Where’s My Confouded Article? This post was originally about 7 ways to give THANKS – repost for 11/28/08

Unfortunately when I went back to the Monterey County Weekly where I swear I stole (borrowed) the article and IT WASN’T There. The 5th way was environmental cleanup. It even had a picture of a little girl picking up trash from a scenic California beach. So these articles will have to due do.



Boys in Blue Won’t Go Green

Carmel cops to council: Hybrids are for wimps.

The Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council is interested in replacing old police cars with hybrids, but city cops prefer to stick with the tried-and-true.

The advantages of hybrid police cars are obvious, Sgt. Paul Tomasi told the City Council on Nov. 4. They emit fewer greenhouse gases, save up to $800 per year on fuel, are quieter and earn bonus points with the public.

But the drawbacks, he said, are prohibitive. Hybrids are lighter and more likely to tip over. They’re expensive to buy and equip. The California Highway Patrol doesn’t think the tech is up to patrol standards yet, and even the agencies that have hybrids won’t use them for emergency purposes.


Zan Henson Survives Plan Crash

Local eco-law crusader reported to be in stable condition.

Carmel Valley attorney Alexander “Zan” Henson crashed a single-engine plane into the Monterey Pines Golf Course northwest of the Monterey Peninsula Airport around 6pm on Tuesday night, Nov. 25.

Henson was taken to the Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. His passenger, Santa Cruz attorney Jim Rummins, was airlifted to a hospital in San Jose. The two men, both in their 60s, reportedly sustained injuries that are not life threatening.

Henson’s wife, Holly Henson, told The Monterey County Herald she expected her husband to be released from the hospital Nov. 26. Rummins reportedly was still being treated for back, head and lung injuries.

For years, the Weekly has reported on Henson’s battles for “slow-growth” development, a voter-owned desalination plant and other environmental causes. He directed the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District board from 1981-1982 and 1999-2003 and was founding director of the Monterey chapter of Surfrider Foundation.


Instead Of Global Warming It Should Be Called Hot Acid Ocean – Maybe then people would get it..replacement post 11/27/08

Once we kill off the Oceans of the Earth, what shall we do next?



Posted November 13, 2008 12:00 AM

Liquidity Crisis

Is the ocean a victim of global warming? Our intrepid reporter travels thousands of miles – from Moss Landing to Peru and Chile – to crack an environmental crime.

A cold, salty wind blows from the west. The gray Pacific Ocean – incubator of slimy life, cycler of nutrients, composer of storms – doesn’t seem like itself lately.

The bully they call El Niño seems to be coming around more often, screwing with every fishery he touches. Niño plays games with the world’s weather, flooding dry Peruvian coastal towns while parching lush Indonesia.

Expanding offshore twilight zones of low oxygen turn fish into refugees and kill whatever can’t swim away. Oregon fishermen pull up buckets of dead crabs while jumbo squid pulse poleward, happier than clams in the suffocating layer. Other warm-water species are hanging out in places that used to be too cool for them. Tropical storms are getting meaner; jellyfish are swarming.

Meanwhile, the mad chemist known as pH is tinkering with the ocean’s ions, making California’s coast more acidic than the psychedelic ’60s. Dolphins file noise complaints, the shells of microscopic snails dissolve, and light-reflecting plankton retreat.

The sea’s weird behavior is a tough nut to crack, but some of the world’s sharpest minds are on the case. Their chief suspect is carbon dioxide, code-named CO2: atmospheric loiterer, weather tweaker, planet heater.


For much more see this article or google “acid ocean” and watch the hits grow.

Big 3 Auto Makers And Bush Plan To Screw The Environment Again – Just how wrong does detroit plan to go? replacement post for 11/26/08

Let’s see after the last bailout Lee Iaccoca invented minivans and SUVs. Now they want to take the money dedicated to the creation of efficient engines and throw it down a rat hole. We loan 15billion$$ to companies worth 10billion$$ and they will still build cars that suck. Great News.



Dec 3, 7:13 PM EST

Analysis: Labor-green rift clouds auto aid chances

WASHINGTON (AP) — Watch out for family fights, Mr. President-elect. Though Democrats will control both the new Congress and White House, the battle over a multibillion-dollar auto industry bailout already is pitting two major party constituencies against each other: big labor and environmentalists.

