Monday, June 30, 2008

Peak Oil Moments


During one hour meeting between the Saudi King Abdullah, and the UN representative on Saturday June 14, 2008 both parties agreed upon lowering the cost of the oil barrel which is drilling holes in the pockets of US citizens and other nations all over the world lately.

With all the recent development in the renewable energy resources, nations are looking forward to meet there energy need through, green and natural resources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. Unfortunately all these very productive and free resources are being kept out of the reach of the common man. In United States, and Europe some subsidy is being provided by the governments if one tends to install any type of renewable energy source for domestic energy production. For example in FL & CA, they offer about 50% subsidy in form of cost sharing which is not bad at all, while its even batter in Germany, France and Spain. Just recently San Francisco decided to take the largest solar initiative. But unfortunately in the third world countries in Asia and Africa installation of solar panels or wind turbines is not really some thing common man can consider affording. Although local use of Biogas plants using dung digesters to produce methane gas is getting common in rural settings.

Monopolistic Capitalists have developed there web of financing R&D of renewable energy resources and patent them to ensure an earning out these natural resources, turning the concept of free green energy into a dream. So what should be done about it and how can we get out of the control of these oil giants, answer simply lays in adopting sustainable living. In other words we need to reduce our dependability on the fossil fuel and cut down our energy needs.

A change in social and individual behaviors is needed, walk or maybe ride your cycle to the market instead of pulling your gas guzzling vehicles out for a 10 min journey, some argue about how to carry the shopping, well pull your four wheel drive out, but not the one with an engine, i am talking about your own shopping cart. How about insulating the water tank with black colored insulation in winters to harvest passive solar energy and with silver and white insulation in summers to reflect light to prevent heating. Last year i pasted CD’s on my water tank in summers to reflect the sunlight, but never considered a base between the tank and the CD’s so the difference was not considerable, this year I’ve place some hardy shrubs on and around the tank in large earth pots and they are being watered with the excessive water pumped to the tank and off course rain, reflecting CD’s along with the plants are keeping the water inside the tank cool. Consider a tower of potatoes made out of large rubber tires placed on top of each other five such towers produce enough potato to feed a family of 6 for 6 months, and can be placed easily on a terrace at a sunny spot. Every electric switch left open and plug left in the socket use vampire voltage, all those appliances the have a small red light on them but we think they are turned off are consuming vampire voltage, and these vampire voltage contribute significantly towards our electricity bill every month. With a little care and we can reduce our dependability on the barrels that are pulled out every day to feed our hunger of consumption toped with our convinces.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A bicycle Ride Dilemma.

Couple of weeks back I got my self a bicycle [Brand name Chicago], and the plan is to ride it to work every day but the burning afternoons of Lahore and my mum both have been very de-motivating, and I have been commuting either on rickshaw (Three wheeler LPG devils) or the diesel beast NO.39 metro bus. Every time I see the birds being scared away by the scary horn of the bus by the road side green, this makes me think about my bicycle more and more, but much recent thoughts have been how environment friendly will I become after riding it to work and how healthy will I get and how green my life style would become.

On June 11, 2008 I rode my bicycle to work, my 30 minutes of journey, started with a serried of calculations, about how many calories I’m going to burn during this journey and how many pounds of carbon dioxide emissions I saved on. Now they say that biking for about 60 minutes at 10 miles per hour should be able to burn 408 calories in a person weighing 160 pounds, now if 4 such trips are made in a week then this should save on 54 gallons of gas per year thus saving 1140 pounds of carbon from entering the environment.

Thus my Green trip to work on a bicycle should help me burn 204 calories one way, while I should be saving on approximately 27 gallons of diesel and LPG along with CNG combined, and this should result into 570 pounds lesser carbon emissions.

Now friends lets enter the black part of the journey while crossing the railway cuttings my thoughts deflected towards the steel used in rail way tracks and a very gloomy realization cropped up and I realized that my own bicycle is made out of steel, rubber and plastic. The production of these materials along with titanium and carbon fiber are a great cause of CO2 emissions to the environment.

Now where do I get a bicycle made out of Bamboos or reclaimed wood?

OR

Keeping the bicycle functional for 20 years might make me eco friendly.

So is riding a bicycle to work is environment friendly or not!

Wee weeeee weeee wa weeee!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cellulose Ethanol Second Generation Biofuel


