Feb 28, 2015
Please continue reading: Green Chemistry Guide
One of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams may soon be coming to fruition.
During his time as governor, while singing the praises of renewable energy progress in the Golden State, the Terminator would often tell tree-hugging Californians about his dream of building a hydrogen highway that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to run from Mexico to Canada — via California.
Not only did Prius drivers and vegans applaud the governor's dream, but it even got a decent amount of support from former GM Chairman Bob Lutz and President George W. Bush.
Since that time, California has managed to build only 10 hydrogen fueling stations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. But we got word over the weekend that the California Energy Commission is about to spend $20 million to build about 50 new hydrogen fueling stations.
According to the LA Times...
Starting in October with a new fuel station in the city of Coalinga, near I-5 in the San Joaquin Valley, hydrogen cars will be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Such vehicles can go about 300 miles on a fill up.
Hydrogen is Silly
Those who believe hydrogen represents the future of personal transportation have been quick to applaud this news.
Certainly it represents a small but meaningful step in instigating some early growth in the hydrogen vehicle market.
But here's the problem...
No one really cares now that Elon Musk has shown the world a much better mousetrap... and in the process, has been quite vocal about why he actually thinks hydrogen is "silly."
Sure, the guy's got plenty of reasons to criticize potential competitors. But hydrogen isn't really much of a competitor, as Musk pointed out recently:
Hydrogen is an energy storage mechanism. It is not a source of energy. So you have to get that hydrogen from somewhere. if you get that hydrogen from water, so you're splitting H20, electrolysis is extremely inefficient as an energy process…. if you say took a solar panel and use the energy from that to just charge a battery pack directly, compared to try to split water, take the hydrogen, dump the oxygen, compress the hydrogen to an extremely high pressure (or liquefy it) and then put it in a car and run a fuel-cell, it is about half the efficiency, it's terrible. Why would you do that? It makes no sense.
If you're going to pick an energy storage mechanism, hydrogen is an incredibly dumb one to pick. You should just use methane, that's much, much easier. Or propane. The best case hydrogen fuel cell doesn't win against the current case batteries, so then obviously it doesn't make sense. That will become apparent in the next few years.
Although I agree with Musk, there's no doubt that plenty of automakers are still getting quite aggressive on hydrogen.
Hyundai, Toyota, Honda, and Volkswagen don't really seem to be too interested in what Musk has to say about the issue. Of course, they also weren't too interested back when he first came on the scene with a silly dream of mass-producing a quality electric car.
You know how that dream turned out...
In any event, while there will likely be a few more opportunities to profit in the fuel cell space with companies like Plug Power (NASDAQ: PLUG) and Hydrogenics Corp. (NASDAQ: HYGS), over the long term, I wouldn't put too much faith in hydrogen vehicles getting as much love as electric vehicles.
In terms of price, performance, ease-of-use, and infrastructure demands, by the time the few automakers pursuing hydrogen actually have a decent number of these cars in the showrooms, electric cars will be even further advanced. Prices will have fallen further, driving ranges will have doubled (if not tripled), and high-speed charging infrastructure will be nearly as common as the infrastructure in existence today for internal combustion vehicles.
In other words, it's too late for hydrogen, because no one can put the electric vehicle genie back in its bottle.
According to the Financial Times, Germany coal use is at its highest levels since 1990. This is despite the fact that renewables (including solar and wind) have ramped up significantly in the past decade. On June 9, 2014, Germany generated for the first time over %50 of the electricity demand from solar. In the past year, 147bn kWh was generated from renewable sources. The argument for the increase in coal use stems from the fact that German chancellor Angele Merkel decided to phase out nuclear power which left an energy gap that only coal or fossil fuels could quickly meet. It was announced on May 30,2011 that Germany would close all nuclear plants by 2022 per the New York Times in an anti-nuclear response to the Fukushima disaster.
A global look at energy sources indicates the energy load has been rising worldwide since 1965 along with corresponding increases in energy for coal and all other sources. Use of fossil fuels including coal has grown fastest worldwide.
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Feb 27, 2015
That's particularly troubling, considering a report released in January by the Southern Education Foundation said that for the first time in at least 50 years, more than 50 percent of U.S. public school students are from low-income families, and some of the highest concentrations of poverty are located in states with large rural populations.
