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Renewable Energy - for investors
18.02.2007 23:23

Fornybare energikilder vil bli en dominerende del av fremtiden, enten vi vil eller ikke.

Hva som skal konkurrere med ikke fornybare kilder, slik som dagens dominerende, fossile brennstoff er jo spørsmålet.

Forutsatt at våre politiske systemer består, vil det på lang sikt være markedet som avgjør (for det blir sannsynligvis et mylder av dem) hvilke.

På kortere sikt, vil andre krefter (som f.eks. politiske) være med å bestemme hastighet og retning på utviklingen.

Foreløpig inviterer jeg med-debattanter å bidra, siden jeg selv er "relativt grønn" på området.

Jeg har imidlertid langsiktige planer om å øke kompetansen på området, både som investor og fagmann.

Det finnes nok en rekke sider som behandler spørsmålene.

Jeg ønsker å få til en diskusjon med fokus på emnet og aktivitetene som foregår i Norge og ellers i verden primært som mulige investeringsobjekter.

Så får vi se hva det blir til.

Kom over en side som var sydd over lesten til det kjente Wikipedia internettleksika (men jeg vet ikke hvilken link det er mellom dem, om noen - foreløpig).


The community-built resource that focuses on
alternative, clean, practical, renewable energy solutions.

18.02.2007 23:24

FACTBOX-What are renewable energies?

Feb. 25, 2007

(This is part of a special report on renewable energy)

Following are frequently asked questions about renewable energies:


-- Renewable energies occur naturally and can be tapped again and again, unlike fossil fuels such as coal or oil, which take millions of years to form and can only be used once. Renewables include firewood, hydro, wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power.

-- The main renewable energy used worldwide is "biomass", mainly firewood or organic waste which is a main source of energy for more than two billion people in developing nations.

-- Biomass, which includes biofuels as a tiny fraction, accounted for about 10 percent of world primary energy use in 2004. Second was hydropower with a 2 percent share. Other major types of renewables -- wind, solar, geothermal and tidal power -- made up just one percent. By contrast, fossil fuels supply about 80 percent of world energy.


-- "Biomass is the oldest form of renewable energy exploited by mankind, mainly in the form of wood burnt to provide heat and light," the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a review.

-- The Ancient Egyptians harnessed the wind for sailing perhaps 5,500 years ago. Windmills have operated for centuries -- from the Netherlands to Spain, where Cervantes' fictional hero Don Quixote attacked some after mistaking them for giants.

-- Hydropower turbines were first used to generate electricity in the 1880s. Hydropower has been used for hundreds of years in watermills.

-- The sun is the basis for life on earth. Bell Laboratories in the United States patented the first solar cell based on silicon in 1955 -- exploiting photovoltaics to change sunlight into electricity. Another form of solar power -- concentrating the sun's rays to provide heat -- led to solar-powered steam engines in France in the 1860s.

-- Countries such as Iceland have long exploited hot water from geothermal sources. Italian engineers were first to tap geothermal power to generate electricity in Larderello in 1904.

-- France opened what is still the world's biggest tidal power plant in 1967 at La Rance, Normandy. Water is held back by a dam at high tide and drives turbines as the tide falls.


-- Clean energies don't run out and can be tapped in many parts of the world, meaning they can help governments break dependence on imported energy.

-- Some renewable energies -- wind, solar and waves -- don't produce the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). Others -- plant-derived fuels which are burnt such as biomass and biofuels -- only produce the same amount of CO2 that those plants originally absorbed. This is a critical advantage over fossil fuels like oil and coal for combatting climate change.

-- The U.N.'s climate panel said in a Feb. 2 report that carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels were "very likely" to be the main cause of global warming in the past 50 years.

-- Clean energies do not release other toxic pollutants associated with burning fossil fuels, and they do not have the risks or waste storage problems involved with nuclear power.


-- Cost. Many renewable energies cannot compete without subsidies against fossil fuels, even with oil at $60 a barrel.

-- The renewable energy lobby points out that the fossil fuel industry itself gets big subisidies and does not include the social cost of its greenhouse gas emissions.

-- Big improvements in competitiveness in recent years mean renewables are catching up with fossil fuels, with on-shore wind for example now broadly competitive.


-- The wind does not blow all the time, meaning windmills have to be backed up by other forms of electricity generation. Some people object to windmills, for instance, as eyesores.

-- Hydro power dams can cause huge disruptions -- more than one million people were forced to leave their homes by China's Three Gorges Dam, the biggest hydro project in the world.

-- The sun does not shine all day and solar power is best tapped in a "sunbelt" near the equator.

-- Geothermal power is often expensive to tap because of drilling costs.

-- Tidal power projects disrupt marine life in estuaries, only operate at falling tides and have to operate with only a few metres (yards) drop.


-- The IEA projects that renewables will gain overall to supply 13.7 percent of world primary energy by 2030 from 13.2 percent in 2004, in a scenario based on current trends. If governments do more to promote them, the share could rise to 16 percent.

-- The IEA reckons many renewable energies will have strong growth -- from a tiny base. But A decline in poverty would curb use of biomass as more people in developing nations get connected to electricity grids, often run on fossil fuels.

-- The European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace issued a 2007 report projecting half of all energy could come from renewables by 2050, with the biggest shares by then for wind and solar power followed by hydro, biomass, geothermal and ocean energy.

[Endret 26.02.07 12:53 av OldNick]
18.02.2007 23:24

Corn Ethanol And Biodiesel Net Energy Losers

David Pimentel and Tad W. Patzek have once again analyzed plants as ethanol energy sources and found the energy cost of growth and processing outweighs the energy produced.

July 7, 2005

[Endret 27.03.07 14:08 av OldNick]
18.02.2007 23:24

18.02.2007 23:24

18.02.2007 23:24

18.02.2007 23:24

19.02.2007 00:11

Siden du linker til har flere evighetsmaskiner og kaldfusjonsprosesser på topp-100-listen over de beste teknologiene. Kanskje ikke beste stedet å hente info ifra.
19.02.2007 01:33

re. Corint...

Jeg får nok tid til å lese gjennom litt senere. Er det bare et amatør-prosjekt ?

Hva med denne ?

The Cinderella Plant

Africans used to think jatropha was a worthless bush. Now it may be an important new source of energy.

By Karen Palmer, Newsweek International
Feb. 19, 2007 issue

Jatropha Circas is the Cinderella of the plant world. Throw a seed in the poorest soil on the planet, and up comes a bush that will likely last 50 years. During a drought, jatropha bushes simply drop their leaves and keep pumping out seedpods. Livestock won't eat it, pests don't appear to like it. For longer than anybody can remember, Africans used it as living fences meant to keep back the encroaching Sahara and Kalahari deserts. It wasn't good for much else.

Now this humble bush appears poised to become a global star. In recent years studies have shown that jatropha oil burns with one fifth the carbon emission of fossil fuels, making Africa's hardscrabble ground a potentially fertile source of energy. Scientists estimate that if even a quarter of the continent's arable land were plowed into jatropha plantations, output would surpass 20 million barrels a day. That would be good news for Europe, where the thirst for biodiesel is growing. The European Union has decreed that consumers will use 5.75 percent biodiesel in motor vehicles by 2010 and 20 percent by 2020, which means that Europe has to come up with a 10.5 billion-liter supply of biodiesel in the next four years. With maize prices going through the roof, scientists are experimenting with alternative nonfood crops in the lab; so far, jatropha is the only one ready for commercialization.

Les mer her

Chineserne ute etter å se etter muligheten for å utvinne He-3 på månen ??

Desperasjon eller rasjonalitet ?

The Nuclear Side of the Moon

Feb. 20, 2007

By Keith Kohl

Baltimore, MD - By 2050, the world will have an estimated population of 12 billion people. The demand for energy will be enormous. But one solution to the world's long-term energy demands may be 239,000 miles away.

The world is desperately looking for an heir to oil. Among the contenders is the nuclear option.

And the nuclear boom has already started. Uranium prices have increased dramatically. Prices may even reach $100/pound before 2007 is over. Also, current uranium production cannot meet demand. So Australia, holding 40% of the world's reserves, is beginning to open up new property for development.

By 2050, the world will need about 900 nuclear plants to satisfy its energy requirements. Japan plans to build five by 2010, China expects 30 before 2020, and India already has 9 under construction. Even Canada is refurbishing over two dozen of its facilities. The 103 nuclear plants in the U.S. supply nearly 20% of our electricity.

But the solution I was referring to is a different kind of nuclear power - nuclear fusion.

Future Fusion

Essentially, fusion involves multiple nuclei joining together to form a heavier nucleus. Depending on the masses of the nuclei involved, energy is either released or absorbed. Fusing two nuclei heavier than iron or nickel will absorb energy. When they are lighter than iron or nickel, energy is released.

One of the promising materials that may prove fusion to be a viable source of energy is helium-3. Since helium has an extremely low mass per nucleon, it is favored for the fusion process. And helium-3 presents a non-radioactive opportunity to contain the lone high-energy proton released using electric and magnetic fields. This results directly in the generation of electricity.

Unfortunately, we will never know if helium-3 can be properly used until we build fusion power plants. Yet the lack of helium-3 on earth prevents plant construction.

Helium-3 occurs naturally in the earth's crust, but only a small fraction of it can be recovered. The large amount given off by the sun is deflected by the Earth's magnetic field.

Presently, scientists extract helium-3 by dismantling nuclear weapons - which still doesn't yield enough to make fusion a viable solution.

Only $3 Billion Per Ton

You read that correctly - one ton of helium-3 would cost in excess of $3 billion.

Imagine fueling the entire annual U.S. energy demand with roughly 25 tons of helium-3, or even the world's demand with 100 tons. Yet that amount seems impossible to produce given its rarity on earth.

But spending $75 billion on energy is trivial compared to current U.S. expenditures.

Remember that the U.S. government spent over $300 billion on oil imports in 2006 alone! In 2001, the Energy Information Agency reported that 107 million U.S. households spent nearly $159 billion on energy.

Though we cannot produce even a fraction of the helium-3 reserves, the moon could hold enormous reserves. Lacking the magnetic field the Earth has allows the moon to absorb a significant amount of helium-3. In fact, scientists have estimated that the moon has more than a million tons of helium-3.

That would be enough to power the world's energy needs for tens of thousands of years.

[Endret 19.02.07 01:33 av OldNick]
[Endret 21.02.07 11:19 av OldNick]
21.02.2007 11:20


Race to Mine the Moon

Two weeks ago, the People's Daily Online outlined the future of China's space program in three main parts, including a plan to explore the moon. The interesting thing is the suggested motivation behind their lunar trip.

On April 17, 2007, China will launch an unmanned probe to orbit the moon. Between 2007 and 2012, the Chinese plan a soft landing on the moon's surface. They hope to bring back lunar samples using robots and probing devices. Finally, a manned spaceflight is anticipated between 2020 and 2025.

But their moon mission isn't about planting flags or creating new catchphrases. Instead, the People's Daily Online hinted that they're after a new power source - helium-3.

The possibility of mining the moon for precious resources isn't too far-fetched. The 25 tons of helium-3 the U.S. would need to for a year's worth of power could fit into one shuttle. This makes helium-3 a veritable lunar cash crop. Countries could rush to strip-mine massive areas of the moon.

Nuclear Stigma

But fusion or no, whether nuclear power will be able to overcome the negative stereotypes that come with it remains to be seen.

The possible nuclear fuel that helium-3 offers could solve the world's future energy demand. But since decades will be needed to develop fusion technology, it will not come in time to solve the crisis that will develop in the next few years.

Any benefit from fusion energy is a long-term project, not a quick fix for today or next year.

Until next time, Keith Kohl

Chineserne har også satt sine øyne på Jatropha planten.

China to develop energy forests the size of England

Feb. 9, 2007

China is moving rapidly on the front of bioenergy, with important targets for green energy included in the People's Republic's new Five-Year-Plan. The Chinese government also sees investments in the sector as a way to boost the rural economy and to ease the growing social inequalities between wealthy urbanites and poor farmers. Small farmers are already beginning to reap some of the benefits of China's transition to biofuels.

Thanks to a path-breaking effort to develop fuels and energy from woody and oil bearing crops, the country has announced it will now plant biomass and biofuel forests on a very large scale to fuel its future. By 2010, China plans to develop an area the size of England, or 13 million hectares, with Jatropha curcas trees from which both liquid and solid biofuels can be extracted as a source of clean energy, according to the State Forestry Administration (SFA).

Jatropha, also known as the physic nut, is currently grown on around 2 million hectares across the country and produces non-edible oil for making candles and soap. Now, it will be the main ingredient in the production of biodiesel. The 13-million-hectare forest mostly spread over southern China is expected to produce nearly 6 million tons of biodiesel every year. Vehicles account for a third of all oil use in the country.

Green electricity

The jatropha trees can also provide wood fuel for a power plant with an installed capacity of 12 million kilowatts about two-thirds the capacity of the Three Gorges Dam project, the world's biggest. This amount of bio-energy will account for 30 percent of the country's renewable energy by 2010, according to the SFA.

"This plan will not only help the country enlarge its green coverage (currently at about 130 million hectares) but also meet increasing demand for energy. And most importantly, it provides clean energy to meet the country's target of sustainable development." -- Cao Qingyao, spokesman for China's State Forestry Administration.

[Endret 21.02.07 12:19 av OldNick]
22.02.2007 16:03

Er nok mye som kan brukes OldNick. Jeg bare la merke til at de som lå helt øverst på topp100-listen var fysiske umuligheter.

Biomasse er noe annet og det er ingenting i veien for å dyrke opp hele afrika hvis man bare legger sjelen ned i det.
26.02.2007 13:05

Metal-Organic Frameworks

Hydrogen Storage Gets A Boost

Direct H2 binding to metal atoms beefs up capacity

Steve Ritter, C&EN
January 1, 2007 - Volume 85, Number 01, p. 11

Running cars on hydrogen-powered fuel cells might be commonplace in the future. But for now, it's still a technology on the drawing board, limited by the ability to store significant amounts of hydrogen in a safe and practical way.

Three papers published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society now report a significant milestone in hydrogen storage: the first definitive evidence for H2 binding to open metal coordination sites in nanoporous metal-organic frameworks (MOFs). The ability of H2 to bind to metal atoms allows the H2 molecules to pack more closely together and is expected to provide a major boost in storage capacity over simple H2 adsorption at nonmetal sites in previously prepared materials.

Jeffrey R. Long of the University of California, Berkeley, and his coworkers synthesized a manganese benzenetristetrazolate MOF with an observed H2 uptake of 6.9 weight %, or 60 g/L, at 77 K and 90 bar (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 16876). This capacity is the highest yet reported for a MOF and is the first to exceed the Department of Energy's 2010 targets of 6.0 wt % and 45 g/L for H2 storage.

Neutron powder diffraction using deuterium (D2) in place of H2 further showed that the H2 enthalpy of adsorption of 10.1 kJ/mol-also a record for a MOF-is directly related to H2 binding to unsaturated Mn2+ centers within the framework. The data also showed H2 adsorption at several nonmetal pore sites.

In addition, Cameron J. Kepert of the University of Sydney, in Australia, and his coworkers have prepared a copper benzenetricarboxylate MOF and used neutron powder diffraction to study D2 adsorption (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 15578). The data revealed six distinct D2 adsorption sites in the framework, with sites at Cu2+ atoms occupied first, followed by nonmetal sites in smaller pores and then in larger pores. The study provides "a very detailed structural understanding of the way in which D2 loading occurs," Kepert says.

Packing It In Different types of H2 adsorption sites (shown as spheres) in a copper metal-organic framework progressively fill up, starting with sites at copper atoms (green) and continuing to nonmetal sites (other colors). Courtesy of Cameron Kepert.

A team co-led by Anthony K. Cheetham of UC Santa Barbara prepared a nickel sulfoisophthalate MOF and used neutron scattering spectroscopy to identify strong metal-H2 binding sites and weaker nonmetal adsorption sites in the material (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2006, 128, 16846).

A significant hurdle for H2 storage using MOFs has been that the interaction between H2 and pore walls is by weak van der Waals forces of about 5 kJ/mol, Long explains. As a consequence, high loadings of H2 have been possible only under high pressure at liquid nitrogen temperature (77 K). Researchers in the field recognize that the goal of storing significant amounts of H2 at ambient temperature and closer to atmospheric pressure depends either on increasing the already high surface area of MOFs or, as the three papers show, on more of the tighter binding of H2.

"The observation of this effect in three materials that are structurally distinct and contain different transition metals indicates the very broad utility of this approach," Kepert says.
26.02.2007 17:19

Er hypen med alternativ energi over ??

Nei, jeg tror ikke det.

Men aksjeklassen er på første siden, og det er ikke de man blir rik på.

For langsiktige investorer er det uansett selskapsplukking som vinner.

Man trenger ikke skynde seg, disse aksjekursene løper nok ikke fra en med det første lenger....

Citadel, Shaw, Tudor Shun Global Warming as Short Sales Climb

By Daniel Hauck and Michael Tsang
Feb. 26,2007

(Bloomberg) - The smartest money in global warming stocks may be scurrying to the exit just when the enthusiasm for alternative-energy companies is at an all-time high.

While SunPower Corp. and Theolia SA are among more than 180 companies whose shares have surged as much as 240 percent this year -- buoyed by efforts to curtail the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere and oceans --the market's nimblest investors already are hedging their bets.

D.E. Shaw & Co., Tudor Investment Corp., Citadel Investment Group LLC, Caxton Associates LLC, SAC Capital Advisors LLC and Pequot Capital Management Inc. reduced their stakes in solar- power and ethanol producers in the fourth quarter, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The hedge funds manage about $86 billion.

"As an investment play," global warming is "a bubble" and "social short-term craze," said Ken Fisher, who oversees $35 billion as chairman of Fisher Investments Inc. in Woodside, California.

Anyone looking for corroboration of that assessment may find it in the so-called short selling of U.S. alternative-energy stocks last month, which climbed 45 times faster than the average for Standard & Poor's 500 Index members.

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Kan det være mangel på investeringsideer ?

Kanskje kan vi hente noe her ?

UFO science key to halting climate change: former Canadian defense minister

Feb 28, 2007

AFP/Illustration Photo: A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies..

OTTAWA (AFP) - A former Canadian defense minister is demanding governments worldwide disclose and use secret alien technologies obtained in alleged UFO crashes to stem climate change, a local paper said Wednesday.

"I would like to see what (alien) technology there might be that could eliminate the burning of fossil fuels within a generation ... that could be a way to save our planet," Paul Hellyer, 83, told the Ottawa Citizen.

Alien spacecrafts would have traveled vast distances to reach Earth, and so must be equipped with advanced propulsion systems or used exceptional fuels, he told the newspaper.

Such alien technologies could offer humanity alternatives to fossil fuels, he said, pointing to the enigmatic 1947 incident in Roswell, New Mexico -- which has become a shrine for UFO believers -- as an example of alien contact.

"We need to persuade governments to come clean on what they know. Some of us suspect they know quite a lot, and it might be enough to save our planet if applied quickly enough," he said.

Hellyer became defense minister in former prime minister Lester Pearson's cabinet in 1963, and oversaw the controversial integration and unification of Canada's army, air force and navy into the Canadian Forces.

He shocked Canadians in September 2005 by announcing he once saw a UFO.

The Hydrogen Hoax

Robert Zubrin

Robert Zubrin, an aerospace engineer, is president of Pioneer Astronautics, a research and development firm. His new book on energy policy will be published in Fall 2007.

N.A.'s biggest biofuel plant to be built in Alberta

Apr 17, 2007

WINNIPEG — North America's biggest biofuel refinery will be built in central Alberta near the town of Innisfail, and could be producing fuels in the third quarter of 2008, the plant's developers said Tuesday.

The $400-million complex will be able to produce 378 million litres each of ethanol, canola oil and biodiesel, said private equity firms Riverstone Holdings LLC and Carlyle Group, and privately held Dominion Energy LLC.

Innisfail, which is in Canada's main grain-producing region, was chosen for its skilled work force and its proximity to Canadian Pacific rail service, Stephen Schaefer, managing director of Riverstone, said in a statement.

“For farmers who need to rotate crops between wheat and canola, you're kind of a one-stop shop for them,” Mr. Chandler said.

The plant will use about one million tonnes of wheat and 900,000 tonnes of canola a year.

Canada will have a renewable fuel standard of 5 per cent ethanol in gasoline by 2010.

The federal government has pledged $1.5-billion over seven years in incentives to biofuel producers, and the Alberta government has offered an additional $209-million over four years to biofuel producers in that province.

Carlyle/Riverstone Renewable Energy Infrastructure Fund I LP will own a controlling stake in the plant.

Riverstone and Dominion are also building a 57 million litre ethanol plant in Collingwood, Ont., that will start producing fuel in June.

[Endret 01.03.07 22:36 av OldNick]
[Endret 02.03.07 10:14 av OldNick]
[Endret 18.04.07 08:39 av OldNick]
26.02.2007 17:39

global warming-bobla kommer til å bli like hypa som it-bobla i sin tid.

Merk mine ord, dette er langt fra over.

REC og Q-Cells, to helt nye bedrifter som pusher religionen om at de kommer til å ha massive overskudd på produkter som hvem-som-helst kan produsere og videreforedle (etter noen kapitalintensive strategiske byggeomkostninger).....

Er som råvareleverandør i bulk og videreforedler av denne råvaren dog allerede priset hinsides all fornuft.

18.04.2007 13:35

Al Gore's Energy Use

Last Updated Febr. 28, 2007


Miljø-problemer med etanol som drivstoff ?

Ethanol may raise ozone levels more than gasoline, study says

By SETH BORENSTEIN, Associated Press
April 18, 2007

WASHINGTON — Switching from gasoline to ethanol — touted as a green alternative at the pump — may create dirtier air, causing slightly more smog-related deaths, a new study says.

Nearly 200 more people would die yearly from respiratory problems if all vehicles in the United States ran on a mostly ethanol fuel blend by 2020, the research concludes. Of course, the study author acknowledges that such a quick and monumental shift to plant-based fuels is next to impossible.

Each year, about 4,700 people, according to the study's author, die from respiratory problems from ozone, the unseen component of smog along with small particles. Ethanol would raise ozone levels, particularly in certain regions of the country, including the Northeast and Los Angeles.

"It's not green in terms of air pollution," said study author Mark Jacobson, a Stanford University civil and environmental engineering professor. "If you want to use ethanol, fine, but don't do it based on health grounds. It's no better than gasoline, apparently slightly worse."

Ny artikkel i New Scientist om stridspørsmål i klimadebatten, pro vs. con CO2 som den viktigste faktoren i global oppvarming.

The 7 biggest myths about climate change

16 May 2007 - NewScientist.com

Catherine Brahic
David L. Chandler
Michael Le Page
Phil McKenna
Fred Pearce

Go Green, Get Rich

Meet the companies tackling nine of humanity's biggest problems -- and making millions saving us from ourselves.

2007, CNN Money


Interaktiv side med forklaring og illustrasjoner over ulike solenergi teknologier.

6 Solar technologies to power the world

At last, solar energy is big enough and cheap enough to power electrical grids. Business 2.0 features the latest projects under the sun.

June 2007, CNN Money


Drager kan revolusjonere vindkraft

Italienske forskere lover at en strømgenerator drevet av drager i 2000 meters høyde kan produsere 30 ganger billigere strøm enn i dag.

Stein Jarle Olsen, tu.no
Publisert: 22.05.2007

FORNYBAR: Italienske forskere mener dragevindkraft kan produsere strøm til 1,2 øre/kWh. Foto: Sequoia Automation

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Vindkraft uten vinger

Svensk firma tror tornadoprinsipp kan gi langt større virkningsgrad enn tradisjonelle vindkraftverk. Teknologien har nå fått patent verden rundt.

Stein Jarle Olsen, tu.no
Publisert: 13.06.2007

TORNADO: Energytower lover 40 % energiutnyttelse og svært enkelt vedlikehold. Foto: Energytower

Les mer her

[Endret 23.05.07 11:19 av OldNick]
[Endret 05.06.07 09:35 av OldNick]
[Endret 14.06.07 14:50 av OldNick]
[Endret 14.06.07 14:52 av OldNick]
[Endret 11.08.07 09:17 av OldNick]
21.06.2007 13:44

Local scientist calls global warming theory hooey

Samara Kalk Derby, The Capital Times (madison.com)

Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey.

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.

"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said.

The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said.

Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.

"It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."

Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. "Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe."

Bryson, 87, was the founding chairman of the department of meteorology at UW-Madison and of the Institute for Environmental Studies, now known as the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies. He retired in 1985, but has gone into the office almost every day since. He does it without pay.

"I have now worked for zero dollars since I retired, long enough that I have paid back the people of Wisconsin every cent they paid me to give me a wonderful, wonderful career. So we are even now. And I feel good about that," said Bryson.

So, if global warming isn't such a burning issue, why are thousands of scientists so concerned about it?

"Why are so many thousands not concerned about it?" Bryson shot back.

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Fruit could make 'powerful fuel'

By Matt McGrath, BBC Environment reporter
21 June, 2007

Assorted fruit - file photo The sugar found in fruit such as apples and oranges can be converted into a new type of low carbon fuel for cars, US scientists have said.

The fuel, made from fructose, contains far more energy than ethanol, the scientists write in the journal Nature.

Separately, a British report on biofuels says all types of waste products, including plastic bags, can be used to make biodiesel fuel.

Critics of biofuels made from plant crops say they drive up food prices.

In both the European Union and the United States politicians have heartily embraced biofuels as a way of reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and dependency on imported oil.

'Waste' fuel

Critics say that the current biofuels, both diesel made from palm oil and ethanol made from corn, encourage farmers to switch land to fuel production, driving up the price of food in the process.

Now scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison say that a simple sugar called fructose can be converted into a fuel that has many advantages over ethanol.

"The impact on society we're hoping will be far wider than simply 'we can give you a fuel now with a tenfold reduction in its carbon footprint'"

It is called dimethylfuran - it can store 40% more energy than ethanol, does not evaporate as easily and is less volatile.

The scientists say that fructose can be obtained directly from fruits and plants or made from glucose.

But more work needs to be done to assess the environmental impact of this new fuel.

In Britain, researchers say that the technology now exists to create biodiesel not just from palm oil but from a range of materials including wood, weeds and plastic bags.

This process is called biomass to liquid and experts say that within six years up to 30% of Britain's diesel requirements could be met from this source.

Jeremy Tomkinson of the UK's National Non-Food Crops Centre said this next generation of biofuels could meet many needs beyond powering cars.

"The impact on society we're hoping will be far wider than simply 'we can give you a fuel now with a tenfold reduction in its carbon footprint'.

"Imagine now if chemicals that we use in the chemical industry also came from the same feed stock, the aircraft that we fly to New York in also runs on this? There's the big potential," he said.

The biggest drawback to this process is cost.

Setting up new production facilities is estimated to be 10 times higher than for current biofuel refineries.

Biofuel repertoire expanded

New route turns crop sugars into a fuel that beats ethanol.

Katharine Sanderson, nature.com
20 June, 2007

Sweet success: chemists have turned sugar to higher-density fuel related links and external are empty but showing

A biofuel that outperforms ethanol could be easily made from fructose and, in future, glucose derived from the woody parts of plants, researchers claim.

Les mer her

[Endret 21.06.07 20:03 av OldNick]
21.06.2007 23:33

Helium-3 på månen er ikke noe nytt.

Her er et referat fra en konferanse om utnyttelse av måneressursene for 3 år siden.

Moon gas may solve Earth's energy crisis

Nov. 26, 2004 - ABC News

A potential gas source found on the moon's surface could hold the key to meeting future energy demands as the earth's fossil fuels dry up in the coming decades, scientists say.

Mineral samples from the moon contain abundant quantities of helium-3, a variant of the gas used in lasers and refrigerators.

"When compared to the earth the moon has a tremendous amount of helium-3," Lawrence Taylor, a director of the US Planetary Geosciences Institute, said.

"When helium-3 combines with deuterium (an isotope of hydrogen) the fusion reaction proceeds at a very high temperature and it can produce awesome amounts of energy.

"Just 25 tonnes of helium, which can be transported on a space shuttle, is enough to provide electricity for the US for one full year."

Helium-3 is deposited on the lunar surface by solar winds and would have to be extracted from moon soil and rocks.

To extract helium-3 gas the rocks have to be heated above 800 degrees Celsius.

Dr Taylor says 200 million tonnes of lunar soil would produce one tonne of helium.

Only 10 kilograms of helium-3 are available on earth.

Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam has told the International Conference on Exploration and Utilisation of the Moon that the barren planet held about 1 million tonnes of helium-3.

"The moon contains 10 times more energy in the form of helium-3 than all the fossil fuels on the earth," Mr Kalam said.


However, Dr Taylor says that the reactor technology for converting helium-3 to energy is still in its infancy and could take years to develop.

"The problem is that there is not yet an efficient type of reactor to process helium-3," he said.

"It is currently being done mostly as a laboratory experiment. Right now at the rate which it (research) is proceeding it will take another 30 years."

Other scientists say that the reactor would be safe in terms of radioactive elements and could be built right in the heart of any city.

"Potentially there are large reservoirs of helium-3 on the moon," DJ Lawrence, a planetary scientist at the US Los Alamos National Laboratory, said.

"Just doing reconnaissance where the minerals are and to find out where helium-3 likes to hang out is the first step, so when the reactor technology gets to work we are ready and have precise information.

"It really could be used as a future fuel and is safe. It is not all science fiction.

"There are visionaries out there and now the question arises where the funds come from. If people get on board to do it there is no doubt it could be done."

Dr Taylor echoed Dr Lawrence's views, adding that there are no funds available for funding non-petroleum energy projects in the United States.

He warns of the exhaustion of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas on earth.

"By 2050 the whole world will have a major problem. We need to be thinking ahead," Mr Taylor said.

"Right now we are not thinking ahead enough. Some of us are. But then the people who make the decisions and put money on the projects are not. They think only about the next elections.

"If we set our hearts on the moon and have the money to do it, then we do it pretty fast.

"However, it could be done well within 10 years if the sources of finance are generated to get this (reactor) going."


Mye energi, men som vi ser - noen praktiske problemer å løse først :-))]

Braskem Has the First Certified Green Polyethylene in the World

Company is evaluating a project for commercial production of this plastic in 2009

Press Release, Source: Braskem - BUSINESS WIRE
June 21, 2007

SAO PAULO, Brazil - Braskem announces that it has produced the first certified polyethylene in the world, based on ethanol from sugar cane, using competitive technology developed at the company's Technology and Innovation Center. The certification was made by one of the world's main laboratories, Beta Analytic, and confirms that the product contains 100% renewable raw material. Braskem's global pioneering approach is aligned to its technology and innovation strategy and its commitment to promoting sustainable development, in line with the expectations of the Brazilian and international community for initiatives which make a real contribution to reducing the greenhouse effect.

Braskem's green polymer - high-density polyethylene, one of the most widely used resins in flexible packaging - is the result of a research and development project in which US$ 5 million has already been invested. Part of this investment was used to set up a pilot unit for the production of ethylene - on which polyethylene is based - from renewable raw materials at the Braskem Technology and Innovation Center. This unit is now producing enough quantities for the commercial development of the product. The target clients will shortly receive the green polyethylene and confirm that it meets all the quality standards needed to compete on the international market.

"Braskem's leadership in the green polyethylene project confirms our commitment to innovation and sustainable development and points to the extremely positive prospects for the development of plastic products made from renewable raw materials. This is an area in which Brazil has competitive natural advantages," said Jose Carlos Grubisich, Braskem's Chief Executive Officer.

Les mer her

[Endret 27.06.07 17:53 av OldNick]
27.06.2007 20:17

Biodiesel to Become Cheaper Than Light Oil in 4 Years

JUNE 27, 2007 - english.donga.com

The price of biodiesel, an alternative energy source to light oil, will become lower than light oil as early as 2011, securing its economic feasibility, according to a recent report by the Korea Energy Economics Institute (KEEI).

According to the report, released on June 26 and titled ‘Prospects on the Economic Feasibility of Biodiesel and Improving the Support System,’ the production cost of biodiesel as of 2007 is 809 won per liter, which is higher than the untaxed cost of light oil (592.5∼556 won).

The government is making up for the difference by exempting biodiesel from transportation taxes.

It is estimated that the production cost of biodiesel will drop to 678 won per liter by 2011, providing greater economic feasibility than light oil (the production cost of which will be 717.2 won). This prospect is based on the preposition that the price of oil will continue to rise, and that the amount of biodiesel supplied will increase from the current 0.5% of light oil consumption to 5.5% gradually by 2017.

“Biodiesel will become economically feasible between 2011 and 2015,” says Bae Jeong-hwan, a researcher at KEEI. “It is necessary to maintain its exemption from transportation taxes until 2010, and then begin lifting it gradually from 2011.”

Another report published by the KEEI titled ‘The Economic Feasibility of Adopting Bioethanol for Transportation’ revealed that bioethanol, an alternative energy source to gasoline, will not become economically feasible if the international oil price stays under 50 dollars.

Countries need to enhance oil, natural gas capacity: OPEC president.

June 27, 2007 - english.people.com.cn

OPEC President Muhammad bin Dhain al-Hamili said on Tuesday that various countries needed to enhance oil and natural gas capacity, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Al-Hamili, also energy minister of the United Arab Emirates, made his remarks at the 10th Annual International Energy Conference entitled "East Meets West: New Frontiers of Energy Security."

There was also a need for significant investments in energy transportation, al-Hamili said, adding that another problem was about ecology and environment.

OPEC members were ready to support all related initiatives aimed to develop new technologies and generate energy without causing environmental harm, al-Hamili said.

Rifat Hisarciklioglu, chairman of the Executive Board of Turkey 's Foreign Economic Relations Board (DEIK), underlined increasing importance of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation since the region boasts the world's second-largest source of oil and natural gas only after the Gulf region and is a major transit corridor for energy supplies bound for Europe.

Hisarciklioglu said that the energy dependence of Europe, currently at 50 percent, is expected to rise to 70 percent in 2020.

"Therefore, we need to boost our cooperation, connect cities and ports in the Black Sea with each other and make Black Sea a sea of stability and prosperity."

The conference was jointly organized in Istanbul by the DEIK and Cambridge Energy Research Associates.

Det er press på landbruksråvarer bl.a. p.g.a. biodrivstoff og økt etterspørsel etter dyreprotein istedetfor planteprotein når kinesere og indere opplever velstandsøkning p.g.a. den økonomiske veksten.

Det fører til inflasjon som nå brer seg verden over.

Prissjokk i matdisken

Klimaendringer med tørke og ekstremvær bidrar til å drive råvareprisene i været.

28 juni, 2007 - DN.no

Nå må norske forbrukere belage seg på å betale mer for matvarene, skriver Dagens Næringsliv.

Produkter som inneholder korn, sukker, mais og olje er blant varene som kommer til å øke i pris.

Nye prisrekorder?

Også økt etterspørsel internasjonalt, særlig i Asia, bidrar til prisøkningen på råvarer. Økt levestandard har ført til en endring av matvanene for et par milliarder mennesker i Asia. De siste to årene har prisene på ris, hvete og mais steget med mellom 45 og 65 prosent.

Vi kan ikke se bort fra at det kan bli satt nye prisrekorder. Hvete ser ut til å lede prisoppgangen i kornmarkedet, sa den japanske råvareanalytikeren Shigeji Watanabe i forrige uke.

Den høye oljeprisen har ført til økt etterspørsel etter kornprodukter, soyabønner og palmeolje som kan brukes til produksjon av biodiesel. For å kunne fylle opp en 70 liters tank med etanol, krever vel 200 kilo med korn.

Merker presset

Allerede nå bebuder kjedene økte priser. NorgesGruppen er blant dem som tydelig merker presset fra økte råvarepriser.

Flere leverandører enn normalt har signalisert prisøkninger foran høstens forhandlinger. Vi merker et tydelig press på økte innkjøpskostnader, sier informasjonsdirektør Per Roskifte i NorgesGruppen til DN.

NorgesGruppen eier matvarekjedene Kiwi, Meny, Spar og Joker.

Må betale betydelig mer

Informasjonssjef Robert Rønning i Stabburet bekrefter overfor DN at selskapet må betale betydelig mer for råvarene, og også infodirektør Lise Bergan i Kraft Foods som blant annet eier Freia, varsler at prisene kan komme til å øke.

Sjefstrateg Henrik Mitelmann i svenske SEB gikk igår ut i Dagens Industri og sa at svenskene kan vente seg vesentlig høyere matvarepriser. Han viste til at halvparten av alle svenske matvarebutikker planlegger å øke prisene den kommende måneden, og advarte om at dette kan representere en tikkende inflasjonsbombe.

[Endret 27.06.07 20:19 av OldNick]
[Endret 28.06.07 07:29 av OldNick]
[Endret 28.06.07 07:29 av OldNick]
[Endret 28.06.07 07:30 av OldNick]
28.06.2007 07:30


Ikke bekymret

Sjeføkonom Øystein Dørum i DnB Nor Markets er derimot ikke bekymret på Norges vegne.

Vi bruker en relativt liten andel av inntekt på mat, og dessuten blir utslagene dempet gjennom avgifter, sier han.

Den amerikanske investeringsbanken Merrill Lynch mener imidlertid at høyere matvarepriser er et fenomen som vil ramme hele verden; agflation (landbruksinflasjon, fra det engelske ordet agriculture) ble lansert av banken tidligere i vår.

Sweet attraction of Brazil’s biofuels

By Jonathan Wheatley in São Paulo, FT.com
July 2, 2007

It is a crackly phone line between São Paulo and Hong Kong but the satisfaction in Ricardo Leiman’s voice comes across loud and clear.

“The facts speak for themselves,” he says. “People [such as] Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge have been looking for years. [But] we have the agility to move quickly. We have bought our plant and are already doubling it in size.”

Mr Leiman, a Brazilian, is chief operating officer of the Noble Group, a Hong-Kong based commodities handler and processor with operations linking the Americas, the Middle East and Asia.

It already handles about 10 per cent of Brazil’s ethanol exports. This year it spent $70m to acquire a sugar and ethanol mill in São Paulo state, the heart of Brazil’s sugar and ethanol industry. Total investment at the unit is expected to reach $200m.

Yet Mr Leiman’s view of his bigger rivals’ tardiness may be exaggerated.

Foreign and Brazilian private equity and other investors are rapidly assembling sugar cane-based portfolios.

Cargill, the US agribusiness group, last year entered a joint venture in a sugar and ethanol mill; rumours are rife that it is in the midst of a further acquisition. ADM, also of the US, is building a biodiesel plant in Mato Grosso state. It recently said it was seeking acquisitions in sugar and ethanol.

Among the big US-based traders only Bunge says it has no assets in the sector, though it, too, is widely understood to be looking.

Overshadowing them all is a recent announcement by Odebrecht, a diversified Brazilian construction group, which said it was preparing to spend up to R$5bn ($2.6bn) over the next five years on sugar cane production and processing.

“The market is extremely agitated,” says José Francisco Davos, director for business development at Dedini, a manufacturer of equipment for sugar and ethanol mills based in Piracicaba, São Paulo state. “Every mill in Brazil is coming under strong attack from potential buyers.”

Dedini itself is rumoured to have been approached by private equity buyers, although Mr Davos says that, while it would listen with interest to any offer, none has been made.

Instead, Dedini is preparing to go public in the next year or two.

In Brazil, the number of mills in operation is expected to increase from about 335 today to about 425 by 2012. Before the Odebrecht announcement, Unica, an industry association, said forthcoming investment would amount to $15bn.

Driving the deals, in the first instance, is the Brazilian market. Brazil is the world’s 10th biggest economy and one of the biggest consumers of fuel ethanol. More than three quarters of all new cars can run on ethanol, gasoline or any mix of the two, while petrol sold at the pumps is nearly a quarter ethanol.

With car output increasing and the annual rate of economic growth edging up to about 4.5 per cent, the local market will absorb much of the new ethanol production coming on stream.

But the dream of many investors is that Brazil will become a “green Saudi Arabia”, supplying the world with a new alternative to fossil fuels.

On the face of it, it has the capacity. Production can expand many times without, for example, threatening the Amazon rainforest, where the climate is hostile to sugar cane.

The biggest obstacles to export growth are in developed markets, where much less efficient ethanol producers are protected by subsidies and import tariffs, for example of 54 cents per gallon in the US.

If the US is to realise President George W. Bush’s aim of increasing ethanol consumption to seven times current US production by 2017, it will have to accept imports. Globally, legislation will be required to make ethanol available at the pumps, on its own or as a significant part of petrol.

Nevertheless, investors are confident this will happen.

“It’s a political decision that individual countries will have to take,” says Mr Leiman at Noble. “There is a conflict of interest between [fossil fuel] distributors and the newcomers. But we are optimistic that the mandates will be put in. The trend is clear."

[Endret 03.07.07 09:54 av OldNick]
07.07.2007 13:37

Men, det er nå stadig flere som advarer om at landbruks- og næringsmiddelsektoren vil lide av stramme markeder for landbruksvarer, noe som vil føre til langvarig, høyere priser (og inflasjon) i disse markedene, som jo er større enn råvaremarkeder som olje og metaller.

Her er styreformann og CEO hos Nestle - Peter Brabeck, i Financial Times.

Nestlé chief fears 'significant and long-lasting' food price inflation

By Geoff Dyer in Beijing, FT.com
July 6, 2007

Food prices are set for a period of "significant and long-lasting" inflation because of demand from China and India and the use of crops for biofuels, according to Peter Brabeck, chairman of Nestlé

Mr Brabeck said rises in food prices reflected not only temporary factors but also long-term and structural changes in supply and demand. "They will have a long-lasting impact on food prices," he told the Financial Times during a visit to China.

Les mer her (det resterende må det betales for til FT.com)

Referat finnes dog hos Reuters (som ikke gir særlig mer detaljer)

Nestle warns of significant food price rises-paper

Jul 6, 2007 - (Reuters)

ZURICH - Nestle (NESN.VX), the world's largest food group, warned that a "significant and long-lasting" period of rising food prices was likely as a result of demand from China and India and the use of crops for biofuels.

Nestle CEO Peter Brabeck told the Financial Times in an interview published on Friday rises in food prices were due to long-term and structural changes in supply and demand as well as temporary factors.

"They will have a long-lasting impact on food prices," Brabeck told the FT.

Brabeck said population growth, rising demand from "the phenomena of India and China" and the use of food products by biofuel producers had put pressure on international food markets, the FT reported.

In the last year, prices for milk, cocoa and sugar have risen dramatically.

Nestle-sjefens oppfatninger kom på trykk 2 dager etterat FAO (FN's matvareorganisasjon - Food and Agricultural Org.), gav ut sitt langtidsforecast for landbruksvarer, som på et mer diplomatisk språk forteller oss det samme - vi må forvente langvarig inflasjon i prisene på disse varene.

Growing bio-fuel demand underpinning higher agriculture prices

Joint OECD-FAO report published

4 July, 2007, Paris/Rome

Increased demand for bio-fuels is causing fundamental changes to agricultural markets that could drive up world prices for many farm products, according to a new report published by the OECD and FAO.

The OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2007-2016 says temporary factors such as droughts in wheat-growing regions and low stocks explain in large measure the recent hikes in farm commodity prices.

But when the focus turns to the longer term, structural changes are underway which could well maintain relatively high nominal prices for many agricultural products over the coming decade.

Reduced crop surpluses and a decline in export subsidies are also contributing to these long-term changes in markets. But more important is the growing use of cereals, sugar, oilseed and vegetable oils to produce fossil fuel substitutes, ethanol and bio-diesel. This is underpinning crop prices and, indirectly through higher animal feed costs, also the prices for livestock products.

In the United States, annual maize-based ethanol output is expected to double between 2006 and 2016.

In the European Union the amount of oilseeds (mainly rapeseed) used for bio-fuels is set to grow from just over 10 million tonnes to 21 million tonnes over the same period.

In Brazil, annual ethanol production is projected to reach some 44 billion litres by 2016 from around 21 billion today. Chinese ethanol output is expected to rise to an annual 3.8 billion litres, a 2 billion litres increase from current levels.

The report points out that higher commodity prices are a particular concern for net food importing countries as well as the urban poor. And while higher feedstock prices caused by increased bio-fuel production benefits feedstock producers, it means extra costs and lower incomes for farmers who need the feedstock to provide animal feed.

