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Unforced Variations: June 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 June 2013

June’s open thread…


389 Responses to “Unforced Variations: June 2013”

  1. 151
    Hank Roberts says:

    > SecularAnimist says: 12 Jun 2013 at 3:15 PM
    Good points, I strongly agree, about not investing new money building infrastructure that commits to continuing use of fossil fuels.

    The coal companies are all over America’s little towns and colleges trying to get commitments to _fifty_year_contracts_ as the little old coalfired power/heat/steam plants are up for renewal. They know exactly where and who their customers are.

    Smart towns and colleges don’t commit to a future burning coal.

    Most little places aren’t that smart or well informed about alternatives.

  2. 152
    Hank Roberts says:

    And by going green, that same town attracted this manufacturer — of a combination of concentrating photovoltaic and solar thermal collector.
    Looks promising (not scaled for individual home use — yet).
    http://www.greenfieldsolar.com/news_details.php#5

  3. 153

    Inspired by some of the discussion and links above, I thought I’d check back with Beacon Power/Beacon Energy and see how they are doing since the bankruptcy and acquisition by Rockland. Corporate PR is, of course, a biassed source, but nevertheless they have some good news to push:

    “Beacon’s industry-first 20-megawatt (MW) frequency regulation plant in Stephentown, New York, began full commercial operations in June 2011, and its performance has been exceptional – with no material technical issues since acquisition. Overall plant availability has been 97%, including 100% availability over the last four months.”

    And:

    “Beacon restarted manufacturing operations at its Tyngsboro, Massachusetts, facility in December 2012, and flywheels are once again in commercial production. Also in December, the company began construction of its next 20 MW frequency regulation facility, in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania. The initial 4 MW will be operational there in September 2013, with the plant expected to reach full commercial operation by mid-2014.

    “Beacon’s owners, Rockland Capital, performed a rigorous investment analysis prior to moving forward with construction of the second plant. Scott Harlan, Managing Partner at Rockland Capital, said, “We are very excited to have begun work on the Hazle project, which will help improve system-wide efficiency on the PJM power grid. At 20 MW it will be one of the largest fast-response energy storage resources in that market.”

    PR:

    http://www.beaconpower.com/files/pr/20130402_Beacon_Power_Poised_for_Growth_One_Year_after_Acquisition.pdf

    One of the much-pilloried DOE loan recipients who went bust, Beacon paid off most of the loan in the bankruptcy proceedings prior to acquisition. We’ll see how things shake out, but it’s nice to see that flywheel energy storage is still alive post-Solyndra, and perhaps even ‘recovering,’ if I dare use that word.

  4. 154
    Russell says:

    The Heartland Institute is trying to pass off its bogus Not The IPCC Report as somehow having been endorsed by the Chinese Academy of Science because they’re gotten < ahref="http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2013/06/lost-in-translation.html&quot;. a Beijing university press with a similar name to publish it in Mandarin transaltion !

  5. 155
    Ric Merritt says:

    No disagreement with SA and Hank Roberts about low-hanging fruit. Burning FF for the best transition away from them at least has a rationale. Wasting them is just boneheaded.

    My concern is with the assumptions and simple extrapolations. For example, what actually happens on that hoped-for day when, say, PV reaches parity with coal for grid watts? If building PV is still dependent on an overall FF economy, then investment in PV, plain and simple, requires burning FF’s, and as they become harder to lay ones hands on, and investment on PV grows to a significant part of the economy, BOTH kinds of grid watts will refuse to become cheaper, even become more expensive. That’s only an isolated piece of a global economy full of feedbacks, and it’s an oversimplification, but it’s not nearly so damaging an oversimplification as assuming that the curves will cross and then everything will flip toward PV (or whatever). The curves are not independent!

  6. 156
    Jim Larsen says:

    148 Kevin M said, “Good point, too, about the low-hanging 90%. Priorities…”

    I agree, and efficiency is the lowest-hanging fruit. Shaving a bit off Secular’s waste stat, we could cut electrical use by 50%. Another ~33% is generated by low carbon sources (hydro, nuclear, wind, solar), so that’s about a 75% reduction before counting that dirty coal plants would be disproportionately closed. Plus, there’s the advanced grid to build. If we keep slowly ramping up the manufacturing of solar and wind while churning out more of Secular’s “daily breakthroughs”, we’ll have the tools in place for a massive build-out to electrify, syn-fuel, or bio-fuel our vehicles. I’ve been saying a decade for a while. Probably more like 8 years now.