The United Auto Workers, along with Detroit’s Big Three, are pushing for an infusion of emergency loans for the carmakers’ immediate needs – even if that means diverting $25 billion that had been set aside for creating cleaner vehicles. Environmentalists balk at that notion, saying the money is sacrosanct and insisting that any new help be tied to strict requirements for greener cars.

The intramural fight helps explain why President-elect Barack Obama has stayed vague on his views on the details of the bailout and Democratic leaders have seemed uncertain about whether to push one through. It’s also at the heart of the disagreement between Democrats and the Bush administration over how to structure any carmaker rescue.

After rushing Congress back into session last month to consider an emergency auto aid plan, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., abruptly reversed course and called off the debate.

They ordered the Big Three to submit elaborate loan applications to Congress before they would even schedule votes on a rescue. The separate blueprints submitted Tuesday by Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. called for up to $34 billion in government aid.

Don’t Pass Gas – Lets plug up all those belching pipes – Lost Post 11/25/08



Obama seeks

immediate action

to curb emissions

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


(11-18) 17:46 PST LOS ANGELES — In his first speech on global warming since winning the election, President-elect Barack Obama promised Tuesday to set stringent limits on greenhouse gases, saying the need is too urgent for delay.usiness

Many observers had expected Obama to avoid tackling such a complex, contentious issue early in his administration. But in videotaped comments to the Governors’ Global Climate Summit in Beverly Hills on Tuesday, he called for immediate action.

“Now is the time to confront this challenge once and for all,” Obama said. “Delay is no longer an option. Denial is no longer an acceptable response. The stakes are too high, the consequences too serious.”

He repeated his campaign promise to create a system that limits carbon dioxide emissions and forces companies to pay for the right to emit the gas. Using the money collected from that system, Obama plans to invest $15 billion each year in alternative energy. That investment – in solar, wind and nuclear power, as well as advanced coal technology – will create jobs at a time of economic turmoil, he said.


He is going to hit the ground running or at least sauntering. For more details PLEASE see the article in its entirety (I have always not wanted to say that).



What If Illinois Supported Solar Like It Supports Coal – Replacement post for 11/24/08


Feed-in tariffs –

right for Germany,

wrong for California

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

California’s regulators are exploring whether or not California should follow the German model to promote rooftop solar power by adopting a “feed-in tariff” for solar energy. This tariff sets a price for any and all electric power that the solar installation feeds into the electric grid, even relatively small amounts. Rooftop photovoltaic installations on both homes and businesses have blossomed in Germany due to the use of this incentive.

So we know that this policy can convince building owners to invest in more solar installations. But it is not the only way to develop solar power – or the best way. In Ontario, Canada, a feed-in tariff that paid four times the normal price for electricity failed to stimulate small-scale projects. The Ontario Power Authority has been unwilling to up the ante, because it would raise electric rates for consumers – the biggest problem with high feed-in tariffs is that they result in higher utility bills, because ratepayers pay top dollar for every single kilowatt produced. Here in California, we are already subsidizing solar through higher utility bills. Thus a high feed-in tariff is unnecessary, and unfair.

PG&E, Edison and SDG&E now pay a homeowner or business full price rather than the wholesale rate other electric generators receive for their solar output up to the amount of electricity they use annually. Solar advocates want utility companies to purchase excess solar output from homeowners and businesses, and want the utility to pay an inflated price per kilowatt hour. But overpaying for rooftop solar would actually buy us less renewable power in the end by spending consumers’ money on the most expensive renewable technology – photovoltaic solar energy – which is more than twice as expensive as solar mirror power, wind, geothermal or biomass.


Please read the article for more details. I am on vacation and being an angel.


Novel Uses Of Energy – People are always thinking

To finish up the week of silly (stop this skit) uses of energy, we bring you the life sucking essence, the Data Center. Or really big computers using really really big amounts of power.


Data Centers Explore Novel Ways to Cut Energy Use

June 27, 2008 — IDG News Service

Putting data centers on decommissioned ships and reusing hot water from cooling systems to fill the town swimming pool were among the wackier ideas floated at the Data Center Energy Summit on Thursday.

Data center operators came together to compare notes about the best ways to tackle rising energy consumption at their facilities. Ideas ranged from the exotic to the more down to earth, like improving air-flow management and using outside air in colder climates to cool equipment.

