Renewable-Energy Progress

Serious discussion of science, skepticism, and evolution
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Jobar
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Post by Jobar » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:18 pm

In the northern US and Canada, there are barns designed to capture the methane produced by all the cow farts and burn them for heat during the winter months.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Wed Mar 01, 2017 9:44 pm

Denmark Generated Enough Wind Energy To Power All Its Electricity Needs On Wednesday | CleanTechnica
According to WindEurope, Denmark generated a total of 70 gigawatt-hours (GWh) from onshore wind and another 27 GWh from offshore wind — enough to power the equivalent of 10 million average EU households.
That's 2.9 and 1.1 gigawatts, with a sum of 4.0 GW.

Denmark's capacity is 3.8 GW onshore and 1.3 GW offshore, adding up to 5.1 GW.

Will US Solar Growth Continue To Shock, Explode, & Demolish Under Trump/Bannon/Pence? | CleanTechnica It's been growing much faster than predicted, but the Trump Administration may practice fossil-fuel crony capitalism and slow it down.

Yet Another Energy Company Bails On Canadian Tar Sands Oil -- Is Koch Next? | CleanTechnica

Will Autocracies Fall As The Oil Age Ends? | CleanTechnica
The connection between reliance on a fossil fuel economy and corruption is well documented as the Resource Curse. Of all the petro-states, many have autocratic rule. Only Norway has consistently managed its oil wealth while remaining democratic.

Russia, the world’s largest oil producer, devolved from near democracy after the fall of the Soviet Union, into one of the world’s most corrupt kleptocracies under the 16-year rule of ex-KGB officer Vladimir Putin.
So Saudi Arabia no longer has that honor? SA is a textbook example of the Resource Curse.
A Slow-Moving GOP Coup in the US Predated Trump

US Intelligence agencies concluded Putin used sophisticated troll armies to fool Americans into installing a US puppet president supportive of Putin’s kleptocratic regime.

But well before the shocking election results, the contrast in small “d” democracy between the red states and the blue states reflected the level of each state’s dependence on a fossil-fuel. If the US comprised different nations, like the EU, the difference in democratic voting laws between Oregon and Oklahoma would be as stark as the difference between democracy in Sweden and dictatorship in Hungary.

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Rie
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Post by Rie » Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:52 pm

For tea addicts... dried out totally tea bags can be used as Firelighters
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"No. I was just hoping that if I didn't say anything you'd stop trying to explain things to me." - Terry Pratchett, The Last Hero

Shaka
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Post by Shaka » Sun Mar 05, 2017 2:33 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]It's remarkable that controlled-fusion researchers have gotten as far as they have, but I have some doubts as to the ultimate feasibility of controlled fusion.[/quote]

You know I've read a book by plasma physicist Dr. Francis Chen called "An Indispensable Truth How Fusion Power Can Save the Planet" and he says that if there was a serous program by government, like Manhattan Project or Apollo project, we could have nuclear fusion in 10 years. I have also heard Dr. Brian Cox and Stephen Hawking say the same thing. Even if you look at youtube the scientist that works on ITER, Steven Cowley, has a TED speech and he says if they had more money...

[quote=""lpetrich""]There is a naturally-occurring isotope of hydrogen that's usable by us: deuterium, hydrogen-2. However, it's about 10^(-4) of the hydrogen in the Earth's crust, and hydrogen thus needs a *lot* of enrichment. In fact, there's a risk that the energy necessary to enrich hydrogen may be a sizable fraction of the energy collected from fusing it.[/quote]

Dude forget about Earth's crust because Deuterium (D) occurs naturally in water. In heavy water, D replaces the H in H2O. There is one part of D2O for every 6,400 parts of H2O, and it is easy to separate it out. No mining or large separation plants required.

[quote=""lpetrich""]There's also the problem of radioactivity.[/quote]
Come on. Walls do get radioactive and have to be replaced every decade or so and it's radioactivity that lasts only 12 years. It's nothing compared to fission plants that give out 30 tons of nuclear waste each annually and that radioactivity won't go away for million years.

