Category Archives: Sustainability

Biofuels Technology Update

Here are some recent advances in biofuel technology. I’ve long held that if we apply ourselves to innovating in the area of alternative energy, we can and will succeed. Jazz, over at TMV highlighted a new technology involving bioengineered bacteria that produce petroleum oil. It is yet another example of how American ingenuity can free us from dependence on foreign oil if we really set our minds to it. More importantly, if we really allocate our resources to innovation rather than continuing to pour them down the same big oil rat hole that we are currently feeding.

While this new bioengineered bacteria is interesting, we are much closer to application with biodiesel from microalgae. This does not have to be done in big fermentation tanks, and uses current technology such as that used to grow spirulina. It will yield more than 30 times the oil per acre than corn or soy and does not require clean freshwater (in fact, salt water will do, something we have plenty of). Take a look at the first facility, which will produce 4.4 million gallons of oil and 110 million lbs of biomass a year. Better still, such algae production facilities could be placed at the mouths of big polluted rivers like the Mississippi, and could convert nutrients from agricultural runoff into fuel. Currently these nutrients create an enormous “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico. Furthermore, the algae can be used to consume CO2 from power plants. Cleans up the river, sequesters carbon from polluting industries and turns it all into fuel. Oh, and the exhausted algae can be used as fertilizer after extracting the oil.

Another exciting technology in this area is a starch to hydrogen technology developed by Virginia Tech, that can convert a safe, non-toxic and nonflammable starch and water slurry into hydrogen to drive a vehicle. These are only the tip of the iceberg. We can lead in green energy and clean tech if we commit to doing so instead of bowing down to petroleum and coal interests.

We limit ourselves when we think that every problem has to be solved with current technology. This is a great failing of our current energy policies. We have shortchanged research budgets into alternatives and still, our tenacious scientists come up with new leads all the time. Meanwhile, the GOP and some of their supporters wail that the sky will fall if we don’t start drilling in Alaska today. That’s not the solution. Let’s turn the page on that old thinking.

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Global Climate Change

https://i1.wp.com/encyclopedia.quickseek.com/images/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr-2.png

by GreenDreams

The correlation between atmospheric carbon and average global temperature is solid and based on data covering millions of years, recorded in ice and elucidated by drilling and studying core samples. There is no conflicting data; that is, there is no time at which carbon level and temperature failed to confirm this correlation.

Why is it so important for some to deny the very strong evidence and common logic of this theory? It’s not a complicated theory.

  • Burning carbon increases atmospheric carbon.
  • Atmospheric carbon levels are, without fail, associated with higher global average temperatures.
  • The current carbon level in the atmosphere is higher than it has ever been.
  • Putting less carbon in the atmosphere and taking steps to re-sequester existing atmospheric carbon will reduce that level.
  • Returning to a normal carbon level is better for the planet and temperatures will decline along with carbon level.
  • These two always track and it does not make sense to posit that increasing carbon is the result of increased temperature (which would extend the growing season and increase the uptake of carbon by plants.) Continue reading

Green is the New Red White and Blue

by GreenDreams
This is a powerful video in which Thomas Friedman explains to Tim Russert, why “green is the most geopolitical, geoeconomic, capitalistic, patriotic thing you can be today.” Please watch it. send it to your friends.