In the search of renewable energy, turning low volume materials such as switch grass and corn husks into ethanol to fuel cars in some thing of a holy grill. In theory these raw materials should replace the corn grain from main feed stock of ethanol in United States, thus reducing the pressure farmland that played a role in increasing food prices and put drivers into compaction with human hunger.
Front line researchers and investors are finding it hard to market this process commercially and environmentally viable.
Microbiologist Anthony Clarke at the University of Guelph in southwestern Ontario sees the future of renewable fuel but dose not find corn kernel feasible. Anthony states that we have all the other parts of a corn plant, leaves stalk and the husk to produce cellulose ethanol and he also mentions the acid and energy required in the process... turning plant waste into cellulose ethanol is not an simple procedure as acid and stem required in the processing both need energy to be made. So more energy in going in at the moment then the amount being recovered. With the current technology cellulose delivers less energy then corn. But if the scientists succeed in developing there dream technology cellulose ethanol can be 3 to 8 times more efficient then corn ethanol.
Clarke and his team are working on micro organisms that produce cellulose enzymes that can munch on these raw materials the way bacteria in cow help break down and digest grass.
This bio-technology should allow production of cellulose ethanol on commercial scale, resulting into a cheep bio-fuel not directly linked to food grain. This research is being funded by Logen an Ottawa-based market leader of second generation biofuels.There is another very common negative approach towards biofuels. Canadian energy coordinator David Martin, aggress to the fact that plants provide a cleaner source of fuel compared to fossil fuel as no new CO2 is added to the atmosphere.
Last 1 year of reviews portrayed biofuel manufacturers as a space goat or giant maggots graving away all the food grain holding them responsible for inflation in food. Price of a bushel in the past three years raised thrice with a record of $6 and above.
Canadian produce and distributor of Greenfield ethanol Robert Gallant aggress to the fact that the height cost of grain is directly related to the high cost of fuel in USA and even in Pakistan where energy scarcity is common. It should be clear that the lift in the cost of grain has very little to do with the actual cost of the grain. Robert also foresees corn ethanol as a step stone towards cellulose ethanol, and hope that cellulose ethanol should be able to take place of wheat & corn ethanol which s a major source of ethanol production in north America.
Hopes are that when cellulose ethanol comes into the market it should be able to replace not only grain ethanol but also quite a few petroleum products, this also means a promise of a positive environmental impact with this second generation of biofuels . Biofuel is also promising as already they are working on its third generation in which raw material for production is algae.

Friday, June 6, 2008

TINY WIND TURBINES

Talking about wind energy what comes first in our minds is the larger then life colossal wind turbines and wind energy farms. Think again! Why not tiny wind turbines, charging our electric gadgets, watches, torches and at times our lights and cell phones. We have developed tiny solar powered chargers, MP4 players, and street lights.
As the world focuses more and more on wind energy and wind turbines for power generation, but wind turbines are never considered tiny as long as they are not made out of paper. All this is changing now in the past 2 years we have seen quite a few applications being powered by tiny wind turbines, although most of these are either decorative or in research phase but some of these tiny wind turbines are made for real life power production and are quite astonishingly proving handy.

Take a look at this tiniest, tiny wind turbine, this 2.4 inch rotator blade blow on toy lights its one green and two blue LED lights when blown at. This tiny wind turbine toy can be a great gadget to introduce enthusiasm among the young ones about renewable energy. No charging or batteries are requires as this tiny wind turbine is absolutely self sufficient. Instead of lighting up a lighter in a concert just use these tiny wind turbines during the ballad and pass an eco friendly massage in a silent manner.
£9.99! @ Nigel’s Eco Store.
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This little rotating devil is my favorite by HYmini, this tiny wind turbine is installed in a device that make it a personal wind energy portable cell phone charge. Walk, jog just attach this with your arm or fix it with your handle while riding your bicycle. It’s ideal for camping and outdoor activities, as well as those days when you are nomadic: in and out of trains, cabs, or airports. Better yet, it can be combine with solar panels or even when there is just no wind around.
HYmini is offering these along with straps and charging pins for $ 49.99 + another $10 for accessories.
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There is a tiny wind turbine in this watch by High-end watchmaker Urwerk , who is bringing new meaning to the term “tiny wind turbines” by replacing the traditional self-winding mechanism in their UR-202 watch with miniature wind turbines. While this small scale turbine installation isn’t solving any energy crisis, it is a step towards better design, and a wind-driven move that extends the life of this distinctive timepiece. While we’ve seen wind turbine technology in many forms, from large, powerful designs that can power neighborhoods, to small hand-held devices that can charge your mobile gadgets, we can’t recall any innovation that used wind power in such a small (yet significant) detail.
The UR-202 uses compressed air generated by the tiny wind turbines to regulate the winding mechanism. With traditional self-winding watches use a slipping mainspring to prevent over winding. The main rotor, which is constantly moving back and forth (as the user moves his arm), tends to wear as time goes on, due to the friction generated as it winds. What the tiny wind turbines do is to regulate the velocity of the winding rotor to ensure that it doesn’t spin too fast, or too slow. In principle, this will extend the life of the winding mechanism, not exactly revolutionary in the big picture, but cool nonetheless. The watch is certainly distinctive enough, and has a number of features which make it quite interesting, and a little intimidating.
All these tiny wind turbine are another stem towards, Next generation wind energy.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Floating Wind Turbines


