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Energy and Global Warming News for June 18: Cutting AC energy use 50% to 90%; If the climate bill dies, does that cede the energy race to China?

By Climate Guest Contributor on June 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

"Energy and Global Warming News for June 18: Cutting AC energy use 50% to 90%; If the climate bill dies, does that cede the energy race to China?"

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An Energy-Saving Air Conditioner

Evaporative cooling plus drying with desiccants equals cool air for less cost.

Keeping air cool in homes and offices this summer will be expensive–about 5 percent of the energy used in the United States each year goes to running air conditioners. But researchers at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in Golden, CO, have come up with a new air-conditioner design that they say will dramatically increase efficiency and eliminate gases that contribute to global warming.

“The technology we have today is nearly a hundred years old,” says Eric Kozubal, a senior engineer at NREL. Kozubal and colleagues have come up with an air conditioner that combines evaporative cooling with a water-absorbing material to provide cool, dry air while using up to 90 percent less energy. The desiccant-enhanced evaporative, or DEVap, air conditioner is meant to addresses the old complaint, “It’s not the heat; it’s the humidity,” more efficiently.

Evaporative cooling–blowing air across a wet surface to promote evaporation–has long been used in so-called swamp coolers. A method called indirect evaporative cooling improves on this design, dividing air into two streams, which separated by a polymer membrane. Water is passed through one airstream, making it cooler and wetter; the cool air cools the membrane, which in turn cools the air on the other side without adding water.

But air can only hold so much water vapor, so in humid climates the effect is limited. On a 32 ºC day in Houston, Kozubal says, evaporative cooling may only bring the temperature down to about 27 ºC. Ideally, to provide a comfortable building, an air conditioner should cool air to 13 or 16 ºC.

NREL overcomes the humidity problem by adding another step, the use of a material known as a desiccant that absorbs moisture. NREL uses a liquid desiccant, a syrupy solution of lithium chloride or calcium chloride, about 44 percent salt by volume. In this setup, another membrane separates the desiccant from air traveling through a channel. The polymer membrane has pores about 1 micrometer to 3 micrometers in diameter, big enough that water vapor passes through easily while the salty liquid stays put. The membrane is also coated with a Teflon-like substance to repel liquid water. The desiccant pulls moisture from the airstream, leaving dry, warm air. Then it’s back to indirect evaporative cooling: in a second channel, water evaporates to cool a secondary airstream, which in turn cools the first airstream, and out comes cool, dry air.

“I think it’s very promising,” says Anthony Jacobi, codirector of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I don’t believe the idea of integrating these technologies is very new. Doing it successfully may be.”

What’s new, Kozubal says, is a design that manages to merge evaporative cooling and desiccant drying into a cost-effective system. “It makes this type of air conditioning viable for commercial and residential processes for cooling,” he says.

The industry is working on a variety of methods to improve the efficiency of air conditioning, Jacobi says, from the use of heat exchangers to improvements in the compression systems of traditional machines. “It’s an area of great importance to the nation, because about a third of our nation’s energy use is in buildings.”

The U.S. uses about 100 quadrillion British Thermal Units each year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Up to 40 percent of that is used in buildings, with about 5 percent going to air conditioning. Kozubal says his system could cut that in half in less-humid areas and by up to 90 percent where humidity is high. “When you talk about a technology that can save 2 to 3 percent of the nation’s entire energy supply, that’s quite a lot,” he says.

10 Companies that Scored the Fed’s Building Efficiency Funds

It’s no secret that buildings can be energy hogs, and putting them on a power diet is quicker and cheaper than reducing green house gas emissions via solar panels. One of the latest investments in this space is coming from none other than Uncle Sam, and the Department of Energy announced today that it is putting more than $76 million into 58 building efficiency projects.

With money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the DOE wants new technologies and job training programs for building equipment operators, energy auditors and the like. The DOE estimates that 114 million households and more than 74 million square feet of commercial space account for 40 percent of the energy use and 39 percent of the carbon dioxide produced in this country.

Is China Winning the Energy Race?

