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Pickens Plan
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 5:49 pm    Post subject: Pickens Plan Reply with quote

I don't know if I fully support this plan or not but I do support what it stands for -- independence from foreign oil. Pickens' plan calls for the use of wind power to power our electricity and the use of natural gas vehicles as a BRIDGE until we can find another bio fuel source. Natural gas vehicles actually burn cleaner than what we are using right now so they have that going for them as well.

I am truly frightened by what has been happening to the American economy. I don't even hold Bush fully to blame -- every president since Jimmy Carter (including Carter and Clinton) has promised to end our dependence on foreign oil. We are nowhere with that and are actually worse off than we were when they began that promise.

So what do you all think -- Pickens: madman or genius?

maggie b.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I don't know who Mr Pickens is, but both natural gas cars and wind power have been successfully used outside the US for a long time now.

Some twenty years ago, my Dad had a natural gas car, while he worked in the Netherlands, where natural gas cars were common. The natural gas was much cheaper than ordinary gas, though the drawback was that it required a very large tank at the time, which made the car's trunk smaller. I don't know why natural gas as car fuel never really caught on outside the Netherlands. I think it's a better solutions than the various bio fuels popular at the moment, because farmland is needed in order to produce bio fuels, which means that the farmland can't be used to produce food. The result are rising food prices, which we are already seeing in many countries. And particularly for poor people, this can be devastating.

As for windpower, Germany is actually one of the leading countries worldwide in the exploitation of windpower, producing 28% of all windpower produced worldwide. It doesn't yet make nuclear power, oil, coal and gas redundant, but it's a step in the right direction. Plus, a lot of new jobs have been created in the windpower industry. And since the US has more open space than Germany, it should be able to exploit windpower quite effectively.

Solar power is also not used nearly as often as it should be, especially since solar panels can be set up on almost every roof. Three years ago, I had solar panels installed on the garage roof. So far, the panels yielded 13500 kilowatthours this year alone and it wasn't even a particularly good year.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The problem with wind power is -- the wind doesn't always blow. I just recently passed a wind farm along the PA turnpike twice, about a week apart. The first time, there was some movement of some of the mills, although 2 were not turning at all, one only barely, leaving 3, I believe, turning moderately. The following week, all but 1 was idle, and that was pretty desultory.

Problem with solar power -- is the sun doesn't always shine enough (I give you my home state of Indiana ....). And, once the sun goes down, there is, of course, no power being generated.

Both of these methods are expensive to set up and produce the equipment needed to produce the power. The "return on investment" in a lot of places isn't worthwhile. Now, I pass a wind farm in Wisconsin when driving to my niece's place ... that one always seems active. I know that corridor and another in Illinois is prime for wind. But, there isn't a lot of places that would be.

As far as either electric powered cars or natural gas, for short, town trips, this can make some sense, remembering that natural gas is not as efficient a fuel as gasoline. However, comparing what one country uses as a primary automobile / truck / whatever fuel to another's use has to take into consideration the distances traveled: Netherlands is 16,033 sq miles in area. The Unites States is 3,794,066 sq mi. Compare the entire country of the Netherlands, again to my home state of Indiana: 16,033 sq miles versus 36,418 sq mi ... just the state of Indiana is twice the size of the entire country of the Netherlands. That is why natural gas never caught on as a fuel source. That large fuel tank mentioned still would not hold enough fuel to make it a convenient way to power a vehicle.

To date, gasoline made from oil is still the most efficient fuel we have available. This country has a lot of oil reserves available, if we can drill for it. We also have vast resources of clean coal for producing electricity, something coal is very efficient for. However, there are those who would have us stop this, also. Nuclear power plants would be an excellent source of power generation, also. And before you squawk -- remember 3 Mile Island is about the only well known nuclear "problem" had in this country ("the worst civilian nuclear accident in the US history" -- Wkipedia). Of course, while it made headlines, the incident wasn't all that much -- no one died, the leak was contained, and last time I was in Harrisburg, PA, I didn't see any 2 headed fishes, cows, cats or people.
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Jane G



Joined: 29 Jun 2007
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Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now, I don't know much about this, I admit, but I think one thing that should be done (and maybe it is) is rather than focusing on an energy solution for the whole country, they should try to regionalize it. If solar energy works in the southwest, then focus solar energy efforts there. If wind is more consistent just off the coast, then focus wind energy along the coasts.