Trade patterns

The Outlook also says trade patterns are changing. Production and consumption of agricultural products in general will grow faster in the developing countries than in the developed economies - especially for beef, pork, butter, skimmed milk powder and sugar. OECD countries are expected to lose export shares for nearly all the main farm commodities. Nevertheless, they continue to dominate exports for wheat, coarse grains and dairy products.

World agricultural trade, measured by global imports, is expected to grow for all the main commodities covered in the Outlook, but likely by less than for non-agricultural trade, as import protection is assumed to continue to limit the growth in trade. Nevertheless, trade in beef, pork and whole milk powder is expected to grow by more than 50 percent over the next 10 years, coarse grains trade by 13 percent and wheat by 17 percent. Trade in vegetable oils is projected to increase by nearly 70 percent.

Erwin Northoff
Media Relations, FAO
(+39) 06 570 53105
(+39) 348 252 3616

Her er felles-rapporten fra OECD-FAO:

OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook 2007-2016

[Endret 07.07.07 15:00 av OldNick]
[Endret 07.07.07 15:02 av OldNick]
[Endret 22.07.07 20:36 av OldNick]
11.07.2007 17:32

Dette kan bli en av fremtidens energibærere - en flytende Ga-Al legering (>30 °C) fungerer som et batteri for H2-drevne kjøretøy.

Problemet blir å skaffe til veie nok Ga, som normalt fremstilles som et biprodukt fra bauksitt, råstoffet for Al i fra alumina-raffineri (Al2O3-fremstilling - råstoff for Al-smelteverk, som Norge har plenty av).

Elkem hadde et Ga-raffineri ved Bremanger Smelteverk (gjenvinning av Ga fra brukte Al-anoder), men det ble lagt ned for 20 år siden p.g.a. manglende lønnsomhet. Enkel teknologi, men altså - dengang var Ga-prisen for lav.

New process generates hydrogen from aluminum alloy to run engines, fuel cells

May 16, 2007 - Purdue University

Purdue researchers demonstrate their method for producing hydrogen by adding water to an alloy of aluminum and gallium. The hydrogen could then be used to run an internal combustion engine. The reaction was discovered by Jerry Woodall, center, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering. Charles Allen, holding test tube, and Jeffrey Ziebarth, both doctoral students in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, are working with Woodall to perfect the process. (Purdue News Service photo/David Umberger)

A Purdue University engineer has developed a method that uses an aluminum alloy to extract hydrogen from water for running fuel cells or internal combustion engines, and the technique could be used to replace gasoline.

The method makes it unnecessary to store or transport hydrogen - two major challenges in creating a hydrogen economy, said Jerry Woodall, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue who invented the process.

Designed to simplify your employment search, you will find a variety of resourceful career tools at your fingertips "The hydrogen is generated on demand, so you only produce as much as you need when you need it," said Woodall, who presented research findings detailing how the system works during a recent energy symposium at Purdue.

The technology could be used to drive small internal combustion engines in various applications, including portable emergency generators, lawn mowers and chain saws. The process could, in theory, also be used to replace gasoline for cars and trucks, he said.

Hydrogen is generated spontaneously when water is added to pellets of the alloy, which is made of aluminum and a metal called gallium. The researchers have shown how hydrogen is produced when water is added to a small tank containing the pellets. Hydrogen produced in such a system could be fed directly to an engine, such as those on lawn mowers.

"When water is added to the pellets, the aluminum in the solid alloy reacts because it has a strong attraction to the oxygen in the water," Woodall said.

This reaction splits the oxygen and hydrogen contained in water, releasing hydrogen in the process.

The gallium is critical to the process because it hinders the formation of a skin normally created on aluminum's surface after oxidation. This skin usually prevents oxygen from reacting with aluminum, acting as a barrier. Preventing the skin's formation allows the reaction to continue until all of the aluminum is used.

The Purdue Research Foundation holds title to the primary patent, which has been filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and is pending. An Indiana startup company, AlGalCo LLC., has received a license for the exclusive right to commercialize the process.

The research has been supported by the Energy Center at Purdue's Discovery Park, the university's hub for interdisciplinary research.

"This is exactly the kind of project that suits Discovery Park. It's exciting science that has great potential to be commercialized," said Jay Gore, associate dean of engineering for research, the Energy Center's interim director and the Vincent P. Reilly Professor of Mechanical Engineering.

The research team is made up of electrical, mechanical, chemical and aeronautical engineers, including doctoral students.

Woodall discovered that liquid alloys of aluminum and gallium spontaneously produce hydrogen if mixed with water while he was working as a researcher in the semiconductor industry in 1967. The research, which focused on developing new semiconductors for computers and electronics, led to advances in optical-fiber communications and light-emitting diodes, making them practical for everything from DVD players to automotive dashboard displays. That work also led to development of advanced transistors for cell phones and components in solar cells powering space modules like those used on the Mars rover, earning Woodall the 2001 National Medal of Technology from President George W. Bush.

"I was cleaning a crucible containing liquid alloys of gallium and aluminum," Woodall said. "When I added water to this alloy - talk about a discovery - there was a violent poof. I went to my office and worked out the reaction in a couple of hours to figure out what had happened. When aluminum atoms in the liquid alloy come into contact with water, they react, splitting the water and producing hydrogen and aluminum oxide.

"Gallium is critical because it melts at low temperature and readily dissolves aluminum, and it renders the aluminum in the solid pellets reactive with water. This was a totally surprising discovery, since it is well known that pure solid aluminum does not readily react with water."

The waste products are gallium and aluminum oxide, also called alumina. Combusting hydrogen in an engine produces only water as waste.

[Endret 11.07.07 17:32 av OldNick]
11.07.2007 17:33


"No toxic fumes are produced," Woodall said. "It's important to note that the gallium doesn't react, so it doesn't get used up and can be recycled over and over again. The reason this is so important is because gallium is currently a lot more expensive than aluminum. Hopefully, if this process is widely adopted, the gallium industry will respond by producing large quantities of the low-grade gallium required for our process. Currently, nearly all gallium is of high purity and used almost exclusively by the semiconductor industry."

Woodall said that because the technology makes it possible to use hydrogen instead of gasoline to run internal combustion engines it could be used for cars and trucks. In order for the technology to be economically competitive with gasoline, however, the cost of recycling aluminum oxide must be reduced, he said.

"Right now it costs more than $1 a pound to buy aluminum, and, at that price, you can't deliver a product at the equivalent of $3 per gallon of gasoline," Woodall said.

However, the cost of aluminum could be reduced by recycling it from the alumina using a process called fused salt electrolysis. The aluminum could be produced at competitive prices if the recycling process were carried out with electricity generated by a nuclear power plant or windmills. Because the electricity would not need to be distributed on the power grid, it would be less costly than power produced by plants connected to the grid, and the generators could be located in remote locations, which would be particularly important for a nuclear reactor to ease political and social concerns, Woodall said.

"The cost of making on-site electricity is much lower if you don't have to distribute it," Woodall said.

The approach could enable the United States to replace gasoline for transportation purposes, reducing pollution and the nation's dependence on foreign oil. If hydrogen fuel cells are perfected for cars and trucks in the future, the same hydrogen-producing method could be used to power them, he said.

"We call this the aluminum-enabling hydrogen economy," Woodall said. "It's a simple matter to convert ordinary internal combustion engines to run on hydrogen. All you have to do is replace the gasoline fuel injector with a hydrogen injector."

Even at the current cost of aluminum, however, the method would be economically competitive with gasoline if the hydrogen were used to run future fuel cells.

"Using pure hydrogen, fuel cell systems run at an overall efficiency of 75 percent, compared to 40 percent using hydrogen extracted from fossil fuels and with 25 percent for internal combustion engines," Woodall said. "Therefore, when and if fuel cells become economically viable, our method would compete with gasoline at $3 per gallon even if aluminum costs more than a dollar per pound."

The hydrogen-generating technology paired with advanced fuel cells also represents a potential future method for replacing lead-acid batteries in applications such as golf carts, electric wheel chairs and hybrid cars, he said.

The technology underscores aluminum's value for energy production.

"Most people don't realize how energy intensive aluminum is," Woodall said. "For every pound of aluminum you get more than two kilowatt hours of energy in the form of hydrogen combustion and more than two kilowatt hours of heat from the reaction of aluminum with water. A midsize car with a full tank of aluminum-gallium pellets, which amounts to about 350 pounds of aluminum, could take a 350-mile trip and it would cost $60, assuming the alumina is converted back to aluminum on-site at a nuclear power plant.

"How does this compare with conventional technology? Well, if I put gasoline in a tank, I get six kilowatt hours per pound, or about two and a half times the energy than I get for a pound of aluminum. So I need about two and a half times the weight of aluminum to get the same energy output, but I eliminate gasoline entirely, and I am using a resource that is cheap and abundant in the United States. If only the energy of the generated hydrogen is used, then the aluminum-gallium alloy would require about the same space as a tank of gasoline, so no extra room would be needed, and the added weight would be the equivalent of an extra passenger, albeit a pretty large extra passenger."

The concept could eliminate major hurdles related to developing a hydrogen economy. Replacing gasoline with hydrogen for transportation purposes would require the production of huge quantities of hydrogen, and the hydrogen gas would then have to be transported to filling stations. Transporting hydrogen is expensive because it is a "non-ideal gas," meaning storage tanks contain less hydrogen than other gases.

"If I can economically make hydrogen on demand, however, I don't have to store and transport it, which solves a significant problem," Woodall said.

Source: Purdue University
19.07.2007 20:02

Asian parasite killing Western bees: scientist

Jul 18, 2007
By Julia Hayley, Reuters

MADRID - A parasite common in Asian bees has spread to Europe and the Americas and is behind the mass disappearance of honeybees in many countries, says a Spanish scientist who has been studying the phenomenon for years.

The culprit is a microscopic parasite called nosema ceranae said Mariano Higes, who leads a team of researchers at a government-funded apiculture centre in Guadalajara, the province east of Madrid that is the heartland of Spain's honey industry.

He and his colleagues have analyzed thousands of samples from stricken hives in many countries.

"We started in 2000 with the hypothesis that it was pesticides, but soon ruled it out," he told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Pesticide traces were present only in a tiny proportion of samples and bee colonies were also dying in areas many miles from cultivated land, he said.

They then ruled out the varroa mite, which is easy to see and which was not present in most of the affected hives.

For a long time Higes and his colleagues thought a parasite called nosema apis, common in wet weather, was killing the bees.

"We saw the spores, but the symptoms were very different and it was happening in dry weather too."

Then he decided to sequence the parasite's DNA and discovered it was an Asian variant, nosema ceranae. Asian honeybees are less vulnerable to it, but it can kill European bees in a matter of days in laboratory conditions.

"Nosema ceranae is far more dangerous and lives in heat and cold. A hive can become infected in two months and the whole colony can collapse in six to 18 months," said Higes, whose team has published a number of papers on the subject.

"We've no doubt at all it's nosema ceranae and we think 50 percent of Spanish hives are infected," he said.

Spain, with 2.3 million hives, is home to a quarter of the European Union's bees.

His team have also identified this parasite in bees from Austria, Slovenia and other parts of Eastern Europe and assume it has invaded from Asia over a number of years.

Now it seems to have crossed the Atlantic and is present in Canada and Argentina, he said. The Spanish researchers have not tested samples from the United States, where bees have also gone missing.

Treatment for nosema ceranae is effective and cheap -- 1 euro ($1.4) a hive twice a year -- but beekeepers first have to be convinced the parasite is the problem.

What good is green if the poor go hungry?

Eric Reguly, Globe and Mail
July 20, 2007

ROME — Rome's obsession with food goes beyond the pizzerias and the trattorias that make it a gastronomical wonder. Appropriately, the city is also home to three United Nations food agencies whose job, ultimately, is to keep the undernourished fed. They wonder whether biofuel is an item that should be struck from the planet's menu.

Biofuel is any fuel made from plants. Corn from Canada, sugar cane from Brazil and jatropha from India can be used to make fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. As oil prices climb, more and more agricultural land is being devoted to fuel crops, not food crops. Less food translates into higher food prices and perhaps more hunger. Fill your tank with ethanol and you might contribute to famine in Africa. As if you didn't feel guilty enough owning an SUV.

No one is suggesting - yet - that biofuel production is leading to starvation. But biofuel is suddenly a big business and demanding the attention of farmers everywhere.

In the United States alone, some 100 ethanol plants are under construction and vast amounts of corn are being grown to supply them. Soaring biofuel production is at least partly blamed for food inflation (Statscan this week reported a 3.1-per-cent rise in Canadian food prices from last year).

In Rome, the World Food Program, the UN agency charged with fighting famine, said its budgets are being strained because of surging food prices. It blames biofuel production, rising food demand from China and India, and harsh weather. The agency will have to find more donor money or feed fewer people; there are no other options.

There is no doubt food prices are climbing rapidly. Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe told the Financial Times this month that food prices are set for "significant and long-lasting inflation." The International Monetary Fund recorded an unprecedented 23-per-cent rise in food prices in the past 18 months. The U.S. Agriculture Department says global grain inventories are at their lowest levels in 30 years. The International Grains Council predicts industrial use of grains will rise 23 per cent to 229 million tonnes in 2007-08, with the ethanol industry chewing through almost half that amount.

Is a biofuel backlash coming? The world has 800 million cars. If filling them with ethanol and other plant-derived fuels keeps pushing prices up, the world's two billion poor people will have something to say about it. Retaliation seems inevitable.

While clamping down on biofuels seems the humane thing to do, it may not necessarily be the best thing to do. The first thing to remember is that agricultural commodity prices have declined dramatically, measured in real (inflation-adjusted) terms for the past 40 years or so. In spite of the recent rise, prices are still well below their historic norm.

The second thing to remember is that biofuels may (or may not) fit into any farmer's needs. Farmers around the world have three basic requirements - they need cash, they need food for themselves and they need to feed their farm animals. If growing plants for biofuels boosts cash generation with scant damage to the other two requirements, the farmer might be better off.

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20.07.2007 19:16


Vinit Raswan, a technical adviser in Rome to the UN's International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), also notes that technology has to be factored into the equation. In a plant, the greatest sugar content resides in the stock, not the fruit or the leaves. The latest plant technology might allow farmers to grow plants with bigger stalks. If this works, biofuel production could rise without severely hurting food production.

What is certain is that farmers, like other business people, react to market signals. The signals now tell them to plant crops for biofuels. The problem is that, in many parts of the world, biofuels are heavily subsidized by the taxpayer. This is especially true in the United States and Canada, where corn-based ethanol would not exist without the endless government handouts. The market signals, in other words, are warped.

Left on its own, the market in time would find a balance between food and fuel production. As it is, the billions in subsidies are encouraging a dramatic rise in biofuel production that would not otherwise occur.

This is partly why the UN food agencies are worried. Too much biofuel is coming to the market too quickly and the casualties might be the poor who can't afford the sharply rising food prices.

Dette følger i fotsporene av OECD-FAO rapporten som kom tidligere i sommer (se OldNick [5775] lenger tilbake).

Advarer mot biodrivstoff

Økt fattigdom, lavere matsikkerhet og økende miljøproblemer er resultatet av å produsere biodrivstoff i u-land.

23 juli, 2007 - DN.no

Biodrivstoff truer regnskogene, ifølge Econ.

I en fersk rapport advarer analyseselskapet Econ regjeringen mot økt produksjon av biodrivstoff.

Rapporten fastslår at dagens produksjon har klare negative effekter på såvel matvaresikerhet som biologisk mangfold, skriver Dagens Næringsliv.

Skal satse

Regjeringen har varslet økt satsning på plantebasert drivstoff for å møte miljøkravene og legger i klimameldingen opp til at vanlig drivstoff i Norge skal inneholde syv prosent innblandet biodrivstoff i 2010.

En rekke kilder har imidlertid begynt å stille spørsmål ved den reelle klimaeffekten. En omlegging er svært kostbar, og det er bare etanol fra Brasil som kan være konkurransedyktig de nærmeste årene.

Dessuten er konsekvensen for matvaresikkerheten lang mer alvorlig, ifølge mange kritikere. Prisen på sukker, mais, rapsolje, palmeolje og soyabønner har allerede skutt i været.

Flere problemer

I Kina er det innført forbud mot å etablere flere etanolanlegg etter å ha opplevd sterkt økende priser på mais og svinekjøtt. I Mexico er det innført prisstopp på mais som som følge av sosial uro etter at maisprisen har steget kraftig, ifølge rapporten.

I tillegg kan det utløse en rekke miljøproblemer som avskoging, vann- og luftforurening, samt rasering av regnskogen.

Varselklokkene ringer i forhold til biologisk mangfold og bruk av landareal. Mye tyder på at økonomiske hensyn kommer først, og at det legges lite vekt på miljømessige og sosiale faktorer, skriver Econ.

Are cows killing the planet?

...and other global warming conundrums

By GEOFFREY LEAN, DailyMail.co.uk
11th July, 2007

Comments Comments (16)
Which do you think poses the greater danger to the planet - the much-abused car or Daisy the cow? The answer may come as a surprise.

Polluting though the gas-guzzler may be, it is much less of an environmental menace than the familiar herbivore quietly chewing the cud.

For a landmark study by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has revealed that cattle emit more than 100 different polluting gases, including two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.

Ranching them is 'the major driver of deforestation' worldwide, while their overgrazing is turning a fifth of all the planet's pastures and rangelands into deserts.

Cattle soak up a phenomenal amount of water: it takes a staggering 990 pints of it to produce just one pint of milk. And their wastes often pollute rivers and the sea. A giant 'dead zone', stretching over 21,000 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, is partly caused by pollution from U.S. beef production, carried down the Mississippi.

But perhaps the greatest surprise is that cattle are responsible for more of the pollution that causes global warming than are cars. Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow their food, to produce meat and to transport it accounts for about 9 per cent of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide.

Worse, their manure and wind produces at least a quarter of the pollution by methane, a 20 times more powerful gas.

Wind from both ends of a single British cow - but mainly from belching - produces the equivalent of 4,000 grams of carbon dioxide a day, compared to 3,419 grams from the exhaust pipe of a Land Rover Freelander on an average 33-mile day's drive.

In all, the world's 1.5 billion head of cattle produce more greenhouse gases than all its cars, planes and other forms of transport put together.

And the FAO estimates that cattle methane emissions alone will, by 2030, have increased by 60 per cent as man's appetite for meat and milk grows.

Les mer her

Investorer ser mot landbruk

Asle Rønning' Frilansjournalist, bondebladet.no

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[Endret 03.08.07 18:22 av OldNick]
13.08.2007 08:29

Diskusjon om den rapporterte massedøden av bier i USA som ble rapportert tidligere i år.

Biene har en rolle i befruktning av visse vekster som har betydning for næringsmiddelindustrien.

Questions and Answers: Colony Collapse Disorder

July 13, 2007 - USDA.gov



Where have all the bees gone?

by Elizabeth Kolbert - newyorker.com
Aug. 6, 2007

No one knew whether colony-collapse disorder was caused by disease, mites, toxins, or cell phones, but some keepers had reportedly lost seventy per cent of their bees.

Les mer her

Ohio University Licenses Ammonia Electrolyzer Technology to American Hydrogen

Aug. 6, 2007 - GreenCarCongress.com

Ohio University has granted a worldwide exclusive license to American Hydrogen Corporation, a subsidiary of American Security Resources Corp., to commercialize the patent-pending catalytic electrolyzer technology developed by Ohio University’s Dr. Gerardine Botte, associate professor of Chemical and Bio-Molecular Engineering at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

Ammonia electrolysis could produce hydrogen at a current cost of $0.899/kg H2, according to Botte. The US Department of Energy’s target cost for hydrogen is $2/kg H2. The ammonia process is also much less energy intensive than water electrolysis, requiring 1.55 W-h/g H2, compared to 33 W-h/gH2 for water electrolysis.

Ammonia electrolysis could be extended to use ammonia from waste water (e.g., from livestock or municipal waste water) as a feedstock as well.

Ammonia electrolysis couples the ammonia electro-oxidation reaction with the hydrogen evolution reaction for the production of high-purity hydrogen in an alkaline electrolytic cell. The reactions are as follows:

2NH3(aq) + 6OH- → N2(g) + 6H2O + 6e- (1)

6H2O + 6e- → 3H2(g) + 6OH- (2)

The overall reaction is:

2NH3(aq) → N2(g) + 3H2(g) (3)

One of the challenges faced by ammonia electrolysis is the need for the development of improved catalysts for ammonia electro-oxidation. While significant current densities can be obtained from platinized Pt electrodes, higher current densities quickly deactivate the catalyst.

A number of studies have tried different combinations of catalyst materials, with unsatisfactory results—very low current densities and the deactivation of the catalyst.

Botte and her team combined a catalyst—containing Raney nickel, platinum, and rhodium prepared by electrodeposition—with an operating procedure for the electrolytic cell that prevents deactivation of the catalyst over a long period of time.


* F. Vitse, M. Cooper, and G. G. Botte, “On the Use of Ammonia Electrolysis for Hydrogen Production,” J. Power Sources, 142, 18 (2005)
* M. Cooper and G. G. Botte, “Hydrogen Production from the Electro-oxidation of Ammonia Catalyzed by Platinum and Rhodium on Raney Nickel Substrate,” J. Electrochem. Soc., 153, A1894 (2006)
* Ammonia Electrolysis

Biofuels switch a mistake, say researchers

Tristan Farrow, The Guardian
Aug. 17, 2007

20% of the UK's agricultural land could be used to grow biofuels, such as rape seed, by 2010. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty

Increasing production of biofuels to combat climate change will release between two and nine times more carbon gases over the next 30 years than fossil fuels, according to the first comprehensive analysis of emissions from biofuels.

Biofuels - petrol and diesel extracted from plants - are presented as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels because the crops absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.

The study warns that forests must not be cleared to make way for biofuel crops. Clearing forests produces an immediate release of carbon gases into the atmosphere, accompanied by a loss of habitats, wildlife and livelihoods, the researchers said.

Britain is committed to substituting 10% of its transport fuel with biofuels under Europewide plans to slash carbon emissions by 2020.

"Biofuel policy is rushing ahead without understanding the implications," said Renton Righelato of the World Land Trust, a conservation charity. "It is a mistake in climate change terms to use biofuels."

Dr Righelato's study, with Dominick Spracklen from the University of Leeds, is the first to calculate the impact of biofuel carbon emissions across the whole cycle of planting, extraction and conversion into fuel. They report in the journal Science that between two and nine times more carbon emissions are avoided by trapping carbon in trees and forest soil than by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels.

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21.08.2007 06:58


Around 40% of Europe's agricultural land would be needed to grow biofuel crops to meet the 10% fossil fuel substitution target. That demand on arable land cannot be met in the EU or the US, say the scientists, so is likely to shift the burden on land in developing countries.

The National Farmers Union said 20% of Britain's agricultural land could be used to grow biofuels by 2010. However, the researchers say reforesting the land would be a better way to reduce emissions.

Biofuels look good in climate change terms from a Western perspective, said Dr Spracklen, but globally they actually lead to higher carbon emissions. "Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia among others have huge deforestation programmes to supply the world biofuel market", he said.

The researchers say the emphasis should be placed on increasing the efficiency of fossil fuel use and moving to carbon-free alternatives such as renewable energy.

Martin Durkin's ''The Great Warming Swindle'' - dokumentar om FN's klimapanel (IPCC) og andre klimaforskeres påstand om at de klimaforandringene og den globale oppvarmingen vi er vitne til, hovedsaklig skyldes menneskeskapt CO2-utslipp - ikke er reell, har medført en opphetet debatt verden rundt.

Her finnes utlagt en fra Australia Broadcasting Corp (ABC), lagt ut på Youtube.com:

ABC: Global Warming Swindle Debate, innledning

Del 1-2 inneholder et intervju med Martin Durkin, mens del 3-8 inneholder den etterfølgende paneldiskusjonen, som hadde med motstandere, tilhengere og mer nøytrale personligheter.

ABC's egne sider om filmen

Channel 4's egne sider om filmen

New patent by EEstor promises replacement of electrochemical batteries

By Steve Ragan, monstersandcritics.com
Sep 4, 2007

The price of fuel for your car has risen over the past year, and thanks to EEstor, the worry over the cost of gasoline might be a thing of the past. In a patent filed by the company, energy experts are excited and skeptical over six words that were noticed in the description. “Technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries,” wording which some take to mean the end to the internal combustion engine as we know it.

Advancements as the one mentioned by EEstor would mean that on a single charge a car could drive for hundreds of miles without using a single drop of gasoline. The Associated Press phrased it as, “…a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive five hundred miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.”

Currently, some hybrid cars will give you about fifty miles of fuel free driving, but are still dependant on fossil fuels to function. “It's a paradigm shift,” said Ian Clifford, chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co. to the AP. “The Achilles' heel to the electric car industry has been energy storage. By all rights, this would make internal combustion engines unnecessary.” ZENN has licensed EEStor's invention.

Not only for cars, but also for some markets like the renewable-energy sector, the technology could help boost them by providing efficient, lightning-fast storage for solar power, or on a smaller scale, a flash-charge for cell phones and laptops. The patent describes an “ultracapacitor,” which works like other electric car batteries but charges more quickly and has a more streamlined process of releasing energy. The result is a battery that charges in a few hours and can runs for hundreds of miles. The patent talks about a material that is sandwiched between parts of the capacitor. According to the wording in the patent, this material allows charged particles to move more quickly and efficiently through the electric components.

Skeptics however say that EEstor’s claims border on alchemy. “We've been trying to make this type of thing for twenty years and no one has been able to do it,” said Robert Hebner, director of the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics, in an AP interview. “Depending on [whom] you believe, they're at or beyond the limit of what is possible.”

EEstor is a mystery often hiding behind cryptic press releases, rarely talking about their technology to the press. However, their claim is always the same. They have developed something that will replace the electrochemical battery. If this is true then several serious advances can be made, in trucking and consumer travel. The down side is that the more you hear of the company the more it seems like the fabled car that runs on water.

ZENN Motor Co. is expected to start using the new technology later this year.

Days of cheap food are over, say suppliers as ingredient costs soar

Superstore groups prepare to stomach higher prices because of far east demand and biofuel incentives

Simon Bowers, The Guardian
Sept. 5, 2007

Supermarket pledges to drive down the price of staple goods and help cash-strapped shoppers looked increasingly vulnerable last night after Britain's biggest food manufacturer insisted even the largest superstore groups would have to stomach higher prices from suppliers that are struggling with steep rises in ingredient costs.

Premier Foods, the group behind Branston Pickle, Oxo, Mr Kipling and Quorn, said a "systemic change" in world ingredient markets, with "violent rises" in many commodities, had heralded a new era, bringing to a close almost 15 years of relatively stable, low inflation.

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06.09.2007 23:09


Finance director Paul Thomas predicted general food ingredient inflation could reach "somewhere as high as 4% to 5%" next year.

Chief executive Robert Schofield said: "Over the past 30 years the cost of food as a proportion of disposable income has come down from 30% to less than 10%. It is going to edge back up ... I think we've got two or three years of inflation at the very least."

Les mer her

Biofuels Could Strain U.N. Goals of Ending Hunger

Alister Doyle, Reuters
Aug. 24, 2007

STOCKHOLM — Rising production of biofuels from crops might complicate U.N. goals of ending hunger in developing countries, where 850 million people do not have enough to eat, a senior U.N. official said on Wednesday.

"There's a huge potential for biofuels but we have to look at ... competition with food production," said Alexander Mueller, assistant Director General of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Production of fuels from sugar, maize, soybeans and other corps is surging, spurred by oil prices above $70 a barrel and a drive for more environmentally friendly fuels from renewable sources.

"This is a completely new issue, we only know that this has impact on the question of feeding the world," he told a news conference during a meeting of 1,500 water experts in Stockholm.

Still, he said that a surge in biofuels production in the past year or two had not hampered food supplies. "We have to find out what the situation will be in 5 to 10 years ... a lot of research has to be done," he said.

Biofuels now make up only a fraction of a percent of world energy use but have an economic potential to rise to perhaps 6 percent by 2050, according to rough FAO estimates.

"This is an emerging issue with no clear figures and no guidelines," Mueller said. The rise of biofuels could also strain world water supplies -- about one in three people live in areas where water is scarce, he said.

He also said that the world would need better management of fresh water to "feed all the people and to produce energy for the world."

Mueller said biofuels presented one of three major challenges for farming, alongside climate change and a rising world population.

Food output would have to rise by 40 percent in the next 25 years to keep pace with a rise in the world population to nine billion people. That in turn will strain demand for irrigation with one in three people living in regions with water shortages.

And climate change might bring more droughts, floods, heat waves and erosion. Most scientists say that emissions of greenhouse gases, largely from burning fossil fuels in power plants, factories and cars, are warming the planet.

Er lagringproblemet for elektriske biler endelig løst ?? (isåfall et stort gjennombrudd - men sannsynligvis ikke...)

Battery-like device could power electric cars

Sept. 7, 2007 - CNN (AP)

AUSTIN, Texas - Millions of inventions pass quietly through the U.S. patent office each year. Patent No. 7,033,406 did, too, until energy insiders spotted six words in the filing that sounded like a death knell for the internal combustion engine.

Ian Clifford, founder and CEO of Zenn Motor Company, shown with an electric car.

An Austin-based startup called EEStor promised "technologies for replacement of electrochemical batteries," meaning a motorist could plug in a car for five minutes and drive 500 miles roundtrip between Dallas and Houston without gasoline.

By contrast, some plug-in hybrids on the horizon would require motorists to charge their cars in a wall outlet overnight and promise only 50 miles of gasoline-free commute. And the popular hybrids on the road today still depend heavily on fossil fuels.

"It's a paradigm shift," said Ian Clifford, chief executive of Toronto-based ZENN Motor Co., which has licensed EEStor's invention. "The Achilles' heel to the electric car industry has been energy storage. By all rights, this would make internal combustion engines unnecessary."

Clifford's company bought rights to EEStor's technology in August 2005 and expects EEStor to start shipping the battery replacement later this year for use in ZENN Motor's short-range, low-speed vehicles.

The technology also could help invigorate the renewable-energy sector by providing efficient, lightning-fast storage for solar power, or, on a small scale, a flash-charge for cell phones and laptops.

Skeptics, though, fear the claims stretch the bounds of existing technology to the point of alchemy.

"We've been trying to make this type of thing for 20 years and no one has been able to do it," said Robert Hebner, director of the University of Texas Center for Electromechanics. "Depending on who you believe, they're at or beyond the limit of what is possible."

EEStor's secret ingredient is a material sandwiched between thousands of wafer-thin metal sheets, like a series of foil-and-paper gum wrappers stacked on top of each other. Charged particles stick to the metal sheets and move quickly across EEStor's proprietary material.

The result is an ultracapacitor, a battery-like device that stores and releases energy quickly.

Batteries rely on chemical reactions to store energy but can take hours to charge and release energy. The simplest capacitors found in computers and radios hold less energy but can charge or discharge instantly. Ultracapacitors take the best of both, stacking capacitors to increase capacity while maintaining the speed of simple capacitors.

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10.09.2007 23:21


Hebner said vehicles require bursts of energy to accelerate, a task better suited for capacitors than batteries.

"The idea of getting rid of the batteries and putting in capacitors is to get more power back and get it back faster," Hebner said.

But he said nothing close to EEStor's claim exists today.

Les mer her

EnergyTechStocks.com, en side for alternative energyaksjer, kjører artikkelserier over ulike tema, og med ulike bidragsytere.

Her er et om vindenergiselskap, tilsynelatende med stoff fra Merrill Lynch...

Merrill Lynch Looks At Wind Energy and Sees Nothing but Dollar Signs (Part 1 of 3)

Sept. 7, 2007 - EnergyTechStocks.com

Global wind energy capacity will surge at a compound annual growth rate of 22% between 2006 and 2011, as electric utilities and independent power producers (IPPs) increasingly turn to wind power in the wake of declining reserve margins and in response to political pressure on the power industry to rein in carbon dioxide emissions.

This is the far-reaching conclusion of a new in-depth report on wind energy from Merrill Lynch in Europe. The report further concludes that wind energy will account for 4%, or 450GW (gigawatts), of total global electrical generation by 2016 compared with just 0.9% in 2006.

Put into context, the Merrill report effectively is saying to investors that out of all the new energy technologies starting to revolutionize the global energy industry, wind power is likely to have one of the biggest and most immediate payoffs.

Indeed, while other potential home-run technologies such as cellulosic ethanol and solar power are still being developed and also still depend on government subsidies, “Wind energy is now fairly mature technology where the cost profile has been falling steadily with improvements in technology. . . . Subsidies required to support wind energy are limited,” according to the report.

Even more fundamentally, the need for more electricity in the world between now and 2030 is probably going to dwarf even the need for more transportation fuel. As the Merrill report notes, the International Energy Agency in Paris has estimated that world electricity demand will double by 2030 over 2004, which could result in a 66% increase in CO2 emissions from power plants. As the report notes, wind energy is especially well-suited for the large-scale capacity additions that will be required to meet rising demand in an environmentally-friendly way. “The world’s largest solar power plant is a 40MW (megawatt) project comprising one million solar panels, by contrast the world’s largest wind power plant is almost 20 times the size at 780MW,” according to the report.

While the Merrill report – which carries the unwieldy name Wind turbine manufacturers; here comes pricing power – doesn’t go into the new futures market in wind energy, clearly the growth in wind energy generation should lead to the rapid development of this fledgling market. In an interview, Dan Parker, one of the people behind the seven wind energy futures contracts expected to start regular trading shortly on the US Futures Exchange in Chicago, told EnergyTechStocks.com that a year from now he expects 15 to 18 wind energy futures contracts will be traded – and that’s just for regions in the United States. As the Merrill report notes, China and India will account for over 60% of the increased electrical demand expected by 2030.

Merrill on Wind Energy: U.S. Market will be #1 and ‘Key Battleground’ for Turbine Firms (Part 2 of 3)

Sept. 10, 2007 - EnergyTechStocks.com

By 2011 the United States will be the world’s number one wind energy market, surpassing Germany, and will also be a “key battleground” for the small number of turbine manufacturers expected to continue dominating this rapidly growing renewable power market.

These are two of the megatrends forecast by Merrill Lynch in Europe in its comprehensive new report on the future of wind energy, a future which, as reported in the first part of this three-part series, promises a big, immediate payoff for investors.

The Merrill report’s other megatrends include:

The global wind energy industry will grow so fast that component suppliers will struggle to keep pace.

With component availability a constant problem, turbine manufacturers that make components in-house should do better than those that depend on outside suppliers.

Although the industry has gone through a period of consolidation, further consolidation can’t be ruled out.

Despite rising demand, there isn’t likely to be a significant number of new market entrants, in large part because of the value buyers place on turbine manufacturers having a proven track record.

The Merrill report – entitled Wind turbine manufacturers; here comes pricing power – emphasizes that even though the U.S. added the most new capacity in 2006, penetration rates remain small and potential sites for new wind power “farms” are plentiful. (Other sources tell EnergyTechStocks.com that many potential sites in the Pacific Northwest are being scrutinized by a number of electric utilities.)

According to the Merrill report, the U.S. should surpass Germany as the world’s leading wind energy market in part because so many states – 25 at last count – have passed regulations (generally called “renewable portfolio standards”) requiring a certain proportion of power generation to come from renewable sources. In California, for instance, the requirement is 20% by 2017.

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11.09.2007 08:31


As demand grows, the U.S. is turning into a “battleground,” according to Merrill, with new manufacturing and assembly plants popping up across the country. Which companies are fighting this battle? According to the report, the list includes major names such as Siemens, GE Energy, Vestas and Gamesa, plus lesser known names such as Clipper Windpower.

But while Merrill suggests that most, if not all, should do well in the wind energy boom that Merrill thinks is still in its early stages, the report clearly indicates that a few companies should do exceedingly well. These companies will be the subject of Part 3 of this series.

Merrill on Wind Energy: Gamesa ‘Looks Best Positioned’ – Clipper may Be Undervalued (Part 3 of 3)

Sept. 11, 2007 - EnergyTechStocks.com

In its new report on the bright future it expects for the global wind energy industry, Merrill Lynch in Europe spotlights a number of companies it thinks will do well over the next several years. Which one will do the best? According to the report, “Gamesa looks best positioned.”

Spain’s Gamesa (full name: Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica S.A.) wins Merrill’s praise in part because the company is vertically integrated, making the thousands of components for wind turbines in-house. In the near term, “we think the market should favor companies with higher levels of vertical integration as component supply is very clearly the key constraint now,” notes the Merrill report.

Merrill further notes that Gamesa is expanding capacity in the U.S. and China, which the report says are “set to be important growth markets.” In addition, Merrill believes that the value of Gamesa’s wind farm portfolio “is underestimated by the market.”

Gamesa isn’t the only company whose wind farm portfolio is being underestimated by the market. UK-based Clipper Windpower’s portfolio is, too, according to Merrill.

Clipper, which like most leading wind energy firms is both a manufacturer and a project developer, comes across in the Merrill report as having a particularly bright future that hasn’t yet been recognized by investors. “We expect Clipper to challenge GE for market leader status in US markets by 2011,” the report concludes.

Other companies that the Merrill report – entitled Wind turbine manufacturers; here comes pricing power – expects to do well include India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd., in part because “we see Suzlon with a considerable advantage on its home turf.” Another likely winner is Germany’s Siemens, which the report says has a “strong position in burgeoning offshore markets.” Still another with a very bright future is Enercon, a private German manufacturer that Merrill says is the number one supplier to the German markets and second largest supplier to India.

While GE Wind will enjoy the advantage of home turf in the U.S., the Merrill report raises something of a red flag, in that the company is heavily dependent on components bought from outside suppliers.

Nok en oppfinner som "unnslipper" de termodamiske naturlovene...

Radio frequencies help burn salt water

Sep 10, 2007

ERIE, Pa. - An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.

John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.

The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.

Rustum Roy, a Penn State University chemist, has held demonstrations at his State College lab to confirm his own observations.

The radio frequencies act to weaken the bonds between the elements that make up salt water, releasing the hydrogen, Roy said. Once ignited, the hydrogen will burn as long as it is exposed to the frequencies, he said.

The discovery is "the most remarkable in water science in 100 years," Roy said.

"This is the most abundant element in the world. It is everywhere," Roy said. "Seeing it burn gives me the chills."

Roy will meet this week with officials from the Department of Energy and the Department of Defense to try to obtain research funding.

The scientists want to find out whether the energy output from the burning hydrogen — which reached a heat of more than 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit — would be enough to power a car or other heavy machinery.

"We will get our ideas together and check this out and see where it leads," Roy said. "The potential is huge."

Noe her med substans ??

The GoingGreen 100 Winners

Sept. 4, 2007

Welcome to the first annual AlwaysOn GoingGreen 100. With this list of the hottest private companies in greentech, we highlight the game-changing players that are making it possible and profitable for big businesses to go green. These innovators are transforming the global energy, water, agriculture, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and resource recovery establishments – all trillion-dollar industries.

Greentech has become the 3rd largest investment class for venture capitalists —$6.4 billion total has been invested. As the money pours into this sector, our GoingGreen editorial team - headed up by EcoWorld’s Ed Ring - has been hard at work vetting these companies, searching for ones based on real science and solid business plans.

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[Endret 12.09.07 08:51 av OldNick]
12.09.2007 08:52


Hundreds of private companies were nominated by dozens of top venture capital firms and a wide breadth of green technology insiders. To make the final selection, companies needed to demonstrate that they excelled in our five primary evaluation criteria: innovation, market potential, commercialization, stakeholder value creation, and media attention or “buzz.”

Les mer her


By John C.k. Daly
Sept. 14, 2007

Harvest yields below projected levels combined with rising prices have analysts watching events in Central Asia, wondering if increased food prices might trigger civic protests.

Les mer her

Inflationary spiral could spell an end to era of cheap food

The market is rebalancing as fields are turned over from fuel crops to biofuel.

Sept. 16, 2007 -Guardian.co.uk


Parisians are bemoaning the price of a baguette, Italians have organised a pasta boycott and the Mexican public have held street protests about the cost of tortillas. Rocketing food prices are infuriating consumers and pressurising politicians worldwide. But is this a temporary blip, or has the era of cheap food come to an end?

Part of the problem is short term. Catastrophic droughts and very poor harvests in many of the world's big food-growing regions, including Australia, have driven up the price of grains, particularly wheat. In Britain, meat prices could also rise if the foot-and-mouth crisis continues.

But there are longer-term, more structural forces at work. In particular, high oil prices and the desire to tackle global warming have led to an explosion in demand for biofuels, based on food crops. Farmers are finding that it's more profitable to turn fields over to growing fuel than food. In the US alone, where plant-based ethanol receives generous federal subsidies, this year's maize crop is 20 per cent larger than last year's, as a result of the biofuel boom.

The more grains are turned over to biofuel, the less is left over for food. That pushes up prices, affecting the cost of staples like bread and tortillas; but since grains are often fed to livestock, it also affects meat prices. 'There's a huge knock-on effect,' says Kona Haque, senior commodities editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. She calculates that maize prices will rise on average by 36 per cent this year, and wheat prices by 18 per cent; and she predicts further, smaller increases next year.

Kornproduksjonen slår feil i Australia for andre året på rad.

Selv om kornmengden blir betydelig høyere enn i fjor (63%), så er tonnagen 27% under 5-års snittet.

Australske avlinger tørkerammet

Australia kutter avlingsestimatet for bygg, hvete og raps (canola) med 31 prosent på grunn av tørt vær.

18 sept., 2007 - TDN Finans (dn.no)

Det melder Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics tirsdag, ifølge Bloomberg News.

Australia kan totalt komme til å produsere 25,6 millioner tonn korn i høstingen som starter i oktober. Til sammenligning estimerte byrået i juni kornavlingen til 37 millioner tonn, mens året før, som ble hardt rammet av tørke, var avlingen på 15,7 million tonn korn.

12. september meldte det amerikanske landbruksdepartementet at USA kan komme til å produsere 21 millioner tonn hvete i år, ned fra anslaget på 23 millioner tonn en måned tidligere.

Her er rapporten fra Asutralia departement for landbruk og råvarer.

ABARE: Australian Crop Report, 18 sept., 2007

Her er angitt en del tall på hveteimport (og andre kornslag) for en del fattige og USA-uvennlige land (som Iran, Venezuela, Cuba og Syria) fra USA.

Grain shortage bites - Corn, wheat supplies running low

Sept. 16, 2007


NanoLogix Inc. Announces Historical First in Energy Generation With Bioreactor-Produced Hydrogen at Welch's

Sep. 17, 2007

HUBBARD, Ohio - NanoLogix, Inc. (OTC:NNLX), a nano-biotechnology company, announced it has achieved a historical event with the first onsite generation of electricity using hydrogen gas produced from its bioreactor prototype facility at Welch Foods Inc., a Cooperative in Pennsylvania.

A 5.5 kW generator converted to run on hydrogen was utilized for the demonstration. The generator ran flawlessly on hydrogen gas produced by NanoLogix's hydrogen bioreactor system and powered multiple strings of 100- watt light bulbs. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time in history that electricity has been generated anywhere onsite using hydrogen produced through the use of bacteria to digest waste", said Harry Diz, Department Chair and Professor of Environmental Engineering at Gannon University and NanoLogix Bioreactor Development chief.


Paul Zorzie, Welch's Engineering Manager, stated, "Welch's is happy to provide the site at which this groundbreaking research into generating alternative energy from waste is taking place. We look forward to the potential of building upon these developments to scale up and use this energy for our operation."

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19.09.2007 23:21


Bret Barnhizer, Chairman and CEO of NanoLogix, stated, "We are delighted at the results of the work by Professor Diz and associates and anticipate potential upscaling of the Welch's operation to commercial bioreactor status. The Welch's development, enabling conversion of sugar from their wastewater stream to produce hydrogen, has contributed immeasurably to ongoing research and development for processing other types of waste streams. Linked to that development and following our business plan for expansion, in the spring of 2008 we intend to begin bioreactor construction at the Erie Wastewater Treatment Plant for the extraction of hydrogen from their protein-rich activated sludge waste stream."

Rapeseed biofuel ‘produces more greenhouse gas than oil or petrol’

Sept. 21, 2007 - timesonline.co.uk


A renewable energy source designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is contributing more to global warming than fossil fuels, a study suggests.

Measurements of emissions from the burning of biofuels derived from rapeseed and maize have been found to produce more greenhouse gas emissions than they save.

