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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Your Green Energy News Center (Page 12)

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Author Topic: Your Green Energy News Center
aspectre
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_nitrogen_economy
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Glenn Arnold
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Why?
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Enigmatic
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Increased chances of totally sweet movie car chases resulting in freezing accidents like the liquid nitrogen spill near the end of Terminator 2. That's the best reason.

--Enigmatic

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Glenn Arnold
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Well, that answers that question.

Of course, this is coming from someone who regularly runs a steam engine on LN2, so why should I talk?

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aspectre
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More on the nuclear shed from HyperionPowerGeneration
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Earendil18
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http://www.rmi.org/

Best people ever. Google fed. Yay for smart people doing stuff.

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aspectre
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Arboform plastic made from wood waste-product of paper-making.

[ December 24, 2008, 08:13 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Lyrhawn
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That's extremely excellent news. I knew that they'd been working on some breakthroughs with bio-plastics for awhile now. The technology is more than 50 years old, but petroleum won for reasons I can't remember and wasn't touched seriously for decades. Ford recently revived it pretty seriously, when they invented several forms of bio-foam instead of petroleum based foams to use in their cars.

I'm glad to see this extending to other applications, and furthermore, it's awesome to see them actually using waste products to make it. Too cool.

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Jhai
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A court reinstated CAIR (Clean Air Interstate Rule - it regulates pollutants produced by industry, especially power plants), giving the EPA some time to fix their seriously flawed rule. It's fairly good news for the power industry too - everyone has been struggling with the lack of knowledge about what the EPA will be requiring in the future. It'd be better if EPA could just fix it though, so there'd be a long-term framework set up that the power industry could rely on.
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aspectre
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~$3/ £2 LightEmittingDiodes to replace equivalently bright incandescent and fluorescent bulbs at 1/4th the overall power consumption: ie greater savings for incandescents and lesser for fluorescents.

BTW: 100,000hours = ~11years&5months of continuous use
So a 60year-lifetime through typical on&off cycles seems a bit overly optimistic.

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DarkKnight
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Calif. weighs tough TV energy standards (AP)
quote:
The California Energy Commission is expected to adopt rules this summer requiring retailers by 2011 to sell only TVs that meet guidelines of the federal Energy Star program, which is generally voluntary. The proposal includes labeling that tells California buyers how much of their utility bill goes to powering their flat-screen.

"That's one of the things nobody even talks about," said Doug Pongrazc, a chef who was shopping for a flat-screen TV recently at a Best Buy store in the Sacramento area. "How much electricity do these things suck up?"

TV dealers are warning that consumers will simply buy their sets online if they can't find the models they want in California stores. The rules would be the country's first mandatory energy standards for televisions and would further tighten in 2013.

California utilities and environmental groups say the rules will play a key role in reducing electricity use as consumers buy larger TVs and bars and restaurants install more flat-screens to draw customers. Serving a population of nearly 38 million, California's uneven energy supplies often result in threats of blackouts on the hottest days.


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aspectre
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World's largest windturbine being tested in Germany
More informative diagram from the same article

Aggregating info for future reference:
10 rotor-diameters between windturbines to minimize mutual wind interference on sites without a prevailing wind direction
10 rotor-radii circular area per windturbine
20.7816354hectare/51.3523acre circular clearance per megawatt
22.915hectare/56.624acre close-packing hexagon per megawatt
2.133hectares/5.271acres per megawatt suitable for housing
11.3Megawatts per square mile. Less than 1% of total land usage devoted to windturbine base, road access, and power distribution. More than 99% suitable for ranching, farming, and nature preserves.
1 square mile = 2.59 square kilometres = 640acres = 259hectares

Clean electricity from windturbines allow EuropeanUnion carbon credits to be shifted for use by dirtier coal-fired powerplants.