Again, maybe they're doing this already-- but I've seen more emphasis on national solutions, the one right answer, rather than diversifying it based on the particular area of the country.

However, in general-- I think it's great that Pickens is promoting other energy sources. It would be very easy for him to do nothing, and just keep raking in oil profits, but he's not.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LisaW wrote:
The problem with wind power is -- the wind doesn't always blow. I just recently passed a wind farm along the PA turnpike twice, about a week apart. The first time, there was some movement of some of the mills, although 2 were not turning at all, one only barely, leaving 3, I believe, turning moderately. The following week, all but 1 was idle, and that was pretty desultory.


The plan doesn't call for wind power everywhere. But North Dakota could power itself completely on wind and so could several other places in this country. The great thing is, once the initial cost is paid we are done aside from minor repair costs. The same can not be said for oil. The repair costs are higher, it requires a greater quantity of salaried employees to run it (thereby creating more cost which rises with inflation), it is dirty, ruins the land it is found on for crops and people don't want to live near it.

LisaW wrote:
Problem with solar power -- is the sun doesn't always shine enough (I give you my home state of Indiana ....). And, once the sun goes down, there is, of course, no power being generated.


Solar panels are pretty effective, even in cold climates -- hence their use in Germany. And the panels store the energy, so that we can use it later when we need it. Many people are able to sell their energy to electric companies when they don't use it all. It just depends on how efficiently you build and how effectively you use your energy.

LisaW wrote:
Both of these methods are expensive to set up and produce the equipment needed to produce the power. The "return on investment" in a lot of places isn't worthwhile.


Oil requires lots of expensive equipment and when we drill in new places, requires as much equipment as new wind farms. The "return on investment" comes not only in having the money stay among our own people, who then place it back into our economy but the fact that we are using renewable energy. My kids can't use the same gas I burn but the wind comes back, they will still have that when I am gone.

LisaW wrote:
As far as either electric powered cars or natural gas, for short, town trips, this can make some sense, remembering that natural gas is not as efficient a fuel as gasoline. However, comparing what one country uses as a primary automobile / truck / whatever fuel to another's use has to take into consideration the distances traveled: Netherlands is 16,033 sq miles in area. The Unites States is 3,794,066 sq mi. Compare the entire country of the Netherlands, again to my home state of Indiana: 16,033 sq miles versus 36,418 sq mi ... just the state of Indiana is twice the size of the entire country of the Netherlands.


Most people spend 99% of their lives within thirty miles of their home. The size of country doesn't matter.


LisaW wrote:
To date, gasoline made from oil is still the most efficient fuel we have available.


Maybe it is. The point is putting research into using renewable energy means we provide for ourselves and future generations. The short view has us concerned only with today. That short view has seen gas prices rise from 50 cents a gallon in my life time to $4.00 and climbing. I don't mind paying a little more now to not having to pay a little more every month.

LisaW wrote:
This country has a lot of oil reserves available, if we can drill for it. We also have vast resources of clean coal for producing electricity, something coal is very efficient for.
Coal isn't efficient, it is difficult to work with, and is hard on the health of those who have to go in and get it for us. My husband's family lives in the general area of a coal mine and there is a lot wrong with coal, which anyone there could tell you.

As far as the oil reserves, they tear up our land. Oil has to be piped and refined and drilled and all of that costs. But most importantly, oil is not renewable. It is not an endless solution but another short term one.

As far as nuclear energy, I am confused as to why. It has to be so carefully watched and monitored and presents health hazards that wind just doesn't. Sure it is an alternative, it's just one most people don't want in their backyard.

The energies I listed have the advantage of being clean. Not everyone cares about the environment so that might not be a selling point but the fact that they are renewable and can live side by side with our farm lands should be. We need that farmland and the simple fact is that oil and food are not compatible.

maggie b.
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LisaW



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 173

PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 1:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
The problem with wind power is -- the wind doesn't always blow. I just recently passed a wind farm along the PA turnpike twice, about a week apart. The first time, there was some movement of some of the mills, although 2 were not turning at all, one only barely, leaving 3, I believe, turning moderately. The following week, all but 1 was idle, and that was pretty desultory.


The plan doesn't call for wind power everywhere. But North Dakota could power itself completely on wind and so could several other places in this country. The great thing is, once the initial cost is paid we are done aside from minor repair costs. The same can not be said for oil. The repair costs are higher, it requires a greater quantity of salaried employees to run it (thereby creating more cost which rises with inflation), it is dirty, ruins the land it is found on for crops and people don't want to live near it.