Other biofuels, especially those likely to see greater use over the next decade, performed better than fossil fuels but the study raises serious questions about some of the most commonly produced varieties.

Rapeseed and maize biodiesels were calculated to produce up to 70 per cent and 50 per cent more greenhouse gases respectively than fossil fuels. The concerns were raised over the levels of emissions of nitrous oxide, which is 296 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Scientists found that the use of biofuels released twice as much as nitrous oxide as previously realised. The research team found that 3 to 5 per cent of the nitrogen in fertiliser was converted and emitted. In contrast, the figure used by the International Panel on Climate Change, which assesses the extent and impact of man-made global warming, was 2 per cent. The findings illustrated the importance, the researchers said, of ensuring that measures designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions are assessed thoroughly before being hailed as a solution.

“One wants rational decisions rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon because superficially something appears to reduce emissions,” said Keith Smith, a professor at the University of Edinburgh and one of the researchers.

Maize for ethanol is the prime crop for biofuel in the US where production for the industry has recently overtaken the use of the plant as a food. In Europe the main crop is rapeseed, which accounts for 80 per cent of biofuel production.

Professor Smith told Chemistry World: “The significance of it is that the supposed benefits of biofuels are even more disputable than had been thought hitherto.”

The research is published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, where it has been placed for open review. The research team was formed of scientists from Britain, the US and Germany, and included Professor Paul Crutzen, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on ozone.

National Geographics om biodrivstoff...

Green Dreams

By Joel K. Bourne, Jr. - NationalGeographic.com

Producing fuel from corn and other crops could be good for the planet–if only the process didn't take a significant environmental toll. New breakthroughs could make a difference.


Gaia guru urges ocean pipes to fix Earth's climate

By Ben Hirschler
Sep 26, 2007

LONDON (Reuters) - A series of giant pipes in the oceans to mix surface and deeper water could be an emergency fix for the Earth's damaged climate system, the scientist behind the Gaia theory said on Wednesday.

James Lovelock, whose Gaia hypothesis that planet Earth is a living entity has fuelled controversy for three decades, thinks the stakes are so high that radical solutions must be tried - even if they ultimately fail.

In a letter to the journal Nature, he proposes vertical pipes 100 to 200 meters long and 10 meters wide be placed in the sea, so that wave motion pumps up water and fertilizes algae on the surface.

This algal bloom would push down carbon dioxide levels and also produce dimethyl sulphide, helping to seed sunlight-reflecting clouds.

"If we can't heal the planet directly, we may be able to help the planet heal itself," Lovelock, of the University of Oxford, and co-author Chris Rapley, from London's Science Museum, said.

The two scientists argued it was unlikely any of the well-intentioned technical or social schemes for limiting carbon would restore the planet's status quo.

International climate experts have warned that global warming, blamed mainly on greenhouse gases emitted by burning fossil fuels, will bring more droughts, heatwaves, floods and rising sea levels.

Commenting on Lovelock's idea, Brian Hoskins, professor of meteorology at the University of Reading, said it was scientifically sound but there were huge unknowns.

"This is the latest in a line of geo-engineering solutions," he said. "In my opinion, our uncertainties over the likely regional impact of what our greenhouse gas emissions may do is high. The uncertainties over what these solutions may do is an order of magnitude higher."

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01.10.2007 00:11

Etanol-boom'en er ikke uten problemer.

- Vi har en kostnadsulempe i USA med mais-basert etanol.
- Etanol fra mais gir heller ikke noen energi-fordel, siden man må anvende like mye energi for å få produsert etanolen, som man får ut i form av drivstoff.
- Vi har også hørt om enormt vannforbruk, og utarming av jorda p.g.a. ensidig driftsform.

Brazil, som lager etanol fra sukker, har også sine problemer.

Ved siden av ensidig jordbruk, og utnyttelse av de fattige, får vi nå også vite at sukkerkuttere får lunge-fibrose, en tilstand som kan være dødelig, og i minste fall reduserer både arbeidsevne og helsetilstand resten av livet for de som blir rammet.

Dette er en støvsykdom, som her må være biologisk støv (ikke mineralsk).

Lang, fin artikkel fra Bloomberg om problemene i Brazil's etanol-industri. Mange anekdoter.

Brazil Ethanol Boom Belied by Diseased Lungs Among Cane Workers

By Michael Smith and Carlos Caminada
Sept. 28, 2007


(Bloomberg) - Manuel Rodrigues da Silva stoops over, wielding a machete to slice through bamboolike sugar cane stalks in a field that stretches to the horizon in southeastern Brazil. Dressed in a frayed T-shirt and dirt-coated blue work pants, he perspires in the 90-degree-Fahrenheit heat.

Suddenly, he feels dizzy and has to stop. It's not the first time this has happened. He's had headaches and pains all over his body for a week and has already been hospitalized once. Silva, who's 45 and started cutting cane this year, says he's reluctant to stop working. His pay and his job hinge on how much cane he can cut in a day.

The cane Silva slashes feeds an ethanol plant owned by Cosan SA Industria & Comercio, Brazil's biggest exporter of a fuel that politicians around the world trumpet as a clean, renewable alternative to gasoline.

Halfway through Silva's 10-hour shift, the slender, 5-foot- 2-inch-tall (1.6-meter-tall) worker collapses. He takes shelter under a bus, where he trembles with fever. That's where Sao Paulo state labor prosecutor Mario Antonio Gomes finds him as he inspects the plantation.

Gomes orders Elton Rodrigo Franco, a driver for the plantation, to take Silva to a hospital in Capivari, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) away. The sick laborer endures the one- hour trip in the only vehicle available, a two-seat Ford Pampa pickup with no room in which to lie down.

A doctor at the hospital diagnoses Silva with lung fibrosis, a scarring of the lungs that often afflicts cane cutters, according to the labor inspector's report. He may die if he keeps cutting cane, the report says.

Meget alvorlige advarsler fra en forsker som har utredet og skrevet mye om biodrivstoff-problematikken og andre ting innenfor energi-området.

Meget sterk lesning!

How Can We Outlive Our Way of Life?

Tad W. Patzek
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
The University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720

Paper prepared for the 20th Round Table on Sustainable Development of Biofuels: Is the Cure Worse than the Disease?
OECD Headquarters, Chˆateau de la Muette, Paris, 11-12 September 2007


In this paper I outline the rational, science-based arguments that question current wisdom of replacing fossil plant fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) with fresh plant agrofuels. This 1:1 replacement is absolutely impossible for more than a few years, because of the ways the planet Earth works and maintains life. After these few years, the denuded Earth will be a different planet, hostile to human life. I argue that with the current set of objective constraints a continuous stable solution to human life cannot exist in the near-future, unless we all rapidly implement much more limited ways of using the Earth’s resources, while reducing the global populations of cars, trucks, livestock and, eventually, also humans. To avoid economic and ecological disasters, I recommend to decrease all automotive fuel use in Europe by up to 6 percent per year in 8 years, while switching to the increasingly rechargeable hybrid and all-electric cars, progressively driven by photovoltaic cells. The actual schedule of the rate of decrease should also depend on the exigencies of greenhouse gas abatement. The photovoltaic cell-battery-electric motor system is some 100 times more efficient than major agrofuel systems.

The Oil Drum Review: How Can We Outlive Our Way of Life?

Posted by Robert Rapier on October 2, 2007

har gjort en bra gjennomgang av overstående paper av Patzek.

Tidligere har samme forfatter publisert andre studier av samme tema, se f.eks.

Tadeusz W. Patzek: Ethanol From Corn, Just How Sustainable Is It ?

Thermodynamics og the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle

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01.10.2007 00:19

Du fortjener ros for den kunnskapsdatabasen du har bygd opp her utenfor forumets allfarvei Oldnick.

Er ofte innom på dine tråder, og finner alltid interessant og viktig kunnskap.


06.10.2007 11:15

Takk for det, du. Men, du burde skifte nick, mange (meg inkl.) vil ha problemer å diskutere med en som har slike sympatier.

(Og mitt nick betyr ikke hva du kanskje tro det betyr)

Klimaet vil påvirke verdensøkonomien

Investeringsbanken Morgan Stanley forventer høy arbeidsledighet og høy inflasjon som følge av klimakrisen.

Guro Aardal Hagen (dn.no)
6 oktober, 2007

I en ny rapport tar banken Morgan Stanley klimakrisen innover seg og konkluderer med at de menneskeskapte ødeleggelsene kommer til å påvirke verdensøkonomien.

Ifølge banken kan effektene bli like store som etter kommunismens fall på starten av 1990-tallet. Og mangel på forutsigbarhet, er noe av det verste som vil skje, skriver di.se.

Et mer usikkert klima kommer til å øke usikkerheten rundt investeringer og på sett og vis forstyrre konjunktursyklusen, skriver banken.


I forlengelsen av dette ventes høyere arbeidsledighet og høyere inflasjon - det banken med en fellesbetegnelse kaller stagflation.

De siste tyve årene har verdensøkonomien blitt karakterisert av synkende inflasjon. Vi tror klimaforandringene gjør at inflasjonen kommer tilbake, skriver Morgan Stanley.

Banken tror inflasjonen vil drives av høyere priser på mat, vann og karbondioksid. Dyrere transport vil samtidig hemme mobiliteten og ramme verdenshandelen.

Det eneste som kan holde inflasjonstrykket er ny teknologi og tiltak fra verdens regjeringer, mener banken.

Frontline soldiers could use energy beamed from orbit, study says

By Alan Boyle, Science editor, msnbc.com
Oct 12, 2007

A new Pentagon study lays out the roadmap for a multibillion-dollar push to the final frontier of energy: a satellite system that collects gigawatts’ worth of solar power and beams it down to Earth.

The military itself could become the “anchor tenant” for such a power source, due to the current high cost of fueling combat operations abroad, the study says.

The 75-page report, released Wednesday, says new economic incentives would have to be put in place to “close the business case” for space-based solar power systems — but it suggests that the technology could be tested in orbit by as early as 2012.

"I think we have found the killer application that we have been looking for to tie everything together that we're doing in space," Air Force Col. Michael V. "Coyote" Smith, who initiated the study for the Defense Department's National Security Space Office, told msnbc.com on Thursday.

Space advocacy groups immediately seized on the idea and formed a new alliance to push the plan. But a representative of the solar-power industry was doubtful that space solar power would move from the realm of science fiction into reality anytime soon.

"You've got a lot of technology breakthroughs that you have to make," Mike Taylor, technical services manager for the Solar Electric Power Association, told msnbc.com.

Charles Miller, president of Space Policy Consulting as well as president and chief executive officer of Constellation Services International, said the key to the plan's success has more to do with economics than physics.

"The issue here is not technology, OK?" said Miller, who was a contributor to the study. "You could figure out how to do space solar power in the '70s. [But] you couldn't close the business case in the '70s. You couldn't close it in the '90s. How do you close the business case? That is the No. 1 question to be answered."

Economic equation is changing

The report — which was done on an unfunded basis and took advantage of online collaboration with outside contributors — notes that several factors have changed in the decade since NASA took its most recent in-depth look at the space power concept (PDF file). Today's best solar cells are about three times as efficient as they were in 1997, while crude-oil prices are roughly three times as high. And in the post-9/11 era, energy security has taken on far more importance.

"The technology has advanced vastly, and the security situation has changed quite a bit, as well as the economic situation," Marine Lt. Col. Paul Damphousse, who took over the study from Smith last month, told msnbc.com. "Those things warranted another look."

Those factors still don't make space solar power attractive for commercial users, but a better case could be made for the Defense Department. The U.S. military pays a premium for its power in the battlefield, when you consider the cost of shipping oil out of the Middle East, refining it, then shipping the fuel back to the combat zone and burning it in electrical generators, Miller said. All that brings the current power price tag to $1 or more per killowatt-hour, compared with 5 to 10 cents on the domestic market, the report says.

Even then, the economic equation still doesn't add up, due primarily to the high cost of launching payloads to orbit. But in the near future, the U.S. military could become a potential "anchor tenant customer" for space-generated power, the report says.

"The business case may close in the near future with appropriate technology investment and risk-reduction efforts by the U.S. government, and with appropriate financial incentives to industry," the report says.

Smith said the military would prefer to buy its power from a commercial space provider, rather than operating the system itself. "It is our goal to move this entire project out of DOD [the Department of Defense] as quickly as possible," he said. "Energy is not our business. We want to be a customer."

[Endret 14.10.07 18:00 av OldNick]
11.10.2007 12:34

Fra nordnetts nyhetstjenste, kanskje til interesse for noen:

Vertikal-akslede vindmøller har vekstpotentiale

Den traditionelle horisontal-akslede vindmølle har domineret markedet for vindmøller, men
nu begynder vindmølleindustrien igen at give de vertikal-akslede vindmøller
opmærksomhed. Det kan være her fremtidens vækst i industrien skal findes, men der er
forhindringer på vejen.

De vertikal-akslede vindmøller har eksisteret længe. Tilbage i 70erne lavede Vestas en
prototype mølle efter den franske ingeniør Georges Darrieus koncept, kendt som
Darrieus-møllen. Opbygning af møllen med kun to C-formede vinger får den til at ligne
en form for piskeris.

Nu er vindmøllen igen blevet taget frem og lagt på tegnebrættet. Vindmølleproducenter og
industrien bag er begyndt at se fordelene ved den vertikal-akslede vindmølle. Og møllen
kunne blive vindmølleindustriens næste vækstområde.

- Vindmølleindustrien gennemgår store ændringer i øjeblikket. Måske er målet flyttet en
smule og muligvis er det igen tid til at kaste et blik på de vertikal-akslede møller,
udtaler Nigel Crowe, direktør fra the British Wind Energy Association til The Economist.

Forskningen kræver dog et gennembrud for at kunne gøre vertikal-akslede møller
konkurrencedygtige i forhold til de traditionelle vindmøller.

Programleder Flemming Rasmussen fra Afdeling for Vindenergi og Atmosfærefysik fra
Forskningscenter Risø, forklarer overfor NetPosten.dk, at der både er fordele og
ulemper ved vertikal-akslen.

- En af fordelene ved vertikal-akslede vindmøller er, at generator og gearkasse kan stå
placeret tæt ved jorden, (hvilket dog ikke har nogen afhjælpende effekt på
vindmølleproducenternes gearkasse-problemer, red.). De vertikalakslede møllers relativt
mindre højde udgør dog også en begrænsning. Vindhastigheden er betydeligt lavere ved
jorden end højere oppe på land, mens denne forskel er mindre til havs. En anden fordel
er, at vindmøllen ikke har brug for et system der drejer møllen op mod vinden, da
vindretningen er underordnet, udtaler Flemming Rasmussen til NetPosten.dk.

Problemet med vertikal-akslede vindmøller er, at de ikke kan konkurrere med de
horisontalakslede vindmøller hvad angår energieffektiviteten, men også med hensyn til
generel kost-effektivitet Det er simpelthen alt i alt billigere at producere el med
de traditionelle propelmøller under de eksisterende forudsætninger.

- Materialeeffektiviteten, eller udnyttelsen pr. kvadratmeter overstrøget areal, er stor
på traditionelle propelmøller set i forhold til vertikalakslede vindmøller. Det har
noget at gøre med, at den yderste del af vingen, som samtidig er ganske let,
overstryger et meget stort areal, eller med andre ord, at vingerne på en
horisontal-akslet mølle, bliver tyndere og tyndere jo længere man nærmer sig spidsen af
vingerne. Det muliggør en langt højere arealudnyttelse set i forhold til
materialeomkostningerne, fortæller Flemming Rasmussen til Netposten og fortsætter:

- Der findes endnu ikke et materiale til at konstruere vinger til en vertikal-akslet
mølle, eller et koncept, der har vist sig konkurrencedygtig i forhold til den
traditionelle propelmølle. Og der skal et gennembrud af en art til, før den bliver
konkurrencedygtig, enten i form af et billigt og effektivt materiale, eller i form af
et helt nyt design, koncept eller anvendelsesforudsætninger.

NetPosten.dk forsøgte i den sammenhæng at få en kommentar fra Verdens største
vindmølleproducent, Vestas Wind Systems, om fremtidige markeds- og
anvendelsesmuligheder for vertikal-akslede vindmøller, men Vestas oplyser, at de
generelt ikke kommenterer på virksomhedens udviklingsprojekter. Dog fortæller en kilde,
at Vestas ikke umiddelbart har tankerne rettet mod vertikal-akslede vindmøller i

Af Andreas Secher Boye, ab@netposten.dk.

Kilder: Windtech International, Vindmølleindustrien, The Economist,
14.10.2007 18:02


How it could work

The report sketches out how a space-based solar power system could work:
# A network of satellites would be constructed in space with arrays of lightweight mirrors extending for several miles (kilometers) on each side.
# Those mirrors would focus sunlight on solar cells, generating electrical power. The electricity would be converted into microwaves suitable for transmitting through Earth's atmosphere, at frequencies of 2.45 or 5.8 GHz.
# The microwaves would be directed down to antenna arrays on Earth, as a beam of radiation about one-sixth as intense as noon sunlight. The antennas would convert the radiation back into electricity for distribution via conventional grids.

The commercial systems discussed in the past would deliver 5 to 10 gigawatts of power. In contrast, the Pentagon study calls for military systems providing 5 to 50 megawatts of continuous power — roughly a thousandth as much.

The report's roadmap calls for ground-based technology development over the next few years, leading up to a demonstration in low Earth orbit in the 2012-2013 time frame, and in geosynchronous orbit by 2017. However, the report makes no commitment for funding such a demonstration. Smith said that would be up to other agencies — such as the Pentagon's own Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or NASA, or the proposed Advanced Research Projects Energy.

Damphousse said the program could use an "incremental approach," starting with experiments to transmit power wirelessly between ground stations placed miles apart. "If you can do that, then you're well on your way to proving you can do it from space," he said.

A follow-up experiment could try transmitting power from the international space station to Earth. "I actually met with a bunch of folks at NASA Ames last week ... and they warmed to the idea immediately," Damphousse said.

Damphousse said the geosynchronous system would require an investment on the order of $10 billion, but would serve as a proof of concept for commercial space power systems.

Smith said such systems could eventually deliver electricity to places that lack the infrastructure for traditional power transmission grids, and turn the decades-old dream of wireless power into reality. "It's using space for an actual tradeable commodity — not for a rover on Mars, which is also necessary — but actually delivering a commodity that can be given to anybody in the world," he said.

Time for a reality check

In conjunction with the Pentagon report's release, 13 space advocacy and research organizations announced the formation of the Space Solar Alliance for Future Energy, which pledged to push for implementation of the space power plan.

"While the technical challenges are real, significant investment now can build space solar Power into the ultimate energy source: clean, green, renewable, and capable of providing the vast amounts of power that the world will need. Congress, federal agencies and the business community should begin that investment immediately,” Mark Hopkins, senior vice president of the National Space Society, said in a written statement.

It's up to policymakers, business leaders and voters to decide whether space-based solar power, or SBSP, is worth pursuing, according to the acting director of the Pentagon's National Security Space Office, Joseph Rouge.

"It appears that technological challenges are closing rapidly and the business case for creating SBSP is improving with each passing year," Rouge said in his foreword to the report. "Still absent, however, is an appropriate catalyst to stimulate the various interested parties toward actually developing a SBSP capability."

The Solar Electric Power Association's Taylor, who advises utilities and other organizations on trends in terrestrial solar power, said the space option "is not something that's on the current solar industry's radar."

He told msnbc.com that putting a large power-generating system in space would pose huge technical challenges — and the potential payoff would have to be similarly huge to justify the risk and expense.

"I'm not sure there'd be a great need to move into space unless it had some exponential cost improvement," Taylor said. "It can't be just a marginal improvement."

What is to be done?

Smith agreed that the hurdles were high. "You put the study out, you spend a couple of weeks getting comments, you step back and take a breath, then you get busy," he said. "We didn't try to candy-coat this. This is going to be a hard, hard, hard, hard problem."

No. 1 on his list was reducing the cost of sending payloads into geosynchronous orbit — a cost that is currently estimated at $10,000 per pound or more. "We have got to solve the reusable rocket and space plane problems immediately," Smith said. "It's time to stop just talking about it."

Constellation Services International's Miller said "the business case doesn't close by just standing aside and doing laissez-faire." He called attention to three recommendations listed in the Pentagon report:
# The Defense Department should analyze its long-term requirements for energy delivery to warfighters, and evaluate whether there's an appropriate way to sign up as an anchor customer. The report cited the example of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency's status as an anchor customer for the commercial NextView satellite program.
# Government incentives for carbon-neutral energy technologies — such as carbon/pollution credits and offsets as well as loan guarantees — should be extended to space power programs as well. The loan guarantees could be modeled on the program currently provided to the nuclear power industry.
# Legislation should be enacted to create transferable investment tax credits for private investments in reusable space transportation systems, as well as in commercial space infrastructure such as orbital fuel depots and assembly platforms.

Miller noted that the energy market am
14.10.2007 18:02


Miller noted that the energy market amounts to $1 trillion a year market, and said the future payoff could be at least as huge as the present challenges.

"If space solar power takes off, everything that came before — Apollo, the shuttle, the station, all together — will look like a college science project," Miller told msnbc.com. "It's that much bigger."

Gore gets a cold shoulder

Steve Lyttle, Sydney Morning Herald, Australia - smh.com.au
October 14, 2007

One of the world's foremost meteorologists has called the theory that helped Al Gore share the Nobel Peace Prize "ridiculous" and the product of "people who don't understand how the atmosphere works".

Dr William Gray, a pioneer in the science of seasonal hurricane forecasts, told a packed lecture hall at the University of North Carolina that humans were not responsible for the warming of the earth.

His comments came on the same day that the Nobel committee honoured Mr Gore for his work in support of the link between humans and global warming.

"We're brainwashing our children," said Dr Gray, 78, a long-time professor at Colorado State University. "They're going to the Gore movie [An Inconvenient Truth] and being fed all this. It's ridiculous."

At his first appearance since the award was announced in Oslo, Mr Gore said: "We have to quickly find a way to change the world's consciousness about exactly what we're facing."

Mr Gore shared the Nobel prize with the United Nations climate panel for their work in helping to galvanise international action against global warming.

But Dr Gray, whose annual forecasts of the number of tropical storms and hurricanes are widely publicised, said a natural cycle of ocean water temperatures - related to the amount of salt in ocean water - was responsible for the global warming that he acknowledges has taken place.

However, he said, that same cycle meant a period of cooling would begin soon and last for several years.

"We'll look back on all of this in 10 or 15 years and realise how foolish it was," Dr Gray said.

During his speech to a crowd of about 300 that included meteorology students and a host of professional meteorologists, Dr Gray also said those who had linked global warming to the increased number of hurricanes in recent years were in error.

He cited statistics showing there were 101 hurricanes from 1900 to 1949, in a period of cooler global temperatures, compared to 83 from 1957 to 2006 when the earth warmed.

"The human impact on the atmosphere is simply too small to have a major effect on global temperatures," Dr Gray said.

He said his beliefs had made him an outsider in popular science.

"It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong," he said. "But they also know that they'd never get any grants if they spoke out. I don't care about grants."

Ethanol drive fuels inflation, fails to generate benefits: CIBC's Rubin

Canadian Press
Oct. 22, 2007

TORONTO — America's policy of subsidizing ethanol to increase energy self-sufficiency will do little but fuel inflation by driving food prices upward, says a report from CIBC World Markets.

“Converting corn from food to fuel has, at best, dubious net energy benefits, but its impact on food prices, already significant, can only grow over time,” warns Jeff Rubin, the investment bank's chief economist.

“With food carrying more than twice the weight in the consumer price index than energy, the policy response to record oil prices may become more inflationary than oil prices themselves.”

The U.S. federal and state governments provide massive subsidies to ethanol producers to expand capacity and to corn farmers to supply the crops to make the fuel. This ever-increasing diversion of corn away from livestock feed and human consumption is putting unrelenting pressure on food prices, with a 60 per cent rise in corn prices in the past two years, Mr. Rubin observed Monday.

“Soaring corn prices not only pass directly into animal feed costs and corn-based food prices like tortillas, but they are spilling over to other grain prices as farmers scramble to expand corn production at the expense of other crops,” he said.

“Grain prices are the strongest they have been in memory while global inventories continue to shrink to record lows.”

The Bush administration aims to raise ethanol production from one billion gallons a year in 2000 to 35 billion gallons a year by 2017, and subsidies totalled $8-billion (U.S.) last year. But Mr. Rubin argues that corn-based ethanol production “is simply not economically efficient — not even with $100 per barrel oil.”

He cites the heavy energy inputs required to grow and harvest the corn, transport it to the distiller, distil it into ethanol and then carry it by truck and train to end users.

“Ethanol indeed has certain benefits, but only for those who grow corn and distil it into alcohol,” said Mr. Rubin.

“The cost of this endeavour is enormous and is rising with every gallon of ethanol produced. The only thing Bush's renewable energy policy will fuel is inflation.”

He predicts food prices will be rising at a rate of over five per cent next year and seven per cent by 2009, adding that for poor Americans food already consumes nearly 40 per cent of their spending.

And even if Washington's target of 35 billion gallons in 2017 is met, Mr. Rubin said, this would reduce gasoline consumption by only 6.5 per cent.

Tanker om Peak Oil og Peak Food, skremmende ....

Growing Global Export Crisis not restricted to Oil

[Endret 17.10.07 10:50 av OldNick]
[Endret 22.10.07 16:43 av OldNick]
[Endret 25.10.07 19:27 av OldNick]
30.10.2007 07:36

Denne artikkelen sår sterk tvil om vitenskapens evne til å produsere klimamodeller som nøyaktig nok kan forutsi fremtidens temperatur, og klimautvikling til at de er anvendbare.

De (som mange andre av oss - sic!) mener Jordens klima er bare for komplisert til at vi vil få en tiltsrekkelig forståelse av det (inntil når ?)

Climate is too complex for accurate predictions

25 Oct., 2007
Jim Giles, NewScientist.com

Climate change models, no matter how powerful, can never give a precise prediction of how greenhouse gases will warm the Earth, according to a new study.

The result will provide ammunition to those who argue not enough is known about global warming to warrant taking action.

The analysis focuses on the temperature increase that would occur if levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere doubled from pre-Industrial Revolution levels. The current best guess for this number – which is a useful way to gauge how sensitive the climate is to rising carbon levels – is that it lies between 2.0 C and 4.5 C. And there is a small chance that the temperature rise could be up to 8C or higher.

To the frustration of policy makers, it is an estimate that has not become much more precise over the last 20 years. During that period, scientists have established that the world is warming and human activity is very likely to blame, but are no closer to putting a figure on exactly much temperatures are likely to rise.

Positive feedback

It now appears that the estimates will never get much better. The reason lies with feedbacks in the climate system. For example, as the temperature increases, less snow will be present at the poles. Less snow means less sunlight reflected back into space, which means more warming.

These positive feedbacks accelerate global warming and also introduce uncertainty into estimates of climate sensitivity, say Gerard Roe and Marcia Baker of the University of Washington in Seattle.

What is more, they found that better computer models or observational data will not do much to reduce that uncertainty. A better estimate of sensitivity is the holy grail of climate research, but it is time to "call off the quest", according to a commentary published alongside the paper.
Deep uncertainties

That is likely to fuel attacks by critics in the oil industry and elsewhere who argue against investing in measures like clean energy until more is known about climate change. Others say that we need to act even if climate sensitivity lies at the low end of the scale, since coastal areas would still be threatened by rising seas, for example.

Ultimately, the papers also illustrate the limits to which models, even those produced by powerful supercomputers, can help politicians make decisions.

"This finding reinforces not only that climate policies will necessarily be made in the face of deep, irreducible uncertainties," says Roger Pielke, a climate policy expert at the University of Colorado at Boulder, US. "But also the uncomfortable reality – for climate modellers – that finite research dollars invested in ever more sophisticated climate models offer very little marginal benefit to decision makers."

Journal reference: Science (vol 318, p 582)

Denne historien er tidligere referert (se oldNick [6173] lenger tilbake i topic)

Power from the final frontier

Giant collectors in space that beam solar energy back to Earth could soon be a reality. And, as James Bloom reports, it could be a bigger moneyspinner than space tourism

James Bloom, The Guardian
Nov. 1, 2007


Elbiler 9 ganger bedre enn biodrivstoff

Det er langt mer energieffektivt å lade opp elbiler enn å lage biodrivstoff og putte på tanken. Det hevder Petter Hieronymus Heyerdahl ved Universitetet for Miljø- og Biovitenskap og får støtte fra NTNU.

Per Erlien Dalløkken, Tommy Rudihagen - tu.no

Her ser du begrunnelsen:

En bil som bruker biodiesel bruker ca. 0,5 liter per mil. Dette tilsvarer 0,5 kWh per km. En biodrivstoffabrikk har 35 prosent effektivitet, noe som betyr at en må bruke trevirke med 1,4 kWh energimengde for å kjøre 1 km.

Strøm til bil – biomasse til varme

En elbil har ikke slike varmetap som en dieselbil, og bruker kun 0,12 kWh per km. Denne strømmen tas normalt fra elnettet.

Men: I Norge bruker vi elektrisitet til oppvarming. Om vi bruker biomassen til pellets og husoppvarming, i stedet for å lage biodrivstoff, og så bruker elektrisiteten til å fylle batteriet i elbilen i stedet for å varme opp huset, vil vi kun bruke biomasse tilsvarende 0,15 kWh for å kjøre 1 km bil.

Dette er hovedtrekkene i et foredrag Petter Hieronymus Heyerdahl fra Universitetet for Miljø- og Biovitenskap holdt under Rådgivende ingeniører forening (RIF) sitt høstmøte dene uka.

Mer effektivt

Innfallsvinkelen støttes av Rolf André Bohne som forsker på bærekraftig infrastruktur ved NTNU:

Uten at jeg kan gå god for det konkrete regnestykket til Heyerdahl, vil jeg si at han har et godt poeng.

Det store problemet er at å gjøre biomassen til flytende drivstoff er et energitap i seg selv. Kanskje burde vi heller brenne dette, enten varmekraftverk eller som direkte oppvarming. Hvis vi tenker system vil det være mer effektivt å bruke pellets til husvarme og spare strømmen til bilen, sier Bohne.

[Endret 03.11.07 22:41 av OldNick]
[Endret 07.11.07 20:30 av OldNick]
[Endret 07.11.07 20:31 av OldNick]
07.11.2007 20:33



Forskeren har lenge vært en markant kritiker til satsingen på biodrivstoff. Han poengterer at det spesielt er framstillingen av førstegenerasjons biodrivstoff som i et miljøperspektiv er problematisk, all den tid det legger beslag på store jordbruksarealer.

Selv om vi brukte alt tilgjengelig jordbruksareal på kloden til drivstoff i stedet for matproduksjon, vil det fortsatt ikke dekke behovet. Andre- og tredjegenerasjons biodrivstoff, produsert av avfall fra matproduksjon og skogbruk, vil være et positivt bidrag. Men dessverre er det ikke dette er nok. Til og med i Norge, et lite land med mye skog, er ikke i nærheten av å kunne produsere nok med dagens forbruk av drivstoff. Vi kommer derfor ikke utenom å måtte redusere forbruket kraftig, påpeker Bohne.


Han advarer mot en ukritisk framstilling av biodrivstoff som en frelser for klimaproblemene.

Vi ser i dag at biodrivstoff feilaktig brukes for å grønnvaske relativt miljøfiendtlige biler. Mange av dem er digre og tunge med store motorer som forbruker mye drivstoff. Hva skal vi med det? spør Bohne.

Biofuel rush harmful, Oxfam warns

Nov. 1, 2007 - news.bbcco.uk

Miscanthus is a high yield, low input crop for energy

The rush for biofuels could harm the world's poorest people, Oxfam has said.

In a new report, the UK aid charity appears to be joining a growing chorus of concern about the side-effects of Europe's drive to get fuel from plants.

The European Union wants to cut the CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels and has demanded that 10% of all transport fuels should come from plants by 2020.

But Oxfam warns poor farmers risk being forced off their land as industrial farmers cash in on the biofuel bonanza.

'Biofuel pie'

Its report says to meet the rise in demand, the EU will have to import biofuels made from crops like sugar cane and palm oil from developing countries.

The rush by big companies and governments in Indonesia, Colombia, Brazil, Tanzania and Malaysia to win a slice of the "EU biofuel pie" threatens to force poor people from their land, it adds.

This could destroy their livelihoods, lead to the exploitation of workers and hit food availability and prices, says the report.

It is now demanding the EU reviews its biofuel policy and wants safeguards put in place to protect the poor.

The European Commission says it is working to make sure its biofuel policy does not backfire.

Les mer her

Det går trått innenfor USA's etanol-industri....

Dårlig lønnsomhet, dårlig miljø-standing også...

Ethanol Bust Makes Loser of Bush, Gates, Archer Daniels Midland

By Joe Carroll and Mario Parker
Nov. 19, 2007


En artikkel om biodieselproduksjon ved hjelp av alger.

Widescale Biodiesel Production from Algae

Michael Briggs, University of New Hampshire, Physics Department

(revised August 2004)


En seriøs gjennomgang av USA's avhengighet og forbruk av fossile drivstoff for å skaffe befolkningen deres daglige brød.

Anbefales lest, selv om den er noen år gammel, og vi har mer data idag.

Eating Fossil Fuels

by Dale Allen Pfeiffer

© Copyright 2004


Meget bra artikkel, anbefales !

Peak Soil: Why cellulosic ethanol, biofuels are unsustainable and a threat to America

Contributed by Alice Friedemann
Released April 10, 2007


De heteste klima-aksjene

Klimaendringene innebærer både en trussel og store muligheter for investorene

26 nov., 2007 - DN.no

Det tror produktspesialist Patrick König hos Deutsche Banks klimaendringsfond DWS Invest Climate Change, skriver di.se.

Det kan bli en stor kake å dele for de selskapene som tilbyr produkter som minsker effektene av klimaendringene.

Det vil koste rundt fem prosent av verdens samlede bruttonasjonalprodukt å unngå de verste følgene av klimaendringene, spår Nicholas Stern, tidligere viseadministrerende direktør i Verdensbanken i en rapport.


Patrick König tror klimaspørsmålet vil være høyt på agendaen i mange år fremover.

Dette er en megatrend som på lang sikt vil være veldig lønnsom å investere i, sier König til di.se.

Tre områder

Deutsche Bank har valgt å konsentrere fondets investeringer innen tre områder - miljøteknikk, energieffektivisering og teknikker/produkter som lindrer de negative effektene av klimaendringene.

Jeg tror man skal passe seg nøye for å bare investere innenfor en bransje, for eksempel vindkraft og solenergi. Det er på dette tidspunktet nesten umulig å gjette hvor i verdikjeden den største lønnsomheten til slutt havner, ikke minst når de store aktørene nå er på vei inn i leken, sier König.

Her er DWS Invest Climate Changes favoritter sortert etter størrelsen på investeringene:

* Gamesa – vindkraft, Spania

* Solarworld – solenergi, Tyskland

* Johnson Controls – energieffektivisering, USA

* Tanfield Group – eldrevne kjøretøy, Storbritannia

* Umicore – materialteknikk, Belgia

* Veolia Environment - miljøtjenester og -teknikk, Frankrike

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[Endret 26.11.07 09:34 av OldNick]
27.11.2007 21:50

Natural disasters have quadrupled in two decades: study

Nov. 25, 2007

LONDON (AFP) - More than four times the number of natural disasters are occurring now than did two decades ago, British charity Oxfam said in a study Sunday that largely blamed global warming.

"Oxfam... says that rising green house gas emissions are the major cause of weather-related disasters and must be tackled," the organisation said, adding that the world's poorest people were being hit the hardest.

The world suffered about 120 natural disasters per year in the early 1980s, which compared with the current figure of about 500 per year, according to the report.

"This year we have seen floods in South Asia, across the breadth of Africa and Mexico that have affected more than 250 million people," noted Oxfam director Barbara Stocking.

"This is no freak year. It follows a pattern of more frequent, more erratic, more unpredictable and more extreme weather events that are affecting more people."

Les mer her

Nå skal det bli fart på alternativ energi-utviklingen i USA - Google kaster seg inn i forskningen...

Google's Goal: Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal

Creates renewable energy R&D group and supports breakthrough technologies

Nov. 27, 2007

Mountain View, California – Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) today announced a new strategic initiative to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that will be cheaper than electricity produced from coal. The newly created initiative, known as RE
"We have gained expertise in designing and building large-scale, energy-intensive facilities by building efficient data centers," said Larry Page, Google Co-founder and President of Products. "We want to apply the same creativity and innovation to the challenge of generating renewable electricity at globally significant scale, and produce it cheaper than from coal."

Les mer her

Europe power

A £5bn solar power plan, backed by a Jordanian prince, could provide the EU with a sixth of its electricity needs - and cut carbon emissions

Robin McKie, science editor, The Observer
Sunday December 2 2007

Solar panels like these near Munich could capture heat in areas of the Mediterranean under the plan proposed by Prince Hassan bin Talal. Photograph: Alamy

Europe is considering plans to spend more than £5bn on a string of giant solar power stations along the Mediterranean desert shores of northern Africa and the Middle East.

More than a hundred of the generators, each fitted with thousands of huge mirrors, would generate electricity to be transmitted by undersea cable to Europe and then distributed across the continent to European Union member nations, including Britain.

Billions of watts of power could be generated this way, enough to provide Europe with a sixth of its electricity needs and to allow it to make significant cuts in its carbon emissions. At the same time, the stations would be used as desalination plants to provide desert countries with desperately needed supplies of fresh water.

Last week Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan presented details of the scheme - named Desertec - to the European Parliament. 'Countries with deserts, countries with high energy demand, and countries with technology competence must co-operate,' he told MEPs.

The project has been developed by the Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Corporation and is supported by engineers and politicians in Europe as well as Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Jordan and other nations in the Middle East and Africa.

Europe would provide initial funds for developing the solar technology that will be needed to run plants as well as money for constructing prototype stations. After that, banks and financial institutions, as well as national governments, would take over the construction programme, which could cost more than £200bn over the next 30 years.

'We don't make enough use of deserts,' said physicist Gerhard Knies, co-founder of the scheme. 'The sun beats down on them mercilessly during the day and heats the ground to tremendous temperatures. Then at night that heat is radiated back into the atmosphere. In other words, it is completely wasted. We need to stop that waste and exploit the vast amounts of energy that the sun beams down to us.'

Scientists estimate that sunlight could provide 10,000 times the amount of energy needed to fulfil humanity's current energy needs. Transforming that solar radiation into a form to be exploited by humanity is difficult, however.

Les mer her

[Endret 27.11.07 22:27 av OldNick]
[Endret 03.12.07 02:27 av OldNick]
08.12.2007 14:13

A new electrode for cutting the price of making hydrogen

Posted by Michael Kanellos - Blog på http://www.news.com/
Dec. 7, 2007

Although hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it's a royal pain to make.

Most industrial hydrogen producers currently make the gas by heating methane and water to 815 degrees Celsius and causing a reaction. Unfortunately, this process generates 9.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide for every kilo of hydrogen, so it's not environmentally friendly or cheap.

Other companies like Signa Chemistry have come out with chemical catalysts that can strip hydrogen from water.

Then there is electrolysis, which involves cracking water molecules with electricity. Electrolysis doesn't produce any greenhouse gases or chemical residues so it's the most environmentally friendly. It's also expensive and time consuming. QuantumSphere says it has a way around this problem.

It has devised an iron-nickel power for coating an electrode that speeds up the electrolysis process, according to CEO Kevin Maloney. It's a classic nano play. Coating a surface with small, independent particles increases the reactive surface area, which means more simultaneous reactions between molecules. Quantum's Stingray electrodes have more than 2,000 times more catalytic surface area than standard electrodes coated with standard sized particles, he said.

The Stingray can produce 2.4 kilograms of hydrogen in 25 minutes. Standard electrodes can take hours or days, he said. As a result, the Stingray can produce hydrogen at $2.50 to $9 a kilo, not including subsidices. That's in the range that excites the Department of Energy.

No, the hydrogen economy doesn't exist yet. But researchers around the globe continue to ponder ways to produce, store and transport the stuff cheaply. Some car makers still maintain that hydrogen cars will come out within a decade or so.

A spin-out from Caltech, QuantumSphere also makes particles for rocket engines and other industrial applications. We wrote about them a few years ago here.


Vi vet at i USA selges bensin for drøyt $3 per gallon, i Europa ligger det på ca. $5-7.

En liter bensin veier ca. 740 gram.
En US gallon = 3.785 liter, som da veier ca. 2.8 kg.

Men, man får mye mer forbrenningsenergi ut av H2-O2 forbrenning, slik at energi-innholdet i en kg H2 tilsvarer omtrent det man får ut av en liter vanlig, raffinert bensin.

Fra et termodynamikk-program jeg har, finner jeg følgende forbrenningsdata:

2H2+O2=2H2O, ΔH = - 490 kJ/mol (v/400 C)
Tilsvarer 34 kWh pr kg H2.

C8H18(l)+12.5O2=8CO2(g)+9H2O, ΔH = - 5115 kJ/mol (v/400 C)
Tilsvarer 12.5 kWh pr kg n-oktan.

C7H8(l)+9O2(g)=7CO2(g)+4H2O(g), ΔH = - 3750 kJ/mol (v/400 C)
Tilsvarer 11.3 kWh pr kg toluen.

API angir forbrenningsverdi for "gasoline" = 20500 BTU pr. lb, som tilsvarer 13.3 kWh pr kg.

Prisen per kWh forbrenningsenergi blir da:
QuantumSphere H2: US$2.5 til 9/34 = USc7.4-26 pr kWh
US bensin: US$3/13.3 = USc23 pr kWh.

Spørsmålet er hva QuantumSphere bruker som el-pris for å drive sine H2-elektrolysører ?

Hydro Electrolysers (Notodden), som leverer elektrolyse-anlegg for H2, produserer "ren" hydrogen med ca. 4.5 kWh/Nm3 H2 el-forbruk, og de påstår å ha 80%+ energiutnyttelse. (Fant ikke noen brochure på nettet, men Bellona Hydrogen-rapport, s. 20 nevner tallene)

Det tilsvarer ca. 100 kWh pr. kg H2 produsert (ren O2 er biprodukt, og det går også med energi for å lage det. Resten er entropi/varmetap i prosessen).

Dersom el-prisen var 50 øre/kWh, kan vi med denne teknologien produsere H2 med

NOK 2.25/Nm3 H2, som tilsvarer
NOK 50/kg H2, og
NOK 1.5/kWh = ca. USc26/kWh

Dette forteller meg at tallet US$2.5 pr kg H2 er helt urealistisk, siden det medfører en el-pris på <15 øre, noe det ikke er mange plasser man får.]

Med dagens Si-baserte solcelle-teknologi, vil vekstratene bremse seg selv dersom teknologien en gang får betydelig markedsandel i verdens energi-kapasitet.

Det tar 3 år å produsere nok energi til å dekke den mengden som går med til å få produsert og bygget et energiverk basert på denne teknologien.

Solar Energy's Red Queen

Dec. 8, 2007 - www.americanscientist.org

Worldwide, the total installed capacity of photovoltaic panels increased by 36 percent in 2006. Alternative-energy advocates would, ideally, like to see such rates maintained so that photovoltaic cells could displace a large fraction of the fossil fuels being used to generate electricity. The rub is that with an energy payback time of three years, growing the industry at this pace requires more energy than all the existing photovoltaic cells produce. That is, even if you could somehow harvest all the energy produced from every last photovoltaic cell in one year, the total wouldn't be sufficient to produce the next year's crop of panels. As Lewis Carroll's Red Queen said in Through the Looking Glass, "Now here, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place."

Andy Black, chief executive officer of OnGrid Solar Energy Systems, a San Jose company, pointed out this particular Red Queen effect in a presentation to the Solar World Congress in 2005. "It's sort of a mathematical oddity," says Black. "We've got this wonderful, clean industry that's actually using coal to power it." Were the growth rate more modest, of course, such photovoltaic systems would produce more energy than is being used to fuel their production.

[Endret 08.12.07 14:15 av OldNick]
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09.12.2007 17:57


...But Black says, "We're not going to make a difference unless we grow fast."