  7. 157
  8. 158
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by prokaryotes — 13 Jun 2013 @ 6:06 PM

    Not sleeping. Flatulent!

    Steve

  9. 159

    #155–”If building PV is still dependent on an overall FF economy, then investment in PV, plain and simple, requires burning FF’s…”

    Ric, maybe I’m missing something here, but that bit seems just wrong to me. There’s nothing magical about FFs that makes them intrinsically necessary for manufacturing PV. Therefore, the posited dependence “on an overall FF economy” is irrelevant: the ‘new energy’ needed for PV manufacture can just as well come from wind, or PV, or hydro. Sure, for the near term one will burn some FFs to build PV, just because the energy mix includes FF capacity.

    But those PV modules come into service. Then what happens? Presumably, FFs are displaced and the next generation of PV has a lesser FF component built in. And since you’ve posited that the price advantage is now with PV, why would the shift toward it raise the cost of “BOTH kinds of grid watts?”

    Moreover, you seem to be overlooking an economic feedback: displacing FFs will slow the rate at which “they become harder to lay ones hands on,” presumably (and somewhat ironically) helping to hold the price down, all other things being equal. (Since, as you say, there are loops and interconnections in the economy, all other things may not be equal, but still…)

  10. 160

    #154–Bum link; I think that quotation mark is probably the culprit, since it obviously isn’t working as HTML code. But this worked for me, in any case:

    http://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2013/06/lost-in-translation.html

    I saw the WUWT original story and thought it odd. It makes more sense in the context supplied by the actual Chinese Academy of Science:

    http://bigcitylib.blogspot.ca/2013/06/the-heartland-institute-and-chinese.html

  11. 161
    David B. Benson says:

    Antarctic Ice Shelves Melt Mostly From Below
    http://www.livescience.com/37423-antarctic-ice-melt-from-below.html
    and the melt has been speeding up.

  12. 162
    Russell says:

    Thanks- here it is with the link fixed :

    The Heartland Institute is trying to pass off its bogus Not The IPCC Report as having been endorsed by the Chinese Academy of Science because they’re gotten a university with a similar name to host a launch party for its Mandarin transaltion !

  13. 163
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    The World’s Biggest Coal Company Is Turning To Solar Energy To Lower Its Utility Bill.

    India has an abundance of sunshine and the trend of depletion of fossil fuels is compelling energy planners to examine the feasibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and so on.

  14. 164
    Edward Greisch says:

    153 Kevin McKinney: Renewables are so intermittent that the requirement is to store enough power for a whole week:
    17 trillion watts X168 hours/week= 2856 trillion watt hours of energy storage =2.86 x 10 exponent 15 = almost 3 quadrillion watt hours

    Can enough flywheels be made to store 3 quadrillion watt hours? At what price?

  15. 165
    Flakmeister says:

    This is what Google is up to when it isn’t providing the NSA with what it wants…

    http://earthengine.google.org/#intro

    Very Cool!

  16. 166

    #164–Edward, I’m not going to go in detail into why I think your first statement is quite wrong–and even quite wrong-headed. However, I note that the EIA says that US generation last month was:

    Total Net Generation
    (Thousand MWh) 325,372

    If I haven’t dropped a decimal point somewhere, that’s 3.25 x 10e14. I’m not sure where the order of magnitude difference comes from; perhaps you meant world rather than US generation, or maybe you were using a different measure. Or heck, maybe I did drop that decimal.

    But I really don’t care: if you think that the sun stops shining and the wind stops blowing for an entire week over an area the size of the continental US, you are obviously living in a different world than the one the rest of us inhabit. From what I can tell, such a thing has never even happened over Denmark:

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2013/03/26/denmark-1000-megawatts-of-offshore-wind-and-no-signs-of-slowing-down/

    (Note that this is Forbes–hardly a haven for ‘greenies.’ The difficulties and opportunities of integrating wind are both treated seriously, as far as I can tell.)