Wind turbines floating in the sky may sound like an absurd idea, but absurdness of this bizarre new concept in the field of wind energy is the beauty of the concept itself. Like most developments in the felid of renewable energy, floating wind turbines came with simply a concept backed by the fact that energy is all around us we just need suitable and sustainable means to harness it. We all know that there is a steady wind for consistent production of energy some where above 600 to 1000 feet above ground level, but to put a wind turbine at 1000 Feet on a pole is not only expensive but also quite hard to maintain.
Magenn Power of Ottawa has developed a prototype of these floating wind turbines, and they are calling it MARS (The Magenn Air Rotator System). MARS is a blimp that floats with the aid of helium gas and is connected to grid stations with a series of cables. Centrifugal turbines mounted on both ends of the MARS and these floating wind turbines start producing, clean renewable energy. Floating wind turbines produce double the average production of conventional wind turbines as the winds at 1000 feet are steady and more productive.
Floating wind turbines not only thumps conventional wind turbines with there low impact ability but also are much easier to maintain. Mobility of floating wind turbines is another remarkable feature which makes this technology tremendously practical in times of emergency. These amazing floating wind turbines can be easily installed for instant power availability at disaster struck sites.
Floating wind turbines research and development is promising 40 to 50 % efficiency compared to the conventional wind turbines as the double production capacity of a single unit is possible. Farms of floating wind turbines can be placed near the demanded area and this can save on cable cost and line loss.
Conventional wind turbines only produce energy in wind speeds between 3 meters/sec and 28 meters/sec. Magenn’s floating wind turbines (MARS) should start production between 1 meter/sec and in excess of 28 meters/sec.
These floating wind turbines can be easily raised to different heights between 400ft-1000ft, thus capitalizing of stable and speedy winds will be very much possible.
Critics talk of hazardous these floating wind turbines might bring for air traffic, but air traffic is not some play station game any more every new development is update with aviations world wide. Some say that these floating wind turbines might break down and fall, disasters strike but can be controlled as well, as with such huge investments backups are always designed.
Another type of floating wind turbines is under research by Sky Wind power Corporation. These floating wind turbines will use helicopter technology to reach desired heights and stay afloat, now these heights can be 30,000 feet up in the jet stream where the wind is strong and steady, Sky Wind power Corporation, envisage clusters of these floating wind turbines, as many as 600 units, generating as much as 12,000 megawatts, far more than your typical nuclear plant.
Floating wind turbines might prove to be the next generation of wind energy, making it a flexible source of renewable clean energy ready to install in remote areas, according to Magenn Air Rotator System, first batch of these floating wind turbines should be launched soon for sale fit for domestic use.

Monday, June 2, 2008

SAVE THE PLANET OR SAVE THE HUMANS




Global warming, failing planet or failing human race...
Oh no! I’m not trying to deny global warming, its here for sure, my modest attempt is just to elucidate that nature is so perfect that there is no chance of this planet failing at all. In fact things such as climate change, Raising sea levels, glacier retreat, ARCTIC shrinkage all that we know as the effects of global warming are simply earths attempt in a very calculated and systematic manner to maintain the delicate balance of nature. Extreme weather, tropical diseases & changes in the timing of seasonal patterns in ecosystems all this is how planet earth is taking a toll on mankind for its revitalization.
Let’s just make it simple; every action has an equal but an opposite reaction. Our action have been very careless for the past 3 centuries, but for 2 centuries, Earth kept quite, just an indication here and an indication there, some times floods and some times drought, that’s it, not much was done by earth against humans. But all of sudden the amazing industrial revolution starts, with fossil fuel feeding our hunger of desire and consumption, so much so that the capitalists made sure that after the world war 2 environment friendly and cost efficient compressed air engine, was eliminated from the text books and a propaganda of poor efficiency was started against it while it was already being used for public transport during the late 18th century.
Getting back to our topic, is this planet failing due to global warming, or is it the human race failing on daily bases because of its greed and careless attitude towards mother earth. In my opinion with a bit of common sense and a keener observation it’s clear that the human race is losing this battle badly, a tsunami has not done any thing to the planet, it only washed humans out of its way, some bit of land was lost for sure, with human foot prints on it, but just to be more productive under the water. Nature is not weak in fact its strong, strong enough to develop new coral reef on the base rocks for palm island in Dubai, this make her very adaptive as well.
Every action of nature, minor or disastrous is going to lead to a much more prosperous earth, and a very insecure human race. Drought brings famine, which leads to human migration; but the land stays back, because it can wait for rain, to sprout lush green vegetation which if not exploited by humans may turn into a very productive rain forest.
Mankind is losing a lot inform of failing food, arid land, lack of fresh water, wild life species, plants and trees. But we did gain a lot as well, actually quite a lot, who can deny the amazing effects of political instability and war leading to hunger and poverty. Then there are all those diseases we and our children are inheriting, only air- pollution-related deaths are caused by asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, lung disease, heart disease, and respiratory allergies about 40% of fatalities are due to power plant emissions and 50%, to on- and off road vehicle emissions. Cancer and water born disease such as Hepatitis and many stomach problems are the gifts of pollution that is the fruit of our careless and for granted behaviors towards Earth or I may say towards Mankind.
So the slogan should be save the humans. Not save the planet, because the planet is not going anywhere, but the humans might end up rotting, fertilizing the planet to bud life again.

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