[quote=""lpetrich""]However, some people have claimed that one can select the wall materials to keep this radioactivity from being too troublesome.[/quote]

Sure when stainless steel is used, the neutrons can produce some activation, resulting in the production of about 1/1,000th the radioactive waste of a fusion reactor. However, if specially chosen structural materials like carbon-carbon graphite are used, there will be no activation, and the system can produce endless amounts of energy without pollution of any kind.

Fusion would indeed be incredible source of power. Because it would be so plentiful and cheap you could potentially use it to transform our lives. For instance you could heat matter (any matter you chose like garbage or rocks) to such high levels that it changes on molecular level and becomes something else - like replicators in Star Trek. Or our problem with CO2 in the atmosphere. I mean we can make devices to suck the carbon (and other pollutants) out of air but they would use a lot of energy which has to come from some polluting place, but if you had something like fusion... you get what I mean.
Some say that in further generations of fusion reactors you could make them more compact and make spaceships that would travel about 6000 times faster then our current chemically propelled ones and could recharge on gas giants.


But there is one nuclear source of energy that could be done much sooner and is called a traveling-wave reactor (TWR). It is fission reactor that uses nuclear waste, it's very small and can go on for decades without re-charging and since it's pretty clean it could be placed in the middle of a city. The problem is that it would need few billion dollars of investment in it, but scientists claim they could make it very soon if they had money.

There was even an episode of HBO's "Vice" about fusion and TWR and for both they conclude that people just need to press the politicians to make this possible.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Tue Mar 07, 2017 4:32 pm

Solar Prices Now Lower Than Everything Else In 60 Countries
“Renewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting [fossil fuels],” says BNEF advisory board chairman, Michael Liebreich. Solar is booming for a number of reasons, including falling equipment costs, new business models like Tesla’s home batteries, growing investment, and a rise in clean energy policies.
The article noted World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind - Bloomberg
“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” said Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF. “A huge part of this story is China, which has been rapidly deploying solar” and helping other countries finance their own projects.

Half the Price of Coal

This year has seen a remarkable run for solar power. Auctions, where private companies compete for massive contracts to provide electricity, established record after record for cheap solar power. It started with a contract in January to produce electricity for $64 per megawatt-hour in India; then a deal in August pegging $29.10 per megawatt hour in Chile. That’s record-cheap electricity—roughly half the price of competing coal power.

“Renewables are robustly entering the era of undercutting” fossil fuel prices, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said in a note to clients this week.

... The latest BNEF projections call for 70 gigawatts of newly installed solar in 2016 compared with 59 gigawatts of wind.
4th World Nation-Building | CleanTechnica
The idea of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd world countries is something of a relic in our society. The US and its allies were described as 1st world during the cold war, with the Soviet Union and its allies described as 2nd world, and the rest of the world (specifically the “developing” nations) decreed to be 3rd world. It’s somewhat derogatory, but it persists in our vernacular to this day, even if most educated people refer now to nations as either developed or developing, rather than 1st or 3rd world. Regardless, it brings up an interesting question — what happens next?

Sandra Kwak, founder of TenPower, gave a workshop at the Envision Festival in Costa Rica, discussing paths forward for global sustainable economic development, talking about creating a “4th world” standard for developing nations.
Then about how one would need 2.5 planets to live like Americans.
Kwak made a point that we can be inspired by this fact, not depressed by it, as it creates an opportunity to help people in developing nations to completely leapfrog the stage of development we have in the US, and get to a much more fulfilling future without having to go through the growing pains like we did. Think about it — leapfrog technology will allow people in developing nations to get WiFi without needing to invest billions to develop fiberoptic network cables. It will allow people to get online education and training in global economy jobs without having to spend all of their money to physically go to a large university. It will allow people to skip going through clearcutting and burning their land to run cattle for 2-3 years and then inevitably becoming dependent on chemical fertilizers as the soils die off (and instead develop economically empowering permaculture operations). She said there are opportunities for developing clean energy, clean water, ecosystem renovation and permaculture jobs that completely shift local economies and create economic self-reliance.
A little bit of that has already happened, like many Third Worlders skipping landline telephone systems for cellphones.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:02 pm

US Wind Energy Provided 5.5% Of Nation's Electricity In 2016, Over 20% In 5 Heartland States | CleanTechnica -- impressive performance.

