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“Beyond this initial effort, Japan has set goals for boosting appliance efficiency even further, cutting energy use of television sets by 17 percent, of personal computers by 30 percent, of air conditioners by 36 percent, and of refrigerators by a staggering 72 percent. Scientists are working on a vacuum-insulated refrigerator that will use only one eighth as much electricity as those marketed a decade ago.”

“Although stabilizing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels is a staggering challenge, it is entirely doable. With advances in wind turbine design, the evolution of gas-electric hybrid cars, advances in solar cell manufacturing, and gains in the efficiency of household appliances, we now have the basic technologies needed to shift quickly from a fossil-fuel-based to a renewable-energy-based economy. Cutting world carbon emissions in half by 2015 is entirely within range. Ambitious though this goal might seem, it is not incommensurate with the threat that climate change poses.[Quoted from]

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“The three countries with the highest percentage of wind generated electricity are, Denmark 18.5 %, Germany 4.3%, and Netherlands 1.7%.

“The three countries with the highest electricity prices in the world in 2005 were, Denmark $297 per mWh, Germany $229 per mWh, and Netherlands $236 per mWh, due to enormous wind subsidies.

“That same year U.S. residents paid $94 per mWh. France gets about 80% of its electricity from nuclear power; their cost was $141 per mWh.

“In 30 years the oil wells may still be pumping, but the windmills will likely be replaced with something cheaper.” [Quoted from]

Note: much of electricity prices are set by government and become, at least partially, a measure of taxation.

related material
replacing fossil fuels: the scale of the problem

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solar cell breakthrough offers escape from fossil fuel dependance

“ [...] U.S. Department of Energy [...] announced that with DOE funding, a concentrator solar cell produced by Boeing-Spectrolab has recently achieved a world-record conversion efficiency of 40.7 percent, establishing a new milestone in sunlight-to-electricity performance. This breakthrough may lead to systems with an installation cost of only $3 per watt, producing electricity at a cost of 8-10 cents per kilowatt/hour, making solar electricity a more cost-competitive and integral part of our nation’s energy mix.”

“Attaining a 40 percent efficient concentrating solar cell means having another technology pathway for producing cost-effective solar electricity. Almost all of today’s solar cell modules do not concentrate sunlight but use only what the sun produces naturally, what researchers call “one sun insolation,” which achieves an efficiency of 12 to 18 percent. However, by using an optical concentrator, sunlight intensity can be increased, squeezing more electricity out of a single solar cell.

“The 40.7 percent cell was developed using a unique structure called a multi-junction solar cell. This type of cell achieves a higher efficiency by capturing more of the solar spectrum. In a multi-junction cell, individual cells are made of layers, where each layer captures part of the sunlight passing through the cell. This allows the cell to get more energy from the sun’s light.

“In 1994, DOE’s National Renewable Energy laboratory broke the 30 percent barrier, which attracted interest from the space industry. Most satellites today use these multi-junction cells.

“Reaching 40 percent efficiency helps further President Bush’s Solar America Initiative (SAI) goals, which aims to win nationwide acceptance of clean solar energy technologies by 2015.“

for further background:
Fossil fuels replacements - More direct solar methods

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corrupt politicians and business cartels continue the fight against the common interest

“The EU member states have in several instances abdicated the responsibility of arguing for the essential deep reductions in the amount of carbon produced. Sometimes they have called duplicitously for greater action on climate change while submitting plans that would lead to no reductions and further profit their industry champions at the planet’s cost. Now we have the real data, we know who misled us last year. There is a rational case for reductions across the board of anything from 10 to 20 per cent off the plans that have been submitted. The plans of some countries are so flawed that they must be sent back and reworked. The Commission will have to be resolute.” [Quoted from]

Meanwhile, James Lovelock predicts massive die-off.

“The earth has a fever that could boost temperatures by 8 degrees Celsius making large parts of the surface uninhabitable and threatening billions of peoples' lives, a controversial climate scientist said on Tuesday.

“James Lovelock, who angered climate scientists with his Gaia theory of a living planet and then alienated environmentalists by backing nuclear power, said a traumatised earth might only be able to support less than a tenth of its 6 billion people.

“ "We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out," he told a news conference. "A hot earth couldn't support much over 500 million."

“ "Almost all of the systems that have been looked at are in positive feedback ... and soon those effects will be larger than any of the effects of carbon dioxide emissions from industry and so on around the world," he added.” [Quoted from]

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“But the most active grass-roots environmental campaign favors plug-in hybrids, which store power in rechargeable batteries and can run only on battery-power for short trips in congested cities like Los Angeles.

“ "It has the potential to reduce oil consumption by millions of barrels per day," said Long, who has lobbied General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. to get behind the technology. "If the question is what can we do in the short-term, there is only one answer, and that's plug-in hybrids."

“The auto industry, which has a history of resisting environmental regulations, is now looking to court both activists and the growing number of US drivers who say they are willing to pay more for an alternative to a traditional gas-powered vehicle.” [Quoted from]

(The means of generating the electricity is also at issue.)

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kaletsky starts to catch on to energy problems

Article scan recommended.