So, if North Dakota can power itself strictly on wind --- why isn't it? There has to be a reason. Many people don't want to live near wind farms because of the noise, the killing of birds, the looks (hello? Ted K?), whatever. No matter what power source you go for, you're going to get NIMBY.

maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
Problem with solar power -- is the sun doesn't always shine enough (I give you my home state of Indiana ....). And, once the sun goes down, there is, of course, no power being generated.


Solar panels are pretty effective, even in cold climates -- hence their use in Germany. And the panels store the energy, so that we can use it later when we need it. Many people are able to sell their energy to electric companies when they don't use it all. It just depends on how efficiently you build and how effectively you use your energy.


Solar panels are expensive and cost more energy to produce than they can retrieve. COLD has nothing to do with solar power .... cloud cover and nights, do. In some locations where there is a lot of sun, solar makes a lot of sense. Other places cannot recoup the cost because between clouds and night, there is less generation time than production time.

maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
Both of these methods are expensive to set up and produce the equipment needed to produce the power. The "return on investment" in a lot of places isn't worthwhile.


Oil requires lots of expensive equipment and when we drill in new places, requires as much equipment as new wind farms. The "return on investment" comes not only in having the money stay among our own people, who then place it back into our economy but the fact that we are using renewable energy. My kids can't use the same gas I burn but the wind comes back, they will still have that when I am gone.


At this time, gasoline type products still produce more useful energy for the buck. Again, wind is good for some locations, not for others. Our oil money could stay with our own people if we drilled our own oil. Yes, wind, solar, dogs walking in circles, turning a wheel, can all help provide a means to generate electricity. But, not for every location.

maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
As far as either electric powered cars or natural gas, for short, town trips, this can make some sense, remembering that natural gas is not as efficient a fuel as gasoline. However, comparing what one country uses as a primary automobile / truck / whatever fuel to another's use has to take into consideration the distances traveled: Netherlands is 16,033 sq miles in area. The Unites States is 3,794,066 sq mi. Compare the entire country of the Netherlands, again to my home state of Indiana: 16,033 sq miles versus 36,418 sq mi ... just the state of Indiana is twice the size of the entire country of the Netherlands.


Most people spend 99% of their lives within thirty miles of their home. The size of country doesn't matter.


Geez ... I wonder who all those people are out there on those highways ... I'd like to see your source.


maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
To date, gasoline made from oil is still the most efficient fuel we have available.


Maybe it is. The point is putting research into using renewable energy means we provide for ourselves and future generations. The short view has us concerned only with today. That short view has seen gas prices rise from 50 cents a gallon in my life time to $4.00 and climbing. I don't mind paying a little more now to not having to pay a little more every month.


I wasn't disagreeing about having some additional means of producing usable energy. However, you have to listen to all of Pickens plan "Drill, drill, drill -- drill everywhere." Get the price of gas down by producing more within this country. Then make it possible for more dollars to go into producing reliable sources. You cannot force the oil companies to do it ... they are oil companies. If they choose to become "energy companies" they'll take their profits and R&D alternate forms, otherwise, go on without them. This keeps the money within this country and if enough people stay behind it, promotes looking for alternative energy.

maggie b. wrote:
LisaW wrote:
This country has a lot of oil reserves available, if we can drill for it. We also have vast resources of clean coal for producing electricity, something coal is very efficient for.
Coal isn't efficient, it is difficult to work with, and is hard on the health of those who have to go in and get it for us. My husband's family lives in the general area of a coal mine and there is a lot wrong with coal, which anyone there could tell you.

As far as the oil reserves, they tear up our land. Oil has to be piped and refined and drilled and all of that costs. But most importantly, oil is not renewable. It is not an endless solution but another short term one.


Wind farms kill birds; solar panels raise the temperature around them; you have to damn up rivers, flooding land, towns, whatever, for hydroelectric. No matter what you use, someone is going to not like it. There used to be little pumps all over southwestern Indiana (back before the prices dropped long ago), no oil spill, just a little pump, doing it's thing. Deep coal mining is dangerous. That isn't the only way to mine for coal. Coal mined in this state isn't deep mined ... and if there is no coal left in that spot, the land is reclaimed and becomes farm land or housing land.

maggie b. wrote:
As far as nuclear energy, I am confused as to why. It has to be so carefully watched and monitored and presents health hazards that wind just doesn't. Sure it is an alternative, it's just one most people don't want in their backyard.