Cod farming in Norwegian fjords
Jellyfish wipe out two salmon farms in NorthernIreland

[ November 27, 2009, 05:58 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
Clean electricity from windturbines allow EuropeanUnion carbon credits to be shifed for use by dirtier coal-fired powerplants.
This bothers me about cap and trade policies and the CAFE standard: the idea is to work toward progress, not just to forestall the inevitable. The CAFE standard was supposed to increase as technology made it possible, but politics caused it to stagnate, and the industry found the SUV loophole, making the whole idea impotent.

Cap and trade policies for industrial CO2 emissions should have built in controls to keep pressure on industry to move away from old technology. Based on what I saw in the article, it seems that as new clean power lowers the value of carbon credits, the number of credits should be reduced to change the price and keep the value constant, adjusted for inflation.

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fugu13
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Glenn: this is actually a strength of cap and trade. You issue credits to target a particular level of emissions, total, and then the credits are traded around among polluters, so the pollution is reduced in the cheapest way possible.

You don't reduce the number of credits to keep price constant, you reduce the number of credits if you want the total amount of pollution to be less. So long as emitters are kept to the limits of their credits (and the total number of credits is at a level acceptable), a low price is a good thing. It means people have found alternatives to polluting activities that they value.

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Jhai
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Also, at this point, it's unclear what technology the power industry can change to. If you push to fast, all you're going to end up with is brownouts. If you push the cost up of CO2 too much (via limitations on the number of credit available) all of the older coal plants in the US are just going to be taken off-line since they won't be profitable. Wind power is already responsible for a few plants being retired in the US - they hurt the sales of the plant during the off-peak hours when the wind is going the strongest and energy demand is the lowest. In some areas of the country wind crowds out most power sales of other plants during the night.

What do you do then? It takes anywhere from 3 to 8 years for another base level unit to be built in the US (more for nuclear), and wind isn't going to solve the problem - it isn't dependable when it's really needed, which is midday to early evening, especially in the summer (when A/C raises the energy demanded for most of the US). There are some regions of the US where this is becoming a significant problem - i.e. they won't be able to meet dependability requirements in the next couple of years, and there's no real plan to solve this problem.

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Lyrhawn
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There's are several forms of technology being worked on to make wind a constant power source regardless of when the wind blows, but it's still several years off, if it ends up even working out at all.
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Jhai
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
There's are several forms of technology being worked on to make wind a constant power source regardless of when the wind blows, but it's still several years off, if it ends up even working out at all.

I do agree that technology eventually will develop so that renewable resources are a more productive source of energy - but until they do, we need to plan to make energy ends meet with what we have.
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Glenn Arnold
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quote:
You don't reduce the number of credits to keep price constant, you reduce the number of credits if you want the total amount of pollution to be less.
First: Did you read the article?

Second: We DO want the total amount of pollution to be progressively less. As it is, the cap has no mechanism for reduction, unless the government gets together and passes a bill that reduces the number of credits. CAFE was supposed to be increased on a regular basis as technology improved, but since there was never the political will to increase it, it didn't happen, and fuel efficiency stagnated.

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fugu13
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Sorry, I hadn't realized which article you were commenting on.

Europe's current permit system isn't a real cap and trade system at all. They essentially hand out permits willy-nilly. Cap and trade has been implemented quite successfully, though, with sulfur dioxide. A successful carbon cap and trade system would probably be modeled off of that.

One important factor would also probably be to build the decreases in emissions into the original bill, and to empower (and require to target certain goals, so they can be forced by a court) an agency to adjust them within certain limits.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
So long as emitters are kept to the limits of their credits...
This seems to me to be the biggest problem. I've done a lot of research into carbon markets over the last few years, and have concluded that they're functionally unworkable due to the amount of regulation required (and the cost of that regulation). It's simply too easy to say "oh, I'm buying these carbon credits from this Chinese company that claims to have reduced its pollution by one-third," only to discover five years later that the Chinese company in question was lying about that reduction in tacit cooperation with their government's "inspectors." As long as these inspections are ultimately handled by local organizations, it seems to me that the international carbon credit trade is always at the mercy of the least honest country participating.
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fugu13
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Tom: if you can generate your own permits for supposed reductions, it isn't a cap and trade program. In a cap and trade program, permits are issued (uniquely identified and/or centrally tracked permits) for a total amount of emissions, either through some allocation system or through an auction (my preferred mechanism). Then, when someone pollutes, if they don't have enough permits to cover the amount they pollute, they need to buy some. Not from some random person who assures that they've reduced their emissions, but from someone else who needs enough permits to be able to pollute. All parties involved being checked (at least sufficiently to deter transgressors) for compliance.

