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Alternative Energy

  • European Supergrid to Revolutionise Renewable Energy?

    Europe is the world leader in renewable energy generation, but as with all renewable energy sources they face the problem of reliability. One way of overcoming this limitation and ensuring that power supply will be constant is to have expensive, traditional, fossil-fuelled power stations to generate electricity whilst conditions are unfavourable for the renewable source; but this almost makes the whole investment in renewable power sources irrelevant. A better way of ensuring consistent power is to link several diverse sources of renewable energy on one electrical grid. So when a wind farm can’t produce much power on a windless day,…

  • Outrage over Dams Being Built as Part of India's Hydro Energy Scheme

    In demonstrations barely reported in the media, peasants and students in the North-eastern Indian state of Assam are fighting together against a proposed gargantuan network of dams across the upper reaches of its rivers in Arunachal Pradesh, one of the world’s six most seismically active regions. The movement has gathered impressive momentum against a project that threatens devastating environmental, demographic and socio-economic impact. The anxiety and disquiet among the downstream dwellers created over the construction of mega dams in Northeast India has left Assam’s politics in a simmering state. On the foothills of the Eastern Himalaya, lush green tea gardens…

  • Using Ocean Temperature Differences to Create Renewable Energy

    Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is an idea for creating renewable energy by exploiting the difference in ocean temperatures between the surface and the seabed. The OTEC permit office first opened in 1981 as part of NOAA, America’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the marine counterpart to NASA. It was created after the oil price spike of the 1970’s when interest in alternative power sources rose. Oil prices eventually settled and as a result interest in the alternative power sources dwindled, so in 1994, just 13 years later the OTEC office was closed without ever having issued a permit. Good…

  • 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…