After a brief lull a few years ago, a new wave of data center construction and expansion is under way, stretching the power and cooling capacities of existing facilities and putting pressure on utilities’ electrical grids, speakers here in Santa Clara, California, said.


Instead of making them more efficient, they just treat the problem as extenalities.

That’s forcing some data centers to consider unusual solutions. One large health-care center is looking at reusing hot water expelled by its cooling systems to do its laundry, Bapat said. A hosting company in the Northeast is freezing water overnight, when the cost of electricity is cheaper, and then blowing air over the ice during the day to provide cold air for cooling systems.

Another company hopes to put portable data centers on ships docked at port, giving it “the biggest heat sync in the world [the ocean] to get rid of waste heat,” Bapat said.


Have a really good weekend.


Newt Gingrich Plans To Save The Earth – Maybe the silliest use of energy yet

So silly in fact that the price of the book has fallen from $20 to $2.39.


This from a man who does not believe in global warming. This from a man who helped start the “Drill Here, Drill Now” movement. This from a man who adamitly opposes Cap and Trade even though it’s an industry ameliorative. Oh and a forward by the man who once hypothesized that people with black skin have lower I.Q.s then people with white skin color. But don’t listen to me:


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful:

4.0 out of 5 stars If we pass the test, we get to keep the planet (Everglades), December 6, 2007

Local Book Review by John Arthur Marshall, (JAMinfo@AOL.com); President
Arthur R. Marshall Foundation and Florida Environmental Institute, Inc. www.ArtMarshall.org

A Contract with the Earth: Newt Gingrich and Terry Maple; John Hopkins; 2007

Contract with the Earth is an overdue call for local, national and international action in a time of serious need for we planetary occupants to pay much more attention to what we are doing to the planet (destroying our life support system at a seemingly indiscernible rate, with enormous consequences given ubiquitous inaction). This is the major problem that Contract addresses.

Contract might be summarized as a re-call of Teddy Roosevelt conservationism with emphasis on the authors’ new advocacy of entrepreneurial environmentalism. All this verges on a matter of insistence, which is good, even great, if twice as many folks that are engaged in the present environmental movement read and heed… Then engage at least one neo-conservationist politician on the need to take on stewardship of the environment as a major issue in the current election debates. We can do it!

As the authors astutely note: Everyone ought to participate in discussions of environmental policies and to that end should have a rudimentary understanding of the processes that make a habitable planet.

Of particular importance in the current elections scenario, the authors identify the need to get the environment elevated as arguably the most important issue confronting society today. How can presidential candidates not pay attention to long-term effects of climate change, and the need for conservation and preservation of what remains of our life support system? A bonus is a call for strategic planning, and adherence to planetary needs.

The authors acknowledge that insufficient attention is being paid by politicians, and with the rest of us, lament that the current administration has been a failure here, even with the late attempt at for lasting legacy to cover inaction regarding potential disastrous consequences in the future.

The author’s define the distinction between conservation and preservation in a manner that deserves further consideration. That is left for future readers to discover, in a book that is worth reading, and begging for action by the non-reactive information-overloaded majority.

As President of a tree-planting organization, my most favorite spot in this book is Chapter 8: Renewing the Natural World. This chapter emphasizes the need to preserve rainforests and restore forests and wetlands. Here in Florida we call them forested wetlands, or swamps (lots of cypress and custard apple trees and related species normally in standing water). In the sequence of quotable quotes at the beginning of each chapter, Chapter 8 also holds my favorite quote:

Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest perseveration would vanish. John Muir [Founder Sierra Club]; there were also lots of pine trees in Florida. The past-tense is not good.

This quote is an appropriate sequel to another salient section in Chapter 10, with the mention of Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Louv amplifies the need for the younger generation to be more exposed to nature, as previous generations were. Something is missing. Louv points out that staying indoors in front of a computer, rather than more exposure to nature, may lead to nature deficit disorder, which he relates to potential attention deficit disorder and maladjustments in life.

As a sixth generation Floridian, following progress of the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) I very much appreciate Newt’s observation on page 226:

“Florida has the opportunity to become a laboratory that the entire world studies… There are very few places where you have a complex fragile ecosystem this close to this many people”. Newt, Associated Press, 1997. Recent AP headlines – Everglades Restoration bogged down – is inappropriate.

