Monday, October 26, 2009

Technologies part on alternative fuels

Technology is always on the fast track to changing things around in the world to meet our needs, whether it is for better or for worse. In the case of alternative fuels, technology is helping us turn things around for the positive. Louisiana Tech University developed a nanotechnology process that can immobilize expensive enzymes that are used to convert cellulose to sugars, allowing them to be reused several times over and over again, since the countries appetite for fuel cannot be satisfied with just traditional crops alone this process of reusing would be very beneficial to us. This process of reusing would also significantly reduce the cost from $32 million to $7.5 million.


By Andrew Kim


More information can be found at:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091008131858.htm

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Keep it Simple Stupid

As we look for alternative fuels to power our world there seems to be many alternatives, some more promising then others. The use of Aluminum may prove to be the best and simplest way we have found yet. The reaction using Aluminum, Gallium, and water may prove to be the cleanest fuel source we currently know of... when the reaction is over the only thing left is water! This amazing and promising discovery is a few years from being completely realized for powering cars and trucks, but as we ween ourselves off of fossil fuels there is hope in Hydrogen fuel cells. The greatest thing about news like this is there is hope! We have not explored all of our options and as our future may seem grim at times, ideas and discoveries such as this one helps us all look at the glass half full!

Read more about the article here
http://www.planetark.com/dailynewsstory.cfm/newsid/42012/story.htm

Friday, October 23, 2009

PGE Renewable Energy

I've done some research for myself and anybody who is a Portland General Electric customer and hasn't yet signed up for one of their renewable energy options. There are two renewable power options that you can enroll in as a residential customer. One is Green Source, whereby PGE guarantees that the amount of the electricity you use in your home will be replaced in the Northwest power grid by wind, geothermal, or biomass produced energy. This option costs an additional $.012 per kilowatt hour (kWh) on top of your existing energy bill. Last year the renewable energy supply mix for the Green Source option was approximately 85% wind and 15% biomass power. The New Wind option costs $3.50 per 200 kWh unit which breaks down to $.0175 per kWh. The New Wind energy supply mix is comprised of %100 wind power. In addition to paying for wind energy, the New Wind power option funds additional wind power construction in Oregon, and so the idea would be that you're buying into additional renewable energy for the state. When thinking about what option would be best for me I took my last months energy bill ($46.73), calculated the additional cost for the number of kWh I used (408 kWh), which was $4.89 for Green Source and about $7.00 for New Wind. That is an increase of 10.48% and 14.98% respectively. Based on this, I feel like the best option for me would be the Green Source option because I would like to support PGE renewable energy generation through my purchase, but I don't necessarily feel the need to personally fund their wind farm construction projects. Tonight I am switching my energy plan to Green Source and may someday move to New Wind because it is likely very beneficial to Oregon's environment and economy. I encourage other PGE to look into the costs and benefits of changing to a renewable energy plan. At www.portlandgeneral.com they even have a cost calculate that shows you how many trees you'll save. Making this switch can be an important step in moving towards a sustainable fuel balance in your life!

-Damen King

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alternative Fuel

The United States spent about $12 trillion on crude oil since the oikl embargo of the 70's. About 70% of the crude is used for transportation purposes. The United States has only about 5% of the world population and yet we put 25% of all pollutants in the air. "The Transportation sector is responsible for over half of the nation's air pollution" (www.oregon.gov)

The question that we need to ask is not when we will find an alternitive but when we are going to use what we already have.

I took a Sociology of Transportation class a few terms ago, it was quite enlightening. one of the books that we read was "Children of the Sun; A History of Humanity's Unappeasable Appetite for Energy" by Alfred Crosby. He says "Heat engines and electric power plants burning fossil fuel emit millions of tons of sulfer dioxides, nitrogen oxides and other pollutants into the air."

According to the Center for Desease control (www.cdc.gov) athsma is at an all time high in children and adults and the main cause is Environmental Exposure.