Parts Of Tropics Got Too Hot For Most Living Organisms 56 Million Years Ago | CleanTechnica

I think that I'll start a separate thread on this issue. Essentially, the Earth has gone through some global-warming episodes that caused mass extinctions. The biggest was the Permo-Triassic mass extinction of 252 million years ago, even bigger than the Cretaceous-Paleogene/Tertiary one of 66 million years ago. The P-Tr one was followed by some 5 million years of the tropics being too hot to be habitable for many organisms. Now there is evidence that overheated tropics also happened at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary, around 56 million years ago. So global warming can be a Very Bad Thing.


ETA: I couldn't resist this: Wind Booms & Oil Busts: A Tale Of Two Texases | CleanTechnica
The first, published in the New York Times, shows how oil production is making a comeback in West Texas, but many of its jobs are not. Like manufacturing before it, the oil industry is undergoing a period of rapid automation. Tasks that once required an actual worker are now being performed by software and machines.

“I don’t see a future,” one worker, whose job laying cables was eliminated by wireless technology, told the Times. “Pretty soon every rig will have one worker and a robot.”

Automation is just the latest threat to labor in an industry where hiring has long been subject to the boom and bust cycle of commodity prices.
and
The second story, from the Guardian, tells of ranchers making big money off of royalty payments from Texas wind power. A single turbine can produce between $10,000 and $20,000 a year for landowners.

“I never thought that wind would pay more than oil,” one landowner told the paper amid the thrum, thrum, thrum of rotating blades. “That noise they make — it’s kind of like a cash register.”

And it’s not just landowners making money. In Nolan Country, the tax base jumped from $400 million a year to $3 billion, largely as a result of wind power, according to the Guardian.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:27 pm

[quote=""lpetrich""]The second story, from the Guardian, tells of ranchers making big money off of royalty payments from Texas wind power. A single turbine can produce between $10,000 and $20,000 a year for landowners.[/quote]

I wonder what the tax implications are-- both income (though there is no state income tax in Texas) and property.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:48 pm

Every time I drive up I-35 from Texas to Minnesota I see more and more wind turbines.
Or maybe I'm just now noticing them.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sat Apr 29, 2017 4:43 pm

A new fusion tokomak in the UK features high temperature superconducting magnets.

https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/04/u ... nning.html

Tested for 29 hours, they say. Nothing is said about how close to break-even power.

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Post by dancer_rnb » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:32 pm

I'm getting solar for the house. I'm going to run the air at 72 all summer.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Tue May 16, 2017 12:09 am

That'll be nice -- getting lots of A/C without running up a big electric bill.

Australia's Renewable Energy Target Is Within Grasping Distance | CleanTechnica Its 2020 target if the nation gets enough renewable-energy construction this year.

Divestment From Fossil Fuels: A May 2017 CleanTechnica Update | CleanTechnica
A large Danish pension has divested itself of investments in 5 Canadian oil producers, citing concerns about fossil fuel companies becoming stranded assets and facing long-term heavy financial losses. They predicted that a “low-carbon future” would create a vacuum and heavy losses for these former investments.
Trump Administration Is On The Wrong Side Of Energy History | CleanTechnica

By 2032, New Solar Will Be Cheaper Than Old Coal | CleanTechnica
In Australia, at least.
“So, new solar is right now hands down easily cheaper than building a new coal-fired power station, and will shortly be cheaper than building a new gas-fired power station,” he said.
Florida Lawmakers Act On Solar Amendment Approved By 72.6% Of Voters | CleanTechnica
The Palm Beach Post reported that a bill to implement the constitutional amendment designed to expand the use of solar and other renewable energy devices is ready to go to Governor Rick Scott. It is now delivered to the governor’s desk. Time to act swiftly, governor.
US Energy Dept. Still Believes That Small Wind Turbines Are Da Bomb | CleanTechnica

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Tue May 16, 2017 12:11 am

Capitalists Eat Their Young: Why The Culture Of Greed Is Killing Innovation -- The Guardian | CleanTechnica
“As the economist Mariana Mazzucato has shown, nearly every major innovation since the second world war has required a big push from the public sector, for an obvious reason: the public sector can afford to take risks that the private sector can’t,” Tarnoff writes.