The U.S. isn't the only country wasting food. "The report estimates that a third of all the food produced in the world is never consumed, and the total cost of that food waste could be as high as $400 billion a year," Nixon writes. "Reducing food waste from 20 to 50 percent globally could save $120 billion to $300 billion a year by 2030, the report found." (Read more)
The study, which consisted of 200,000 Australians, found that smoking 10 cigarettes a day doubled the risk of death, and smoking one pack a day quadrupled the risk of death, Paquette writes. Cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year—or one in every five deaths—says the Centers for Disease Control.
"An Ohio State University study found employees who smoke tobacco cost employers roughly $6,000 more annually in health care and productivity than nonsmokers," Paquette writes. "Another study, from the New England Journal of Medicine, shows health-care costs for smokers tend to be, on average, 40 percent higher."
Feb 26, 2015
The same lithium-ion battery technology that powers Tesla's electric vehicles will be used to develop a battery for the home, according to a statement by CEO Elon Musk during a recent conference call with analysts. The batteries would be used by homes and businesses to store excess energy generated from solar panels during the day, and drawn from at night when panels sit idle. .. Continue Reading Tesla gearing up for release of batteries for the home
Tags: Batteries, Electricity, Energy, Rechargeable, Renewable Energy, Tesla
- Tesla to use Panasonic's Nickel-based lithium-ion batteries
- Tesla and Panasonic sign agreement on battery-making Gigafactory
- Musk hints at robotic charging arm for all Model S cars
- Tesla's Gigafactory to significantly reduce Li-ion battery production costs by 2020
- Tesla announces lithium-ion battery recycling program in Europe
- Tesla shows off 90-second battery swap system
Feb 25, 2015
Green Chemistry Connection, An Online Community for Green Chemistry Practitioners, Launched Nationwide
Green Chemistry Connection,
An Online Community for Green Chemistry Practitioners,
NATIONAL – The Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association (NEWMOA) announces the national launch of the "Green Chemistry Connection," an online community of green chemistry practitioners and an information clearinghouse now available at www.GreenChemConnect.org.
NEWMOA created the Green Chemistry Connection in order to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and expertise on one easy-to-access and use web platform. NEWMOA conducted a "soft-launch" of the website in 2014 in the northeast with more than 115 members. With the re-launch of the website for a national audience, NEWMOA hopes to expand the conversation on green chemistry and further enhance the quantity and quality of information available on the Network.
"Perhaps there is nothing more important when attempting to change the status quo than effective communication. Green chemistry seeks to change the status quo to a more sustainable society and economy through innovation... [GreenChemConnect.org] will allow everyone interested in designing a thriving, prospering, sustainable world in discovering the power and potential of green chemistry to meet environment/health goals at the same time as meeting economic and job creation goals." Paul Anastas, Yale University
GreenChemConnect.org brings together federal, state, and local programs, academic institutions, non-governmental organizations, and private companies that are working on green chemistry initiatives. The goal for the Green Chemistry Connection is to broaden the understanding and adoption of green chemistry practices and principles in business, education, government, health care, and society as a catalyst to growing a sustainable economy.
Through www.GreenChemConnect.org, members can network and share information. Some of its features include:
● Discussion forums for sharing ideas or posting questions
● Blogs for sharing views, expertise, and experience
● News complied from multiple sources
● Announcements about upcoming events and activities
● Notices about jobs
● Groups for connecting with members interested in a particular topic
● Library of links to green chemistry websites, publications, videos, case studies, curriculum and training materials, promotional materials, and resource lists
● A Member Directory of organizations, companies, and academic researchers Social media sharing through other social networking sites, such as LinkedIn
According to John Warner, President of the Warner Babcock Institute of Green Chemistry, "This portal has an excellent potential to bring green chemistry community together in an effective way. I look forward to watching this grow."
NEWMOA developed this website using Word Press and administers and maintains the Network. It is funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx™). NEWMOA thanks the New England Green Chemistry Initiative (NEGCI) Steering Committee and Government Programs and Strategies Workgroup for their involvement and support with developing this Network.
