Archive for February 13th, 2011

DARPA Kickstarts Space Exploration with 100-Year Starship Project

DARPA's 100-Year Starship study could give a boost to alternative energy technologyThe Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a new program in collaboration with NASA that is sure to intrigue Trekkies everywhere. Called the 100-Year Starship Study, it’s designed to lay out what it would take to create an organization that could boldly go where no man (or woman, or transgender person) has gone before. The last couple of times DARPA got its thing on for a big project, the result was a trip to the moon and the development of the Internet, so it’s interesting to look ahead to the impact the project could have on our favorite topic, alternative energy.

DARPA and the Sputnik Moment

The 100-Year Starship project kicked off last fall and it passed an initial milestone in January with a strategic planning workshop.  Just about a week or so after the workshop, President Obama gave his State of the Union address calling upon the nation to invest its resources in another “Sputnik moment,” and come to think of it DARPA was commissioned in 1958 directly in response to the Sputnik launch, so that’s a neat little coincidence (in another not-quite-cosmic coincidence, the Space Shuttle program is winding down and hundreds of experienced NASA employees will be looking for a new project to occupy their time).

Baby Steps for the 100-Year Starship

About 30 participants were involved in the January workshop. Half were from DARPA and NASA, and the others were a mashup of science professionals and futurists that Gene Roddenberry would appreciate, including one of the original developers of the network leading to the Internet, two science fiction writers, and even a representative from the film industry. The idea was not to get the research going (that’s skipping a few steps ahead), but to begin describing the factors that would go into a sort of “business plan” to create an organization with a 100-year funding and leadership platform.

The 100-Year Starship and Transformative Energy

President Obama has also breathed life into ARPA-E, a new agency charged with the DARPA-like task of transforming the way we create, distribute and use energy. Transformative energy will of course be the key to making interstellar travel a reality, so it is possible that ARPA-E’s terrestial progress will cross over to the new project. For that matter, give the visionary technology displayed in the original Star Trek series, the involvement of writers and futurists in the 100-Year Starship project could yield some interesting results for energy here on Earth.

Image: Starship Enterprise by f650biker on flickr.com.



Visit the original post at: Energy News

Solar Summit Partner News

Solar Summit Partner News
SEMI PV Group to participate at 3rd annual Solar Leadership Summit
Visit the original post at: Renewable Energy News – RenewableEnergyWorld.com

Speaker’s NY death highlights assisted-suicide law
But when a one-time computer technician goes on trial this week in Jeffrey Locker’s 2009 death, jurors will hear a very different story: A desperate man in debt enlisted a stranger to kill him and make his suicide look like a street crime so his survivors could collect millions in insurance money.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Nokia to get ‘huge’ payments from Microsoft
Nokia Corp., the world’s largest maker of phones, and Microsoft Corp. announced their alliance Friday. Both investors and employees reacted with dismay: Nokia’s stock dived 14 percent and Finnish employees chose to use the flex time and go home early that day.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Conn. university tries to keep donor lists private
Open-records experts say it’s the first time Connecticut’s courts will have to decide whether public entities, not just businesses, can invoke a trade-secret exemption to keep information private – even if it was created at public expense.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Iranian opposition leader under house arrest
Iran’s hard-line rulers – who have also tried to capitalize on the uprising against their regional rivals in Egypt’s U.S.-allied regime – are seeking to deprive their own opponents at home of any chance to reinvigorate a movement swept from the streets in a heavy military crackdown.
Visit the original post at: TMCnet-News

Reducing meat waste

Reducing meat waste
Meat is really a luxury and something we may forget is that an animal died to provide it. By reducing meat waste in our own homes, it helps lessen our environmental impact and goes some way to acknowledging the sacrifice.


Visit the original post at: Green living tips

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Myth of GMO and Organic Coexistence
crops gmos small farms monsanto organic photo
Photo: Derbyshire/Staffordshire

Lately, the USDA is progressively siding with biotechnology instead of the organic food movement. Organic farming had a few wins including the decision from US District Court Judge Jeffrey White who ruled that the GMO crops be destroyed because the risk of gene contamination in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was so great. But last week a ruling made clear that things were ag… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Can’t We All Just Get Along? The Myth of GMO and Organic Coexistence
crops gmos small farms monsanto organic photo
Photo: Derbyshire/Staffordshire

Lately, the USDA is progressively siding with biotechnology instead of the organic food movement. Organic farming had a few wins including the decision from US District Court Judge Jeffrey White who ruled that the GMO crops be destroyed because the risk of gene contamination in Oregon’s Willamette Valley was so great. But last week a ruling made clear that things were ag… Read the full story on TreeHugger
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Center for Automotive Research releases study on estimated US distribution pattern of electric vehicles through 2015; focus on incentives

Car2
The CAR study uses the distribution of hybrid sales as the basis to estimate the distribution of plug-in electric vehicle sales. Source: CAR. Click to enlarge.

In a new study, the Center for Automotive
Research, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit research organization, is estimating the national distribution patterns of electric vehicles across the United States, and the incentive programs that will assist with the proliferation of these vehicles, over the next four years.

The study is not a forecast sales of electric vehicles; rather, it estimates electric vehicle deployment by state, using other forecasts of total electric vehicle sales in the US to generate a reasonable approximation of what electric vehicle sales might look like for the period 2012 to 2015. Within the study, CAR denotes the percentages it used to divide national electric vehicle sales among states. With the state percentages, one could select any forecast and generate state-by-state results based on that forecast.