If the energy bill dies in 2010 — as it almost certainly will — climate change reform enters an indefinite purgatory, and the United States’ broken energy policy rolls along, fuming all the way. When I expressed sadness at the prospect of the American Power Act’s death, commentators noted that we can’t expect to reduce global emissions without getting big countries like China on board. They’re right. It made me wonder whether China might be “on board” with green tech and carbon pricing already. To know more, I spoke with Julian Wong, an expert in Chinese energy policy at the Center for American Progress.

My readers are always asking how climate change legislation in the U.S. could impact China’s energy policy. In broad strokes, how is China moving on green energy already?

It’s across the board. In China they have for several years already realized that their direction is not sustainable. They have undertaken some of the most ambitious programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment in the world. They’ve created medium and long term plans and set national numerical targets, such as producing 100 to 150 Gigawatts of wind energy by 2020. There is a national goal of reducing energy consumption per unit of GDP over the 2005 to 2010 term by 20 percent. In the run-up to Copenhagen they promised to achieve a 40 percent reduction in carbon intensity….

How would the United States passing something like the American Power Act encourage other countries to act?

If America shows its seriousness with a national strategy to develop green tech and cut emissions and put a price on carbon, that will remove a lot of the excuses for countries who’ve been inactive. We can’t reestablish leadership in the international climate talks without legally binding domestic policies. Until we do that, we’re in a really awkward position where we’re getting developing countries to act while we’re historically the largest emitter of gases. It’s hypocritical. But the moment that we act, it removes the excuses and I think it will have a positive impact.

Security Tops the Environment in China’s Energy Plan

When President Obama called this week for a “national mission” to expand the use of clean energy and increase American energy independence, Chinese officials might have nodded knowingly. The government here is already far along in drafting energy legislation with similar goals for China, according to Chinese officials and executives.

Like the energy future that Mr. Obama briefly described in his Oval Office address on Tuesday, the Chinese proposal calls for more reliance on renewable energy and greater emphasis on energy conservation, two drafters of the legislation said. But because this is China, there are big differences, too. In contrast to the Obama vision, the plan here preserves a central role for coal “” the dirtiest fossil fuel in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases, but a resource that China has in abundance.

Q-and-A: A Pay Model for Ecosystems

A well-worn management mantra observes, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” A United Nations research effort known as The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, or TEEB, suggests that this maxim can also be applied to the earth’s ecosystems “” habitats like forests, oceans and tropical mangroves.

For example, each year, roughly 30 million acres of forest worldwide are cut down, a combined area that is roughly the size of Greece, according to Pavan Sukhdev, the group’s study leader and a former senior banker at Deutsche Bank. While the forest products that the cutting yields provide some short-term gain, in the long term we lose “services” provided by the forest like carbon dioxide storage, clean air, protection from floods and soil erosion, food and natural medicines.

The problem, Mr. Sukhdev asserts, is that we have failed to put a price on those services and analyze the markets for them. If people first measure their economic value, his group argues, policies can be adopted that allow for better management of those ecosystem services, like creating markets where the use and the supply of the services can be traded.

US decision on ethanol blend put off until fall

The Environmental Protection Agency says it will wait until this fall to decide whether U.S. car engines can handle higher concentrations of ethanol in gasoline. The agency had been expected to decide by this month whether to increase the maximum blend from 10 to 15 percent.

The EPA said Thursday that initial tests “look good” and should be completed by the end of September. A decision will come after the Energy Department completes the testing of the higher blend on vehicles built after 2007. The ethanol industry has maintained that there is sufficient evidence to show that a 15 percent ethanol blend in motor fuel will not harm the performance of car engines. But the refining industry, small engine manufacturers and some environmental groups have argued against an increase.

Solar upstart Solyndra mothballs IPO plans

Solar company Solyndra has canceled its plan to raise money through an initial public offering on the stock market, opting to raise money from existing investors instead. The Fremont, Calif.-based company on Friday filed a “registration withdrawal” request with the Securities and Exchange Commission, saying that it has changed course due to “adverse market conditions.”

On Thursday, Solyndra said that it has raised $175 million from existing venture capital and private equity investors. “Given the ongoing uncertainties in the public capital markets, we elected to pursue alternative funding from our existing investor base. This funding allows us to address strong customer demand by maintaining our aggressive growth plans,” Solyndra CEO Chris Gronet said in a statement.

