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solar pv moving towards undercutting coal has been incorporated into Photovoltaics (solar cells) briefing document

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keeping up: biochemistry and energy

Penn State University press release:

“Hydrogen as an everyday, environmentally friendly fuel source may be closer than we think, according to Penn State researchers.

“ "The energy focus is currently on ethanol as a fuel, but economical ethanol from cellulose is 10 years down the road," says Bruce E.Logan, the Kappe professor of environmental engineering. "First you need to break cellulose down to sugars and then bacteria can convert them to ethanol."

“Logan and Shaoan Cheng, research associate, suggest a method based on microbial fuel cells to convert cellulose and other biodegradable organic materials directly into hydrogen in today's (Nov. 12) issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences online [...]”

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The world’s first ever fuel cell-powered lighthouse

"The environmentally-friendly fuel cell is powered from hydrogen, which is made from sustainable energy via electrolysis."

the web address for the article above is

solar energy from space

“The space office sees energy supply as one of strategic importance as oil supplies dwindle; according to a report by Germany's Energy Watch Group published last week, "peak oil" output occurred last year, and will fall by 7% annually to half its present levels by 2030 [...]”[Quoted from]

Ah, the Groaniad have substituted “7” for “several” - oh dear - and further miswritten “By 2020, and even more by 2030,” as “by 2030”. [Error noticed by Dirk Bruere at NeoPax.] See the following extract:

“According to a newly published global oil supply report to be presented by the Energy Watch Group at the Foreign Press Association in London, world oil production peaked in 2006. Production will start to decline at a rate of several percent per year. By 2020, and even more by 2030, global oil supply will be dramatically lower. This will create a supply gap which can hardly be closed by growing contributions from other fossil, nuclear or alternative energy sources in this time frame.” [Quoted from]

God knows what they pay the scribblers in the leftist fossil media.
See also Energy economics—how long do we have?

Now back to the Guardian article on solar energy from space:

“[...] The space office notes that all remaining oil resources are estimated to contain 250 terawatt-years of energy; but that a one-kilometre wide band in geosynchronous orbit receives about 212 TW-years of energy each year.

“The first units to go up will generate between 10MW and 25MW of continuous power, enough for a town of 25,000 people. If the energy is transmitted by microwave, a surface array one-tenth of a square kilometre in size will be needed to pick it up. Larger beams will require larger collector arrays. But wouldn't a microwave beam from space be equivalent to a deadly weapon? Unlike photovoltaic cells, these antenna arrays are practically transparent, so crops could be planted under them.”

“ "If a 2.45Ghz beam drifted off its target and ended up over a town, the effect would be negligible," says Lt Col Damphousse of the space office. "By the time the microwave reaches the surface it has spread out considerably. The power density is one-sixth that of the noonday sun." ”

“ Over the past 40 years, microwave and laser power transmission systems have been tested successfully in Europe, the US and Japan. Unmanned aircraft and lunar rovers receiving power from a remote beam are proven applications. The Japanese have tested reactions in the ionosphere to microwaves at the frequencies used for space solar power, and the results were positive. The only remaining issue is to test a large-scale system.” [Quoted from]

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Supplementary: 75- page pdf - This report is the result of a widespread net-based pro bono effort.

What the advocates want: “10 Years - 10 Megawatts - $10 Billion”, that is a small demonstration study, about 1/100th of a large earth-based generating station. A launch capacity increasing by ten times is suggested to make this feasible. Of course, there is growing private interest in launch systems.

“Achieving launch costs of $200/lb or $440/kg could make the Commercial Baseload feasible, if the energy were sold at @ 8-10 cents per kWh. At these cost numbers, projects that produce SBSP systems could compete with other large capital infrastructure projects for finance capital (e.g., coal-fired and nuclear power plants).” [p.C - 2]

Commercial interest rates are mediated by project risk factors.

