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What will Replace Oil?

By B. Adrian White
December 17, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources, Electric Sources, Energy Sources, Green Economy, Reusable Energy

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Oil, black gold, Texas tea; it made old Jed a millionaire. It is the stuff that created the suburbs, that got us to the moon, that made OPEC a world power. And now, we are running out of it. And go figure, it wreaks havoc with our climate when we burn too much and we do burn way too much of the stuff.

So what do we do? We have to change right? But that can be tricky. What can take the place of oil? Not coal certainly. I can tell you, I am not excited about trading global climate change for the increased destruction of our planet by acid rain. And the last thing I want to see are even higher mercury levels in the food we eat and the air we breathe. It’s not safe for pregnant women to eat a can of tuna a month, tell me that isn’t crazy.
Nuclear power? I have one word; spent fuel rods. Okay that’s three words but I think my point is made. We don’t do well with radiation, period. So nuclear is out.

What’s left then? Is there one source of energy that can take oil’s place? Honestly, I don’t think so. In fact this is one guy who sees us doing what we humans do best; we will change and adapt. That’s right; we humans are the best adapters of all living things. I don’t want to hear about the cockroach or mice or rats. None of those species could live for more than a few hours in Antarctica without our help. We can adapt and live in the coldest place on earth as well as the hottest. Hey, we have lived in space. I’d like to see a cockroach build a rocket and fly to the moon. Nope, when it comes to adaptation we rule.

So the way I see it, we are due for a paradigm shift. For the industrial revolution we started burning coal and making steam because we knew wood and manual labor just couldn’t cut it anymore. Next we moved to oil for gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and rocket fuel. …read more of What will Replace Oil? here

 
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Geothermal My Volt

By Eytan Krasilovsky
December 8, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources, Energy Sources, Research and Development

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Assuming GM doesn’t go belly-up and people buy their new electric hybrid car the Volt, there is a slim chance you could charge it up from electricity generated from geothermal sources. Your chances increase slightly if you’re in northern California since you might be getting your electricity from the Geysers, the world’s largest producer of electricity from geothermal sources.

This type of power needs to be sited in a literal hotspot. The two main technologies need to access sub-surface temperatures that range from 100 – 300°F for binary technology or >300°F for steam technology. Both require …read more of Geothermal My Volt here

 
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Geothermal Me! Heat from the Earth for your Home

By Eytan Krasilovsky
November 27, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources, Energy Sources, Heating Sources

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Geothermal energy is a proven method for small and large scale heating and cooling applications as well as large scale electric generation. It is also a very low carbon approach, though it is not without its drawbacks at each of the scales of operations.

The shallow (10-20 foot) method for geothermal heating and cooling schemes happens to be the most economical entry point for homes and small businesses, though it does require baseline electricity for pump and fan operation. The drilling is minimal due to the shallow access and far less electricity (and natural gas, oil, or propane) is used compared to traditional heating and cooling systems. Additionally, if electricity is sourced from renewables, then additional fossil fuel use is displaced and a lower carbon footprint is achieved.

The major drawback to “shallow” geothermal heating and cooling is if you live on a small plot of land or in the heart of a major city where …read more of Geothermal Me! Heat from the Earth for your Home here

 
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Turbines – A Viable Alternative?

By Natasha Whitney
November 3, 2008
File under: Alternative Sources, Energy Sources

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What do George W. Bush, Jay Leno, and New York Mayor Bloomberg have in common? They’ve all installed small-scale wind turbines on their properties. Small-scale turbines, those that are less than 10 m in height and deliver less than 100kW at maximum power, are the new rage in independent-energy generation. The 9,000 small turbines sold in the U.S. last year are generating enough energy to power 7,000 American homes.

Does this mean that “the answer is blowing in the wind”. Not necessarily, there are a slew of concerns with small-scale wind turbines not to mention several publicized wind-farm blunders such as broken blades and killing bats. …read more of Turbines – A Viable Alternative? here

 
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Dig, Cut, or Drill?

By Eytan Krasilovsky
October 24, 2008
File under: Energy Sources

Dig Cut DrillBeing a new father, I value the future and the quality of that future more than ever. Though I’m not worried about a Hollywood style “big melt,” there are un-doubtedly major changes brewing in our world’s natural systems that will affect our lives and the lives of our children and grandchildren.I have also studied and now work in natural resources, forests specifically, and have heard folks tout the promise of renewable energy.  In forestry that usually refers to biomass. The quickest way to generate forest biomass is through a clear-cut, which is a socially and ecologically unacceptable method. Though there are other ways to procure forest biomass, solar and wind always seemed “greener” to me.There is no one solution to our environmental ills, but the development and use of renewable energy sources rather than non-renewables (fossil fuels) is a move in the right direction. …read more of Dig, Cut, or Drill? here

 
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