand port”


Three million cubic metres of sediment from dredging to expand a coal port will be dumped in the Great Barrier Reef marine park, after the park authority approved the move on Friday.


Something doesn’t add up here. The current thinking at the global policy level is that there is not enough of the world’s 1 Trillion Ton Carbon Budget left for Coal to have a future. Obviously Australia doesn’t agree.

Green Back or Greenback?


Goldman Sachs has plans to invest $40bn in clean energy by 2021 — not to save the planet, but to make a killing.


Is that hissing noise the sound of the next financial bubble being blown up?

“Pesticides halve bees’ pollen gathering ability, research shows”

ee collects pollen from a cherry tree in village Studencice, Slovenia

Bumblebees exposed to controversial pesticides collect just half the pollen they would otherwise harvest, according to new research, depriving their growing young of their only source of protein.

Pesticide manufacturers argue that controlled studies do not replicate actual field conditions.


For “actual field conditions” read “less pollen means less food for bees, so less bees to pollinate flowers, so less flowers, so less pollen, so less food for bees… etc”

Why would anyone want to risk replicating this dangerous negative feedback cycle in the field given the real consequences?

“Why volcanoes are the energy source of the future”

In Iceland, scientists have just completed a successful experiment in harnessing energy directly from a volcano.

It would be interesting to see how cost-effective this form of renewable energy is compared to others. Would energy companies get a higher or lower profit?

“Climate change is ‘killing Argentina’s Magellanic penguin chicks'”


Drenching rainstorms and extreme heat are killing the young birds in significant numbers.

The study, conducted over 27 years, looked at climate impacts on the world’s biggest colony of Magellanic penguins, which live on the arid Punta Tombo peninsula.


This study was conducted over 27 years; which should be long enough for the skeptics.

“As sea level rises, Fijian village begins to relocate citizens”


Faced with rising sea levels that flood farmlands and seep into homes during high tide, residents of the Fijian village of Vunidogolo are packing their bags.

The village is the first to have its citizens relocated under the country’s “climate change refugee” program……


“Climate Change Refugee” is a new term to become familiar with.

The Ultimate Eco Warrior


Enlightened Power: New Eco Warriors Are Really Well Armed

Windmill-hugging Europeans announced a plan last week to get 27 percent of their energy from renewables by 2030. If they don’t watch out, they may soon be upstaged by an unlikely eco warrior: the U.S. military.


U.S. armed forces have a target that’s similar to Europe’s — 25 percent renewables — but is on track to meet it five years sooner. Europe’s plan took a lot of heat last week for being unenforceable. By contrast, U.S. military goals aren’t just aspirational; they’re law.


So actually, the Greenest thing on the planet wears camouflage!!!  Even if America hasn’t signed up for Kyoto its armed forces have; and it’s the law. Maybe we should all think twice about breaking this particular law.