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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

NYC’s East River Ice Floes Are a Throwback to the 1800s [Video]

Courtesy of Larry Greenemeier

More than a century ago, New York City’s East River would freeze over every few decades, creating major issues for commuters who relied on ferries for access to Manhattan from the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. The problems were serious enough that they helped prompt the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge, which opened in 1883, [...]

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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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Plugged In

With Cuban Détente, What Future for its Classic Cars?

Old classics ply the roads of Cuba. Image courtesy: mitsubis.

I can’t seem to go a day without hearing someone say, “Get to Cuba before all the Americans get there.” What exactly is it that Americans will change once they get to Cuba? Or is just that there will be so many more tourists? Either way, a lot will likely change, from big things like [...]

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Plugged In

Low Oil Prices Could Be Good for Electricity and Renewables

OilBarrels

Since I first wrote about the price of oil last December, the global oil price has fallen to levels not seen in over five years. For many, the recent price decline brings back memories of the 1980s oil price collapse, which followed the 70s oil price spike and drew attention away from renewable energy and [...]

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Plugged In

Renewable Energy Shines in 2014

Offshore wind farm outside Copenhagen. Image credit: http://www.freeimages.com/profile/berent

Looking back at 2014 through the prism of renewable energy, it’s hard not to get bombastic. So many records were broken, corners turned, and with costs declining, it’s hard not to wonder if 2015 will see renewable energy become nothing more than a fully competitive energy source, capturing more and more market share. But first, [...]

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Plugged In

What is the World’s Busiest Airport?

Global map of flight patterns, showing a heavy concentration in the U.S., Europe, China, and Japan. Image credit: Jpatokal

Is it Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, or Dubai International? Both apparently. But it depends on the metric. If you go by number of flights, then O’Hare is the world’s busiest airport (881,933 flights in 2014), dethroning Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (868,359) after 10 years at the top – by this way of measuring. However, if [...]

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Plugged In

Solar Is Changing the Game

northern San Bernardino County, California

At the start of 2015, solar energy is booming. It’s been a long time coming, but financial incentives for renewables along with more affordable panels are finally having a notable impact in states like California. I’m not surprised. When I moved to Monterey in 2013, I met Solar City reps on my first trip to [...]

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Plugged In

Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room Join Forces

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Carbon War Room (right). Image courtesy of RMI.

Today Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), brain-child of famed energy thinker Amory Lovins, and Carbon War Room (CWR), the five-year old climate change outfit of Sir Richard Branson, merged to create a new alliance dedicated to the acceleration of a low carbon energy future. RMI was founded in 1982 and has established itself as a preeminent [...]

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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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