Another solar-energy advocate to express such concerns is Michael Graetzel, a professor of chemistry at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne in Switzerland. Two decades ago, Graetzel began work on a way to produce solar cells without silicon. He and his colleague Brian O'Regan published an influential paper in Nature showing how this could be done in 1991. The "Graetzel" or "dye-sensitized" solar cell uses a combination of titanium dioxide (a component found in many paints) and an organic dye molecule, often a compound containing ruthenium, which are together immersed in a liquid electrolyte. A. C. Veltkamp of ECN Solar Energy, an independent photovoltaic-research firm in the Netherlands, has estimated that such dye-sensitized cells installed in southern Europe would have an energy payback time of only a half-year or so.

Dishonest political tampering with the science on global warming

Dec. 5, 2007
Christopher Monckton, Denpasar, Bali

As a contributor to the IPCC's 2007 report, I share the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. Yet I and many of my peers in the British House of Lords - through our hereditary element the most independent-minded of lawmakers - profoundly disagree on fundamental scientific grounds with both the IPCC and my co-laureate's alarmist movie An Inconvenient Truth, which won this year's Oscar for Best Sci-Fi Comedy Horror.

Two detailed investigations by Committees of the House confirm that the IPCC has deliberately, persistently and prodigiously exaggerated not only the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature but also the environmental consequences of warmer weather.

My contribution to the 2007 report illustrates the scientific problem. The report's first table of figures - inserted by the IPCC's bureaucrats after the scientists had finalized the draft, and without their consent - listed four contributions to sea-level rise. The bureaucrats had multiplied the effect of melting ice from the Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets by 10.

The result of this dishonest political tampering with the science was that the sum of the four items in the offending table was more than twice the IPCC's published total. Until I wrote to point out the error, no one had noticed. The IPCC, on receiving my letter, quietly corrected, moved and relabeled the erroneous table, posting the new version on the internet and earning me my Nobel prize.

The shore-dwellers of Bali need not fear for their homes. The IPCC now says the combined contribution of the two great ice-sheets to sea-level rise will be less than seven centimeters after 100 years, not seven meters imminently, and that the Greenland ice sheet (which thickened by 50 cm between 1995 and 2005) might only melt after several millennia, probably by natural causes, just as it last did 850,000 years ago. Gore, mendaciously assisted by the IPCC bureaucracy, had exaggerated a hundredfold.

Recently a High Court judge in the UK listed nine of the 35 major scientific errors in Gore's movie, saying they must be corrected before innocent schoolchildren can be exposed to the movie. Gore's exaggeration of sea-level rise was one.

Others being peddled at the Bali conference are that man-made "global warming" threatens polar bears and coral reefs, caused Hurricane Katrina, shrank Lake Chad, expanded the actually-shrinking Sahara, etc.

At the very heart of the IPCC's calculations lurks an error more serious than any of these. The IPCC says: "The CO2 radiative forcing increased by 20 percent during the last 10 years (1995-2005)." Radiative forcing quantifies increases in radiant energy in the atmosphere, and hence in temperature. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 in 1995 was 360 parts per million. In 2005 it was just 5percent higher, at 378 ppm. But each additional molecule of CO2 in the air causes a smaller radiant-energy increase than its predecessor. So the true increase in radiative forcing was 1 percent, not 20 percent. The IPCC has exaggerated the CO2 effect 20-fold.

Why so large and crucial an exaggeration? Answer: the IPCC has repealed the fundamental physicalthe Stefan-Boltzmann equation - that converts radiant energy to temperature. Without this equation, no meaningful calculation of the effect of radiance on temperature can be done. Yet the 1,600 pages of the IPCC's 2007 report do not mention it once.

The IPCC knows of the equation, of course. But it is inconvenient. It imposes a strict (and very low) limit on how much greenhouse gases can increase temperature. At the Earth's surface, you can add as much greenhouse gas as you like (the "surface forcing"), and the temperature will scarcely respond.

That is why all of the IPCC's computer models predict that 10km above Bali, in the tropical upper troposphere, temperature should be rising two or three times as fast as it does at the surface. Without that tropical upper-troposphere "hot-spot", the Stefan-Boltzmann law ensures that surface temperature cannot change much.

For half a century we have been measuring the temperature in the upper atmosphere - and it has been changing no faster than at the surface. The IPCC knows this, too. So it merely declares that its computer predictions are right and the real-world measurements are wrong. Next time you hear some scientifically-illiterate bureaucrat say, "The science is settled", remember this vital failure of real-world observations to confirm the IPCC's computer predictions. The IPCC's entire case is built on a guess that the absent hot-spot might exist.

Les mer her

[Endret 09.12.07 20:48 av OldNick]
14.12.2007 17:33

Breakthrough battery could boost electric cars

Toshiba promises 'energy solution' with nearly full recharge in 5 minutes

Dec. 13, 2007 (MSNBC.com)

Toshiba showed off its new lithium-ion battery at company headquarters in Tokyo on Tuesday.

TOKYO - A new battery that can be recharged to 90 percent capacity in under five minutes and lasts 10 years will start shipping in March, Toshiba Corp. announced this week, hailing it as "a new energy solution" for cleaner transportation.

Toshiba plans to initially make the quick-charging Super Charge ion Battery for electric bikes, forklifts, construction machinery and other industrial use. It can work in temperatures as low as minus 22 degrees Fahrenheit.

A newcomer in rechargeable batteries, Toshiba said the lithium-ion battery could be used in hybrid and electric cars by 2010, Mochida said.

Battery innovations are expected to be key in making hybrid vehicles more widespread, because lighter and easier-to-recharge batteries will improve efficiency. They could also spark mass-produced plug-in hybrids and and even resurrect the idea of all-electric vehicles that use no fossil fuel.

"This is a truly innovative battery," said Toshiba Corporate Vice President Toshiharu Watanabe, emphasizing its potential "in the electronic vehicles markets as a new energy solution."

Most lithium-ion batteries in use now, such as those in laptop computers, require hours to recharge to full capacity, with the fastest ones requiring about half an hour.

Toshiba also said its new battery, which is estimated to last 5,000 charges, is unlikely to rupture or catch fire, problems that have beset some lithium-ion batteries used in laptops.

The Tokyo-based electronics maker expects global sales of the new fast-charging battery to reach nearly $900 million by fiscal 2015.

Center for Global Development, er en amerikansk organisasjon med følgende "About us"-beskrivelse:

"CGD is an independent, not-for-profit think tank that works to reduce global poverty and inequality by encouraging policy change in the U.S. and other rich countries through rigorous research and active engagement with the policy community."

Har opprettet og driver følgende nettside:

CARbon Monitoring for Action - CARMA.org, en Webside som har (eller hevder å ha) samlet CO2-utslipps data for de fleste av verdens kraftverk.

About CARMA:

At its core, Carbon Monitoring for Action (CARMA) is a massive database containing information on the carbon emissions of over 50,000 power plants and 4,000 power companies worldwide. Power generation accounts for 40% of all carbon emissions in the United States and about one-quarter of global emissions. CARMA is the first global inventory of a major, emissions-producing sector of the economy.

CARMA is produced and financed by the Confronting Climate Change Initiative at the Center for Global Development, an independent and non-partisan think tank located in Washington, DC.

The objective of CARMA.org is to equip individuals with the information they need to forge a cleaner, low-carbon future. By providing complete information for both clean and dirty power producers, CARMA hopes to influence the opinions and decisions of consumers, investors, shareholders, managers, workers, activists, and policymakers. CARMA builds on experience with public information disclosure techniques that have proven successful in reducing traditional pollutants.

For en uke siden, den 13 desember, sendte 100 vitenskapsmenn et åpent brev til FN's generalsekretær Ban Ki-moon på Bali og advarte om risikoene ved å fokusere all innsats på menneskeskapt global oppvarming.

Don't fight, adapt

We should give up futile attempts to combat climate change

Published: Dec. 12, 2007

Ban Ki-moon. [Getty Images]

Open Letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations

His Excellency Ban Ki-Moon

Secretary-General, United Nations

New York, N.Y.

Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction

It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis. While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

[Endret 14.12.07 17:33 av OldNick]
[Endret 20.12.07 09:56 av OldNick]
[Endret 20.12.07 09:57 av OldNick]
[Endret 20.12.07 10:00 av OldNick]
[Endret 20.12.07 23:44 av OldNick]
20.12.2007 23:45


The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by ­government ­representatives. The great ­majority of IPCC contributors and ­reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:

z Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.

z The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

z Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/docs/wg1_timetable_2006-08-14.pdf) to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the "precautionary principle" because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.

The current UN focus on "fighting climate change," as illustrated in the Nov. 27 UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take. National and international planning for such changes is needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.

Yours faithfully,

[List of signatories]

Og idag har US Senat offentliggjort en rapport som lister 400 vitenskapsmenn innenfor fagområder som gjør klimarelaterte studier, som er offentlig erklærte skeptikere til hypotesen om menneskeskapt global oppvarming.

Et utdrag er gitt på Senatkomiteen ''Environment & Public Works'' presseblog:

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

Posted By Marc Morano - Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov
Dec. 20, 2007

Blog'en inneholder en rekke linker til referanser som beskriver utviklingen (eller froholdet) mellom tilhengere og skeptikere av teorien.

Hele rapporten er linket fra blog'en, men her er linken:

U.S. Senate Report: Over 400 Prominent Scientists Disputed Man-Made Global Warming Claims in 2007

Senate Report Debunks "Consensus"

Report Released on Dec. 20, 2007


Introduksjon til vitenskapen om global oppvarming og (den mulige) menneskelig innvirkning via CO2 fra fossile brennstoff.

Dette er en hypertekst-basert lærebok/samling av artikler og essays, produsert av Spencer Weart og lagt ut på sidene til American Institute of Physics.

Informasjonen "lever" i det den iflg. forfatteren blir oppdatert jevnlig når det kommer ny informasjon (og det gjør det jo kontinuerlig).

The Discovery of Global Warming

A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change

by Spencer Weart, American Institute of Physics

[Endret 21.12.07 00:53 av OldNick]
[Endret 24.12.07 10:16 av OldNick]
24.12.2007 16:23

Climate Science: Roger Pielke Sr. Research Group News

Radiative Forcing of Climate Change: Expanding the Concept and Addressing Uncertainties (2005)

Solar Power:

"The climate change implications are pretty clear. You can get basically unlimited carbon-free power from this," said Mark Hopkins.

"You just have to find a way to make it cost-effective."

Yes, that's the ultimate question, make it costcompetitive...

"Drilling Up" -- Some Look to Space for Energy

Charles J. Hanley in Bali, Indonesia (Associated Press)
Dec. 26, 2007

While great nations fretted over coal and oil at the UN climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, this month, one of the smallest countries there was looking toward the heavens.

The annual meeting's corridors can be a sounding board for unlikely "solutions" to climate change — such as filling the skies with soot to block the sun and cultivating oceans of seaweed to absorb the atmosphere's heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

Unlike other ideas, however, one this year had an influential backer—the Pentagon. The U.S. military is investigating whether space-based solar power—beaming energy down from satellites—could provide "affordable, clean, safe, reliable, sustainable, and expandable energy for mankind."

Tommy Remengesau Jr. is interested, too. "We'd like to look at it," said the president of the tiny western Pacific nation of Palau.

Palau and the Pentagon

The U.S. Defense Department in October quietly issued a 75-page study conducted for its National Security Space Office concluding that space power—the collection of energy by vast arrays of solar panels aboard mammoth satellites—offers a potential energy source for U.S. military operations.

In September, American entrepreneur Kevin Reed proposed at the 58th International Astronautical Congress in Hyderabad, India, that Palau's uninhabited Helen Island would be an ideal spot for a small demonstration. A 260-foot-diameter (80-meter-diameter) "rectifying antenna," or rectenna, could be set up to receive 1 megawatt of power transmitted to Earth by a satellite orbiting 300 miles (480 kilometers) above, Reed said.

That's enough electricity to power a thousand homes, but on an empty island the project would "be intended to show its safety for everywhere else," Reed said in a telephone interview from California.

Reed said he expects his U.S.-Swiss-German consortium to begin manufacturing the necessary ultralight solar panels within two years and to attract financial support from manufacturers wanting to show how their technology—launch vehicles, satellites, transmission technology—could make such a system work.

Reed estimates the project would cost about 800 million U.S. dollars and that it could be completed as early as 2012.

At the UN climate conference here this month, a partner of Reed discussed the idea with the Palauans, who Reed said could benefit from beamed-down energy if the project is expanded to populated areas.

"We are keen on alternative energy," Palau's Remengesau said. "And if this is something that can benefit Palau, I'm sure we'd like to look at it."

Solar Power Concentrate

Space power has been explored since the 1960s by NASA and the Japanese and European space agencies, based on the fundamental fact that solar energy is eight times more powerful in outer space than it is after passing through Earth's atmosphere.

The energy captured by space-based photovoltaic arrays could be converted into microwaves for transmission to Earth, where the rectennas would transform it into direct-current electricity.

Low-orbiting satellites, as proposed for Palau, would pass over a target area once every 90 minutes or so, taking about five minutes to transmit energy to be stored in batteries or used immediately. Electric cars, for example, could take such a charge via built-in rectennas.

This proposal differs from many other space-power studies, which focus on geostationary satellites that would orbit 22,300 miles (36,000 kilometers) above the Earth and remain over a single location to transmit a continuous flow of power.

The scale of that vision is enormous: One NASA study visualized solar-panel arrays three by six miles (five by ten kilometers) in size, transmitting power to similarly sized rectennas on Earth.

Each such mega-orbiter might produce five gigawatts of power, more than twice the output of a Hoover Dam.

Patrick Collins of Japan's Azabu University, who participated in Japanese government studies of space power, said a lower-power beam, because of its breadth, might be no more powerful than the energy emanating from a microwave oven's door, whereas the beams from giant satellites would likely require precautionary no-go zones for aircraft and people on the ground.

Space Energy's Potential

Rising oil costs and fears of global warming will lead more people to look seriously at space power, boosters believe.

"The climate change implications are pretty clear. You can get basically unlimited carbon-free power from this," said Mark Hopkins, senior vice president of the National Space Society in Washington.

"You just have to find a way to make it cost-effective."

Advocates say the U.S. and other governments must invest in developing lower-cost space-launch vehicles. "It is imperative that this work for `drilling up' vs. drilling down for energy security begins immediately," concludes October's Pentagon report.

[Endret 27.12.07 22:15 av OldNick]
27.12.2007 22:16


Some seem to hear the call. The European Space Agency has scheduled a conference on space-based solar power for next February 29. Space Island Group, another entrepreneurial U.S. endeavor, reports "very positive" discussions with a European utility and the Indian government about buying future power from satellite systems.

To Robert N. Schock, an expert on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, space power doesn't look like science fiction.

The panel's 2007 reports didn't address space power's potential, Schock explained, because his team's time horizon didn't extend beyond 2030. But, he said, "I wouldn't be surprised at the beginning of the next century to see significant power utilized on Earth from space—and maybe sooner."

Air Force Switches on Largest Solar Power Plant

Dec. 26, 2007 (ENS)

NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nevada - North America's largest solar photovoltaic system is now up and generating power at Nellis Air Force Base in the sunny desert of southern Nevada.


The $100 million solar power plant at Nellis will supply about 25 percent of the total power used at the base, where 12,000 people live and work.

The 14 megawatt photovoltaic array will generate more than 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually. Completed earlier this month, it was inaugurated with a ceremony at Nellis on December 17.

"Nellis, the 'Home of the Fighter Pilot,' is now home to the largest solar electric power plant in all of North America," said Colonel Michael Bartley, Nellis Air Force Base commander.

Using power generated by the solar array is expected to bring about $1 million in cost savings annually, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 24,000 tons each year.

The solar power array is a joint endeavor that combines technology and systems expertise from SunPower Corporation and financing by MMA Renewable Ventures with discounted purchase commitments by the U.S. Air Force and Nevada Power.

SunPower designed and built the photovoltaic power plant using its proprietary single-axis solar tracking system which follows the sun throughout the day and delivers "up to 30 percent more energy than traditional fixed-tilt ground systems," the company says.

MMA Renewable Ventures, LLC has financed and will operate the solar power plant, selling electricity to Nellis Air Force Base at a guaranteed fixed rate for the next 20 years.

"This solar project at Nellis is a first step of many toward making renewable electricity integral to the operations of the U.S. Air Force," said Air Force Assistant Secretary William Anderson at the inauguration ceremony.

Covering 140 acres of land at the western edge of the Nellis base, the photovoltaic system is made up of 72,000 solar panels.

Les mer her

Et "gammelt" paper fra Tad Paztek om etanol og det negative EROEI (produsert fra mais).
Paztek er også en gammel, skarp etanolkritiker.

Thermodynamics of the Corn-Ethanol Biofuel Cycle

Tad W. Patzek, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720
Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 23(6):519-567 (2004)

In this paper I define sustainability, sustainable cyclic processes, and quantify the degree of non-renewability of a major biofuel: ethanol produced from industrially-grown corn.

First, I demonstrate that more fossil energy is used to produce ethanol from corn than the ethanol’s calorific value. Analysis of the carbon cycle shows that all leftovers from ethanol production must be returned back to the fields to limit the irreversible mining of soil humus. Thus, production of ethanol from whole plants is unsustainable. In 2004, ethanol production from corn will generate 11 million tonnes of incremental CO2, over and above the amount of CO2 generated by burning gasoline with 115% of the calorific value of this ethanol.

Second, I calculate the cumulative exergy (available free energy) consumed in corn farming and ethanol production, and estimate the minimum amount of work necessary to restore the key non-renewable resources consumed by the industrial corn-ethanol cycle. This amount of work is compared with the maximum useful work obtained from the industrial corn-ethanol cycle. It appears that if the corn ethanol exergy is used to power a car engine, the minimum restoration work is about 7 times the maximum useful work from the cycle. This ratio drops down to 2.4, if an ideal (but nonexistent) fuel cell is used to process the ethanol.

Third, I estimate the U.S. taxpayer subsidies of the industrial corn-ethanol cycle at $3.3 billion in 2004. The parallel subsidies by the environment are estimated at $1.9 billion in 2004. The latter estimate will increase manifold when the restoration costs of aquifers, streams and rivers, and the Gulf of Mexico are also included.

Finally, I estimate that (per year and unit area) the inefficient solar cells produce 100 times more electricity than corn ethanol. We need to rely more on sunlight, the only source of renewable energy on the earth.

Les mer her (stor PDF)

[Endret 28.12.07 10:46 av OldNick]
[Endret 06.01.08 07:54 av OldNick]
06.01.2008 19:50

For 4 dager siden, kom det en uhyre interessant pressemelding fra forskningsinstituttet "Space and Science Research Center"

Skal vi tro det de forteller, så går vi mot ny istid.

Vi vet at vi om noen hundre eller tusen år går mot en virkelig istid, men SSRC varsler om en klimaendring som ligner på den lille istid på 1700-tallet, og det om få år.

Årsaken er at de predikerer at solaktiviteten (solflekk-aktiviteten) er på vei mot et lavmål, og at det kan starte så tidlig som om 3 år.

Og deres forskning støtter tidligere publiserte data fra NASA, som har predikert at solcylclusen (#25) som starter på slutten av neste 10-år, vil bli den svakeste på lang tid.

Changes in the Sun’s Surface to Bring Next Climate Change

Jan. 2, 2008

Today, the Space and Science Research Center, (SSRC) in Orlando, Florida announces that it has confirmed the recent web announcement of NASA solar physicists that there are substantial changes occurring in the sun’s surface. The SSRC has further researched these changes and has concluded they will bring about the next climate change to one of a long lasting cold era.

Today, Director of the SSRC, John Casey has reaffirmed earlier research he led that independently discovered the sun’s changes are the result of a family of cycles that bring about climate shifts from cold climate to warm and back again.

“We today confirm the recent announcement by NASA that there are historic and important changes taking place on the sun’s surface. This will have only one outcome - a new climate change is coming that will bring an extended period of deep cold to the planet. This is not however a unique event for the planet although it is critically important news to this and the next generations. It is but the normal sequence of alternating climate changes that has been going on for thousands of years. Further according to our research, this series of solar cycles are so predictable that they can be used to roughly forecast the next series of climate changes many decades in advance. I have verified the accuracy of these cycles’ behavior over the last 1,100 years relative to temperatures on Earth, to well over 90%.”

As to what these changes are Casey says, “The sun’s surface flows have slowed dramatically as NASA has indicated. This process of surface movement, what NASA calls the “conveyor belt” essentially sweeps up old sunspots and deposits new ones. NASA’s studies have found that when the surface movement slows down, sunspot counts drop significantly. All records of sunspot counts and other proxies of solar activity going back 6,000 years clearly validates our own findings that when we have sunspot counts lower then 50 it means only one thing - an intense cold climate, globally. NASA says the solar cycle 25, the one after the next that starts this spring will be at 50 or lower. The general opinion of the SSRC scientists is that it could begin even sooner within 3 years with the next solar cycle 24. What we are saying today is that my own research and that of the other scientists at the SSRC verifies that NASA is right about one thing – a solar cycle of 50 or lower is headed our way. With this next solar minimum predicted by NASA, what I call a “solar hibernation,” the SSRC forecasts a much colder Earth just as it has transpired before for thousands of years. If NASA is the more accurate on the schedule, then we may see even warmer temperatures before the bottom falls out. If the SSRC and other scientists around the world are correct then we have only a few years to prepare before 20-30 years of lasting and possibly dangerous cold arrive.”

When asked about what this will mean to the average person on the street, Casey was firm. “The last time this particular cycle regenerated was over 200 years ago. I call it the “Bi-Centennial Cycle” solar cycle. It took place between 1793 and 1830, the so-called Dalton Minimum, a period of extreme cold that resulted in what historian John D. Post called the ‘last great subsistence crisis.’ With that cold came massive crops losses, food riots, famine and disease. I believe this next climate change will be much stronger and has the potential to once more cause widespread crop losses globally with the resultant ill effects. The key difference for this next Bi-Centennial Cycle’s impact versus the last is that we will have over 8 billion mouths to feed in the next coldest years where as we had only 1 billion the last time. Among other effects like social and economic disruption, we are facing the real prospect of the ‘perfect storm of global food shortages’ in the next climate change. In answer to the question, everyone on the street will be affected.”

Given the importance of the next climate change Casey was asked whether the government has been notified. “Yes, as soon as my research revealed these solar cycles and the prediction of the coming cold era with the next climate change, I notified all the key offices in the Bush administration including both parties in the Senate and House science committees as well as most of the nation’s media outlets. Unfortunately, because of the intensity of coverage of the UN IPCC and man made global warming during 2007, the full story about climate change is very slow in getting told. These changes in the sun have begun. They are unstoppable. With the word finally starting to get out about the next climate change, hopefully we will have time to prepare. Right now, the newly organized SSRC is the leading independent research center in the US and possibly worldwide, that is focused on the next climate change.

[Endret 06.01.08 19:53 av OldNick]
06.01.2008 19:52


....Some of the world’s brightest scientists, also experts in solar physics and the next climate change have joined with me. In the meantime we will do our best to spread the word along with NASA and others who can see what is about to take place for the Earth’s climate. Soon, I believe this will be recognized as the most important climate story of this century.”

More information on the Space and Science Research Center is available at: www.spaceandscience.net

The previous NASA announcement:

Long Range Solar Forecast


Solar Cycle 25 peaking around 2022 could be one of the weakest in centuries.

The Sun's Great Conveyor Belt has slowed to a record-low crawl, according to research by NASA solar physicist David Hathaway. "It's off the bottom of the charts," he says. "This has important repercussions for future solar activity."

Les mer her

2007: Year of global cooling

By David Deming, Washington Times
Dec. 19, 2007

Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards.

Since the mid-19th century, the mean global temperature has increased by 0.7 degrees Celsius. This slight warming is not unusual, and lies well within the range of natural variation. Carbon dioxide continues to build in the atmosphere, but the mean planetary temperature hasn't increased significantly for nearly nine years. Antarctica is getting colder. Neither the intensity nor the frequency of hurricanes has increased. The 2007 season was the third-quietest since 1966. In 2006 not a single hurricane made landfall in the U.S.

South America this year experienced one of its coldest winters in decades. In Buenos Aires, snow fell for the first time since the year 1918. Dozens of homeless people died from exposure. In Peru, 200 people died from the cold and thousands more became infected with respiratory diseases. Crops failed, livestock perished, and the Peruvian government declared a state of emergency.

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007. Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years. Australia experienced the coldest June ever. In northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941. In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.

Last January, $1.42 billion worth of California produce was lost to a devastating five-day freeze. Thousands of agricultural employees were thrown out of work. At the supermarket, citrus prices soared. In the wake of the freeze, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger asked President Bush to issue a disaster declaration for affected counties. A few months earlier, Mr. Schwarzenegger had enthusiastically signed the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a law designed to cool the climate. California Sen. Barbara Boxer continues to push for similar legislation in the U.S. Senate.

In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95 percent of South Carolina's peach crop, and 90 percent of North Carolina's apple harvest. At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923. On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit. Denver's temperature records extend back to 1872.

Recent weeks have seen the return of unusually cold conditions to the Northern Hemisphere. On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit. On the same date, record low temperatures were also recorded in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Extreme cold weather is occurring worldwide. On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius. Nov. 24, in Meacham, Ore., the minimum temperature was 12 degrees Fahrenheit colder than the previous record low set in 1952. The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years.

Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri are just emerging from a destructive ice storm that left at least 36 people dead and a million without electric power. People worldwide are being reminded of what used to be common sense: Cold temperatures are inimical to human welfare and warm weather is beneficial. Left in the dark and cold, Oklahomans rushed out to buy electric generators powered by gasoline, not solar cells. No one seemed particularly concerned about the welfare of polar bears, penguins or walruses. Fossil fuels don't seem so awful when you're in the cold and dark.

If you think any of the preceding facts can falsify global warming, you're hopelessly naive. Nothing creates cognitive dissonance in the mind of a true believer. In 2005, a Canadian Greenpeace representative explained “global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean wetter.” In other words, all weather variations are evidence for global warming. I can't make this stuff up.

Global warming has long since passed from scientific hypothesis to the realm of pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.

[Endret 06.01.08 19:53 av OldNick]
[Endret 07.01.08 19:13 av OldNick]
08.01.2008 05:44

Som et ekko av meldingen fra "Space and Science Research Center" (linket inn lenger tilbake, se OldNick [6581]), som også predikerte et omslag til kaldere klima om få år, har et russisk forskerteam kommet til en tilsvarende konklusjon, skal vi tro denne artikkelen fra russiske RIA Novosti.

A cold spell soon to replace global warming

Oleg Sorokhtin for RIA Novosti

MOSCOW – Stock up on fur coats and felt boots! This is my paradoxical advice to the warm world.

Earth is now at the peak of one of its passing warm spells. It started in the 17th century when there was no industrial influence on the climate to speak of and no such thing as the hothouse effect. The current warming is evidently a natural process and utterly independent of hothouse gases.

The real reasons for climate changes are uneven solar radiation, terrestrial precession (that is, axis gyration), instability of oceanic currents, regular salinity fluctuations of the Arctic Ocean surface waters, etc. There is another, principal reason—solar activity and luminosity. The greater they are the warmer is our climate.

Astrophysics knows two solar activity cycles, of 11 and 200 years. Both are caused by changes in the radius and area of the irradiating solar surface. The latest data, obtained by Habibullah Abdusamatov, head of the Pulkovo Observatory space research laboratory, say that Earth has passed the peak of its warmer period, and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012. Real cold will come when solar activity reaches its minimum, by 2041, and will last for 50-60 years or even longer.

This is my point, which environmentalists hotly dispute as they cling to the hothouse theory. As we know, hothouse gases, in particular, nitrogen peroxide, warm up the atmosphere by keeping heat close to the ground. Advanced in the late 19th century by Svante A. Arrhenius, a Swedish physical chemist and Nobel Prize winner, this theory is taken for granted to this day and has not undergone any serious check.

It determines decisions and instruments of major international organizations—in particular, the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Signed by 150 countries, it exemplifies the impact of scientific delusion on big politics and economics. The authors and enthusiasts of the Kyoto Protocol based their assumptions on an erroneous idea. As a result, developed countries waste huge amounts of money to fight industrial pollution of the atmosphere. What if it is a Don Quixote’s duel with the windmill?

Hothouse gases may not be to blame for global warming. At any rate, there is no scientific evidence to their guilt. The classic hothouse effect scenario is too simple to be true. As things really are, much more sophisticated processes are on in the atmosphere, especially in its dense layer. For instance, heat is not so much radiated in space as carried by air currents—an entirely different mechanism, which cannot cause global warming.

The temperature of the troposphere, the lowest and densest portion of the atmosphere, does not depend on the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions—a point proved theoretically and empirically. True, probes of Antarctic ice shield, taken with bore specimens in the vicinity of the Russian research station Vostok, show that there are close links between atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and temperature changes. Here, however, we cannot be quite sure which is the cause and which the effect.

Temperature fluctuations always run somewhat ahead of carbon dioxide concentration changes. This means that warming is primary. The ocean is the greatest carbon dioxide depository, with concentrations 60-90 times larger than in the atmosphere. When the ocean’s surface warms up, it produces the “champagne effect.” Compare a foamy spurt out of a warm bottle with wine pouring smoothly when served properly cold.

Likewise, warm ocean water exudes greater amounts of carbonic acid, which evaporates to add to industrial pollution—a factor we cannot deny. However, man-caused pollution is negligible here. If industrial pollution with carbon dioxide keeps at its present-day 5-7 billion metric tons a year, it will not change global temperatures up to the year 2100. The change will be too small for humans to feel even if the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions doubles.

Carbon dioxide cannot be bad for the climate. On the contrary, it is food for plants, and so is beneficial to life on Earth. Bearing out this point was the Green Revolution—the phenomenal global increase in farm yields in the mid-20th century. Numerous experiments also prove a direct proportion between harvest and carbon dioxide concentration in the air.

Carbon dioxide has quite a different pernicious influence—not on the climate but on synoptic activity. It absorbs infrared radiation. When tropospheric air is warm enough for complete absorption, radiation energy passes into gas fluctuations. Gas expands and dissolves to send warm air up to the stratosphere, where it clashes with cold currents coming down. With no noticeable temperature changes, synoptic activity skyrockets to whip up cyclones and anticyclones. Hence we get hurricanes, storms, tornados and other natural disasters, whose intensity largely depends on carbon dioxide concentration. In this sense, reducing its concentration in the air will have a positive effect.

Carbon dioxide is not to blame for global climate change. Solar activity is many times more powerful than the energy produced by the whole of humankind. Man’s influence on nature is a drop in the ocean.

[Endret 08.01.08 05:44 av OldNick]
08.01.2008 05:45


Earth is unlikely to ever face a temperature disaster. Of all the planets in the solar system, only Earth has an atmosphere beneficial to life. There are many factors that account for development of life on Earth: Sun is a calm star, Earth is located an optimum distance from it, it has the Moon as a massive satellite, and many others. Earth owes its friendly climate also to dynamic feedback between biotic and atmospheric evolution.

The principal among those diverse links is Earth’s reflective power, which regulates its temperature. A warm period, as the present, increases oceanic evaporation to produce a great amount of clouds, which filter solar radiation and so bring heat down. Things take the contrary turn in a cold period.

What can’t be cured must be endured. It is wise to accept the natural course of things. We have no reason to panic about allegations that ice in the Arctic Ocean is thawing rapidly and will soon vanish altogether. As it really is, scientists say the Arctic and Antarctic ice shields are growing. Physical and mathematical calculations predict a new Ice Age. It will come in 100,000 years, at the earliest, and will be much worse than the previous. Europe will be ice-bound, with glaciers reaching south of Moscow.

Meanwhile, Europeans can rest assured. The Gulf Stream will change its course only if some evil magic robs it of power to reach the north—but Mother Nature is unlikely to do that.

Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, Merited Scientist of Russia and fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, is staff researcher of the Oceanology Institute.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

Og nå i begynnelsen av januar, 4 uker etterat 100 skeptiske forskere sendte brev til FN's generalsektretær Ban Ki-Moon på Bali (se OldNick [6518, 6532] lenger tilbake i topic), har jeg funnet første referat i norske medier.

KLIMAKRISE? Hudfletter FNs klimapanel

Øystein Sjølie, E24.no
7 jan., 2007

SOL, IKKE MENNESKER: Solaktivitet og temperatur, og bruk av fossile brensler, slik Arthur Robinson m.fl. ser det. KILDE: Tom V. Segalstad.

I sterk kontrast til den stadig gjentatte påstanden om at spørsmålet om klimaendringer er avgjort, kaster ny viktig forskning tvil over hypotesen om menneskeskapte klimaendringer, skriver 100 vitenskapsfolk i et brev til FNs generalsekretær Ban Ki-moon (bildet).


Tre av underskriverne var endatil blant de 2500 ekspertene i FNs siste klimapanel. Det er vanlig å referere til disse 2500 for å underbygge troverdigheten til klimapanelets konklusjoner.

Geokjemiker Tom V. Segalstad er førsteamanuensis i ressurs- og miljøgeologi ved Universitetet i Oslo, og har vært ekspert for FNs klimapanel. Han er blant dem som har skrevet under på brevet til FN-sjefen.

FNs klimapanel prøver å gi inntrykk av at klimadebatten er avsluttet, men vi er ganske mange som ikke er enig i det, sier han til E24.

Ikke varmere

Segalstad mener rapporten fra klimapanelet inneholder mange feilslutninger.

Siden årtusenskiftet er det ikke blitt varmere i verden, totalt sett. Noen områder har blitt varmere, andre kaldere, sier han.

Han understreker imidlertid at jorden generelt sett er varmet opp de siste århundrene.

De siste 400 årene er den globale temperaturen steget generelt, sier Segalstad.

Ikke mennesker

Oppvarmingen startet imidlertid før mennesket startet med sine utslipp av klimagasser.

Dette tyder på at oppvarmingen ikke skyldes menneskenes utslipp, sier Segalstad.

Han viser til at målinger foretatt av amerikanske National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Disse tyder på at endringer i solaktiviteten også styrer temperaturen på jorden (se figur).

Det blir mer CO2 i luften når det blir varmere, fordi et varmere hav ikke kan holde på så mye CO2. Men CO2 gir ikke varmere luft, sier Segalstad.

CO2 er kortvarig

Han anklager også FNs klimapanel for ikke å ha basert seg på målinger av hvor lenge CO2 varer i atmosfæren.

Panelet innrømmer selv å bruke et ”røft estimat”. En rekke forskjellige målinger viser at luftens CO2 varer i om lag fem år, før det løses i havet, sier Segalstad.

Feil rekkefølge

Han mener også at det siste klimapanelet har gjort sentrale deler av arbeidet i feil rekkefølge.

Sammendraget av rapporten ble laget først, og fikk enorm medieoppmerksomhet. Så ga ledelsen i klimapanelet beskjed om at rapporten må stemme med sammendraget, sier Segalstad.

Og sammendraget er ikke skrevet av vitenskapsfolk. Her sitter det stort sett representanter fra myndighetene, og fra miljøorganisasjoner, sier han.

Får ikke forskningsmidler

Er du sponset av Exxon?

Jeg skulle gjerne hatt penger å forske for, men jeg har verken fått av oljeselskaper eller av norske myndigheter. Dette i motsetning til mange av klimaaktivistene, som har fått svært mye av Forskningsrådet, blant annet ved selv å bestemme forskningsrådets premisser for klimaforskningen, sier Segalstad.

[Endret 08.01.08 09:54 av OldNick]
09.01.2008 17:32

Er en ny Sol-syklus startet ? Ja, iflg. Norsk Romsenter...

Ifølge Norsk Romsenter skiller denne solflekken seg fra andre ved å ha motsatt magnetisk retning, hvilket betyr at solen har begynt på en ny syklus.

Solen kan ødelegge mobilnettet

Kraftige solstormer kan sette GPS- og mobilnettet ut av spill

9 jan., 2007
Guro Aardal Hagen, dn.no

Solkremprodusenter og helsepersonell har lenge gjort oss oppmerksomme på at solen ikke bare er til glede og nytte. Nye oppdagelser tyder på at det ikke bare er hud som kan ta skade av den her nede på jorden.

Rett etter nyttår oppdaget en satellitt en flekk på solen som kan gjøre livet surt for brukere av navigasjons- og kommunikasjonssystemer, som GPS- og mobilnettet.

Ifølge Norsk Romsenter skiller denne solflekken seg fra andre ved å ha motsatt magnetisk retning, hvilket betyr at solen har begynt på en ny syklus. Solens aktivitet varierer i sykluser på 11 år, og denne kan bli femti prosent kraftigere enn forrige syklus.

Les mer her

Er det faktisk slik at verdens skoger vokser, ikke reduseres som media vil ha oss til å tro ?

Are tropical forests actually getting bigger?

JAMES MORGAN, reporter, The Herald
Jan. 10, 2008

Wood you believe it? Claims that the world's tropical forests are declining can not be backed up by hard evidence, according to new research. This major challenge to conventional thinking is the surprising finding of a study by Dr Alan Grainger, senior lecturer in geography at Leeds University, and one of the world's leading experts on tropical deforestation.

"Every few years we get a new estimate of the annual rate of tropical deforestation," says Dr Grainger. "They always seem to show that these marvellous forests have only a short time left. Unfortunately, everybody assumes that deforestation is happening and fails to look at the bigger picture - what is happening to forest area as a whole."

In the first attempt for many years to chart the long-term trend, he spent more than three years going through all available UN data - and found some serious problems.

Rather than universal decline, the data appeared to indicate a slight increase in some types of tropical forest. In a few countries, such as Gambia and Vietnam, forest area has actually expanded since 1990, as the reforestation rate has exceeded the deforestation rate.

"The picture is far more complicated than previously thought," he says. "If there is no long-term net decline it suggests that deforestation is being accompanied by a lot of natural reforestation that we have not spotted."

But Dr Grainger does not claim that tropical deforestation is not occurring, as there is plenty of local evidence for that. His point is that, clearly, we cannot rely on our available data.

"What is happening to the tropical forests is so important, both to the peoples of tropical countries and to future trends in biodiversity and global climate, that we can no longer put off investing in an independent scientific monitoring programme that can combine satellite and ground data to give a reliable picture," he says.

Dr Grainger says we need a World Forest Observatory to monitor changes in forests in the tropics and elsewhere. "Only then will we really know what has happened to tropical forests over the last 40 years."

Political initiatives to tackle climate change have renewed the interest of western governments in tropical forestry. Much of the debate centres on biofuels, such as bio-ethanol or bio-diesel, made from processing-plant material or waste oil. In theory, biofuels are a way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Burning the fuels releases carbon dioxide, but growing the plants absorbs a comparable amount of the gas from the atmosphere.

A major fear concerning biofuel production is that countries may be tempted to replace rainforest with crops for biofuels, such as sugar cane or palm oil plantations.

Meanwhile, if increased proportions of food crops, such as corn or soy, are used for fuel, that may push prices up, affecting food supplies for less prosperous citizens.

A third concern is the energy which is used in farming and processing the crops. This can make biofuels as polluting as petroleum-based fuels, depending on what is grown and how it is treated.

The great hope for overcoming all these stumbling blocks lies with the so-called second-generation of biofuels, made from breaking down cellulose - a material found in the woody bits of plants. Using cellulose would allow for a much greater range of plants to be converted into biofuel - ie not only food crops.

A major breakthrough was announced this week, with the news that switchgrass, a crop touted by venture capitalists and environmentalists alike as a next-generation ethanol feedstock, yields about five times more energy than is needed to grow it, making the plant a far more efficient fuel source than corn.

In addition, the life cycle of the switchgrass ethanol - which includes growing the crop, making the fuel and burning it in vehicles - emits about 94% less of planet-warming carbon dioxide than the life cycle of gasoline, said the study, published on Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

US companies are racing to make economical ethanol from non-food sources. Switchgrass, which used to grow naturally across wide swaths of the US, can be grown on marginal crop land using far fewer energy-intensive inputs, such as fertiliser, than corn needs. And since it does not double as a feed crop, it will not lead to higher grain prices.

[Endret 11.01.08 20:42 av OldNick]
11.01.2008 20:44


Cellulosic ethanol currently costs about double the price as making the fuel from corn, the main US ethanol feedstock. But venture capitalists and companies that are making small amounts of cellulosic ethanol say once the industry gets under way, biological advances in the fungi and other organisms used to break down woody plants into fuel will make the process cheaper.

Snø i Bagdad, Iraq.

Første gang på over 100 år ?

Of All Things in Baghdad, Snow

By Patrick J. Lyons, blogs.nytimes.com
Jan. 11, 2008


Klimaendring er positivt, fordi det øker de biologiske vekstvilkårene i naturen. Man ser det ved mer frodig plantevekst, såsom rapporten fra The Herald påpekte i går. Det hugges skog noen steder, men det kompenseres med øket tilvekst andre steder...

Klimaendring kan gi fordeler

De ventede klimaendringene kan medføre økonomiske fordeler for norsk fiskerinæring og norsk landbruk

12 jan., 2008 - NTB (dn.no)

Det påpeker Havforskningsinstituttet og Bioforsk overfor Miljøverndepartementet.

Mer fisk

Global oppvarming kan føre til økte fiskeressurser i norske farvann, og bedre vilkår for landbruksproduksjon i deler av Norge, ifølge brev de to institusjonene har sendt departementet.

De to brevene er svar på departementets spørsmål til en rekke forskningsinstitusjoner om forskningens betydning og rolle for tilpasning til klimaendringer.

Miljøverndepartementet kom med sin henvendelse i november i fjor, og har fått mange svar fra forskningsinstitusjoner som gjerne vil forske på effekter av klimaendringer, og hvordan Norge kan tilpasse seg disse endringene.

Tapere og vinnere

«Mens øket temperatur har vært negativt for produksjonen i sør, har de nordlige områdene totalt sett fått en økt produktivitet med økende temperatur», skriver Havforskningsinstituttet i sitt svar til Miljøverndepartementet.

Brevet inneholder også en liste over tapere og vinnere ved temperaturstigning i Arktis og norske havområder.

«Taperne i Arktis er de rene arktiske artene som isbjørn og ringsel, mens vinnerne er de boreale artene som raudåte, torsk, hyse, sild, kolmule og makrell, altså økonomisk viktige arter for norske fiskerier. Vi forventer en videre økning i produktiviteten for disse artene i arktiske fiskeriområder under global oppvarming», heter det i brevet.

Nye oppdrettsarter

«Videre forventer vi at våre tradisjonelle oppdrettsarter fremdeles vil få gode forhold, fordi vi kan forflytte anleggene lenger nordover vår lange kyst ettersom temperaturen øker. Samtidig kan mer varmekjære oppdrettsarter bli aktuelle langs Vestlandskysten», skriver Havforskningsinstituttet.

Samtidig understreker Havforskningsinstituttet at disse betraktningene forutsetter at den globale temperaturøkningen avgrenses til 2 grader Celcius – «hvilket betyr at de globale CO2-utslippene må reduseres med 80 prosent innen 2050».

Havforskningsinstituttet skriver at dersom utslippene gir en temperaturøkning på 4 grader eller mer, vil sannsynligheten øke for at økosystemet endrer seg på en måte som det i dag ikke finnes kunnskap til å forutsi.

Slike endringer kan like gjerne resultere i ugunstige som gunstige virkninger for produktiviteten i de arktiske økosystemene, skriver instituttet.

Landbruk i nord

Bioforsk påpeker at de sterkeste klimaendringene ventes å komme i nord, og at de mest pessimistiske scenariene antyder regelmessig tørketilstand i Sør-Europa og flytting av de europeiske kjerneområdene for landbruksproduksjon nordover.

«Dette vil øke behovet for kunnskapsbaserte løsninger for landbruksproduksjon på areal som i dag er uproduktive eller lite intensivt produsert, for eksempel sentrale og nordvestre deler av Russland og Skandinavia», skriver Bioforsk.

Betydelig usikkerhet

Bioforsk er blant de forskningsinstitusjonene som overfor departementet også påpeker usikkerhet om hvordan klimaet vil utvikle seg.

«Kunnskapen om klimaendingene er generelt preget av betydelig usikkerhet, både med hensyn til endring i temperatur og nedbør og fordeling mellom områder, årstider og episoder. Dette vil gjenspeile tilsvarende usikkerhet i behovet for tilpasninger», skriver Bioforsk.

[Endret 11.01.08 20:54 av OldNick]
[Endret 12.01.08 15:48 av OldNick]
13.01.2008 12:43

Gammel artikkel, men llikevel interessant...

Lurer på hva status er nå `?

