Speaking of big ideas…

01.31.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Speaking of big ideas…

The Oil Drum published this long and detailed entry from the Engineer Poet on how to replace our dependence on fossil fuel and get to carbon neutrality using an enhanced biomass system coupled with electricity generation, fuel cells, and battery transport power. If you don’t have time for a long read, are data averse, or have attention deficit, the referenced post might not be for you…

This is an old post by net standards, published at the end of November of last year, but certainly is filled with interesting data. Now I don’t subscribe to the “solve the energy crisis in one fell swoop” approach, but this post did make me think that perhaps more is possible in big hunks than I’ve been allowing. Even so, this is is a grandiose proposal that would require 20 years or more to implement, if it even could be implemented. But the ideas are worth exploring as realizing even 10% of the benefit would make a difference.

The thesis of the post is: “The US can replace our fossil fuel dependence with sustainable fuel and positively impact our carbon footprint – but, not with our current approach, assumptions, or reward system.” The author then goes on to outline at length why our current situation and approach is flawed, current consumption and conversion of energy to work, outlines an improvement using biomass with several outputs including charcoal, ethanol, and electricity, tackles the issue of carbon capture from the atmosphere, then outlines plans for electricity and transportation, and finally ties it all together.

If you’re at all interested in this subject area, this is must-read content. Thanks to Bruce for passing this along.

If you liked this entry, Digg It!
Tune: I’ll be Doggone by Marvin Gaye
Technorati Tags: | | | Mike Harding Blog

Energy, Innovation

Enormous Geothermal Canal Proposed

01.30.07 | Permalink | 3 Comments

Well here is a bold and interesting idea: Dig a long canal >128km (>80 miles) about 15 meters in diameter (~50 feet) at a depth of >5km (>3 miles) from the ocean on the Atlantic coast inland. Why? Because temperatures exceed 150C (~300F) at that depth, there is no shortage of ocean water, and the transfer of heat to that water over such a long distance would be sufficient to power a geothermal “Hoover Dam” equivalent on the eastern seaboard.

Clearly a project of this magnitude is neither easy nor cheap, but J. David Reynolds at Atlantic Geothermal is championing just such an approach. Aside from the obvious practical challenges of such a project, there are some other things like the amount of total dissolved solids in the water that would definitely need to be addressed. For instance, in the Salton Sea geothermal area in California, one must use titanium lined pipes to withstand the corrosive nature of the geothermal resource. That’s not cheap.

Nevertheless, this is a bold idea who’s feasibility will be debated hotly, no doubt. Regardless of your position on feasibility, it’s nice to see someone thinking big and sustainable.

If you liked this entry, Digg It!
Tune: Paying the Cost to be the Boss by B.B. King
Technorati Tags: | | | Mike Harding Blog


First-class, business-class, coach, and wheel well?

01.29.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on First-class, business-class, coach, and wheel well?

Unfortunately for the traveler, this story does not have a good ending. Apparently a stowaway intended to make the trip to Los Angeles in the wheel well of a British Airways 747 from London’s Heathrow. That’s a terribly long trip in the cabin, let alone in a cramped, cold, depressurized, virtually no oxygen environment. Unsurprisingly, the man was dead on arrival in LA when his body was discovered by routine inspection.

If you liked this entry, Digg It!
Tune: City of New Orleans by Arlo Guthrie
Technorati Tags: | | | Mike Harding Blog


Neat solar experiment

01.28.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Neat solar experiment

In this AP article it’s explained that a State Senator from Virginia is staying in solar-powered home designed by Virginia Tech engineering students. Frank Wagner is using this as a means to raise awareness of renewable energy and self-sufficiency by living in the house outside the Science Museum of Virginia. While the experience hasn’t been bug-free – during a 20F night the water supply froze – it has proven viable. This is a custom 800 square foot dwelling that is more of a prototype than anything else, but it’s great to see Wagner and the students make a public point on the subject.

Congrats to the folks out in Virginia for doing this, it’s a worthwhile exercise.

If you liked this entry, Digg It!
Tune: Our House by Madness
Technorati Tags: | | | Mike Harding Blog

Commentary, Humor

Bizarre news from around the world

01.27.07 | Permalink | Comments Off on Bizarre news from around the world

This is really what we need, food with buzz…Dr. Robert Bohannon has developed caffienated donuts and bagels.

In a non-related story, I guess they’ll need more guard dogs…In Kuala Lumpur 11 dogs guarding a fruit orchard have been eaten by a python.

A classic case of the common-senseless, an Irish convict due back at prison was late for his return. His solution? He stole a car to drive back to make the return deadline.

Imagine this, you’re in Israel, you go to a fancy spa, and you meet your massuese, six snakes. Guess the line between relaxaton and torture is closer than we thought.

British rail service is definitely deteriorating. These unlucky passengers were stopped by engineering work, had a replacement bus break down, and finally the train crew desert them. So much for the excellent public transport system in the UK.

Now that’s got to hurt….Mozart, the iguana had a week long erection amputated – guess that’s a lesson for all lizards to lay off the Viagra.

Saudi Arabia is at the forefront of drug addiction treatment. A judge issued a ruling that the defendant drug user memorize the entire Koran in 6 months. It’s probably a more effective treatment than AA.

If you liked this entry, Digg It!
Tune: How Bizarre by OMC
Technorati Tags: | | | Mike Harding Blog

« Previous Entries