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Posts Tagged "energy"

@ScientificAmerican

Earth Day E-Book Examines The Future of Energy: Earth, Wind and Fire

Scientific American E-Book: The Future of Energy: Earth, Wind and Fire

Since the Industrial Revolution our civilization has depended on fossil fuels to generate energy—first it was coal; then petroleum. But there are two problems: the first is that petroleum isn’t an infinite resource; and the second is that burning coal and oil puts billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, trapping heat. Temperatures [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Is Your Child Ungifted?

PROLOGUE

  When Jay Leno asked Steve Carell how his kids were doing, he didn’t seem too concerned: “I hate it when people talk about kids on talk shows. I hate it, because every person who talks about their kids, their kids are obviously the most intelligent and the cutest. They’re all very, very gifted children. Ask [...]

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Expeditions

Engineering students head back to the villages to build rocket stoves

Dartmouth, Tanzania, Africa, energy, engineering

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as  Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE) [formerly known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP)], to design "rocket stoves" in the village of [...]

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Expeditions

School’s out: Time for Tanzanians to take up the cause for healthier, more energy-efficient stoves

Tanzania, Dartmouth

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as  Dartmouth Humanitarian Engineering (DHE) [formerly known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP)], to design "rocket stoves" in the village of [...]

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Expeditions

Student engineers re-introduce coffee husk stoves in Tanzania as time runs out on their project

Dartmouth, Tanzania

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), to design "rocket stoves" in the village of Mwamgongo and top-light updraft design (TLUD) gasification [...]

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Expeditions

Student engineers in Tanzania seek government support for stove-design project

Tanzania, Dartmouth

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), to design "rocket stoves" in the village of Mwamgongo and top-light updraft design (TLUD) gasification [...]

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Expeditions

The bean test: Student stove goes head-to-head against Tanzanian three-stone stove to test efficiency

Dartmouth,Tanzania, energy

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), to design "rocket stoves" in the village of Mwamgongo and top-light updraft design (TLUD) gasification [...]

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Expeditions

Lessons learned? Engineering students set about designing a greener, more durable stove for African villagers

Dartmouth, engineer, environment

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), to design "rocket stoves" in the village of Mwamgongo and top-light updraft design (TLUD) gasification [...]

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Expeditions

Karibu Tena: Rocket Stoves in Mwamgongo

Mwamgongo,Darthmouth,Africa

Editor’s Note: Students from Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering are working in Tanzania to help improve sanitation and energy technologies in local villages. This series chronicles work being done by the student-led group, known as Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Projects (HELP), to design "rocket stoves" in the village of Mwamgongo and top-light updraft design (TLUD) gasification [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Sage Grouse and Oil Drilling Can Co-Exist, Says New Report

greater sage grouse

Conservation groups and energy-development companies have been at odds the last few years over an odd, dancing bird called the greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). These land-based birds live in and rely upon sagebrush habitats in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Unfortunately, those habitats have been disappearing [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Guerrilla Marketing to Save Mountain Gorillas: Renewable Energy to the Rescue

gorilla marketing virunga national park

How does dressing up in a really bad gorilla costume help to save endangered mountain gorillas? Well, it’s not actually the costume itself that’s important; it’s what the man inside the costume is also carrying. Take a look at the photo to the left. In one hand, the costumed gorilla holds an energy-efficient stove. In [...]

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Food Matters

Get Beer Off Oil – A visit with Hermit Thrush Brewery [Happy Hour #4]

Avery Schwenk, vice president and Brewer at Hermit Thrush, a new craft brewery in Brattleboro, VT

Craft beer is a glorious thing. In 2013, over 15 million barrels (that’s over $14 billion worth) of craft beer were sold in the US, and new breweries are popping up all over the place. And there are a plethora of choices, with an almost endless array of flavors (as evidence, last weekend I had [...]

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Food Matters

Biased But Necessary: Single Case Studies

Like a kid who skips the copyright information that precede iPad games, I go straight to the clinical cases in the New England Journal of Medicine whenever I get my hands on a copy. Recently I browsed through a bunch of cases in the online archives. In 1823, the journal called these vignettes “hospital reports.” [...]

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Guest Blog

Can we capture all of the world’s carbon emissions?