The CR-Z: Honda’s fun little hybrid

Honda may have come up with the first fun hybrid car. The Insight, Prius, Camry, and Fusion are all very practical hybrids, and Lexus makes a few comfortable cruisers. But the 2011 Honda CR-Z made us want to drive fast. We wanted to find the windiest road around and torture it through the corners.

Honda obliged during our preview drive, prescribing a twisty route north of San Francisco we’ve previously used to test the BMW M3, Porsche 911, and Audi R8. Those cars had it all over the CR-Z for power and speed, but the plucky little CR-Z showed its stuff in the turns. Honda also set out an autocross course so we could really thrash the CR-Z, a test that we haven’t previously seen a hybrid put through.

The CR-Z certainly has its quirks. In other markets it is produced with 2+2 seating, but Honda removed the rear seats for the U.S., launching it as a two-seater. We assume Honda thinks Americans are too fat to use the tiny rear seats. We’re not going to argue the point.

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46 Responses to Energy and Global Warming News for June 18: Cutting AC energy use 50% to 90%; If the climate bill dies, does that cede the energy race to China?

  1. mike roddy says:

    This is big news. I used to live in Joshua Tree, in the California high desert, where everybody used quite cheap evaporative coolers. In Palm Springs to the south this isn’t practical, because all of the golf courses raised local humidity to 40% and up. AC bills in Palm Springs in the summer are typically $500 a month, so this new invention will save money as well as energy.

  2. Richard L says:

    Joe,

    Can you comment on the possible use of the ‘reconciliation’ procedure to pass climate legislation in the Senate? This was done to vote on Healthcare…. If this were to be done, than only 51 votes are needed, correct?

    [JR: Can't be done because it wasn't in the budget, as health care was last year.]

  3. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    If Obama were to fail to get the climate bill passed, the international consequences would be unwelcome to US interests. It would demonstrate emphatically that there is currently no prospect of US commitment, even to the derisory de facto 1.67% cut off 1990 by 2020.

    This would leave the US isolated in a world where industrialized and developing nations alike are committed to rapid change – e.g. the UK has pledged a 30% cut off 1990 by 2020, and 42% contingent on others’ actions, while China has committed unilaterally to cutting its GDP’s carbon intensity 40% by that date.

    The world would be faced with the choice of wasting more years or decades by doing nothing without US participation – which is not a tenable option – or of agreeing a global treaty (with or without China) that allows the US the pariah status of non-participation in its commitments, its emission-permits’ allocation and trading and its technology transfer measures, with appropriate clauses included to allow eventual US entry in return for compliance with additional commitments to make good its belated accession to the treaty.

    While the treaty’s imposition of tariffs on US exports of goods and patent licences could be as counter-productive as for any other nation, there would undoubtedly be a rise in global disdain toward US conduct as its isolation was formally codified. Thus the possible US attempts at spoiling actions against the treaty’s agreement could prove highly damaging to its interests. It would do far better to stand aside and accept observer status in the negotiations.

    The reality is that the failure of the climate bill in the senate would leave the 96% of the planet that is not American no viable choice but to go ahead and negotiate the treaty without it. Nature won’t wait while the fading US superpower’s self-indulgence and corruption gets sorted out – so why should the rest of the world ?

    Regards,

    Lewis

  4. Michael Tucker says:

    The story about China does not seem to tell the whole story. China is building large renewable energy projects but, at the same time, China is now the world’s largest importer of coal!

    http://www.searates.com/news/9702/

    China does have a very large coal mining industry and large reserves but they require so much of it they have become the world’s largest importer for 2010. China’s coal imports have fluctuated quite a bit over the past 3 years and this trend many not continue. At this time it is difficult to see how they will achieve a 40% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2020 but government policy can change that situation quickly, unlike in the US.

  5. J.A. Turner says:

    I wonder how much energy is required to recycle the dessicant in this new AC scheme? Molecules that love to bind water hate to give it up. That’s one reason why most dehumidifiers operate using a traditional electric AC as the cooling plant to precipitate the water out of the air.