More High-Tech Fuel In N.C.? Vacant Nash County Plant Could Be Converted Into $50M Ethanol Refinery

Aug 9, 2006

RALEIGH, N.C. -- A massive, long-vacant International Paper plant in Nash County could become the site for an ethanol production plant with investors looking to spend as much as $50 million to bring the plant on line.

Another ethanol refinery may also be built in Rocky Mount, according to the general manager for the local operation.

If the plans materialize, the two refineries would help make North Carolina a more significant player in development and production of high-tech solutions to growing demands for energy.

Xethanol, a publicly traded New York company focused on ethanol produced through use of cellulose rather than grains such as corn, said Wednesday that it will work with Aganol Biorefineries to convert the plant to ethanol production. Financial terms were not disclosed. Aganol is based in Spring Hope.

The Xethanol effort is the second recently announced ethanol effort in North Carolina. Agri-Ethanol of Raleigh is building a grain-based ethanol plant in Beaufort County and has announced financing of up to $3 billion from unnamed investors.

"The deal was struck last week," said Doug McCullagh, general manager for Aganol Biorefineries. The local company also is known as Carolina Fiberboard. He will serve in the same capacity for the Xethanol subsidiary to be known as BlueRidge BioFuels. Each refinery will operate as a company, and the Spring Hope facility will be known as Spring Hope BioFuels, McCullagh said. "The management team is in place," he added.

Demand for ethanol is growing as oil prices continue to soar. Some 5 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in 2005, double the amount generated in 2002, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Statistics With new plants scheduled to come online, production is forecast to surpass 7 billion gallons a year.

The former International Paper Plant is located near Spring Hope. It has been vacant since 1998. The facility, which employed 191 people when it was closed, covers 212 acres and includes 200,000 square feet of factory buildings.

"We're looking forward to bringing the plant back to life," McCullagh said.

Once final permits are in place, a pilot production facility is expected to be operational within six months, McCullagh said. As many as 60 jobs will be created once the plant achieves full production, he added. The production target is 35 million gallons per year.

"We may put up to $50 million into the facility at Spring Hope," McCullagh added.

BlueRidge BioFuels does not plan to stop with one plant, either. "This is only our first plant," McCullagh said. Negotiations are already underway to acquire another vacant industrial complex in Rocky Mount, and the company also is looking at a site in Virginia, he said.

The plants will use furniture and forestry products as the raw material to produce ethanol.

"It is a perfect facility for us on a lot of different fronts," McCullagh said of the Spring Hope location. "A lot of the equipment we need is there. Second is the location. We are really happy with the municipal and county governments' help out there."

The Spring Hope location is beneficial since it is close to production sources for the state's furniture and forestry industries, McCullagh explained.

The plant, which once produced fiberboard, already has so-called "pulp digesters" that can be used as part of the ethanol production process, Xethanol said in a statement. Acid hydrolysis technology will be used to convert the wood pulp into fermentable sugars. At some point, the company said it would utilize an enzyme-based process to produce ethanol.

Cellulosic ethanol is an emerging technology, and McCullagh said it offers several advantages over grain-based ethanol. "It's less costly to produce, it's cleaner, and it's not going to upset markets as corn does," McCullagh said.

In a Department of Energy analysis published in 2002, cellulosic technology was cited as a key to reducing the production costs of ethanol. "The ability to produce ethanol from low-cost biomass will be key to making it competitive as a gasoline additive," the analysis said. "If Department of Energy goals are met, the cost of producing ethanol could be reduced by as much as 60 cents per gallon by 2015 with cellulosic conversion technology."

Christopher d'Arnaud-Taylor, the chairman and chief executive officer of Xethanol, said in a statement that purchasing an existing facility would save "both time and money".

Xethanol recently acquired a production facility operated by Pfizer in Augusta, GA. that it plans to turn into a refinery by mid-2007. Production is targeted at 50 million gallons a year. Xethanol also has two plants in Iowa.

Xethanol trades on AMEX under the symbol XNL. The company came under criticism this week when Sharesleuth.com, a website operated by billionaire Mark Cuban, noted that several major stockholders had been disciplined by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The website also questioned whether Xethanol had produced significant quantities of ethanol.

ExxonMobil's vurdering av de ulike produksjonsmetodene for å produsere etanol på:

Grafen er fra:

The Outlook for Energy - A View to 2030

Jaime Spellings, General Manager, Corporate Planning, Exxon Mobil Corporation
December 12, 2006

Denne finner jeg ikke lenger på Exxon's hjemmeside, men 2007-utgaven er tilgjengelig, men uten overnevnte graf (eller grafer, det var flere med mer info, men denne var mest illustrerende).
13.01.2008 13:05


ExxonMobil's kostnadsestimater ser ut til å være basert på biokjemiske metoder for å konvertere cellulosemolekylet (lignin) til sukker, for deretter å gjære dette til etanol med påfølgende destillasjon og raffinering.

International Paper's anlegg ser ut til å bruke kjemiske konverteringsmetoder, som nok i teorien er mindre energieffektiv enn den biokjemiske.

Vær klar over at her i Norge har Orkla's kjemisdivisjon - Borregaard produsert etanol som biprodukt fra sin lignin-produksjon i mange 10-år, så cellulosebasert produksjon er langt ifra ukjent.

Som Exxon's figurer indikerer, cellusebasert etanol vil være vesentlig dyrere enn mais-basert, og maisbasert er igjen vesentlig dyrere enn brasiliansk sukkerbaserte.

Vi vet idag at maisbasert etanol i USA sannsynligvis har liten eller negativ EROEI, mens brasiliansk sukkerbasert har positiv EROEI.

Skal vi trekke noen konklusjon fra Exxon's graf, må det være at cellulosebasert etanol vil ha betydelig negativ EROEI, siden det alltid er en viss korrlasjon mellom kostnader og energiforbruk.

Energikildene for å drive produksjonen er dog (delvis) valgbare.

Maisbasert etanol i USA er en alternativ metode for å konverte kull- eller NG-energi (elektrisitet/varme) til flytende drivstoff, slik at selv om energiutbyttet er <=0, så øker det tilgangen på flytende drivstoff i USA.

Dette vil gå så lenge USA har overskudd av kull/NG-basert energi. Når det overskuddet ender, vil den relle energikostanden vise seg i økende priser på alle kilder.

Vil EU endre sin potensiellt risikable målsetning om 10% biodrivstoff ?

EU rethinks biofuels guidelines

By Roger Harrabin - Environment Analyst, BBC News

A labourer at a palm plantation in Indonesia - file photo
Palm plantations are replacing the original forest in some areas
Europe's environment chief has admitted that the EU did not foresee the problems raised by its policy to get 10% of Europe's road fuels from plants.

Recent reports have warned of rising food prices and rainforest destruction from increased biofuel production.

The EU has promised new guidelines to ensure that its target is not damaging.

EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said it would be better to miss the target than achieve it by harming the poor or damaging the environment.

Clampdown promised

A couple of years ago biofuels looked like the perfect get-out-of-jail free card for car manufacturers under pressure to cut carbon emissions.

Instead of just revolutionising car design they could reduce transport pollution overall if drivers used more fuel from plants which would have soaked up CO2 while they were growing.

Since then reports have warned that some biofuels barely cut emissions at all - and others can lead to rainforest destruction, drive up food prices, or prompt rich firms to drive poor people off their land to convert it to fuel crops.

"We have seen that the environmental problems caused by biofuels and also the social problems are bigger than we thought they were. So we have to move very carefully," Mr Dimas told the BBC.

"We have to have criteria for sustainability, including social and environmental issues, because there are some benefits from biofuels."

He said the EU would introduce a certification scheme for biofuels and promised a clampdown on biodiesel from palm oil which is leading to forest destruction in Indonesia.

Some analysts doubt that "sustainable" palm oil exists because any palm oil used for fuel simply swells the demand for the product oil on the global market which is mainly governed by food firms.

US expansion

Mr Dimas said it was vital for the EU's rules to prevent the loss of biodiversity which he described as the other great problem for the planet, along with climate change.

On Monday, the Royal Society, the UK's academy of science, is publishing a major review of biofuels. It is expected to call on the EU to make sure its guidelines guarantee that all biofuels in Europe genuinely save carbon emissions.

In the US the government has just passed a new energy bill mandating a major increase in fuel from corn, which is deemed by some analysts to be useless in combating rising carbon dioxide emissions.

The bill also foresees a huge expansion in fuel from woody plants but the technology for this is not yet proven.

[Endret 14.01.08 17:14 av OldNick]
15.01.2008 00:22

NASA's Dr. David Hathaway intervjues om de radikale spådommene til “Space and Science Research Center” om en begynnende nedkjøling i neste solsyklus.

Senere kom også russiske Pulkova Observatory med tilsvarende spådommer (se OldNick [6581, 6586] lenger foran i topic).

Solar Cycle 24 Has Begun

Jan. 10, 2008 (© 2008 Linda Moulton Howe)

“There are a number of indicators that suggest Solar Cycle 24 Maximum should be a big cycle.” - David Hathaway, Ph.D., NASA

On left, is Extreme UV-wavelength image of the sun and on right, a B&W magnetogram showing positive (white) and negative (black) magnetic polarities. On December 11, 2007, this new high-latitude active solar region was magnetically reversed from sunspot magnetic directions in the previous Solar Cycle 23. So, this new sunspot officially marks the beginning of Solar Cycle 24. Images courtesy SOHO/NASA/ESA.

Huntsville, Alabama - One month ago on December 11, 2007, a patch of magnetism on the sun was declared by NASA to be the first official sunspot of the new Solar Cycle 24. The spot was in a high-latitude on the sun with reversed polarity from the previous Solar Cycle 23 that has been in minimum for a long time. The sun has had a blank face without any sunspots for days and weeks at a time. But from now forward to 2012, sunspots should start appearing again all over the sun, leading up to what NASA astrophysicist, David Hathaway, Ph.D., thinks will be one of the more intense solar maximums on record. Dr. Hathaway is the Solar Physics Team Leader at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. He received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1979.

Dr. Hathaway is now one of the top solar astrophysicists in the world. He was surprised last week in the beginning of January 2008, to learn that his own solar physics research was being used by a non-scientist named John Casey in an Orlando, Florida company calling itself “Space and Science Research Center.” SSRC recently distributed an alarming press release on the internet entitled “Changes in the Sun’s Surface to Bring Next Climate Change.” The press release warned there will be a global food shortage in the next Solar Cycle 25 (approximately 2018 - 2029).

This week I talked with Dr. Hathaway about the press release and his own perceptions about what’s expected in this current Solar Cycle 24 and beyond.

Les mer her

Ray of hope: Can the sun save us from global warming?

Could the Sun's inactivity save us from global warming? David Whitehouse explains why solar disempower may be the key to combating climate change

Dec. 5, 2007 - independent.co.uk

Ray of hope: Can the sun save us from global warming? Between 1645 and 1715 sunspots were rare. It was also a time when the Earth's northern hemisphere chilled dramatically

Something is happening to our Sun. It has to do with sunspots, or rather the activity cycle their coming and going signifies. After a period of exceptionally high activity in the 20th century, our Sun has suddenly gone exceptionally quiet. Months have passed with no spots visible on its disc. We are at the end of one cycle of activity and astronomers are waiting for the sunspots to return and mark the start of the next, the so-called cycle 24. They have been waiting for a while now with no sign it's on its way any time soon.

Sunspots – dark magnetic blotches on the Sun's surface – come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle of activity first noticed in 1843. It's related to the motion of super-hot, electrically charged gas inside the Sun – a kind of internal conveyor belt where vast sub-surface rivers of gas take 40 years to circulate from the equator to the poles and back. Somehow, in a way not very well understood, this circulation produces the sunspot cycle in which every 11 years there is a sunspot maximum followed by a minimum. But recently the Sun's internal circulation has been failing. In May 2006 this conveyor belt had slowed to a crawl – a record low. Nasa scientist David Hathaway said: "It's off the bottom of the charts... this has important repercussions for future solar activity." What's more, it's not the only indicator that the Sun is up to something.


Astronomers are watching the Sun, hoping to see the first stirrings of cycle 24. It should have arrived last December. The United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted it would start in March 2007. Now they estimate March 2008, but they will soon have to make that even later. The first indications that the Sun is emerging from its current sunspot minimum will be the appearance of small spots at high latitude. They usually occur some 12-20 months before the start of a new cycle. These spots haven't appeared yet so cycle 24 will probably not begin to take place until 2009 at the earliest. The longer we have to wait for cycle 24, the weaker it is likely to be. Such behaviour is usually followed by cooler temperatures on Earth.

[Endret 15.01.08 00:47 av OldNick]
[Endret 15.01.08 01:11 av OldNick]
15.01.2008 01:12


The past decade has been warmer than previous ones. It is the result of a rapid increase in global temperature between 1978 and 1998. Since then average temperatures have held at a high, though steady, level. Many computer climate projections suggest that the global temperatures will start to rise again in a few years. But those projections do not take into account the change in the Sun's behaviour. The tardiness of cycle 24 indicates that we might be entering a period of low solar activity that may counteract man-made greenhouse temperature increases. Some members of the Russian Academy of Sciences say we may be at the start of a period like that seen between 1790 and 1820, a minor decline in solar activity called the Dalton Minimum. They estimate that the Sun's reduced activity may cause a global temperature drop of 1.5C by 2020. This is larger than most sensible predictions of man-made global warming over this period.

Les mer her

Out of the spotlight, solar will thrive

A US energy policy that largely ignores solar power will, ironically, help the sector by giving it time to catch up with demand. That's good for investors, too

By Jim Jubak, MoneyCentral.msn.com
Jan. 15, 2007


Geothermal Energy Set to Double Across Western States

Jan. 14, 2008 (ENS)

WASHINGTON, DC - The amount of new geothermal power now under development in the United States will roughly double U.S. geothermal capacity, according to a survey that will be released Wednesday by the Geothermal Energy Association, GEA.

These projects, when developed, will provide up to 3,368 megawatts of new electric power capacity for the grid, more than doubling U.S. geothermal power capacity from 2,936 MW to almost 6,304 MW - enough to meet the needs of six million households.

Geothermal power is energy generated by heat stored beneath the Earth's surface. New projects are underway in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, the association says.

Steam from beneath the Earth's surface blows from a pipe behind workers at the new U.S. Geothermal power plant in Idaho. (Photo courtesy U.S. Geothermal)

U.S. Geothermal Inc. achieved commercial operation last week at its new geothermal power plant in Raft River, Idaho, making it the first commercial geothermal power plant in the state. So far, the plant output is around nine megawatts, but the company expects the plant to achieve an average annual net power output of 13 megawatts.

"The surge in new geothermal power development continues in the U.S.," said Karl Gawell, GEA's executive cirector. According to the new report, 86 new geothermal power projects are currently underway in 12 states.

This is an increase of 35 projects in an additional three states compared to a survey completed in November 2006.

Development of these new projects will provide economic benefits across the West, says Gawell.

"New projects will result in the infusion of $11 billion in capital investment in the western states, and create 5,600 permanent jobs and over 21,000 person-years of construction and manufacturing employment," he said.

Geothermal power does not emit greenhouse gases and so the geothermal power plants do not contribute to global warming.

"New projects will offset 25 million metric tons of carbon dioxide compared to coal-fired power plants, which is equivalent to removing over five million cars off the road," said Gawell.

The survey will be presented at a GEA Workshop Wednesday at Bally's Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

"New federal and state initiatives to promote geothermal energy are paying off," commented Gawell. "State renewable standards coupled with the federal production tax credit are creating a renaissance in U.S. geothermal power production," he added.

But, the federal production tax credit is about to expire at the end of 2008. In December the Senate failed by one vote to keep a multi-year extension of the renewable tax credits in the energy bill. According to the industry, it is now facing a serious dilemma.

"If we can build and sustain this momentum, geothermal energy can become a major US energy source," according to Gawell. "But, Congress and the administration must work together to extend the renewable energy tax credits before they expire."

Without an extended credit, the resulting tax hike will undercut one of the fastest growing segments of the U.S. economy - renewable energy, he warned.

On January 16, the full text of the "Geothermal Production and Development Update" will be on the GEA website at: www.geo-energy.org

[Endret 15.01.08 19:46 av OldNick]
[Endret 15.01.08 21:28 av OldNick]
16.01.2008 19:41

Br-r-r! Where did global warming go?

By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist
Jan. 6, 2008

THE STARK headline appeared just over a year ago. ''2007 to be 'warmest on record,' '' BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government's Meteorological Office, the story announced that "the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007," surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.

In South America, for example, the start of winter last year was one of the coldest ever observed. According to Eugenio Hackbart, chief meteorologist of the MetSul Weather Center in Brazil, "a brutal cold wave brought record low temperatures, widespread frost, snow, and major energy disruption." In Buenos Aires, it snowed for the first time in 89 years, while in Peru the cold was so intense that hundreds of people died and the government declared a state of emergency in 14 of the country's 24 provinces. In August, Chile's agriculture minister lamented ''the toughest winter we have seen in the past 50 years," which caused losses of at least $200 million in destroyed crops and livestock.

Latin Americans weren't the only ones shivering.

University of Oklahoma geophysicist David Deming, a specialist in temperature and heat flow, notes in the Washington Times that "unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007." Johannesburg experienced its first significant snowfall in a quarter-century. Australia had its coldest ever June. New Zealand's vineyards lost much of their 2007 harvest when spring temperatures dropped to record lows.

Closer to home, 44.5 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire last month, breaking the previous record of 43 inches, set in 1876. And the Canadian government is forecasting the coldest winter in 15 years.

Now all of these may be short-lived weather anomalies, mere blips in the path of the global climatic warming that Al Gore and a host of alarmists proclaim the deadliest threat we face. But what if the frigid conditions that have caused so much distress in recent months signal an impending era of global cooling?

"Stock up on fur coats and felt boots!" advises Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and senior scientist at Moscow's Shirshov Institute of Oceanography. "The latest data . . . say that earth has passed the peak of its warmer period, and a fairly cold spell will set in quite soon, by 2012."

Sorokhtin dismisses the conventional global warming theory that greenhouse gases, especially human-emitted carbon dioxide, is causing the earth to grow hotter. Like a number of other scientists, he points to solar activity - sunspots and solar flares, which wax and wane over time - as having the greatest effect on climate.

''Carbon dioxide is not to blame for global climate change,'' Sorokhtin writes in an essay for Novosti. "Solar activity is many times more powerful than the energy produced by the whole of humankind." In a recent paper for the Danish National Space Center, physicists Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen concur: "The sun . . . appears to be the main forcing agent in global climate change," they write.

Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn't turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007's global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 - and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it's up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change.

Yet so relentlessly has the alarmist scenario been hyped, and so disdainfully have dissenting views been dismissed, that millions of people assume Gore must be right when he insists: "The debate in the scientific community is over."

[Endret 16.01.08 19:42 av OldNick]
[Endret 16.01.08 19:44 av OldNick]
16.01.2008 19:46


But it isn't. Just last month, more than 100 scientists signed a strongly worded open letter pointing out that climate change is a well-known natural phenomenon, and that adapting to it is far more sensible than attempting to prevent it. Because slashing carbon dioxide emissions means retarding economic development, they warned, "the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it."

Climate science isn't a religion, and those who dispute its leading theory are not heretics. Much remains to be learned about how and why climate changes, and there is neither virtue nor wisdom in an emotional rush to counter global warming - especially if what's coming is a global Big Chill.

Jeff Jacoby's e-mail address is jacoby@globe.com.

Emergency warning for Siberia as temperatures plunge

Jan. 16, 2008 (AFP)

MOSCOW — Expected temperatures of as low as minus 55 degrees Celsius (minus 67 degrees Fahrenheit) in Siberia prompted weather warnings from Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry on Wednesday.

The ministry warned the unusually cold weather could kill, cause frost-bite, cut electricity to homes, disrupt transport, increase the rate of car accidents and even destroy buildings across Siberia.

In a statement, the ministry ordered regional departments to be on high alert and to contact local administration officials to prepare for the extreme chill expected to last until January 21.

Average temperatures in large Siberian cities in January usually range between minus 15 degrees Celsius and minus 39 degrees Celsius, according to data from the US site weatherbase.com.

Two people have already died in the region of Irkutsk in central Siberia, Russian state television reported. More than 30 others have been hospitalised in Irkutsk with frost-bite.

The freezing temperatures have also caused overloading of electricity grids because of heaters being switched on. That caused cut-offs to thousands of homes in the regions of Irkutsk and Tomsk, state media reported.

Schools have been closed down in at least four regions because of the cold.

Abu Dhabi plans $15-billion in green investments

Jan. 21, 2008

ABU DHABI — Oil exporter Abu Dhabi plans to spend $15-billion (U.S.) in the first phase of an initiative to develop green energy and build the world's largest hydrogen power plant, it said on Monday.

The investment would be part of the Masdar initiative, set up to develop sustainable and clean energy, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan told the World Future Energy Summit in the emirate. He gave no time frame.

“I would like to underscore the government of Abu Dhabi's commitment to the Masdar initiative by announcing an initial investment of $15-billion,” he said. “Next month ground will be broken on Masdar city, the world's first carbon-neutral city.”

The money will go into infrastructure, renewable energy projects such as solar power, and manufacturing, to position Abu Dhabi as a leader in the global clean energy market, said Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive officer of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., or Masdar.

The project includes plans to start building a zero carbon, zero waste city of up to 15,000 residents in the desert in the first quarter of this year. “Achieving a zero carbon city is doable,” Sultan Jaber said.

Abu Dhabi, capital of the seven-member United Arab Emirates federation, would also build the world's largest hydrogen power plant with 500 megawatts of capacity, he said.

Masdar will hold a 60 per cent stake in the “multi-billion-dollar joint venture,” a Masdar official said, adding that the rest would be equally held by BP PLC and Rio Tinto PLC.

The project's engineering and design would be concluded by the end of 2008, he said.

“The capital cost is $2-billion only for the hydrogen power plant, and does not include the carbon dioxide part,” Vivienne Cox, CEO of BP Alternative Energy, told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.

“We have not yet negotiated the full commercial framework for the project,” she added.

BP was in talks with partners in some other countries in the Middle East and Asia to build hydrogen power plants, she said. “There is interest from some countries in this region and we are in talks,” she said without giving further details.

Masdar has said it plans to develop a network of carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects to pump greenhouse gases into oil fields, reducing emissions while boosting oil output.

CCS, an as yet commercially unproven technology, should free up natural gas that is now reinjected to push oil out of oil fields. The UAE needs the gas for power generation to meet rising demand as petrodollars fuel an economic boom.

According to a UN Development Program report issued last year, UAE greenhouse gas emissions were 34.1 tonnes per head in 2004, the third highest in the world after Qatar and Kuwait and well above U.S. per capita emissions of 20.6 tonnes.

Abu Dhabi signed an agreement with France this month for co-operation on the development of nuclear energy in the world's fifth-largest oil-exporter.

Sheikh Mohammed also announced the establishment of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, with an annual prize pool of $2.2-million, designed to reward achievements in energy innovation.

Masdar's $250-million Clean Technology Fund has already invested in different projects and Sultan Jaber said there were plans to launch another fund soon.

[Endret 16.01.08 20:02 av OldNick]
[Endret 22.01.08 01:26 av OldNick]
23.01.2008 00:10

EU plan sets out cuts for CO2 emissions

Jan. 22, 2008

BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union's plan for tackling climate change calls for imposing emissions cuts on member states, building more windmills and making it costlier for major polluters, according to documents to be unveiled Wednesday.

The proposals by the European Commission, the bloc's administrative body, are intended to get emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming down a fifth by 2020 — as pledged by leaders of the 27 EU nations last year.

Draft documents obtained by The Associated Press describe Europe and the rest of the world as being at a crossroads in dealing with global warming. The documents call for "decisive and immediate action" in developing homegrown renewable power sources.

But EU officials acknowledge their approach will carry a high cost — at least 0.5 percent of the bloc's gross domestic product, some $80 billion a year — and likely see electricity prices go up.

Businesses warned last week that driving up costs could make them less competitive in world markets. EU trade unions said they were worried by the risk of major job losses if companies move abroad, saying 50,000 jobs in the steel sector along were at risk.

The documents insist the spending envisioned by the plan would be balanced by a $72 billion reduction in the EU's bill for oil and natural gas imports. They also say forcing cuts in emissions and energy use would give Europe a boost in the race to produce energy-efficient goods and renewable power technology for export.

Richer nations would have to do the most to rein in emissions, while some poorer countries, such as EU newcomer Romania, would be allowed to increase emissions as their economies expanded. No country would have to cut emissions by more than a fifth from 1990 levels.

The plan envisions getting a fifth of the EU's energy needs from renewable power by 2020, up from 85 percent in 2004.

Many European countries would have to rapidly ramp up their amount of wind, solar or hydro power to hit new binding targets. Britain, which generated 1.3 percent of its energy from renewable sources in 2005, is expected to be ordered to increase that to 15 percent.

Hydropower-rich Sweden, meanwhile, already is close to 40 percent, while Denmark's wind farms provided 17 percent of its energy.

NYSE Euronext, Partner Launch CO2 Exchange

Jan 22, 2008 (Reuters)

AMSTERDAM - Transatlantic exchange NYSE Euronext (NYX.PA: Quote, Profile, Research)(NYX.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and French state bank Caisse des Depots said on Tuesday they had started a carbon emission rights exchange called BLUENEXT.

The two companies said in a statement that BLUENEXT, of which NYSE Euronext holds 60 percent and Caisse des Depots the remainder, started on Tuesday a spot market in CO2 emission allowances -- emission rights allocated by governments.

Carbon trading allows companies or other groups to trade emission permits to meet caps on pollutants set by governments.

BLUENEXT will also offer a spot market in emission credits -- emission rights obtained by executing projects that reduce CO2 emissions -- as soon as the international transfer of credits is made possible by a United Nations body in Washington that approves CO2 reduction projects, a BLUENEXT spokesman said.

The carbon exchange is expected to set up a futures market in the second quarter of this year, NYSE Euronext and Caisse des Depots said.

Mer om EU's Klima-plan

Heftig EU-krangel om miljø

Både EUs medlemsland og europeisk industri gir EU-kommisjonen kamp til døren foran fremleggelsen av en meget ambisiøs miljøpakke

22 jan., 2008 - NTB (dn.no)

Kort fortalt handler miljøpakken om i hvor stor grad de enkelte EU-landene må kutte i utslipp og legge om energiproduksjonen for at Unionen skal kunne nå målet om 20 prosents utslippskutt i forhold til 1990-nivåer innen 2020. Miljøpakken presenteres onsdag.

Forslagene i Kommisjonens miljøpakke er såkalt EØS-relevante og vil dermed også få betydning for Norge.

Forslaget fra Kommisjonen, som opprinnelig skulle ha blitt lagt frem før klimaforhandlingene på Bali før jul, er en konkretisering av de politiske målene de 27 EU-landene ble enige om med stor begeistring i fjor.

Forventer kritikk

Men fjorårets jubel er blitt erstattet av kamp for nasjonale interesser i forkant av fremleggelsen.

Vi er forberedt på kritikk fra nasjonale politikere. Slik er det bare, konstaterer EU-kommisjonens president José Manuel Barroso.

Sentralt i den omfattende pakken er en oppdatering av EUs kvotehandelsystem for bedrifter etter 2012 og et direktiv for fornybar energi.

Særlig det sistnevnte er kontroversielt blant EU-landene, ettersom det setter opp forpliktede mål for hvor mye hvert enkelt land skal øke produksjonen av fornybar energi, basert på hvordan situasjonen var i 2005.

Dermed vil land som allerede hadde en stor andel av fornybar energiproduksjon i 2005 få liten kreditt for sitt foregangsarbeid, mens det vil være relativt lettere for mer bakstreverske land å nå målene. Samtidig vil Kommisjonen pålegge rike EU-land å gjøre mer enn de fattigste medlemslandene.

Sverige straffes

Et land som Sverige, som allerede har stor andel av vannkraft og alternativ energiproduksjon, blir «straffet» med de kommende reglene. Svenskene arbeider hardt for å få forståelse for at «de siste ti prosentene» er mye vanskeligere og kostbare å gjennomføre enn de første.

Målet er at andelen fornybar energi for Unionen samlet sett skal være 20 prosent i 2020, mot under 9 prosent i dag.

[Endret 23.01.08 00:13 av OldNick]
[Endret 23.01.08 08:58 av OldNick]
23.01.2008 08:59


Den europeiske industrien raser på sin side mot en innstramming av kvotehandelssystemet, som blant annet innebærer færre gratiskvoter og dermed større utgifter for utslipp, selv om Kommisjonen har lovet spesielle regler for tungindustrien.

Økte utgifter til kvotekjøp mener industrien vil drive produksjonen ut av EU og over til land som produserer mer forurensende enn det EU gjør i dag.

Lisenser for CO2-lagring

Fra norsk hold har det lenge knyttet seg forventning til hva Kommisjonen vil si om hvilken rolle CO2-fangst og lagring, såkaret CCS, skal ha for utslippskuttene. Mange land, som Hellas og Italia, har så langt vært svært kritisk til en CCS-satsing.

I et eget direktiv, som NTB har sett, slår Kommisjonen fast at CCS skal være sentral i EUs miljøpolitikk, men det vil fortsatt ta tid før et rammeverk for dette er klart.

Vi må gjøre CCS til normen for nye kraftanlegg, og sette opp 12 demonstrasjonsanlegg innen 2015, sier Barroso.

Kommisjonen legger opp til et system hvor den vil utstede lisenser for lagring av CO2.

Den vil samtidig gjøre det mulig for land å finansiere blant annet CO2-håndtering med 20 prosent av inntektene fra kvotehandelssystemet.

Det går også fram av forslagene at bedrifter som deponerer CO2 vil få trekke dette fra sitt øvrige CO2-regnskap.

Kommisjonen burde ha gått lenger og tvunget bedriftene til CO2-håndtering innen 2020. Den burde også være mer konkret på finansieringen. Men alt i alt ser det bra ut, sier Bellonas mann i Brussel, Paal Frisvold, til NTB.

Etter framleggelsen onsdag skal medlemslandene og EU-parlamentet behandle forslagene, med mål om å få de nye reglene på plass innen sommeren 2009.

Det blir et rotterace, konstaterer Frisvold.

More Bad News for Ethanol

Jan. 23, 2008
Posted by Keith Johnson, http://blogs.wsj.com/

Another brick in the wall against ethanol. Academics tasked with plotting California’s transition to a low-carbon fuel have delivered more bad news: Ethanol appears to come with a higher greenhouse-gas price tag than previously thought — higher, indeed, than fossil fuel.

California has long been a little wary of ethanol. They worry that adding ethanol at low blends to gasoline producers higher levels of certain air pollutants. But now that the Golden State is trying to tackle greenhouse-gas emissions from the transport sector, first-generation ethanol—the only kind that is actually commercially viable today—pops up as a repeat offender. That raises the question of how to actually make the transition to cleaner-burning transport fuels in the near term.

The University of California at Berkeley’s Transportation Sustainability Research Center told the California Air Resources Board that ethanol could be twice as bad as gasoline, from a carbon-emissions point of view. How? Basically by turning land now covered with trees, grass, and other natural “carbon sinks” into farmland for corn and other crops used for ethanol. (Ethanol’s dirty secret has also recently been explored by Science and other magazines.)

“Simply said, ethanol production today using U.S. corn contributes to the conversion of grasslands and rainforest to agriculture, causing very large GHG emissions,” wrote Berkeley profs Alex Farrell and Michael O’Hare in a January 12 memo to California regulators. “Even if only a small fraction of the emissions calculated in this crude way [through land use change] are added to estimates of direct emissions for corn ethanol, total emissions for corn ethanol are higher than for fossil fuels.”

The Berkeley team warned about the land-use-change bogeyman (”LUC” in shorthand) in a pair of lengthy reports submitted to California authorities last year. But only this month did the team report the startling, if preliminary, numbers. Current wisdom in California says gasoline produces about 92 grams of carbon dioxide for every megajoule of energy produced; ethanol is reckoned to be slightly cleaner at 75.9 grams. But the land-use penalty alone from growing more biofuel crops could add as much as 140 grams/MJ—a “really enormous” number, professors Farrell and O’Hare wrote.

And the problem isn’t just corn. Any land-use change, be it to soy or sugarcane, carries a GHG pricetag that shows up somewhere in the world. If these“crude upper limit estimates” are right, California’s current fuel mix is already 3% to 33% more carbon-intensive than the state thought. That doesn’t bode well for the state’s plans to cut the carbon content of its fuel 10% by 2020.

The solution, according to Berkeley? Newer technologies to squeeze more ethanol out of every acre of food crop, or, better yet, ethanol from non-food cellulose such as switchgrass, which wouldn’t require a land-use change. In the meantime, the burning question is how to juggle this hot potato.

What California does about these new numbers, the professors write, “will have major implications” for the state’s low-carbon-fuel push.

[Endret 25.01.08 08:40 av OldNick]
26.01.2008 04:38

En meget alvorlig Lester Brown fra Earth Policy Institute har summert og forteller verden om den alvorlige matvarekrisen som nå ikke bare er kommende, men som vi faktisk er inne i.

Jeg vil si at dette krever sterkere adverb enn alvorlig, eg vil si det er katastrofalt. Etterhvert som krisen forsterkes av korn/mat-mangel, kan millioner av mennesker risikere og sulte ihjel.

Man kan diskutere hvor seriøst det er. Det er nesten unødvendig å prøve å sette andre ord på det, her må verden reagere.

Men, vil den det ? Nei, dessverre, jeg har ingen slik tiltro til systemet. Først vil markedskreftene overta, deretter kan andre, type anarkistiske krefter komme til. Utfallet kan bli katastrofalt.

Les Brown's analyse, og ikke minst hør på den 30 min lange pressekonferansen (hvor han gir mer detaljer) med medhørende intervjurunde etterpå.

Why Ethanol Production Will Drive World Food Prices Even Higher in 2008

Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
Jan. 24, 2008

We are witnessing the beginning of one of the great tragedies of history. The United States, in a misguided effort to reduce its oil insecurity by converting grain into fuel for cars, is generating global food insecurity on a scale never seen before.

The world is facing the most severe food price inflation in history as grain and soybean prices climb to all-time highs. Wheat trading on the Chicago Board of Trade on December 17th breached the $10 per bushel level for the first time ever. In mid-January, corn was trading over $5 per bushel, close to its historic high. And on January 11th, soybeans traded at $13.42 per bushel, the highest price ever recorded. All these prices are double those of a year or two ago.

As a result, prices of food products made directly from these commodities such as bread, pasta, and tortillas, and those made indirectly, such as pork, poultry, beef, milk, and eggs, are everywhere on the rise. In Mexico, corn meal prices are up 60 percent. In Pakistan, flour prices have doubled. China is facing rampant food price inflation, some of the worst in decades.

In industrial countries, the higher processing and marketing share of food costs has softened the blow, but even so, prices of food staples are climbing. By late 2007, the U.S. price of a loaf of whole wheat bread was 12 percent higher than a year earlier, milk was up 29 percent, and eggs were up 36 percent. In Italy, pasta prices were up 20 percent.

World grain prices have increased dramatically on three occasions since World War II, each time as a result of weather-reduced harvests. But now it is a matter of demand simply outpacing supply. In seven of the last eight years world grain production has fallen short of consumption. These annual shortfalls have been covered by drawing down grain stocks, but the carryover stocks—the amount in the bin when the new harvest begins—have now dropped to 54 days of world consumption, the lowest on record. (See data)

From 1990 to 2005, world grain consumption, driven largely by population growth and rising consumption of grain-based animal products, climbed by an average of 21 million tons per year. Then came the explosion in demand for grain used in U.S. ethanol distilleries, which jumped from 54 million tons in 2006 to 81 million tons in 2007. This 27 million ton jump more than doubled the annual growth in world demand for grain. If 80 percent of the 62 distilleries now under construction are completed by late 2008, grain used to produce fuel for cars will climb to 114 million tons, or 28 percent of the projected 2008 U.S. grain harvest.

Historically the food and energy economies have been largely separate, but now with the construction of so many fuel ethanol distilleries, they are merging. If the food value of grain is less than its fuel value, the market will move the grain into the energy economy. Thus as the price of oil rises, the price of grain follows it upward.

A University of Illinois economics team calculates that with oil at $50 a barrel, it is profitable—with the ethanol subsidy of 51¢ a gallon (equal to $1.43 per bushel of corn)—to convert corn into ethanol as long as the price is below $4 a bushel. But with oil at $100 a barrel, distillers can pay more than $7 a bushel for corn and still break even. If oil climbs to $140, distillers can pay $10 a bushel for corn—double the early 2008 price of $5 per bushel.

The World Bank reports that for each 1 percent rise in food prices, caloric intake among the poor drops 0.5 percent. Millions of those living on the lower rungs of the global economic ladder, people who are barely hanging on, will lose their grip and begin to fall off.

Projections by Professors C. Ford Runge and Benjamin Senauer of the University of Minnesota four years ago showed the number of hungry and malnourished people decreasing from over 800 million to 625 million by 2025. But in early 2007 their update of these projections, taking into account the biofuel effect on world food prices, showed the number of hungry people climbing to 1.2 billion by 2025. That climb is already under way.

Since the budgets of international food aid agencies are set well in advance, a rise in food prices shrinks food assistance. The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), which is now supplying emergency food aid to 37 countries, is cutting shipments as prices soar. The WFP reports that 18,000 children are dying each day from hunger and related illnesses.

[Endret 26.01.08 05:01 av OldNick]
26.01.2008 04:39


As grain prices climb, a politics of food scarcity is emerging as exporting countries restrict exports to limit the rise in domestic food prices. At the end of January, Russia—one of the top five wheat exporters—will impose a 40-percent export tax on wheat, effectively banning exports. Argentina, another leading wheat exporter, closed export registrations for wheat indefinitely in early December until it could assess the condition of the new crop. And Viet Nam, the number two rice exporter after Thailand, has banned rice exports for several months and will likely not lift this ban until the new crop comes to market.

Rising food prices are translating into social unrest. It began in early 2007 with tortilla demonstrations in Mexico. Then came pasta protests in Italy. More recently, rising bread prices in Pakistan have become a source of unrest. In Jakarta, 10,000 Indonesians gathered in front of the presidential palace on January 14th this year to protest the doubling of soybean prices that has raised the price of tempeh, the national soy-based protein staple. When a supermarket in Chongqing, China, where cooking oil prices have soared, offered this oil at a reduced price, the resulting stampede when doors opened killed three people and injured 31.

As economic stresses translate into political stresses, the number of failing states, such as Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Haiti, which was already increasing before the rise in food prices began, could increase even faster.

There is much to be concerned about on the food front. We enter this new crop year with the lowest grain stocks on record, the highest grain prices ever, the prospect of a smaller U.S. grain harvest as several million acres of land that shifted from soybeans to corn last year go back to soybeans, the need to feed an additional 70 million people, and U.S. distillers wanting 33 million more tons of grain to supply the new ethanol distilleries coming online this year. Corn futures prices for December 2008 delivery are higher than those for March, suggesting that market analysts see even tighter supplies after the next harvest.

Whereas previous dramatic rises in world grain prices were weather-induced, this one is policy-induced and can be dealt with by policy adjustments. The crop fuels program that currently satisfies scarcely 3 percent of U.S. gasoline needs is simply not worth the human suffering and political chaos it is causing. If the entire U.S. grain harvest were converted into ethanol, it would satisfy scarcely 18 percent of our automotive fuel needs.

The irony is that U.S. taxpayers, by subsidizing the conversion of grain into ethanol, are in effect financing a rise in their own food prices. It is time to end the subsidy for converting food into fuel and to do it quickly before the deteriorating world food situation spirals out of control.

Podcast av pressekonferansen

Det blir kaldere - isen har lagt seg på Vest-Grønland.

Ice returns as Greenland temps plummet

By The Copenhagen Post

Residents insist Greenland's freezing temperatures don't mean global warming has been called off

While the rest of Europe is debating the prospects of global warming during an unseasonably mild winter, a brutal cold snap is raging across the semi-autonomous nation of Greenland.

On Disko Bay in western Greenland, where a number of prominent world leaders have visited in recent years to get a first-hand impression of climate change, temperatures have dropped so drastically that the water has frozen over for the first time in a decade.

'The ice is up to 50cm thick,' said Henrik Matthiesen, an employee at Denmark's Meteorological Institute who has also sailed the Greenlandic coastline for the Royal Arctic Line. 'We've had loads of northerly winds since Christmas which has made the area miserably cold.'

Matthiesen suggested the cold weather marked a return to the frigid temperatures common a decade ago.

Temperatures plunged to -25°C earlier this month, clogging the bay with ice and making shipping impossible for small crafts, according to Anthon Frederiksen, the mayor of the town of Ilulissat, where Disko Bay is located.

'On the other hand, it's an advantage for fishermen who rely on dogsleds for transportation,' Frederiksen said.

The mayor cautioned against thinking that the freezing temperature indicated that global warming claims were overblown. He noted that a nearby glacier had retracted more in the past two decades than in recorded history.

'We Greenlanders have acclimated to changing conditions over the past 1100 years,' said Frederiksen. 'Temperatures change at regular intervals.'

Although Greenland's capital, Nuuk, and much of the island saw temperatures drop below -25° C yesterday, milder temperatures appeared to be on the way in the near future.

Global oppvarming har stanset

Professor taler klimaforskerne imot

BERGEN - Hvor ble det av den globale oppvarmingen? Temperaturen på verdensbasis har praktisk talt ikke steget det grann de siste ti årene.

Av Harald Vikøyr
26 jan., 2008

PROFESSOR: Ole Humlum ved Universitetet i Oslo. Foto: Universitetet i Oslo

Nå mener Oslo-professor Ole Humlum at klimamodellene kan være helt på villspor.

Humlum er professor i geofag ved Universitetet i Oslo, og har sett på den globale temperaturutviklingen. Han mener nå at CO2-hypotesen - om at økt konsentrasjon av CO2 i atmosfæren gir økt temperatur og klimaendringer - er i krise.

Han påpeker at siden toppåret 1998 har den globale temperaturen ikke steget i det hele tatt - men nærmest holdt seg på et jevnt nivå.

[Endret 26.01.08 05:01 av OldNick]
[Endret 26.01.08 12:25 av OldNick]
[Endret 26.01.08 12:25 av OldNick]
[Endret 28.01.08 01:18 av OldNick]
28.01.2008 01:20


Det interessante ved dette er at samtidig som vi har en flat temperatur på verdensbasis, har jo CO2-nivået steget raskt i atmosfæren. Skulle vi legge FNs klimapanels modeller til grunn, burde vi ut fra CO2-økningen ha opplevd en temperaturstigning på 0,2 til 0,3 grader i løpet av dette tiåret, sier Humlum.

Kan være gladmelding

Han mener at dette tyder på at CO2-nivåets betydning som klimapådriver kan være overvurdert. I en artikkel på nettstedet «Nyhetsblikket.no» påstår professoren at naturen selv har motbevist CO2-hypotesen.

Utviklingen vi ser, kan bety at CO2 har stor betydning, men at også andre ting virker inn med like stor kraft motsatt vei, som vi ikke har full oversikt over, sier han til VG.

Men er det rett å bruke utviklingen innen ett enkelt tiår som basis for å trekke slike konklusjoner?

Vel, klimaforskerne trekker konklusjoner på utviklingen siden 1980. Hvor går grensen? Ved 18-20 år? Og hvor ofte hører vi ikke at enkeltrekorder og enkelthendelser beskrives som bevis på at vi har en klimaendring på gang? spør Humlum.

Han mener at pausen i global oppvarming kan bety en av tre ting:

1. Vi har oppnådd en stabil temperatur i verden.

2. Den globale temperaturen har nådd et «platå» og vil stige igjen om litt.

3. Vi har nådd et toppunkt i temperaturstigningen, og vil om litt se at temperaturen faller igjen.

Vi kan ikke tillate oss å konkludere ennå, men det ville jo være en gladmelding om de dystre klimaprognosene skulle vise seg å være feil, sier Humlum.

Avvises av klimaforskere

Hvis den globale temperaturen fortsetter slik det ser ut de siste ti årene, er det jo spennende, sier klimaforsker Rasmus Benestad ved Meteorologisk institutt.

I så fall er ganske riktig klimamodellene feilaktige. Men ut fra de trendanalysene vi gjør, er det ikke slik. De viser en global oppvarming, påpeker han.