In 2011, the world will emit more than 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide. Every day of the year, almost a hundred million tons will be released into the atmosphere. Every second more than a thousand tons – two million pounds – of carbon dioxide is emitted from power plants, cars, trucks, ships, planes, factories, [...]

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Guest Blog

Smaller, cheaper, faster: Does Moore’s law apply to solar cells?

The sun strikes every square meter of our planet with more than 1,360 watts of power. Half of that energy is absorbed by the atmosphere or reflected back into space. 700 watts of power, on average, reaches Earth’s surface. Summed across the half of the Earth that the sun is shining on, that is 89 [...]

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Guest Blog

Deja vu: What does the Gulf oil spill tell us about the Japanese nuclear crisis?

For the second time in under a year, a large-scale energy disaster is unfolding before our eyes. Two different industries. Two different crises. Can we apply any lessons from the Gulf oil spill, and what can we expect for the nuclear industry moving forward? It was just over a year ago that the Macondo well [...]

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Guest Blog

From fuel to film: The story of energy and movies

On Wednesday March 9, energy and film experts gathered at the original Austin City Limits studio on The University of Texas campus to discuss the role of energy and movies in our lives. The event was hosted by Dr. Michael E. Webber, and featured a panel of energy and film experts: author Sheril Kirshenbaum, producer [...]

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Guest Blog

The low-carbon diet: One family’s effort to shrink carbon consumption

Part 2: A Little Research Goes a Long Way (see Part 1: Epiphany from up high: Can a suburban family live sustainably?) Tracking down an energy auditor on the cusp of the 2010 deadline for energy efficiency rebates proved tricky. Yet on a frigid morning in early January, David Pocklington and Shane Matteson of Energy [...]

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Guest Blog

Waste to Energy: A mountain of trash, or a pile of energy?

Collect trash, burn it, and then generate electricity. The technology is called Waste to Energy, and it uses our waste streams to produce electricity that can be cleaner than the average kilowatt-hour (kWh) generated in the United States today. A mountain of trash becomes a pile of energy. But, will this domestic renewable resource be [...]

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Guest Blog

Texas “Tea” becomes the Texas “E”?

At 1 P.M. on February 28, 2010 a jaw-dropping 22 percent of the electricity being used in the state of Texas was supplied by the wind. Today, Texas is home to more than 10,000 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity—more than the next three largest wind states (Iowa, California and Washington) combined. In the course of [...]

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Guest Blog

Epiphany from up high: Can a suburban family live sustainably?

There we were, racing through the stratosphere on a short flight home from Baltimore to Atlanta (577 miles and approximately 230 pounds of carbon dioxide per person). My husband, Mike, was tuned to his iPod, and me to my book, How, Flat and Crowded 2.0 when a sentence in the section on oil and geopolitics [...]

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Guest Blog

Power from pondscum: Algal biofuels

In the discussion of alternative energy and fuels, algae have been bubbling to the top of the proverbial feedstock pool. Algae, the little green guys responsible for everything from making your Dairy Queen Blizzard solid to forming the basis of our current fossil fuels, are being looked at long and hard by some of the [...]

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Observations

World’s Deadliest Fuel Made Safe and Clean?

bituminous-coal

Coal kills. When it’s not horrific mining accidents like the one in Soma, Turkey, on May 13 that killed more than 300 miners, it’s the 13,000 Americans who die early each year because of air pollution from burning the dirtiest fossil fuel. Coal is a way of life, providing jobs and inexpensive energy wherever it [...]

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Observations

Obama Vows More Executive Action on High-Tech Manufacturing, Climate Change Mitigation and Renewal of Science

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

After a year buffeted by squeezes to federally funded research from a government shutdown as well as an extremely bumpy rollout of healthcare.gov, President Barack Obama’s fifth State of the Union Tuesday night struck a few hopeful notes for science and technology. Speaking before Congress, he devoted roughly a fifth of his  speech to topics [...]