  6. Rick Covert says:

    Joe,

    Fantastic news. Evaporative coolers used to be the domain only in dry places like El Paso. In Houston, with our famed humidity, swamp coolers are a non-starter. I always admired this method of cooling because it was simple, extremely low on energy consumption and didn’t involve the use of refrigerant. This certainly lowers the cost of adoption as geothermal units, while extremely light on energy usage, are too expensive for average homeowners. My only concern is that with the dessicant absorbing the moisture will this need to be filled up like we do with pouring bags of salt pellets into water softeners and if so won’t this cost quite a bit?

  7. If there is no energy/climate bill, will we “cede” the energy race to China? Good chance, though we could cede it to both China and Europe.

    The U.S. wind industry needs a strong Renewable Electricity Standard with aggressive and binding long- and near-term targets. Thirty-seven countries already have firm, long-term renewable energy policy commitments in place—but not the U.S.

    The U.S. wind industry is still vulnerable to on-again, off-again tax policies which create uncertainty and undermine business confidence. With a strong RES, we can make a serious down payment on carbon emissions reduction and at the same time create a new clean energy manufacturing industry.

  8. Doug Bostrom says:

    Further to Michael Tucker’s comments, this item in Andy Revkin’s DotEarth blog is extremely concerning:

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/the-coal-age-continues/#more-20953

    The nut of Revkin’s post is that coal is entering an extended renaissance; despite a lot of talk prospects for coal are stellar for mining concerns and positively dismal for emissions scenarios.

    Peabody CEO:

    “I believe we are in the early stages of a long-term supercycle for coal. And Peabody, with its unmatched asset base, market positions and growth projects, is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this sustained trend,” said Peabody Energy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gregory H. Boyce. “Peabody is poised for significant valuation growth from rising earnings and multiples.”

    Boyce observed that coal has been the world’s fastest-growing fuel this past decade, with demand growing at nearly twice the rate of natural gas and hydro power and more than four times faster than global oil consumption. “It’s stunning that any mature commodity could expand nearly 50 percent in a decade and speaks to the strong appetite for the products we fuel, as well as coal’s abundance and stable cost,” he said. Coal demand is also expected to grow faster than other fuels in coming decades.

    Asia-Pacific nations are leading a historic global build-out in coal-fueled electricity generation. More than 94 gigawatts of new generation are expected to come on line in 2010, representing 375 million tonnes of coal consumption per year. If growth continues at the current pace, generators would add another 1 billion tonnes of new coal demand every three years.

    [JR: Yes, Peabody thinks that is true. "Long-term supercycle for coal" -- that's just absurd.]

  9. prokaryote says:

    Colombian Coal Mine Blast Kills at Least 18
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/18/world/americas/18colombia.html

  10. prokaryote says:

    Flash Flooding in Arkansas

    Five days after deadly flash floods swept through the area, the Advanced Land Imager (ALI) on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite captured this natural-color image of the Albert Pike campgrounds and the surrounding area, including the Little Missouri River and Route 369. Although flood damage is not conspicuous in this image, pre-flood imagery of the area suggests that the large sand-colored patches along the river may be areas scoured by floodwaters.
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=44345&src=twitter-nh

  11. Doug Bostrom says:

    Joe, the Peabody boo-yahs about wonderful investor opportunities for coal are expected. What bugs me is the foundation they’re built on. Revkin solicited comments from a Stanford prof he admires, Richard Moore who specializes in this area:

    While Peabody’s PR has taken some creative turns in the past (framing access to coal as a human right), this document reflects a reality that we are watching closely at Stanford: Coal is the world’s fastest growing fossil fuel (for the 8th year now) and likely will be for the next 10-20 at least. According to BP’s 2010 Statistical Review of World Energy released this month, coal now occupies a greater share of the world’s energy mix than at any point since 1970.

    This doesn’t receive much attention in the U.S. because our coal market is essentially disconnected from global markets and the domestic trend is quite the opposite. But there is a reason my colleague calls the global energy era we are embarking upon the “renaissance of coal.” China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, and most of the rest of Asia are predicating their growth on coal. Simply put, Peabody is absolutely correct. The only issue I would take with the Peabody release is that they don’t have the best positioned assets yet. They’re still working on it. While they have some Australian assets, Indonesia and South Africa are going to be two other key suppliers to the Asian coal boom.