The energies I listed have the advantage of being clean. Not everyone cares about the environment so that might not be a selling point but the fact that they are renewable and can live side by side with our farm lands should be. We need that farmland and the simple fact is that oil and food are not compatible.


Since you liked to point to other countries as "having the right ideas" -- France uses Nuclear energy extensively ... as does JAPAN. Now, one would think if any country would find fault with nuclear energy, it would be Japan. And, as far as safety ... better check with the US Navy before saying it isn't safe.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 7:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G: Different energy sources for different regions is part of the plan. Surprised I think that is a great way to do it.

Lisa W: I have no probem with nuclear energy. It CAN be made safe -- but I think that a lot of people do have problems with it, whereas they would agree to wind and solar energy. I'm just looking at what is easier to sell to people. As far as killing birds, it's not like there are birds dying all over the fields, with the scent of their decay lingering for miles. One oil spill kills way more birds than a wind farm and drilling is far noisier than a wind farm.

There seems to be a basic misunderstanding of how both energy sources work. The energy generated is stored, either in batteries at the sight or in a power grid. As far as cloudy days and solar panels:

A cloudy day provides sufficient diffuse light by which the panel will produce electricity. Optimum electrical production occurs with bright and sunny weather conditions. Under a light overcast, the modules might produce about half as much as under full sun, ranging down to as little as five to ten percent under a dark overcast day. In remote, off-grid applications, a PV system is connected to a battery storage system as a backup power source. In grid-connected applications, the PV system works in parallel with the utility power grid. So, if electrical needs exceed the solar power output, the local utility makes up for the shortfall. Conversely, when the PV system generates more energy than the building requires, the excess power is exported to the utility grid, reversing the electrical meter!

I think regional energy sources will definitely be needed. I know the area around my in-laws house won't want the coal mines back, neither would the people in our area. If there are other area's that would want it, then they could have that while some choose wind and some choose solar.

The figure about 99% of people spending MOST of their lives within thirty miles of their home comes from DOT. I got it while I worked at an oil company for a year. It stuck with me because it included the information that the majority of car accidents happen within five miles of our homes.

70% of our oil comes from overseas. It will take TONS of drilling to get that amount from our own land. I just think the best solution would be to immediately diversify our energy resources and look for a way that none of our needs would be met by a source that is not renewable and bad for the environment. Am I ready to give up my car tomorrow? No. I just want to head there.

maggie b.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 16, 2008 9:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting exchange, but I'm not sure what LisaW is trying to say. You seem not only dismissive of wind and solar, but downright opposed to exploring their possibilities. On the other hand, you seem to support the oil-coal-nuclear power solution. Is this a political issue for you?
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
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Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Wed Sep 17, 2008 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the time my Dad had his natural gas powered car, he regularly drove 700 to 1000 kilometers per week, including a twice-a-week 350 kilometer drive. The natural gas car held up very well under those conditions. Plus, in addition to the natural gas tank it had a tank for regular gas, because natural gas wasn't available everywhere. Nor was it a tiny city car but a regular Sedan (Opel Omega). And that was twenty years ago. I assume that the technology has only gotten better since then.

As for wind power killing birds, that's largely a myth. Windmills do generate noise and annoying shadows, which is why they should not be built too close to houses. But if very densely populated countries like Germany or Denmark can manage, then the US should be able to manage as well. As for aesthetic concerns, windmills are a lot nicer to look at than many other industrial buildings. Plus, no one is saying you should build them on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

As for solar panels, they do work when the sky is overcast, though they are less effective, of course. They obviously don't work during the night (duh) and also not when the panel is covered with snow. That happens maybe five or six days per year. Besides, we sell the energy generated by the panels on my roof to the electric company, so there is no storage problem.

My house also has an oil furnace (for central heating) which is connected to a generator. Hence, the oil that would be burned anyway to heat the house and produce warm water is used to generate electricity as well. I try to time using appliances which consume a lot of energy (dishwasher, dryer, washing machine) with the time the furnace is running, so I can use my own electricity. The surplus is sold to the electric company. This is another solution that could be used in any place that has its own furnace.

The only problem with such schemes is the initial investment required. The German government gives subsidized loans to people investing in alternative energy and for example the solar panels basically pay themselves off. Plus, we needed a new furnace anyway, since the old one did not pass the stricter emission regulations anymore.

