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Renewables - Sept 19

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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage


Tides around Golden Gate are potential energy source

Cecilia M. Vega, SF Chronicle
Giant turbines submerged in the choppy waters below the Golden Gate Bridge might one day generate enough alternative energy to provide power to nearly 40,000 San Francisco homes, city officials said Monday.

The idea may sound like science fiction, but it is a real proposal backed by city leaders who hope it will decrease the city's dependence on oil and make San Francisco a hub for tidal power experimentation.
(19 Sept 2006)


Ramblers demand an end to spread of wind farms

Rob Sharp, The Observer
Victory in Scotland prompts full-scale attack on energy policy
----
The Ramblers' Association is set to announce its opposition to the construction of onshore wind farms across the country. The move is a major blow for the government, which is struggling to maintain its pledge to increase the amount of electricity generated by renewable energy sources.

The decision to try to block large wind farms in Britain follows the association's role in persuading the Scottish Executive to stop construction of a group of turbines in Perthshire on the grounds that the development would damage the environment.

'The situation arose because in Scotland wind farms are not allowed in National Parks,' said Christine Elliott, the Ramblers' chief executive. 'This is pushing them out into the hills where they are extremely visible. There will be a necklace of these wind farm developments, forming a stranglehold on the Scottish landscape.'
(17 Sept 2006)


Cold fusion is alive and well

Karl Krist, EnergyResources e-list
Contrary to other posts on this group, cold fusion is alive and well.(Although now, most researchers call it either LENR,Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, or less commonly, CANR, Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reactions.)

There are now almost 3,000 papers published on cold fusion. (That's right, 3,000, that's not a typo.)

It has been replicated in something like 100 or more labs around the world, using a variety of related metals, platinum, palladium, nickel, etc.

The reaction is difficult to start, and is INCREDIBLY sensitive to the purity of the metal used, the way in which it was refined and cast, and a host of other factors. This has made replicating the experiments difficult, but not impossible.

There are over a hundred current theories as to what the heck is going on, with maybe a half dozen or so ahead of the rest of the pack, but no one has come up with a single widely agreed upon theory yet.

Research has been slow, but promising. The early notoriety, and extreme difficulty in replicating the experiments, led to an unwarranted ridicule of the achievement. This killed most funding for the research, but successes since then, have started to change that.(12 Sept 2006)
Karl links to www.LENR-CANR.org, as a good resource on the issue. At a glance, it looks pretty reasonable. Potential influence on energy descent is obviously speculative at best. Karl comments in a later post:

I'm afraid that until a working theory on cold fusion is discovered, it's really difficult to guess at what a realistic EROEI may eventually end up being. Since no one has come up with a comprehensive theory on cold fusion in the last 17 years, it may take quite a while longer.

It's still way too early to think about using cold fusion in the commercial production of energy. It's possible that cold fusion will not turn out to be useful for commercial energy production, though I hope not. We'll just have to wait and see.

In January 2006, the Washington Post refered to ongoing cold fusion results as fraud, and a debate on that is hosted by Ludwik Kowalski of Montclair State University
-AF


Tanzania: Country Turns to Cassava for Energy
via All Africa
Jacob Bondia, East African Business Week (Kampala)
Dar Es Salaam - Millions of dollars being used now for the importation of petroleum products could be saved, thanks to an ambitious three-year pilot project on the use of cassava to produce energy sufficient enough to drive machines.

The project is run by the Tanzania Commission for Science and Technology (COSTECH).

Tanzania has spent US$1.1billion on oil imports in a period of one year starting July 2005 to about the same time this year, a situation the central bank is not comfortable with.

According to Mr. Matheo Raphael, the director COSTECH Centre for the Development and Transfer of Technology, the project will add value to cassava from being just a traditionally crucial crop for food security to industrial use and even export.
(18 Sept 2006)


Australian farmer planning diesel tree biofuel

Sidney Morning Herald
They say that money doesn't grow on trees, but a Queensland farmer believes fuel does.

Mike Jubow, a nursery wholesaler from Mackay, has begun importing seed from Brazil to plant diesel trees.

The tropical trees, which have the botanic name copaifera langsdorfii, produce a biofuel that can be tapped, filtered and used to power machinery such as tractors.

It is estimated a one hectare plantation could produce 12,000 litres of fuel a year - enough to make a small farm fuel self-sufficient.
(19 Sept 2006)


Canola: From seed to fuel

Jeannine Koranda, Tri-City Herald (SE Washington)
ECHO [Oregon] -- Crushing canola seed to make fuel makes good business sense to Echo farmer Kent Madison.

Prompted by high diesel costs and the low price of canola, he decided to stop sending his seed to Canada, where it was selling for about 8 cents a pound after shipping costs.

Instead, he bought two crushing machines off the Internet, added a building next to the farm's offices and started squeezing oil out of the tiny black seeds. Later this week, he hopes to start running at least part of his farm equipment using the homemade fuel.

"Making biodiesel isn't rocket science. It's something a kid could do for a science project," he said.

Madison, who grows about 1,000 acres of canola, is offering to buy canola seed from his neighbors for 12 cents a pound.

He isn't the only one in the region looking at ways to make canola -- which is used as a rotation crop with wheat -- more profitable.
(19 Sept 2006)
UPDATE: Reader "gearj" points out that the Tri-City Herald newspaper is located "in SE Washington (at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers, where the three cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco are located), not in Oregon."

Error corrected! What confused me is that the farmer described in the story lives in Echo, Oregon. -BA

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