Tag Archives: Climate change

Researchers develop fuel cells for increased airplane efficiency

By Tina Hilding – Fuel cells offer a clean and highly efficient way to convert the chemical energy in fuels into electrical energy.

A solid-oxide fuel cell is similar to a battery in that it has an anode, cathode, and electrolyte and creates electricity. But it uses fuel to create a continuous flow of electricity. The process could be approximately four times more efficient than a combustion engine because it is based on an electrochemical reaction. The solid-oxide fuel cell is different from other fuels cells in that it is made of solid materials, and the electricity is created by oxygen ions traveling through the fuel cell. more> http://tinyurl.com/m6lrweo


Transforming Into A Walkable City


By Adele Peters – For decades, Phoenix was the poster child for sprawl: Before the housing crash, developers were building 60,000 new homes a year in the desert at the edges of the city. But when the market fell apart and some of those new neighborhoods turned into instant ghost towns, the city learned its lesson and committed to moving in the other direction–walkable neighborhoods connected by public transit.

With narrower streets, buildings will naturally start to shade the sidewalk. The plan also calls for trees and other plants along streets; despite the fact that Phoenix is in the middle of the desert, it’s located on top of aquifers and also has a hidden system of canals underground that were originally built by the prehistoric Hohokam tribe [2, 3, 4]. more> http://tinyurl.com/o82hx7o

Underestimate a lady hurricane at your peril

By Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett – In shocking news that should vindicate men’s rights activists everywhere but surprise no one who has ever angered my mother in a supermarket, it has today (June 3) emerged that female hurricanes are deadlier than their male equivalents.
They found that, over and above the qualities of the storm itself, a severe hurricane with a girly name will kill more people than a storm with a masculine one. This is because, according to the Washington Post’s rather sweet phrasing, “people don’t respect them”. more> http://tinyurl.com/nxt3eev

EPA coal plant proposal is the right step

By Eugene Robinson – Many of those who do not believe in climate change also reject the idea that carbon dioxide can be called a pollutant, since it is a natural and necessary component of the air we breathe.

But direct measurement shows that the concentration of carbon dioxide in atmosphere has increased by an astounding 40 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when humankind began burning fossil fuels in earnest. As with any poison — or pollutant — it’s the dose that counts. more> http://tinyurl.com/mhjsym5


NASA technology (96)

ACCESS II: Preparing to Descend

NASA – This photo, taken from the CT-133 aircraft of research partner National Research Council of Canada, shows the NASA HU-25C Guardian aircraft flying 250 meters behind NASA’s DC-8 aircraft before it descends into the DC-8’s exhaust plumes to sample ice particles and engine emissions.

The flights are part of the Alternative Fuel Effects on Contrails and Cruise Emissions or ACCESS II experiment, which is measuring and characterizing airborne emissions from the DC-8 as it burns both conventional jet fuel and blended alternative fuels, including a biofuel. NASA, with research partners from Germany and Canada, is investigating fuel effects on aircraft cruise emissions and contrail formation.

Within NASA, ACCESS II is a joint project involving Armstrong Flight Research Center, California; Langley Research Center, Virginia; and Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. The research supports NASA aeronautics’ strategic vision, which has as a goal to enable transition of industry to low-carbon fuels and alternative propulsion systems.

Image Credit: National Research Council of Canada

›  Read More About ACCESS II

Updates from GE

We Have Solar Power and Wind Power, Here Comes Moon Power
GE – Twice a day, like clockwork, the moon’s gravity makes the seas ebb and flow.

For Mark Baker, a marine renewables business manager at GE Power Conversion, the tides are the perfect source of energy, more predictable and reliable than wind or solar power.

People tried to capture tidal and wave energy since the Middle Ages when  they used “tide mills” to grind grain. Ideas Lab reported that the first tidal power station was the Rance tidal power plant built between 1960 and 1966 in La Rance, France. But the technology did not catch on because of its high capital cost and the limited availability of sites with sufficient tidal flows.

The turbines resemble large aircraft propellers submerged in 180 to 240 feet of water. They stand in strategic “pinch points” of the firth, where the tides rush in and out at the highest speeds.

Engineers can capture energy from the vertical and horizontal movements of the tides. Some teams have also used buoys that generate electricity from the up and down movement of the waves. more> http://tinyurl.com/ph56ebk

Climate change: We have no solution yet

By Robert J. Samuelson – The central truth for public policy is: We have no solution.

From 2010 to 2040, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projects global emissions will increase almost 50 percent. About 80 percent of global energy comes from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas), which are also the major sources of carbon dioxide emissions. At present, we have no practical replacement for this energy.

No sane government will sacrifice its economy today — by dramatically curtailing fossil-fuel use — for the uncertain benefits of less global warming sometime in the foggy future.

Worse, almost all the projected increases in global emissions come from poorer countries, half from China alone. more> http://tinyurl.com/mehyxhr