    In my view climate regimes that don’t address the coal issue — via addressing mitigation in developing world power sectors at a much larger scale than Kyoto ever accomplished — don’t have much hope from a mitigation perspective. And that is going to be really, really hard. Thus the game is looking more and more like adaptation. As we can see in China and India, they view development of a coal-based electricity infrastructure as essential to economic development…. Peabody is just the tip of the iceberg. We are going to be seeing reports like this for the next 20 years.

    Peabody et al are buying enough delay to default us into an “adaptation strategy” aka foul the nest and then live in it.

    Is it possible to get carbon pricing in place on a scale that works to address developing nations? I’ve got this horrible feeling that geopolitical evolution is about three decades behind where it needs to be compared to what we need in the way of sharp tools to work this problem. Extremely depressing.

  12. prokaryote says:

    Whale Poop Cleans the Environment
    Whale waste is rich in iron so it stimulates the growth of phytoplankton, which then serve as carbon traps that remove some 400,000 estimated tons of carbon from the atmosphere each year.
    http://news.discovery.com/animals/whale-waste-greenhouse-gases.html

  13. prokaryote says:

    University of Minnesota researchers clear major hurdle in road to high-efficiency solar cells

    In most solar cells now in use, rays from the sun strike the uppermost layer of the cells, which is made of a crystalline semiconductor substance—usually silicon. The problem is that many electrons in the silicon absorb excess amounts of solar energy and radiate that energy away as heat before it can be harnessed.

    An early step in harnessing that energy is to transfer these “hot” electrons out of the semiconductor and into a wire, or electric circuit, before they can cool off. But efforts to extract hot electrons from traditional silicon semiconductors have not succeeded.

    However, when semiconductors are constructed in small pieces only a few nanometers wide — “quantum dots” — their properties change.

    In the current work, Tisdale and his colleagues demonstrated that quantum dots—made not of silicon but of another semiconductor called lead selenide — could indeed be made to surrender their “hot” electrons before they cooled. The electrons were pulled away by titanium dioxide, another common inexpensive and abundant semiconductor material that behaves like a wire.

    “This is a very promising result,” said Tisdale. “We’ve shown that you can pull hot electrons out very quickly – before they lose their energy. This is exciting fundamental science.”
    http://www1.umn.edu/news/news-releases/2010/UR_CONTENT_211711.html

  14. One thing I found intriguing about the desiccant A/C technology article is that I had never heard of the simpler “indirect evaporative cooling” technology, where the damp, cooled air is used to cool, via a heat exchange membrane, air that remains dry. In drier climates, this should use only a little water and far less energy than ordinary A/C systems, while — unlike swamp coolers — providing equally satisfying low-humidity cool air. Why are such coolers not wildly popular in regions such as nearly the whole western U.S.? I had never heard of, let alone seen, one.

  15. prokaryote says:

    Is Using Dispersants on the BP Gulf Oil Spill Fighting Pollution with Pollution?
    It remains unclear what impact chemical dispersants will have on sea life–and only the massive, uncontrolled experiment being run in the Gulf of Mexico will tell
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=is-using-dispersants-fighting-pollution-with-pollution

  16. prokaryote says:

    Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns

    The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill.

    That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating “dead zones” where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives.

    “This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history,” Kessler said.

    The small microbes that live in the sea have been feeding on the oil and natural gas in the water and are consuming larger quantities of oxygen, which they need to digest food. As they draw more oxygen from the water, it creates two problems. When oxygen levels drop low enough, the breakdown of oil grinds to a halt; and as it is depleted in the water, most life can’t be sustained.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100618/ap_on_bi_ge/us_gulf_oil_spill

  17. prokaryote says:

    Hypoxia or oxygen depletion is a phenomenon that occurs in aquatic environments as dissolved oxygen

    To combat hypoxia, it is essential to reduce the amount of land-derived nutrients reaching rivers in runoff. Defensively this can be done by improving sewage treatment and by reducing the amount of fertilizers leaching into the rivers. Offensively this can be done by restoring natural environments along a river; marshes are particularly effective in reducing the amount of phosphorus and nitrogen (nutrients) in water.