    More basically, you are kind of missing the point anyway–the (current–no pun intended) use of flywheels isn’t long-term storage, it’s quick-response grid stabilization. And at that task, they seem to be quite economical and perform much better than FF back up generators.

  17. 167
    SecularAnimist says:

    Edward Greisch wrote: “Renewables are so intermittent that the requirement is to store enough power for a whole week”

    With all due respect, that’s nonsense.

    Multiple studies in both Europe and the USA have demonstrated that a regional portfolio of renewable energy sources, managed through a smart grid, can produce 24×7 electricity that is at least as reliable as coal or nuclear generated electricity — WITHOUT storage.

    Having said that, viable energy storage technologies abound — thermal, chemical and kinetic — and some of these are already beginning to be deployed on the grid.

    And having said that, even if one considers only solar energy without storage, the ability to (for example) provide 100 percent of the peak electricity demand of Los Angeles from locally-deployed photovoltaics on most days, is a pretty significant contribution to reducing the need for fossil fuel or nuclear generated electricity.

    Again, the CleanTechnica.com site is a useful resource for keeping up with developments in both renewable energy and storage technologies.

  18. 168
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Can enough flywheels be made
    > to store 3 quadrillion watt hours?

    When faced with a massive problem, do you wait for a single perfect solution?

    We have many possibilities; point is to improve as many of them as possible to the point where their usefulness is understood.

    Big point is — don’t rush to burn all available fossil fuel building more fossil fuel infrastructure *cough*fracking*cough*.

    Work as if you live in the early days of a better world.
    Invest for your heirs who will live there.
    Personally, I’m a big fan of the springy molecules that serve as heat stores by phase change, and as windup power storage boxes, with teeny little ratchets for mechanical input and output, also containing tiny motor-generators. Yes, they’re only science fiction–so far.

  19. 169

    As often happens with these things, curiosity got the better of me WRT wind generation and intermittency. I found a very interesting, though a bit dated, report from GE on Texas wind power, as ERCOT contemplated scaling up to 15 GW (nameplate) wind capacity. The report found problems–but none were considered unmanageable within the bounds of existing technology.

    The general approach that they took was to compare actual wind data from 2005 and 2006 and scale it to match a 2008 ‘state of the system’ to create a (fictional) “Study Year.” Rationale is given in Section 2 of the study.

    Of interest to me was Figure 3.4, comparing wind generation for the study year with the load for the same period (p. 3-19.)

    Study:

    http://www.uwig.org/attchb-ercot_a-s_study_final_report.pdf

    It’s highly technical, and so a challenge for the casual reader, but certainly provides considerable insight on how wind ‘plays’ in the real world of grid operators.

    Also worth noting: in 2012, Texas hit a nameplate capacity of 12.2 GW; the 2005 RPS legislation had set a target of 10 GW by 2025. It’s extremely interesting (and encouraging, to me at least) that in jurisdiction after jurisdiction, goals for adding wind and solar have been drastically exceeded.

    That’s despite the system hitting transmission constraints. (This, too, has happened in other jurisdictions, notably China.) However, a massive addition is about to come online:

    http://www.dallasnews.com/business/energy/20130405-west-texas-wind-power-transmission-project-nears-completion.ece

  20. 170

    Can enough flywheels be made to store 3 quadrillion watt hours? At what price?

    It’s kinda hard to miss that global energy distribution system in the form of highly visible transmission lines. Can you explain how you missed that?

    I prefer a FUD free zone. Thanks in advance.

  21. 171
    Jim Larsen says:

    164 Edward G asked, “Can enough flywheels be made to store 3 quadrillion watt hours? At what price?”

    I think you’re conflating an off the grid house that has a single source of energy with a vastly interconnected grid drawing power from multiple sources and multiple locations.

    Plus, thanks to climate science and meteorology, we’ll have great forecasting, so we can plan for times of plenty and paucity on the demand side too.

  22. 172
    Ric Merritt says:

    Kevin McK #159 (13 Jun 2013 at 8:48 PM) –

    I’m not claiming unique brilliance about assumptions and feedbacks, just trying to keep them visible in the conversation.