Det er gjort mange analyser, blant annet å dele klimautviklingen opp i 8-årstrender. Det viser at vi siden 1980 har hatt flere 8-årsperioder som har vist dalende temperatur, som også kunne føre til en slik argumentasjon.

Forskningssjef Helge Drange ved Nansen- og Bjerknessenteret for klimaforskning i Bergen, mener Humlum er helt på villspor:

Å ta utgangspunkt i rekordåret 1998 og se fremover har ingenting med forskning å gjøre. 1998 var et rekordår fordi vi da hadde den sterkeste El Nino-effekten i dette århundret. I tillegg var solflekkaktiviteten på sin topp dette året. Begge deler medvirket til temperaturøkningen, sier Drange.

Continuing boom in wind energy – 20 GW of new capacity in 2007

Record installations in US, China and Spain

Jan. 18, 2008 - http://www.gwec.net/

The global wind energy markets have seen another record year in 2007, with 20 GW of new installations. This figure, which was released today by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), is up by 30% compared to the new installations in 2006, while the sum of the world’s total installations has increased by 27% to reach over 94 GW by the end of 2007.

"Emissions-free wind power can be brought on line quickly, and must play a major role in meeting climate protection targets. This is especially the case in the critical period between now and 2020 when greenhouse gas emissions must peak and begin to decline if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change”, said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC.

Wind energy has now become an important player in the world’s energy markets. In terms of economic value, the global wind market is estimated to be worth about 25bn EUR or 36bn US$ per year in new generating equipment.

“Wind power is increasingly economically competitive with conventional sources of electricity. Increasing volatility in fossil fuel prices and increased concerns about energy security mean that wind power is often the most attractive option for new generation capacity, from any point of view,” said GWEC’s Chairman, Prof. Arthouros Zervos.

New developments in 2007 have seen the USA continuing to lead as the biggest annual market with 5.2 GW of new installations, followed by Spain and China, which added 3.5 GW and 3.4 GW to their total capacity respectively.

The North American market experienced the strongest growth with a spectacular 5.2 GW of new installations in the USA alone in 2007, more than double the 2006 figure. The US total wind power generating capacity was expanded by 45% in a single calendar year, injecting an investment of over 9 bn US$ or 6 bn EUR into the nation’s economy. The new wind projects account for about 30% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007 and will power the equivalent of 1.5 million American households annually. With the total installed capacity in the US now standing at 16.8 GW, it can be expected that the US will overtake Germany as the largest market for wind energy by the end of 2009, provided that growth continues at the current rate.

“This is the third consecutive year of record-setting growth, establishing wind power as one of the largest sources of new electricity supply for the country,” said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. “This remarkable and accelerating growth is driven by strong demand, favorable economics, and a period of welcome relief from the on-again, off-again, boom-and-bust, cycle of the federal production tax credit (PTC) for wind power.”

The growth in Asia’s markets has also been breathtaking, and over a quarter of all new capacity in 2007 was installed on the Asian continent. In China alone, over to 3.4 GW of wind energy capacity was added in 2007, bringing total installed capacity to 6 GW. This represents an increase of 156% compared with the wind capacity installed during 2006 and a 134% increase of the total installations.

[Endret 30.01.08 00:19 av OldNick]
30.01.2008 00:21


The growing wind power market in China has also encouraged domestic production of wind turbines, and we now have more than 40 domestic companies involved in manufacturing. In 2007, domestic products accounted for 56% of the annual market, compared to 41% in 2006,” said Li Junfeng, Secretary General of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industry Association.

India also continues to see a steady growth and now counts about 8 GW of wind power installations, up from just over 6.2 GW in 2006.

Europe remains the leading market for wind energy with over 57 GW of wind energy at the end of 2007, representing 61% of the global total. In 2007, the European wind capacity grew by 8.5 GW, over 17% compared to the previous year. The final figures for Europe will be released by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) in early February 2008.

While the European market is continuing to grow at a healthy rate, the trend shows that the sector is becoming less reliant on a few key markets, with other regions catching up fast. For the first time in 2007, the growth in Europe accounted for less than half of the total new capacity, down from nearly 75% in 2004.

After some slow years, the Pacific market experienced new impetus in 2007, especially in New Zealand, where 151 MW were installed in 2007. In Australia, the newly elected Labour government has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and pledged to introduce a 20% target for renewable energy by 2020, justifying an optimistic outlook for future wind energy developments.

Wind energy has a considerable impact on avoiding greenhouse gases and combating climate change. The global capacity of 94 GW of wind capacity will save about 122 million tons of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to around 20 large coal fired power stations.

“We’re on track to meeting our target of saving 1.5 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2020”, said Steve Sawyer, “but we need a strong, global signal from governments that they are serious about moving away from fossil fuels and protecting the climate.”

Snø- og hagl-stormer over hele midt-Østen !

Det har vært en usedvanlig kald forvinter over store deler av verden (kanskje unntatt utenfor meteorologisk institutt på Blindern - hehe).

Snø, is og kulde i "sommerlige" Sør-Amerika, -40 til - 55C i nordlige strøk av Canada, Alaska og Sibir.

Rekordkulde i China, India, Iran, Saudi, Iraq og andre land i regionen.

Snøstormer dukker opp på steder de ikke ar vært sett på 10-tall år, eller "over 100 år" (som det skrives noen steder).

Her er nok en artikkel som beskriver alt dette underlige været denne vinteren.

Snow storm blankets Middle East

Staff and agencies, Guardian Unlimited
Jan. 30, 2008

Snow in Jerusalem. Photograph: Menahem Kahana/AFP/Getty

The Middle East has been hit by a freak blizzard a few days after parts of China were blanketed in heavy snow.

In Jerusalem, dozens of people bundled up in warm clothing and played in the snow at Gan Sacher, the city's central park, where a snowman-building contest was planned.

The Israeli weather service said up to 20cm (8in) of snow had fallen in Jerusalem. More was expected tomorrow morning.

In Ramallah, residents were surprised to see snow when they woke up.

"I'm originally from Gaza where snow never falls," said Bothaina Smairi, 28, who was out taking photos. "The white snow is covering the old world and I feel like I am in a new world where everything is white, clean, and beautiful."

In Jordan, police said roads into the capital, Amman, were temporarily closed. Announcements on state television warned citizens to stay inside as snowploughs worked to clear clogged streets.

Snow covered most mountain villages and blocked roads in Lebanon as strong winds and heavy rain lashed coastal areas.

The storm disrupted power supplies in most Lebanese towns and villages, compounding existing power shortages. Portions of the Beirut-Damascus highway linking Lebanon with Syria were closed.

In Syria, temperatures dipped below freezing and snow blanketed the hills overlooking Damascus.

High winds of 70km/h (45mph) forced the closure of the Mediterranean ports of Tartous and Lattakia, according to the Syria Meteorology Department.

[Endret 31.01.08 08:24 av OldNick]
31.01.2008 14:47

Billigere å løse klimakrisen

Klimautfordringene er langt mer alvorlige, men også billigere å løse enn mange tror, mener BI-professor

31 jan., 2008
Einar Takla, dn.no

Jørgen Randers. Foto: Gunnar Bløndal

På Samfunnsøkonomenes valutaseminar på Sanderstølen argumenterer BI-professor Jørgen Randers for at det viktigste bidraget Norge kan komme med i klimaspørsmålet, er å være et forbilde.

Vi må få en pris på klimaskaden, slik at det blir økonomisk optimalt for aktørene å ikke skade klimaet. Og det må gjøres på en slik måte at vi unngår beslutningsvegringen rundt om i verden, sier han.

Professoren tror at beslutningsvegringen i forhold til klimaspørsmålet i land som USA og Kina gjør at forbildeeffekten blir mye viktigere for Norge enn selve kuttene vi bidrar med.

Mer alvorlig

Randers, som i en årrekke har arbeidet med klimautfordringene og som blant annet var leder for det offentlige Lavutslippsutvalget, utfordrer samfunnsøkonomene og deres tankemåte i klimaspørsmålet.

Klimaproblemet er mer alvorlig enn dere tror, løsningen er billigere enn dere tror, politikken og tiltakene utvikler seg raskere enn dere tror og det å utnytte mulighetene som denne problemstillingen gir, er lettere enn dere tror.

Randers mener klimaproblemet er mye mer alvorlig enn mange aner fordi mange av regnestykkene på effektene av klimautslipp ikke tar hensyn til flere selvforsterkende mekanismer i naturen, som for eksempel at is som smelter fører til at mer hav-vann absorberer mer sol som i sin tur gjør at isen smelter fortere.

Dramatisk økning

Ifølge professoren det er seks til syv slike selvforsterkende mekanismer i naturen som ikke enkelt lar seg stoppe dersom de først er i gang.

IPCC (FNs klimapanel, red. anm.) har ikke med seg disse selvforklarende mekanismene i fullstendig grad. Vår kunnskap om disse er såpass lav at man inntil 2001 ikke hadde dem med. Grunnen til at toppestimatene for endringen av temperaturen i dette århundret har endret seg kraftig fra 2001 til 2006 er at man fikk med den første av disse selvforsterkende mekanismene, nemlig smeltingen av is, sier han.

Jo mer man regner på klimaproblemet de neste ti årene, desto verre kommer problemet til å se ut.

Rimeligere og raskere

Professoren tror likevel at løsningen på klimautfordringen er rimeligere enn mange tror.

Modellene som brukes for å kalkulere kostnadene har ikke med seg to av de mest selvfølgelige og selvforsterkende mekanismene i det økonomiske systemet, nemlig teknologiutviklingen og læringen i det man implementerer teknologien.

Samtidig hevder han at viljen til å gjøre noe med problemene kommer raskere enn mange ser for seg.

I 2003 var det bare noen få klimadinosaurer som fortsatt mente at mennesket ikke var hovedårsaken til problemet. Den diskusjonen ble på mange måter avsluttet det året. I 2006 var det året man ble enige om at kostnadene ved handling er rimelig. Nå venter vi på det politiske vendepunktet, det tidspunktet der velgerne blir tilstrekkelig skremt til å gi støtte til denne type politikk.

Randers' tips er at dette vendepunktet kommer i år, og i alle fall i løpet av 2009. Selv om det kan virke usannsynlig her hjemme.

Norge sleper utrolig langt bak fordi de kortsiktige, tidlige virkningene av klimaendringene i Norge er udelt positive. Det faller mer regn i vann i kraftreservoarene på Vestlandet, det gror bedre i skogen, Ola slipper å måke så mye snø og Kari synes det er deilig med varmere somrer på Sørlandet, sier Randers.

Næringspolitisk mulighet

Randers mener det også kommer til å bli lettere å tjene penger på klimautfordringen enn det mange tror.

Det er den best annonserte næringspolitiske mulighet som noensinne har funnet sted. Alle vet at markedet for CO2-frie varer og tjenester kommer til å vokse dramatisk de neste årene.

The Economics of Corn Ethanol

Posted by Robert Rapier - www.theoildrum.com
Feb. 6, 2008


Someone e-mailed a few days ago and asked about the present economics of corn ethanol. I did a few calculations, and thought the results were interesting enough to share. This exercise should make it clear which factors have the biggest impact on corn ethanol profitability – and why corn ethanol producers are presently struggling.

Consider this a supplement to Stuart Staniford’s comprehensive essay Fermenting the Food Supply. Stuart’s essay goes into great detail on the factors underlying the economics. In my essay, I take a snapshot of a corn ethanol plant based on current prices for corn, natural gas, and by-products.


Times are tough for ethanol producers. They are in the same boat right now as refiners - enduring very poor margins. This is what the economics roughly look like at $5 per bushel of corn and $8/MMBTU of natural gas. To produce 1 gallon of ethanol today requires:

* $1.85 of corn
* $0.33 of energy
* $0.14 of enzymes, yeast, etc.
* $0.23 of labor, maintenance, and various miscellaneous expenses

There is a DDGS (Distillers Dried Grains - rest fra maisgjæringen) credit per gallon of ethanol of $0.55. Thus, the total cost to produce a gallon of ethanol today is $1.85 + $0.33 + $0.14 + $0.23 - $0.55, or exactly $2/gallon of ethanol. For reference, the February contract for ethanol in the Midwest as of this writing is $2.15. And $2/gallon is merely cost of production. It doesn't take into account any return on investment.

[Endret 07.02.08 08:43 av OldNick]
07.02.2008 08:44


Also note that due to the lower energy content, this production cost is equivalent to a $3 per gallon production cost for gasoline - and that this production cost is a moving target: As long as the ethanol mandates are driving up the price of corn and increasing the demand for and cost of natural gas, corn ethanol producers must chase their tails in a vicious cycle. Producers are going to be hard-pressed to ever match the 2006 windfall that was given to them when the MTBE phaseout drove ethanol prices sky-high.


Ethanol i USA har hittil gått til erstatning for MTBE (tilsetning som antibanke-stoff til bensin for forbrenningsmotorer), som ble vedtatt faset ut i 2006. I 2000 var MTBE-forbruket ca. 300k f/d, og nå er totalt etanolforbruk ca. 400k f/d.

Dette er (en av) årsaken(e) til at vi hittil ikke har sett noen reduksjon av bensinforbruket i USA.]

Nuclear fusion is coming, says noted VC

Posted by Michael Kanellos, www.news.com
Feb. 7, 2008

INDIAN WELLS, Calif.--Nuclear fusion will move from the lab to reality in a few years, a noted venture capitalist says.

"Within five years, large companies will start to think about building fusion reactors," Wal van Lierop, CEO of Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital, said in an interview at the Clean Tech Investor Summit taking place here this week. In three to four years, scientists will demonstrate results that show that fusion has a 60 percent chance of success, he said.

Wal van Lierop (Credit: Chrysalix )

If van Lierop were some crazy guy off the street with an old stack of Omni magazines, you could dismiss him. Fusion--which extracts energy from nuclear reactions without the dangers associated with nuclear fission--has been studied for decades, but has yet to go commercial. Van Lierop, however, isn't a random individual. He is one of the earliest and more active investors in clean tech: Chrysalix started investing in clean energy in 2001. The firm's limited partners include BASF, Shell, and Rabobank.

Chrysalix's optimism is pinned on an angel investment the company made in General Fusion, a Canadian company that says it has found a way to hurdle many of the technical problems surrounding fusion. The company's ultimate plan is to build small fusion reactors that can produce around 100 megawatts of power. The plants would cost around $50 million. That could allow the company to generate electricity at about 4 cents per kilowatt hour, making it competitive with conventional electricity.

The company uses a technique called Magnetized Target Fusion (MTF) model. In this scenario, an electric current is generated in a conductive cavity containing lithium and a plasma. The electric current produces a magnetic field and the cavity is collapsed, which results in a massive temperature spike.

The lithium breaks down into helium and tritium. Tritium, an unstable form of hydrogen, is separated and then mixed with deuterium, another form of hydrogen. The two fuse and make helium, a reaction that releases energy that can be harvested. So in short, lithium, a fairly inexpensive and plentiful metal, gets converted to helium in a reaction that generates lots of power and leaves only a harmless gas as a byproduct. MTF has an advantage over other fusion techniques in that the plasma only has to stay at thermonuclear temperatures (150 million degrees Celsius) for a microsecond for a reaction to occur, according to the General Fusion's Web site. General Fusion has also filed for several patents.

Other firms, such as Venrock, have invested in nuclear fusion, but most avoid it. Lierop claims that's because most don't understand the fundamentals. (Interestingly, Venrock's partner overseeing nuclear investments, Ray Rothrock, is a nuclear engineer.) It is also politically volatile.

"I want to see it succeed, not only because I would make a lot of money, but because it would solve many of our problems," he said.

Other notes from van Lierop:

• Although onshore wind power is mature, companies building offshore wind turbines have to figure out a way to deal with corrosion and maintenance. It is going to be a big problem that we will hear more about in the next few years.

• Municipalities will soon begin to explore solar microgrids. In this scenario, neighborhoods will get a substantial portion of their power from local solar plants. By delivering power locally, utilities will save on the costs of transporting power.

• Tax breaks and tax holidays may replace solar subsidies in some areas. Electricity is taxed, but utilities offer subsidies to those who install solar power. By switching to microgeneration, cities will find it easier to just forgo taxation rather than try to run a subsidy program.

He's not a big fan of corn ethanol. "Corn ethanol is a scam," he said.

[Endret 07.02.08 21:21 av OldNick]
[Endret 07.02.08 21:22 av OldNick]
08.02.2008 00:29

Studies Suggest Biofuels Can Worsen Warming

By GAUTAM NAIK, Wall Street Journal
Feb. 7, 2008 4:12 p.m.

While the U.S. and others race to expand the use and production of biofuels, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests these gasoline alternatives will actually boost carbon-dioxide levels and thereby aggravate the problem of global warming.

A study published in the latest issue of Science finds that corn-based ethanol, instead of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by a hoped-for 20%, will nearly double the output of CO2 and other gases that trap the sun's heat. A separate paper in Science concludes that the clearing of native habitats around the world to grow more biofuel crops will lead to more carbon emissions, not less.

Such findings could spur a big rethink on the purported benefits of biofuels, an emerging field that has already been blamed for pushing up prices of corn and other food crops, as well as straining water supplies. The European Union has proposed that 10% of all fuel used in transport should come from biofuels by 2020. In the U.S., production growth is encouraged both by high oil prices and by the hope that Congress will stiffen current rules mandating that refiners use ethanol.

Scientists have long touted the benefits of biofuels because growing biofuel feedstock would remove greenhouse gases from the air, while gasoline and diesel fuel take carbon from the ground and put it in the air. However, the earlier studies didn't account for one hard-to-measure factor: The decision by farmers world-wide to convert forest and grasslands to grow feedstock for the new biofuels.

Biofuels emissions may be 'worse than petrol'

Jim Giles, New Scientist
Feb. 7, 2008

Biofuels, once seen as a useful way of combating climate change, could actually increase greenhouse gas emissions, say two major new studies.

And it may take tens or hundreds of years to pay back the "carbon debt" accrued by growing biofuels in the first place, say researchers. The calculations join a growing list of studies questioning whether switching to biofuels really will help combat climate change.

Biofuel production has accelerated over the last 5 years, spurred in part by a US drive to produce corn-derived ethanol as an alternative to petrol.

The idea makes intuitive environmental sense – plants take up carbon dioxide as they grow, so biofuels should help reduce greenhouse gas emissions – but the full environmental cost of biofuels is only now becoming clear.

Extra emissions are created from the production of fertiliser needed to grow corn, for example, leading some researchers to predict that the energy released by burning ethanol is only 25% greater than that used to grow and process the fuel.

Mer om biodrivstoff...

Studies Deem Biofuels a Greenhouse Threat

Feb. 8, 2008

Almost all biofuels used today cause more greenhouse gas emissions than conventional fuels if the full emissions costs of producing these “green” fuels are taken into account, two studies being published Thursday have concluded.


New solar, n-power forms answer to global warming

By Indo-Asian News Service
Feb. 8, 2008

Concentrated solar power and thorium-based nuclear power are the ways to generate energy without causing climate change, Nobel laureate and head of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) Carlo Rubbia said here Friday.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), which is now entering large-scale industrial development in Spain, can reduce solar energy generation costs from 10-12 to 6 cents per kilowatt hour, making it competitive with power generation from fossil fuels, the eminent particle physicist told delegates at the Feb 7-9 Delhi Sustainable Development Summit.

Rubbia wanted much more research into CSP as well as thorium-based nuclear power generation, an area of high promise for India with its abundant thorium reserves. “Both these options deserve to be properly understood and supported by the political and financial stakeholders, since they have the true potential to harness a major fraction of energy.”

Talking about the danger of climate change, Rubbia pointed out: “The idea that this release of carbon dioxide may affect the climate of the earth for hundreds of thousands of years has not reached general public awareness”. Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas leading to global warming.

Rubbia said “somewhere between 17 and 33 percent of carbon will still reside in the atmosphere 1,000 years from now, decreasing to 10-15 percent at 10,000 years and seven percent at 100,000 years.

“These figures are quite comparable to the ones for the radioactive decay of nuclear waste, which is having a very relevant impact on public concern. However, while radioactive waste will hopefully be concentrated in well localised underground repositories, the presence of carbon dioxide is widespread in the atmosphere, the sea and the land with inevitable worldwide consequences on our climate.”

Rubbia described the sea level rise due to global warming predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year as “too conservative”. He was afraid that a complete melt of the Greenland ice-sheet or a 10 percent melt in Antarctica were very real possibilities, leading to a 7.2 metre rise in sea levels.

“This could have devastating effects on coastal towns, cities and ecosystems.”

[Endret 08.02.08 17:32 av OldNick]
[Endret 09.02.08 09:10 av OldNick]
[Endret 10.02.08 13:05 av OldNick]
20.02.2008 17:31

Forget biofuel, try a car that runs on air

Rhys Blakely in Bombay, timesonline.co.uk
Feb. 20, 2008

After unveiling the cheapest car in the world, Tata aims to sell the most environmentally friendly vehicle: the air car.

A car that runs on air and releases no pollutants into the atmosphere at low speeds could be on sale in India as soon as this year.

The three-seat fibreglass OneCAT weighs only 350kg (770lb) and is expected to be priced at about £2,500. The engine technology is backed by Tata, the Indian conglomerate that last month unveiled the world’s cheapest car, the £1,250 Nano.

Refuelling involves topping up on compressed air, which is used to power the OneCAT’s piston engine. In a couple of minutes - and at a cost of as little as £1 - the vehicle is ready to travel another 200 to 300 kilometres (125 to 185 miles), its inventors said.

The vehicle, which burns small amounts of conventional fuels at higher speeds, has been developed by Moteur Development International (MDI), a French-based, family owned group that has been working on an “air car” for the past decade. “The engine is efficient, cost-effective, scalable and capable of other applications, like power generation,” a spokesman said.

Vivek Chattopadhyaya, of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, said: “What counts is how much energy all the processes involved require - from manufacturing the car to compressing the air.”

Mass production moved a step closer last year when MDI agreed a partnership with Tata, under which the companies pledged to refine the technology. The Indian group said that the system may represent “the ultimate environ-ment-friendly engine” and is studying its commercial feasibility.

MDI, whose engine is competing with rival technologies that range from electric vehicles and biofuels to hybrid engines and hydrogen-based fuel cells, has said that its first mass-market model could go on sale this year.

Worldwide sales of “zero emission” cars are languishing in the thousands, but with oil prices running at record levels, energy efficiency has become a watchword across the car industry.

According to MDI, its fleet includes cars that could cover 100 kilometres for about 60p. A full tank of compressed air would last for up to ten hours. A top speed of about 70 miles an hour has been claimed. An oil change should be necessary only every 30,000 miles or more and the air expelled from the engine will be clean and cold and can be used in the air conditioning unit.

Vital statistics
Fuel: Compressed air (some conventional fuel at higher speeds)
Cost of refuelling: about £1
Range: 200km to 300km (a full tank should last up to ten hours)
Servicing: OIl change about every 30,000 miles
Seats: Three
Weight: 350kg
Price: about £2,500

Carbon Capture Strategy Could Lead to Emission-Free Cars

Feb. 11, 2008

ATLANTA — Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a strategy to capture, store and eventually recycle carbon from vehicles to prevent the pollutant from finding its way from a car tailpipe into the atmosphere. Georgia Tech researchers envision a zero emission car, and a transportation system completely free of fossil fuels.

Les mer her

The Energy Challenge

Move Over, Oil, There’s Money in Texas Wind

Feb. 23, 2008

Jim Albert, front, and Jerry Tuttle, General Electric wind technicians, perch atop a turbine in Sweetwater, Tex. The turbines stand as high as 20-story buildings

SWEETWATER, Tex. — The wind turbines that recently went up on Louis Brooks’s ranch are twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, with blades that span as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet. More important from his point of view, he is paid $500 a month apiece to permit 78 of them on his land, with 76 more on the way.

“That’s just money you’re hearing,” he said as they hummed in a brisk breeze recently.

The United States recently overtook Spain as the world’s second-largest wind power market, after Germany, with $9 billion invested last year. A recent study by Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., projected $65 billion in investment from 2007 to 2015.

Despite the attraction of wind as a nearly pollution-free power source, it does have limitations. Though the gap is closing, electricity from wind remains costlier than that generated from fossil fuels. Moreover, wind power is intermittent and unpredictable, and the hottest days, when electricity is needed most, are usually not windy.

Texas surpassed California as the top wind farm state in 2006. In January alone, new wind farms representing $700 million of investment went into operation in Texas, supplying power sufficient for 100,000 homes.

[Endret 21.02.08 21:20 av OldNick]
[Endret 24.02.08 10:42 av OldNick]
24.02.2008 13:42

Airline in first biofuel flight

Feb. 24, 2008 (news.bbc.co.uk)

Coconut and Brazilian babassu nut were used for the biofuel

The first flight by a commercial airline to be powered partly by biofuel has taken off from Heathrow airport.

Billed by Virgin Atlantic as a green fuel breakthrough, the firm's flight to Amsterdam has no passengers on board.

Earlier this month, Airbus used the world's largest passenger jet, the A380 to flight test another alternative fuel - a synthetic mix of gas-to-liquid.

Many environmentalists argue that cultivating biofuel is not sustainable and will lead to reduced land for food.

Virgin's Boeing 747 has one of its four engines connected to an independent biofuel tank that will provide 20% of the engine's power.

This reduces risk to the flight because there are three other engines which can power the plane entirely on conventional fuel if there is a problem.

The three-hour Airbus flight from Filton near Bristol to Toulouse on 1 February was part of an ongoing research programme.


Virgin's flight used a biofuel derived from a mixture of babassu nuts and coconuts.

The company said the babassu tree, native to Brazil, and the coconuts do not compete with staple food sources and come from existing mature plantations.

Both products are commonly used in cosmetics and household paper products.

One problem with flying planes using biofuel is that it is more likely to freeze at high altitude.

The technology is still being manufactured by companies GE and Boeing, but Virgin believes within 10 years airlines could routinely be flying on plant power.

Kenneth Richter, of Friends of the Earth, said the flight was a "gimmick", distracting from real solutions to climate change.

"If you look at the latest scientific research it clearly shows biofuels do very little to reduce emissions. At the same time we are very concerned about the impact of the large scale increase in biofuel production on the environment and food prices worldwide," he said.

"What we need to do is stop this mad expansion of aviation at the moment it is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the UK and we need to stop subsidising the industry."

But Virgin Atlantic president Sir Richard Branson said the flight was an early step towards greener aviation.

"This pioneering flight will enable those of us who are serious about reducing our carbon emissions to go on developing the fuels of the future, fuels which will power our aircraft in the years ahead through sustainable next-generation oils, such as algae."

Famed geneticist creating life form that turns CO2 to fuel

Thu Feb 28, 2008 (AFP)

MONTEREY, California - A scientist who mapped his genome and the genetic diversity of the oceans said Thursday he is creating a life form that feeds on climate-ruining carbon dioxide to produce fuel.

Geneticist Craig Venter disclosed his potentially world-changing "fourth-generation fuel" project at an elite Technology, Entertainment and Design conference in Monterey, California.

"We have modest goals of replacing the whole petrochemical industry and becoming a major source of energy," Venter told an audience that included global warming fighter Al Gore and Google co-founder Larry Page.

"We think we will have fourth-generation fuels in about 18 months, with CO2 as the fuel stock."

Simple organisms can be genetically re-engineered to produce vaccines or octane-based fuels as waste, according to Venter.

Biofuel alternatives to oil are third-generation. The next step is life forms that feed on CO2 and give off fuel such as methane gas as waste, according to Venter.

"We have 20 million genes which I call the design components of the future," Venter said. "We are limited here only by our imagination."

His team is using synthetic chromosomes to modify organisms that already exist, not making new life, he said. Organisms already exist that produce octane, but not in amounts needed to be a fuel supply.

"If they could produce things on the scale we need, this would be a methane planet," Venter said. "The scale is what is critical; which is why we need to genetically design them."

The genetics of octane-producing organisms can be tinkered with to increase the amount of CO2 they eat and octane they excrete, according to Venter.

The limiting part of the equation isn't designing an organism, it's the difficulty of extracting high concentrations of CO2 from the air to feed the organisms, the scientist said in answer to a question from Page.

Scientists put "suicide genes" into their living creations so that if they escape the lab, they can be triggered to kill themselves.

Venter said he is also working on organisms that make vaccines for the flu and other illnesses.

"We will see an exponential change in the pace of the sophistication of organisms and what they can do," Venter said.

"We are a ways away from designing people. Our goal is just to make sure they survive long enough to do that."

Et par artikler om verdensmesteren Norge - fra TU.no

Greenpeace: Regjeringen bløffer om biobrensel

Greenpeace og Fremskrittspartiet mener regjeringenden rødgrønne overdriver de positive effektene biodrivstoff vil få for klimaet

Dag Yngve Dahle, TU.no
Publisert: 29.02.2008


Greenpeace advarer mot bio-bensin

Greenpeace Norge ber regjeringen avblåse påbudet om å blande inn biodrivstoff i bensin fra nyttår.

Publisert: 30.10.2007

[Endret 03.03.08 13:22 av OldNick]
[Endret 04.03.08 14:17 av OldNick]
06.03.2008 16:57

The Energy Challenge - Turning Glare Into Watts

Mar. 6, 2008

An Acciona solar thermal power plant, located south of Las Vegas.

BOULDER CITY, Nev. — At first, as he adjusted pumps and checked temperatures, Aaron Boucher looked like any technician in the control room of an electrical plant. Then he rushed to the window and scanned the sky, to check his fuel supply.

Mr. Boucher was battling clouds, timing the operations of his power plant to get the most out of patchy sunshine. It is a skill that may soon be in greater demand, for the world appears to be on the verge of a boom in a little-known but promising type of solar power.

It is not the kind that features shiny panels bolted to the roofs of houses. This type involves covering acres of desert with mirrors that focus intense sunlight on a fluid, heating it enough to make steam. The steam turns a turbine and generates electricity.

The technology is not new, but it is suddenly in high demand. As prices rise for fossil fuels and worries grow about their contribution to global warming, solar thermal plants are being viewed as a renewable power source with huge potential.

After a decade of no activity, two prototype solar thermal plants were recently opened in the United States, with a capacity that could power several big hotels, neon included, on the Las Vegas Strip, about 20 miles north of here. Another 10 power plants are in advanced planning in California, Arizona and Nevada.

On sunny afternoons, those 10 plants would produce as much electricity as three nuclear reactors, but they can be built in as little as two years, compared with a decade or longer for a nuclear plant. Some of the new plants will feature systems that allow them to store heat and generate electricity for hours after sunset.

Aside from the ones in the United States, eight plants are under construction in Spain, Algeria and Morocco. Another nine projects are in various stages of planning in those countries as well as Israel, Mexico, China, South Africa and Egypt, according to a count kept by Frederick H. Morse, formerly in charge of solar energy at the Energy Department and now a consultant.

Mr. Morse and others say that solar thermal plants could meet most of the galloping growth in power demand in Phoenix, Las Vegas and the rest of the southwestern United States. In fact, experts say enough sunshine hits the deserts of the Southwest that such plants could theoretically power the entire United States. But that is a far-off dream, since it would require big new transmission cables.

The workability of solar thermal power was established in the 1980s, when developers in California built a series of plants in the Mojave Desert, eventually reaching 354 megawatts of capacity. A megawatt is enough electricity to run 1,000 room air-conditioners at once.

The California plants grew more sophisticated and costs shrank as the project progressed. But then the price of a competing fuel, natural gas, collapsed in the 1990s and building new solar plants became uneconomic.

Today, natural gas prices are much higher, and political opposition is rising to construction of new coal-burning power plants. Many states, including California, are imposing mandates for renewable energy. All of that is reviving interest in solar thermal plants.

The power they produce is still relatively expensive. Industry experts say the plant here produces power at a cost per kilowatt- hour of 15 to 20 cents. With a little more experience and some economies of scale, that could fall to about 10 cents, according to a recent report by Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass. Newly built coal-fired plants are expected to produce power at about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour or more if carbon is taxed.

The solar plants receive a federal tax subsidy, like other types of renewable energy, which makes the economics work for builders but also feeds skepticism about the technology’s long-term potential. “Unless there’s a subsidy involved, it doesn’t seem like a very attractive technology,” said Revis James, a renewables expert at the Electric Power Research Institute, a utility industry consortium.

Still, solar plants do tend to produce peak power during the hottest part of the day, when demand is highest and electricity is costly, so at certain times they are already competitive with plants using natural gas. And they have an advantage over the other widely available form of renewable power, wind turbines: they are more predictable.

Les mer her

Selv om Sverige's miljøvernminister er skråsikker, er ikke den briitiske regjeringens vitenskapsrådgivere like sikre ....

Top scientists warn against rush to biofuel

Brown plans to resist EU plans for increased quotas as doubts multiply

James Randerson and Nicholas Watt, The Guardian,
Mar. 25, 2008

Trucks are loaded with sugar cane, which will be used to produce biofuels, in Brazil. Photograph: Paulo Whitaker/Reuters

Gordon Brown is preparing for a battle with the European Union over biofuels after one of the government's leading scientists warned they could exacerbate climate change rather than combat it.

In an outspoken attack on a policy which comes into force next week, Professor Bob Watson, the chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said it would be wrong to introduce compulsory quotas for the use of biofuels in petrol and diesel before their effects had been properly assessed.

[Endret 25.03.08 19:37 av OldNick]
25.03.2008 19:38


"If one started to use biofuels ... and in reality that policy led to an increase in greenhouse gases rather than a decrease, that would obviously be insane," Watson said. "It would certainly be a perverse outcome."

Under the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation, all petrol and diesel must contain 2.5% of biofuels from April 1. This is designed to ensure that Britain complies with a 2003 EU directive that 5.75% of petrol and diesel come from renewable sources by 2010.

But scientists have increasingly questioned the sustainability of biofuels, warning that by increasing deforestation the energy source may be contributing to global warming.

Watson's warning was echoed last night by Professor Sir David King, who recently retired as the government's chief scientific adviser. He said biofuel quotas should be put on hold until the results were known of a review which has been commissioned by ministers.

"What is absolutely desperately needed within government are people of integrity who will state what the science advice is under whatever political pressure or circumstances," he said.

The EU plans to raise the compulsory biofuel quota to 10% by 2020, but Brown is understood to be ready to challenge this plan. A senior government source said last night: "There is a growing feeling that we need to get all the facts. Some biofuels are OK but there are serious questions about others. More work needs to be done."

Sources say the government has no choice but to implement the guidelines next month because Britain is obliged under EU law to comply with the 2010 target.

But the report on biofuels, to come from the head of the Renewable Fuels Agency, Professor Ed Gallagher, may be used to challenge the more ambitious target for 2020, which is not set in law.

John Beddington, the government's current chief scientific adviser, has already expressed scepticism about biofuels. At a speech in Westminster this month he said demand for biofuels from the US had delivered a "major shock" to world agriculture, which was raising food prices globally. "There are real problems with the unsustainability of biofuels," he said, adding that cutting down rainforest to grow the crops was "profoundly stupid".

Britain will move cautiously in its battle with Brussels because José Manuel Barroso, the European commission president, is championing the 10% target for 2020. Barroso this month dismissed as "exaggerated" claims that biofuels can lead to increases in food prices and greenhouse gas emissions due to deforestation. But other members of the commission and other countries, including Germany, sympathise with Britain.

Brown was due to release a report touching on issues including biofuels, when he met Barroso in Brussels last month. But the prime minister decided that the time was "not right or ripe".

The prime minister made clear that Britain is wary of the target when he said last November: "I take extremely seriously concerns about the impact of biofuels on deforestation, precious habitats and on food security, and the UK is working to ensure a European sustainability standard is introduced as soon as possible, and we will not support an increase in biofuels over current target levels until an effective standard is in place."

Algae biofuel 'in five years'

NIGEL AUSTIN, AdelaideNow, Sunday Mail
Mar. 24, 2008

A COMMERCIAL alternative to diesel using biofuel made from algae will be developed in five years, the South Australian Research and Development Institute says.

Research is expected to begin at SARDI's new Aquatic Sciences plant at West Beach next year, facility manager Eric Capelle said.

Researchers from around Australia will apply to use the facility and a committee will select those who may use it, although SARDI is the most likely main user.

The research will be scaled up to a much larger demonstration plant in 2009-10.

Dr Capelle said the need for a clean alternative to mineral and fossil fuels was urgent, with Australians consuming more than 14 billion litres of diesel each year.

"The use of micro-algae has been identified because it has high oil-producing capabilities and an ability to thrive in saline or nutrient-loaded water resources, sunny environments and on marginal lands," Dr Capelle said.

The $5 million project will be used for research into micro-algae as a viable alternative feedstock for biofuels.

Dr Capelle said the high-tech infrastructure would allow existing lab-scale results to be validated at a pilot and demonstration scale.

"This is a major step forward in fully commercialising the much anticipated technology," Dr Capelle said.

"The potential of micro-algae as a renewable biofuel source is an exciting alternative to existing sources.

"It produces at least 30-times more oil per hectare than crop-based fuels, it is a non-food fuel resource and it consumes the greenhouse gas CO2 to grow and multiply."

Dr Capelle said the use of algae to produce fuels was one long-term solution to the world's declining oil reserves.

"To make it commercially viable we need to improve the efficiency of algae production and oil extraction from the algae," he said.

"The use of algae has advantages including the fact that CO2 from power plants and breweries can be used to lower their carbon footprint."

Dr Capelle said the main challenge was to develop a species of algae that produced enough oil.

"South Australia is a good place to grow micro-algae because there is plenty of sunlight and a lot of opportunities where saline water can be used and a plant could be built close to power plants," he said.

[Endret 25.03.08 19:39 av OldNick]
[Endret 26.03.08 22:48 av OldNick]
27.03.2008 09:47

UofMaryland, USA: UM Invention Promises Major Advance in BioFuel Production

Contacts: Lee Tune, 301 405 4679 or ltune@umd.edu
Mar. 10, 2008

Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, third from left, and University of Maryland President C.D. Mote Jr, 2nd from right, praised Zymetis in a demonstration of the technology in College Park. Also pictured, front from left, Herb Rabin, Scott Laughlin, Zymetis founder Steve Hutcheson, Steve Davey, and, in lab coats, former UM students Dan Forrest, Kristen Goff, Elizabeth Santos.

University of Maryland research that started with bacteria from the Chesapeake Bay has led to a process that may be able to convert large volumes of all kinds of plant products, from leftover brewer's mash to paper trash, into ethanol and other biofuel alternatives to gasoline.

That process, developed by University of Maryland professors Steve Hutcheson and Ron Weiner, professors of cell biology and molecular genetics, is the foundation of their incubator company Zymetis, which was on view today in College Park for Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and state and university officials.

"The new Zymetis technology is a win for the State of Maryland , for the University and for the environment," said University of Maryland President C.D. Mote, Jr. "It makes affordable ethanol production a reality and makes it from waste materials, which benefits everyone and supports the green-friendly goal of carbon-neutrality.

"It also highlights the importance of transformational basic research and of technology incubators at the University. Partnership with the State enables University of Maryland faculty and students to commercialize new discoveries quickly."

"Today, Marylanders are leading the nation in scientific discovery and technology innovation," said Governor Martin O'Malley. "We must continue to invest in Marylanders like Steve Hutcheson and in their revolutionary ideas to protect our environment, create jobs, and improve lives."

75 Billion Gallons a Year

The Zymetis process can make ethanol and other biofuels from many different types of plants and plant waste called cellulosic sources. Cellulosic biofuels can be made from non- grain plant sources such as waste paper, brewing byproducts, leftover agriculture products, including straw, corncobs and husks, and energy crops such as switchgrass.

When fully operational, the Zymetis process could potentially lead to the production of 75 billion gallons a year of carbon-neutral ethanol.

The secret to the Zymetis process is a Chesapeake Bay marsh grass bacterium, S. degradans. Hutcheson found that the bacterium has an enzyme that could quickly break down plant materials into sugar, which can then be converted to biofuel.

The Zymetis researchers were unable to isolate the Bay bacterium again in nature, but they discovered how to produce the enzyme in their own laboratories. The result was Ethazyme, which degrades the tough cell walls of cellulosic materials and breaks down the entire plant material into bio-fuel ready sugars in one step, at a significantly lower cost and with fewer caustic chemicals than current methods.

Hutcheson projects a $5 billion enzyme market for biofuels. The energy bill passed by the U.S. Senate in December mandates oil companies to blend in 21 billion gallons of cellulosic ethanol with their gasoline by 2022.

Inventors of the Year

Hutcheson and Weiner won the university's Office of Technology Commercialization Inventor of the Year Award in 2007 in the Life Science category for their enzyme system invention.

Shell hopes for sweet smell of success

By Ed Crooks, FT.com
Mar. 26, 2008

Royal Dutch Shell is working on a process to turn sugars into a synthetic petrol, rather than ethanol, with the aim of moving to a commercial demonstration plant in two years’ time.

Europe’s biggest oil company on Wednesday announced a joint venture with Virent, a US biotech business based in Wisconsin, saying that results from early research over the past year had been better than expected in terms of costs and yields.

The initiative is the latest of Shell’s investments in a range of different technologies for “second generation” biofuels, which are more complex to produce but could avoid some of the problems of today’s main biofuels such as ethanol from corn.

However, the environmental and social gains from the Virent technology will depend on the type of sugars that are used to produce the fuel.

So far, none of Shell’s investments has proceeded to commercial production. Graeme Sweeney, the vice-president for future fuels, said not all were likely to be successful and the key decision for each venture would be at the end of the development phase, when the company would decide whether they could be commercially viable.

Jeroen van der Veer, Shell’s chief executive, has said he wanted at least one viable alternative energy business by 2015.

Virent’s process is different from standard biofuel production, which takes sugars from corn or sugar cane or other sources and ferments them to make ethanol.

It uses catalysts to convert sugars into hydrocarbons that are much closer to the standard petrol used in today’s cars.

The “biogasoline” fuel can be blended into conventional petrol up to a level of about 50 per cent without any engine modification, compared with a limit of about 10 per cent for ethanol.

It has a higher energy content than ethanol, which delivers significantly fewer miles to the gallon than petrol, and would avoid some of the handling problems of ethanol, which needs a separate distribution infrastructure from petrol.

[Endret 28.03.08 18:14 av OldNick]
28.03.2008 18:15


Mr Sweeney said Shell believed the process “has the scope to be cost competitive” and would have “very good” total carbon dioxide emissions.

However, he said the fuel’s emissions performance would depend on source of the sugars used.

Sugars from plant waste, such as those Shell hopes to produce from its other biofuels ventures researching enzymes, would lead to greater reductions in emissions than sugars made from corn in the US.

Research suggesting that the environmental benefits of biofuels have been overstated, and fears that demand for crops for fuel is driving up food prices, have led to mounting concerns over policies to support biofuels in Europe and the US.

Shell’s biofuels deals.

● Iogen In 2002, Shell linked up with Iogen, a Canadian biotechnology company, to develop a process for making cellulosic ethanol – a ‘second generation’ biofuel – from straw, using enzymes. In April 2004, Iogen said it was ‘in the final phase prior to full-scale commercialisation of cellulose ethanol’. Four years later, Iogen and its partners are still assessing the feasibility of a full-scale commercial plant.

● Choren In 2005, Shell joined Choren, a German company now also backed by Volkswagen and Daimler, to produce biodiesel from wood chips. A commercial demonstration plant is due to open this year.

● Codexis Shell began working with Codexis, a US biotech company, in 2006, also on enzymes for biofuel production. In November 2007, Shell announced that the collaboration had been successful enough for it to take a stake in Codexis and commit to a further five years of research.

● HR Biopetroleum In December 2007, Shell set up a new majority- owned joint venture, called Cellana, with HR Biopetroleum, a Hawaii-based company, to build a pilot plant to grow algae producing oil that can be turned into biodiesel.

● Virent Shell began working with Virent, a US biotech company specialising in producing fuel from sugar, in 2007. The two companies said on Wednesday they had exceeded milestones for yield and cost and were now working on scaling up technology for commercial production.

Undercut and under fire: UK biofuel feels heat from all sides

Sector faces hostility from competitors and campaigners

Terry Macalister, The Guardian,
Apr. 1, 2008

It was barely 18 months ago that the British biofuels industry was surfing on a wave of euphoria. There were almost weekly announcements from companies big and small that they were going to invest heavily in a sector that promised to play an important role in the battle against global warming.

