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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

54
votes
Leaky equipment, not fracking, behind tainted U.S. water : study

REUTERS -- The contamination of water supplies near U.S. shale gas fields appears to be the result of leaky cement wells and casings and not the controversial production technique of hydraulic fracturing, according to a study released on Monday.

So-called "fracking" is a way of extracting natural gas from deep layers of rock using high-pressure fluid injections. The method has triggered a surge in U.S. gas production, but raised fears that breaking up rock formations underground could allow gas to seep into drinking water.

Scientists from several universities, including Duke, Ohio State, Stanford and Dartmouth, analyzed more than 130 drinking-water well samples overlying the Marcellus and Barnett shale gas formations and attempted to trace the source of any contamination, according to the study.  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
838 Comments

50
votes
Farmers Are Adding Solar Panels To Their Crop & Grazing Land

Sustainnovate -- I'm not sure who introduced the terms "wind farms" and "solar farms," but they are great terms and they go beyond analogy. Increasingly, farmers are adding solar panels and wind turbines to their farms in order to achieve greater financial benefit and sometimes even to save their farms from financial collapse.

It's no secret: it can be difficult to stay afloat financially as a farmer. These days, one of the best ways to do so is to make greater use of one's land by using the land for complementary purposes. In particular, adding solar panels or wind turbines can offer a huge financial boost without hurting farm revenues.
 (read more)

Submitted Today By:
1093 Comments

48
votes
Big solar plant in Mojave Desert gets state's OK

San Francisco Chronicle -- Despite environmental concerns, the California Energy Commission has given a preliminary green light to an Oakland company's second big solar project in the California desert.

The proposed BrightSource Energy facility would be the latest in a series of solar plants that the Obama administration is subsidizing in the Mojave Desert.

The plant would use the same technology as BrightSource's 5.4-square-mile Ivanpah plant near the Nevada border that opened in the spring with a $1.6 billion federal loan.

The proposed plant is located between Indio and Blythe in Riverside County, near a migratory bird path from the Salton Sea to the Colorado River.

The Ivanpah plant is the largest of its kind in the world, using concentrated light beams reflected from thousands of mirrors onto 40-story "power  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
218 Comments

47
votes
Consumer Reports names Ram EcoDiesel 1500 'Top Full-Size Pickup'

GasBuddy Blog --
Image From ..wardsauto.comThe Ram 1500 EcoDiesel climbed to the top of Consumer Reports’ full-size pickup truck ratings with an impressive performance in the organization’s fuel economy tests.
The EcoDiesel (82 point overall road test score) turned in a best-in-class fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway, to help it score better than the previously tested Ram 1500 V8 (81) regular gas version and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (80). “These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV. The Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports. ...  (read more)

Submitted Today By:
883 Comments

44
votes
Geothermal energy is growing steadily worldwide

hydrogenfuelnews.com -- Geothermal energy may not be as hot of a topic as other renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy, but it is slowly growing steadily around the globe as more countries are beginning to see the benefits of geothermal power plants that can produce electricity 24 hours a day without huge operational costs.

According to research from the Earth Policy Institute, across 24 countries in 2013, the geothermal energy-generating capacity grew by 3%, topping 11,700 MW (megawatts). Even though other renewables have seen stronger and faster growth, 2013 was geothermal’s best year since the financial crisis in 2007-2008.

The main reason why this form of renewable power has not accelerated at as fast a rate as other forms of alternative energy is it requires test-drilling in order to find and  (read more)

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481 Comments

Monday, September 15, 2014

63
votes
Protecting America's power grid: Calls for action

CNBC -- Electronic attacks on banks, retailers and oil companies have amplified calls to fortify the U.S.'s aging electric grid, which some believe is more vulnerable than ever to terrorism  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1479 Comments

53
votes
Green Monsters: The Electric Bike Wars

Forbes -- The roar of a Harley-Davidson engine is as distinctive as the popping of a champagne cork. But what if you could have all the power and beauty of a hog with a silent engine that doesn’t devour gas? That’s the question Harley asked earlier this year when it unveiled Project LiveWire, its futuristic prototype for an electric motorcycle.

