Energy

Category archives for Energy

The big complaint people have about renewable energy, or at least, the big complaint that has some merit, is that renewables, such as wind and solar, are intermittent and to varying degrees, unpredictably intermittent. This makes it hard to match demand for electricity to supply. Some aspects of this argument are overstated. For example, a…

Michael Mann has an editorial on Scientific American’s site putting the well known 2.0C limit in perspective for the upcoming climate talks in Paris. Mann makes a number of important points in his essay (read it here: Meeting a Global Carbon Limit Is Cheaper Than Avoiding One) but there is one point that I want…

According to sources, like this one, President Obama is about to nix the Keystone XL deal. One of those “hastily called” press conference is set for just before noon Eastern. Sorry about your stock values and stuff, TransCanada. Thank you President Obama. Now, please pardon those arrested over #KeystoneXL in front of the White House.…

Better Biofuels

This just in: Biofuels produced from switchgrass and post-harvest corn waste could significantly reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change, according to an analysis by EWG and University of California biofuels experts. EWG’s analysis found that the life cycle carbon intensity of cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass was 47 percent lower than that of gasoline.…

Clean Energy: The State of the States

One of the problems we have in making a quick transition to clean energy in the US is the fact that energy production and distribution is typically regulated by states, and some states are not as smart as other states. Or, if they are smart, they are controlled by political forces intent on maintaining fossil…

Hillary Clinton just came out with her climate change plan. Here it is. Hillary Clinton’s Vision for Modernizing North American Energy Infrastructure Flipping a light switch, adjusting the thermostat, or turning a car key in the ignition brings predictable results—the light goes on, the temperature changes, the car starts. But where the energy for those…

Making Liquid Fuels From Sun And Air

Liquid fuel powering internal combustion engines is inherently inefficient. This is because innumerable explosions causing kinetic work to be done also makes piles of heat, and for other reasons. The same amount of energy put into an electric motor and an internal combustion motor produce more usable work for the former than the latter. Also,…

Men and women are different, on average, in a number of ways. It all probably starts with who has the physiology to have babies and who doesn’t, and the differences spread out from there, affecting both the body and the mind. Decades of research show us that many of the body differences (but not all)…

There is a poorly secured railroad crossing in Saint Paul Park (south of Saint Paul, Minnesota) where a small industrial road crosses a BNSF track. The crossing has warning lights but no barriers. Yesterday (June 7, 2015) a semi crossing the tracks was hit by a Bakken oil train coming down the BNSF line. The…

Oil train derailments are becoming more common, mainly because of the very large number of oil trains, often with over 100 tank cars, taking oil out of the Bakken fields and bringing it to coastal refineries or storage facilities. You are certainly aware of the recent Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania. From Reuters: An Amtrak train…