Source: American Chemical Society (ACS),As urban residents know, air quality is a big deal. When local pollution levels go up, the associated health risks also increase, especially for children and seniors. But air pollution varies widely over the course of a day and by location, even within the same city. Now scientists, reporting in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, have used smartphone and sensing technology to better pinpoint where and when pollution is at its worst. Please continue reading from: (GLRPPR) Environmental News
Feb 24, 2015
With their sleek shells providing both protection from the elements and an aerodynamic advantage over bicycles, human-powered velomobiles do offer an intriguing alternative to cars. Unfortunately, though, they can't go as fast as automobiles, meaning that they often still have to be ridden along the side of the road. Minneapolis-based inventor Rich Kronfield wants to change that, with his Raht Racer. It's an electric-assist velomobile that amplifies the rider's pedaling power, reportedly allowing them to move as fast as the cars around them. .. Continue Reading Raht Racer velomobile may let riders pedal "as fast as a car"
Section: Urban Transport
With his company Afforestt, eco-entrepreneur Shubhendu Sharma is creating mini-forest ecosystems using an accelerated method. It's based on the practices of Japanese forester Akira Miyawaki, as well as on Sharma's own experiences gleaned from his former career in car manufacturing.
Trees are planted close to each other to simulate natural conditions of growth and competitions. For the same reason, Afforestt plants trees randomly. This method has been developed by Dr. Akira Miyawaki after extensive and exhaustive research and has been proved to work in over 3000 locations, including Gobi Desert and Central Africa.
If a piece of land is free from human intervention, a forest will naturally self-seed and take over within a period of around 600 to 1,000 years. Akira Miyawaki's methodology amplifies that growth process to establish a mature, native forest in ten years.
It takes six steps.
1) you start with soil. We identify what nutrition the soil lacks.
2) we identify what species we should be growing in this soil, depending on climate.
3) We then identify locally abundant biomass available in that region to give the soil whatever nourishment it needs. This is typically an agricultural or industrial byproduct — like chicken manure or press mud, a byproduct of sugar production — but it can be almost anything. We've made a rule that it must come from within 50 kilometers of the site, which means we have to be flexible.
Once we've amended the soil to a depth of one meter
4. we plant saplings that are up to 80 cm high, packing them in very densely — three to five saplings per square meter.
5. The forest itself must cover a 100-square-meter minimum area. This grows into a forest so dense that after eight months, sunlight can't reach the ground. At this point, every drop of rain that falls is conserved, and every leaf that falls is converted into humus. The more the forest grows, the more it generates nutrients for itself, accelerating growth. This density also means that individual trees begin competing for sunlight — another reason these forests grow so fast.
A freshly planted sapling. Photo: Afforestt
6. The forest needs to be watered and weeded for the first two or three years, at which point it becomes self-sustaining
But after that, it's best to disturb the forest as little as possible to allow its ecosystem — including animals — to become established.
An Afforest project transforms a barren piece of land into a lush, dense forest on a residential estate. Photo: Afforestt
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A new study from the Bank for International Settlements shows exactly why rapid finance sector growth is bad for the rest of the economy.
When private sector debt passes 100% of GDP, that point is reached. Another way of looking at the same topic is the proportion of workers employed by the finance sector. Once that proportion passes 3.9%, the effect on productivity growth turns negative. Ireland and Spain are cases in point. During the five years beginning 2005, Irish and Spanish financial sector employment grew at an average annual rate of 4.1% and 1.4% respectively; output per worker fell by 2.7% and 1.4% a year over the same period.
People who might have become scientists, who in another age dreamt of curing cancer or flying to Mars, today dream of becoming hedge fund managers.
Nextbigfuture notes that the USA has at least a double problem. There are too many highly qualified people going into finance and too many becoming lawyers.
Why does financial sector growth crowd out real economic growth? (31 pages)
In this paper we examine the negative relationship between the rate of growth of the financial sector and the rate of growth of total factor productivity. We begin by showing that by disproportionately benefiting high collateral/low productivity projects, an exogenous increase in finance reduces total factor productivity growth. Then, in a model with skilled workers and endogenous financial sector growth, we establish the possibility of multiple equilibria. In the equilibrium where skilled labour works in finance, the financial sector grows more quickly at the expense of the real economy. We go on to show that consistent with this theory, financial growth disproportionately harms financially dependent and R&D-intensive industries.
The productivity of a financially dependent industry located in a country experiencing a financial boom tends to grow 2.5% a year slower than a financially independent industry not experiencing such a boom
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Feb 23, 2015
Feb 22, 2015
Please continue reading from: Environmental Health News
Reliability Council of Texas, which operates the state's electric grid. Wind's share of the Texas electric mix grew from just over 6 percent in 2009 to 10.6 percent in 2014. During that period, wind power generation actually doubled — rising from 18.8 million megawatt-hours to 36.1 million — while total electricity generation in Texas also rose by 11 percent. The share of electricity generated by wind power in Texas is more than double the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent. The growth in wind generation in Texas is a result of new wind plants coming online and grid expansions that have allowed more wind power to flow through the system to consumers, the council said.
