05 Aug 2014
Several weeks ago, a Superior Court in Sacramento County, California issued an important public trust doctrine decision. The case concerned the Scott River, which flows through the coast ranges of northern California. According to the plaintiffs, groundwater pumping was depleting...
05 Aug 2014 6:34pm GMT
11 Jul 2014
For several years, all eyes have been on the proposed Keystone Pipeline. But Keystone isn't the only pipeline that could connect Canadian tar sands crude to a United States port. Another possibility has its southern terminus about a mile from...
11 Jul 2014 3:41pm GMT
10 Jul 2014
In April, 2013, I wrote a post about The Aransas Project v. Shaw, a case involving water management agencies, whooping cranes, and the Endangered Species Act. The defendant water agencies had issued permits for water withdrawals upstream of important whooping...
10 Jul 2014 7:16pm GMT
07 May 2014
A team of US Navy research scientists has developed a method to produce liquid fuel from seawater, using CO2 and hydrogen extracted from the ocean and then processed with a metal catalyst to produce liquid fuel. As a demonstration of the concept, an unmodified scale airplane has been flown with the seawater fuel.
The concentration of CO2 is about 140 times higher in seawater than it is in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are the two feedstocks needed to make hydrocarbons. The process relies on "an iron-based catalyst [which] has been developed that can achieve CO2 conversion levels up to 60 percent and decrease unwanted methane production in favor of longer-chain unsaturated hydrocarbons (olefins)." The process is claimed to be the first technology of this type with the potential for commercial implementation.
"The predicted cost of jet fuel using these technologies is in the range of $3-$6 per gallon, and with sufficient funding and partnerships, this approach could be commercially viable within the next seven to ten years."
video clip: Flight with Seawater Fuel
image credits: U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
07 May 2014 2:20pm GMT
16 Apr 2014
The Canadian province of Ontario has officially shut down its last coal burning power plant.
Power for the province now comes from "emission-free electricity sources like wind, solar, nuclear and hydropower, along with lower-emission electricity sources like natural gas and biomass." The province had set a target of the end of 2014 to end its use of coal to generate electricity.
The Thunder Bay Generating Station was the last coal fueled power plant in the province. Now that it has burned the last of its coal supply, the plant will be converted to a biomass-fueled power plant.
Hat tip to @TomMatzzie
16 Apr 2014 3:06am GMT
12 Apr 2014
A new, grid-tied offshore wave energy project called CETO is being readied off the west coast of Australia, near Perth. Carnegie Wave Energy is installing what is called the "first operating wave energy array scheme in the world." The installation will consist of three submerged buoys 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter, which will be anchored offshore. The buoys will create high pressure water which will be pumped to an onshore generating station to produce electricity.
In addition to producing power, the CETO technology incorporates an interesting synergy - it is also used to provide fresh water. The system provides for more efficient desalination of seawater, since the water is already being pumped onshore from the buoys. Once it has powered the turbines, some of the water can be diverted into conventional desalination equipment. For regions in need of water desalination, the combination is ideal, and additional energy is not required for pumping water in from the sea.
The submerged operation of the CETO buoys helps provide storm survival capacity for the buoys and keeps the bouys out of view to minimize visual impact.
In comparison to wind turbines, the CETO system is small-scale. Each buoyant actuator has a rated capacity of 240 kW, so the installation being built will have less than 1 MW of capacity, whereas many current wind turbines have individual capacities of several mwgawatts. Nonetheless, it is another step forward for another energy generating technology. Carnegie hopes to expand commercialization of this technology and is targeting having 1000 MW of capacity installed by 2020.
12 Apr 2014 5:47pm GMT
12 Nov 2011
My flame for the small-business and artisan supporting marketplace was re-kindled surfing the 263 items -- from mat bags, to hand-knit yoga socks, calming wall art and more -- made locally in Brooklyn alone.
12 Nov 2011 6:08pm GMT
Ringo Starr lends his oriiginal peace sign artwork to 75 pairs of Timberland boots to support WaterAid.
12 Nov 2011 4:41pm GMT