Nowadays, the problem of Global Warming is on everybody's radar. We have the solution. All the DOE has to do is ask — and pony up many billions of dollars of taxpayer money, of course.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Friday, March 9, 2012
A new 200% efficient LED light has been fabricated in the laboratory. While this sounds like some "free energy" impossible dream, it does not violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics in any way. And, not only does this new LED produce more light than the electricity it uses to generate it, it cools the environment at the same time!
The LED behaves as a kind of optical heat pump that converts lattice vibrations into infrared photons, cooling its surroundings in the process. When an electron and a hole recombine, a visible photon is released and heat is also generated causing the lattice to vibrate more strongly. Under special circumstances, this generated heat will cause more photons to be released, removing that heat from the LED and producing more light. This is why the new LED is 200% efficient and cools itself in the process.
More information on this new 200% efficient LED can be found here.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
In what was promising to be a very hot potato politically, the EPA has backed off its order to shutdown power plants in 10 states. Admitting they had used incorrect data, they proposed to rollback the order today.
This kind of error is exactly why the EPA has effectively shot itself in the foot this year. But, it does suggest that the agency has some severe internal problems if an order can be issued based upon incorrect data which adversely affects the lives of millions of citizens. Perhaps a radical restructuring of the agency is called for.
In this case the Republicans were right to level severe criticism of the agency. Had they gone through with the shutdowns, it would have meant the end of the EPA very quickly. The Democrats should thank the Republicans for cutting the agency off before it committed political suicide.
It's not rocket science to put excessive heat to work. The problem is that investors just aren't interested.
However, there appears to be a project about to be built in Arizona which does put excessive heat to work. It's called EnviroMission and it is going to build a solar tower over twice as high as the Empire State Building right in the middle of the desert. Surrounded by a "greenhouse" on the desert floor, the project will heat air using the sun and convectively draw it into the tower, where massive wind turbines will generate electricity as the hot air flows through and rises to the top of the tower. With a rated output of 200 megawatts, it will supply electricity for up to 150,000 average homes in southern California (the contract is already in place supply the output to SoCal). And, although output will drop in the nighttime, retained heat will continue to turn the turbines, generating electricity even when the sun isn't shining. The plant is targetted for 2015 and is designed to last at least 80 years with virtually no cost to maintain. Investors expect payback within 11 years.
The concept has been proven in a pilot project in Spain and was scheduled to be built in Australia. However, it seems that the US is a much better market for the project. More information can be read here.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is forecasting world oil demand will set a new record next year when is smashes through 2008's pre-recession high --- and warning that the "era of cheap oil is over."
According to the IEA's latest Oil Market Report, published August 11, global demand will reach 86.6 million barrels per day in 2010, and then 87.9 million barrels per day in 2011, assuming a continuing global economic recovery. This means demand is set to pass the all-time high of 86.9 million barrels per day established in 2008 before the global economic downturn.
The figure has been given significance by those that say oil peaked midway through 2008. Peak oil refers to the time of maximum production --- the high point of the oil output bell chart, after which, as geologist M King Hubbert showed, output will diminish even though much oil remains to be extracted. If oil did peak at 86.9 million barrels per day, then demand would be expected to overtake supply early in 2011. (Personally, I don't believe oil has peaked --- but this will soon be put to the test.)
Another significant figure bandied around relates to oil's mid-2008 price spike: it traded at $147 a barrel in July of that year. People that believe oil peaked will tell you this was a simple matter of supply and demand, while Opec has all along blamed speculators for pushing the prices up. Another factor, as reported at the time by Reuters, was the then tension between Israel, the US and Iran, including Iranian missile tests and rumoured Israeli air force drills in Iranian airspace that "left the oil markets worried about a potential supply disruption."
There were clearly many market forces pushing oil prices up at the time --- so, unlike more accomplished peak oil writers, I don't see oil's passage through the 86.9 million-barrels-per-day threshold as guaranteeing triple digit figures. Anything is possible, of course, but to my mind the key figure to watch is Opec's spare capacity. This is the amount of mothballed production that can quickly come online to cushion against oil supply and demand shocks. Periods of tight capacity are associated with high oil prices; zero capacity indicates peak oil, or at least supply failing to keep up with demand.
As long as the Oil Conspiracy continues, these arch criminals will have a stranglehold on the world.