I think the future is having a mix of many small decentralized energy producers rather than a few big power stations. Wind and solar power would be just a two of many ways to generate power (water power, too, where it's possible) along with more conventional oil, coal and gas power stations, which will continue to exist in the foreseeable future.

Nuclear power should be phased out, though, because it simply is too dangerous and there is no real solution what to do with the waste. I am old enough to remember Chernobyl and how we were not allowed to drink milk, eat fresh vegetables or go outside in the rain, even though we were a thousand kilometers away from the site of the accident. Not to mention that there is now a huge chunk of uninhabitable land in Ukraine and Belorussia. And yes, the Chernobyl reactor was an unsafe Soviet design, but there are plenty of these reactors still running all over Eastern Europe. Plus, the West is not necessarily better. Sweden, a country known for safe engineering, very narrowly escaped a nuclear meltdown earlier this year. And France had incidents in its nuclear reactors every other week for a while.

As for coal, have you ever seen a strip or surface mining area? There was a lot of surface mining in former East Germany and those areas were some of the most horrible places I have ever seen. The environmental damage takes years to heal. Plus, a lot of people have lost their homes due to surface mining. It may be a viable alternative in areas with very low population (I think Australia does a lot of surface mining), but the environmental damage is still a factor. Deep mining is not ideal either, but still better than surface mining. Plus, lignite coal, the type of coal mined close to the surface, is one of the dirtiest fuel sources around.
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Yulie



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jane G wrote:
I think one thing that should be done (and maybe it is) is rather than focusing on an energy solution for the whole country, they should try to regionalize it. If solar energy works in the southwest, then focus solar energy efforts there. If wind is more consistent just off the coast, then focus wind energy along the coasts.

Cora wrote:
I think the future is having a mix of many small decentralized energy producers rather than a few big power stations. Wind and solar power would be just a two of many ways to generate power (water power, too, where it's possible) along with more conventional oil, coal and gas power stations, which will continue to exist in the foreseeable future.

I agree that we should try and find solutions that work locally. Obviously solar panels would not be a good fit for Alaska and wind power might not be ideal in places with little wind but surely in most regions you can find something that will work. For instance, here in Israel there's not much wind or water, but it's very sunny and snow is extremely rare - so for several decades solar panels have been used extensively for water heaters (and increasingly for other purposes). As I see it, if a resource is available and the long-term costs - financial and environmental - are not high, why not give it a shot?
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LisaW



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LizE wrote:
Interesting exchange, but I'm not sure what LisaW is trying to say. You seem not only dismissive of wind and solar, but downright opposed to exploring their possibilities. On the other hand, you seem to support the oil-coal-nuclear power solution. Is this a political issue for you?


You obviously don't understand.

I have nothing against wind or solar ... it just plain is not a major way to produce energy for too much of this country. Sure ... put up solar panels where there is a great deal of sun 24/7/365 -- just don't expect the states with winter and a lot of cloud cover to be one of those places. Put wind mills where ever anyone will tolerate them ... just don't expect them to work well everywhere.

Right Now our economy and energy needs are based on oil products. Coal provides a good bit of the electrical production in the midwest. We need the cost of gasoline and diesel to come down a lot to help our economy. Unfortunately, while gasoline is cheap, people forget about alternatives. However, while gasoline is high, there is insufficient funding available to develop other forms. And don't expect the Federal goverment -- no matter what party -- to push for it. Carter was pushing hard for alternative energy, and yet never got anything going.

Why people in this country are kept so afraid of nuclear power is beyond me ... but there are active groups, usually "environmental" that keep that fear high. And yet, there is an energy generating form that is low in pollutants.

The only "political" thing about any of this for me is when politics works at making this country a lesser power.
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Gail K.



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My brother serves on a nuclear submarine for the U.S. Navy and he tells me that new technologies make this source of power feasible. They are very, very careful about potential radiation & waste.
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting article on solar energy . . .

12-year-old Revolutionizes the Solar Cell
By Chris Radcliff EmailSeptember 18, 2008 | 7:30:00 AMCategories: Environment, Science, Science Experiments

William Yuan William Yuan, a seventh-grader from Portland, OR, developed a three-dimensional solar cell that absorbs UV as well as visible light. The combination of the two might greatly improve cell efficiency. William's project earned him a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Library of Congress to accept the award, which is usually given out for research at the graduate level.