And according to Crosby our electrial usage has increased from 2000 Kilowatt-hours in 1950 to 12,700 in the year 2000.

We already have a viable alternitive, bio diesal, it cost less to make and to use. the United States is the largest purchaser of crude in the world.

We need to find more viable ways to reduce our contamination of the planet. Our Polar Ice Caps are melting. Our tempuratures are rising and people are dying because of it. If we continue at this rate we will not have a planet to leave our children

Monday, October 12, 2009

Alternative fuel for cars

Finding the right car and the best fuel option for your individual needs at http://www.carfueloptions.com/ The goal for the sight is to show people how they can save money, by choosing a different fuel alternative. This site is for car fuel alternatives and alternative engines. It goes into detail about diesel, hybrid, hydrogen, and nature gas.
by Charmaine Reddix

EarthTrends: Fossil Fuel Consumption

Energy is required for growth and development. We need energy to fulfill our most basic needs- from producing food to generating heat, energy is required on a daily basis. However, fossil fuels make up 80 percent of the world’s energy consumption, and this is problematic at best. Fossil fuels are unsustainable. They are “formed from the decay of plants and animals over millions of years, [and] our planet has a finite number of deposits.” (EarthTrends) In October of 2006, EarthTrends estimated that at the current consumption rates, about 155 years of coal, 65 years f natural gas, and 40 years of oil were left.

We also have to worry about the effects these fossil fuels are having on our environment. The “emission of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse’ gases from the combustion of these fuels is rapidly warming the planet, altering our climate system, and jeopardizing the well-being of both people and ecosystems. Fossil fuel combustion currently accounts for 61 percent of greenhouse gas emissions.” (EarthTrends)

Despite these disturbing facts, EarthTrends believes that we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Most importantly, we need to “develop fossil fuel energy alternatives, increase energy efficiency, and reduce energy consumption.” (EarthTrends) Various fossil fuel alternatives, such as solar power, hydropower, and biofuels are currently capable of providing sustainable energy. Also, EarthTrends emphasizes the importance of individual actions. Simple things, such as replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps or using public transport, help to use much less energy. Even turning off lights and electronics in your homes and offices reduces the amount of energy you consume.

EarthTrends stresses the importance of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels. On a larger scale, it asks countries to consider using alternative forms of energy and to increase energy efficiency by using technology and market mechanisms. It also offers us hope, and reminds each of us that there are simple things we can do to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.

All information provided by EarthTrends. To view the article, visit: http://earthtrends.wri.org/updates/node/100

Post by Alexandra West

Works Cited: EarthTrends. October 2006 Monthly Update: Fossil Fuel Consumption and its Implications. The World Resources Institute, 3 Nov. 2006. Web. 12 Oct. 2009.

A Piece Of The Green Puzzle

On October 2nd, President Barack Obama declared October as National Energy Awareness Month. He addresses how energy research and development will help our society on a number of levels, from helping to save the planet to helping to save our economy. While research and development is all good and well, we, as individual Americans, are supposed to be recognizing National Energy Awareness Month by "making clean energy choices that can both rebuild our economy and make it more sustainable". Not all of us are able to replace energy-inefficient appliances, or make other energy efficient installations, but most people could make minor changes that would make for smart energy-saving choices. Here are a few easy ideas from Blackle:



  • "Turn off everything not in use: lights, TVs, computers, etc."

  • "Activate "sleep" features on computers and office equipment that power down when not in use for a while. Turn off equipment during longer periods of non-use."

  • "Replace your five most used light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. These light bulbs use two-thirds less energy and last up to 10 times longer."

  • "Take your own reusable bags to do grocery shopping to save the unnecessary production of plastic bags."

  • "Drive sensibly. Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gasoline, it can lower your highway gas mileage 33% and city mileage 5%."


Are you doing your part as a piece of the Green Puzzle? For more great ideas on how to do your part during National Energy Awareness Month, check out Blackle, U.S. Department of Energy, or Flex Your Power.

Post by Kate Hill.