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The advantage of Algae bio fuels
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Algae can be grown using land and water unsuitable for plant or food production, unlike some other first- and second-generation biofuel feedstocks.Select species of algae produce bio-oils through the natural process of photosynthesis — requiring only sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. 

Growing algae consume carbon dioxide; this provides greenhouse gas mitigation benefits.Bio-oil produced by photosynthetic algae and the resultant biofuel will have molecular structures that are similar to the petroleum and refined products we use today. 

Algae have the potential to yield greater volumes of biofuel per acre of production than other biofuel sources. Algae could yield more than 2000 gallons of fuel per acre per year of production. Approximate yields for other fuel sources are far lower:
- Palm — 650 gallons per acre per year
- Sugar cane — 450 gallons per acre per year
- Corn — 250 gallons per acre per year
- Soy — 50 gallons per acre per year
Algae used to produce biofuels are highly productive. 

As a result, large quantities of algae can be grown quickly, and the process of testing different strains of algae for their fuel-making potential can proceed more rapidly than for other crops with longer life cycles. 

If successful, bio-oils from photosynthetic algae could be used to manufacture a full range of fuels including gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel that meet the same specifications as today’s products

Recession barely dents Eco debt
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The recession has had little impact on humanity's over-consumption of resources, says a report. The New Economics Foundation (Nef) calculates the day each year when the world goes into "ecological debt."

This is the date by which humanity has used the quantity of natural resources that ought to last an entire year if used at a sustainable rate. This year, "ecological debt day" falls on 25 September - just one day later than in 2008.

According to Nef, this means that the biggest recession for nearly a century has made very little difference to global consumption. The report, entitled The Consumption Explosion: the Third UK Interpendence Day Report, asserts that the overall trend of our collective ecological footprint is deeply negative, with humanity still environmentally over-extending itself to a dangerous degree.

Andrew Simms, Nef policy director and co-author of the report, said: "Debt-fuelled over-consumption not only brought the financial system to the edge of collapse, it is pushing many of our natural life support systems toward a precipice. "Politicians tell us to get back to business as usual; but if we bankrupt critical ecosystems, no amount of government spending will bring them back. "We need a radically different approach to rich world consumption."

Calling for an end to the consumption explosion, he said that while billions in poorer countries subsist, "we (in the rich West) consume vastly more, and yet with little or nothing to show for it in terms of greater life satisfaction."

The report calls for an end in particular to what it calls "boomerang trade", where countries simultaneously import and export similar goods. For example, the report says the UK imports 22,000 tonnes of potatoes from Egypt and exports 27,000 tonnes back the other way. While 5,000 tonnes of toilet paper heads to Germany from the UK, more than 4,000 tonnes is imported back.

The report calls for us to pay the full environmental cost of transport, and calls for more investment in renewable energy. It also rejects suggestions that reducing the size of the Earth's human population would help the environment, claiming this focus is a critical distraction from tackling over-consumption in wealthy countries.

It points out that one person in the US will, by 4am on the morning of 2 January, already have been responsible for emitting as much carbon as someone living in Tanzania would generate in an entire year. It says that a UK citizen would reach the same position by 7pm on 4 January. Nef used figures from the Global Footprint Network to make its calculations.  

Human hair to create power
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A new type of solar panel using human hair could provide the world with cheap, green electricity, believes its teenage inventor.Milan Karki, 18, who comes from a  village in rural Nepal, believes he has found the solution to the developing world's energy needs.

The young inventor says hair is easy to use as a conductor in solar panels and could revolutionise renewable energy.'First I wanted to provide electricity for my home, then my village. Now I am thinking for the whole world,' said Milan, who attends school in the capital, Kathmandu.

The hair replaces silicon, a pricey component typically used in solar panels, and means the panels can be produced at a low cost for those with no access to power, he explained.In Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world, many rural areas lack access to electricity and even in areas connected to power lines, users face shortages of up to 16 hours a day.

Milan and four classmates initially made the solar panel as an experiment but the teens are convinced it has wide applicability and commercial viability.'I'm trying to produce commercially and distribute to the districts. We've already sent a couple out to the districts to test for feasibility,' he said.

The solar panel, which produces 9 V (18 W) of energy, costs around £23 to make from raw materials.But if they were mass-produced, Milan says they could be sold for less than half that price, which could make them a quarter of the price of those already on the market.Melanin, a pigment that gives hair its colour, is light sensitive and also acts as a type of conductor.

Because hair is far cheaper than silicon the appliance is less costly.The solar panel can charge a mobile phone or a pack of batteries capable of providing light all evening.Milan began his quest to create electricity when he was a boy living in Khotang, a remote district of Nepal completely unconnected to electricity. According to him, villagers were skeptical of his invention at first.'They believe in superstitions, they don't believe in science.

But now they believe,' he said.Cost effective: The solar-hair panel is estimated to be four times cheaper than an industrial made solar panel of comparable capacityHe first tried to use water currents hydro power on a small scale, but said the experiment became too expensive.'I searched for new, other renewable, affordable sources.

People in these places are living the life of the stone age even in the 21st century,' he said.Milan, whose hero is the inventor Thomas Eddison, describes himself as lucky because his family could afford for him to receive a proper education while many other villagers are forced to work from an early age.

Most of those from his village are illiterate.He was originally inspired after reading a book by physicist Stephen Hawking, which discussed ways of creating static energy from hair.It's got the power: A digital multimeter shows the voltage generated by the innovative panel '

I realised that Melanin was one of the factors in conversion of energy,' he said.Half a kilo of hair can be bought for only 16p in Nepal and lasts a few months, whereas a pack of batteries would cost 50p and last a few nights.People can replace the hair easily themselves, says Milan, meaning his solar panels need little servicing.

Three years after first coming up with the idea, Milan says the idea is more important than ever because of the crucial need for renewable energies in the face of finite power sources and global warming.

'Slowly, natural resources are degrading so it is necessary to think about the future," he said. 'One day we will be in a great crisis regarding this fuel so it is a good thing to do today.'This is an easy solution for the crisis we are having today. We have begun the long walk to save the planet.'

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