Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage

Is The NYMEX Oil Market Being Manipulated?

Phil Davis, Seeking Alpha
The question is not is the NYMEX being manipulated… The question is how much is the price of oil being manipulated? We discussed the other day that the Commodities Futures Modernization Act took regulatory oversite of the oil markets away from every exchange but the NYMEX.

On that basis, it is the NYMEX that is quoted on CNBC and pretty much everywhere else the price of oil is being discussed. What you usually see quoted is the October Light Sweet Crude contract which peaked at $79.86 on 7/14, fell to $68.65 yesterday and made a spectacular recovery to $70.36 today. We rolled into October on the 25th where oil was held up to $72.50 and quickly fell off the table the next day. ..

So, it doesn’t apparently doesn’t pay to manipulate the contracts the public can’t see! In fact, as you can see from this graph (sorry it’s not a good one), it didn’t pay to pump up the October contract until the afternoon of the 25th, just as the contracts were rolling over. ..
(1 Sept 2006)
See original for links to charts.

Re-inventing nature for cheaper solar power

Sarah Brooker, Fresh Science
A research team in Sydney has created molecules that mimic those in plants which harvest light and power life on Earth.

“A leaf is an amazingly cheap and efficient solar cell,” says Dr Deanna D’Alessandro, a postdoctoral researcher in the Molecular Electronics Group at the University of Sydney. “The best leaves can harvest 30 to 40 percent of the light falling on them. The best solar cells we can build are between 15 and 20 percent efficient, and expensive to make.” “We’ve recreated some of the key systems that plants use in photosynthesis,” says Deanna.

Bacteria and green plants use photosynthesis to convert light energy into usable chemical energy. Wheel-shaped arrays of molecules called porphyrins collect light and transfer it to the hub where chemical reactions use the light energy to convert carbon dioxide into energy-rich sugar and oxygen. “This process, which occurs in about 40 trillionths of a second is fundamental to photosynthesis and is at the base of the food chain for almost all life on Earth,” says Deanna.

“We have been able to construct synthetic porphyrins. More than 100 of them can be assembled around a tree-like core called a dendrimer to mimic the wheel-shaped arrangement in natural photosynthetic systems.”
(31 Aug 2006)

Futuristic Factory Turns Trash to Cash, Landfills to Molehills

Brian Skoloff, The Tennessean/AP
St. Lucie County ,Florida, will have a $425 million plasma arc gasification plant built to convert garbage to electricity. This is the first such plant in the US and the will be the largest in the world.

It will generate heat hotter than the sun’s surface and will gasify and melt 3,000 tons of garbage a day by creating an arc between two electrodes and using high pressure air to form plasma. It’s a process similar to how lightning is formed in nature. St. Lucie County officials estimate that their entire landfill — 4.3 million tons of trash — will be gone in 18 years. ..
(19 Aug 2006)

Electrical outages hurting Austin manufacturers

Kirk Ladendorf, Austin Statesman (registration req)
Within the past three months, Samsung and Freescale Semiconductor Inc. — two of Austin Energy’s biggest customers — have faced electrical outages that shut down plants and cost them millions of dollars in lost production.

Freescale’s troubles became public early last week. Now Samsung is disclosing a June outage that lasted only about 10 minutes but shut down the plant for a week because equipment had to be cleaned, tested and recalibrated before production could resume.

“This is not a small problem for us,” Samsung spokesman Bill Cryer said. “You are talking lots of money and loss of product and equipment that has to be repaired and cleaned and so forth.” Austin Energy and top city officials have met with both companies and promised to take steps to avoid repeats. But the impact of the episodes extends beyond two of the city’s biggest high-tech employers.
(29 Aug 2006)


(X Aug 2006)