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Alternative Energy

  • Study Finds that Childhood Leukemia Rates Double Near Nuclear Power Stations

    In a report certain to cause fear and loathing in the global nuclear industry, an eminent French research institute published a study in the International Journal of Cancer, which notes increased rates of leukemia in children living close to French nuclear power plants (NPPs.) How much greater? The study by the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale (French Institute of Health and Medical Research, or INSERM) found a leukemia rate twice as high among children under the age of 15 living within a 3.1-mile radius of France's 19 nuclear power plants. INSERM has carried out similar research in…

  • Sunny Dubai to Make Large Investment in Solar Power

    The Middle East has two things in abundance – oil and sunshine. Seeking to capitalize on the latter, Dubai’s Supreme Council of Energy has presented plans for the 1,000 megawatt Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park at the World Future Energy Summit. The cost? A mere $3.2 billion. Started in 2007, the World Future Energy Summit is being held in neighboring Abu Dhabi’s National Exhibition Center. Supreme Council of Energy Vice Chairman Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer said, “The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is an advanced model of power production, which achieves our leaders' aspirations to diversify sources of energy; specifically by…

  • Algal Biofuels - Time for Grand Scale Production?

    Though there is much mention of the promise of algal biofuels and word of their commercial development, it seems timely to view what precisely has been achieved in terms of significant algal biofuel production rather than laboratory-based research, which has been going on for about 50 years. The U.S. Navy has fuelled a destroyer ship using 20,000 gallons of algae-based biofuel for a 20-hour trip, and is its largest alternative fuel experiment to date. Thus a decommissioned destroyer made a successful journey from San Diego to Port Hueneme, in California. In terms of air-transport, United/Continental Airlines have made a second…

  • The Different Ways in Which Solar Energy can Power the World

    Who hasn’t enjoyed heat from the sun? Doing so represents a direct energetic transfer—via radiation—from the sun’s hot surface to your skin. One square meter can catch about 1000 W, which is comparable to the output of a portable space heater. A dark surface can capture the energy at nearly 100% efficiency, beating (heating?) the pants off of solar photovoltaic (PV) capture efficiency, for instance. We have already seen that solar PV qualifies as a super-abundant resource, requiring panels covering only about 0.5% of land to meet our entire energy demand (still huge, granted). So direct thermal energy from the…

  • Why Wind Power Doesn’t Live up to its Environmental Promises

    “I cannot abide the suggestion that we must sacrifice our environment in order to save it. This is an absurd argument enabling this energy imposter’s invasion of delicate habitat with little return. … Environmentalists must consider the possibility that industrial wind, by its failure to perform to stated goals, does not then qualify for this sacred consideration.” The heavily funded and admittedly effective U.S. industrial wind lobby portrays its product as descending from old-world windmills. Close your eyes and you’ll surely imagine these magnificent machines gently turning in the breeze … each kilowatt arriving at your reading lamp courtesy of…

  • Has Algae.Tec Cracked Algae's Biofuel Pricing Ability to Compete with a Barrel of Oil?

    Amidst the relentless promotion of renewable biofuel alternatives to traditional fossil fuel hydrocarbons, the three leading contenders are jatpropha, camelina and algae. But among the many barriers holding back industrial production of biofuels is that no company up to now has yet figured out how to produce a gallon of biofuel at a price that can compete with gasoline. Apparently until now, if press releases by Algae.Tec are anything to go by. The company, founded only three years ago, has offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Perth, Western Australia. Algae.Tec founders, Earl McConchie and Roger Stroud, have been involved in the…

  • Uruguay Seeks Investments in Wind Power - With Price Caps

    The good news for potential investors in Uruguay is that two months ago Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining Ramon Mendez, commented that by 2015 Uruguay could have $1.3 billion dollars of wind farms if developers provided less expensive electricity than that generated by conventional fuel powered plants. Mednez added that Uruguay's state owned national power company Administracion Nacional de Usinas y Trasmisiones Electricas (National Administration of Power Plants and Electric Transmissions, or UTE) could purchase up to 600 megawatts of electricity from projects from companies that participated in an auction for new wind farms, four times more than expected…

  • China Wind Power - Good Time to Invest?

    With the ongoing financial turmoil in western markets nervous investors are looking more and more to overseas opportunities in order to protect their capital and few markets are more alluring than China. A potential consumer base of 1.4 billion consumers, all of whom would like their lights to be on 24/7, what's not to like, as the economy booms along despite the global recessional that began in 2008. Accordingly, investors look to the Celestial Empire as a potential safe haven. Given the turmoil in international markets, there are a number of problems involved in investing in China, not the least…

  • Canada's Wind Future Take a Tumble

    Edgy energy investors seeking to diversify their portfolio away from Big Oil and nuclear have taken a revived interest in renewables, especially projects in investor-friendly countries with progressive governments. At the top of the list would be Canada, right? Stable, largely English-speaking, progressive and environmentally friendly, right? Therein hangs a tale, proving the timeless value of the adage, "caveat emptor." Trillium Power Wind Corp., according to its website, is "a privately owned company headquartered in Toronto committed to the development of offshore wind in Ontario and The Great Lakes region. The Trillium Power management team has developed and operated waterpower…

  • Another Reason to Invest in Canada?

    Canada represents a fascinating conundrum in North American oil production. First off, its population of 34 million represents the largest foreign oil source for its giant southern neighbour, with a population nearly 10 times its size. According to the U.S. Energy Administration, the United States total crude oil imports now average 9,033 thousand barrels per day (tbpd), with the top five exporting countries being Canada (2,666 tbpd), Mexico (1,319 tbpd). Unlike many oil-exporting countries to the U.S., beyond its occasional irritation at losing the World Series, Canada harbors no significant anti-Americanism and better yet for investors from south of the…