    My if-then that you questioned was meant just as a tautology: in a world where building PV depends on FF (unquestionably the world we live in today, think about all the factories, transport, etc etc), investment in PV of course requires burning FF. We couldn’t even drive a truck to the job site without them. (PV here is an oversimplified stand-in for renewables generally.)

    We’d all like a world with FF decreasing towards zero, but you can’t just assume how far and fast that will go (while staying rich). If grid electricity were the only energy carrier, that assumption might not actually look too bad. Invest in PV, even if it takes initial FF, get energy out. As long as EROEI is not too bad, make more PV, get tremendously virtuous cycle, forget FF.

    The real world has some nasty roadblocks in that cycle. We need (=would like) a world-economy-sized basket of partners with grid energy. The cycles and feedbacks get hard to model, or build in the real world. PV or wind turbines get you evanescent current, and storing it is hard (= expensive, = big hits to EROEI). Converting it to liquid fuel is darned hard. Nobody knows the overall EROEI of the world system. Nice thought experiment: does it have to be a world-sized system? OK, a few dozen hunters and gatherers can survive on their own, but what’s the minimum size of a rich industrial economy, with and without FF? Remember, you need factories, ships, and mines out of your PV, not just some nice clean joules.

    If, in your words, there is “nothing magical” about FF, why are they so hard to swear off? Why haven’t 20,000 enthusiastic folks got together and made a rich but sustainable town with only initial inputs from the existing industrial economy, no continuing FF required? Could you do it with 500 people? What if the minimum is >= 100 million or 1 billion? The least you can say is that those millions need to concentrate and cooperate a lot better than presently to avoid shocks (supply, climate, whatever) that will damage ALL investment.

  23. 173
    Hank Roberts says:

    So a tangential question.
    Carbon trackers.
    I see more and more of them.
    I may have once seen one that asked if you compost — carbon capture.
    Mostly they want location, gas, electric, transportation — all carbon burning.
    None yet has asked about planting trees or growing topsoil or even gardening.

    Is there a more comprehensive carbon tracker out there somewhere — one that does pay attention to those tiny little individual behaviors that, er, do belong in a better world?

  24. 174

    #172–”If, in your words, there is “nothing magical” about FF, why are they so hard to swear off?”

    In a word: politics.

    In three: economic self-interest.

    In four: Unenlightened economic self-interest.

    Ric, you make some good points–certainly a little serious thought makes it clear that this isn’t, as you say, easy to model.

    But that’s partly why I’m quite sure that it’s not going to happen in a top-down, wholly ‘organized’ way. Past development didn’t; future development won’t either. And neoclassical economists and free-market advocates would argue that it actually *shouldn’t.*

    Maybe they are right about that; I don’t claim to know. But while we can’t model the total system, we do know quite well some of the directions in which we need to be moving–as our agreement on SA’s “low-hanging fruit” point illustrates.

  25. 175
    David B. Benson says:

    Study of Oceans’ Past Raises Worries About Their Future
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130614111606.htm
    “You wouldn’t think that putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere would change the amount of nitrogen available to fish in the ocean, but it clearly does.”

  26. 176
    Killian says:

    153 Kevin McKinney: Renewables are so intermittent that the requirement is to store enough power for a whole week:
    17 trillion watts X168 hours/week= 2856 trillion watt hours of energy storage =2.86 x 10 exponent 15 = almost 3 quadrillion watt hours

    Can enough flywheels be made to store 3 quadrillion watt hours? At what price?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 14 Jun 2013 @ 12:03 AM

    Sure, if you think it’s possible to make current consumption levels sustainable.. which we can’t.

    How does this first order error continue to inhabit our dialogues on climate, energy and society?

  27. 177
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @ 157 – I was reading FishOutOfWater’s post on Dailykos.com:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2013/06/14/1216170/-Arctic-Methane-found-at-Amazing-Levels-by-NASA

    After making a few inappropriate comments I have decided to keep my opinions to myself and stick with asking questions. So please excuse my interruption but this whole thing doesn’t sound good to me.

    I watched a program on The Weather Channel last night with a horrific title like: “Predicting the End” and the graphic descriptions seemed to be a bit dramatic but the gist of the program dealt with methane hydrates coming up from the seabed.