“NASA and DOE have collectively spent $80M over the last three decades in sporadic efforts studying this concept (by comparison, the U.S. Government has spent approximately $21B over the last 50 years continuously pursuing nuclear fusion). The first major effort occurred in the 1970’s where scientific feasibility of the concept was established and a reference 5 GW design was proposed. Unfortunately 1970’s architecture and technology levels could not support an economic case for development relative to other lower-cost energy alternatives on the market. In 1995-1997 NASA initiated a "Fresh Look" Study to re-examine the concept relative to modern technological capabilities. The report (validated by the National Research Council) indicated that technology vectors to satisfy SBSP development were converging quickly and provided recommended development focus areas, but for various reasons that again included the relatively lower cost of other energies, policy makers elected not to pursue a development effort.

“The post-9/11 situation has changed that calculus considerably. Oil prices have jumped from $15/barrel to now $80/barrel ($90+ as at 1/nov/07 in less than a decade. In addition to the emergence of global concerns over climate change, American and allied energy source security is now under threat from actors that seek to destabilize or control global energy markets as well as increased energy demand competition by emerging global economies [...]”

Comparing the remaining fossil oil available with a year's geo-solar energy. Image credit:

“The Sun is a giant fusion reactor, conveniently located some 150 million km from the Earth, radiating 2.3 billion times more energy than what strikes the disk of the Earth, which itself is more energy in a hour than all human civilization directly uses in a year [...]”

“[...] In the vicinity of Earth, every square meter of space receives 1.366 kilowatts of solar radiation, but by the time it reaches the ground, it has been reduced by atmospheric absorption and scattering; weather; and summer, winter, and day-night cycles to less than an average of 250 watts per square meter [...]”

The .pdf continues with a interesting discussion on military and political logistics, but as yet I see no reference to the vulnerability of space based systems. This is mentioned later at p.27.

“At present, the United States has very limited capabilities to build large structures, very large apertures or very high power systems in orbit. It has very limited in-space maneuver and operational capability, and very limited access to space. It cannot at present move large amounts of mass into Earth orbit. The United States correspondingly has extremely limited capabilities for in-space manufacturing and construction or in-situ space resource utilization. It has no capability for beamed power or propulsion. SBSP development would advance the state of the art in all of the above competencies.”

Comment is also made on the ability to beam energy around space, thus enhancing independence of space projects [p.29]:

Average solar energy available. Image credit:

the web address for the article above is

I will make you a forecast - electric vehicles will change the world, and soon

Every week, new electric vehicles are announced. Every month, there are new advances in range and performance. Regular enhancements to battery and fuel cell technology are announced.

Likewise, there are continual improvements in wind and photvoltaic (PV) performance.

There is one great problem with wind and PV effectiveness - lack of developed storage facilities. The storage facilities of electric driven vehicles will start to bridge some of that gap.

Look forward to massive expansion in these paradigm shifting technologies. Soon, PV arrays and windmills will start to make sense to private users.

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Here is yet another manufacturer moving into electric vehicles:

“Speed: 80 mph
Range: 120+ miles

“Coming in 2008 - Mid-Sized Sedan

“Miles high-speed all-electric vehicles will meet all NHTSA standards, reach speeds in excess of 80 mph, and have a range of approximately 120 miles on a single charge.”

Price estimate: $15,000

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Most of Europe is already allowing individuals to sell locally produced electricity back to the grid. Eventually, this saves building some large generator capacity. In the UK, socialist Labour is slow as usual.

The highest demand for electricity is during the day time in offices and manufacturies. This gives PV another leg up.

further background
Fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

the web address for the article above is

biofuels likely to increase water pressure in asia still further

“Both China and India are approaching water scarcity, which de Fraiture defines as using 75 percent of all potentially useable water for human purposes.

“At 60 percent, a country is in the danger zone and both China and India are at that level.

“ "Those two countries, if they pursue their biofuel plans as they are on the table now, they will definitely be in the red zone in water terms," she said.” [Quoted from]

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OECD report

“ "The current push to expand the use of biofuels is creating unsustainable tensions that will disrupt markets without generating significant environmental benefits," says the report, prepared for an international conference under way in Paris.