Harley-Davidson is hardly alone in the e-bike wars, where several companies are seeking to become the Tesla of motorcycles. And not just because it’s good for the environment.

Last year the major motorcycle brands–including BMW, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Piaggio, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha–sold 561,000 bikes nationwide, up from 557,000 in 2012 but down a staggering 53% from the 1.2 million sold in 2006. This year motorcycle sales remained relat  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1351 Comments

51
votes
More women haggling over car price

By Michael Strong of The Detroit Bureau -- Survey shows women enjoy process more than men.

The stereotype of a woman being unwilling to haggle with a dealership salesperson thus relying on her husband or some other man to handle the negotiations is going by the wayside.

The comfort level of women when it comes to rolling up their sleeves and getting the best deal on a new car is rising, according to a recent survey by Swapalease.com. In fact, women are more likely than men to duke it out: 33.3% of women said "it makes it a fun process" compared with just 25.1% of men.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
405 Comments

50
votes
In mining country, ‘war on coal’ hard to see

bostonglobe.com -- The desolate stretch of Highway 133 crests a Rocky Mountain pass and settles into a valley where some of the world’s most valuable coal is located — and the landowner is the US taxpayer.

If there is a “war on coal” by President Obama, as his critics say, then this might be a place to wage it. Obama has, after all, approved regulations designed to cut global-warming carbon emissions by nearly one-third, and he is preparing to attend a Sept. 23 United Nations climate summit at which he will renew his call for world action to fight climate change.

But here in the Rockies and across much of the West, Obama may be the coal industry’s critical, if unlikely, ally. The administration has rejected calls to place a moratorium on leasing public land to mining firms — even though such leases accoun
 (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
58 Comments

50
votes
At least 150 major companies prep for carbon prices

USA TODAY -- At least 150 major companies worldwide - including ExxonMobil, Google, Microsoft and 26 others in the United States - are already making business plans that assume they will be taxed on their carbon pollution, a report today says.

The U.S. has yet to impose a price on heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, but other nations are starting to do so as a way to address global warming so U.S.-based companies are factoring an eventual one into their plans, says the international non-profit CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project. The report is the group's first one to look at corporate carbon pricing on a global scale.

"We're seeing companies taking steps they're not required to, and they're doing this to be competitive in a carbon-constrained world," says Zoe Antitch,...  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
268 Comments

Sunday, September 14, 2014

65
votes
Houston pump prices could tumble below $3 per gallon

The Houston Chronicle -- Houston, prepare to fill up.

As fall approaches and gasoline prices continue to tumble, some Houston-area stations probably will start selling gasoline for less than $3 per gallon, said Tom Kloza, GasBuddy’s chief oil analyst.

“Right now it looks like all cylinders are pointing us to more modest energy prices,” he said. “The cheapest prices since 2010, that’s basically where we’re headed.”

Nationally, pump prices are averaging about 5 cents cheaper than last year, despite the turmoil in the Middle East and Ukraine. So far this year, gasoline costs $3.51 per gallon versus $3.57 at the same time last year. That gap will likely widen in the coming weeks as refineries continue to run at record-high levels and the price of crude oil remains relatively low, Kloza said.

The price of internati  (read more)

Submitted Sep 14, 2014 By:
1553 Comments

56
votes
Struggling to Starve ISIS of Oil Revenue, U.S. Seeks Assistance From Turkey

NYTimes -- The Obama administration is struggling to cut off the millions of dollars in oil revenue that has made the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria one of the wealthiest terror groups in history but so far has been unable to persuade Turkey, the NATO ally where much of the oil is traded on the black market, to crack down on an extensive sales network.

Western intelligence officials say they can track the ISIS oil shipments as they move across Iraq and into Turkey’s southern border regions. Despite extensive discussions inside the Pentagon, American forces have so far not attacked the tanker trucks, though a senior administration official said Friday “that remains an option.”

In public, the administration has been unwilling to criticize Turkey, which insists it has little control over the flow...  (read more)

Submitted Sep 14, 2014 By:
1091 Comments

51
votes
New York City's Protected Bike Lanes Have Actually Sped Up Its Car Traffic

fastcoexist.com -- Don't listen to the angry drivers shouting at you. By reducing pedestrian and cyclist injuries and easing car congestion, protected bike lanes are good for everyone--not just riders.