“Current solar cells are flat and can only absorb visible light,” he said. “I came up with an innovative solar cell that absorbs both visible and UV light. My project focused on finding the optimum solar cell to further increase the light absorption and efficiency and design a nanotube for light-electricity conversion efficiency.”

You know, that's just what I was thinking when I was 12, but my idea didn't quite work. Well, it was just a paper towel roll with "Solar Rays" written on the side in Sharpie, and I tried to use it to melt G.I. Joe figures. But still. Well done, William!
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Maggie AAR
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2008 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yet more interesting info

Grass to gas: UW scientists convert plants into vehicle fuel

Anita Weier — 9/18/2008 1:00 pm

A team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has developed a process that creates transportation fuel from plant material.

The alternative fuels developed by UW chemical and biological engineering professor James Dumesic and his team look a lot like the gasoline and diesel fuel used in vehicles today. That's because the new fuels are identical at the molecular level to their petroleum-based counterparts. The only difference is where they come from.

A paper published in the Sept. 18 online version of the journal Science explains how they convert sugar into molecules that can be efficiently upgraded into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy and is being published Thursday in the online version of the journal Science.

Many researchers have been focusing on trying to use nonedible materials instead of corn to make ethanol. They work with sugar materials from agricultural waste, corn leaves and stalks, switchgrass and forest residue. But instead of converting the water-soluble sugars derived from the cell walls of plants to ethanol, the new UW process could be used to convert sugars directly into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel components, Dumesic said.

"This work is a step along the way to making it practical to use biomass as fuel," he added.

Sugars are an attractive basis for fuel because they are abundant, making up the largest portion of biomass, which is the organic material produced by plants. The oil layer created by Dumesic's team retains 90 percent of the energy content in the original sugars.

Unlike petroleum, plant sugars contain equal numbers of carbon and oxygen atoms, making it difficult to create high-octane or diesel fuels. The solution is to remove almost all the oxygen atoms, leaving only a few to keep the molecules reactive. The molecules then can be "upgraded" into different forms of fuel, and Dumesic's team has demonstrated three such upgrading processes.

"This is the same fuel we're currently using, just from a different source," said Dumesic. "It's not something that burns like it -- it is it."

Edward Kunkes, a graduate student who is part of the team and a co-author of the article in Science, said that it would take several years to scale up the process for widespread use.
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LizE



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2008 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LisaW wrote:
You obviously don't understand..


That's why I asked.

LisaW wrote:
I have nothing against wind or solar ... it just plain is not a major way to produce energy for too much of this country... Put wind mills where ever anyone will tolerate them ...


Have you read any of the previous posts? People are looking for a mixture of alternative energies so we can move away from oil and coal--no one is advocating making the state of Alaska entirely dependant on solar panels. There are places to put wind farms where they won't offend delicate sensibilities (check out Delaware's newest energy initiative). This is in contrast to the towers of a nuclear power plant dominating the landscape, which deeply offend my sensibilities every day--and had I known aesthetics was such a major concern when choosing power sources, I would have made much more of a fuss.

LisaW wrote:
Why people in this country are kept so afraid of nuclear power is beyond me ...


It wouldn't be if you had read Cora's post. Here's part of it . . .

Cora wrote:
Nuclear power should be phased out, though, because it simply is too dangerous and there is no real solution what to do with the waste. I am old enough to remember Chernobyl and how we were not allowed to drink milk, eat fresh vegetables or go outside in the rain, even though we were a thousand kilometers away from the site of the accident. Not to mention that there is now a huge chunk of uninhabitable land in Ukraine and Belorussia. And yes, the Chernobyl reactor was an unsafe Soviet design, but there are plenty of these reactors still running all over Eastern Europe. Plus, the West is not necessarily better. Sweden, a country known for safe engineering, very narrowly escaped a nuclear meltdown earlier this year. And France had incidents in its nuclear reactors every other week for a while.


LisaW wrote:
... but there are active groups, usually "environmental" that keep that fear high.


Cora, 'fess up, are you a secret Greenpeace operative, one of those "environmental" types who is dedicated to stoking our fears? Because we know how those "environmental" groups are, always making stuff up just to scare us, like the time they said a pharma company was dumping millions of gallons of toxic chemicals offhsore in NJ . . . oh wait, that turned out to be true. Well, whatever.

LisaW wrote:
The only "political" thing about any of this for me is when politics works at making this country a lesser power.


Lesser than what?
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