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April 25, 2006

Global warming created 2005 storms

... Scientists say that global warming played an important role in the record number of hurricanes in the Atlantic last year and warn us that this is just the beginning of more extreme weather to come. From Reuters: "The hurricanes we are seeing are indeed a direct result of climate change and it's no longer something we'll see in the future, it's ...
IZ Reloaded: Online Refreshments View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 03:44 PM | Comments (0)

Oil Company Profits Driving Up Gasoline Prices

The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights funded an investigation into why gasoline prices have increased lately. Their conclusion is that corporate markups and profiteering are responsible for spring price spikes, not rising crude costs or the national switchover to higher-cost ethanol, as the oil industry claim.

The study used California as an example and found that 40 cents of the 60-cent/gallon increase in California's gasoline prices over the last 3.5 months is attributed to increased refinery and marketing profit margins for oil companies.

Source: Based on this report

Refiners mostly blame ethanol substitution for MTBE as the reason, but comparing prices in California (which uses ethanol blends) with prices in Washington (which does not use ethanol blends), this excuse doesn't add up. Consumers in California will pay $546 million more for their gasoline in April 2006 than in April of last year.

The FTCR is also slamming Exxon for only spending $10 million on alternative energy research, compared to the $400 million that their ex-CEO is receiving for his services.

Posted by dymaxion at 03:41 PM | Comments (0)

Countdown To The U.S. Biodiesel Explosion

After reading this at Gristmill I decided to make a quick biodiesel report. 2005 biodiesel production in the U.S. was 75 million gallons, compared to 2004's production of 25 million gallons. I'd say that's some nifty growth but nothing close to what will soon come.

Ultra-low sulfur (ULS) diesel fuel which will be in your neighborhood gas station (if you live in the US) by this September is the catalyst of the explosion. ULS diesel needs a lubricant, and it looks like that lubricant will be biodiesel. This is how the biodiesel explosion will play out. And we now know that B2 (2% biodiesel mixture) will be used. So, expect biodiesel use in the U.S. to go from 75 million gallons per year in 2005 to 748 million gallons per year in 2007-2008. Now that's some nifty growth and it will put the U.S. miles ahead of Germany as the top biodiesel producing nation (if producers can actually keep up with demand). Know of any public biodiesel companies?

Posted by dymaxion at 03:31 PM | Comments (0)

How Could Wind Power Reach 20% Penetration By 2030?

The 2006 EIA Energy Outlook predicted that wind power will only contribute 1.1% of U.S. electricity by 2030. In 2004 wind in the U.S. contributed 0.4%, so, over the next 24 years, the EIA expects wind to grow at an average pace of 5.15% per year. The 5.15% growth is well above the 1.1% per year expected average growth in the entire U.S. energy sector, but not close to the 35% growth that wind power saw last year. In the latest podcast, Paul Gipe indicated that he thought the EIA predictions were rubbish...I hope so too. Even President Bush is on record saying that wind power could provide 20% of the nations electricity. So then, my question is: What could a possible growth scenario look like for wind power to reach 20% penetration in the U.S. electricity sector by 2030 (equivalent to 3,845PJ of wind energy by 2030)?

To get from 0.4% penetration in 2004 (equivalent to 57PJ of wind energy in 2004) to 20% penetration would require an average growth rate of 18% per year. Right now the wind industry growth is above average, so we're on our way. This is one possible way for wind energy to account for 20% of U.S. electricity demand:

The question is, how long can the U.S. sustain a 35% per year growth rate in wind power?

Posted by dymaxion at 03:28 PM | Comments (0)

APS Completes First Solar Trough Power Plant in Arizona; and the First Built in the U.S. in 17 Years

Arizona Public Service (APS) press release April 20, 2006 ... Arizona's first solar trough power plant features more than 100,000 square feet of parabolic-trough shaped mirrors and stands more than 15 feet tall. Neatly aligned in 6 rows - each more than 1,200 feet long that sit on a stretch of desert between Phoenix and Tucson - the mirrors already are quietly concentrating the sun's energy and producing one megawatt of clean electrical power. ... The plant uses a solar thermal generator and mirrors to concentrate the sun's energy to heat oil. The heat from the oil is then used to drive a turbine/generator that produces electricity. ......

Posted by dymaxion at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

QCells Annual Report

Q-Cells AG (Xetra) in Thalheim (Germany) became the world's second largest producer of solar cells in 2005 with a 9% market share. The company has continued growing in 2006, with production increasing by 80% over 2005 in the first quarter to 53.7 MWp (Q1 2005: 29.9 MWp). Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells, said upon publication of the quarterly figures, A secure supply of silicon, fast-growing demand on the world markets and continuous advancement of our technology and production processes will enable very good performance in 2006. The company at present expects to increase production to approximately 255 MWp, leading to sales of approximately €480 million. After completing production line IV, Q-Cells AG will create additional production capacities by expanding and optimizing lines I-IV. This should increase production capacity to 336 MWp by the end of 2006. For 2007, actual production should increase from 255 MWp to 316 MWp. This expansion of production capacities is made possible by a contracted and...

