Archive for the ‘resources’ category

Greenhouse Gases – What you Don’t Know, Part 2

March 26, 2007

26 Mar 2007 – Significant GHG’s include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane.  Scientific data shows methane in our atmosphere has increased 149% over the past 250 years while CO2 increased 31%.  The methane is a direct result of human activity on our planet, emitting from landfills, feedlots, livestock manure, human and animal waste treatment facilities.  Efforts are underway to tap these significant sources of methane emission – for fuel.  Increased atmospheric concentrations of the GHG methane have paralleled but lagged the following human population explosion of the past 250 years.

Year vs. Human Population
1000  –  10 million
1800  –  1 Billion
1927  –  2 Billion
1960  –  3 Billion
1974  –  4 Billion
1987  –  5 Billion
1999  –  6 Billion
2010  –  ?

(It took millions of years to reach 3 Billion inhabitants; 39 years to get the second 3 Billion)

It is clear where CO2 emissions come from and what influences them, but most of us are unaware that we influence methane and water vapor emissions as well.  In a “GHG contributers” pie, CO2 is but one slice.

If severe greenhouse effects cause severe global warming, wouldn’t an intelligent solution involve reduction of ALL GHG’s, not just CO2?

For example, we can irrigate deserts.  The question is “should we?” – especially since more appropriate places exist where crops are not currently being cultivated.  Localized greenhouse effects due to increased water vapor levels in these normally arid zones contribute to planet heat gain.

In some cases, suggested solutions may not meet our scrutiny.

What percentage of the carbon in ethanol and other biofuels is pulled out of the atmosphere by plants, and what percentage is “mined” by them from the carbon-rich layers of the soil?  What percentage of additional CO2 emissions results from the fermentation process of ethanol?  How much water is “mined” from the ground to produce ethanol?  How much energy is consumed to pump and process the water?  How much fossil fuel is required to cook the plant material when making ethanol?  What additional percentage of CO2 comes from this source?  Is this sustainable, or could we actually reduce overall CO2 emissions by fueling with natural gas instead of ethanol?

For this reason, ethanol may only be a “Bandaid”, but yet help transition us to a multi-faceted, sustainable energy solution such as solar-produced hydrogen.

The effects of our human populations weigh heavily on our environment.  Elimination and reduction of unnecessary and wasteful consumption of resources and products are ways we, as individuals, can address the interconnected issues of environmental sustainability.  As long as we are willing to make the effort.  I will; will you?

Looking out for the planet,

– Lars

Read Part 1 of the article

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Food or Fuel

February 5, 2007

Missouri River, Feb 4, 2007.  The United States is diverting ever-increasing portions of their foodstocks to motor vehicle fuel production.  Will there be enough food left to feed the rest of the world?

Divide the United States in half along the Missouri River.  If you look east you will see primarily biodiesel plants.  Look west and you see mostly corn-based ethanol facilities.

Current Biodiesel plants:  580 million gallons

According to the U.S. National Biodiesel Board, there are currently 86 biodiesel plants operating in the United States.  Seventy percent of these facilities are east of the Missouri River.  These eighty-six facilities have the capacity to produce 580 million gallons of biodiesel fuel per year.

Under Construction:  1400 million gallons

Interestingly, there are 78 biodiesel plants under construction or expansion, and two-thirds of them will be built east of the Missouri River.  Newer facilities are typically larger than existing facilities.  Annual production capacity for plants under construction or expansion is 1.4 Billion gallons per year, so demand for biodiesel raw materials will triple when these go online.

Raw Materials

Just what do these biodiesel plants use for raw materials?  The larger plants historically have used soybean oil.  But in April 2007 in Velva, ND a large, 85 million gallon plant using canola oil – is slated to go online.  Some biodiesel production facilities can use multiple feedstocks such as soybean or canola oil, recycled cooking oil, poultry fat, trap grease, cottonseed oil, or tallow.

E Diesel

E diesel is similar to biodiesel, in that it is a blended fuel product made from diesel fuel and up to 15% added ethanol.  It has been shown to burn cleaner and reduce particulate emissions.  Check it out for yourself on the E Diesel page of the official Government website for the Nebraska Ethanol Board.

In the United States, ethanol production facilities use enormous amounts of corn as feedstock.  A future article will discuss ethanol production facilities in the United States.