The authors also recognize that the proximity of massive land-fills (Mt. Trashmore’s we call them) to the Everglades are inappropriate to conservation and preservation of important ecosystems. Currently, local government is considering locating a Mt. Trashmore right next to the Arthur R. Marshall National Wildlife Refuge, a primary subject of CERP implementation. Not only will the landfill be a dominant terrain feature, the creatures this will attract will pose a serious threat to native wildlife, especially wading birds. This could also pose a serious threat to federal funding.

The authors also implore us (again!) to think globally and act locally. OK Palm Beachers, CERP implementation is also about sustaining a viable water supply. This is need to know stuff.

Unfortunately the behavior of government toward CERP, especially in the current federal administration, is much like the authors describe:

The American government, however continues to posture and vent, unable or unwilling to commit or act decisively…. Except possibly to give development overwhelming priority.

If there is one thing that might call for a little reconsideration, it is the authors’ inclination to view technological solutions as sometimes preferable to natural one’s, without mentioning the precautionary principle, an approach advocated by scientists when there is a dearth of knowledge. Scientists caution on reliance of engineered solutions, as there are always unforeseen, usually adverse consequences here. Humankind’s intrusions require natural solutions. Natural solutions are most often perpetual, and the most cost-effective. OK, green energy may be an exception.

At the onset, Contract challenges the readers to take a Test to determine whether (or not) you (the reader) is a mainstream environmentalist. In the end the authors challenge the readers to support the broad principles of the contract, by contributing time and ideas to create together a new kind of environmental movement.

From the Everglades Restoration endeavor, a more widely applicable quote is attributed to the Mother of the Everglades, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, author of Everglades, River of Grass:

If we pass the Test we get to keep the planet!

DISCLAIMER: The Author of this review, an Everglades restoration advocate, is not a professional book reviewer.

John Arthur Marshall
2806 South Dixie Highway, WPB 33405; 561-801-2165


On the other hand:

Same old, same old, April 18, 2008

By  Arthur E. Lamontagne

A lot of rehash of old ideas and trite science. I was disappointed, especially since I have been a big fan of Newt’s philosophies and politics.

If you want to hear what the great man himself thinks try, are you ready for it?, newt.org:



Scientist Fred Bortz sees it a little different:


I am a scientist, and I vote. To put this review in context, I place myself in the moderate to progressive segment of American politics. But I never let my political views get in the way of interpreting what observation, experiment, and scientific analysis tell me about the world.

For instance, when I reviewed Chris Mooney’s provocative The Republican War on Science (RWOS), my first reaction was skepticism. “Show me the evidence,” I demanded of that book. In the end, Mooney’s thorough research persuaded me that his thesis deserved serious consideration.

RWOS covered a broad range of topics, but the one of greatest concern to me was the political foot-dragging and outright denial of human-induced global warming, especially in the Republican controlled congress and the George W. Bush White House.

I often wrote in my blog that I would listen to any proposed political solution to the problem–liberal, conservative, or otherwise–as long as the discussion began with the best understanding of the science and considered a range of plausible scenarios. Thus I was heartened to learn of this new book by one of the United States leading conservative thinkers, Newt Gingrich, in collaboration with conservationist Terry Maple.

I assumed that I would disagree with Gingrich’s proposed political approaches. But I also assumed that the book will make an important contribution to the debate on global warming. I was correct on both counts. A Contract With the Earth has the potential to move the debate away from whether global warming is occurring and whether human activities are causing it, and move toward issues where conservatives and liberals argue about how best to deal with the problem.

However, I am disappointed that it pussyfoots around the Right’s nonsense about calling global warming a hoax and a liberal conspiracy. Gingrich frequently points fingers at the Left for their “doomsday scenarios.” I disagree with that characterization, though I understand that a warning can be delivered too stridently, thereby turning off the people you hope to reach.

But if turning people away from the solution is a problem, then Gingrich needs to be equally critical of outright denialism on the Right. To deny and obfuscate is far more than simply to “disdain” environmental action, which is about as far as he goes in criticizing his own party. He may not have agreed with leading denier Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, but by remaining quiet he facilitated Inhofe’s misuse of his Chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works to block action on global warming. In this book, Gingrich is continuing to give Inhofe and his cronies a pass.

