Archive | Energy & Fuels

Boston Energy Developer Reaches for the Sun and Solar Power Plants

BOSTON, Dec. 4 (UPI) — Environmental officials in Massachusetts gave approval to a developer previously jailed protesting nuclear power to build a 650 kilowatt solar power plant.

Developer John Rosenthal, jailed three times in the 1970s and 1980s, received critical support for the $500 million Fenway Center, which will include 1,200 solar panels, enough to power a new commuter rail station Rosenthal is also building, The Boston Globe reported Friday.

The building, designed to straddle the Massachusetts Turnpike, also requires permission from the state’s Department of Transportation before it can go up. But Rosenthal said he was thrilled with the environmental approval for the project, which has been in design stages for 10 years.

“To leverage my business to produce green power is a dream come true for me,” he said. “This is certainly a wonderful turn of events.”

Rosenthal plans to place an educational kiosk in the rail station and sell power to tenants of the Fenway Center, the Globe said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Nuclear, Solar, Transportation0 Comments

MIT's Proposed Green Power Plant

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 4 (UPI) — Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have proposed a new type of natural-gas electric power plant that could provide electricity with zero carbon dioxide emissions.

The system, based on solid-oxide fuel cells that produce power from fuel without burning it, would not emit any carbon dioxide or other gases into the air. Instead, it would produce a stream of mostly pure carbon dioxide, which could be harnessed and stored underground through carbon capture and sequestration.

The system, proposed by postdoctoral associate Thomas Adams and Paul I. Barton, the Lammot du Pont Professor of Chemical Engineering of MIT, runs on natural gas, considered to be more environmentally friendly than coal or oil. According to the researchers, natural gas is a relatively plentiful fuel source, with proven global reserves expected to last about 60 years at current consumption rates.

Natural gas power plants currently produce an average of 1,135 pounds of carbon dioxide for every megawatt-hour of electricity produced, which is half to one-third the amount emitted from coal plants.

Conventional natural gas plants with CCS typically consume large amounts of water. But the proposed MIT system produces clean water, Adams said, that could be treated to provide potable water.

The system would not require any new technology, but instead would combine existing components or ones that are already well under development, in a novel configuration for which the researchers have applied for a patent.

The basic principles of the plant have been successfully demonstrated in a number of smaller units, including a 250-kilowatt plant. Practical application of such systems, Adams said, is “not very far away at all” and could be ready for commercialization within a few years.

“This is near-horizon technology,” he said in a MIT release.

When it comes to generating electricity, “the cheapest fuel will always be pulverized coal,” Adams said.

Adams and Barton, with funding from the BP-MIT Conversion Research Program, used computer simulations to analyze the relative costs and performance of the system, comparing it to existing or proposed generating systems, including coal-powered systems incorporating carbon capture technologies.

Adams pointed out that when there is some form of carbon pricing — which attempts to take into account the true price exacted on the environment by greenhouse gas emissions — “ours is the lowest price option,” if the pricing is more than about $15 per metric tons of emitted carbon dioxide.

If the cap-and-trade provisions of the Clean Energy and Security Act were enacted, Adams said, the actual price of carbon per ton would vary, as determined by the market.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Coal, Consumption, Electricity, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Engineering, Fuel Cells, Natural Gas, Other, Science, Space, & Technology0 Comments

New Ocean Wave Energy System Developed

COLORADO SPRINGS, Dec. 1 (UPI) — U.S. researchers say they’ve developed a durable and efficient ocean wave-energy system that could be placed at any ocean location or depth.

The aerospace researchers from the U.S. Air Force Academy said their system uses lift, instead of drag, to turn a turbine’s propeller blades, with gear-driven or direct-drive generators converting the wave energy into electric energy. They noted active controls can pivot the blades to prevent damage to the system when storms produce wave energy of destructive force.

The researchers, led by Stefan Siegel, use a cycloidal propeller — a design now in wide use for propellers of tugboats, ferries and other highly maneuverable ships. They said they can change the propeller’s orientation from horizontal to vertical, as well as developing control systems for each propeller blade.

The scientists said they are currently using laboratory models less than 3.2 feet in diameter. A larger version that is to be 131 feet across is to be tested next year at a tsunami wave basin at Oregon State University.

The findings were presented last month in Minneapolis during a meeting of the American Physical Society.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Other1 Comment

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Interior view of Iranian and foreign technicians work at Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear power plant, 755 miles south of the capital Tehran,Iran, in photo released on November 30,2009. Iran announced plans to build ten uranium-enrichment plants, drawing sharp international criticism and fueling fears the country wants to build a nuclear weapon. UPI/ISNA/Mehdi Ghasemi

Date Taken: December 1, 2009

Posted in Energy & Fuels1 Comment

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant

A general view shows the reactor building of Iran’s Bushehr Nuclear power plant, 755 miles south of the capital Tehran,Iran, in photo release on November 30,2009. Iran announced plans to build ten uranium-enrichment plants, drawing sharp international criticism and fueling fears the country wants to build a nuclear weapon. UPI/ISNA/Mehdi Ghasemi

Date Taken: December 1, 2009

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Nuclear0 Comments

$120 Million Dollar Wind Farm Approved for Nova Scotia

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Dec. 1 (UPI) — A provincial utility regulator in Nova Scotia has approved the construction of a $120 million wind turbine farm that can power 10,000 homes.

The Nova Scotia Power project will see 22 wind turbines erected on Nuttby Mountain in the north-central part of the province, which is the highest elevation on the mainland, The (Halifax) Chronicle-Herald reported Tuesday.

