While you'd never know from the US media, the US wind energy industry has breezed past a 50GW milestone
. That's enough to power 13 million homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association
. [more inside]
The best wind in America is in Wyoming. It is a door-snapping, heart-pounding wind that barrels in from the west, chasing the truckers along Interstate 80 as they race to make Omaha by nightfall. It is sometimes described with words ordinarily associated with dark chocolate or exceptional pinot noir. It has been called dense, world-class, consistently extraordinary, special, and fabulous.
. Advocates of wind power though are faced with a conundrum. [more inside]
is the ultimate biological system using sunlight to capture and convert carbon dioxide into fuel... I came up with a notion to trick algae into pumping more [fuel] out." Craig Venter's Synthetic Genomics
partners with ExxonMobil in a $600M project
to harvest biofuels from genetically engineered algae. "We have modest goals
of replacing the whole petrochemical industry." [previously
] [more inside]
Ten new wind turbine designs.
Curious, grotesque, sculptural, beautiful, utilitarian.
Offshore wind farm stirs up a tempest. Lines
are being drawn
in the battle over a proposed windmill development to be built in Lake Ontario two kilometres out from the Scarborough Bluffs
? Is this just another case of NIMBYism
? Or are wind farms unreliable
, dangerous to migratory birds
, and a source of health problems for people who live near them?
, an internet search company, announced a US$ 4.4 trillion proposal for reducing U.S. dependence on fossil fuels by 2030
. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, chided political leadership in the U.S. and the rest of the world
for not showing initiative on the issue. Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org
has already made significant investments in alternative energy solutions (previously)
that will naturally tie in to this plan.Google stock
has bounded on the news, but is their plan the
way to go?
Marcelo da Luz
has been attracting a lot of attention
with his snazzy solar car
. He's hoping to set a new world record
by driving the car from Buffalo, NY, to Inuvik
, Northwest Territories.
Have you ever thought about putting solar panels on your roof? Would you like to know how much power you can generate and what it would cost. RoofRay
is a fun site that will calculate it for you and then let you know how much it would cost and how many years you'd need to recoup your investment. You enter an address into a version of Google Maps, and then draw where you want to put the array on your preferably southern facing roof.
How Africa's desert sun can bring Europe power.
A £5bn solar power demonstration project called Desertec
is being developed by Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation (TREC
) that would send solar energy northward from African deserts. The goal is in 30 years to provide a significant fraction of Europe's electricity needs.
Founded in Berkeley by artist Jim Mason
, The Shipyard
, a collaborative industrial arts space constructed from recycled shipping containers, has hosted numerous large-scale projects and events including a Survival Research Labs show
, Power Tool Drag Races
experiments and workshops, and various large-scale Burning Man projects such as 2005's Clockworks
. Short documentary here
(quicktime). However, relations with the city of Berkeley have been consistently tense
. Recently, the city shut off the Shipyard's power, to which the Shipyard responded by going off grid
. On May 8, Berkeley issued 3-day vacate and abate notice, with which the Shipyard is attempting
Petroleum from Pond Scum:
Dr. Isaac Berzin, founder of GreenFuel Technologies, is working on a prototype that uses algae to convert power plant emissions into biofuels. Good news: It would only take a bioreactor twice the size of new Jersey to supply the entire US with its petroleum needs.
HumanCar (note: 6.7mb WMV)
row, row, row your car... but it's telling that they show it going downhill, but not up. And will you need 3 friends whenever you need to run to the store? More videos
, and information
Newsfilter: Spanish firm claims it can make oil from plankton. A Spanish company (Bio Fuel Systems) claimed on Thursday to have developed a method of breeding plankton and turning the marine plants into oil, providing a potentially inexhaustible source of clean fuel.
(embedded video). Inventor creates a hydrogen-powered vehicle that can run completely on water, or rather HHO. This is perhaps nothing new (or is it?), but fasinating nonetheless. Warning: annoying local news reportage.
The Solar Decathlon 2005 winners announced. The Solar Decathlon brings together 18 teams of college and university students from around the globe to participate in an unparalleled solar competition to design, build, and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.
"End of Oil" rebuts Reagan hagiography ?
Amidst the din that is the lengthy US media coverage on Ronald Reagan's demise, the BBC reports on the growing acceptance (with oil industry attendance at a recent ASPO
conference in Berlin) of the Hubbert Curve Theory which predicts we are now close to or at the peak of World Oil production. (also see Metafilter,October 2002
Now, the wayback machine : the year is 1980 and the new President, Ronald Reagan, has ordered a solar hot water system, installed by President Carter, torn off the White House roof. Reagan will preceed to gut federal alternative energy subsidies and federal R&D spending on alternative energy technologies to, instead, spend many billions subsidizing oil, coal, and gas production.... Over the next 23 years, the US lost it's role as the World leader in efficiency and alternative energy technologies.
An alternative means towards alternative energy?
Duke Energy in NC is offering its customers an opportunity to vote for alternative energy sources with their wallets starting today. While you are not really buying the Green Power directly, you are in effect subsidizing it. Is this a creative way to Go Green, or just another feel good gesture?
Volkswagon Successfully Tests Its First Hydrogen Fuel Car.
"The Volkswagen Bora HY.POWER prototype, which does not use a reformer, obtains its energy from on-board hydrogen
to create a hydrogen fuel cell-fuel cells generate electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells that use hydrogen offer zero emissions and fuel cells that use gas with reformers offer near-zero emissions"
Is this the future
we were promised
? Either way, Drivers Wanted.
Michigan: Land of Alternative energy? "DTE Energy
[Detroit Edison] said Monday it has a deal to build and test a hydrogen system capable of generating more than 15,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity. The $3-million test project, funded by DTE and the U.S. Department of Energy, is to be operational in 2005. "
Wayne State University is also jumping on the bandwagon
. What, if anything, is your town doing (or claiming it will
Drive on air.
A new engine design that not only runs on air, but cleans it too.
Representative Ron Paul: 'It is clear that protecting certain oil interests and our presence in the Persian Gulf help drive the holy war.'
This is his speech to the House of Representatives after 9.11 blaming(in part) U.S. foreign policy for the tragedy. Does anyone have any insight into members of the body politic who are pushing for research into environmentally
sound alternatives to oil? The U.S. takes pride in being the best at everything, why not be the best at saving our planet and eliminating our blood-ties with OPEC?
Wind power vs. hot air?
Shamelessly purloined from ms. nut
: wind farms in the Mojave are being left idle because the power utilities won't upgrade the distribution lines. Instead, they buy in power from neighbouring grids, at inflated prices, with the state and the consumer underwriting the cost. (more inside thread)
As the windy month comes to a close, these two stories seem appropriate. Two men on opposite sides of the globe, each a bit of a cross between Edison and Quixote.