    I’m sorry but it really sounds to me like we’re fu*ked. If this methane is coming out as FishOutOfWater and others including Joe Romm are saying, how in the hell are we going to survive this? I know scientists don’t necessarily panic or even discuss being scared or worried because it’s not a rational thing to do but would someone please explain to me why we shouldn’t be worried? This information is coming from NASA. Then there’s this tidbit from the Pentagon:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/jun/14/climate-change-energy-shocks-nsa-prism

    If all this methane decides to come up in the form of a massive Arctic fart, and the methane combines with water vapor forming clouds that could potentially ignite via lightning strikes…. just how serious is this? Can this wipe humans out? I’d kinda like to know if anyone has at least a general idea about what we’re in for here. The massive flooding in Europe combined with the fires and drought in Colorado and New Mexico aren’t reassuring. Thanks for your time and I apologize for interrupting the scientific discussion.

    “Permafrost, which is anything but permanent in a warming climate, stores enormous quantities of carbon. Bacteria convert that carbon to the greenhouse gases CO2 and methane (CH4) when the permafrost melts. Permafrost covers a vast area of the Arctic. Global warming is approaching the tipping point of 1.5°C when permafrost will melt all across the Arctic.”

    What then????

  28. 178
    old_salt says:

    Arctic hydrate breakdown and catastrophic methane release is not really an issue. Even the ‘catastrophic’ Paleocene-Eocene boundary release was probably about 0.5 Gt C per year vs human release of 10Gt in 2010. The major worry is that the land carbon sink will significantly decrease because the Arctic becomes a carbon source. If Arctic carbon storage drops from about 1500 Gt to something more like the rest of the world–say 500 Gt, this could continue for quite a while.

  29. 179
  30. 180
    Steve Fish says:

    Apparently there is a process for inexpensively converting CO2 to calcium carbonate with a nickel nanoparticle catalyst – http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/CY/C3CY20791A that was derived from the study of sea urchins – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204220840.htm

    The process is developed enough that it will be used in a new experimental sustainable winery on the campus of the University of California at Davis to capture CO2 from fermentation – http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10608

    Steve

  31. 181
    Chuck Hughes says:

    @ 178 – I’m reading the report from NASA and they don’t seem to think this is no big deal or NOT an immediate threat according to what I’ve seen.

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth20130610.html

    “Over hundreds of millennia, Arctic permafrost soils have accumulated vast stores of organic carbon – an estimated 1,400 to 1,850 petagrams of it (a petagram is 2.2 trillion pounds, or 1 billion metric tons). That’s about half of all the estimated organic carbon stored in Earth’s soils. In comparison, about 350 petagrams of carbon have been emitted from all fossil-fuel combustion and human activities since 1850. Most of this carbon is located in thaw-vulnerable topsoils within 10 feet (3 meters) of the surface.”

    Early Results

    “The CARVE science team is busy analyzing data from its first full year of science flights. What they’re finding, Miller said, is both amazing and potentially troubling.”

    “Some of the methane and carbon dioxide concentrations we’ve measured have been large, and we’re seeing very different patterns from what models suggest,” Miller said. “We saw large, regional-scale episodic bursts of higher-than-normal carbon dioxide and methane in interior Alaska and across the North Slope during the spring thaw, and they lasted until after the fall refreeze. To cite another example, in July 2012 we saw methane levels over swamps in the Innoko Wilderness that were 650 parts per billion higher than normal background levels. That’s similar to what you might find in a large city.”

    That’s Methane, NOT CO2. Yes, methane is short term compared to CO2 but one massive belch from the Arctic Ocean of Methane is what concerns me. Long term we have a CO2 problem but short term looks to be an entirely different problem.

  32. 182
    Hank Roberts says:

    How much difference would this sort of change made (assuming hypothetically all concrete manufacturing changed to the new proportions of chemical constituents and we quit sticking rebar inside concrete where it rusts and busts after a few decades):
    http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/06/04/roman-concrete/

    “… analyses showed that the Roman recipe needed less than 10 percent lime by weight, made at two-thirds or less the temperature required by Portland cement. Lime reacting with aluminum-rich pozzolan ash and seawater formed highly stable C‑A-S-H and Al-tobermorite, insuring strength and longevity. Both the materials and the way the Romans used them hold lessons for the future…. Stronger, longer-lasting modern concrete, made with less fuel and less release of carbon into the atmosphere ….”