Look at the sulfur dioxide markets in the US. They've worked really, really well.

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aspectre
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..."the median projected impact of climate policy on U.S. GDP is less than one-half of one percent for the period 2010-2030, and under three-quarters of one percent through the middle of the century." "Stavins' climate-cost calculations come in...ranging from less than 0.5 percent to 1 percent of U.S. GDP..."
"The Stern Review...concluded that...inaction could reduce global GDP by up to 20 percent."

Considering that 20% reduction is derived from the worst case scenario of 0.9% rise in carbon emissions per year using the '90s as the baseline, and the current rise in carbon emissions is 3.5% per year...
However
"What have we learned since the fourth assessment? We now know that, without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought.
If you look at the set of things that we can do as a society, taking aggressive action on climate seems like one that has the best possibility of a win-win. It can stimulate the economy, allow us to address critical environmental problems, and insure that we leave a sustainable world for our children and grandchildren.
Somehow we have to find a way to kick the process into high gear. We really have very little time."

[ February 16, 2009, 10:23 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Lyrhawn
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I know it's been ages since I've done any regular updates. Sorry about that! I've been crazy busy lately, and haven't been on Hatrack as much as I used to (though it might not seem like it), but I have a half hour to kill until my next class, so from what sites I could remember offhand, I pulled a few articles of interest. Enjoy!

Green spending in the stimulus bill and where it will go

Looking at the effects of renewable energy on the earth

$80 billion needed over the next 16 years if the east wants to get 20% of their power from wind

US labs testing bigger wind turbines.

My only comment on this last link, is that it seems a little silly to hype a 1.5MW turbine, even of that size, when Vestas has been installing 3MW turbines for years, and Britain is experimenting with a mammoth 5MW turbine in the coming years. And for that matter, Enercon is I think currently installing 6MW turbines in a couple locations.

Frankly I question whether bigger is better when it comes to turbines. Larger sizes just mean increased transportation and installation costs, even if they do provide a great deal more energy over the life of the turbine. I guess several mammoth turbines might be less of an eyesore and have a smaller impact than a great deal many smaller ones, but the rush to build bigger turbines I think is being done without looking at many of the drawbacks that are only being exacerbated by making them so big.

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Lyrhawn
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EPA sues Louisiana coal fired plant for not having proper pollution controls installed

150MW (or more) floating offshore wind power plant to be built off coast of Portugal

Oasys secures $10 million in funding for new Engineered Osmosis desalinization technology. The hype is that is uses 90% less fuel than more traditional reverse osmosis methods, which could have a huge impact on the demand for energy in drought stricken coastal areas that might soon have to resort to more and more desalinization technology as water becomes more and more of a finite resource.

MIT students invent new regenerative shock absorbers for vehicles

6GW of offshore wind power in the works for Scotland

Investments in efficiency could drop US electricity demand by a third

LEDs creeping up on flourescents in commercial lighting, but still pricey

California quadruples the amount of renewable energy installed from previous year. They brought 500MW of renewable power online last year.

Brightsource inks deal for 1.3GW of solar power for California. The technology involved is the "power tower" format, where thousands of mirrors track and focus the sun's rays on a large tower in the center with a steam turbine to generate power.