“The OECD is the latest in a chorus of voices questioning expansion of biofuels. Last spring a study from Canada's Library of Parliament said Ottawa's investments in biofuel would do little to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In July a report from the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations said high demand for biofuels contributes to inflating food prices.”

related material
biofuels - briefing document

the web address for the article above is

useful short summary of the resurgence of nuclear power

“That allowed bigger firms to acquire reactors on the cheap, and thus to achieve economies of scale and to capitalise on their experience. These nuclear specialists have been able to speed up the refuelling process, keep shutdowns for maintenance to a minimum and so keep the reactors going more of the time. Last year the average nuclear reactor in America was in use 90% of the time. Better still, utilities have found ways to improve the non-nuclear parts of the power station, such as the steam turbines. These so-called 'uprates' have increased America's nuclear capacity by almost 5,000MW since 1977, the equivalent of about five new nuclear reactors, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, an industry group. At the same time, the NRC has agreed to extend the working life of about half of America's nuclear plants for an extra 20 years.”

related material
nuclear power: is nuclear power really really dangerous?

the web address for the article above is

running your car on water

From a press release:

“The technology produces hydrogen by adding water to an alloy of aluminum and gallium. When water is added to the alloy, the aluminum splits water by attracting oxygen, liberating hydrogen in the process. The Purdue researchers are developing a method to create particles of the alloy that could be placed in a tank to react with water and produce hydrogen on demand.”

“The U.S. Department of Energy has set a goal of developing alternative fuels that possess a "hydrogen mass density" of 6 percent by the year 2010 and 9 percent by 2015. The percent mass density of hydrogen is the mass of hydrogen contained in the fuel divided by the total mass of the fuel multiplied by 100. Assuming 50 percent of the water produced as waste is recovered and cycled back into the reaction, the new 80-20 alloy has a hydrogen mass density greater than 6 percent, which meets the DOE's 2010 goal.”

“ Since standard industrial technology could be used to recycle our nearly pure alumina back to aluminum at 20 cents per pound, this technology would be competitive with gasoline," Woodall said. "Using aluminum, it would cost $70 at wholesale prices to take a 350-mile trip with a mid-size car equipped with a standard internal combustion engine. That compares with $66 for gasoline at $3.30 per gallon. If we used a 50 percent efficient fuel cell, taking the same trip using aluminum would cost $28.”

related material
fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

the web address for the article above is

cellulosic bugs

“Welcome to TMO Renewables
TMO Renewables has developed a groundbreaking method for producing ethanol from almost any type of biomass or biowaste. This technology will allow the production of lignocellulosic ethanol at low cost with many economic, social and environmental advantages. Construction of a demonstration plant will commence during July 2007, showing the application of this technology at factory scale.”

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press release
“ By contrast, cellulosic ethanol, like TMO's, made from wood chips, grass and agricultural and garden waste, is seen as a truly green solution. The Bush administration has rolled out nearly $1 billion in funds for research into ethanol and cellulosic fuels.”

“ Workers started pouring cement last week to lay the foundations for TMO's demonstration plant, which should come on stream early in 2008, running at around 65 degrees Celsius and producing 1 million liters of ethanol a year.”

“ TMO is initially focusing on the United States, which has a mature market in which to sell the ethanol. It hopes existing producers will bolt the TMO technology onto their own plants, using their waste grain to produce extra ethanol, thereby boosting production.

“The cost of bolting on and building gives a 2-year pay-back, with a handsome rate of return for both parties," said Curran.

“Europe, which has relatively few established ethanol refineries, could move straight to cellulosic technology as it develops its industry to help meet targets of cutting CO2 emissions 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020.”

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Biofuels news aggregator.

related material
biofuel - a fossil fuel replacement

the web address for the article above is

storing hydrogen in liquids

“The world's largest hydrogen producer, Air Products and Chemicals, based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is investing serious cash in a similar liquid-based system. "In any future hydrogen economy you would expect it to be much easier to move liquids around rather than gas," says Alan Cooper, a research chemist at Air Products. With the work that's going on now, he says, "consumers of the future will never have to handle hydrogen gas." He is confident that their liquids are close to meeting the US Department of Energy target of creating a fuel tank holding 6% hydrogen by weight by 2010.”

“Most research on hydrogen storage and transport has focused on materials called metal hydrides and, recently, on metal-organic-frameworks (MOFs) - incredibly porous materials that can be stuffed full of gas. But getting enough hydrogen into these frameworks to make a fuel tank of reasonable size and weight is problematic, and getting the fuel in and out would require novel fuelling systems.”

related material
Fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles

the web address for the article above is

clown brown’s filth government evades responsibility again, while china moves on clean nuclear power

“Last year, housing minister Yvette Cooper said she wanted all local authorities to adopt the Merton Rule.