    Technological solutions are also possible, such as that used in the redeveloped Salford Docks area of the Manchester Ship Canal in England, where years of runoff from sewers and roads had accumulated in the slow running waters. In 2001 a compressed air injection system was introduced, which raised the oxygen levels in the water by up to 300%. The resulting improvement in water quality led to an increase in the number of invertebrate species, such as freshwater shrimp, to more than 30. Spawning and growth rates of fish species such as roach and perch also increased to such an extent that they are now amongst the highest in England.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypoxia_%28environmental%29

  18. mike roddy says:

    prokaryote,

    Thank you for your many interesting and educational posts. You are performing a really good service here.

  19. Philip says:

    Re. coal

    April 23, 2008
    Europe Turns Back to Coal, Raising Climate Fears

    By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
    Correction Appended

    CIVITAVECCHIA, Italy — At a time when the world’s top climate experts agree that carbon emissions must be rapidly reduced to hold down global warming, Italy’s major electricity producer, Enel, is converting its massive power plant here from oil to coal, generally the dirtiest fuel on earth.
    Over the next five years, Italy will increase its reliance on coal to 33 percent from 14 percent. Power generated by Enel from coal will rise to 50 percent.
    And Italy is not alone in its return to coal. Driven by rising demand, record high oil and natural gas prices, concerns over energy security and an aversion to nuclear energy, European countries are expected to put into operation about 50 coal-fired plants over the next five years, plants that will be in use for the next five decades.

    However, like oil coal is a finite resource, and this has led the German Energy Watch Group to look into the extent of coal reserves. Their conclusion is that the data on coal is extremely uncertain, but that it appears that current estimates of coal reserves are greatly exaggerated and that coal production should peak around 2025 at around 30% above its present level.

    Peak coal by 2025 say researchers
    by Dr. Werner Zittel and Jörg Schindler
    Excerpts from the report on coal just published by the Energy Watch Group (Coal: Resources and Future Production -PDF):
    Executive Summary

    When discussing the future availability of fossil energy resources, the conventional wisdom has it that globally there is an abundance of coal which allows for an increasing coal consumption far into the future. This is either regarded as being a good thing enabling the eventual substitution of declining crude oil and natural gas supplies. Or it is seen as a horror scenario leading to catastrophic consequences for the world’s climate. But the discussion rarely focuses on the premise: how much coal is there really?

    This paper attempts to give a comprehensive view of global coal resources and past and current coal production based on a critical analysis of available statistics. This analysis is then used to provide an outlook on the possible coal production in the coming decades. The result of the analysis is that there is probably much less coal left to be burnt than most people think…

    The fastest reserves depletion worldwide is taking place in China with 1.9 percent of reserves produced annually. The USA, being the second largest producer, have already passed peak production of high quality coal in 1990 in the Appalachian and the Illinois basin. Production of subbituminous coal in Wyoming more than compensated for this decline in terms of volume and – according to its stated reserves – this trend can continue for another 10 to 15 years. However, due to the lower energy content of subbituminous coal, US coal production in terms of energy has already peaked 5 years ago – it is unclear whether this trend can be reversed. …

    Conclusion and recommendation
    Global coal reserve data are of poor quality, but seem to be biased towards the high side. Production profile projections suggest the global peak of coal production to occur around 2025 at 30 percent above current production in the best case. There should be a wide discussion on this subject leading to better data in order to provide a reliable and transparent basis for long term decisions regarding the future structure of our energy system. Also the repercussions for the climate models on global warming are an important issue.

    I am in no position to judge the accuracy of this report, but I think it’s worth discussing. Any information concerning the validity of its conclusions would be of value.

    (One bit of good news: due to local resistance, the Danish energy company, DONG, was forced to abandon its plan to build a coal fired plant in the German city of Greifswald.)

  20. Market leader First Solar to slash panel manufacturing cost by another 35% in 4 years, sees global demand of 15 GW in 2012: http://bit.ly/FS52ct

  21. Richard L says:

    Joe,

    Thanks for the response to my earlier question about reconciliation (no. 2). So the follow-up to the answer – what does it take to get climate legislation ‘in the budget’ so a reconciliation vote could occur? Is it possible to do so?

