Monday, October 17th, 2011
A case study in Vermont suggests that it is economically feasible for dairy farms to convert cow manure into electricity using anaerobic methane digestion, provided there is adequate commitment from utilities, farmers, customers, and government agencies.
During a seven-year period, six dairy farms (more…)
Monday, August 1st, 2011
Natural gas has been getting a lot of bad press recently because of the fracking (‘hydraulic fracturing’) debacle. The problem is that this method of gas drilling is riddled with controversy and real environmental risks. Gasland, an Oscar-nominated documentary about fracking, brought to the world’s attention how people (more…)
Tuesday, April 12th, 2011
Natural gas extracted from shale deposits by a process known as hydraulic fracturing generates more greenhouse gas emissions over a 20-year period than conventional gas, oil, and coal, according to a Cornell University study.
Researchers said that during the lifespan of the average shale-gas drilling operation — (more…)
Monday, March 21st, 2011
If you’ve been searching for an environmentally friendly excuse to head to the pub for a pint, a group of scientists from Cornell University may be able to help. The scientists looked at over 400,000 gene sequences from brewery wastewater. Uncovered, were the genes of the microbes best suited to converting the wastewater into biofuel. (more…)
Friday, December 17th, 2010
Methane is one of the most harmful of all the greenhouse gasses, but new research could be the secret to harnessing this energy for common electronics.
Electrochemical fuel cells have always been viewed as a clean source of power, but using them in any other setting than the laboratory has been hindered by their high cost, reliability issues, and temperature. (more…)
Thursday, September 23rd, 2010
Remember when the idea of generating electricity from wind turbines and solar panels seemed really cool? No denying their benefits, but they are sooo last year.
Energy folks have gazed with envy at those who work in telecommunications for a long time. They invented the cell phone. Energy wanted its own thingamabob that would (more…)
Friday, March 12th, 2010
Bubble, Bubble, Methane is Trouble: A vast storehouse of methane under the Arctic Ocean has perforated and is starting to leak, researchers disclosed. While scientists have long been preoccupied with methane release from permafrost on mainland Siberia, the underwater stores in the adjoining East Siberian Arctic Shelf are much larger, and the release of even a small fraction could lead to a dramatic increase in global warming. Methane is a greenhouse gas at least 25 times more powerful than CO2.
Now a Word from Our Other Gases: It was a promising week in the world of fuels. A Colorado startup revealed a solar concentrator that can vaporize biomass and make high-yield synthetic fuels. British scientists explored enzymes in the gut of a boat-eating bug that could break down straw or waste wood. Meanwhile, a California newbie called Transonic Combustion claims to have invented a fuel-injection system that could boost mileage of plain old gas by 50 percent. The company registered 64 miles to the gallon in recent test drives. (more…)
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
A study by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang of the World Bank looked at the relative importance of anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses from oil, natural gas, and coal compared to the life cycle and supply chain emissions of domesticated animals raised for food. They conclude that greenhouse gases (GHGs) from the lifecycle and supply chain of animals raised for food account for 51% of annual emissions caused by humans and should be given higher priority in global efforts to fight climate change.
While livestock are already known to contribute to GHG emissions, their levels have been underestimated or simply overlooked, former and current World Bank environmental experts Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang.
The authors recognize that the 51% figure put forward “is a strong claim that requires strong evidence,” but stress that if their argument is right, “it implies that replacing livestock products with better alternatives” would have far more rapid effects on the climate than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
Tuesday, August 18th, 2009
Singapore is a bustling city state at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia. Independent from Malaysia since 1965, it has a dense population of 4.7 million people crammed into 269 sq. miles (697 sq. km)— that’s roughly 3.5x the size of Washington D.C.
In spite of its lacking land mass, the tiny country is a major economic hub in Southeast Asia and boasts one of the best standards of living of any Asian city, and even rivals many metropolis overseas.
It’s a city that is well planned, tightly regulated, visually attractive, and thankfully lacking the woeful pollution that afflict other centers like Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Waste and the City
All the economic activity and large population of course is not without its downside: waste. In 2008 the total volume of solid waste had reached 5.97 million tons. Luckily, according to government figures, roughly 2.24 million tons (approx. 56%) of this was recycled. That still left a lot left to deal with.
Monday, March 9th, 2009
Coal is dirty. Nuclear is dangerous. Wind and solar are intermittent. Trash is a constant, which brings us to landfill gas.
People throw things away. They recycle, sure, but consider all the waste in the world the next time you unpack your groceries. Product packaging alone can fill your trash can after one trip to the supermarket.
Garbage goes into landfills, where it decomposes, and creates methane, a gas much more potent than the whipping boy, carbon dioxide. For years, landfills have gotten rid of this gas, which builds up inside, by flaring it off. Burning it, wasting it.