In a 23-page decision, the utility board said it was satisfied the 30 megawatt project served ratepayers well.

Nova Scotia Power said the project qualifies for $14 million in federal incentives, and the balance will be paid for by power customers.

In order to receive federal funding, construction on the project must begin before the end of the year and be completed by March 31, 2011, the report said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Wind0 Comments

Serbia Has No Plans for Nuclear Power Plants

BELGRADE, Serbia, Dec. 1 (UPI) — Serbia has no plans to build nuclear power plants, the country’s Ministry of Mining and Energy says.

Ministry spokesman Milan Budimir said Monday that Serbia is still abiding by a nationwide nuclear ban, the Serbian news agency Tanjung reported.

“In accordance with the ban on nuclear power plants, which is still in power, the Ministry of Mining and Energy has not made any plans or projects for the construction of nuclear facilities in Serbia,” the ministry’s spokesman said.

The comments came after Russian Ambassador to Serbia Aleksandr Konuzin said Monday that talks were underway in which Russia has indicated a willingness to help Belgrade build nuclear and other types of power plants, Tanjung said.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy, Energy & Fuels, Nuclear, Other0 Comments

Falkland Islands Quest for Offshore Oil Begins

STANLEY, Falkland Islands, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The Falkland Islands’ quest for potentially vast quantities of hydrocarbons offshore has taken off with an exploratory drilling season after operators raised enough cash to lease a rig from Scotland.

The semisubmersible Ocean Guardian rig, in operation in the North Sea for well over 20 years, was leased by Desire Petroleum as part of an ambitious plan to explore reserves in the North Falkland Basin. Experts have said the basin could have very large reserves that could transform the Falkland Islands, a British overseas territory that was the scene of a 1982 war between Britain and Argentina, into an oil-rich nation.

Industry sources said a tug boat, Maersk Traveler, is hauling the rig from its Scottish Highlands deepwater home to the Falklands. Current estimates said the rig could be in place within two months, or slightly longer if it faced rough weather on its trans-Atlantic journey.

U.K.-based Desire Petroleum said it had launched the exploratory operation on the basis of expert estimates the basin floor may be holding more than 3.5 billion barrels of oil and more than 9 trillion cubic feet of gas.

Although no commercial discoveries have been made in the Falklands, exploration ventures go back to 1998, when six wells were drilled to the north of the islands. The drilling revealed the presence of a rich organic source rock that, estimates then said, could hold up to 60 billion barrels of oil. Although that estimate has not been scaled down, recovery of those quantities of oil may require huge investments over a long period, analysts said.

The Falklands government has put in place new environmental legislation in response to protests from campaigners who believe the arrival of oil could ruin the islands. The Falklands have a thriving tourism industry, mainly because of their main attraction — penguins — but officials point out the earnings from foreign travelers do not compare with a potential oil bonanza.

Critics of the development have also cited Britain’s apparent failure to make good use of its North Sea oil boom and welcomed the news of oil exploration with a mixture of dismay and anxiety — especially about Argentina’s next move.

The islands were invaded by Argentina in 1982 in an ill-fated campaign to reassert their Argentine identity as Islas Malvinas. The war ended with an Argentine defeat. Emotional scars in Buenos Aires run far deeper than those felt in Britain. The conflict did, however, trigger the collapse of military supremacy in Argentina and restored democratic order.

Falklanders say they would like to know how Argentina will react next once the islands’ hidden oil wealth becomes a reality. In some Falklands circles, discussion of another possible encounter with Argentina is taboo, while Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner keeps alive the flame of her nation’s “inalienable” rights over the islands with frequent pronouncements.

The change in the islands’ fortune is a certainty, reinforced by operators’ argument they chose the North Falkland Basin because they consider it relatively low risk in exploration terms, with both proven oil and gas. Industry analysts said the area is also cheaper to work in, as it involves modest water depths, compared to the great depths Brazil needs to drill for its new oil.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Energy & Fuels, Military0 Comments

Energy Retrofit Home Research Planned; Energy Efficiency Dramatically Increased

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Nov. 30 (UPI) — Scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee say they plan to conduct a series of deep energy retrofit home research projects.

Deep energy retrofits are renovations to existing structures that use the latest in energy-efficient materials and technologies and result in significant energy reductions, said Jeff Christian, the ORNL buildings technologies researcher heading the project. He said at least 10 homes across the Tennessee region will be sought to participate.

Although homeowners will have to pay most of the costs — about $10 per square foot of living space — Christian said the costs can be recovered in as little as 10 years, with energy bills potentially cut in half.

“We’re targeting homes that are 15-35 years old,” Christian said, “homes that are ready for new windows, heating and cooling units, appliances and maybe even solar panels to push their homes closer to near-zero energy consumption.”

Christian said results of all of the retrofits will be available online, showing detailed data on the costs and benefits of the retrofits.

“We’re hoping that this demonstration stimulates enough interest among members of the public that it will become self-sustaining — growing the number of houses with deep retrofits,” he said.

The University of Tennessee-Battelle manages Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

Posted in Buildings, Consumption, Energy, Energy & Fuels, Solar0 Comments

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani Discusses Nuclear Issues in Tehran

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani Discusses Nuclear Issues in Tehran

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani speaks during a press conference in Tehran, Iran on November 30, 2009. Larijani said there is still a diplomatic chance to settle the nuclear dispute with the world powers. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian

Date Taken: November 30, 2009

Posted in Energy & Fuels0 Comments

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