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Archive for the ‘Eco’ Category

Solar Powered rocket fuel

1 Aug 2008 Leave a comment

Yes, you can imagine it now, the next NASA rocket covered in solar panels and the crew peddling like mad to add an extra boost during take off. Sounds mad? Yes, it is. However, scientists have discovered a way of creating ‘rocket fuel’ from solar powered energy; the ‘rocket fuel’ is essentially a splitting of Oxygen and Hydrogen elements from water thus allowing the ‘storing’ of solar power. This obviously means that you would use the hydrogen and/or oxygen in a machine powered by these elements, but the main breakthrough is simply the fact that these boffins have found a way of doing this on the cheap. The practical benefits sould be that you plaster your house with solar panel, run your water through the converter and store the hydrogen in tanks to be used later by hydrogen fuel cells.

Being able to use solar panels to build up a store of chemical energy that is easily transported would revolutionise the way solar energy can be used. It not only means that it could power a building at night, it also means it could be carried around to power electric vehicles running on hydrogen fuel cells.

Who knows, with all these advances in solar power we might get rid of our addiction to fossil fuels.

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Categories: Eco, Science Tags: ,

Home Hydrogen Fueling Station

11 Jul 2008 Leave a comment

A company in the UK has developed a hydrogen home refueling station that is capable of refueling cars from…erm…home. The unit they have developed is capable of producing enough fuel that will last the average car 40 km or 25 miles. Might not sound like much, but considering this is the first unit developed that is small (and presumably safe) enough to be used at home it is a step in the right direction.

Now this is an innovation I would really like to see work; granted the 40km is not a lot, but increasing this capacity would give you enough to maybe make the commute or short journeys and also reduce the dependency on oil and oil companies. However, I wonder how long it will be before the large oil companies will ‘disappear’ the company that developed it.

Categories: Eco, News, Science Tags: , ,

High oil prices are a good thing

30 May 2008 Leave a comment

Fabulous comment and observations from Chris Pummer…

the power source for today’s cars is little different than that which drove the first Model T 100 years ago. That we’re still harnessed to this antiquated technology is testament to Big Oil’s influence in Washington and success in squelching advances in fuel efficiency and alternative energy.

Given our achievement in getting a giant mainframe’s computing power into a handheld device in just a few decades, we should be able to do likewise with these dirty, little rolling power plants that served us well but are overdue for the scrap heap of history.

Wall Street Journal

Categories: Eco, Science Tags: , ,

Environment

30 May 2008 Leave a comment

Much as I like having a go at science and its tendency to protect it’s doctrines much like theology protects it’s, so we must look and question the doctrines of other groups who also refuse to look over the parapet and really see what is happening. Wired has started such an argument in it’s latest issue…

Winning the war on global warming requires slaughtering some of environmentalism’s sacred cows. We can afford to ignore neither the carbon-free electricity supplied by nuclear energy nor the transformational potential of genetic engineering. We need to take advantage of the energy efficiencies offered by urban density. We must accept that the world’s fastest-growing economies won’t forgo a higher standard of living in the name of climate science — and that, on the way up, countries like India and China might actually help devise the solutions the planet so desperately needs.

-Wired

Categories: Eco

Bio fuels

24 Jan 2008 Leave a comment

Bio fuels are not so good after all…

“The biofuels route is a dead end,” Dr. Andrew Boswell, a Green Party councillor in England and author of a recent study on the harmful effects of biofuels, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “They are going to create great damage to the environment and will also produce dramatic social problems in (tropical countries where many crops for biofuels are grown). There basically isn’t any way to make them viable.”

So we all walk then, it would certainly be a more peaceful commute.

Categories: Eco, Science

The power of Grass

8 Jan 2008 Leave a comment

Wired featured an article about this last year, essentially a fast growing grass can be used to make bio-fuels with two benefits: the CO2 produced during production and consumption in 94% less than equivalent volumes for conventional fuel; 540% more energy is produced from the resulting fuel than is needed to create it. 0.4 hectares of land growing the grass can produce 320 barrels.

This information comes from a study produced by the University of Nebraska, it also mentions that growing this bio-fuel could be done together with conventional crop growing so will not compete with food crops. It is interesting that such a “simple” additional to arable land to have such a profound affect on removing the dependency on fossil fuels and the import of such fuels. We’ll see what happens, but the results looks interesting, or at least the figures look interesting and the results could head in the right direction. More green fields 🙂

Categories: Eco, Science

No oil please, we’re Danish

2 Jan 2008 Leave a comment

I’m not one of those ‘eco warrior’ types, I am not a subscriber to the ‘end of the world because of global warming’ people either. I subscribe to alternate ways of providing energy, more efficient use of energy, ‘off the grid’ projects for housing for the simple reason it makes sense. I have other reasons for thinking the eco way, but not the trendy, or fashionable arguments that make celebrities rush to the local Toyota dealership and buy the latest Prius (the concept is great but they need to get a new car designer).

So it is, to start 2008 with a new category – Eco. The non-conventional extract in the world of alternate power. Someday I might even get round to summing up my ideas on this subject. Maybe.

Via Neatorama, I came across this article that provides an example of how an entire country is trying to kick the dependency on foreign oil and energy supplies…

In 1976 the Danish public got behind an ambitious (and expensive) program to become entirely energy-independent, and, with the development of new, clean energy systems, to get out of the foreign oil business completely.

[…]although Denmark has among the highest taxes in the world, it also has one of the highest standards of living. And polls show that a majority of Danes would pay even higher taxes to remain self-sufficient and live free of fossil-fuel dependence

Categories: Eco