On April 15, the sector is to be given an even bigger boost when the government introduces its Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) that requires the station forecourt to supply at least 2.5% a first, later 5%, of its petrol and diesel from plant-based materials at a time when oil prices have soared.

But instead of widespread glee, the domestic green fuels sector is in gloom, amid a flood of cheap imports from America. Subsidised US biofuels are threatening to wipe out UK capacity. Meanwhile, opposition grows from environmentalists and independent scientists who fear that biofuels could make climate change worse, not better.

There are fears that carbon-absorbing rainforest in countries such as Brazil is being cut down to provide land for fuel crops such as soya and palm and that biofuels crops are displacing land use for food and forcing up the price of staples. The price of wheat has doubled in the past 12 months.

Ruth Kelly, the transport minister, recently commissioned the new Renewable Fuels Agency to undertake a review of biofuels. A group of seven campaign groups, including Greenpeace and Oxfam, have called for her to postpone introduction of the RTFO until the benefits had been finally clarified.

Les mer her

Lang artikkel om problemene med biodrivstoff - fra Time Magazine

The Clean Energy Scam

Mar. 27, 2008

A tiny sliver of transitional rain forest is surrounded by hectares of soybean fields in the Mato Grosso state, Brazil. John Lee / Aurora Select for TIME

From his Cessna a mile above the southern Amazon, John Carter looks down on the destruction of the world's greatest ecological jewel. He watches men converting rain forest into cattle pastures and soybean fields with bulldozers and chains. He sees fires wiping out such gigantic swaths of jungle that scientists now debate the "savannization" of the Amazon. Brazil just announced that deforestation is on track to double this year; Carter, a Texas cowboy with all the subtlety of a chainsaw, says it's going to get worse fast. "It gives me goose bumps," says Carter, who founded a nonprofit to promote sustainable ranching on the Amazon frontier. "It's like witnessing a rape."

Les mer her

[Endret 01.04.08 18:29 av OldNick]
[Endret 01.04.08 18:30 av OldNick]
[Endret 03.04.08 17:20 av OldNick]
05.04.2008 10:32

Wind power breaks records in Spain

Mar 25, 2008 (AFP)

Wind turbines off the coast of Tarifa

MADRID — Wind power is breaking new records in Spain, accounting for just over 40 percent of all electricity consumed during a brief period last weekend, the country's wind power association said Tuesday.

As heavy winds lashed Spain on Saturday evening wind parks generated 9,862 megawatts of power which translated to 40.8 percent of total consumption due to low demand during the Easter holiday weekend, AEE said.

Between Friday and Sunday wind power accounted for an average of 28 percent of all electricity demand in Spain, which is a leading world producer of such energy, a statement from the association said.

The record for power generated by Spain's wind parks was set on March 4 at 10,032 megawatts, but as it was a regular working day this accounted for less percentage demand.

Spain's wind power generation equalled that of hydropower for the first time in 2007.

In July the government approved legislation that will allow offshore wind parks to be set up along the nation's vast coastline in an effort to boost the use of renewable energy sources.

While more expensive than land-based wind farms, offshore wind parks can take advantage of stronger, steadier coastal breezes.

Spain, which along with Germany and Denmark, is among the three biggest producers of wind power in the 27-nation European Union, is aiming to triple the amount of energy it derives from renewable sources by 2020.

En artikkel om potensialet og problemene i Tysklands fornybar energi-industri...

Renewable energy

German lessons

ERFURT AND WOLFEN, From The Economist print edition
Apr 3rd 2008

An ambitious cross-subsidy scheme has given rise to a new industry


The Economist diskuterer også UK's forsyningsproblemer noen år frem i tiden (2015-->).

Det er ulysten til å bygge nye kullbaserte kraftverk, og rensekravene som kommer på eksisterende kraftverk (først SO2 og NOx), senere forventes jo CO2 (CCS) - som kan skremme kraftverkeierne.

I tillegg er det planer om å fase ut eksisterende kjernekraftpark frem til 2020, uten at en plan om å erstatte disse med nye er på plass.

UK Electricity

Green and black

Apr 3rd 2008
From The Economist print edition

A looming supply crunch causes problems for a government with green ambitions


Money Doesn't Grow on Trees, But Gasoline Might

Researchers make breakthrough in creating gasoline from plant matter, with almost no carbon footprint

April 7, 2008 (www.nsf.gov)

George Huber poses with a vial of green gasoline compounds.

Researchers have made a breakthrough in the development of "green gasoline," a liquid identical to standard gasoline yet created from sustainable biomass sources like switchgrass and poplar trees.

Reporting in the cover article of the April 7, 2008 issue of Chemistry & Sustainability, Energy & Materials (ChemSusChem), chemical engineer and National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER awardee George Huber of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst (UMass) and his graduate students Torren Carlson and Tushar Vispute announced the first direct conversion of plant cellulose into gasoline components.

In the same issue, James Dumesic and colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison announce an integrated process for creating chemical components of jet fuel using a green gasoline approach. While Dumesic's group had previously demonstrated the production of jet-fuel components using separate steps, their current work shows that the steps can be integrated and run sequentially, without complex separation and purification processes between reactors.

While it may be five to 10 years before green gasoline arrives at the pump or finds its way into a fighter jet, these breakthroughs have bypassed significant hurdles to bringing green gasoline biofuels to market.

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Germany drops plan for auto biofuel

April 4, 2008 (AFP)


Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel said Friday that Germany would scrap plans to develop auto biofuels because they were not appropriate for millions of vehicles.

"We will not do it," Gabriel told the television channel ARD.

The VDIK association of foreign automakers said that around 3.3 million vehicles were unable to use the mix of ethanol and traditional petrol that Berlin sought to impose.

Gabriel had warned the project would be abandoned if more than one million vehicles could not use the fuel.

"Environmental policy will not be held responsible if millions of car owners have to pay more" for fuel, he said, adding: "All of us underestimated the problems."

The news dealt a blow to 'green fuels' which have been seen as a way to reduce global warming but which have also been criticised by some ecologists and the German automobile club.

The E10 project was supposed to ensure that 10 percent of petrol used by cars and light trucks in Germany was comprised of ethanol so as to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

[Endret 05.04.08 19:32 av OldNick]
[Endret 05.04.08 20:04 av OldNick]
[Endret 08.04.08 08:18 av OldNick]
[Endret 08.04.08 13:35 av OldNick]
09.04.2008 23:22

Geotermisk energi (høytrykks damp fra borehull) er spennende, men noen ganger kan tapping av reservoar få uante konsekvenser...

Geothermal probe sinks German city

By Bojan Pancevski in Vienna, Telegraph.co.uk

A drilling machine used for geothermal boreholes

A German town is subsiding after authorities drilled underground in order to harness green energy.

Staufen, in the Black Forest, was proud of its innovative geothermal power plan that was supposed to provide environmentally-friendly heating.

But only two weeks after contractors drilled down 460ft to extract heat from below the earth, large cracks have appeared in buildings as the town centre subsided about a third of an inch (8mm).

The baroque Town Hall, the main church, two schools and over 64 other buildings in the historic centre were severely affected. Experts said buildings in the outer part of the town had risen by a similar amount.

According to Robert Breder, an engineer, the problems began when geothermal probes penetrated an underground reservoir. As the water seeped out and the pressure fell, upper layers of earth started to collapse, causing the surface - and the town - to sink.

Staufen's 8,000 residents are increasingly worried because repair work on the buildings cannot start until the town stops sinking.

Michael Benitz, mayor of Staufen, said: "Will the earth continue to sink or is it going to stop? If it stops now, then we will have got away lightly. But if it continues, it could turn out to be quite bad."

A similar experiment triggered a series of earthquakes near Basel in Switzerland last year.

A spokesman for Staufen council said: "The community was so proud of the environmentally-friendly geothermal energy project that it would be a painful irony if that was the cause for this incredible occurrence."

Komplikasjoner ved sprit-bruk (misbruk) .. hehehe.hhrmm..

California law firm files class-action lawsuit against major oil companies

By IBI Magazine
April 10, 2008

The Los Angeles law firm of Kabateck, Brown, Kellner, LLP has filed a class-action lawsuit against the main oil companies on behalf of California boaters. The law firm said in a statement that oil companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, Valero, and ConocoPhillips are manufacturing and selling ethanol-blended gasoline that damages marine fuel tanks, engines and other components. The lawsuit was filed earlier this week in the US District Court, Central District of California in Los Angeles.

"The price of gas is bad enough, but selling gasoline that dissolves gas tanks is a new low even for the oil companies," said Brian Kabateck, managing partner of Kabateck Brown Kellner and the lead attorney on the case, in a statement. "The oil companies knows this fuel is corrosive, but they're keeping consumers in the dark to pump up their profits. The cost to the consumer is thousands of dollars in repairs."

The suit seeks to represent all owners of boats with fibreglass fuel tanks who filled their tanks with ethanol blended gasoline from a California retailer.

The statement noted that oil companies replaced MTBE with ethanol in 2004, when MTBE was banned in many states because of environmental concerns.

"Consumers were never informed about the differences between MTBE and ethanol-mixed gasoline, nor were they informed about the disastrous effects ethanol has on fibreglass marine fuel tanks," said the statement.

"The environment pays the price for Exxon and Chevron's deception each time a damaged fuel tank leaks gasoline into the water," said Kabateck.

Kabateck said his firm has won more than US$750 million against Google, Farmer's Insurance, Eli Lilly and other major corporations.

Biofuels go from saviour to villain

Kevin Libin, NationalPost.ca
April 11, 2008

They were supposed to get us off our oil dependency, but it turns out that biofuels may be at the root of high food prices and even more environmental damage. Colleeen De Neve/Canwest News Service.

[Endret 11.04.08 16:28 av OldNick]
[Endret 13.04.08 15:48 av OldNick]
14.04.2008 08:53

T.Boone Pickens: "Don't get the idea that I've turned green"

Big oil to big wind: Texas veteran sets up $10bn clean energy project

Ed Pilkington in Dallas, The Guardian,
April 14, 2008

Wind farms around McCamey, Texas. Photograph: Bob Daemmrich/Corbis

T Boone Pickens is famous for thinking big. He founded his Texan oil company, Mesa Petroleum, in 1956 with just $2,500 (£1,200) in the bank. After a string of audacious takeovers he turned it into an independent empire that challenged the big oil companies, and today he is worth $3bn.

Now this straight-talking Southerner is launching the biggest and most audacious project of his career. This month he will make the first down payment on 500 wind turbines at a cost of $2m each. The order is the first material step towards his goal of building the world's largest wind farm.

Over the next four years he intends to erect 2,700 turbines across 200,000 acres of the Texan panhandle. The scheme is five times bigger than the world's current record-holding wind farm and when finished will supply 4,000 megawatts of electricity - enough to power about one million homes.

It's not just the breathtaking scale of the scheme that is striking, though at a total cost of $10bn it impresses even Pickens himself: "It's pretty mind boggling," he says. The fact that Pickens, a tycoon who made his fortune in oil, has turned his attention to wind power is an indication of how the tectonic plates are moving. Until recently wind was seen as marginal and alternative; now it is being eyed by Wall Street.

"Don't get the idea that I've turned green," Pickens tells the Guardian in the Dallas offices of his new venture Mesa Power. "My business is making money, and I think this is going to make a lot of money."

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UK: Petrol must now include biofuels

April 15, 2008 (news.bbc.co.uk)

All petrol and diesel which is sold at UK pumps now has to include at least 2.5% biofuels.

These renewable fuels, made from crops such as sugar cane or maize, have been added to fuel sold around the country.

This target will rise to 5% by 2010. The move is aimed at making transport fuels more environmentally friendly and will not change how cars work.

But some scientists and green groups say biofuels contribute more greenhouse gases than they save.

Negative effects

The idea behind the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO) is to reduce climate change emissions from transport - which produced more than a quarter of overall greenhouse gases in the UK - by using renewable fuels instead of fossil fuels.

But some critics say the biofuels' carbon benefits may be outweighed by negative effects from their production.

For example Oxfam said millions of indigenous people faced clearance from their land to make way for biofuel plantations such as palm oil.

The aid agency is also concerned that the switch to energy crops from food production - including a large-scale drive in the US to produce bioethanol from maize - is contributing to rising food prices.

Oxfam joined campaigners from Friends of the Earth and the RSPB for a protest outside Parliament on Monday aimed at urging the government not to go ahead with the new rules.

'Total disarray'

But Transport Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said gradually introducing biofuels could help save millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in the next few years.

"The UK has done more than any other country to make sure they are produced sustainably," he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said fuel suppliers would be required to report publicly on the sustainability of the biofuels they provide.

"We will not increase biofuels targets beyond 5% unless we are satisfied this can be done without damaging the environmental impacts," he said.

Shadow Environment Secretary Peter Ainsworth said the government's policy on biofuels was in "total disarray".

"The government has embarked on a course which endangers food security, threatens poverty, damages natural habitats and could increase climate change emissions," he said.

"It is utter madness that without proper sustainability criteria the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation threatens to destroy vast swaths of rainforest in the name of the environment."

Friends of the Earth has demanded that greenhouse gases from transport, which account for about 28% of overall emissions, be tackled by investing in better public transport and mandatory emissions limits on cars.

Friends of the Earth transport campaigner Tony Bosworth said biofuels would not help the environment.

"The government is introducing these fuels because they think it's going to help cut climate change emissions from transport, but we believe they're a false solution," he said.

"In many cases some of the biofuels which they're using won't cut carbon dioxide emissions and could indeed lead to more carbon dioxide emissions."

A survey for Friends of the Earth suggested almost nine out of 10 people did not know that renewable fuels would be required in their vehicles.

[Endret 15.04.08 17:02 av OldNick]
15.04.2008 17:03


- Graphic illustrates findings of a Swiss study examining environmental impacts of different fuels

- The further to the right a fuel is, the higher its greenhouse gas emissions were found to be

- The higher on the chart a fuel is, the higher its overall environmental impact (which was worked out using Eco-indicator 99, a widely used environmental impact assessment based on damage data for various emissions)

- Fuels in the green shaded area had lower greenhouse gas emissions and less of an overall environmental impact than low sulphur petrol

- Most of the biofuels in the green shaded area are produced from waste materials and residue

- Abbreviations: Meth. - Methanol; Eth. - Ethanol; BR - Brazil; CH - Switzerland; CN - China; FR - France; MY - Malaysia; RER - Europe; US - United States. (Country abbreviations indicate country of origin.)

Demand for Ethanol From Brazil May Rise

By KENNETH RAPOZA, online.wsj.com
April 14, 2008; Page C4

SÃO PAULO, Brazil -- As high corn prices continue to pressure U.S. ethanol companies, Brazilian competitors see a window of opportunity this summer for their homegrown ethanol made from less-expensive sugarcane.

"Demand from oil companies for Brazilian ethanol is very high right now," said Eduardo Correa, a trade manager at Brazilian ethanol exporter Equipav Milling Group. "There's going to be plenty of opportunities for us to export this summer, either directly or through the Caribbean."

One reason is that Brazil is harvesting a record-breaking sugarcane crop that will easily exceed 500 million metric tons, or 550 million short tons, according to industry analysts at Datagro in São Paulo. The sheer volume, and the estimated 20 billion liters (5.2 billion gallons) or more of ethanol that is going to be made from it, will push Brazilian ethanol prices lower. Wholesale prices now are around $1.64 a gallon, according to the University of São Paulo's rural economy think tank Cepea/Esalq.

Even with a 54-cent tariff imposed on Brazilian ethanol exports, Brazil wholesale hydrous ethanol prices are around $2.18 a gallon, compared with around $2.55 a gallon on average now for U.S. ethanol.

Another reason is that high corn prices -- hovering just under $6 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade -- means U.S. corn ethanol producers face small -- or no -- profit margins. Corn prices shot up after the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported an 8% expected drop in U.S. corn plantings to 86 million acres this season.


Er problemet matvarer og biodrivstoff et moralsk problem ?

Ja, det er her dobbeltmoralen kommer oss til unnsetning...

'Biofuels pose a moral problem'

By Upstream staff
April 18, 2008

Biofuels pose a moral problem and the worst of rioting prompted by soaring food costs may be yet to come, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, said today.

"When we make biofuels from agricultural products not used for food, that is fine. But when they are made from food products, this poses a major moral problem," Strauss-Kahn told Europe 1 radio station.

Asked if he would support a possible moratarium on biofuels, Strauss-Kahn said: "When they use foodstuffs."

Countries needed to strike a balance between addressing environmental problems and the need to ensure people did not perish from hunger, he said, saying protests sparked by rising food costs around the globe could worsen.

"In terms of food-related riots, the worst is unfortunately possibly in front of us," Reuters quoted him as saying. "Hundreds of thousands of people are going to be affected."

[Endret 15.04.08 17:13 av OldNick]
[Endret 19.04.08 14:20 av OldNick]
05.05.2008 10:16

Race to algae-based biodiesel heats up

Posted by Martin LaMonica, www.news.com
May 2, 2008

Can the lowly algae ease a growing food-versus-fuel debate?

A growing number of start-ups are betting against the dominant biofuel crops--corn and soy--and looking to sidestep the backlash against biofuels, which are being blamed in part for higher food prices and deforestation around the world.

Bioreactors used to grow algae for use as fuel and animal feed. (Credit: PetroAlgae)

Melbourne, Fla.-based PetroAlgae says that it hopes to test a commercial system as early as next year.

The company licensed strains of freshwater algae bred by Arizona State University and is developing the bioreactors and harvesting methods to grow the algae at large scale, said Fred Tennant, PetroAlgae's vice president of business development.

The algae harvested from open-pond farms can be converted to oil that can be refined into biodiesel. The remaining material can be sold as high-protein animal feed, Tennant said.

Because algae needs a source of carbon dioxide to grow, PetroAlgae is seeking to set up joint ventures with electric utilities looking to reduce their carbon emissions.

"The laws that are being debated right now will change a power company's life. They will have to have a lot more renewable energy and get rid of CO2," Tennant said. "Any power company in the world will be happy to pay us to take their CO2 away."

There are several other companies pursuing a similar path to PetroAlgae.

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En artikkel om Brazils muligheter og problemer med etanol-produksjon og eksport.

Brazil produserte nesten 6 mrd. gallon EtOH ifjor (= ca. 14.3 mill fat eller 390k f/d).

Brazil aims to provide efficiently produced ethanol, but has few takers

May 04, 2008

The ethanol giants of southeastern Brazil have transformed how 185 million residents of this South American nation power their cars and trucks. Now, they say they're ready to start the same ethanol revolution in the rest of the world, if only the world will let them.

That, however, is where Brazil's ethanol leaders are hitting problems. They already churn out what many consider to be the world's cheapest and most efficient mass-produced biofuel and say they can export billions of gallons more.

Yet the rest of the world doesn't seem to want what the Brazilians have. In the United States, a 54 cent-per-gallon tax blocks most Brazilian ethanol from reaching U.S. consumers. Similar tariffs also block access to Europe, China and other major energy markets.

Getting rid of such tariffs, Brazilian producers argue, would give the world what it needs _ cheap, clean and environmentally friendly alternative fuel. Ending the trade barriers also would ignite Brazil's ethanol industry and turn the country into a major biofuel exporter, said Jose Goldemberg, one of the founders of Brazil's national ethanol program.

Instead, the United States continues to block Brazilian ethanol while boosting production of ethanol made from corn, which produces much less ethanol per acre than sugar does, cuts into food supplies and does little to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Other countries also have avoided Brazilian ethanol, instead experimenting with wheat, rapeseed and other crops that also produce less biofuel per acre.

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Timminco - fjorårets vinner på Toronto-børsen.

Independent study confirms technology: Timminco

ANDY HOFFMAN, Globe and Mail
May 8, 2008

Timminco Ltd., which has faced questions about the viability of its process to produce solar-grade silicon, says an independent report it commissioned found its method has the potential to transform the silicon industry.

Germany's Photon Consulting was given access to Timminco's solar grade silicon production facility in Becancour, Que., during a one-day visit in early May.

In a news release, Timminco said Photon officials were given full access to the plant and information relating to accounting procedures, research and development efforts, intellectual property and technical processes to prepare the report.

“Operations and processes have potential for massive growth and, possibly, for reshaping the silicon industry,” Michael Rogol, Photon's managing director said in a statement.

“The equipment is very impressive, very low-costs, beyond poly-scale,” he said.

Skeptics and critics have said that Timminco has provided little evidence that its so-called “breakthrough” technology can produce large amounts of solar-grade silicon at the company's ambitious cost estimates which are lower than rival solar-silicon makers.

Timminco's shares, which were the top performer on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, have been on a roller coaster in recent weeks as concerns have been raised about the company.

Toronto-based Timminco is scheduled to release its first-quarter financial report Thursday. The company has a conference call scheduled for later in the afternoon.

A summary of the Photon report will be released next week, Timminco said. It has another conference call scheduled for May 15.

The company's shares were halted before the announcement. Once they resumed trading, they were up 97 cents to $24.67 on the TSX.

[Endret 06.05.08 01:24 av OldNick]
[Endret 08.05.08 22:27 av OldNick]
16.05.2008 21:23

Renault seen investing up to $1 bln in electric car

By Tova Cohen (Reuters)
May 11, 2008

TEL AVIV - The head of an Israeli-backed electric car project estimated on Sunday that its partner, the Renault-Nissan alliance, would likely invest $500 million to $1 billion in the swappable-battery electric cars.

"This is the cost for a three-year car programme," Shai Agassi, the founder and chief executive of California-based Project Better Place, said on the sidelines of a news conference to introduce the electric car prototype.

Renault and Nissan signed a deal with Better Place in January to begin mass producing electric cars as a part of a project to develop alternative energy sources and slash oil dependency.

Better Place will build the first electric grids in Israel and Denmark, with initial deployment slated for 2010.

Denmark's DONG Energy recently signed a letter of intent with Better Place to introduce the electric cars to the Scandinavian country, where the batteries will be charged using wind power.

DONG Energy is the world's largest offshore wind power operator, with several wind farms in Denmark and Britain.

Agassi said that up to 20 percent of Denmark's electricity production comes from wind but that 7 percent was not being used -- enough to power every car in Scandinavia.

A few dozen cars will be available in Israel later in 2008, mainly for demonstration.

In Israel, much of the electricity is generated using fossil fuels such as coal, though natural gas is now being introduced. But Agassi said the plan was to use solar energy generated in Israel's Negev Desert to power the batteries.

"If all of Israel traveled by electric cars, you would need to add 6 percent of electricty production," Agassi said.

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Kostnadene og subsidier for alternativ energi i USA - fra Wall Street Journal.

Liten trøst å finne her for gjeldtyngede, amerikanske energiforbrukere....


Wind ($23.37) v. Gas (25 Cents)

May 12, 2008; Page A14 (WSJ Opinion)

Congress seems ready to spend billions on a new "Manhattan Project" for green energy, or at least the political class really, really likes talking about one. But maybe we should look at what our energy subsidy dollars are buying now.

Some clarity comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent federal agency that tried to quantify government spending on energy production in 2007. The agency reports that the total taxpayer bill was $16.6 billion in direct subsidies, tax breaks, loan guarantees and the like. That's double in real dollars from eight years earlier, as you'd expect given all the money Congress is throwing at "renewables." Even more subsidies are set to pass this year.

An even better way to tell the story is by how much taxpayer money is dispensed per unit of energy, so the costs are standardized. For electricity generation, the EIA concludes that solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and "clean coal" $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59.

The wind and solar lobbies are currently moaning that they don't get their fair share of the subsidy pie. They also argue that subsidies per unit of energy are always higher at an early stage of development, before innovation makes large-scale production possible. But wind and solar have been on the subsidy take for years, and they still account for less than 1% of total net electricity generation. Would it make any difference if the federal subsidy for wind were $50 per megawatt hour, or even $100? Almost certainly not without a technological breakthrough.

By contrast, nuclear power provides 20% of U.S. base electricity production, yet it is subsidized about 15 times less than wind. We prefer an energy policy that lets markets determine which energy source dominates. But if you believe in subsidies, then nuclear power gets a lot more power for the buck than other "alternatives."

The same study also looked at federal subsidies for non-electrical energy production, such as for fuel. It found that ethanol and biofuels receive $5.72 per British thermal unit of energy produced. That compares to $2.82 for solar and $1.35 for refined coal, but only three cents per BTU for natural gas and other petroleum liquids.

All of this shows that there is a reason fossil fuels continue to dominate American energy production: They are extremely cost-effective. That's a reality to keep in mind the next time you hear a politician talk about creating millions of "green jobs." Those jobs won't come cheap, and you'll be paying for them.

[Endret 19.05.08 07:28 av OldNick]
[Endret 19.05.08 07:33 av OldNick]
19.05.2008 22:37

Nissan says moving into higher gear on electric cars

May 19, 2008

Nissan Motor Co., playing catch-up in fuel-efficient motoring, said Monday that it and NEC Corp. will invest 115 million dollars to mass produce new batteries for electric, hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles.

The push into advanced lithium-ion batteries comes as Japanese automakers invest in an array of new environmentally friendly car technologies amid soaring prices at the pump.

Nissan has been slower than rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. to embrace petrol-electric hybrids, but it aims to become the industry leader in electric vehicles.

"Our vision for a more sustainable future is clear," said Nissan's executive vice president Carlos Tavares. "Nissan firmly believes the ultimate solution for sustainable mobility lies in zero emission."

"Electric vehicles will be a key product breakthrough our industry can deliver," he told reporters, adding that Nissan was ready to supply the batteries to any company interested in the technology.

The venture, Automotive Energy Supply Corp. (AESC), which was set up last year, plans to build its first battery production line at a Nissan facility in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo.

Owned 51 percent by Nissan and 49 percent by the NEC group, it will invest 12 billion yen (115 million dollars) over three years in the aim of producing 65,000 lithium-ion batteries per year by 2009.

NEC Tokin will invest an additional 11 billion yen to build a new assembly line at one of NEC's facilities in Kanagawa Prefecture to produce components for the batteries, which will be installed next year in forklifts in Japan.

Nissan also aims to use the batteries in an electric vehicle to be launched in the United States and Japan in 2010, along with the first hybrid using its own technology.

It aims to mass-market electric vehicles to consumers globally in 2012.

The dream of an electric car, which has been around since the time of Thomas Edison, has so far failed to break into the mainstream because of limited battery life that makes such vehicles impractical for most purposes.

Lithium-ion batteries are smaller and lighter than the nickel-metal hydride batteries now used in hybrid and electric cars.

But automakers have been cautious about their use following problems with lithium-ion batteries for laptop computers catching fire.

"Because this is for automotive applications, safety is imperative," said AESC president Masahiko Otsuka.

"We have a lot of tests regarding safety. We have cleared all of them," he said.

NEC executive vice president Konosuke Kashima said his company -- which has been researching next-generation lithium-ion batteries since the early 1990s for mobile telephones -- sees good growth prospects for the technology.

"Due to emissions control and rising oil prices, the market (for the batteries) is expected to increase to one million units in 2010 and three million in 2020," he said.

Nissan also said that it would conduct a feasibility study with Kanagawa authorities on an electric vehicle project in the prefecture from 2010 that could include an electricity-charging network and tax incentives for users.

Big Oil Steps Into Brazilian Ethanol

by Andrew K. Burger, International Correspondent
May 20, 2008

As the debate and controversy over ethanol production and its effects on global food supply and prices rages on, just last month BP announced its first foray -- and the largest to date by a multinational oil company -- into Brazil's sugar cane-based ethanol industry.

The company announced that it will purchase a 50% stake in Tropical BioEnergia SA, a joint venture established by Brazil's second-largest sugar cane and ethanol producer, Santelisa Vale and Maeda Group, one of the world's largest cotton producers. The joint venture (JV) is building a 435 million liter per year (US 115 million gallon/year) ethanol refinery in Edeia, a town in Brazil's Goias State, and planning a second.

BP plans to make an initial investment of some $100 million reais (US $59.8 million) in return for its 50% equity stake, assuming all required approvals are obtained, and provide additional funding that will bring the total to approximately R $1.66 billion (US $1 billion).

Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and his administration have been busy countering claims that growing sugar cane to produce ethanol is a big factor in the recent surge in food prices around the world, as well as being a net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions as a result of forest clearing. Addressing the media recently he dismissed such claims as an "absurd distortion."

BP's environmental record and contention that it is moving "Beyond Petroleum" has also come under attack of late. Its plans to invest some US $5.5 billion over 15 years with Husky Oil in an oil sands project in Alberta wipes out any credit the company can claim in terms of advancing efforts to promote renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one critic maintained.

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Relativt lang artikkel fra The Economist om alternativ energi.

The power and the glory

Jun 19, 2008
From The Economist print edition

The next technology boom may well be based on alternative energy, says Geoffrey Carr. But which sort to back?

[Endret 23.05.08 01:01 av OldNick]
[Endret 25.06.08 19:38 av OldNick]
26.06.2008 17:36

Oil-Dependent Japan Tries Turning Rice Into Fuel

By YUKA HAYASHI, online.wsj.com
June 25, 2008; Page A10

NIIGATA, Japan -- For decades, Yasuji Tsukada has meticulously tended his terraced rice paddies to grow top-quality rice for Japan's demanding consumers.

Now the 60-year-old farmer faces a new challenge: Grow a new type of rice but spend as little money and labor as possible and ignore its taste and appearance.

Japanese farmer Yasuji Tsukada and his crop of Hokuriku 193 rice -- a high-yielding breed he's growing for an experiment in ethanol production. Yuka Hayashi/WSJ

Mr. Tsukada is among the 360 farmers in this renowned rice-growing region in central Japan who are on the forefront of an effort to develop a new type of biofuel. A group of Japanese farmer cooperatives, with some government funding, started a project last year to turn rice into ethanol, a fuel that can be mixed with gasoline to power automobiles. The cooperatives have asked farmers such as Mr. Tsukada to start growing cheap, high-yielding rice to be processed at what could be the world's first rice-ethanol plant, to open early next year. The group hopes the experimental factory -- half of whose cost is to be paid for by the government -- will help it determine if rice ethanol is technically and financially feasible.

On the northern island of Hokkaido, Oenon Holdings Inc., an alcoholic-beverage maker that started out as a sake brewery, is building another rice-ethanol plant, also with government assistance. The technology needed to turn rice into ethanol -- also know as grain alcohol -- is very similar to that used to make sake. An Oenon spokesman said the company wants to see over the next five years whether the project will be profitable.

For now, the cost of growing rice is too high to make rice ethanol commercially profitable for farmers, unless the government increases subsidies.

Oil accounts for 44% of Japan's total energy needs, and nearly all of its oil is imported. With oil prices rising, the country is eager to diversify its sources of energy.

While the country imports most of its raw materials and food, it is self-sufficient in rice production, and even has a surplus. A change in the Japanese diet has significantly reduced rice consumption over the past decades, but government subsidies and farmers' persistence have kept rice farming popular. Warehouses are brimming with rice and the countryside is dotted with rice paddies left fallow or converted temporarily to other crops to prevent overproduction.

"We have the land, people and technology to make this happen in Japan," says Shigenori Morita, a professor of agriculture at the University of Tokyo. He estimates Japan could make up to one million kiloliters (264 million gallons) of rice-based ethanol annually -- the equivalent of 1.7% of its gasoline consumption -- by planting crops in idled rice fields. The initial production will be tiny; the new ethanol plant in Niigata will make just 1,000 kiloliters of ethanol a year. The output will be mixed with gasoline and sold at local farmer cooperatives' pumps.

Backers of the experiment say large-scale Japanese rice-for-fuel production won't push up prices, as has been seen elsewhere in the diversion of corn and sugarcane for ethanol production.

As global biofuel output increases -- rising annually by the equivalent of roughly 300,000 barrels per day of oil -- researchers are looking to develop biofuels that use nonfood crops, such as switchgrass and jatropha, to avoid further driving up food prices. But because Japanese rice is expensive -- a result of high production costs and government price controls -- little is exported, and the market is largely self-contained.

Prof. Morita says biofuel rice would contribute to the environment and food safety in Japan by adding greenery to the rural landscape and helping keep paddies in good condition for possible future reconversion to food-rice growth.

But the same things that shape the Japanese rice market -- notably high costs and inefficiencies -- could pose problems for large-scale rice-ethanol production. Most farms are small, family-run operations with just a few hectares of land. (A hectare is 2.47 acres.) And many rice paddies are divided into small lots or laid out in terraces on the sides of mountains, making automation difficult.

Nanosolar Achieves 1GW CIGS Deposition Throughput

June 18, 2008

(Nanowerk News) Nanosolar reports a major milestone in solar technology: The solar industry’s first 1GW production tool.

Most production tools in the solar industry tend to have 10-30MW in annual production capacity. How is it possible to have a single tool with Gigawatt throughput?

This feat is fundamentally enabled through the proprietary nanoparticle ink Nanosolar has developed. It allows the company to deliver efficient solar cells (presently up to more than 14%) that are simply printed.

Printing is a simple, fast, and robust coating process that in particular eliminates the need for expensive high-vacuum chambers and the kinds of high-vacuum based deposition techniques from industries where there’s a lot more $/sqm available for competitive manufacturing cost.

Nanosolar's 1GW CIGS coater cost $1.65 million. At the 100 feet-per-minute speed shown in the video, that’s an astonishing two orders of magnitude more capital efficient than a high-vacuum process: a twenty times slower high-vacuum tool would have cost about ten times as much per tool.

The same coating technique works in principle for speeds up to 2000 feet-per-minute too. Interestingly, Nanosolar found that the faster the speed, the better the coating.

[Endret 26.06.08 21:37 av OldNick]
29.06.2008 15:57

The Future of U.S. Ethanol Production: Where Do We Go from Here?

by Jennifer Runyon, Managing Editor, Tennessee, United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com]
June 19, 2008

If there was one clear message that came out of the 24th annual Fuel Ethanol Workshop (FEW) held in Nashville, Tennessee this week, it was that despite all the negativity that has been thrown at ethanol, the industry will keep moving forward. Fast.

"It doesn't make sense to me, our alternative is to stay addicted to oil, to stay where we can't produce our own fuel as a country, what we need to do is something like putting a man on the moon or a Manhattan project where we are simply trying to figure out how this country can become energy-independent in the next 15 to 20 years."

-- Wes Bolsen, Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Business Development, Coskata

"We will survive," were the only words delivered by Ron Fagen, President of Fagen Inc. on Monday evening at the ribbon-cutting ceremony that opened the expo hall at the event.

Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) started the workshop with a keynote that served as a pep talk for the industry. He detailed ethanol's recent roller coaster ride from the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) to the smear campaign waged, said Dinneen, by the oil and gas industry.

Moving forward quickly can certainly describe Poet Energy. At FEW, the EPA awarded the company its Energy Star Combined Heat and Power (CHP) award for Poet's plant in Ashton, Iowa that now uses CHP to generate 7.2 megawatts of electricity, according to Nathan Schock, public relations director. "We are constantly looking to push the bounds of efficiency to make this product, using less water, less energy and increasing our yield so that we get more fuel per acre," he said.

The company is also working on cellulosic ethanol production in a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). That initiative is using corncobs as a feedstock. With plans to construct an integrated commercial-scale biorefinery to produce 100 million gallons per year (MGY) of corn-ethanol and 25 MGY of cellulosic ethanol, the company expects operations to begin in 2011.

Speaking loud and clear about the potential to produce cellulosic ethanol right now with production costs of less than US $1.00 per gallon was Wes Bolsen, chief marketing officer and vice president of business development for Coskata.

"We're ready to go today," he said. The company uses a syngas to ethanol process, converting, Bolsen said, virtually any feedstock, to syngas via a plasma gasifier and then using proprietary microorganisms and bioreactor designs to convert that gas to ethanol.

"That's the great flexibility, Coskata can use trash, tires, plastic bottles, diapers, it really doesn't matter because all we're doing is getting the carbon, we really just need those carbon atoms, and then the biological process reassembles the carbon atoms into fuel," he said.

Bolsen envisions ethanol plants breaking out of the corn belt and setting up in Texas, California, Florida and outside of New York city. The process is able to use any feedstock and therefore "tires and trash, construction and demolition waste, those things are wonderful sources of carbon," he said.

Right now, the company is building a demonstation plant in Madison, Pennsylvania. Bolsen said that since it takes about 2.5 years to design, build, and start up a plant, if all goes according to plan, "We're looking at late 2010, early 2011 before the consumer will actually see [Coskata's cellulosic] ethanol on the market."

Verenium is another cellulosic ethanol producer moving closer and closer to commercialization. The company has set up a pilot plant in Louisiana that uses bagasse as a feedstock. "We're in that exciting time where we're actually now able to start the process of running it at a variable basis, as opposed to running it in beakers, we're now actually running it at demonstration scale," said Ken Barrett, director of specialty enzymes business development.

Recognizing that bagasse is not in abundant supply, the company is producing energy cane, sugar cane grown exclusively for ethanol use. It has less sugar content and grows more mass per acre said Barrett. "Energy cane is one of our first commercial generation feedstocks and wood won't be far behind," he said.

Of course there are still barriers standing in the way of commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol production. Vonnie Estes, new venture development manager of biofuels at DuPont Applied Biosciences pointed out some of them in her presentation, "Economically Viable Conversion of Cellulose to Ethanol." She indicated that the government should be investing more money "on the cultivation, harvest, transport and storage of the feedstock," pointing out that without more investment or incentives in these areas growers will not be willing to take the risk and start growing the necessary feedstocks.

She also said that DuPont, together with its partner Genencor, a division of Danisco, has invested US $140 million into the creation of a pilot cellulosic ethanol facility that, like Poets, uses corncobs as a feedstock and will be completed in 2009. Estes said that the location of the pilot facility will be announced within the next month.

[Endret 29.06.08 15:57 av OldNick]
29.06.2008 15:58


Public Perception of Ethanol

In the short term, though, it appears that the industry is going to have to launch some kind of counter attack to help consumers understand that ethanol is not a bad word. Apart from reminding listeners about the facts — that corn accounts for only a very small percentage of food costs, that the growing demand for food in places like China and India, where the many people are eating more meat, has also contributed to the high cost of food, that the rising cost of oil is a major contributor — RFA's Dinneen also urged all attendees to write editorials and submit them to their local papers to counteract the negativity.

Poet, although it has no concrete plans to for a consumer education campaign feels that the facts are on ethanol's side. "We want to educate and remind the public why they were so excited about this thing in the first place," said Poet's Nathan Schock. "Because our industry brings some tremendous benefits to this country, from reducing green house gas emissions, increasing domestic fuel supply and revitalizing rural America, those messages haven't changed."

Manufacturer of efficiency software for ethanol plants, GE Fanuc, is also more focused on its business than a public education campaign. "We're trying to educate manufacturers and help them understand how to run their factories better," said Brandon Henning, global industry manager for biofuels, "but if you look at the overall Ecomagination story that GE has talked about, it wouldn't be out of scope for them to put that into the Ecomagination story as well."

Coskata's Bolsen would like to see a concerted education campaign around next-generation ethanol.

"It doesn't make sense to me, our alternative is to stay addicted to oil, to stay where we can't produce our own fuel as a country, what we need to do is something like putting a man on the moon or a Manhattan project where we are simply trying to figure out how this country can become energy-independent in the next 15 to 20 years," he said.

Brand strategist, Tim Kubanista of Elements thinks that the messages about ethanol are just not getting out and the industry might be better off if it banded together to create one cohesive message. "You've got to ignore the others, set your vision, establish what your communications strategy is and stick to it," he said.

In the end, it's likely that the facts about ethanol will prevail and the market will ultimately decide to support it. "If ethanol can be produced for a dollar a gallon, and you can get it to the pump for US $2 or $2.50, [and] if gasoline's at US $5.00 a gallon, the consumer will demand that their vehicle is flex fuel and they will demand that their fuel pump carries ethanol," said Coskata's Wes Bolsen.

He said, "We're at the brink, we're at the start of something that I hope is unstoppable."

Men situasjonen for USA's ethanol-industri er kanskje nokså mørk etter de siste hoppene i mais-prisen (frykt for redusert høst p.g.a. alt regnet og oversvømmelsene som har skjedd).

US biofuel plants are going bankrupt

June 28, 2008 (Gulf Times)

NEW YORK: Soaring corn and soy prices on top of rising construction costs and tight credit markets have pushed about a dozen US biofuel plants to file for bankruptcy protection, experts said.

Prices for corn, the feedstock for most US ethanol plants, hit fresh records above $8 per bushel this week as floods this month in the Midwest have caused billions of dollars of crop damage.

“Corn prices are making the feasibility of ethanol plants every day more and more questionable,” said Alex Moglia, president of Moglia Advisors in suburban Chicago, which helps biofuel companies restructure. Meanwhile prices for soy oil, the feedstock for most biodiesel plants, have been been high on rising global demand for months, making life miserable for most producers. The miserable profit margins have pushed many makers of the alternative motor fuel to run plants at only about half of their capacity.

Moglia said about 12 small to midsize biodiesel and ethanol plants have declared bankruptcy in recent months. Renova Energy, a company that owns a partially built 20mn-gallons-per year ethanol plant in Idaho, was the latest to declare bankruptcy last week. Kansas-based Ethanex Energy Inc declared bankruptcy in March. “There will be more to follow,” said Moglia. Some plants are restructuring their debt and taking steps to manage risks, but many others are not, he said.

US ethanol plants are still opening but plans for the opening of plants through 2009 are being increasingly delayed or scrapped.

Besides the high feedstock prices, the fact that prices for the alternative fuel have not kept up with surging gasoline prices also hurts distillers.

The giant oil industry, which is required by renewable-and clean-fuel mandates to mix the blendstock into gasoline, has done its best to buy ethanol at low prices. Ethanol supplies have been glutted in the Midwest as the industry works to ease transportation to the coasts, another factor keeping a lid on ethanol prices.

The discount to gasoline, construction costs and tight credit markets mean “we are likely to see more plant delays and more ethanol producers filing for bankruptcy protection soon,” Credit Suisse said in a research note this week.

[Endret 29.06.08 20:51 av OldNick]
30.06.2008 19:01

A revolution on the horizon: 7,000 more wind turbines

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, Independent.co.uk
June 27, 2008

In the next 12 years, 7,000 wind turbines will spring up across the hills and around the coasts of Britain, in a £60bn renewable energy programme outlined by Gordon Brown.

They will be the highly visible symbols of what the Prime Minister called "the most drastic change in our energy policy since the advent of nuclear power" – a shift to producing at least a third of UK electricity from carbon-free renewable sources, compared to under 5 per cent today.

The aim, set out in a consultation document that will lead to a formal new strategy, is to cut down the greenhouse gas emissions from conventional power stations that are causing climate change, reduce Britain's reliance on foreign energy supplies, and meet the demanding climate target agreed by EU leaders last year, of providing 20 per cent of Europe's total energy use from renewable sources by 2020.

Britain's share of this works out at a 15 per cent renewable energy target, split between electricity, heating and transport, with electricity bearing the lion's share: between 30 and 35 per cent of UK power will need to be renewable by the target date, compared with 4.5 per cent today.

The investment programme and timetable needed to achieve this in a mere 12 years are demanding, and comment was split yesterday between environmentalists and renewable energy suppliers, who were delighted, and more cautious commentators who questioned whether such a technical undertaking was possible in the time scale.

In numbers

60,000,000,000 Cost in pounds of Gordon Brown's renewable energy plan

160,000 Number of jobs the Government claims will be created

Blueprint for the future

* Britain will source 15 per cent of energy use from renewables by 2020 (compared to 1.5 per cent today).

* Renewably-sourced electricity will rise to about 35 per cent (4.5 per cent today).

* Heat produced by biomass burning, solar power and heat pumps will be 14 per cent of demand (0.6 per cent today).

* Renewable transport fuels – biofuels – may play a part but must be sustainable.
04.07.2008 08:58


"Without the increase in biofuels, global wheat and maize stocks would not have declined appreciably and price increases due to other factors would have been moderate," says the report. The basket of food prices examined in the study rose by 140% between 2002 and this February. The report estimates that higher energy and fertiliser prices accounted for an increase of only 15%, while biofuels have been responsible for a 75% jump over that period.

It argues that production of biofuels has distorted food markets in three main ways. First, it has diverted grain away from food for fuel, with over a third of US corn now used to produce ethanol and about half of vegetable oils in the EU going towards the production of biodiesel. Second, farmers have been encouraged to set land aside for biofuel production. Third, it has sparked financial speculation in grains, driving prices up higher.

