Monday, February 09, 2009

A bit more insanity from Steven Chu, our new CO2-phobic Secretary of Energy
Forests are dying because of parasites. The pine bark beetle is killing pine. British Columbia has already lost 40 percent of its pine ... so, when there are no trees, when it rains, the soil doesn't hold the water... The American public needs to be made aware that this is happening. This is a real economic disaster in the making for our children, for your children. If you live in California, any of the Western states, this is going to be very serious. In the Upper Midwest, water shortages, huge water shortages are being predicted...
Environmental Capital - : Growing Corn: Valero Goes Yellow
Oil refiners kicked and screamed when the U.S. government dragged them into blending ethanol into their gasoline.

Now the largest U.S. refiner is trying to jump into the ethanol business in a big way. Valero Energy Corp. on Friday agreed to buy several ethanol plants from VeraSun Energy Crop., which is under bankruptcy protection, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Ethanol could also face big challenges farther into the future. Although the U.S. government is still firmly backing corn-based ethanol, the fuel’s environmental credentials are rapidly eroding. Under pressure from environmentalists, the government might reconsider subsidies and mandates in coming years, as European countries like the U.K. have done.
But...oh, never mind...Speed bumps to get new role as a source of green energy | Environment | The Observer
"Green" speed bumps that will generate electricity as cars drive over them are to be introduced on Britain's roads. The hi-tech "sleeping policemen" will power street lights, traffic lights and road signs in a pilot scheme in London that could be rolled out nationwide.

Speed bumps have long been the bane of motorists' lives, but these will capture the kinetic energy of vehicles.

Peter Hughes, the designer behind the idea, said: "They are speed bumps, but they are not like conventional speed bumps. They don't damage your car or waste petrol when you drive over them - and they have the added advantage that they produce energy free of charge." An engineer who formerly advised the United Nations on renewable energy sources, Hughes added: "If it [the energy] wasn't harnessed by the speed bumps, it would go to waste."

The ramps - which cost between £20,000 and £55,000, depending on size - consist of a series of panels set in a pad virtually flush to the road. As the traffic passes over it, the panels go up and down, setting a cog in motion under the road. This then turns a motor, which produces mechanical energy. A steady stream of traffic passing over the bump can generate 10-36kW of power.
Hughes claims that 10 ramps could generate the same power as one wind turbine.
If we converted all roads to speed bumps, and if we connected the output of all the magical speed bumps to a really big battery, couldn't we continually use that battery to recharge everyone's electric cars and completely eliminate our need for fossil fuels?

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