Duke Energy faces federal criminal charges for coal ash pollution, expects to pay $102 million - Daily Journal
RALEIGH, North Carolina — Federal prosecutors filed multiple criminal charges against Duke Energy on Friday over years of illegal pollution leaking from coal ash dumps at five North Carolina power plants.
The three U.S. Attorney's Offices covering the state charged Duke with nine misdemeanor counts involving violations of the Clean Water Act. The prosecutors say the nation's largest electricity company engaged in unlawful dumping at coal-fired power plants in Eden, Moncure, Asheville, Goldsboro and Mt. Holly.
Duke said Friday in statements and court filings that it has already negotiated a plea agreement under which it will admit guilt and pay $102 million in fines, restitution and community service. The company said the costs of the settlement will be borne by its shareholders, not passed on to its electricity customers.
The investigation into Duke began last February after a pipe collapsed under a coal ash dump at the Eden plant, coating 70 miles of the Dan River in gray sludge. However, prosecutors allege in court filings that Duke's illegal dumping had been going back for years, to at least 2010.
"We are accountable for what happened at Dan River and have learned from this event," said Lynn Good, Duke's president and CEO. "Our highest priorities are safe operations and the well-being of the people and communities we serve."
The separate cases will be consolidated under the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court in Raleigh. Any proposed settlement in the case would be subject to approval by a judge.
Environmental groups on Friday hailed the charges as vindication for their years of efforts to get regulators to hold Duke accountable for the pollution leaking from coal ash dumps at 14 power plants scattered across the state. The ash, which is the waste left behind when coal is burned to generate electricity, contains such toxic heavy metals as arsenic, selenium, chromium and mercury.
"It's not just a slap on the wrist," said Kemp Burdette, of Cape Fear River Watch. "A $100 million fine is a significant one. It confirms what we've been saying all along. It's good to finally have somebody say, 'You're right. Duke was illegally polluting waterways across North Carolina and it was criminal. It wasn't an accident.'"
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Environmental Health News
Unlike the US and China, who have concentrated on developing boost-glide vehicles, Russia and India are designing the so-called "hypersonic cruise missiles." While a boost-glide air vehicle first lift to an extreme altitude and then coast down to a target re-entering the atmosphere, cruise missiles travel on a non-ballistic, extremely low altitude trajectory evading early warning radar systems.
A Russia-India joint cruise missile research group will develop the world's first hypersonic cruise missile by 2023, the company's CEO was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying Wednesday.
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Feb 20, 2015
Sorek sets signiﬁcant new industry benchmarks in desalination technology, capacity and water cost. It provides clean, potable water for over 1.5 million people, comprising 20% of the municipal water demand in Israel
Capacity: 624,000 m³/day (26,000 m³/hour)
Technology: Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Project Type: Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT)
Location: Sorek, Israel
Footprint: 100,000 m² (10 ha)
Commission Date: 2013
Technological leadership - innovative design incorporating vertical arrangement of 16" membranes in a large-scale facility, resulting in a reduced footprint hence saving costs. Also utilizes IDE's proprietary Pressure Center Design, Double Line Intake and ERS (Energy Recovery System) for increased efﬁciency and reduced energy consumption
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Tags: Apoptosis, Cancer, Rutgers University
- Charged polymers unlock door to deliver nanoparticles to cancer cells
- Synthetic molecule uses salt to trigger self-destruction of cancer cells
- Gold nanostars deliver drugs directly to cancer cell nucleus
- Scientists destroy tumors in mice using light therapy
- Research suggests there may be an off switch for drug resistance in cancer cells
- Axolotl eggs could provide a potent weapon in fight against cancer
Feb 19, 2015
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China is expected to build up its own nuclear power plant export business with its own 1,400 MW version of the AP1000, Platts reported.
Roderick said that Westinghouse is expected to provide reactor coolant pumps to Chinese plants, which could amount to deals worth $800 million.
