, also known as clathrates, are crystalline ice structures which trap molecules of natural gas. They are fairly ubiquitous
in near-shore seafloor sediments, where methane from decaying organic matter is trapped in an ice structure at low temperature and high pressure. Though methane hydrates are believed to contain substantially more natural gas than conventional deposits, extraction of the natural gas was thought to be impractical. Until now
. [more inside]
posted by irrelephant
on Mar 12, 2013 -
How can we get CO2 out of the atmosphere? Get it out of the sea first.
Making jet fuel from seawater
is a pretty cool -- albeit energy intensive -- trick. But applying the same science to scrub CO2 out of seawater, where it is more densely concentrated than in the atmosphere -- and, by doing so, to reduce atmospheric levels of CO2 back to acceptable levels -- that's a game saver.
"what would it take to draw atmospheric carbon down to 350 ppm with just this technology? . . . we would require the power of about 700 AP-1000 nuclear reactors. At the Chinese cost of $1.3b apiece and an 80 year lifetime this would cost a bit over $1 trillion dollars. That sounds like a lot of money. But its only about the cost of America’s 2003 Iraq War spread over the century, so I guess it’s a question of priorities."
posted by markkraft
on Jan 19, 2013 -
A five-part series on the ultimate limit on technology, and how that limit could help us find other civilizations: 1 2 3 4 5 [via]
posted by cthuljew
on Dec 12, 2012 -
Morton and Vicary on the Categorified Heisenberg Algebra
- "In quantum mechanics, position times momentum does not equal momentum times position! This sounds weird, but it's connected to a very simple fact. Suppose you have a box with some balls in it, and you have the magical ability to create and annihilate balls. Then there's one more way to create a ball and then annihilate one, than to annihilate one and then create one. Huh? Yes: if there are, say, 3 balls in the box to start with, there are 4 balls you can choose to annihilate after you've created one but only 3 before you create one..." [more inside]
posted by kliuless
on Jul 21, 2012 -
A month ago, the Japanese TV show "Morning Bird" discussed the current state
of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and specifically Unit 4, which is in terrible condition
. During an interview with Dr. Hiroaki Koide, Research Associate at the Research Reactor Institute of Kyoto University, who explains the immense difficulty in moving the radioactive fuel rods - a process that will not even start
until 2013 - the presenter asks what would happen if even a moderate earthquake struck near the plant before the fuel rods can be moved. Koide replies
That will be the end.
posted by crayz
on Apr 14, 2012 -
END:CIV [full 75 minute movie] "If your homeland was invaded by aliens who cut down the forests, poisoned the water and air, and contaminated the food supply, would you resist?" [more inside]
posted by Burhanistan
on Mar 9, 2012 -
Something For Nothing.(1940)
Cartoonist Rube Goldberg discusses the perpetual motion device, celebrates America's inexhaustible supply of fossil fuels, and mocks hydroelectric power and other whacky inventions.
(A 1930s Jam Handy/GM production.)
posted by Stagger Lee
on Feb 29, 2012 -
Alain Goeppert, G. K. Surya Prakash, chemistry Nobel Laureate George A. Olah and colleagues have co-authored a paper (doi: 10.1021/ja2100005
) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society
describing a novel, cheap material that scrubs CO2 from ambient air, even at the very low concentrations of the atmosphere. The material is easily manufactured, and carbon captured is readily removed from the polymer, allowing recycling of the polymer and sequestration of the carbon. The researchers, co-authors of Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy
regard this as more than simply a technique for decreasing the carbon emissions of industrial processes and fossil-fuel burning machines, but as possibly an energy-carrier, by using the "catalytic hydrogenation of CO2 with H2 where the hydrogen has been obtained from water electrolysis (wiki
posted by bumpkin
on Jan 6, 2012 -
MotherBoard TV: The Thorium Dream If, like many of the world's leaders, you are eager for a dependable and cheap energy source that doesn't spew toxins and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- and that doesn't result in terrible, billion dollar accidents -- you can end your search now.
At least, that's the news from a tight-knit collective of energy blogs, dedicated to a common but relatively unknown metal called thorium.
In the right kind of nuclear reactor, they say, thorium could power the world forever -- and without the problems that come with the nuclear energy we use today, from Fukushima-like meltdowns to the difficult by-products of plutonium that leave behind radioactive waste and weapons material.
The idea certainly sounds like the stuff of fringe internet conspiracists, but it was actually born in the U.S. government's major atomic lab in the 1960s under the auspices of one of the country's most respected nuclear scientists, and the inventor of today's most common kind of nuclear technology, the light water reactor.
- Thorium: World's Greatest Energy Breakthrough? [more inside]
posted by ninjew
on Nov 28, 2011 -
Some interesting things have recently happened in the world of solar power: Evergreen
have gone bankrupt, panel cost has gone sub $1.00/watt, and China has vastly increased production capacities. [more inside]
posted by thewalrus
on Nov 17, 2011 -
Most of the talk about renewable energy is aimed at electricity production. However, most of the energy we need is heat, which solar panels and wind turbines cannot produce efficiently. To power industrial processes like the making of chemicals, the smelting of metals or the production of microchips, we need a renewable source of thermal energy. Direct use of solar energy can be the solution, and it creates the possibility to produce renewable energy plants using only renewable energy plants, paving the way for a truly sustainable industrial civilization. [more inside]
posted by Bangaioh
on Jul 30, 2011 -