    (I realize it’s way premature; just curious if this kind of change makes any difference in the models, as it’s hoped it would make a difference in reality)

  33. 183
    Doug Bostrom says:

    “Renewables are so intermittent that the requirement is to store enough power for a whole week”

    Global requirement, of course, because we all know that the Sun frequently stops radiating for a up to a week, the Moon freezes in its orbit for days at a time, the atmosphere goes into stasis etc. Hence we need to store enough energy to see us through these pesky suspensions of reality.

    Fickle bodies. What use is physics when it stops behaving in this way??

  34. 184

    #183–”…these pesky suspensions of reality….”

    Doug, you’ve been commenting again at The World’s Best Science Blog, haven’t you?

    ;-)

  35. 185
    Edward Greisch says:

    The “week” of no sun and no wind doesn’t have to be all at once. It can be a long, cold, cloudy and calm winter. It can be spread over 8 months in the northeastern US or northwestern Europe.

    As for this super-grid idea, we don’t have room temperature superconductors to connect Australia to England.

  36. 186
    Edward Greisch says:

    Kevin McKinney, SecularAnimist, Hank Roberts: to do: Get some city to try to get all of their power from renewables. Portland, Oregon would be the city to choose since they have written books on the subject.
    http://www.thedirt.org/node/5433
    http://transitionculture.org/shop/the-transition-handbook/

    The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience 
by Rob Hopkins

  37. 187
    Dave123 says:

    @Steve 180- Where’s the calcium come from? Carbonic anyhydrase catalysts are numerous and old news. The problem is where does the calcium come from?

  38. 188
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 180, 187
    Great articles Steve, thanks.
    From the second link:
    “The beauty of a nickel catalyst is that it carries on working regardless of the pH and because of its magnetic properties it can be re-captured and re-used time and time again. It’s also very cheap — 1,000 times cheaper than the enzyme. And the by-product — the carbonate — is useful and not damaging to the environment….”

    Dave123 asks where calcium comes from.
    Anyone who has boiled a kettle dry has seen a white dust in the bottom; or looked inside an old water pipe and seen white layers built up inside it.

    http://www.lenntech.com/periodic/water/calcium/calcium-and-water.htm
    “Seawater contains approximately 400 ppm calcium…. Rivers generally contain 1-2 ppm calcium, but in lime areas rivers may contains calcium concentrations as high as 100 ppm.”

  39. 189
    Hank Roberts says:

    ps for Dave123 — remember this would be added to equipment already in use: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flue-gas_desulfurization — where the limestone is used to capture the sulfur. Nobody said this was simple.

  40. 190
    Killian says:

    Apparently there is a process for inexpensively converting CO2 to calcium carbonate with a nickel nanoparticle catalyst – http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2013/CY/C3CY20791A that was derived from the study of sea urchins – http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204220840.htm

    The process is developed enough that it will be used in a new experimental sustainable winery on the campus of the University of California at Davis to capture CO2 from fermentation – http://news.ucdavis.edu/search/news_detail.lasso?id=10608

    Comment by Steve Fish — 15 Jun 2013 @ 11:23 AM

    Have them call us when it’s inexpensive *and* sustainable.

  41. 191

    #186–Ed, you may be laughing a bit behind your hand, but I appreciate the links none the less. They look pretty interesting.

  42. 192

    Also #186–”As for this super-grid idea, we don’t have room temperature superconductors to connect Australia to England.”

    I rather think England to Australia would be a tad excessive–though I guess it would pretty well solve the ‘no solar power at night’ thing.

  43. 193
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Dave123 — 15 Jun 2013 @ 3:31 PM

    Dave, I know little more than what was in the articles I linked and I don’t have access to the full article in Catalysis Science & Technology. The calcium nanoparticle catalyst is apparently much less finicky than the previous enzyme methods because it is pH independent, it is a whole lot less expensive, and because nickel is slightly magnetic it can be easily separated from the calcium carbonate. The process also works with magnesium.

    As for where does calcium come from, Wikipedia says that it is the fifth most abundant element in the Earth’s crust and in the ocean. Weathering of silicate rocks to release calcium ions is a part of the slow natural calcium cycle.

