Archive for the ‘sustainability’ 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

Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL)

March 24, 2007

23 Mar 2007 – Want to personally make a difference in the world?  Replace your incandescent bulbs with new compact fluorescent lamps (CFL’s).  Use this  easy CFL Energy Calculator to see how much money you can save!  Just input information about existing incandescent lightbulbs and proposed compact fluorescent lamps for a certain area of your home or business – to see the payback period on your investment and your savings!

The Light Bulbs Etc. company also sells a wide variety of CFL’s in various sizes, shapes, and quantities.  Their prices seem reasonable, if bought in bulk.  They sell CFL’s in the range from 15 to 500 Watt equivalents.

Power Without Fuel

February 27, 2007

27 Feb 2007 – Congratulations to the Germans.  They lead the world as innovators in wind power installations.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council website, the countries having the most MegaWatts (MW) of installed wind generation capacity are:

  1. Germany (20,621 MW)
  2. Spain (11,615 MW)
  3. USA (11,603 MW)
  4. India (6,270 MW)

But in 2006, the annual market for wind generation increased at a rate of 32%.  Here are the top countries that installed new wind capacity in 2006:

  1. USA (2,454 MW)
  2. Germany (2,233 MW)
  3. India (1,840 MW)
  4. Spain (1,587 MW)

For information on what’s happening in your country, check these National and Regional Association links.

This video, entitled “No Fuel” is a good advocate for Wind Energy.

Global Cooling

February 21, 2007

20 Feb 2007 – Global cooling is a name for a net cooling effect on the Earth.  When geothermal power plants tap the natural heat from deep within the Earth- heat that otherwise would not be released to the surface – global cooling is occurring.

Take a virtual plant tour of the geothermal power generation process to better understand this renewable and sustainable form of energy.  The tour is very straightforward.

How does a geothermal power plant compare with one that burns coal?  Well, take this virtual tour of a coal-fired power plant to find out for yourself!

Now compare both of these with a scientific virtual tour of wind power.

If you found the tours interesting, thank the creators.

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Here is Wikipedia’s reference to global cooling.  – Lars

Global Demand for Renewable Energy Increasing

February 20, 2007

19 Feb 2007 – Remote generation is emerging as a trend in energy.  Whether it be from wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biofuel, digester methane, biofuel, or thermal heat recovery – it looks to become a significant factor in energy production.

Now Johnson Controls, in a news release from their website today has announced an expansion in their business in designing, installing, and servicing these types of renewable energy sources.

Johnson Controls is just one example, but many more companies are expected to shift and expand business directions in order to take advantage of the emerging renewable market.