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Alternative Energy

  • Is a Solar Energy Revolution Just Around the Corner?

    India’s “Solar Mission” to install 20,000MW of solar power by 2022 has recently had a boost following the news that electricity from solar power is now cheaper than that produced by diesel generators. Making them a cost effective alternative to many people in developing countries. According to figures by market analysts Bloomberg, the price of solar panels fell by nearly 50% in 2011 alone, and they are currently just one quarter of the price they were in 2008. According to the International Energy Agency’s 2011 World Energy Outlook report, a quarter of India’s population do not have electricity, and those…

  • Nuclear Fusion: The Power Source of the Future...the Far Off Future

    Ah, fusion. Long promised, both on Do the Math and in real life, fusion is regarded as the ultimate power source—the holy grail—the “arrival” of the human species. Talk of fusion conjures visions of green fields and rainbows and bunny rabbits…and a unicorn too, I hear. But I strike too harsh a tone in my jest. Fusion is indeed a stunningly potent source of energy that falls firmly on the reality side of the science fiction divide—unlike unicorns. Indeed, fusion has been achieved (sub break-even) in the lab, and in the deadliest of bombs. On the flip side, fusion has…

  • Forget Wind Turbines - a Completely New Type of Wind Farm is in Development

    A design firm from New York, Atelier DNA, has developed a concept that uses cattail like stalks instead of traditional turbine blades for harnessing the power of wind. Planned for the city of Masdar, being built just outside of Abu Dhabi, the “Windstalk” project came in second in the Land Art Generator competition, generating renewable energy in an artistic way from a plethora of international submissions. Traditional wind turbines' biggest downfalls include noise pollution, inadvertent bird death trapping and general difficulties in installing such large structures. Atelier's new stalk design generates electricity when the wind sets them waving—minus the dreadful…

  • New Technique Discovered to Help Harvest Algae

    At the UKs Sheffield University (SU) a team led by Professor Will Zimmerman in the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering believes they have developed an inexpensive way of producing microbubbles that can float algae particles to the surface of the water, making harvesting easier, and saving biofuel-producing companies time and money. One of the cost of production problems that holds algae back as a major biomatter resource is an efficient cost-effective method of harvesting and removing the water from the algae for it to be processed. Algae have the potential to be a very efficient biofuel producer.  The one cell…

  • Energy-Poor Albania Wants Nuclear Power Plant, Neighboring Montenegro Opposes

    The good news? According to Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Albania has postponed its intention to build a nuclear power plant (NPP) in the Shkoder region near Albania’s border with Montenegro, until all issues concerning its potential impact on the environment and territory are fully assessed. The city of Shkoder is located near a lake of the same name, whose waters are divided between Albania and Montenegro. On 26 January Berisha said after meeting with Montenegrin Prime Minister Igor Luksic, "Nuclear energy is the purest and cheapest, but the Fukushima nuclear plant case has imposed the need to revise this…

  • U.S. - China Energy Trade War Imminent?

    Washington loves free trade – if it produces a surplus for the U.S. In an election year, with a modest economic recovery underway, American politicians are trumpeting their credentials in saving and creating jobs and protectionism sentiment against foreign products is rising. And the number one target? China. Hardly surprising, as during the period January-November China’s surplus balance of trade with the U.S. reached $272 billion, almost 8 percent higher than that registered during the corresponding period in the previous year, as U.S. consumers become more dependent on Chinese producers than ever before. Without directly criticizing China, during his State of the Union address on…

  • Hydrokinetic Power Could Grow to be a Big Player if it Passes its First Test

    Hydrokinetic power shows great promise for growth as it can be theoretically installed in both industrial waterways such as wastewater treatment and food processing plants, and natural water ways without disrupting natural flow. Hydrokinetic turbines are designed to be anchored in place in the waterway, and don’t require construction of a large dam to generate false water pressure, which reduces the huge costs in capital and carbon emissions. A company called Verdant Power has just been the first ever to win a commercial license for a hydrokinetic power facility in the US. Its Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) project will…

  • In 2011, Global Spending on Renewable Energy Rose 40 Percent

    A global revolution is slowly transforming the world’s energy market, with traditional transnational fossil fuel conglomerates facing future changes that will transform their previously cozy environment, whether they like it or not. Renewable energy, starved from the outset of funding, a foundling left at the door of the world’s rising energy needs, has reached adolescence and has begun to attract investment from beyond the traditional hydrocarbon-based market dominant companies. Sez who? PricewaterhouseCoopers., a titan of Wall Street. PwC noted in its annual analysis of merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions in the sector shows that deal values worldwide in 2011 totalled…

  • The Dirty Truth: Some Biofuels are More Polluting than Fossil Fuels

    Biofuels are a clean, alternative energy that many are hoping will become the next source of liquid fuels for internal combustion engines; a clean substitute for polluting fossil fuels. The US is a huge supporter of biofuels, last year producing 1 billion gallons, and the EU has also stated its intentions for 10% of all transport fuel to be biofuel by 2020. Wait a minute though, new data obtained from a leak by the European Commission provides evidence that not all biofuels are clean. In fact some are more polluting than fossil fuels. The EU proposed a default value of…

  • Waste to Energy: A Great Source of Clean Energy - But is it the Correct Waste?

    Converting Waste-to-Energy, and in particular MSW, are hot topics throughout the global landscape. The conversion process, which consists of a number of physical and complex chemical steps, serves a much needed civic function that at the end of the day produces potentially carbon-neutral energy in the form of electrons or fuels such as diesel, ethanol, etc. Additionally, it furthers benefits the environment by reducing the amount of landfill disposed wastes and subsequent methane emissions. The contribution of methane emissions from landfills compared to all other anthropogenic sources of methane emissions is shown below (EPA): Waste management is primarily landfills and…