“But now reports suggest that she is soon expected to publish a policy document outlining the abolition of the rule.

“Under the Merton rule any new building is required to cut emissions by 10%, through various means including insulation and renewable sources, in order to prepare the ground for homes to meet European Union targets of being carbon neutral by 2016.”

Examine this last paragraph with care.
EU target to be carbon neutral in 9 years — Socialist Labour ‘target’ cut of 10% to be abolished!

The item continues:

“"Property industry groups have lobbied hard against the Merton Rule.”

That is, the Clown is in hock to big business.

“However, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has called on the government not to scrap the rule.”

And then we have the Clown’s pretences/lies over Kyoto:

“Government officials have secretly briefed ministers that Britain has no hope of getting remotely near the new European Union renewable energy target that Tony Blair signed up to in the spring - and have suggested that they find ways of wriggling out of it.”

How well that sums up the socialist government - lies and “wriggling out of”.

“[...] under current policies Britain would miss the EU's 2020 target of 20% energy from renewables by a long way...”

A long way I hear you cry - how long a way?

“It says the UK "has achieved little so far on renewables" and that getting to 9%, from the current level of about 2%, would be "challenging" [...]”

Ah well, 1/10th the ‘target’ “signed up to” by the liars. Better than usual I suppose, at least they are still claiming some reductions.

They must be planning to send still more of the UK’s polluting industries to the vastly less energy efficient third world. Then the millipede [David Millibank, Foreign Affairs Minister] can claim ‘progress’ again.

Now you have ‘New’ Labour choices:
the lights go out, or the pollution continues to kill off the population with fossil fuel filth!

This is always assuming the fossil fuel filth does not run out, and the bankrupt ‘New’ Labour can afford what’s left.

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And what are the Chinese doing?

As you will see, even backward China can bring a nuclear power station on line in 5 years. Britain does not even have realistic plans.

Meanwhile, the Clown will not get anywhere near the flippant numbers for reducing carbon emissions tossed around by his irresponsible government. It has already failed all down the line.

Brown has only one universal policy in all areas - talk the talk, while assiduously avoiding walking the walk.

“China has started constructing a nuclear power plant in the north of the country, as part of efforts to boost clean energy and reduce reliance on coal.

“The Hongyanhe nuclear power station in Dalian in coastal Liaoning province, is the first in the north and will initially have four generating units with capacities of 1 gigawatt (GW) each, said China Power Investment Corporation, an investor in the project and one of China's five power generating groups.

“The first unit is scheduled to be in commercial operation in 2012 and the rest will be ready for use by 2014, China Power Investment said in an announcement on its Web site (” [Quoted from]

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“No nuclear power plants are likely to be built in Britain before 2020, if they are built at all, which will be too late to fill the country's looming power generation gap, according to a report published on Monday.

“The British government wants the private sector to build new nuclear power plants to replace the country's ageing reactors and plug a generation shortfall left by the closure of coal-fired power plants under European environment laws.

“But the report by Poyry Energy Consulting says the commercial case for building new nuclear plants is shaky and that none will be built without a higher long-term carbon price than that set by the current European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).” [Quoted from]

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“Without nuclear power Britain may have to become still more dependent on imported gas to fire its power stations, increase its carbon emissions by building more coal plants, and slash energy consumption.” [Quoted from]

No maybe about it, as long as the supplies are still available and Britain can even afford them.

the web address for the article above is

i haven’t seen this combination-type roof previously - part of a solar home

A roof that combines photovoltiac electricity generation with house heating. Credit: Martin LaMonica/CNET Networks
A roof that combines photovoltiac electricity generation with solar heating.
Credit: Martin LaMonica/CNET Networks

This is also innovative and interesting:

Schematic for a modular solar home.Credit: Credit: PowerHouse Enterprises
Schematic for a modular solar home. Credit: PowerHouse Enterprises

The company site for this solar home is not very interesting.

There are other photo essays accessible from the main link given above - it is also an effective page design.

the web address for the article above is

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