    [JR: Moderate Dems said no.]

  22. prokaryote says:

    Medvedev: BP Oil Spill crisis a wake-up call for energy industry
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGqqoRi5nAQ

  23. prokaryote says:

    Radar satellite images taken on June 10 and June 18, 2010, show continuing slow leakage from a well at the location of Platform 23051 in the Gulf of Mexico, about 40 miles from the leaking Macondo well that is the source of the ongoing BP / Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
    http://blog.skytruth.org/2010/06/leaking-well-at-platform-23051-location.html

  24. Ziyu says:

    Richard, it probably can’t get into the budget because the only thing that can be put into the budget are items related to spending or revenues. The climate bill has many provisions unrealted to that so it wouldn’t work. What I would like to see is a renewable energy standard of 20% by 2020. Only the following would be considered renewable. Solar, wind, geothermal, ocean, new hydroelectric, biomass, and energy efficiency. By 2030, the target would rise to 40% but also include nuclear energy as renewable. By 2040, the target would be 60% but include all hydroelectric power as renewable. By 2050, the target would be 80%. I would also include Lugar’s (R) energy efficiency and fuel efficency measures that would cut emissions by 8-9%. Then include the Kerry-Lieberman provisions on nuclear energy and offshore drilling. A combination of these measures should cut emissions by 19% from 2005 levels by 2020, 20% from 2005 levels by 2030, 34% from 2005 levels by 2040, and 54% from 2005 levels by 2050 according to my calculations. It meets the US Copenhagen target for 2020 and slashes emissions in half by 2050. I think this is the most we can get out of Congress at the moment. Note that this is a combination of existing bills in Congress. Lugar’s energy efficiency bill, a strengthened version of Bingaman’s bill (S.1462) and the Kerry-Lieberman bill (American Power Act).

  25. prokaryote says:

    Jun 15, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) — BioSolar, Inc. /quotes/comstock/11k!bsrc (BSRC 0.19, 0.00, 0.00%) , developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) solar modules, unveiled its strategic manufacturing plan for the production and distribution of its unique BioBacksheet(TM) protective backing designed to replace current expensive and environmentally hazardous petroleum-based backsheets.
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/biosolar-unveils-strategic-manufacturing-plan-for-production-and-distribution-of-commercial-grade-biobacksheettm-2010-06-15

    The production and use of bioplastics is generally regarded as a more sustainable activity when compared with plastic production from petroleum (petroplastic), because it relies less on fossil fuel as a carbon source and also introduces fewer, net-new greenhouse emissions if it biodegrades. They significantly reduce hazardous waste caused by oil-derived plastics, which remain solid for hundreds of years, and open a new era in packing technology and industry
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bioplastic#Environmental_impact

  26. prokaryote says:

    Talking about climate change messaging.

    Human race will be extinct in 100 years, scientist Frank Fenner says, blaming climate change
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/06/18/2010-06-18_human_race_will_be_extinct_in_100_years_scientist_frank_fenner_says_blaming_clim.html

  27. prokaryote says:

    A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars

    Shai Agassi says it’s electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FcoJt2KLC9k&feature=player_embedded

  28. prokaryote says:

    Stopping desertification in Africa with a “Great Green Wall”
    The “Great Green Wall” involves constructing a tree belt 15 kilometers (9 miles) wide and 7,775 kilometers (4,831 miles) long across the southern edge of the Sahara, from Senegal in the west to Djibouti, Ethiopia and the Indian Ocean in the east.

    Scientists hope the tree belt will counter soil erosion, slow wind speeds, and stop the encroaching desert. It is important that the countries plant drought-resistant native trees that will not further disrupt indigenous environments.
    http://news.discovery.com/earth/stopping-desertification-in-africa-with-a-great-green-wall.html

  29. John Hollenberg says:

    132 killed in massive flooding in southern China

    “The flooding follows the worst drought in a century for the southern provinces and regions of Yunnan, Guizhou and Guangxi. It left millions without drinking water and destroyed more than 12 million acres (5 million hectares) of crops.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37805153/ns/weather/

    Hell and High Water?