    Steve

  44. 194
    Martin Vermeer says:

    Edward Greisch #185, the German gas network can store the equivalent in methane of half a year of national electricity consumption.

  45. 195
    Fred Magyar says:

    To all who are still stuck in their BAU paradigm thinking, like sessile barnacles on a sinking log in the middle of the ocean. No form of alternative energy will save a system that is by definition unsustainable. That log is sinking and those who are fixed to that log by some really strong glue are going to go down with it. So arguing that alternatives don’t work is a strawman, we already know they can’t be a substitute for fossil fuels. So stop saying that!

    It is entirely possible that those who think like that are going to take all of us down with them. However in the meantime some of you might want to watch what those few who think differently have in mind. Here is the essence of the message from the Solar Impulse Live site: http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/message/

    “By going beyond the question of energy, Solar Impulse would also like to encourage each and every one of us to become pioneers in our own lives, in our ways of thinking and behaving. ” Bertrand Piccard

    Perhaps if we all did that then we might together find a way to build a civilization that can do so much more with so much less. We won’t know if it is possible unless we try. What we know for sure is that the civilization that we have built can’t go on…

    The Solar Impulse landed early this morning in Washington DC, check it out! I encourage everyone to follow at least the last leg of their flight from DC to New York. Pay particular attention to how they manage energy during the flight. They have one heck of a can do TEAM!

    Cheers and best hopes for transitioning to a new less energy intensive and less wasteful paradigm!

  46. 196
    Hank Roberts says:

    Encouraging:

    http://blog.ucsusa.org/corporate-counterfeit-sciene-both-wrong-and-dangerous-152
    (yes, there’s a typo in the original link, that’s how it is)

    ——excerpt follows———-
    “… Last week, a New York Appeals Court ruled unanimously that that Georgia Pacific, a subsidiary of Koch Industries, must hand over internal documents pertaining to the publication of 11 studies published in reputable scientific journals between 2008 and 2012. At issue in the case: whether the firm can be held accountable for engaging in a “crime-fraud” by planting misinformation in these journals intending to show that the so-called chrysotile asbestos in its widely used joint compound doesn’t cause cancer.

    Science falsely presented as independent research—with lawyers suggesting revisions

    Here’s what we know ….”
    ——-end excerpt————

  47. 197
    Hank Roberts says:

    For those interested, the source cite:
    http://www.ibasecretariat.org/nyc_appellate_court_ruling_jun_6_2013.pdf
    Matter of New York City Asbestos Litig. (2013 NY Slip Op 04127)

    “… The foregoing constitutes a sufficient factual basis for a finding that the relevant communications could have been in furtherance of a fraud, and the motion court properly confirmed the recommendation directing in camera review of the internal documents. As the court remarked, it is of concern that GP’s in-house counsel would be so intimately involved in supposedly objective scientific studies, especially in light of GP’s disclosures denying such participation (see United States v Philip Morris USA, Inc., 449 F Supp 2d 1 [D DC 2006] [applying the fraud-crime exception, in regard to defendants' litigation-related efforts to skew smoking and health research], affd in relevant part 566 F3d 1095 [DC Cir 2009], cert denied _ US _, 130 S Ct 3501 [2010]).”

    __________________________
    “Advocacy scientists” will be reviewing their past transactions carefully, I expect.

  48. 198

    So arguing that alternatives don’t work is a strawman, we already know they can’t be a substitute for fossil fuels. So stop saying that!

    FUD. I wouldn’t think of demanding that you stop posting nonsensical nonsense here, because it’s always an opportunity to counter it with facts.

    Now how could you not understand the magnitude of these quantities?

  49. 199
    sidd says:

    “Nearly half of the East Antarctic ice shelves are also thinning, some due to probable exposure to “warm” seawater, with connections to ice drainage basins grounded below sea level.”

    Rignot et al. Science, doi 10.1126/science.1235798

    Amery(2.4), Shackleton(1.8), Totten(2.2), Moscow University(2.0) seem to have hot water hitting their bases. I have indicated grounding line depth in Km in parentheses. At these depths sea water at 0C is 3C above the pressure melting point.

    Of course there are juicy bits concerning West Antarctica as well.

    sidd

  50. 200

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