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Observations

40 Years Later: Electric Cars and the OPEC Oil Embargo

Oregon’s odd-even plan reduced the lines at gas stations during the fuel crisis in the fall and winter of 1973-74. This station was servicing cars with even-numbered last digits on their license plates on an even-numbered calendar day. Image credit: David Falcone, National Archives and Record Administration

The 1973 oil embargo triggered a mad rush of electric-vehicle research. Forty years later, we’re seeing the results

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Observations

EPA Challenges Coal Industry to Adopt New Technology

Image: Gralo

The White House unveiled a powerful incentive to speed track carbon capture technology innovations this morning with the release of highly-anticipated requirements to harness the emissions of new coal-fired power plants and natural gas facilities. “These proposed standards are the first uniform national limits on carbon pollution from new power plants,” said Gina McCarthy, the [...]

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Observations

“All of the Above” Energy Means More Fracking, Renewables, Nukes and Clean Coal

ernest-moniz

There is no technical issue with fracking, the controversial technique of fracturing shale rock with high-pressure, chemically treated water to release natural gas. But there is clearly a political one, judging by the multiple interruptions to a talk at Columbia University by new Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz. The affable former M.I.T. professor and [...]

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Observations

Meet the New Secretary of Energy Nominee: Ernie Moniz

ernest-moniz

Ernest J. Moniz, a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who serves on Scientific American’s board of advisors, will be President Barack Obama’s pick to replace Nobel laureate Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. While Moniz has yet to win a Nobel, he served on the President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear [...]

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Observations

ARPA-E Summit Reveals U.S. Energy Future

bill-gates-and-steven-chu

The future of energy will be on display at the fourth annual summit of the Advanced Research Projects Agency for Energy, or ARPA–e. But which future? Energy innovators from start-ups, the national laboratories, universities and even oil companies will gather for three days to hear from the nation’s best about the future of energy.  The [...]

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Observations

Obama Takes Aim at Climate Change, Cyber Security

whitehouse.gov

After a campaign that avoided climate change like the plague, President Barack Obama gave a State of the Union speech that put climate change on center stage. Early in the speech he encouraged law makers to revisit cap-and-trade as a way of tackling emissions of greenhouse gases. “I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, [...]

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Observations

What Will Steven Chu’s Energy Legacy Be?

steven-chu

Steven Chu will step down as Secretary of Energy at the end of this month, though he “may stay beyond that time so that I can leave the Department in the hands of the new Secretary,” he wrote in a farewell letter to Department of Energy (DoE) staff, issued February 1. Regardless, when Chu leaves [...]

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Observations

Does Increased Energy Efficiency Just Spark Us to Use More?

chevy-volt-fuel-economy-sticker

Last year, the U.S. raised its fuel economy standards for cars and trucks for the first time in decades. By 2025, the fuel efficiency of vehicles will be required to double. As a result, oil consumption is predicted to fall and—given that the U.S. remains the world’s largest consumer of oil—global crude prices might fall [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Glowing Octopus Bacteria Light Up Living Lamp [Video]

glowing octopus

Octopuses might be charismatic, but not many can literally light up a room. One enterprising designer, however, has figured out how to repurpose bacteria from rare glowing deep-sea octopuses for terrestrial illumination. In the form of a stylish lamp—that requires no electricity. [See video below.] Inspired by glowing, bioluminescent waves, graduate student Teresa van Dongen, [...]

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Oscillator

Petroleum Replicas

Howard et al.--Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

The language of innovation often stresses disruption–eliminating inefficient industries and replacing them with more streamlined, technologically advanced versions. Nowhere is disruption more complex and important than in the energy industry, with implications for so much of the way that we live, affecting global industry, economics, and climate. A major focus of synthetic biology today is [...]

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Oscillator

An Action Hero Approach to Energy

A few months ago (before the recent batch of scandals), Arnold Schwarzenegger gave the keynote speech at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit that several of my colleagues attended. His perspectives as a bodybuilder (“Stephen, how are your glutes?”), a Republican who believes in global warming and the promise of bipartisan environmental legislation, and an action [...]

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Oscillator

Summer Reading

I am one of those people that’s usually “reading” a lot of books at once. This summer I’ve been alternating between skimming and devouring, picking up and putting on hold a few new favorites and some less favorite books, which have coalesced in my head into an overarching narrative about the history and future of [...]

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Plugged In

Does Uber Make Cities More Energy Efficient?

Morning traffic in Paris. Photo by Tali Trigg.