When New York City first started adding new protected bike lanes in 2007, some drivers made the usual argument against them: Taking street space away from cars would slow down traffic. After years of collecting data, a new report from the city shows that the opposite is true. On some streets redesigned with protected bike lanes, travel times are actually faster. And it turns out the new lanes have a range of other benefits as well.

 (read more)

Submitted Sep 14, 2014 By:
470 Comments

49
votes
Why A Tax On Carbon Can Help Climate Change - And The Economy

Forbes -- A carbon tax, essentially a “tax on pollution,” has long been regarded as a potentially effective means of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases, but the concern about it has been its negative economic impact. Jorgenson contends, as described below, that needn’t be the case  (read more)

Submitted Sep 14, 2014 By:
91 Comments

49
votes
Manufacturers making progress with diesel-powered airplane engines

Kansas.com -- When it comes to the next big thing for general aviation airplanes, aviation experts are looking toward diesel engines that run on jet fuel.

Several major aircraft and engine makers have announced the development of diesel engines suited for aircraft, including Wichita’s Cessna Aircraft, in part because of a need for alternative fuel sources.

“I make a prediction that as time goes by, the majority of models of today’s piston aircraft will at least have a diesel option,” said Brian Foley, an aviation consultant with Brian Foley Associates. “Eventually, I suspect the family of aircraft will move to diesel.”  (read more)

Submitted Sep 14, 2014 By:
42 Comments

Saturday, September 13, 2014

58
votes
Honda, Chevrolet push into natural gas market

The Charlotte Observer -- Natural gas is the neglected stepchild of the alternative fuel vehicles industry.

Used in some commercial truck fleets, municipal bus services and the occasional taxicab, the plentiful low-emissions fuel has never caught on in passenger cars – even though it sells for about half the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline in California.

Two automakers are making another run at selling compressed natural gas, or CNG, cars in the U.S., eyeing a market in commuters and efficiency-minded drivers.

Honda launched an updated version of its natural gas-fueled Civic this year – finally offering amenities such as heated leather seats and a six-speaker audio system in what was previously a Spartan car – and Chevrolet is set to launch its dual-fuel Impala in a few months. The large sedan will run on...  (read more)

Submitted Sep 13, 2014 By:
1292 Comments

58
votes
Fracking or drinking water? That may become the choice

CNBC -- While the recycling of fracking water is a step in the right direction, it still misses the larger environmental picture, said Chrisitana Peppard, professor of science, theology and water ethics at Fordham University in New York.
"Water used in fracking can't be used in anything else, not showers, not gardens and certainly not for drinking," Peppard said.
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 13, 2014 By:
1371 Comments

51
votes
Taming North Dakota’s Gas Flares

Manufacturing.net -- A few years ago, astronauts orbiting the Earth started seeing a strange patch of lights flickering in a formerly dark corner of North Dakota. ...

Nobody likes to see money go up in flames. But the existing pipelines that take the gas from wellheads to processing plants are at capacity, forcing energy companies to burn off as much as 30 percent of their natural gas production.

That’s why earlier this year, Statoil, the Norwegian energy company, started working with GE and the energy transportation, operations and logistics company Ferus Natural Gas to capture natural gas coming up from oil wells, compress it, and use it as fuel for powering oil field equipment instead of more expensive diesel fuel.  (read more)

Submitted Sep 13, 2014 By:
79 Comments

51
votes
Utilities driving solar growth

fierceenergy.com -- The United States' solar market hit a major milestone in the second quarter of this year, In the second quarter of 2014, more than half a million U.S. homes and businesses were generating solar energy – a major milestone for the solar market, according to GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association's (SEIA) whose research reveals that the U.S. installed 1,133 MW of solar photovoltaics (PV) in the second quarter of this year -- up 21 percent over Q2 2013.

Across the United States, cumulative PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) operating capacity has eclipsed 15.9 GW -- enough to power more than 3.2 million homes -- thanks to three consecutive quarters of more than 1 GW installed, the report revealed.