  30. prokaryote says:

    Using carbon nanotubes in lithium batteries can dramatically improve energy capacity
    http://www.physorg.com/news196255719.html

  31. prokaryote says:

    Oceans choking on CO2, study finds
    The world’s oceans are virtually choking on rising greenhouse gases, destroying marine ecosystems and breaking down the food chain — irreversible changes that have not occurred for several million years, a new study says.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37812221/ns/us_news-environment/

  32. prokaryote says:

    Yellow sub finds clues to Antarctic glacier’s thaw

    Antarctica is key to predicting the rise in sea levels caused by global warming — it has enough ice to raise sea levels by 57 meters (187 ft) if it ever all melted. Even a tiny thaw at the fringes could swamp coasts from Bangladesh to Florida.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65J25V20100620

  33. prokaryote says:

    Tornado that ripped roof from sports arena also tore apart casino and bar in downtown area.http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jjHS8S3jIndU2oI6WHB_KqB-pvwAD9GFBS3G0

  34. prokaryote says:

    Egypt oil spill threatens Red Sea marine life
    “It started four or five days ago and the companies responsible didn’t notify anyone. It is catastrophic,” HEPCA Managing Director Amr Ali told AFP.

    The spill was caused by leakage from an offshore oil platform north of Hurghada and has polluted protected areas and showed up on tourist beach resorts.
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100620/wl_africa_afp/egyptenvironmentpollutionoil

  35. prokaryote says:

    Flagstaff is in flames
    http://twitpic.com/1ym3bk

  36. prokaryote says:

    The arrival of «oil spill» in Hurghada in Egypt to coral reef areas

    Was carried out a maritime survey of the area at a distance of 20 km inside the sea and found the presence of oily patches scattered and reached the shores of some tourist villages and hotels in Hurghada,
    Shows the arrival of oil pollution of coral reef areas Alphenadir, Abu Gelaop, and Alsgup, race, and Abu-helix, and is one of the diving areas and important fishing town of Hurghada.

    the outcome of fingerprint analysis of oil that caused the pollution of days ago,
    And revealed their conformity with the tag company «Petro Gulf Geisum»
    http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/6117646-the-arrival-of-oil-spill-in-hurghada-in-egypt-to-coral-reef-areas

  37. prokaryote says:

    Tokyo University of Science1 have now developed a system that mimics photosynthesis and harnesses the flow of electrons to produce a voltage change in a thin wafer of gold. The device is potentially sensitive enough to detect even a single photon, making it useful as a light sensor.
    http://www.natureasia.com/asia-materials/highlight.php?id=703

  38. prokaryote says:

    White House to hold bipartisan talks with senators on energy reform
    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/06/20/senate.energy.bill/index.html?section=cnn_latest

  39. prokaryote says:

    Review of Oil Spill Dispersant Literature

    In A Review of Literature Related to Oil Spill Dispersants (1997 – 2008, total of 430 papers) this comprehensive report considers the impact, effectiveness and related factors for using dispersants in oil spills. I’ve called out some important excerpts here.
    http://cleanthegulfnow.org/archives/review-of-oil-spill-dispersant-literature/

  40. Paulm says:

    http://www.compasscayman.com/caycompass/2010/06/21/Royal-Caribbean-in-emissions-reduction-trial/

    The cruise line company has said that by 2015 it will reduce its emissions footprint by a third. It will be working with Ecospec to pilot test the CSNOx system on Independence of the Seas, a regular visitor to Grand Cayman.

    The CSNOx system was introduced by Ecospec in January 2009, and is the world’s first abatement technology reported to remove sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide from engine emissions in one process.

  41. Paulm says:

    prokaryote ck out climatesignals.org

  42. talkpc says:

    In A Review of Literature Related to Oil Spill Dispersants (1997 – 2008, total of 430 papers) this comprehensive report considers the impact, effectiveness and related factors for using dispersants in oil spills. I’ve called out some important excerpts here.

  43. Acronym List says:

    The cruise line company has said that by 2015 it will reduce its emissions footprint by a third. It will be working with Ecospec to pilot test the CSNOx system on Independence of the Seas, a regular visitor to Grand Cayman.