In other words, I don’t doubt his sincerity about the need to act, and I don’t question the value of conservative approaches to the solution. But Gingrich is clearly worried about his right flank in this book. Mainstream Republicans have known for some time that global warming is a problem and would welcome some courageous leadership from Gingrich. Instead, many of them will see this as opportunism by someone who wants to be president and thus can’t afford to alienate the Right.

Physicist Fred Bortz is the author of numerous science books for young readers.


Leave it to the Washington Post to get it right:


Green Republicans

A review by Juliet Eilperin

Yet they gloss over some of the toughest questions facing international policymakers today, and they compare the environmental records of Bush and former President Bill Clinton in a way that strains credulity.  

On the central question of global warming, Gingrich and Maple are closer to Bush than to most of the world’s business and political leaders. They argue that climate change poses a serious threat and that the United States should reengage in international negotiations. But they question the wisdom of imposing a mandatory, nationwide cap on carbon emissions on the grounds that Europe’s carbon dioxide emissions rose faster than America’s between 2000 and 2004. (It’s worth noting that since 2000, U.S. emissions have risen at 1.5 times the rate they did in the 1990s, not exactly a stunning model of restraint.) Like Bush, Gingrich and Maple rest their hopes on technological innovation: “The world can be changed faster by the spread of brilliant ideas than by any plodding bureaucracy, and we gladly put our faith in such intellectual and social processes.”

In that sense this book is classic Newt, brimming with military metaphors and grand visions of America leading the rest of globe to a brighter future. In environmentalism, as in war, “we must demand a complete and decisive victory,” the authors say. “Renewing the earth is surely one of the greatest challenges this generation has confronted, and we understand how important it is to succeed.”

To show the value of what they call “business partnerships on behalf of the environment,” the authors describe how the Nature Conservancy, Conservation International and the Wildlife Conservation Society have made common cause with such corporate entities as Wal-Mart and McDonald’s. As a result, much of the book reads like the kind of corporate advertisement that appears on newspaper op-ed pages. Gingrich and Maple contend that the private sector, not government, holds the answers to the globe’s biggest problems. The question is whether people in places such as Bangladesh can afford to wait and see if they’re right.

Juliet Eilperin is the Post‘s national environmental reporter.



The Hummer Cheaper To Operate Than The Prius – 2008 seems to be an entirely different than 2007

Again the theme this week is Silly Energy Uses:





Dust to dumb

Prius easily beats Hummer in lifecycle energy use; ‘Dust to Dust’ report has no basis in fact

Posted by Joseph Romm (Guest Contributor) at 12:42 PM on 27 Aug 2007

Read more about: cars | Prius | energy | ecological footprint | insanity | electric vehicles

Tools: print | email | + digg | + del.icio.us | + reddit | + stumbleupon


A study came out recently claiming to prove a Hummer has lower lifecycle energy use than a Prius. Because the result was so obviously bogus — and in sharp contradiction with every other major lifecycle analysis ever done — I didn’t spend time debunking it.

But it made it into the comments of my blog and continues to echo around the internet, and the authors keep updating and defending it. A couple of good debunking studies — by the Pacific Institute (PDF) and by Rocky Mountain Institute (PDF) — haven’t gotten much attention, according to Technorati, so let me throw in my two cents.

The study’s title is revealing: Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal, The non-technical report, from CNW Marketing Research, Inc. Yes, although lifecycle energy use is probably the most complicated kind of energy analysis you can do, this 458-page report is “non-technical” and by a market research company to boot.

Their website says the report “does not include issues of gigajuelles [sic!], kW hours or other unfriendly (to consumers) terms. Perhaps, in time, we will release our data in such technical terms. First, however, we will only look at the energy consumption cost.”

Wouldn’t want to confuse consumers with unfriendly technical stuff like kilowatt-hours, like those annoying electric utilities do every month. No, let’s put everything in dollar terms so no one can reproduce our results. When you misspell gigajoules on your website — and have for a long time (try googling “gigajuelles”) … you aren’t the most technical bunch.

I am mocking this report because it is the most contrived and mistake-filled study I have ever seen — by far (and that’s saying a lot, since I worked for the federal government for five years). I am not certain there is an accurate calculation in the entire report. I say this without fear of contradiction, because this is also the most opaque study I have ever seen — by far. I defy anyone to figure out their methodology.