Breakthrough increases efficiency for small scale solar PVCs

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Lyrhawn
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LA is replacing all their street lamps with LEDs

EPA expected to rule on status of CO2 in the next few months...could have major impact

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Lyrhawn
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US leads the way on 140 nation treaty to reduce mercury emissions
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Tristan
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7938001.stm

Very interesting.

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aspectre
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Keeps the gas stations in business: a 180kiloWatt charger is well beyond anything folks could afford or would want at home.
Non-degradation is a big plus: current lithium batteries output decreases as the number of charge cycles increases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_Gasification_Combined_Cycle
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxy-fuel_combustion_process
Publicity video on carbon capture technology experiments being funded by the Feds

[ March 15, 2009, 06:35 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Lyrhawn
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eestor has been promising something similar (only better) for years now, though using a totally different technology.

It'll be neat if they can actually bring it to market in two or three years.

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aspectre
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Wind-powered land vehicle goes 126mph using 30mph winds.
Not particularly relevant to automobiles, yet useful inregards to how windturbines work.

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aspectre
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"The Tesla Model S all-electric sedan will travel 300 miles on one battery charge...and...can be recharged in 45 minutes.
The car is big enough to carry five adults, and fit two children in rear-facing seats in the trunk.
There is a touch screen in the console connected to the Internet and storage under the hood."

Taking a 45miniute break for every 4hours of driving seems extremely reasonable.
Heck with fuel savings factored in, $35thousand seems like a bargain taxi for places like NewYorkCity, which has mandated a switchover to higher-mileage/lower-pollution limo-service. And factory-installed Internet makes connecting riders an easy task.

[ March 29, 2009, 11:13 AM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Lyrhawn
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Depending on the maximum limit of charge/recharge cycles, I think that's pretty reasonable for almost every person. I don't know for sure, but I'm willing to be a LOT that far, far less than 1% of the driving population drives more than 300 miles in an average day. For a vacation sure, but even then a 45 minute break after 300 miles of driving is going to seem like more of a godsend than an annoyance I'd think.

The almost $50K is pricey, almost twice what a Prius costs, but the $100K+ Roadster sold out of its production run without any real problems. Considering what people were paying for huge and expensive SUVs that guzzle gas, I'd think a comparably priced Model S, which is flashy and gives them something to brag about, isn't unreasonable for the targeted part of the population it aims for.

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Glenn Arnold
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I'm wondering how they will continue to justify $100K for the roadster, which is half the car for twice the price.

I'm assuming that price will come down some as development costs are covered.

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aspectre
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Zero-to-Sixty in 3.9seconds with no experience and no acceleration humps.
Like asking to justify jewelry: there ain't ever been a good excuse for sports cars.

Heavier, faster, roomier and 50miles per gallon combined.

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Glenn Arnold
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Is it my imagination, or does the new Insight look remarkably like the Prius, including the split rear window with spoiler?
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aspectre
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Looks like the Ford Fiesta, too. When ya got engineers* shaping a vehicle around a 5passenger safety cage mounted on a rectangular frame for optimum mileage at varying speeds, aerodynamics doesn't leave much room for playing around with the external shape.

* Insteada execs who like being made to feel important through choosing amongst a buncha IDjit sketches by IndustrialDesigners: eg GM exCEO RickWaggoner's contributions to the ChevyVolt.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Cash for Clunkers and greenwashing higher overall carbon emissions.

The futility of consumerism is less obvious than the futility of heroin addiction...but...still the same paradigm.
comedian RusselBrand on FreshAir.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

http://www.beyondzeroemissions.org/node/290

[ April 08, 2009, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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aspectre
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"Power your home on 5litres of water per day" via cheaper catalyst for hydrogen generation.
Informative followup discussion on the article.

Archaean microbes turn electricity plus carbon dioxide plus water into methane fuel.

[ April 09, 2009, 10:59 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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aspectre
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Looks very much like "Gerbrand Ceder, at...(MIT)...and his colleagues used a computer simulation to model the movements of ions and electrons in a variant of the standard lithium material known as lithium iron phosphate." are engaging in USgovernment-sponsored patent*piracy.