Posted by dymaxion at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

2008 Prius Aiming for 113 mpg, to Use Lithium-ion Batteries

According to an article in Auto Express, the next Prius, to be introduced in 2008, has a target fuel economy of 113 mpg (40km/liter) and will use lighter and smaller lithium-ion batteries. Performance will also be improved by reducing the car's 0-60 mph time by more than a second. The article stated that the motivation was to try to improve European sales, where the car has not been a sucess due to the popularity of diesel models. The article also noted that both Subaru and Mitsubish both plan to sell electric cars by 2010. About time!! This is the first mention, that I have seen, of a production car planning to use lithium-ion batteries. Prius hits 113mpg, Auto Express (UK), April 4, 2006 Technorati tags: vehicles, batteries, energy, technology...

Posted by dymaxion at 10:51 PM | Comments (0)

Turby Vertical Axis Windmill

Turby is a revolutionary vertical axis wind turbine designed for use in an urban or built-up environments. It is a 2.5 kilowatt wind generator designed for high rooftops and can generate enough electricity to reduce the electric bill of a typical home by two thirds. The Turby has 3 helically shaped composite blades located at a fixed distance from the shaft. It has very low vibrations, very low noise level and an excellent efficiency. Modern horizontal axis wind turbines (HAWT) usually have a rather high efficiency but their construction is expensive. They have to be directed in the direction of the wind, either manually or by the use of an on-board sensor control mechanism. Vertical-axis turbines do not need such a control system; it is completely irrelevant from which side the wind blows; the position of the rotor is always right. Because of their relative simplicity, their construction cost is much less than a HAWT....

Posted by dymaxion at 10:50 PM | Comments (0)

PBS and HBO Examine Global Warming, Dimming of the Sun and ... - New York Times

USA Today
PBS and HBO Examine Global Warming, Dimming of the Sun and ...
New York Times, United States - 20 hours ago
... Nova" report "Dimming the Sun," also on PBS tonight, complicates matters with the latest findings about how pollution has masked the effects of global warming. ...
Image courtesy of NASA/Earth Science and Image Analysis Laboratory ... USA Today
Jonathan Storm | Global gloom goes from bad to worse Philadelphia Inquirer
An increasingly dim view of global warming San Bernardino Sun
Kansas City Star - all 7 related

Posted by dymaxion at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2006

Germany to Invest Millions in New Fuel Technologies

LEIPZIG, Germany (Reuters) - The German government plans to invest around 500 million euros ($605.8 million) in alternative fuel technology research over the next 10 years, Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee said on Saturday.

"This technology needs to get a boost in Europe. We need new incentives that lead away from oil," Tiefensee said on Saturday at the Leipzig car show.

He said that by 2020, hydrogen and fuel-cell technology would likely be ready for mass production. In the meantime Germany would need to try to get a headstart in developing new fuel technology.

Representatives of the auto industry also expressed a willingness to invest in the development of environmentally friendly fuels. Tiefensee said he he hoped the industry would invest another 500 million euros in the government's research programme.

DaimlerChrysler board member Thomas Weber said that his company would invest a significant amount in fuel research. The carmaker already has around 100 fuel cell vehicles in operation.

Posted by dymaxion at 09:57 PM | Comments (0)

Ethanol shortage could up gas prices

USA Today Money comments about a potential for future increases in gas prices and also shortages in Ethanol.

"Gasoline prices will be unusually high and shortages might occur this summer, because the U.S. ethanol industry can't keep up with the demand for fuel-grade alcohol to mix with gasoline, the head of the U.S. Energy Information Administration told a Senate committee Wednesday." [ more ]

On Wednesday of this week the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee met to discuss ethanol as a substitute for MTBE, a clean-air additive in gasoline. This potential change will increase the cost of refining and also greatly increase the usage ethanol. Refiners currently use MTBE and are now are discontinuing it because MTBE can taint water supplies and Congress has refused to protect them from MTBE lawsuits. Ethanol is the only readily available substitute.

Via Alternative Energy Stocks

Posted by dymaxion at 09:30 PM | Comments (0)

UniSource Energy To Sell Global Solar Energy To Solon - Quick ... - Trading Markets

UniSource Energy To Sell Global Solar Energy To Solon - Quick ...
Trading Markets, CA - Mar 28, 2006
(RTTNews) - UniSource Energy Corp. (UNS | charts | news | Powerrating) said Tuesday that it has agreed to sell Global Solar Energy to Solon AG, a German ...

Posted by dymaxion at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Solar-thermal power could solve Australian energy needs - ABC Online

Solar-thermal power could solve Australian energy needs
ABC Online, Australia - Mar 30, 2006
It has been developed by mixing solar energy, heat and natural gas. In the search to find a cleaner, more efficient form of power ...

Posted by dymaxion at 08:59 PM | Comments (0)

Time magazine cover story: Global warming: Be worried, be very worried

... [ 20060403_107.jpg] Tuesday, March 28, 2006 - Time Magazine Polar Ice Caps Are Melting Faster Than Ever... More And More Land Is Being Devastated By Drought... Rising Waters Are Drowning Low-Lying Communities... By Any Measure, Earth Is At ... The Tipping Point The climate is crashing, and global warming is to blame. Why the crisis hit ...
Mitra - Natural Innovation View Technorati URL search

Posted by dymaxion at 08:29 PM | Comments (0)