So what is a sillier use of energy, saying that a Hummer is cheaper overall than a Prius or debunking it? Wouldn’t it be simplier to just point out that they are industry FLACKs that have been sucking up to the auto industry since 1984?
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Ed Begley, Jr. And His Bicycle Powered Toaster – Is this really good for the environment?

Is Ed Begley, Jr.  Silly? The answer is not so easy to discern.




September 17, 2007 5:01 AM PDT

Human energy harvesting–

a very silly idea

Posted by Peter Glaskowsky


Power to the people” was a popular rallying cry among anti-establishment activists in the 1960s.

“Power from the people” appears to be the latter-day equivalent.

The theory behind the slogan is that humans move around a lot, and the only result of all this motion is that the humans end up in a different place.

According to some, this isn’t good enough.

The MIT News reports that two MIT graduate students in architecture have proposed to extract energy from the motion of humans through public spaces such as train stations:

A responsive sub-flooring system made up of blocks that depress slightly under the force of human steps would be installed beneath the station’s main lobby. The slippage of the blocks against one another as people walked would generate power through the principle of the dynamo, a device that converts the energy of motion into that of an electric current.

But if there’s enough motion to provide harvestable energy, there’s enough motion for the humans to notice. Ever walked along a pedestrian suspension bridge that bounced under your feet? It takes more energy to walk on such a surface than it does on a rigid surface.

Where does that energy come from? From you, of course. It’s like carrying a parasite that takes a little bit of your energy. In fact, this approach is also called parasitic power generation. By keeping the parasite fed, you get a little more tired and you eat a little more food. In effect, you become a highly inefficient motor that runs on food.

Food calories are inefficient to produce. A wheat field is a giant biochemical solar panel that turns a small part of the sun’s energy into chemical compounds that you can eat.

And then those compounds have to be kept cool and transported large distances, then cooked and eaten. By comparison, traditional electric power generation is hugely more efficient.

So when you see celebrity Ed Begley Jr. using a stationary bicycle to turn a generator to power his toaster, remember that this is a crime against the environment–not environmentalism.

The same goes for parasitic energy generation–it creates exceptionally expensive energy. Nevertheless, there are places where this approach is entirely appropriate.


Piezoelectric energy harvesting

The piezoelectric effect converts mechanical strain into electrical current or voltage. This strain can come from many different sources. Human motion, low-frequency seismic vibrations, and acoustic noise are everyday examples. Except in rare instances the piezoelectric effect operates in AC requiring time-varying inputs at mechanical resonance to be efficient.

Most piezoelectric electricity sources produce power on the order of milliwatts, too small for system application, but enough for hand-held devices such as some commercially-available self-winding wristwatches. One proposal is that they are used for micro-scale devices, such as in a device harvesting micro-hydraulic energy. In this device, the flow of pressurized hydraulic fluid drives a reciprocating piston supported by three piezoelectric elements which convert the pressure fluctuations into an alternating current.

Piezoelectric systems can convert motion from the human body into electrical power. DARPA has funded efforts to harness energy from leg and arm motion, shoe impacts, and blood pressure for low level power to implantable or wearable sensors. Careful design is needed to minimise user discomfort. These energy harvesting sources by association have an impact on the body. An international Workshop is organized by Virginia Tech on Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting [2] every year which reviews the past developments and current state of the technology .

The use of piezoelectric materials to harvest power has already become popular. Piezoelectric materials have the ability to transform mechanical strain energy into electrical charge. Piezo elements are being embedded in walkways [3] [4] to recover the “people energy” of footsteps. They can also be embedded in shoes [5] to recover “walking energy”.

Pyroelectric energy harvesting

The pyroelectric effect converts a temperature change into electrical current or voltage. It is analogous to the piezoelectric effect, which is another type of ferroelectric behavior. Like piezoelectricity, pyroelectricity requires time-varying inputs and suffers from small power outputs in energy harvesting applications. One key advantage of pyroelectrics over thermoelectrics is that many pyroelectric materials are stable up to 1200 C or more, enabling energy harvesting from high temperature sources and thus increasing thermodynamic efficiency. There is a pyroelectric scavenging device that was recently introduced, however, that doesn’t require time-varying inputs. The energy-harvesting device uses the edge-depolarizing electric field of a heated pyroelectric to convert heat energy into mechanical energy instead of drawing electric current off two plates attached to the crystal-faces. Moreover, stages of the novel pyroelectric heat engine can be cascaded in order to improve the Carnot efficiency.