"BYD claims to have achieved a breakthrough with its lithium ion ferrous phosphate technology...battery...more powerful and cheaper than those made by competitors,and the U.S. Department of Energy has purchased an F3DM to take the battery apart."

* "Enercon was prohibited from exporting their wind turbines to the US...due to alleged infringement of U.S. patent...Enercon claims their intellectual property was stolen by Kenetech...and patented in the US before they could do so...
...According to a [US NationalSecurityAgency] employee, detailed information concerning Enercon was passed on to Kenetech via ECHELON...the aim of the espionage against Enercon was the forwarding of details of Wobbens wind wheel to a US firm. The consequence was that the US firm patents the wind wheel before Wobben, resulting in a breach of patent rights."

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aspectre
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Haven't gotten a specific enough read of the new CAFE bill, but from the reports I've run across...
...looks like our "friends" in the Senate have pulled a fast&dirty: eliminated CaliforniaStandards entirely under the guise of setting a higher fleet mileage minimum.

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Jhai
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I don't think this has been linked before, but NPR has a great interactive chart of the US power grid and power plant system. We've been playing with it all day at my office.

The accompanying articles are also wonderful, but less fun.

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Lyrhawn
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Fascinating, and very well organized.

Thanks Jhai!

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Mucus
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quote:
Originally posted by aspectre:
... "BYD claims to have achieved a breakthrough with its lithium ion ferrous phosphate technology...battery...more powerful and cheaper than those made by competitors,and the U.S. Department of Energy has purchased an F3DM to take the battery apart."

Huh. Interesting article. I was wondering about the details of the BYD-BRK transaction in light of Buffet's normal reluctance to invest in technology companies.
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Lyrhawn
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If I had a nickel for every article I've read in the last year from a company claiming to have made a breakthrough in battery technology...
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Mucus
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Thats kind of what the article addresses.
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Tstorm
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That chart is not up-to-date. I know of two wind plants, at least, in Kansas, that are not illustrated. Both have come online within the last year, at the latest. (The Meridian Way farm in north-central Kansas, near my home, came online within the last several months. It produces ~100 MW at full capacity.) Also missing is the Lincoln County, KS farm.
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Jhai
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Yeah, it's quite clear it's not up to date. Frankly, it's extremely difficult to keep up with wind development lately. I spent nearly a week a few months back just trying to verify existing wind generation in the Texas Panhandle to Nebraska region (with a bit of Louisiana and Missouri thrown in for kicks) for a project we were working on in the region.
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Lyrhawn
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Phoenix AZ light rail line attracts 60% more riders than expected.

Sharp to release 9 models of LED bulbs designed for regular home lighting, including an adjustable model with variable color and light settings. That's a bit of a deal. They're only going to be released in Japan at first, but it's one of the first serious attempts to mass market LED lighting that fits existing sockets. The price will come down, as the price of CFLs have, but it's a big step.

High altitide wind power has greatest potential above some of world's most populous cities.

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aspectre
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Nuclear to replace coal in Ohio?
Frankly, I can't see trusting DukeEnergy executives with the responsibility of running a nuclear powerplant.

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AvidReader
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Why not? Duke already runs three nuclear plants. And while you may not approve of their business practices, they are holding fairly steady on their stock prices. They only dropped 21% over the past year while the S&P 500 as a whole dropped 37%. Their 3 and 5 year numbers are better, too.

They're hardly a fly-by night or a company with a record of unsafe practices. My dad used to work for tham and is still buying their stock. I guess that's the power equivilant of being willing to eat at a restaurant after you've worked in the kitchen. [Wink]

They're just big business. They need to be watched like any other big company.

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Juxtapose
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Pneumatic hybrid vehicles?

Have any of our more mechanically-minded members heard anything about this? Does it sound feasible?

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