“It’s the government’s insulation from market forces that has historically made it such a successful innovator. It doesn’t have to compete, and it’s not at the mercy of investors demanding a share of its profits.

“It’s also far more generous with the fruits of its scientific labor: no private company would ever be so foolish as to constantly give away innovations it has generated at enormous expense for free, but this is exactly what the government does. The dynamic should be familiar from the financial crisis: the taxpayer absorbs the risk, and the investor reaps the reward.”


...
“From energy to pharma, from the shale gas boom to lucrative lifesaving drugs, public research has everywhere laid the foundation for private profit … The advances that created what we’ve come to call tech — the development of digital computing, the invention of the internet, the formation of Silicon Valley itself — were the result of sustained and substantial government investment.

“Even the iPhone, that celebrated emblem of capitalist creativity, wouldn’t exist without buckets of government cash. Its core technologies, from the touch-screen display to GPS to Siri, all trace their roots to publicly funded research.” And yet, Apple is now sitting on a quarter of a trillion dollars in cash which it has cynically parked overseas to avoid paying taxes to the organization that is the primary source of that wealth — the US government.

“Contrary to popular belief, entrepreneurs typically make terrible innovators. Left to its own devices, the private sector is far more likely to impede technological progress than to advance it. That’s because real innovation is very expensive to produce: it involves pouring extravagant sums of money into research projects that may fail, or at the very least may never yield a commercially viable product. In other words, it requires a lot of risk — something that, myth-making aside, capitalist firms have little appetite for.”
That may be an overstatement, but the companies that have done the best R&D are those that are the most government-like, companies in secure market positions that have lasted a long time.

No Robots
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Post by No Robots » Tue May 16, 2017 4:57 pm

^What about Elon Musk? Isn't he a counter example?

dancer_rnb
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Post by dancer_rnb » Tue May 16, 2017 5:05 pm

[quote=""No Robots""]^What about Elon Musk? Isn't he a counter example?[/quote]

He is almost certainly building on others' work.
There is no such thing as "politically correct." It's code for liberalism. The whole idea of "political correctness" was a brief academic flash-in-the-pan in the early 1990's, but has been a good conservative bugaboo ever since.

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Aupmanyav
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Post by Aupmanyav » Wed May 17, 2017 3:23 am

Solar energy prices are really going downhill. Something like Rs.2.5 per unit. Government charges me Rs.4.5 per unit. Big future
News: Dust reduces the efficiency of solar panels by 25%.
'Sarve khalu idam Brahma'
All things here are Brahman (physical energy).

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sun May 28, 2017 3:58 am

Solar in the Caribbean — An Installation in Saint Lucia - Renewable Energy World -- on the Governor-General's house. More on the way?

Wind Energy Strengthens Resilience, Reliability of US Power Grid - Renewable Energy World
Arizona Utility Buys Solar Power at ‘Historically Low Price’ - Renewable Energy World -- including batteries for electricity storage.
Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability? - Renewable Energy World
Wind is Winning and We're Just Getting Started - Renewable Energy World
The hardest decision we made was to accept as an industry the PTC phase-down. It was a bold, visionary decision based on the belief that we could compete on a level playing field, that we could compete on cost.
That's the Production Tax Credit. I think that it will be politically good to phase it out, because the defenders of fossil fuels will have less to object to in renewable energy.