(:=}) The Human Batterry site is a movie site using a flash player technique. It argues that many houses use 3,000 watts a day that can be offset by energy harvest. There is also a game where you can generate electricity from typing on the key board of your computer. (:=})


This month’s Works in Progress column has four contributions. The first examines how harvesting environmental energy in sensor networks changes the way an application developer views energy management, and discusses prototype devices. The second proposes devices that combine energy harvesting and data acquisition. The third explores novel approaches for optimizing the power extracted using piezoelectric materials. The final one explores kinetic and thermal energy harvesting from human users’ activities.


As the power requirements for microelectronics continue decreasing, environmental energy sources can begin to replace batteries in certain wearable subsystems. In this spirit, this paper examines three different devices that can be built into a shoe, (where excess energy is readily harvested) and used for generating electrical power “parasitically” while walking. Two of these are piezoelectric in nature: a unimorph strip made from piezoceramic composite material and a stave made from a multilayer laminate of PVDF foil. The third is a shoe-mounted rotary magnetic generator. Test results are given for these systems, their relative merits and compromises are discussed, and suggestions are proposed for improvements and potential applications in wearable systems. As a self-powered application example, a system had been built around the piezoelectric shoes that periodically broadcasts a digital RFID as the bearer wal


Over the past few decades, the use of portable and wearable electronics has grown steadily. These devices are becoming increasingly more powerful, however, the gains that have been made in the device performance has resulted in the need for significantly higher power to operate the electronics. This issue has been further complicated due to the stagnate growth of battery technology over the past decade. In order to increase the life of these electronics, researchers have begun investigating methods of generating energy from ambient sources such that the life of the electronics can be prolonged. Recent developments in the field have led to the design of a number of mechanisms that can be used to generate electrical energy, from a variety of sources including thermal, solar, strain, inertia, etc. Many of these energy sources are available for use with humans, but their use must be carefully considered such that parasitic effects that could disrupt the user’s gait or endurance are avoided. This study develops a novel energy harvesting backpack that can generate electrical energy from the differential forces between the wearer and the pack. The goal of this system is to make the energy harvesting device transparent to the wearer such that his or her endurance and dexterity is not compromised. This will be accomplished by replacing the strap buckle with a mechanically amplified piezoelectric stack actuator. Piezoelectric stack actuators have found little use in energy harvesting applications due to their high stiffness which makes straining the material difficult. This issue will be alleviated using a mechanically amplified stack which allows the relatively low forces generated by the pack to be transformed to high forces on the piezoelectric stack. This paper will develop a theoretical model of the piezoelectric buckle and perform experimental testing to validate the model accuracy and energy harvesting performance.



The Topic Of The Week Is Silly Energy Uses – As typed in at Google

I was shocked when I type in Silly Energy Uses into Google and got back 8 out of 10 references to Sarah Palin. But then I thought about it and realised that the Drill Here, Drill Now crowd does look silly, with oil prices in the 50$$ per barrel range and maybe going to 40$$ a barrel. The Saudis, the Ruskies and the Venezualans (should we call them Vennies?) have got to be looking to kill a bunch of Hedge Fund Operators and other bizzilionaires. Though the Brazilians (Brazzies?)got pletty of crap all over their faces too. What in the world are they going to do with all those oil rigs?

I have not had so much laughter and fun since the gas lines in the 70’s and the recession that led up to globalization in the 80s.



Sarah Palin’s silly energy speech

When the announcement that John McCain had chosen Sarah Palin to be his running mate broke across the political landscape like an Alaskan mountain avalanche, many analysts, including yours truly, jumped to the conclusion that her background in energy issues made her a savvy choice in an era of record-breaking oil prices. McCain’s “drill here, drill now” mantra was taking a bite out of Obama’s poll numbers, and the immediate expectation was that Palin would be a potent vehicle for delivering energy-related soundbites.

But it didn’t turn out that way. On Wednesday morning, oil traded at $65 dollars a barrel, more than 50 percent off its July peak of $147. The financial crisis proved more riveting than gas prices, and Sarah Palin’s rocky performance as a debutante on the national political stage swiftly obliterated the conventional wisdom that she could be an asset to the McCain campaign.


