Posts tagged “conservation”
This spring, the EPA will likely reduce the amount of corn ethanol that must be blended into our fuel supply by about 1.3 billion gallons (for a total of about 13 billion gallons) simply because our transportation system can’t absorb any more of it without exceeding a 10% blend, risking damage to cars. This is called the “10% blend wall.” Unlike beef, or chicken, gasoline, or smart phones, ethanol consumption isn’t consumer driven. In general, because consumers could care less about corn ethanol, fuel blenders also could care less about it except as an economically viable anti-knock additive in more modest quantities. They have to be forced to blend more of it by the government. Unless or until some unforeseen consumer demand arises, mandated blending will be necessary to keep the corn ethanol industry solvent.
And just as importantly, where is future growth going to come from? We can’t use all of our corn crop. This isn’t new technology. We’ve been making moonshine by distilling ethanol from fermented seeds and fruit for thousands of years. CONTINUE»
The number of walking trips taken by Americans has more than doubled in the last 20 years, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009, according to a new report.
During the week starting June 6th I will be in Siena, Italy to participate in Footprint Forum 2010, put together by the Global Footprint Network. In fact, when this post goes up I will be already on my way to Italy. The week after that I will be in Germany and Belgium. My ability to respond to e-mails and comments will be limited during those two weeks, but I have left essays in the queue that will be published during my travels. For those unfamiliar with Global Footprint Network, here is a partial description of their mission from their website: “In 2003, Global Footprint Network was established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live… Continue»
Based on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” 14 buildings will compete to trim their energy bills.
The DOE and EPA are taking to steps to bolster the reputation of their ENERGY STAR logo.
Ford has updated the look of their new fleet of police cars which may offer a boost to the environment.
In case you are just venturing out of your cave for the first time in a week, you are probably aware that President-elect Obama has announced his new energy team: Obama names energy team The team includes Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy, former EPA head Carol Browner to fill the newly-created job of Energy Czar, and Lisa Jackson to head the EPA. The focus of this essay will be on Dr. Chu, but I will comment briefly on the others. Lisa Jackson is trained as a chemical engineer (as was the outgoing Secretary of Energy Samual Bodman). It should go without saying that I like to see technical people in roles like this, where understanding… Continue»
I was traveling the past couple of days, or I would have been all over this story. As it stands, I certainly won’t be the first one to make this point. You may know that Barack Obama recently suggested that if all Americans kept their tires properly inflated and their cars correctly maintained, this would save as much oil as we could get from new drilling. Here he is making these comments, courtesy of YouTube. Obama’s critics (and his political opponent) jumped all over this, and are having a field day with it, suggesting that this is Obama’s energy plan, that he said “that’s all we need to do”, or “this will make us energy independent.” That’s not what he… Continue»
As I indicated in the original post – Coping with Gas at $100 a Gallon – here are some of the comments on my thought experiment on $100 gasoline. Comments were varied, ranging from things like “thought-provoking”, “great question”, “a good exercise”, and “interesting” – to “absurd”, “silly”, and finally my personal favorite (from the thread at The Oil Drum) “you have gone off the deep end.” A number of people clearly didn’t understand the purpose of a thought experiment. For instance, it should have been clear that the $100 cost was not important. It could have been $20 or $1,000. The point is to look around you and see how much fat you could cut if you really had… Continue»
I am fond of thought experiments. I like to ask “What If?” This can help me frame a problem. For instance, if I wonder how much land it would take to generate enough electricity to supply the U.S., that’s a thought experiment. But it is one that may tell me whether the idea is daft from conception, or whether there is a nugget of hope embedded within. Lately I have been thinking of another thought experiment. What would I, personally, do if gasoline was $100 a gallon? Now that may seem silly. Nobody thinks we are going to have to deal with gasoline at $100 a gallon. But that misses the point of the thought experiment. When I ask people… Continue»