It seems you can’t read an article about new mobility or the sharing economy without stumbling across Uber; the mobility service that sprung up in 2009 to only five years later become valued at more than Avis, Hertz, or Sony. Yes, Sony. Two weeks ago, I found myself using the service for the first time, [...]

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Plugged In

Has Support For Fracking Really Decreased? Maybe Not.

Source: UT Energy Poll, Base: 2,105

According to a new poll out by Pew of 1,353 Americans, support for the increased use of fracking has declined over the past year with 41% of Americans in favor of the practice and 47% opposed. But wait just one second… Is it really fair to assess support for fracking given over half of Americans [...]

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Plugged In

How Green Is Green Energy?

Woz

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to attend Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak’s keynote presentation during the 2014 Energy Thought Summit in Austin. Wozniak mostly spoke about his experience developing early versions of the personal computer, and lessons from his experience that might translate to the energy industry. When asked what advice he has for [...]

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Plugged In

Corporations Should Mean What They Say on Sustainability

EcoNoticeSmall

Nowadays, it seems like every big company promotes an image of sustainability. A common example is the now-ubiquitous hotel-bathroom notice invoking images of ocean animals or pastoral scenery in an effort to convince guests to reuse their towels for the sake of the environment. While notices of this kind do have the potential to save [...]

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Plugged In

The United States Gets Most of Its Oil From…

270px-Oil_well

..the United States. Have you heard? Computer scientist and data whiz Randy Olson dove into the UT Energy Poll data and noticed that the American public is pretty confused about where we get out energy. I can’t say I’m surprised, but Randy highlights the need for raising energy literacy across the U.S. He points out [...]

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Plugged In

The Importance of Debating Energy Policies—Not Technologies

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) documents the source of all U.S. primary energy use, and then approximates to which sector energy from each source flows. (Source: EIA)

As a researcher working in the area of energy technology and policy, I often find myself drawn into debates surrounding certain energy technologies, and what role they should play in the future energy system. People are quick to list the specific benefits or drawbacks of one technology over another: “Wind energy is fine at the [...]

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Plugged In

Fuel/Cost Savings of Improving Fuel Economy from 12->15 mpg = 30->60 mpg

Fuel economy is not as straight-forward as you might think. Image courtesy: fragallo

Consumer tip-of-the-day: increasing efficiency of fuel economy on a miles-per-gallon scale is not linear, as more miles-per-gallon (mpg) are initially better for your wallet and the planet than you might expect, and eventually trail off with diminishing returns. Last week, a friend pointed out a good blog post by Nicholas Chase and the Energy Information [...]

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Plugged In

If Climate Change Was Not Real…

A Scarlet Ibis Water Bird in the once-receding Amazon rainforest. Courtesy: Brandon Hoover.

… there would be a lot of other environmental issues to deal with. This is no big revelation, but it’s a question I’ve been pondering recently: What is the state of the world, not counting climate change? Or rather, what if we managed to reduce CO2 emissions to necessary levels, what would our focus be on [...]

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Plugged In

Map Monday: 50+ Shades of Air Pollution

One-fourth of the world is breathing unsafe air. Courtesy of Hsu et al/The Atlantic

In today’s installment of Map Monday, I wanted to focus on air pollution as mapped by Hsu et al and The Atlantic. Go to this link to see the full interactive map, which details air pollution by country and city. Below, I have copied in a global snapshot with some perhaps unsurprising shades of pollution [...]

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Plugged In

Younger Americans More Supportive of Exporting Natural Gas Than Older Americans

Screen-Shot-2014-04-29-at-4.02.23-PM

The new UT Energy Poll data is out today! Here I’ll highlight changing American attitudes related to the export of natural gas. The infographic above shows a snapshot of current survey responses collected March 3-­17 among 2,133 U.S. residents aged 18 and older*. The first thing I notice is that younger Americans are much more [...]

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PsiVid

Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks and the Green Ninja

Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks

I seem to be surrounded by green lately (check my website for more about my Girls camp on Environmental Engineering and the great new MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) on Sustainability at UIUC to be offered beginning in August). For PsiVid, though, a video focus seems appropriate. The Australian based Green Screen Climate Fix Flicks [...]

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