Wed 25 Mar 2015
How much longer can this comedy of errors go on? Nuclear Power – no way.
The cleanup of Fukushima’s leaking nuclear plant has been long, expensive, and plagued with problems. Now, the AP reports a government audit has found that more than a third of the budget for cleanup was wasted—totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.
The previous allegations of incompetence and straight-up lies that surround Tokyo Electric Power Co, or Tepco, the company responsible for the cleanup, might make you wonder if any of those millions were lost to corruption. But the Associated Press says that most of it was wasted because no one really knew how to clean up the site. The company spent millions on systems and machines that theoretically might have worked. But didn’t.
The Ice Wall That Wouldn’t Freeze
Let’s start with what AP calls “the unfrozen trench,” contaminated water leaks into these trenches—tunnels, really—that run alongside the plant, creating a major hazard. Tepco started injecting the water with coolants in an attempt to freeze it, creating an ice wall of sorts as Gizmodo reported. It didn’t work.
Tepco says “it has proved exceptionally difficult” to freeze the trenches completely, according to World Nuclear News. “Tepco subsidiary Tokyo Power Technology even threw in chunks of ice, but eventually had to pour in cement to seal the trench,” says the AP. The project cost $840,000, which is chump change compared to other items on the list.
Go there and read. More next week.
Wed 18 Mar 2015
I saw this article on Digg.com a couple of weeks ago and tried to post it. When I went back to Digg to get the article and I could not find it, so I put up an older example. But then I put into Google “recent energy efficiency in the residential market” and there it was. So here it is.
‘Water-house’ Slashes Energy Needs
Feb 9, 2015 12:00 PM ET //
As UN climate negotiators gather in Geneva this week, one Japan-inspired Hungarian inventor believes he has found a revolutionary and inexpensive way to construct buildings that could slash humanity’s energy needs.
And the magic ingredient for Matyas Gutai’s invention is simple: water. It was launched after a long process of testing and patenting and a decade of research and development at a Japanese university.
“Imagine a building without insulation, yet with a perfect indoor thermal balance, thanks to the properties of water,” the 34-year-old told AFP.
Go there and read. More next week.
Wed 11 Mar 2015
Because we have been talking about residential energy savings. I felt the need to end on a generation note. I mean if you are making your own, isn’t that the ultimate energy savings?
Solar Power Sees Unprecedented Boom in U.S.
Photovoltaics and solar thermal both enjoyed banner years, despite uncertainties
U.S. solar power grew by 6.2 gigawatts in 2014, a 30 percent increase over the previous year and representing nearly $18 billion in new investment, according to data released this morning by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.
The new power systems, comprising tens of thousands of photovoltaic (PV) arrays for homes, schools, businesses and utilities, as well as a handful of large concentrated solar power facilities in places like the Mojave Desert, raised the United States’ profile as one of the world’s leading adopters of solar power, officials said.
But the future for U.S. solar isn’t without its bumps.
New installations of nonresidential solar panels, while accounting for more than 1 GW of power, shrank by 6 percent year over year, a condition caused by a variety of factors “ranging from tight economics to difficulty financing small commercial installations,” GTM analysts said in their latest “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report.”
Go there and bask. More next week.
Thu 5 Mar 2015
So see if you can follow me on this. Some people see “space travel” as a way to get off this planet. But why would you want to do that? It is a perfectly good planet. I think it is because everyone knows deep down that the way we are treating this planet may ultimately cause its demise. That is why I am ultimately an environmentalist; because I do not believe we can get off this planet. So we humans better change our ways. Why do I believe there will be no space travel for humans. The radiation levels of outer space are too great, the distances too far, and the physical demands too great. Thus I believe in saving energy and creating green energy because I believe it is the only way for our planet to survive. Yet people dream.
Breakthrough in energy harvesting could power life on Mars
Martian colonists could use an innovative new technique to harvest energy from carbon dioxide thanks to research pioneered at Northumbria University, Newcastle. The technique, which has been proven for the first time by researchers at Northumbria, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications
The research proposes a new kind of engine for producing energy based on the Leidenfrost effect – a phenomenon which happens when a liquid comes into near contact with a surface much hotter than its boiling point. This effect is commonly seen in the way water appears to skitter across the surface of a hot pan, but it also applies to solid carbon dioxide, commonly known as dry ice. Blocks of dry ice are able to levitate above hot surfaces protected by a barrier of evaporated gas vapour. Northumbria’s research proposes using the vapour created by this effect to power an engine. This is the first time the Leidenfrost effect has been adapted as a way of harvesting energy.
The technique has exciting implications for working in extreme and alien environments, such as outer space, where it could be used to make long-term exploration and colonisation sustainable by using naturally occurring solid carbon dioxide as a resource rather than a waste product. If this could be realized, then future missions to Mars, such as those in the news recently, may not need to be ‘one-way’ after all.
Go there and fulfill your fantasy. More next week.