Top 10 Ways to Save Fuel in Your Car

February 4, 2007

Top 10 ways to save fuel while driving your car.

Fuel Savings Tips – by Lars  Feb 3, 2007.

  1. Time the green lights.
  2. Coast up to the Stop sign or red traffic signal as soon as you see it change.
  3. Don’t brake while going down hills.  Take advantage of gravity (free energy) and let your car speed up.
  4. Maintain a steady speed on highways.
  5. Too fast or too slow on a highway – burns more fuel.
  6. Coast around curves.  Don’t accelerate and don’t brake.
  7. Car cold?  Don’t sit there waiting for it to warm up – just go.  You’re the cold one; the car can tolerate it!
  8. Don’t haul stuff around in your car!  Think how much energy it would take you to walk up that hill if you were carrying all that stuff on your back!
  9. While waiting at the drive-up window or for a train, shut off your car!
  10. All those electrical accessories take power.  The power is pulled from the car engine by your alternator.

Thanks for saving gas, gasoline, petro, petrol, petroleum, oil, fuel, biofuel, diesel, biodiesel, soy diesel, ethanol, propane, natural gas, hydrogen – or whatever you use.

Beyond cost savings – energy reduction spells pride in a low impact lifestyle

January 31, 2007

Energy savings is more than cost savings.  Sure we save money when we turn off equipment and lighting we don’t need, but there is more to it than that.  We just, plain, do more – with less!  We are efficient.  And we know it!  It’s not about energy at all, is it?  It’s about pride and confidence.

We are proud of our low impact life that does not lack in quality.

But beyond that, we are leaders.  Others evaluate what we do.  And we do stuff others only dream of doing, but with less resources.  We have to be at the top of our game in all aspects if we are to influence others.

Thank you all for having the passion to believe in energy and resource conservation, plus having the desire to be the best at it !

Push for Energy-Efficiency in your Company

January 29, 2007

If your place of business is an energy-intensive one, here are some ideas for you.

Every successful company shares the same three traits:
1.  A clear vision and strategy that everyone in the company understands.
2.  The right processes in place to drive that vision to results.
3.  The right people to implement those processes.

If your vision is to be the best, then your energy strategy is clear:  shut off what is not needed; find ways to reduce or eliminate everything else.

Are the right processes in place to drive that vision?  Are improvement ideas shared with someone who will make a difference?

Do you have the right people?  Do they concern themselves enough to make the small efforts necessary to turn off equipment, water, lights, etc. immediately after a process is shut down?  Does your supervisor support you and your energy efforts?  Does anyone believe it is “someone else’s job” to do it?

The key to better products and services, and a more viable company is the choice to be energy-efficient.  Be a leader; step it up; and speak out on energy ideas!

Resource & Energy-saving “Virtues”

January 27, 2007

I absolutely enjoy meeting and knowing people who daily finds ways to be energy-efficient and who use only the minimum amounts of resources needed to achieve their goals.  To me, it says this person is organized and has virtue, that somehow they have fine-tuned their life so they can focus on these higher, unselfish values.

If this person is also cheerful, spontaneous, open to new ideas, and does not abandon responsibilities in other areas of life while pursuing these, then they are doing one awesome job!  It is fun to hang around these folks, just to see the amazing things they seem to accomplish!

Here’s some strategies for you to identify opportunities in your life:

  1. Observe your habits and processes closely.  Compare these to others.  Isn’t it easier to use their already successful ideas than to create your own?!
  2. Think “outside the box”.  Transform the process.  Innovate a major paradigm shift in your routine!
  3. Now modify and conceive improvements to these major shifts, even if just small steps in the right direction.
  4. Safely add or eliminate steps – for efficiency.
  5. Consolidate trips to the grocery store, shopping mall, concert, movie, game, fuel-filling station, library, church, etc.
  6. Plan to do it right the first time.  Remember that it takes more energy and resources to redo or correct bad planning and inadequacies later.
  7. Know that your efforts have reduced resource and energy usage.  Enjoy your success for being a part of the solution!  Future generations can now use that resource which you have not wasted!

Are there many who already make this kind of effort?  Do the majority only concentrate on one resource these days: Time?

Chinese destroy satellite with missile

January 21, 2007

By destroying a satellite in space with a missile, the Chinese government failed to exercise common sense and responsibility, jeopardizing access to space and future resources with the resulting increased space debris.

Look here:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6923805