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Feb 18, 2015
Oil spilled into the Kanawha River, and one home was destroyed during the inferno that continued for 10 hours after the derailment, according to CNN. One person was injured. Dramatic footage shows fire and smoke billowing through the snowy sky:
Another explosion just happened here at the train derailment: pic.twitter.com/ZqoSCVRoAH— Matt Heckel (@WSAZmattheckel) February 17, 2015
Bakken crude is regarded as potentially more flammable than traditional crude, thus posing an increased hazard. And since the derailment of a train hauling Bakken crude killed 47 people in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, in July 2013, the type of tankers involved in these accidents has become the subject of intense scrutiny. Both Canada and the United States have called for tougher safety standards, including upgrading the tankers. In mid-January, Canada announced it would take older tankers, known as the "DOT-111", off the network years sooner than the United States will, putting the two countries at odds over increased safety measures on the deeply integrated system.
Here's a diagram of the weaknesses in the older DOT-111 model tanker, which is still in operation across the network:
You can read an in-depth Mother Jones report about the DOT-111 tankers here.
The train operator, CSX, has said that the train was not pulling DOT-111 tankers. Instead, the company says it was using a tougher, newer model, the "CPC 1232", according to Reuters.
But even newer cars like these are evidently not invincible: when a 105-car CSX train derailed in Lynchburg, Va., last April, a fiery CPC-1232 tanker careened into the James River and spilled 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil. And Washington state regulators are investigating CPC-1232 tankers, after a BNSF train carrying Bakken crude oil across Idaho and Washington in January was found to have leaking cars. The CPC-1232 also doesn't quite live up to the US regulators' proposed rules to upgrade the system, according to Bloomberg, which reports that:
The draft rule also would require that new cars be built with steel shells that are 9/16th of an inch thick, people familiar with the plan said. The walls of the current cars, both DOT-111s and the newer CPC-1232 models, are 7/16th of an inch thick.
The West Virginia accident on Monday is the second major derailment in three days across North America's booming oil-by-rail network. A Canadian National Railway train detailed northern Ontario, Canada, on Saturday night, again resulting in an inferno and an oil spill: 29 railway cars in the 100-car train derailed. Seven caught fire, according to CTV.
General Motors today announced that it will soon use wind to power its manufacturing operations. GM has signed an agreement with Enel Green Power to procure 34 megawatts of wind power from 17 wind turbines for its 104-acre Toluca Complex in Mexico.
There's a lot of water constantly moving through the municipal pipelines of most major cities. While the water itself is already destined for various uses, why not harness its flow to produce hydroelectric power? Well, that's exactly what Lucid Energy's LucidPipe Power System does, and Portland, Oregon has just become the latest city to adopt it... Continue Reading Portland to generate electricity within its own water pipes
Tags: Alternative Energy, Hydroelectric, Water
- Wave powered machine produced drinkable water and electricity
- America's first public-use quick-charge station for electric vehicles opens
- Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean
- World's largest fat-burning power station to burn blubber from London sewers
- New 'green' geopolymer concrete delivers win-win for industry and the planet
- Making waves work: the Searaser hydro-power system
Feb 17, 2015
Feb 16, 2015
Feb 10, 2015
Jim Clifton, the Chairman and CEO of Gallup, says that the percentage of Americans that are employed full-time has been hovering near record lows since the end of the last recession. But most Americans don't realize this because the official unemployment numbers are extremely misleading. In fact, Clifton says that the official 5.6 percent unemployment rate is a "big lie". Gallup regularly tracks the percentage of U.S. adults that are employed for 30 or more hours per week, and it is currently at 44.2 percent. It has been hovering between 42 percent and 45 percent since the end of 2009. This is extremely low. As I discussed the other day, there are 8.69 million Americans that are considered to be "officially unemployed" at this point. But there are another 92.90 million Americans that are considered to be "not in the labor force". Millions upon millions of those Americans would work if they could. Overall, there are 101 million U.S. adults that do not have a job right now. But you won't hear that number being discussed by the mainstream media....
Most Americans just assume that the economic numbers that we are being given accurately reflect reality. That is why it is so refreshing to have men like Jim Clifton step forward and tell the truth. His recent article entitled "The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment" is making headlines all over America. The following is an extended excerpt from that article…
There's another reason why the official rate is misleading. Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 — maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn — you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
Yet another figure of importance that doesn't get much press: those working part time but wanting full-time work.If you have a degree in chemistry or math and are working 10 hours part time because it is all you can find — in other words, you are severely underemployed — the government doesn't count you in the 5.6%. Few Americans know this.
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// zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero