Friday, October 29, 2010

Criticism of 3 Gorges Project Helps Move Forward Hydro-Power Construction

Criticism has always haunted China's Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River.

The latest concerns have been its effect on the Earth's rotation, as the water level at the world's largest hydropower project reached its designed highest mark of 175 meters on Tuesday.
Typing the key words "three gorges earth rotation," Google's search engine showed 3,280 results, many with such sensational headings as "China's Monster Three Gorges Dam Will Slow The Rotation of The Earth."

"This is just an updated version of earlier criticism claiming the project would trigger earthquakes due to its mass," said Chen Houqun, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
He said the Three Gorges is the world's largest hydro-power project, in terms of its installed power generating capacity and dam construction, not its maximum water holding capacity of 39.3 billion cubic meters, which only ranks 22nd in the world.
Prior to the 1960s, there had already been six reservoirs on Earth, each with a water holding capacity larger than the Three Gorges. The largest one is in Zimbabwe, and the smallest in Canada.
"Compared with them, the effect of the Three Gorges on the Earth's rotation can be ignored," said the academician.
Cao Guangjing, chairman of China Three Gorges Project Corporation (CTGPC), developer of the project, said since the dam began "trial operations" at high water levels of close to 175 meters this year, the largest earth tremor detected near the reservoir area was measured at 2.3 on the Richter scale and located in Badong County, Chongqing Municipality.
"Both intensity and frequency of the quakes were even lower than that recorded in 2008 and 2009, when the water level was kept at 135 meters and 156 meters, respectively, " he said.
Cao said Tuesday that the water level would be maintained at 175 meters for about two months for surveillance and then be allowed to drop. In the future, the water level would be kept at between 145 meters and 175 meters, depending on flood control needs.
Pan Jiazheng, a member of both the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the gigantic hydro-power project has been controversial from the beginning, but criticism has helped prompt authorities to take extra measures, ensuring the project's efficiency and safety.
"I was one of the opponents of the project," he said.
Pan added that he was opposed to the dam for three reasons: The project would cause sediment build-up problems, it caused the unprecedented relocation of millions of people, and huge investments were allocated that might overburden the government's finances.
The Chinese government launched its feasibility study of the Three Gorges Project in 1984 after 30 years of reconnaissance and preparation work. Two years later, when the State Council invited 412 experts to review the feasibility reports, Pan, then chief engineer of the hydro-power department of the Ministry of Energy, was appointed as deputy director of the expert group.
"As an opponent, I was aware that the government was ready to hear different opinions and trusted expertise in the reasoning of the feasibility," said Pan.
In the ensuing three years, dozens of subsidiary panels were set up to tackle the key problems raised by critics, including possibilities of geological and ecological disasters, hydrological problems, sediment, budgets, relocation, flood-control, navigation on the Yangtze River, comprehensive economic benefits and other issues.
The final conclusion drawn by Pan's group was that the project could bring more merits than negative effects.
"Looking back, we have seen many doubts and questions were invalid. But the opposing views have prompted the authorities to be prudent in their decision-making and continuously improve its management, construction standards and boost the technological renovation," Pan said.
According to CTGPC, the total investment on the project reached 185 billion yuan (27 billion U.S. dollars), including money spent for relocating residents, by the end of 2009.
This amount is within the predicted budget in the 1989 feasibility report proposed by Pan's group.
Regarding the sediment problem, the latest monitoring results suggested the reservoir could maintain 90 percent of its water holding capacity after operating for 100 years at the current speed of silting.
The results were even more optimistic than the previous design for avoiding sediment pile-up at the dam, which was aimed to maintain the capacity at 85 percent 100 years later.
Cao said the resolution of the sediment problem should be attributed to "opponents" led by Huang Wanli, who warned that the danger of sediment piling up could ruin the project.
"Silting has been listed by the developers of the Three Gorges Project as one of the major technical problems that they faced. A lot of investment has gone into resolving the problem," said Prof. Wang Jun, a Chinese water control specialist with the Yangtze River Water Resources Committee.
Further, CTGPC chairman Cao said storing water at the dam's full capacity does not mean complete success for the project. It does, however, allow for testing of various public concerns and doubts raised since the very beginning, such as the functioning of key equipment, geological disasters and water quality.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

MIT develops solar-powered, portable desalination system

More good news about the fresh water supply!!
Researchers from MIT's Field and Space Robotics Laboratory (FSRL) have designed a portable, solar-powered desalination system that is cost-effective and easy to assemble to bring drinkable water in disaster zones and remote regions around the globe.

Relief efforts in the aftermath of large-scale natural disasters often call for water as one of the very first priorities: such was the case in the Haiti earthquake back in January. When coping with disasters of this scale the possibility to obtain drinkable water locally, such as by desalination of sea water, dramatically improves the effectiveness of the rescue efforts.
Desalination systems, however, are usually quite large and need a lot of energy to operate; these situations, instead, call for a quick, effective way to turn seawater into drinkable water in loco, with a small and portable system that doesn't need external sources of electrical power to work.

The system developed by MIT researchers does exactly this, and its characteristics make it particularly apt to the task of assisting people in emergency situations. It's designed so it can be cost-effectively assembled from standard parts and put into operation within hours even without the need of technicians. Its specifics mean the apparatus could also found use in remote areas where supplying energy and clean water can be logistically complex, such as desert locations or small villages in developing countries.

Photovoltaic panels power high-pressure pumps that push seawater through a filtering membrane. Unlike conventional solar-powered desalination systems that run on battery power when direct sunlight is not available, this system can operate efficiently even in cloudy conditions. Algorithms in the system's computer can change variables such as the power of the pump or the position of the valves to maximize water output in response to changing weather and current water demand.

As a result, the prototype can yield as many as 80 gallons of water a day in a variety of weather conditions while a larger version of the unit, which would only cost about US$8,000 to construct, could provide about 1,000 gallons of water per day. Because of its reduced dimensions, the team estimated that one C-130 cargo airplane could transport two dozen desalination units, enough to provide water for 10,000 people.
The researchers are now working on improving the system's efficiency even further and to change its design to make it more durable. The research was funded by MIT's Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy and the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. Read more here.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Japan Offers To Build A Hydrogen Plant in Sakhalin

The plant will work on wind power
VLADIVOSTOK, October 21, The first Sakhalin Area deputy Prime Minister Sergey SHEREDKIN had a meeting with Mr. Sengiti SIAMOTO, the President of the International wind hydrogen Inc., Japan, as the Sakhalin Area Administration press service reported to RIA PrimaMedia. They discussed the construction of a hydrogen wind-power plant.

The Japanese company has actively promoted this project. The parties agreed on the necessity of the investment project and stated that economic rationale will be completed during 2010’2012.
The representatives of several area ministries also took part in the meeting (Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Protection, Ministry of Economic Development, Ministry of Power Supply and Housing). The Japanese party was represented by the Research Institute of the North-Eastern Asia Economy and Institute of New Power, Tokyo University. Read more here.

Warmists plot secretly to kill off the Medieval Warming Period. Again

Remember how one of the great ambitions of the Climategate “scientists” was to “contain” the “putative” Medieval Warming Period? Well – guess what – they’re STILL at it.
Michael Mann, Phil Jones, Jonathan Overpeck, Eugene Wahl, Malcolm Hughes – just about anyone who’s anyone from the Climategate emails, in fact – have all been on a clandestine boondoggle to sunny Portugal, there to conspire how best to obliterate that embarrassing and inconvenient period of bounteous warmth between around 900 AD and 1280 AD

Pretend ruins of fake 12th century Viking
church moved to Greenland by Booker,
Delingpole, North et al last year in cynical
bid to pretend the MWP actually existed

known as the MWP.
Anthony Watts has the full story. The bit that interests me most is the size of their carbon footprint? And even more so, who actually grant-funded all these shysters to fly to Portugal for their weekend reality-denial fest? And even more, more so if it was us – which of course it was, via our governments, the UN and the EU – why we can’t have our money back NOW.
Wattsy’s site was responsible for another classic this week which you must read if you haven’t already: Willis Eschenbach’s magisterial and hilarious essay Eight tenths of a degree? Think of the Grandchildren! I met Eschenbach at Heartland: terrifyingly loud shirts and an aura of tousled levity and almost childlike sweetness which might give you the impression that he’s just a barmy eccentric. Make no mistake, though, this man is a genius. I’ll reprint the opening paragraphs to give you a taste:
James Hansen and others say that we owe it to our Grandchildren to get this climate question right. Hansen says “Grandchildren” with a capital G when he speaks of them so I will continue the practice. I mean, for PR purposes, Grandchildren with a capital letter outrank even Puppies with a capital letter, and I can roll with that.
In any case Hansen got me to thinking about the world of 2050. Many, likely even most people reading this in 2010 will have Grandchildren in 2050. Heck, I might have some myself. So I started to consider the world we will leave our Grandchildren in 2050.
In a recent post here on WUWT, Thomas Fuller floated a proposal that we adopt a couple of degrees as the expected temperature rise over the century. He says in the comments to his thread that
I think we owe it to the people of the world to give them an idea of how much warming they can expect, so they can plan their buildings, businesses, roads and lives. They matter. They don’t care how much of it is due to CO2 or how much is rebound from a LIA due to forcings we don’t understand. They don’t. They probably shouldn’t.
We have temperature rises that we can almost trust from 1958 that show a trend of about 2 degrees for this century if things go on.
To start with, I don’t think we owe people anything more than the scientific truth as we understand it. And if we don’t understand it, as in the case of what the climate may be like over the rest of this century, we definitely owe it to the people to simply say “We don’t know”. Those three little words, so hard to say … so no, we don’t owe people a number if we don’t have one. Keep reading here.

Good side of UN snub

Canada should take this opportunity to tell global body to stuff it on climate change

Let’s look at the potential bright side of Canada’s humiliating loss of a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council Tuesday to … wait for it … Portugal!

Could this international slap in the face to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives — voting an economic basket case like Portugal onto the Security Council instead of us — finally knock some sense into the Tories on climate change?
Face it, folks, the UN hates us. It really, really hates us.
You can’t support Israel and condemn Hamas with this crowd and expect to come up smelling like roses.
Thus punched in the gut by the — with few exceptions — nest of vipers known as the UN General Assembly, will the Conservatives now do the sensible thing and pull us out of the UN’s negotiations to draft a successor agreement to the Kyoto accord?
Negotiations which, if successful, will be a train wreck for Canada’s still fragile — as Finance Minister Jim Flaherty now acknowledges — recovery?
I’m hoping the answer is “yes.”
I’m betting the answer is “no.”
And that, inexplicably, Canada’s delegation, presumably led by Environment Minister Jim Prentice, will merrily head off to yet another round of UN global warming negotiations in Cancun next month, only to have the living crap kicked out of it by its domestic and foreign political and environmental enemies.
They’ll point to Canada’s first-ever failure to obtain a temporary seat on the Security Council as divine punishment for our original sin of failing to implement the economically devastating (to us) Kyoto accord, even though we’re only responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
In response, we’ll insist we’re doing our part, at which point we’ll be hit with a tsunami of orchestrated indignation.
If you thought things were bad at the UN’s climate talks in Copenhagen last December, where we “won” the “Colossal Fossil” award as the world’s worst global warming offender — even though that’s China — you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
This is the continuing fallout of Jean Chretien’s dumb display of hubris when he ratified the Kyoto accord without having any idea of how to implement it, the root cause of why we’re impossibly behind our Kyoto targets today and why implementing it now would be an economic disaster.
That’s why I want the old Harper back. The one who, when he was Canadian Alliance leader, correctly identified Kyoto (and its spawn) as a socialist, money-sucking scheme to transfer wealth from “rich” countries to “poor” ones — with emerging economic powerhouses like China and India, bizarrely defined as “poor.”
Now we have a new Harper, who, while admittedly much saner on this issue than the opposition parties, pays lip service to the Kyoto process, while failing to implement the Kyoto accord, because he knows it would devastate our economy.
On Tuesday, the Conservatives, worried Canadians will blame them for our humiliation at the UN, fingered Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff for not supporting Canada’s bid for a Security Council seat.
Problem is, the Conservatives engineered this gambit. Nobody forced them to do it.
Instead, since the UN has handed us a lemon, let’s make lemonade.
That’s why Harper should use this snub as an opportunity to say goodbye to the UN’s insane global negotiations on climate change.


More Details about greencell technologies, green cell tech here.

GreenCell Technologies, Canada: Today, virtually all commercial trucks are powered by diesel fuel, while private cars are fueled by gasoline. Supported by our National Energy Policy, a new generation of technologies is currently being developed that allow the use of hydrogen as a fuel to power cars and trucks. In the future, hydrogen may be used in one of three ways to power vehicles:
To produce electricity in a fuel cell, As a replacement for gasoline or diesel fuel in an internal combustion engine,1 or GreenCell Technologies, Canada: As a supplement to gasoline or diesel fuel used in an internal combustion engine. This document is intended to be a safety reference for commercial vehicle fleet owners and operators that use vehicles or auxiliary power units powered by hydrogen fuel. It was designed to provide commercial vehicle owners and operators with a basic understanding of the properties and characteristics of hydrogen, descriptions of the types of systems that might use hydrogen fuel on commercial vehicles, and practical guidelines for the safe use of hydrogen, both on vehicles and in vehicle maintenance and storage facilities.
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in our universe. In addition to being a component of all living things, hydrogen and oxygen together make up water, which covers 70 percent of the earth. In its pure form, hydrogen is a gas at normal temperatures and pressures; it is the lightest gas (even lighter than helium), with only 7 percent of the density of air. If you get it cold enough (-423 °F), gaseous hydrogen will liquefy, and it can be transported and stored in this form.
GreenCell Technologies, Canada: There is virtually no "free" hydrogen on earth--all of it is combined with other elements (mostly oxygen or carbon) in other substances. Every molecule of water contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Hydrocarbon fuels such as coal, gasoline, diesel, and natural gas also contain hydrogen. In the case of gasoline and diesel fuel, there are approximately two hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom, while natural gas contains four hydrogen atoms for every carbon atom. To be used as a fuel, hydrogen is typically separated from either water (via electrolysis) or from a hydrocarbon fuel (via reforming).
Regardless of whether hydrogen fuel will be used in a fuel cell main engine, a fuel cell APU, or an internal combustion engine, there are different ways that it can be stored on the vehicle. Some fuel stations include liquid hydrogen storage, but on the vehicle, hydrogen is usually stored as a gas at high pressure. It is also possible to store a liquid fuel (gasoline, diesel, or methanol) onboard a vehicle and then use an onboard reformer to separate the hydrogen just before it is used in the fuel cell engine. While this requires additional equipment on the vehicle, it removes the need for high-pressure gas storage. These different storage technologies can introduce significantly different potential hazards, including very high pressure (gaseous hydrogen storage), very low temperature (liquid hydrogen storage), or high temperature (liquid fuel reforming).
GreenCell Technologies, Canada: All motor fuels, including diesel fuel, gasoline, and natural gas also pose risks of fire and explosion if handled improperly. Hydrogen is no different. While there are risks, hydrogen can be as safe, or safer, than diesel and other fuels when vehicles and fuel stations are designed and operated properly. All fuels require particular design and handling practices based on their properties, and all present certain hazards when mishandled. Understanding the properties of hydrogen is necessary to understanding what is required to use it safely.
GreenCell Technologies, Canada: Hydrogen gas is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and noncorrosive--and it is nontoxic to humans. It has the second widest flammability range in air of any gas, but leaking hydrogen gas rises and diffuses to a nonflammable mixture quickly. Hydrogen ignites very easily and burns hot, but tends to burn out quickly. A hydrogen flame burns very cleanly, producing virtually no soot, which means that it is also virtually invisible. The extremely low temperature of liquid hydrogen poses a severe frostbite hazard to exposed skin.

HHO Hydrogen – The New Age Fuel!

Hydrogen fuel is slowly becoming popular all over. Though tests are still being conducted to check its efficiency and the advantages that it can provide over the other fuels, the demand for HHO hydrogen is definitely on a rise. A time may come in the future when we will have hydrogen fuel station in every corner of the world, well who knows!

There are hydrogen cars which specifically run on HHO fuel but the engine of the normal cars can also be changed to make it suitable for hydrogen fuel. For the fuel to become popular, the source of hydrogen will have to become stable first. Cars that run only on hydrogen are not available in the market as of now but few companies are expected to launch such cars by 2010.
A car that will run on hydrogen will not only be environmental friendly but also give a great mileage. In fact such vehicles are expected to run for a month before they require another tank refilling. The mileage is likely to go up by 35-100%. Few hydrogen fuels are available in the market but because the source if so limited, they are highly priced and out of reach for the common man. In the current scenario it is better to covert the engine of your car to make it compatible with hydrogen fuel rather than buying the expensive hydrogen fuel cars.
These cars use water in place of gasoline and this will save you a lot of money. One of the biggest problems that we face today is of scarcity of energy resources. The type of fuel is likely to solve this problem in the coming years.

DOE reveals hydrogen and fuel cells plan

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed a draft version of its Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program Plan, which is now available for public comment through to November 30, 2010.

The DOE has been advancing hydrogen and fuel cell technologies over the last few years with a number of steps taken towards commercialisation, such as reducing the cost and improving the durability of fuel cells while also reducing the cost of producing and delivering hydrogen.
Now the programme looks at overcoming the remaining barriers towards widespread commercialisation of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for transportation, stationary and portable applications. It will also identify specific obstacles that each program activity addresses.
The key goals are to develop hydrogen and fuel cell technologies for early markets, such as stationary power, lift trucks and portable power; mid-term markets including CHP systems, auxiliary power units, fleets and buses; and long-term markets such as light duty vehicles, in the 2015-2020 timeframe.
It also outlines goals for developing technologies for production including reducing the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable resources; reducing the cost of delivering, storing and dispensing hydrogen; and improving the performance and reducing the cost of hydrogen storage systems.
As part of the transportation sector, the DOE is looking at applying fuel cells in auxiliary power units for trucks, aircraft, ships and rail engines; as well as motive power for light duty vehicles, specialty vehicles and buses. More here.

Historical Climate Data from Old Ship Logs

Historical data from National Maritime Museum on Vimeo. is where you can help improve reconstructions of past weather and climate across the world by finding and recording historical weather observations in handwritten Royal Navy ship logs.
The problem? Computers get confused by modern handwriting, much less the swooping script of the early-Twentieth-century Royal Navy Sailors. The solution? Helpful people like you. In the mood for some high-seas adventure? Cruise over to Old Weather, view their tutorial, pull up a page from a ship’s log, and transcribe it, today!
We must not let climate activists do the transcribing – we must keep an accurate record!
I bet they will discover that it was cold in the winter, hot in the summer and the fall and the spring were somewhere in-between. The weather does change and it’s unpredictable every season. Anyhoo- I thought this was a nifty idea. Anyone have extra time to transcribe some old ships logs? I didn’t think so. Ah well.
More here.

McGuinty fees draw protest outside Ottawa office

Increasing cost of hydro-power becoming a major issue for Ontario Government. It is sad to see the abundance of potential hydro-power in Ontario going unharnessed.
Premier Dalton McGuinty responds to unfavourable polls that show his government is losing support, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010.
A group against taxes implemented by the Dalton McGuinty government protested Saturday outside the premier's Ottawa constituency office.
The taxpayers said they are anxiously awaiting next year's provincial election. The group has been vocal against the scrapped eco tax, the HST, the e-health scandal and the rising costs of hydro.
The group also held a rally outside former liberal MPP and mayoral candidate Jim Watson's office that afternoon.

Alt-fuel vehicles draw small but dedicated crowd

The technology is there, but the people aren't.
A display of 20 or so alternative-fuel vehicles on Friday had drawn only a handful of visitors by noon, illustrating what organizers say is their toughest challenge.
The one-day National Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey expo was hosted at East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa by the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition to showcase hydrogen, electric and natural-gas-powered vehicles.
When it comes to switching to a vehicle that is less dependent on traditional fuel, there is little that stands in the way of the general public, except awareness and a stigma about alternative-fuel choices, said Bill Sheaffer, executive director of the Valley of the Sun Clean Cities Coalition.
"There is sort of an atmosphere of putting down any kind of alternative fuel, and a lot of it is myth and urban legend," Sheaffer said.
It was a sentiment echoed by Mary Meadows, CEO of H2 Pure Power in Tempe, who was showing her fuel-supplementing hydrogen unit at the expo to anyone who would give her the time.
"We just want to educate people and dispel the myths about hydrogen," Meadows said.
One of those myths is that hydrogen is dangerous and that consumers would have to store and fill large tanks of it to fuel their car. "Everyone thinks that it's highly flammable because everyone thinks about the Hindenburg," she said. Meadows said her unit only converts small amounts of hydrogen from water and mixes it with regular fuel to help it burn more efficiently. While the unit doesn't replace regular fuel, it reduces emissions, cleans the engine and boosts gas mileage, she said.
Vendor Dave Bregant, a sales manager with SanTan Honda in Chandler, said the alternative-fuel industry is caught in a "chicken and the egg" dilemma.
While the infrastructure of fueling and charging stations is slowly growing, there is a need for more vehicles on the road to financially support that growth. It's frustrating, Bregant said, because he doesn't believe there has been enough effort from governments to support a large-scale switch to cleaner fuels.
"The technology is all there, they just won't let it out of the box," he said. It's true that infrastructure is still a challenge, Sheaffer said, but many vehicles are now designed to be more flexible to eliminate some of the anxiety about how far vehicles can venture from a specialized fueling or charging station. Some ethanol cars can now be fueled with regular gas, and regular diesel can substitute for bio-diesel in a pinch, he said.
"We now have personal vehicles that the public can take their pick from," he said. "Our goal is to get the word out." More here.

Guidelines For Use Of Hydrogen Fuel In Commercial Vehicles

Good information on the safe use of hydrogen for commerce.
GreenCell Technologies, Canada: In some ways, a gaseous hydrogen fuel leak is less dangerous than a leak of diesel fuel or gasoline. Leaking diesel fuel and gasoline can puddle and spread over a large area, and the puddles will persist because they evaporate slowly. Gaseous hydrogen leaks tend to be vertical, with only a relatively narrow area/volume in which a flammable mixture existsthe hydrogen quickly rises and dissipates in open air to nonhazardous levels.
If designed properly, the most likely location of a major hydrogen leak from a vehicle will be through the pressure relief device (PRD) on the hydrogen fuel storage cylinders, which should vent away from the occupied area of the vehicle. PRDs are designed to vent the entire contents of a hydrogen tank in only a few minutesafter which there is no lingering risk of hydrogen fire or explosion if the release was in the open air. Large hydrogen leaks inside buildings are more dangerous unless the facility has been designed to evacuate the leaked gas and to minimize ignition sources at ceiling level.
GreenCell Technologies, Canada - Leaking liquid hydrogen can pool and spread, but will quickly evaporate as it is heated by the surrounding air. The distance it will spread and the rate of evaporation will depend on the size of the leak and on ambient conditions. As it evaporates, the cloud of gaseous hydrogen formed over the spill may move horizontally as it rises and dissipates. This hydrogen cloud may be cold enough to cause frostbite to exposed skin and should be avoided.
While diesel fuel and gasoline leaks are easily visible and accompanied by a strong characteristic smell, gaseous hydrogen leaks are invisible and odorless. The only indication of a gaseous hydrogen leak may be a whistling noise similar to escape of other high-pressure gases. A liquid hydrogen leak may be accompanied by an area of fog surrounding the leaking hydrogen and/or the formation of frost on the tank or lines in the vicinity of the leak, because the super cold hydrogen cools the surrounding air and causes water vapor to condense.
Based on hydrogens chemical and physical properties, there are a number of general principles that govern safe design and use of hydrogen fuel. These are essentially the same principles that apply to the use of any gaseous fuel (e.g., natural gas), but their application may be slightly different based on the properties of hydrogen. The most important safety principle in any situation is educationmaking anyone who will come into contact with a vehicle aware of a potential hazard. For hydrogen and other alternative-fueled vehicles, this is done with appropriate labeling to let users, emergency responders, and the public know that hydrogen is present.
GreenCell Technologies, Canada - As with other motor fuels, fire and explosions are the most significant everyday hazards associated with hydrogen. Also as with other fuels, a hydrogen leak from a vehicles fuel or engine system, or from a fueling station, provides the starting point for all fire and explosion hazards. Safe design for using hydrogen, both for vehicles and for fuel stations and buildings, therefore, requires attention to these safety principles: Properly label all vehicles that use hydrogen fuel. Avoid fire and explosion by: Avoiding leaks through proper design and maintenance, Providing leak detection systems to detect leaks and, if a leak is detected, shut off the fuel system as soon as possible, Removing ignition sources from areas where leaked hydrogen might be present, and GreenCell Technologies, Canada - Properly ventilating all enclosed spaces where leaked hydrogen might accumulate. These general principles translate into specific design and operating requirements for hydrogen-fueled vehicles, the facilities that will house or maintain them, and hydrogen fuel stations. In most aspects, commercial vehicles powered by hydrogen will be identical to those powered by diesel fuel, but some hydrogen-specific design elements are required. Likewise, operation of these vehicles will be similar to operation of diesel-fueled vehicles, with a few exceptions. Each vehicle manufacturer will develop their own designs, which are likely to vary significantly in the details, while adhering to the same general design principles noted above.
Author Description :
GreenCell Technologies Inc is a Canadian company dedicated to designing and bringing to market, technology-based products in the alternative energy market. The current product is called the HydroCell, an on-board on-demand hydrogen generator engineered specifically for Diesel Transport Trucks.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Electrified nano filter could mean cheap drinking water

By Ben Coxworth
Yi Cui, an Assistant Professor of Material Science and Engineering at Stanford University, has invented quite the water filter. It’s inexpensive, is very resistant to clogging, and uses much less electricity than systems that require the water to be pumped through them. It also kills bacteria, as opposed to just trapping them, which is all that many existing systems do.
Cui and his Stanford colleagues started with a basic cotton filter, as the material is cheap, widely-available and robust. Next, they covered it with sub-microscopic silver nanowires, as silver nanoparticles are well-known for their antibacterial qualities. They then added a layer of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to increase the filter’s electrical conductivity, as electricity is also known to be lethal to bacteria. Finally, they experimented with running various strengths of electrical currents through the device, eventually settling at 20 volts.
When subjected to a 1 liter-per-hour gravity-fed stream of E. coli-tainted water, the water flowed through the filter relatively quickly and easily, due to its large pores – at tens to hundreds of micrometers in width, the pores are much wider than individual bacterium, and much wider than the pores of most filtering media. This should minimize occurrences of the filter becoming clogged with bacterial matter, a condition known as biofouling.

After samples of the filtered water had been left in agar dishes overnight, it was found that up to 98 percent of the bacteria had been killed. Given the water’s flow rate, it was calculated that the bacteria only needed to be in the filter for a little over one second for lethal exposure to occur. A combination of the silver, the electrical field, and/or changes in the water chemistry caused by the electricity were responsible, although the scientists are still trying to figure out just how much of a role each of those factors played.

The researchers are now investigating how effective the material is at killing other microorganisms, and whether or not trace silver and CNT residue in the filtered water is cause for concern. They are also looking into using the filter for purifying air, foods and pharmaceuticals.
The research was recently published in the journal Nano Letters.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Japanese company lays claim to world's cheapest hydrogen production process

At least half of the world’s usable hydrogen is obtained through a process known as steam reforming, in which steam reacts with fossil fuels such as natural gas to produce hydrogen gas. On a smaller scale, hydrogen can also be obtained through the process of electrolysis, in which ordinary water is split into its oxygen and hydrogen components by running an electrical current through it – consumers can even buy their own electrolysis-based home hydrogen extraction kit, in the form of the HYDROFILL. Now, however, Japan’s FUKAI Environmental Research Institute has announced a new technology for obtaining hydrogen that it claims is less expensive and more efficient than anything that’s been tried so far.

FUKAI’s process involves adding aluminum or magnesium to boiling “functional water,” a proprietary substance that can be produced simply by running regular tap water through a natural mineral-containing "functional water generation unit.” The bonds that join hydrogen and oxygen molecules in regular water, which ordinarily require some energy to break, are weakened in functional water.
The liquid yields 2 liters (122 cubic inches) of hydrogen gas per gram of aluminum, or 3.3 liters (201 cubic inches) per gram of magnesium. FUKAI claims that the cost of producing enough hydrogen to generate 1kWh of electricity is about 18 cents US. That cost could be lowered through the use of recycled aluminum.
The technology is said to not involve the expansive facilities, petroleum-based fuels, or CO2 output of steam reformation. It is also reportedly more energy-efficient than electrolysis, and doesn’t require the growing of crops necessary for experimental biomass-based systems.
“If we make the most of this technology, in the future it will be possible to run automobiles using water only – no need to use gasoline or electricity,” stated Toshiharu Fukai, the developer of the system. “We are also pushing forward with technology that will allow us to generate hydrogen with zero cost. If we succeed in this development, even ordinary households will be able to produce hydrogen.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Climatic Change Effects on Earth's Biosphere

From CO2 Science:
In commemorating the publication of the 100th volume of the journal Climatic Change, Norman Rosenberg -- who says he "takes pleasure in being able to claim guest editorship or co-editorship of fully 5% of these 100 volumes" -- was asked to contribute an overview paper to a celebratory issue dealing with the progress that had occurred since the journal's inception in the interrelated areas of climate change, agriculture and water resources, which -- at the valedictory age of eighty -- Rosenberg does quite admirably.

He begins by noting that the "overarching concern" of the volumes he edited was "to gain understanding of how climatic change affects agricultural production, unmanaged ecosystems and water resources; how farmers, foresters and water managers can strengthen these sectors against the negative impacts of climatic change and capitalize on positive impacts if any; how they can adapt to impacts that cannot be so modified or ameliorated and how they can contribute directly or indirectly to mitigation of anthropogenic climatic change -- as, for example, through soil carbon sequestration and the production of biomass to substitute in part for the fossil fuels that are adding CO2 to the atmosphere."
When he gets to the end of his essay, and it is time to make a summary statement, Rosenberg writes in his closing paragraph that "it seems difficult to say with assurance that the 'state-of-the-art' in projecting climatic change impacts on agriculture and water resources and unmanaged ecosystems is, today, that much better than it was 30 years ago," noting that "the uncertainty and lack of agreement in GCMs is still too great." He reports that "much can and has been learned about possible outcomes," but he goes on to say that "for actual planning and policy purposes we are still unable to assure those who need to know that we can forecast where, when and how much agriculture (as well as unmanaged ecosystems and water resources) will be affected by climatic change."
In expressing these sentiments, Rosenberg exemplifies the humility of the true scientist, who -- attempting to comprehend the complexity of the world of nature and its innermost workings -- is well aware of his own limitations and those of all seekers of such truths. Although much has been learned, as he outlines in the body of his remarks, that which is known pales in comparison to that which is needed to be known "for actual planning and policy purposes," as he describes it. And thereby Rosenberg highlights, by unavoidable juxtaposition on our part, what we all must recognize to be the audacity of those who claim that "the science is settled," and that we must act now to do what they prescribe to "save the planet." Such is definitely not the case.
Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso
Rosenberg, N.J. 2010. Climate change, agriculture, water resources: what do we tell those that need to know? Climatic Change 100: 113-117.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Equal Time not Afforded to Dissenting Views – Again!

Hal Lewis: My Resignation From The American Physical Society – an important moment in science history

Posted on October 8, 2010 by Anthony Watts
We’ve previously covered the APS here, when I wrote:

"While Copenhagen and its excesses rage, a quiet revolution is starting."
Indeed, not so quiet now. It looks like it is getting ugly inside with the public airing of the resignation of a very prominent member who writes:
I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.- Hal Lewis
Below is his resignation letter made public today, via the GWPF.
This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.

What I would really like to see though, is this public resignation letter given the same editorial space as Michael Mann in today’s Washington Post. Read more here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Thanksgiving Story From Charles Adler

Tax Cuts for the "Rich" (Ten Men in a Restaurant)

I was having lunch at a great restaurant with one of my favourite clients last week and the conversation turned to the government’s recent round of tax cuts. “I’m opposed to those tax cuts,” the retired university teacher declared, “because they benefit the rich. The rich get much more money back than ordinary taxpayers like you and I and that’s not fair.”
“But the rich pay more in the first place,” I argued, “so it stands to reason that they’d get more money back.” I could tell that my friend was unimpressed by this meager argument. Even university teachers are prisoners of a myth that the “rich” somehow get a free ride in Canada. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Let’s put tax cuts in terms everyone can understand. Suppose that every day 10 men go to PJ’s for dinner. The bill for all ten comes to $100. If it was paid the way we pay our taxes, the first four men would pay nothing; the fifth would pay $1; the sixth would pay $3; the seventh $7; the eighth $12, the ninth $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
The ten men ate dinner in the restaurant every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement until the owner threw them a curve. Since you are all such good customers, he said, I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily meal by $20. Now dinner for the ten costs only $80.
The first four are unaffected. They still eat for free. Can you figure out how to divvy up the $20 savings among the remaining six so that everyone gets their fair share? The men realize that $20 divided by 6 is $3.33, but if they subtract that from everybody’s share, the fifth man and the sixth man would end up being paid to eat their meal. The restaurant owner suggested that it would be more fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.
And so the fifth man paid nothing; the sixth pitched in $2, the seventh paid $5, the eighth paid $9, the ninth paid $12, leaving the tenth man with a bill of $52 instead of $59. Outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.
“I only got a dollar out of the $20,” declared the sixth man pointing to the tenth. “and he got $7!”
“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got seven times more than me!
“That’s true,” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $7 back when I got only two. The wealthy get all the breaks.”
“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison. “We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor.”
The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night he didn’t show up for dinner, so the nine sat down and ate without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They were $52 short.
And that, boys and girls and college instructors, is how Canada’s tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes, get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up at the table any more. There’s lots of good restaurants in Switzerland and the Caribbean.
This is an allegory adapted from one published years ago in a Chicago Newspaper
Thanks for listening to Charles Adler
We aim to Engage, Enlighten and Inspire