The study uses hybrid vehicle sales in each of the 50 states as a proxy for
electric vehicle sales, and a national estimate of electric vehicle market share annually. That estimate puts a total of 496,000 plug-in electric vehicles on US roads in 2015, with annual sales of 27,000 for 2011; 77,000 for 2012; 116,000 for 2013; 136,000 for 2014; and 140,000 for 2015.

Among the findings of the study are that, by 2015, California will be selling close to 35,000 electric vehicles each year with more than 110,000 electric vehicles registered in the state. Other states will be selling less than 8,000 electric vehicles per year, with fewer than 26,000 total registrations by 2015, even in the large markets of Texas, New York, and Florida.

The report notes that these estimates are highly subject to variation and could be altered by unexpected shocks such as a major oil price spike or by planned conditions such as aggressive incentive programs. It also notes that,
while the specific numbers may not be exact, their magnitude should be correct along with relative sales among states.

It is unlikely, for instance, that a state projected to sell only a couple hundred vehicles annually by 2015 will be selling thousands. It is also unlikely that California will be selling only a few thousand electric vehicles annually by 2015. If anything, states that have been selected as early deployment states, or have already committed to being leaders in electric vehicle deployment and have been recognized as such, will see faster rates of electric vehicle adoption (higher levels of sales than the table above predicts), while other states may experience slower adoption rates (lower sales levels).

—CAR study

The authors note that actual deployment across the states will undoubtedly be different from the estimates; however, they add,this study and estimating tool give a reasonable starting point and can be revisited as more vehicles enter the marketplace.

We obviously find that many factors could affect deployment. Among these are fleet operations decisions, development and expansion of EV-friendly cities and regions, and enactment of government programs. Both local government and private sector fleets can serve as a major driving force for deployment of electric vehicles. As fleet managers gather data on the performance of electric vehicles, they can determine in which niches these vehicles might fit well. Companies can write off electric vehicle purchases as a business expense; due to high levels of utilization, these vehicles will have a relatively short payback period, favoring early deployment among fleets.

EV-friendly cities and regions can offer perks to owners of vehicles by creating plug-in-infrastructure and providing special parking and driving privileges, serving to assist in driving consumer demand. Additionally, governmental programs such as the Clean Cities initiative and other partnerships bring together multiple stakeholders to ensure that deployment is organized and that support for vehicles is available even before they arrive in cities.

—CAR study

Car
Click to enlarge.

Resources


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Iran produces biodiesel from Jatropha

Iran produces biodiesel from Jatropha

Fars News Agency (FNA) reports that Iranian experts and scientists for the first time managed to produce biodiesel fuel using the oil extracted from Jatropha curcas plant cultivated in Southern Iran.

“Iran could produce biodiesel fuel through extracting oil from Jatropha plant which was grown in Bandar Abbas in a pilot (project),” member of the Presiding Board of Iran’s Scientific Forestry Association Peiman Yousefi Azar told FNA on Sunday.

…Elaborating on the advantages of biodiesel fuel for different machines and systems, Yousefi Azar reiterated that using biodiesel fuel decreases air pollution and CO2 gas up to 85%.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Canada moves forward with regulations for 2% renewable fuel content in diesel fuel and heating oil

Canada is moving forward with the requirement for an average 2% renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil.

When we announced our Renewable Fuels Strategy, we were clear that the 2 per cent requirement would be implemented subject to technical feasibility. After positive results, we are moving forward with this requirement which will result in further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately in cleaner air for all Canadians.

—Peter Kent, Minister of the Environment

Canada’s Renewable Fuels Regulations were published on 1 September 2010. The regulations already require an average of 5% renewable content in gasoline. The regulations also contained the provisions to require an average of 2% renewable content in diesel fuel and heating oil.

The proposed regulatory amendment will be published in the Canada Gazette, Part I in the coming weeks for a 60-day public comment period. The Government of Canada is proposing a coming into force date of 1 July 2011.

The Harper Government worked closely with industry partners to support several projects to demonstrate how renewable diesel fuel would perform under the range of Canadian conditions. The report concluded that an average of 2% renewable content is technically feasible.

In addition to the Renewable Fuels Regulations, the Government has also finalized regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from passenger vehicles and is working to do the same for heavy-duty vehicles.


Visit the original post at: Transportation News

Change We Can Live With: Fracking Steers Us Away From A Coal-Fired Future…updated
future image
Future.” “Take the Future by your Hand. Who else can do it?” HKD
Image & title credit:Flickr, h.koppdelaney’s photostream

Think tankers and lobbyists have had a hard time envisioning the unintended consequences of their diverse fossil fuel-defending tactics, tactics that have been intensifying for 12 years, culminating in an ‘eliminate EPA‘ frenzy, as mapped by The Newt. Here’s a fun example of the huge, unexpected adverse impact on coal, caused by the synergy of colliding fos…
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

Change We Can Live With: Fracking Steers Us Away From A Coal-Fired Future…updated
future image
Future.” “Take the Future by your Hand. Who else can do it?” HKD
Image & title credit:Flickr, h.koppdelaney’s photostream

Think tankers and lobbyists have had a hard time envisioning the unintended consequences of their diverse fossil fuel-defending tactics, tactics that have been intensifying for 12 years, culminating in an ‘eliminate EPA‘ frenzy, as mapped by The Newt. Here’s a fun example of the huge, unexpected adverse impact on coal, caused by the synergy of colliding fos…
Visit the original post at: TreeHugger

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