But Palin’s speech is still worth some attention, because it clearly makes the case for why the McCain-Palin agenda is fundamentally wrong for the United States.

Palin started off by acknowledging that “the price of oil is declining largely because of the market’s expectation of a broad recession that would lower demand.” She was absolutely correct to note that “this is hardly a good sign of things to come,” and that “when our economy recovers, and growth once again creates new demand, we could run into the same brick wall of rising oil and gasoline prices.”

(:=} even the Saudis got to get into the act)


 LONDON — The slump in oil prices has spread relief among consumers and fuel-reliant industries, but also is squeezing the companies who could invest in new sources of oil — spurring concerns that prices will prompt them to shelve investments.

Industry executives warn that could mean the world will face a dramatic ramping up of prices as soon as the global economy, and demand, begins to rebound.

“Low oil prices are very dangerous for the world economy,” said Mohamed Bin Dhaen Al Hamli, the United Arab Emirates’ energy minister, speaking Tuesday at an oil-industry conference in London. 


The piece drew many comments but the first is the most rational. Then they decay into the IT CAN’T BE DONE comments from the ignorant right. As usual.


What we need is a commitment to relatively low-tech alternative energy

Solar satellites and fusion energy are pie-in-the-sky ideas that have been around forever and have yielded little practical promise. Existing earth-based solar collector and wind farm technology could provide a substantial percentage of our energy needs right now. Dedicating a few hundred square miles of CA/NV desert land to a massive solar collector that could provide 100% of U.S. electrical needs would be a worthy investment.


Both the McCain/Palin campaign and the Obama/Biden campaign are making unrealistic promises about the prospect of reaching energy independence. As Obama himself notes, when you consume 25 percent of the world’s oil but own only 3 percent of the world’s oil reserves, energy independence isn’t ever going to come from expanding domestic production.The difference between the two campaigns is that McCain/Palin is more unrealistic. Obama has made it clear that his energy independence plan will requires massive expansion of alternative and renewable energy resources and huge investments in conservation and energy efficiency, even as he acknowledges that more investment in offshore drilling, nuclear power, and clean coal will also most likely be necessary. (McCain and Palin routinely misrepresent Obama’s position on nuclear power and clean coal, and the vice presidential candidate did so again today.)Palin devoted one paragraph of her energy security policy speech to alternative energy solutions.

In our administration, that will mean harnessing alternative sources of energy, like wind and solar. We will end subsidies and tariffs that drive prices up, and provide tax credits indexed to low automobile carbon emissions. We will encourage Americans to be part of the solution by taking steps in their everyday lives that conserve more and use less. And we will control greenhouse gas emissions by giving American businesses new incentives and new rewards to seek, instead of just giving them new taxes to pay and new orders to follow.

That’s not enough. True leadership on energy requires devoting more than one paragraph to vague handwaving about wind and solar and greenhouse gas emissions. Economic turmoil and low oil prices may have shunted renewables and conservation off the main track for now, but to quote Palin, “this is hardly a sign of good things to come.”


But then the real waste of Energy was people trying to “figure out the real” John McCain. He was the guy who wanted to build 100 NUKES and was too old and out of touch to be President.


 By TIM DICKINSON Posted Oct 16, 2008 7:00 PM

This is the story of the real John McCain, the one who has been hiding in plain sight. It is the story of a man who has consistently put his own advancement above all else, a man willing to say and do anything to achieve his ultimate ambition: to become commander in chief, ascending to the one position that would finally enable him to outrank his four-star father and grandfather.

In its broad strokes, McCain’s life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers’ powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives’ evangelical churches.


On the grounds between the two brick colleges, the chitchat between the scion of four-star admirals and the son of a prizefighter turns to their academic travels; both colleges sponsor a trip abroad for young officers to network with military and political leaders in a distant corner of the globe.

“I’m going to the Middle East,” Dramesi says. “Turkey, Kuwait, Lebanon, Iran.”

“Why are you going to the Middle East?” McCain asks, dismissively.

“It’s a place we’re probably going to have some problems,” Dramesi says.

“Why? Where are you going to, John?”

“Oh, I’m going to Rio.”

“What the hell are you going to Rio for?”

McCain, a married father of three, shrugs.

“I got a better chance of getting laid.”