“Aircraft contribute just 2 per cent of greenhouse gases and will account for a maximum of 6 per cent by the middle of the century, even on ambitious projections of airline growth. Cars are more important, but they only produce around 12 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide. And while there will certainly be rapid car growth in China, this could be easily offset by fuel economies. For example, if American cars delivered the same fuel economy as European ones, this would eliminate pollution more than equivalent to all the cars in China without anyone having to drive less at all.

“In any case, the environmental impact of China’s drivers will be far outweighed in the coming decades by the country’s electricity programme, which will add power stations equivalent to Britain’s entire electricity output every two years, mainly fuelled by highly polluting coal. India will soon be doing the same.

“The top priority should therefore be to develop less-polluting methods of power generation, which the Chinese and Indians would find preferable to burning coal. In an ideal world, a base-load of continuous electricity - somewhere between 40 to 60 per cent of total supplies - would come from large centralised zero-carbon power stations, either nuclear or more expensive "clean coal" technologies that extract carbon dioxide and then "sequestrate" it deep underground. The rest would be supplied by non-polluting sources such as wind and solar power, supplemented by small amounts of carbon-emitting gas generators, preferably in small local turbines, widely distributed across cities, villages and even individual buildings.“

for further background:
Replacing fossil fuels - the scale of the problem

the web address for the article above is

the filthy fossil fuel industry

“It takes a lot of wells to pull the gas from a coal bed efficiently. In the canyons north and west of Aztec the wells go in on a grid so tight you can't stand at one and not see another—even in broken country. It is the kind of density that in New York City would put about fifteen wells in Central Park, none much more than a quarter mile from its neighbors. And each well has to have a road and a pipeline, plus a compressor, probably a sump for the foul liquids that the drilling generates, plus maybe a pump jack, a dehydrator to separate gas from water, and a tank for still more foul liquids that come from the dehydrator once the well is producing.

“Before long, the sagebrush flats and junipered mesas of the San Juan basin groaned day and night with the rumbleroar of innumerable engines. The same region that bred the stoicism of the old-time Navajos and Utes had become a vast factory spread over hundreds of square miles, an industrialized wildland, no longer wild, producing hundreds of jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of pipeline gas. Amid the seeming prosperity, however, the hemophilic soil eroded from bulldozed drill pads and road cuts, antifreeze dripped and lubricating oil pooled, and the chemicals and effluents of the drilling trade stained the earth.

“Most of the bad stuff, most of the time, was trucked off, but not all of it, not always. So when the rain finally fell the way a rancher had to pray it would, the contaminants drained with the good water into puddles where the cattle drank, and a rancher like Linn Blancett or his neighbor Chris Velasquez might check on his livestock and find that some had aborted or gotten sick or lost their hair or, in some cases, just dropped dead. And meanwhile the mule deer, elk, jack rabbits, coyotes, and other critters were drinking the same toxic brews.

“ "The good part," says Tweeti, "is that the other places with oil and gas that the energy companies are just now breaking into can at least see what's going to happen to them. The bad part is that the ranch is gone. We can't run anything up there anymore. All you would do is turn them out and they would die."[...] “

It gets worse - and then it gets worse still.

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keeping up: movement on hydrogen nanostorage

“The US Department of Energy (DoE) has set a target of finding materials capable of holding enough hydrogen to make up 6% of its own total mass by 2010. But these must also release hydrogen rapidly if it is to be used to refuel vehicles.”

“Svec and Fréchet found that at roughly 40 times atmospheric pressure, the nanoporous polymers contained 3.8% hydrogen. And, at atmospheric pressure, they contained 1.5% hydrogen. While this is still short of the DoE's target, it is the best achieved.“

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pseudo-greens try to accelerate global warming and mass starvation

“The [UK] government said in its energy review in July it was vital to renew the country's ageing nuclear power stations both to combat global warming from burning fossil fuels and to reduce rising dependence on imported energy supplies.“

But the ‘environmentalists’, sorry, dopes know better.

“But environmentalists reject nuclear power as too expensive and too dangerous, and on Thursday Greenpeace, citing numerous supporting statements, set out to prove the process by which the government arrived at its conclusions was flawed.“

Related material
nuclear power - is nuclear power really really dangerous? An investigation of the perceived problems

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keeping up: sharp claim solar cell generating costs will fall to nuclear power levels by 2030

“Japan's Sharp Corp., the world's biggest maker of solar cells, expects the cost of generating solar power to halve by 2010 and to be comparable with that of nuclear power by 2030, Sharp's president said.”

“Solar electricity currently costs about US$0.50 per kilowatt hour to produce [...].“

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is the rush to bio-fuels more government-funded nonsense?

“In the United States 46 ethanol plants are in the pipeline, 100-plus Brazilian ethanol sugar mills are expected by 2011, the EU sees cereals use for biofuels quadrupling by 2013, and Indonesia and Malaysia are to set aside two-fifths of their palm oil output for biodiesel.

“But compared to conventional gasoline, biofuels are still uneconomic in developed countries and hefty tariffs and transport costs weigh on imports.

“And as capacity explodes the expected forest clearance could release a surge of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, environmental campaigners say.“

In my view, it is also likely that biofuel production will also compete with food production and water security around the world, thus aggravating poverty.

related material
Review: When the rivers run dry

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