Other reviews of the food crisis looked at it over a much longer period, or have not linked these three factors, and so arrived at smaller estimates of the impact from biofuels. But the report author, Don Mitchell, is a senior economist at the Bank and has done a detailed, month-by-month analysis of the surge in food prices, which allows much closer examination of the link between biofuels and food supply.

The report points out biofuels derived from sugarcane, which Brazil specializes in, have not had such a dramatic impact.

Supporters of biofuels argue that they are a greener alternative to relying on oil and other fossil fuels, but even that claim has been disputed by some experts, who argue that it does not apply to US production of ethanol from plants.

"It is clear that some biofuels have huge impacts on food prices," said Dr David King, the government's former chief scientific adviser, last night. "All we are doing by supporting these is subsidising higher food prices, while doing nothing to tackle climate change."

Bygger USAs største solkraftverk

Solenergiaksjene steg markert på Nasdaq-børsen torsdag etter at SunPower Corp har fått oppdraget med å bygge det hittil største solcellekraftverket i USA

Einar Takla, DN.no
11 juli, 2008

Florida Power & Light Company har bestilt et 25 megawatts kraftverk som skal lokaliseres i DeSoto County, melder Reuters torsdag. Etter planen skal solkraftverket stå klart i 2009.

Krafverket skal bruke SunPowers teknologi som får modulene til å følge solens ferd over himmelen.

FPL offentliggjorde i juni planer om å bygge flere solkraftverk som til sammen skal ha en kapasitet på 110 megawatt.

Det er ikke kjent hvor mye kontrakten er verdt for SunPower, men ifølge Reuters skal FPL betale totalt 688 millioner dollar for alle sine solkraftverk.

SunPower har også fått oppdraget med å bygge et 10 megawatts solkraftverk på Kennedy Space Center. Dette kraftverket skal etter planen stå ferdig i 2010.

Mubadala eyes renewable energy companies in Germany - CEO

07.23.08 (Thomson Financial)

FRANKFURT - Mubadala Development Co. is in talks to buy renewable energy companies in Germany, Handelsblatt reported, citing chief executive Kahldoon al Mubarak.

'We are looking for opportunities to invest in Germany,' he told the newspaper.

Abu Dhabi, UAE-based Mubadala yesterday signed a multi-billion dollar global partnership with General Electric Co. (GE.N)

Mubadala's unit Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. plans to invest 140 million euros to build a solar cell factory in the German state of Thuringia, the state's Economy Minister Juergen Reinholz said earlier this year.

[Endret 11.07.08 06:02 av OldNick]
[Endret 24.07.08 21:50 av OldNick]
24.07.2008 22:51

Alt er vel, Sahara-sol skal redde EU ut av energikrisen som ventes...

Lurer på hva de Nord-Afrikanske landene vil kreve i lisens for sol-farmene ?

£37bn plan to power EU with the Saharan sun

Alok Jha, The Guardian,
July 23 2008

Vast farms of solar panels in the Sahara could provide clean electricity for the whole of Europe, according to EU scientists working on a plan to pool the region's renewable energy.

Harnessing the power of the desert sun is at the centre of an ambitious scheme to build a €45bn (£35.7bn) European supergrid that would allow countries across the continent to share electricity from abundant green sources such as wind energy in the UK and Denmark, and geothermal energy from Iceland and Italy.

The idea is gaining political support in Europe, with Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, recently backing the north African solar plan.

Because the sunlight is more intense, solar photovoltaic panels in north Africa could generate up to three times the electricity compared with similar panels in northern Europe.

Arnulf Jaeger-Walden of the European commission's Institute for Energy explained how electricity produced in solar farms in Africa, each generating around 50-200 megawatts of power, could be fed thousands of miles to European countries. The proposed grid would use high-voltage direct current (DC) transmission lines, which lose less energy over distance than conventional alternating current (AC) lines.

The idea of developing solar farms in the Mediterranean region and north Africa was given a boost by Sarkozy earlier this month when he highlighted solar farms in north Africa as central to the work of his newly formed Mediterranean Union.

Depending on the size of the grid, building the necessary high-voltage lines across Europe could cost up to €1bn a year every year till 2050, but Jaeger-Walden pointed out that the figure was small when compared to a recent prediction by the International Energy Agency that the world needs to invest more than $45tn (£22.5tn) in energy systems over the next 30 years.

Energy in China: 'We call it the Three Gorges of the sky. The dam there taps water, we tap wind'

Wind energy output is trumping targets, and competition between operators is fierce, but coal still reigns supreme

Jonathan Watts in Dabancheng, The Guardian
July 25, 2008

The Dabancheng wind farm in China's Xinjiang province. Photograph: Bob Sacha/Corbis

In the vast natural wind tunnel that is Dabancheng, the gales that roar between the snow-capped mountain ridges get so strong that trains have been gusted off railway tracks and lorries overturned.

Such is the ferocity of the elements that police sometimes have to stop the traffic that passes through this arid, six-mile-wide plain on what was once part of the Silk Road. That used to be bad for business in Xinjiang, the most westerly region of China, which formerly depended on the trade route between central Asia and the densely populated cities in the far east.

Today, however, the gales themselves have become big business in Dabancheng. The area is home to one of Asia's biggest wind farms and a pioneer in a Chinese industry that is forecast to lead the world by the end of next year.

From the road, 118 giant turbines are visible miles before you reach them. Tourists stop for pictures, hair blowing as they pose near the whirring towers.

It is a spectacular sight: fields of spinning blades harvesting energy and transforming it into electricity for the nearby city of Urumqi. A few years ago, this was the only wind farm of such a size in China. But now, bigger facilities have been built or are under construction in Gansu, Inner Mongolia and Jiangsu. Since 2005, the country's wind generation capacity has increased by more than 100% a year. The government's renewable energy policy aims to procure 15% of the country's energy from non-carbon sources by 2020, twice the proportion of 2005.

Wind power has taken off faster than the government planned. This year, policymakers had to double their wind power prediction for 2010, having reached the old goal of 5 gigawatts three years ahead of schedule. On current trends, it will almost definitely have to be doubled again.

Turning point

"China is witnessing the start of a golden age of wind power development, and the magnitude of growth has caught even policymakers off guard," wrote Junfeng Li, secretary general of the China Renewable Energy Industries Association, in a paper last month. "It is widely believed that wind power will be able to compete with coal generation by as early as 2015. That will be the turning point in China, which by then will be the world's largest energy consumer."

China's environmental woes are well documented. Less understood is how the country is attempting to deal with those problems, particularly through the recent, spectacular growth of the renewable energy market.

Strong state policies, rising coal prices and improved technology have prompted a surge of investment into green energy, particularly wind power.

"China's wind energy market is unrecognisable from two years ago, It is huge, huge huge. But it is not realised yet in the outside world," said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council. He said China might have already overtaken the US as the planet's biggest turbine manufacturer. Given the ambitious plans for wind farms, it could also install the most new generating capacity by 2010.

[Endret 29.07.08 23:31 av OldNick]
[Endret 29.07.08 23:31 av OldNick]
29.07.2008 23:32


"A few years ago wind energy was boutique, something to show off to foreigners to prove how green they are but now it is a very serious part of their energy policy," Sawyer said.

"They can make things happen so quickly in China compared to the west. When they make up their minds, it is incredible how fast things happen."

At the end of last year, China had 6 gigawatts of installed wind power generating capacity, covering 202 projects. Another 445 sites have been targeted for development in the near future - according to data from Azure International, a consultancy in Beijing.

Les mer her

Pune Billionaire Chases GE With Wind Turning on Cracked Blades

By Abhay Singh (Bloomberg)
July 25, 2008

The lights snap off in the five-story, gray-concrete building in Pune, India, where Suzlon Energy Ltd. -- the fastest growing of the world's top five wind turbine makers -- has its headquarters. After 30 seconds of darkness, the fluorescent bulbs flicker on as backup generators kick in.

"For us, it's routine," says Tulsi Tanti, Suzlon's billionaire founder. "You have to understand the country's limitation and, within that, develop your business."

Tanti, 50, made his fortune in a decade by supplying wind power to Indian companies struggling with blackouts and soaring energy costs. The entrepreneur got his start in 1993, when he bought two turbines to reduce the electricity bills at his textile company in the western state of Gujarat.

Tanti's employees dug the foundations, installed the towers and connected the turbines to India's overburdened power grid -- taking advantage of government incentives that let the firm swap the wind power it generated for the electricity it used.

"Within two years, we understood the economics and dynamics of the industry and realized wind is a good source," Tanti says. "Why not focus on that industry?"

Suzlon Energy started in 1995 and now ranks as the No. 5 turbine maker worldwide. These are heady days for wind power producers. Companies can't keep pace with demand. With oil soaring above $147 a barrel in July and concern mounting about global warming, governments are enacting mandates to promote the use of alternatives like solar and wind.

Last year, utilities and other companies installed a record 20,000 megawatts of wind power, and the renewable energy source will make up 3 percent of the world's electricity production in 2012, up from 1 percent in 2007, according to the Brussels-based industry group Global Wind Energy Council.

Suzlon Stumbles

Suzlon began stumbling over its own rapid expansion last year. The company has been hit by management upheaval and the sale of faulty equipment, driving its shares down to 216 rupees yesterday from 387 rupees on Dec. 31, 2007.

The company's rotor blades shipped to customers in the U.S., Europe and Brazil developed cracks, prompting Edison International, California's largest utility owner, to cancel a large order. "Suzlon came out of nowhere," says Daniel McClure, who manages $3.5 billion at I.G. Investment Management Ltd. in Toronto. "They've executed very well under Tanti. The concerns I have for the company are management of their growth."

The company's rapid ascent and recent setbacks present a cautionary tale for investors eager to clamber aboard the alternative energy bandwagon.

Volatile Stocks

"Volatility is high for the entire renewable energy sector, and you get a lot of headline news that can make or break a stock in a single day," says Brian Yerger, a renewable energy analyst at Jesup & Lamont Capital Markets in Wilmington, Delaware.

I.G. Investment sold its more than 7 million Suzlon shares in June following the departure of two of Suzlon's top executives: Chief Executive Officer Andre Horbach and Chief Financial Officer Patrick Krahenbuhl.

Like the entire wind industry, Suzlon is hooked on a growing number of incentives pushed by governments around the globe. In 1997, Massachusetts was the first of 21 U.S. states to begin mandating that utilities buy as much as 20 percent of their power from renewable sources. U.S. wind energy companies also get a 2- cent federal tax credit for each kilowatt-hour of power they produce.

Starting in 2004, Indian states enacted similar mandates as high as 10 percent for utilities, and companies can claim 80 percent depreciation on equipment costs in the first year.

China's Plan

China rolled out a plan last year requiring that 15 percent of the country's energy consumption be met with power from renewable sources by 2020. And in January, the European Union agreed that the region would get 20 percent of its power consumption from carbon- free sources by 2020 compared with about 6 percent in 2005.

To meet these clean energy rules, utilities are mostly buying wind power because it's cheaper than other renewable sources such as solar. Power from turbines costs about 8 cents per kilowatt-hour in the U.S., according to Energy Department data. That compares with 15 cents for solar energy and 4 cents for coal-fueled electricity.

"The main driver for wind energy is regulation coming in place in Europe and North America to obtain a greater amount of energy from clean sources," says Philippe De Weck, who manages the $1 billion Clean Energy Fund, which includes Suzlon shares, at Geneva- based Pictet & Cie. "Solar is still very expensive today. Wind is really left as the only option to fulfill that goal."

Les mer her

[Endret 30.07.08 08:37 av OldNick]
01.08.2008 15:02

'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution

Scientists mimic essence of plants' energy storage system

Anne Trafton, News Office, MIT.edu
July 31, 2008

In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine.

Daniel G. Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT, has developed a simple method to split water molecules and produce oxygen gas, a discovery that paves the way for large-scale use of solar power. Photo/Donna Coveney

Until now, solar power has been a daytime-only energy source, because storing extra solar energy for later use is prohibitively expensive and grossly inefficient. With today's announcement, MIT researchers have hit upon a simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy.

Requiring nothing but abundant, non-toxic natural materials, this discovery could unlock the most potent, carbon-free energy source of all: the sun. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," said MIT's Daniel Nocera, the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy at MIT and senior author of a paper describing the work in the July 31 issue of Science. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

Inspired by the photosynthesis performed by plants, Nocera and Matthew Kanan, a postdoctoral fellow in Nocera's lab, have developed an unprecedented process that will allow the sun's energy to be used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen gases. Later, the oxygen and hydrogen may be recombined inside a fuel cell, creating carbon-free electricity to power your house or your electric car, day or night.

The key component in Nocera and Kanan's new process is a new catalyst that produces oxygen gas from water; another catalyst produces valuable hydrogen gas. The new catalyst consists of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode, placed in water. When electricity -- whether from a photovoltaic cell, a wind turbine or any other source -- runs through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen gas is produced.

Combined with another catalyst, such as platinum, that can produce hydrogen gas from water, the system can duplicate the water splitting reaction that occurs during photosynthesis.

The new catalyst works at room temperature, in neutral pH water, and it's easy to set up, Nocera said. "That's why I know this is going to work. It's so easy to implement," he said.

'Giant leap' for clean energy

Sunlight has the greatest potential of any power source to solve the world's energy problems, said Nocera. In one hour, enough sunlight strikes the Earth to provide the entire planet's energy needs for one year.

James Barber, a leader in the study of photosynthesis who was not involved in this research, called the discovery by Nocera and Kanan a "giant leap" toward generating clean, carbon-free energy on a massive scale.

"This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the future prosperity of humankind," said Barber, the Ernst Chain Professor of Biochemistry at Imperial College London. "The importance of their discovery cannot be overstated since it opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production thus reducing our dependence for fossil fuels and addressing the global climate change problem."

Endret 01.08.2008 15:04 av OldNick
01.08.2008 15:03


'Just the beginning'

Currently available electrolyzers, which split water with electricity and are often used industrially, are not suited for artificial photosynthesis because they are very expensive and require a highly basic (non-benign) environment that has little to do with the conditions under which photosynthesis operates.

More engineering work needs to be done to integrate the new scientific discovery into existing photovoltaic systems, but Nocera said he is confident that such systems will become a reality.

"This is just the beginning," said Nocera, principal investigator for the Solar Revolution Project funded by the Chesonis Family Foundation and co-Director of the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center. "The scientific community is really going to run with this."

Nocera hopes that within 10 years, homeowners will be able to power their homes in daylight through photovoltaic cells, while using excess solar energy to produce hydrogen and oxygen to power their own household fuel cell. Electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a thing of the past.

The project is part of the MIT Energy Initiative, a program designed to help transform the global energy system to meet the needs of the future and to help build a bridge to that future by improving today's energy systems. MITEI Director Ernest Moniz, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physics and Engineering Systems, noted that "this discovery in the Nocera lab demonstrates that moving up the transformation of our energy supply system to one based on renewables will depend heavily on frontier basic science."

The success of the Nocera lab shows the impact of a mixture of funding sources - governments, philanthropy, and industry. This project was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the Chesonis Family Foundation, which gave MIT $10 million this spring to launch the Solar Revolution Project, with a goal to make the large scale deployment of solar energy within 10 years.
01.08.2008 20:13

US Gas Prices Could Weaken In '09 In Face Of Global LNG Surge

7/31/2008 (Dow Jones)

SAN FRANCISCO - U.S. natural gas prices could be in for a fall next year when a raft of new global production is set to enter the market, beefing up already healthy domestic supplies.

Overseas production of gas that's supercooled into liquid form for ocean transport is set to grow by about a third, to more than 11 trillion cubic feet by the end of next year, according to Waterborne Energy Inc., a research firm that tracks the worldwide liquefied natural gas business. The U.S. government sees LNG imports in 2009 surpassing even last year's record high levels.

"There is a huge bubble of LNG about to hit the market," said Steven Johnson, president of Houston-based Waterborne.

This global output surge comes amid a U.S. production boom, inflated by unexpectedly large amounts of so-called unconventional gas from the Haynseville Shale in Louisiana and eastern Texas, and the Barnett Shale in Texas. The output increase comes after nine years of stagnation.

Emboldened by the production windfall, U.S. producers are pressing Congress for help in expanding the market for natural gas, pointing to forecasts that growth in domestic output is expected to outstrip demand this year and next.

U.S. gas production will grow 6.4% this year and 2% next year, in contrast to demand growth of 2% this year and 1% in 2009, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicted. A U.S. market well supplied with domestic gas, backed up by a ready supply of fresh LNG output from overseas, would likely keep prices low.

U.S. natural gas prices, at $9 to $10 a million British thermal units, have fallen about 30% in the last month, although they're still 24% higher than a year ago.

Most liquefied natural gas is consumed in Europe and Asia, where a dearth of domestic supply and storage capacity tends to keep prices as much as 50% to 100% higher than in the U.S. These high prices - prompted in part by the outage of a big nuclear power station in Japan - lured LNG shipments away from the U.S. this year, damping a trend of growing imports. A record 771 billion cubic feet of LNG, enough to heat about 12 million homes, reached the U.S. in 2007. So far this year, LNG imports are down 60%, according to the EIA.

Developments Far From US Shores Color Market

Producers in Qatar, Russia, Indonesia and other countries are expected to boost global LNG production by about 34%, bringing nearly 2.8 trillion cubic feet a year of new natural gas online by the end of 2009, Waterborne said.

Qatar, the top global LNG producer, shares the world's largest single gas field with Iran, and will bring the largest volume of LNG to market.

Qatargas - a partnership of Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM), Total S.A. (TOT), ConocoPhillips (COP), Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) and Mitsui (MITSY) - says it plans to quadruple its LNG production from more than 480 billion cubic feet of gas a year to more than 2 trillion cubic feet. Waterborne estimates Qatargas will bring 374 bcf of new LNG on line by this December and another 374 bcf by the end of next year.

Qatar Petroleum has a separate joint venture with ExxonMobil, called RasGas, that plans to expand its LNG production by about 75%, to more than 1.74 tcf by the end of 2009 - about 748 bcf of new supply.

A firm owned by Nigerian National Petroleum Corp., Shell, Total, and Eni Spa (E) plans to boost its LNG production by 197 bcf this year, while Indonesia's Tangguh gas field is expected to produce about 364 bcf of new LNG by mid-2009. The Tangguh field is being developed by BP PLC (BP), Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. (CEO) and Mitsubishi Corp. (7280.TO), in partnership with the Indonesian government.

In Russia, state-owned gas firm Gazprom OAO (GAZP.RS) is partnering with Shell, Mitsui and Mitsubishi to develop the Sakhalin 2 oil and gas field, w
03.08.2008 22:23

Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study

June 2008

The following is an excerpt from Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study. To read the full report, please download the PDF file by clicking on the link to the left.

The Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study, produced by clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge and green-economy nonprofit Co-op America, provides a comprehensive roadmap for utilities, solar companies, and regulators to reach 10% solar in the U.S. by 2025.

The study finds that significantly scaling solar power in the U.S. will require the active involvement of utilities. The study delivers a to-do list for the three key stakeholders in the nation's solar industry.

Among others, the action items include:

* For utilities: Take advantage of the unique value of solar for peak generation and alleviating grid congestion; implement solar as part of the build-out of the smart grid; and adapt to new market realities with new business models.

* For solar companies: Bring installed solar systems costs to $3 per peak watt or less by 2018; streamline installations; and make solar a truly plug-and-play technology.

* For regulators and policy makers: Pass a long-term extension of investment and production tax credits for solar and other renewables; establish open standards for solar interconnection; and give utilities the ability to "rate-base" solar.

The USA Study also reports that:

* For the first time solar power is beginning to reach cost parity with conventional energy sources. As solar prices decline and the capital and fuel costs for coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants rise, the U.S. will reach a crossover point by around 2015.

* Installed solar PV prices are projected to decline from an average $5.50-$7.00 peak watt (15-32 cents kWh) today to $3.02-$3.82 peak watt (8-18 cents kWh) in 2015 to $1.43-$1.82 peak watt (4-8 cents kWh) by 2025

* Solar power offers a number of advantages over conventional energy sources. Among them, the ability to deliver energy at or near the point of use, zero fuel costs, minimal maintenance requirements and zero carbon-based source emissions.

* The investment to arrive at 10% solar in the U.S. is not small, reaching $450 billion to $560 billion between now and 2025, an average of $26 billion to $33 billion per year. However, given utilities' existing capital costs such an investment is not prohibitive. To put the investment in perspective: Utilities spent an estimated $70 billion on new power plants and transmission and distribution systems in 2007 alone.

In just the past year, a number of utilities and solar companies have announced aggressive programs to deploy large-scale solar power projects, including Southern California Edison's plan to install 250 megawatts of distributed solar PV, Duke Energy's stated goal of investing $100 million in rooftop solar, and Pacific Gas & Electric's announcements to invest in thousands of megawatts of concentrating solar power in California's deserts. While these players are still in the vanguard, a number of other utilities are looking to join them to help bring solar power to scale - and the study shows that solar could become "ubiquitous" as with earlier semiconductor-based revolutions.

The study, written by Pernick and Clean Edge contributing editor Clint Wilder, is based on interviews with more than 30 solar, utility, financial, and policy experts and leverages proprietary Clean Edge data on solar PV market size, cost and pricing history and projections, and other key market factors.

Utility Solar Asessment (USA) Study

Reaching Ten Percent Solar by 2025

June 2008

Full report

13.08.2008 15:17

Tilleggsinfo til post OldNick [7637] ang. forskeren Daniel Nocera's påståtte nye, revolusjonerende system å produsere hydrogengass på.

Her er data om konvensjonell teknologi for å produsere hydrogen (og oksygen) ved vannelektrolyse:

Det ser ut som at Statoil overtok Norsk Hydro Electrolyzer i overtakelsesprosessen av Norsk Hydro's olje- og gassdivisjon i 2007.

They now have this Home page: http://www.electrolysers.com/

Regarding the net electricity consumption to produce H2, we can read a consumption of 4.1-4.3 kWh/Nm3 hydrogen (remark that Nm3 reads "normal cubic meter, @0 °C, 1 atm = 760 mmHg) in a conventional 80 °C, 25% KOH-electrolyte.

Using 4.3 gives: 4.3 [kWh/Nm3] x 22.414 [Nm3/kgmol] / 2 [kg/kgmol] = 48 kWh/kg H2.

(You stated 54 for conventional KOH-cells, and 45 for PEM-cells).
There are of cource other electricity consumption in th eprocess, like fans/compressors for both gases, circulation pumps for electrolyte circulation and cooling media etc.

The thermodynamical data for the chemical reaction is (80 °C):

2 H2O = 2 H2(g) + O2(g)

delta-H = 284 kJ/gmol H2 = 284 / (3600 x 0.002) = 39.4 kWh/kg H2
delta-G = 228 kJ/gmol H2 = 228 / (3600 x 0.002) = 31.7 kWh/kg H2

Energy efficiency, KOH-cells: 39.4/48 = 82%

Deres elektrode teknologi:

Katode (H2): Ni-plettert stål, Ni pålagt med en egenutviklet/ukjent elektropletteringsteknologi
Anode (O2): Stål (kvalitet ukjent).
16.08.2008 17:11

''Den store biodrivstoff-svindelen''

Dette var den opprinnelige tittelen på innlegget til økonomen Marian Radetzki, men arrangørene av geologikonferansen 33ICG ba ham endre den

Arnfinn Christensen, Journalist, fORSKNING.NO

16. august 2008

Budskapet stod likevel ved lag: Dyrking av biodrivstoff i USA og EU er sløsing med penger og skader miljøet, mente Radetzki.

Marian Radetzki, Luleå tekniska universitetIfølge Radetzki er USA og EU verstingene på biodrivstoff-markedet. Her er subsidiene høyest og miljøgevinsten lavest.

EU dyrker raps og USA dyrker mais. Under dyrkingen slippes det ut mer karbondioksid fra fossilt brensel, blant annet fra landbruksmaskiner, enn det som spares ved å bruke biodrivstoffet.

Radetzki viste til at fire av fem undersøkelser i USA gav et slikt negativt resultat for miljøet.

Mer lønnsomt i tropene

Verken raps eller mais inneholder nok energi til at regnskapet balanserer positivt for miljøet. Annerledes er det for sukkerrørene som dyrkes i Brasil. Sukker inneholder mer energi, og Brasil subsidierer langt mindre.

Den tropiske beliggenheten gir rett og slett større energi-uttelling i Brasil enn i tempererte soner som USA og EU.

Men tollmurer i disse landene hindrer at biodrivstoff fra Brasil får større markeder, sa Radetzki.

Sløsing med subsidier

Rapsolje - tungt subsidiert, liten effekt, ifølge Marian Radetzki.Radetzki mente at EU og USA gjødsler dyrkingen av biodrivstoff med subsidier som er hinsides enhver fornuft.

I 2005 subsidierte EU hver liter biodiesel med opp til halvannen dollar. Subsidiene til bioetanol var helt opp mot fem dollar literen, ti ganger høyere enn prisen for en liter vanlig diesel før avgifter.

Det betyr at EU trolig betaler opp til fem dollar literen for et produkt som totalt sett gir større CO2-utslipp enn fossilt drivstoff - og som isteden kunne vært brukt til å mette sultne munner.

Subsidiene er nå, ifølge Radetzki, over halvparten så store som verdens totale u-hjelp. Ifølge hans tall ville pengene gitt fra tre til femti ganger større effekt hvis de ble brukt til fanging og lagring av CO2 fra fossilt drivstoff.

Grønn mafia

Hvorfor fører så myndighetene i EU og USA en slik miljøpolitikk?

Ved å kjøre fram biodrivstoff kan myndighetene ifølge Radetzki tilfredstille både miljølobbyen - "den grønne mafiaen" som han kalte den - og landbrukslobbyen.

Dessuten er satsingen på biodrivstoff en avlat overfor befolkningen, et bevis på at noe tilsynelatende gjøres for å bedre miljøet, mente Radetzki.

Han er klar i sin konklusjon: - Du og jeg blir svindlet.

Endret 16.08.2008 17:13 av OldNick
16.08.2008 17:14

Ny generasjon biodrivstoff

Noen av standpunktene til Radetzki er riktige, men jeg vil nødig at dette skal bli stående som dommen over biodrivstoff, sier daglig leder Odd Jarle Skjelhaugen ved Bioenergisenteret på Universitetet for miljø og biovitenskap (UMB) på Ås.

Han viser til at både EU og Norge arbeider med sertifisering av biodrivstoff der både minimum total miljøgevinst, økonomi og flere andre krav er spesifisert.

Skjelhaugen mener også at bioenergi fra landbruksprodukter dyrket på matjord er feil framgangsmåte. Han viser til neste generasjons biodrivstoff, som skal utvinnes fra cellulose.

Cellulosen hentes blant annet fra trevirke og avfallsprodukter fra landbruket. Det forskes nå blant annet ved UMB på hvordan cellulosen kan brytes ned med enzymer.

Løsningene vil finnes innen bioteknologi, sier Skjelhaugen.

Han vil likevel ikke anslå når neste generasjon biodrivstoff basert på cellulose når samme produksjonsvolum som dagens raskt økende drivstoffmengde dyrket på matjord.

Videoopptak av foredraget til Marian Radedzki


Grønn grådighet

Menneskene bruker nærmere en fjerdedel av Jordens årlige planteproduksjon, viser nye tall. En økt satsing på biodrivstoff vil presse planeten ytterligere

Kristin Straumsheim Grønli, Journalist, Forskning.no

6. juli 2007

Våre anstrengelser for å finne alternative energikilder og bremse CO2-utslippene kan skape problemer som kanskje blir like alvorlige som en oppvarming av kloden.

Setter spor etter oss

Mennesker lager store fotavtrykk på Jorden. I disse dager er det veldig mye fokus på global oppvarming, men det finnes mange andre miljøproblemer også.

Vi er blant annet flinke til å hente ut mer ressurser enn det økosystemene tåler.

Havene tømmes for fisk, og trærne i regnskogen faller fortsatt i et tempo som truer det uvurderlige biomangfoldet i slike områder.

Dominerer i biosfæren

En ny rapport viser at menneskene legger beslag på nærmere en fjerdedel av planetens årlige planteproduksjon.

I tillegg har vår bruk av landområder redusert den årlige planteproduksjonen med nærmere 10 prosent.

Tallene viser hvor sterkt menneskene som art dominerer biosfæren når det gjelder ressursbruk.

Forskerne bak studien mener menneskene truer Jordens biodiversitet, og de stiller store spørsmålstegn ved biobrensel som en ledende strategi for å bremse global oppvarming.

Tidligere sprikende anslag

Det er gjort flere forsøk på å beregne hvor mye biomasse menneskene bruker. Tidligere beregninger har spriket ganske mye.

De nye anslagene er gjort av forskere i Østerrike. De har brukt et større antall oppdaterte databaser enn tidligere, og de har regnet med effekten menneskenes bruk av landområder har på klodens plantevekst.

Forskerne har også brukt den siste statistikken for jordbruk, skogbruk og menneskeskapt utarming av jord.

Endret 16.08.2008 17:26 av OldNick
16.08.2008 17:28

24 prosent

Tallene viser at vi brukte nesten 24 prosent av Jordens biomasseproduksjon i år 2000. Det aller meste går med i jordbruk og skogbruk.

Menneskene bruker ikke like mye av jordens planteproduksjon i alle deler av verden.

- I Sør-Asia bruker menneskene 63 prosent
- Øst- og Sørøst-Europa: 52 prosent
- Vest-Europa: 40 prosent
- Nord-Afrika og Vest-Asia: 42 prosent
- Øst-Asia: 35 prosent
- Sørøst-Asia: 30 prosent
- Nord- Amerika: 22 prosent
- Afrika sør for Sahara: 18 prosent
- Latin-Amerika og Karibia: 16 prosent
- Sentral-Asia, Russland og Oseania (inkludert Australia): 12 prosent

Massivt tilleggspress

Studiens forfattere advarer om at tiltak for å øke produksjonen av biobrensel fra jord- og skogbruk må tenkes nøye gjennom.

Et massivt tilleggspress på økosystemene kan bli resultatet av økte biomasseavlinger, skriver forskerne i sin rapport.

Menneskenes forbruk av Jordens biomasse betyr for eksempel at millioner av andre arter må klare seg med mindre.

Menneskenes bruk av landområder transformerer ikke bare Jordens overflate - det fører også til endringer i biogeokjemiske sykluser, og til en utarming av økosystemenes evne til å levere tjenester som er kritiske for menneskenes velvære, skriver forskerne.

Dermed kan det se ut til at Jorden ikke har høy nok biomasseproduksjon til at vi kan løse dagens energiproblemer med biobrensel.

Kan virke mot sin hensikt

Vi er nødt til å ha et bredt og helhetlig perspektiv når vi tenker på tiltak i forhold til klimakrisen. Har vi ikke det, kan tiltak med de beste intensjoner bli meningsløse - og til og med virke mot sin hensikt, sa Gunnar Sørbø, direktør ved Chr. Michelsen institutt (CMI) i Bergen, i forrige måned.

CMI er et av de bredeste og mest kjente forskningsmiljøene i Europa når det gjelder anvendt utviklingsforskning.

Dyrkingen av biobrensel kan for eksempel komme i konflikt med behovet for matproduksjon, sa Sørbø til universitetsavisa På Høyden.

Den norske miljøbevegelsen vektlegger at Norge må satse på miljøvennlig biodrivstoff, og stille krav til produksjonen.


Den siste tiden har det også vært fokus på myten om at biobrensel ikke fører til CO2-utslipp.

Biomasse som allerede er tatt ut av fotosyntesen, for eksempel avfall som likevel blir utsatt for nedbryting (med CO2-utslipp), kan vi godt brenne for å utnytte energien.

For noe av dette avfallet kan det imidlertid være mer miljøvennlig med materialgjenvinning eller kompostering.

Det blir et ganske annerledes regnskap når vi dyrker biomasse og tar plantestoffet ut av kretsløpet kun for å produsere energi - for eksempel i form av ved til peisen.

Her går binding av CO2 over til utslipp av CO2, og det tar tid før nye trær binder opp like mye CO2 som de gamle.

Dessuten er det viktig å huske at jordbruk krever energi, for eksempel i form av gjødsel som det krever energi å produsere. Dermed er det mulig å havne i en situasjon der energiinnsatsen overstiger energiproduksjonen.


Science: Charting Greed for All Things Green
På Høyden: Klimapolitikk kan være farligere enn klimaendringer
Dagbladet: Sats på miljøvennlig biodrivstoff
Universitetsavisa: Per Bjørn Foros: Ti myter om energ
U.S. Department of Energy: ABC's of Biofuels


Helmut Haberl, K. Heinz Erb, Fridolin Krausmann, Veronika Gaube, Alberte Bondeau, Christoph Plutzar, Simone Gingrich, Wolfgang Lucht og Marina Fischer-Kowalski; Q
26.08.2008 18:18

Wind farm turbines are hell on bats

by Shane Dingman, NationalPost.com
Aug 25, 2008

Here's another chapter in the age-old conversation about which is more important in the balancing act between conservation (of animals) and conservation (of non-renewable energy sources).

It appears bats are strangely attracted to the giant towers and rotor blades that spin at speeds of up to 250 kilometres an hour. Read the full story here, but below are the highlights:

There had long been concern that wind farms would kill birds, but they have proved much more deadly to bats.

Researchers dissected 75 corpses [found dead near wind turbines, but with no obvious signs of trauma] and reported that 90% died from internal hemorrhaging consistent with "barotrauma," tissue damage caused by rapid or excessive change in air pressure near the rotor blades.

"It's a huge challenge," says Jason Edworthy, director of stakeholder relations for TransAlta Wind, which operates Summerview where close to 700 bats die each year. The Mountaineer Wind Energy Center in West Virginia is even more of a problem, killing as many as 1,800 of the bats a year, most during fall migration.

Given the proliferation of wind farms conservationists say it is important to get a better read on both the threat and ways to eliminate it. One study has estimated that as many as 110,000 bats could be killed each year in the eastern U.S. by 2020 if solutions are not found.
04.09.2008 23:54

Poverty fears over wind power

Sept 4, 2008 (news.bbc.co.uk)

The UK currently generates 2% of its energy from wind power

Half a million people could be pushed into fuel poverty by the UK's drive for wind power, the government's former chief scientific adviser has said.

Sir David King said: "If we overdo wind we are going to put up the price of electricity and that means more people will fall into the fuel poverty trap."

The UK has signed up to an EU agreement for 20% of power to come from renewable sources by 2020.

Professor King told the BBC EU leaders did not understand their own targets.

EU pledge

One of Tony Blair's last acts as Prime Minister was to sign up to an EU target to have 20% of Europe's energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The UK currently generates around 2% of its electricity from wind power but to meet the EU's target the government estimates this will have to increase to around 35% by the end of the next decade.

It will also lead to price rises, the government thinks around 10% for electricity and closer to 20% for gas.

Professor King who who served as chief scientific adviser from 2000 to 2007, told BBC Radio 4's The Investigation that the government is placing too much emphasis on wind power to reach the target and this would mean more people suffering from fuel poverty.

"These are difficult numbers to estimate but numbers around half a million are not at all unrealistic," he said.

Professor King said he thought that Mr Blair and the other EU leaders did not understand what they were committing themselves to.

"I think there was some degree of confusion at the heads of states meeting dealing with this.

'Realistic targets'

"If they had said 20% renewables on the electricity grids across the European Union by 2020, we would have had a realistic target but by saying 20% of all energy, I actually wonder whether that wasn't a mistake."

Professor King, who was chief scientific adviser at the time of the decision, added: "I was rather surprised when I heard what the decision was."

The EU needed to renegotiate a more achievable and less expensive target, and he added: "This is an issue which needs to be revisited and I say this as somebody who feels that we really have to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions very substantially but in my view it is an expensive, and not a very clever route to go for 35 to 40% on wind turbines."

However Maria McCaffery, Chief Executive of British Wind Energy Association countered: "We don't have to pay for wind power it just comes to us naturally and is totally sustainable.

"The expectation is that it will in time drive down the basic cost of energy and actually help the fuel poverty situation, that certainly is our expectation"

A government spokesman said it believes the target is ambitious but is fully committed to meeting it and that the impact on energy bills in the short term will be small.
21.09.2008 18:43

Hvordan står det til med USA's etanol-industri ?

Relativt dårlig skal vi tro VeraSun representerer et typisk selskap innenfor industrien...

Men de har fortsatt politisk ryggdekning. "The ethanol industry does enjoy a lot of political support in Washington," he said, also noting ethanol was now an "important" gasoline additive.

Big US ethanol maker VeraSun looks at 'strategic alternatives'

New York (Platts)--19Sep2008

Big US ethanol maker VeraSun is suspending a planned equity offering and instead seeking undisclosed "strategic alternatives" for the company, it said late Thursday.

The move comes after VeraSun disclosed earlier this week an expected third quarter net loss of up to $103 million due to corn hedges and a "difficult operating environment."

Credit rating agency Moody's, which cut its VeraSun corporate family rating to B3 from B2 Wednesday and left it under review for further downgrade, questioned the company's ability to tap equity markets after its share price hit a 52-week low September 17.

If VeraSun had difficulty selling its shares, Moody's warned it "would likely lower the company's ratings by multiple notches."

VeraSun shares were trading at $1.8399 Friday morning, up 26% from the revious day, but well below the $30/share it garnered when it first went public two years ago.

VeraSun said in its late Thursday statement that "in light of strategic interest expressed by multiple parties during its current equity offering," it was suspending that offering and instead has hired Morgan Stanley "to act in an advisory capacity to evaluate strategic alternatives." No further details were given.

Moody's in its downgrade note said ethanol "conditions remain unattractive due to high corn prices (although corn prices have declined from peak prices above $7/bushel), elevated natural gas commodity input costs and unattractive ethanol pricing that has led to slim cash operating margins, elevated working capital requirements and lackluster cash flows from operations."

In particular, Moody's cited rising costs for VeraSun's one ethanol plant under construction and the start-up of three others, along with overall weak economics for the corn-based product.

Oppenheimer analysts said in a report earlier this week that VeraSun's planned equity offering "suggests ongoing liquidity difficulties" and said they saw "little reason to invest new money into [VeraSun's] shares at this time."

"The debt market is pretty well closed to ethanol companies right now," Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov said in an interview Thursday. "The equity markets are not quite closed."

He also noted asset sales were not the best bet for obtaining cash at the moment because "just about every ethanol company today is trading below replacement cost."

Still, Molchanov said tough times for one of the biggest US ethanol producers did not signal the end of the industry. "The ethanol industry does enjoy a lot of political support in Washington," he said, also noting ethanol was now an "important" gasoline additive.

Endret 21.09.2008 18:45 av OldNick
01.10.2008 16:02

Credit crisis may delay biofuels development

Sep 29, 2008 (Reuters)

LONDON - A global pull-back from bank lending may dent the commercialization of biofuel technologies to replace conventional gasoline, said the chief executive of U.S. cellulosic ethanol firm BlueFire Ethanol.

A credit crisis which claimed more bank victims on Monday has raised project finance costs and made ambitious targets to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources look less achievable.

"Longer term, yes... the issue of capital may slow us down," Arnold Klann told Reuters on Monday. BlueFire Ethanol was hoping alternative investors including hedge funds may bridge any shortfall in bank lending, he added.

A global transition to renewable sources of energy, including waste, to replace gasoline and wind and solar power to replace gas and coal-fired power generation, is meant to cut carbon emissions and improve security of energy supply.

The credit crisis could slow that transition both through more costly finance and by diverting subsidies from renewables, which are often more expensive than conventional fossil fuels.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday said that he may have to scale back his U.S. energy investment plans, if elected, in order to help pay for a planned $700 billion financial market bailout.

Obama did not detail which aspect of his plans may be trimmed. He has previously promised to invest $150 billion over the next decade to develop affordable, renewable energy sources and clean coal, touting these as a long-term energy solution rather than new, off-shore oil drilling.

BlueFire Ethanol is targeting up to 84 plants by 2022 producing more than 4 billion gallons annually of second generation biofuels, which consume waste rather than crops and so do not stoke food prices as corn and oil seed-based biofuels.

The United States has mandated 16 billion gallons a year of such cellulosic ethanol production by 2022, to ease the pressure of biofuels on agricultural land struggling to feed a growing, more prosperous world population.

That compares with about 150 billion gallons annual gasoline consumption in the United States now, Klann said.


Cellulosic ethanol producers use enzymes or acid to convert waste from plants, including grass, wood chips and cardboard, to produce sugar and ethanol, but the infant industry so far is producing next to nothing on a commercial scale.

BlueFire Ethanol is targeting two demonstration-scale plants using concentrated acid to convert municipal waste into a little over 3 million and 17 million gallons of ethanol annually, to come on line in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

"We're good on these, I think," said Klann, referring to those deadlines.

The capital costs of the two plants would be $30 million and $150 million respectively, and would produce cellulosic ethanol at a cost of $1.4 and $1 per gallon, which compares with ethanol prices of over $2.20 a gallon.

Some analysts already doubt the practicality of ambitious European Union goals to get a fifth of all energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

The EU renewable energy sector faced an annual 21 billion euros shortfall in debt finance to meet that goal by 2020, both because of the credit crisis and the pace of growth of the sector, a Rabobank banker said earlier this month.
23.10.2008 01:12

En av ofrene av finanskrisen er investeringer i fornybar energi.

Den var avhengig av subsidier før krisen startet, og når olje/energiprisene kollapser, blir de enda mer avhengige av subsidier - subsidier fra stadig emr slunkne statskasser.

Ingen stor fremtid her, sålenge vi har bra med ekstra kapasitet innefor fossile kilder.

Clean Energy Meltdown: Now GE's Bailing

Posted by Keith Johnson, blogs.wsj.com
Oct 20, 2008

Meltdown watch, continued. Capital is quickly drying up for new clean-energy projects, and what is available costs more, throwing a wrench into companies' plans to expand renewable energy.

General Electric is the latest to throw in the towel, after the abrupt departure of Lehman Brothers and Morgan Stanley. The conglomerate, which makes energy gear like wind and gas turbines as well as underwriting renewable-energy projects, says it is bailing out of the clean-tech investment game for now, once it finishes with existing projects. From Dow Jones Clean Tech Insight:

"Right now we can't price a deal," said [GE Financial Services managing director Timothy] Howell in an interview with Clean Technology Insight on the sidelines of the Solar Power International conference in San Diego, Calif. "We can't go out and borrow. So we can't commit to a deal today."

GE Financial Services, like GE's energy-infrastructure unit, was very bullish on the sector's prospects just a few months ago. Most clean-energy projects like wind and solar power depend on investments by companies like GE or big banks, which put up development capital to get their mitts on years of tax breaks. That's the main way that tax credits help fuel the growth of alternative energy.

But while the financial bailout bill extended tax credits for clean energy, the bill hasn't yet goosed the credit markets into lending freely. That-not uncertainty over federal subsidies-has now become clean-energy's bogeyman.

Investors suffer as US ethanol boom dries up

By Kevin Allison in San Francisco and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Washington, FT.com
Oct 21, 2008

Investors, such as Microsoft's Bill Gates, are sitting on billions of dollars in losses after buying into the corn-based ethanol industry that George W. Bush embraced as the ans wer to US energy woes.

Six of the biggest publicly traded US ethanol producers have lost more than $8.7bn in market value since the peak of the boom in mid-2006 and the beginning of this month, according to an analysis by the Financial Times. The boom followed a 2005 law requiring refiners to mix billions of gallons of the biofuel with petrol.

Investors who bought and held shares in hotly anticipated market listings of Aventine Renewable Energy, VeraSun Energy and other ethanol producers that have gone public since 2005, have seen the value of their holdings plummet as much as 90 per cent from their flotation price, in spite of billions of dollars of government support for the industry.

The losers in the ethanol investment frenzy, which some have compared to the dotcom mania of the late 1990s, include famous names, such as Mr Gates, Microsoft founder. His private investment firm has lost millions on its 2005 investment in a company called Pacific Ethanol. Mr Gates's firm, Cascade Investments, did not return calls seeking comment.

Other private equity firms and hedge funds that piled into the ethanol industry in the boom years of 2005 and 2006 have put in a mixed performance. Those who bought into ethanol and sold out at the earliest stages made substantial sums. Metalmark, the former private equity arm of Morgan Stanley, the US bank, reaped a 10-fold return on its 2003 purchase of Aventine when it went public in 2006.

Endret 23.10.2008 01:12 av OldNick

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