 (read more)

Submitted Sep 13, 2014 By:
1197 Comments

48
votes
When fracking and free speech collide

Aljazeera America -- Steve Lipsky has complained for years that fracking company Range Resources polluted his drinking water and streams that run through his property. The company sued him in 2011 for defaming its reputation for environmental stewardship.
Now Lipsky will have a chance to argue his case in front of the Texas Supreme Court, The Texas Tribune reported this week.
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 13, 2014 By:
170 Comments

Friday, September 12, 2014

76
votes
Travelling to the U.S.? Beware the police cash-grab

CBC News -- Police won't charge you, but they'll grab your money, “hand over fist,” to use the words of one police trainer

On its official website, the Canadian government informs its citizens that “there is no limit to the amount of money that you may legally take into or out of the U.S.” Nonetheless, Canadians shouldn’t carry large amounts of cash

It usually starts on the road. An officer pulls you over for some minor infraction. The offence is irrelevant

Then the officer wants to chat, asking questions about where you’re going, or where you came from, and why. He’ll peer into your car, then ask permission to search it, citing the need for vigilance against terrorists or drugs

He’s really looking for money

And if you were foolish (or intimidated) enough to have consented, and you’re carrying an  (read more)

Submitted Sep 12, 2014 By:
1428 Comments

66
votes
Oil demand growth slowing at 'remarkable' pace: West energy agency

REUTERS -- Global oil demand growth is softening at a remarkable pace due to weaker European and Chinese economies, the West's energy watchdog said on Thursday, while adding that rising volumes of oil in storage was a good cushion against supply shocks.

"The recent slowdown in demand growth is nothing short of remarkable," The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its monthly report, revising down its oil demand growth projections for both 2014 and 2015.

"While festering conflicts in Iraq and Libya show no sign of abating, their effect on global oil market balances and prices remains muted amid weakening oil demand growth and plentiful supply," it said.

It said demand growth in the second quarter of 2014 alone eased to a near two-and-a-half year low.

For the whole of 2014, the IEA reduced...  (read more)

Submitted Sep 12, 2014 By:
722 Comments

62
votes
When Cars Are as Hackable as Cell Phones

The Atlantic -- Imagine this future scenario: Self-driving cars form an orderly procession down a highway, traveling at precisely the right following distance and speed. All the on-board computers cooperate and all the vehicles travel reach their destinations safely.

But what if one person jailbreaks her car, and tells her AI driver to go just a little faster than the other cars? As the aggressive car moves up on the other vehicles, their safety mechanisms kick in and they change lanes to get out of the way. It might make the overall efficiency of the transportation lower, but this one person would get ahead.

This is but one of many scenarios that Ryan Gerdes of Utah State University is exploring with a $1.2 million grant from the National Science Foundation to look at the security of the autonomous v  (read more)

Submitted Sep 12, 2014 By:
1436 Comments

60
votes
Smart headlights spare the eyes of oncoming drivers

Science Daily -- A smart headlight developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Robotics Institute enables drivers to take full advantage of their high beams without fear of blinding oncoming drivers or suffering from the glare that can occur when driving in snow or rain at night.

The programmable headlight senses and tracks virtually any number of oncoming drivers, blacking out only the small parts of the headlight beam that would otherwise shine into their eyes. During snow or rain showers, the headlight improves driver vision by tracking individual flakes and drops in the immediate vicinity of the car and blocking the narrow slivers of headlight beam that would otherwise illuminate the precipitation and reflect back into the driver's eyes.
 (read more)

Submitted Sep 12, 2014 By:
841 Comments

59
votes
New Electric Motor Type Is Under Development - Uses Electrostatic Forces

AutoEvolution -- Electric motors are almost everywhere; they’re in your refrigerator, blender, washing machine, the hair dryer, vacuum cleaner, electric toothbrush, toys, garage door opener and there is one even in your smartphone that is used to create vibrations when you put the device on “Silent”.

They come in every sizes and most people take electric motors for granted, but after they started to power our cars and scientists said EVs are the key for future green transportation, these rotating wonders started to regain attention for some possible enhancements.

A startup business commercializing technology from the College of Engineering at UW-Madison, going by the name of C-Motive Technologies, came up with another type of electric motor that uses electrostatic forces instead of the classic magnetism  (read more)

Submitted Sep 12, 2014 By:
34 Comments