States Leading on Clean Energy Policy — Don't Mess With Success - Renewable Energy World


New Solar Projects In India Are Cheaper Than 92% Of All Thermal Power Plants In The Country | CleanTechnica
India cancels plans for huge coal power stations as solar energy prices hit record low | The Independent


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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sat Jun 10, 2017 5:17 pm

Froom a Bloomberg article---
And that future will almost certainly be dominated by solar -- not because it’s “green,” but because it’s cheap. ... Data suggests that there’s a fifty-fifty chance that solar will become competitive with coal as early as 2024.

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Sat Jul 01, 2017 6:55 am

Like Mr. Petrich, I am a skeptic on fusion power generation. But here's an article which claims a multinational project "should" be able to sustain fusion at a French location by 2025.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles ... udget-cuts

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sun Jul 02, 2017 3:44 pm

Apollo's Shield: Clean Energy Is the 'Ultimate Weapon' Against Russian Security Threats | Greentech Media
In January, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis called Russia the “principal threat” to America today. But despite Russia's might, there's a glaring chink in its otherwise impenetrable armor: an extraordinary dependence on its sale of fossil fuels.

...
Moscow’s dominance of the regional energy market serves as the cornerstone of Europe's vulnerability to the Russian threat. According to RAND, 11 European countries, from Finland to Bulgaria, buy over 90 percent of their vital natural gas from Russia. Germany, our most important ally on the continent, relies on Russia for over 40 percent of all the natural gas it consumes, more than from any other country.

However, this interdependency flows bilaterally. Russia earns over 40 percent of all export revenue from fossil fuel sales to Europe and North America. Moreover, 36 percent of every ruble in the Kremlin’s published budget (USD $85.5 billion) comes directly from these fossil fuel sales.
So renewable-energy development will help Europe by making it less dependent on Russian natural gas.

10 Battery Gigafactories Are Now in the Works. And Elon Musk May Add 4 More | Greentech Media
Overall, Bloomberg reports that global battery-making capacity is set to more than double by 2021, topping 278 gigawatt-hours a year compared to 103 gigawatt-hours at present.
Let's see how this compares to humanity's total electricity consumption. It is currently around 2.4 terawatts. Ten years of battery production at the 2021 predicted rate gives a capacity of 2.78 terawatt-hours. That's enough to store an hour's production of electricity. So batteries still have a way to go before they can completely handle wind and solar intermittency. But don't let that keep you from using batteries.

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:02 pm

Solar Costs Are Hitting Jaw-Dropping Lows in Every Region of the World | Greentech Media
GTM Research expects a 27 percent drop in average global project prices by 2022, or about 4.4 percent each year. Those improvements are not limited to the U.S. They are occurring globally, and in some cases resulting in even sharper price declines than those America is experiencing.
India is now as low as 65 cents per watt, in part from low labor costs there.

The Latest Trends in Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement | Greentech Media
But while sustainability goals have become more widespread, Touati noted that these commitments -- and, more strikingly, renewable energy procurements -- are still concentrated among the world's largest companies.
Utility Spends $7.5 Billion To Prove Clean Coal Is A Cruel Hoax | CleanTechnica
Beginning in 2010, Southern Company, one the nation’s largest utilities, began construction of a new electricity generating facility in Kemper County, Mississippi. It’s sole mission was to prove once and for all that clean coal technology worked. Projected to cost $3.5 billion, the project is now 3 years overdue and $4 billion over budget.

Now the company has run up the white flag of surrender. It announced this week that it is “immediately suspending start-up and operations activities” for coal gasification at the Kemper County plant.
Temperatures Have Risen Rapidly In The Pyrenees In Recent Decades, Research Shows | CleanTechnica
Temperatures in the Pyrenees mountain range have been climbing particularly rapidly in recent decades — with maximum temperatures there rising by more than half a degree Celsius by decade from 1970 to 2013 — according to a new study from the Rovira i Virgili University’s Centre for Climate Change.
60-Million-Strong Study Shows Clear Link Between Exposure To Air Pollution & Premature Death | CleanTechnica

Siberia Is On Fire | CleanTechnica -- big forest fires in southern Siberia

Renewable Energy Generates More Than 25% Of UK Electricity In 1st Quarter | CleanTechnica
Renewable energy sources generated more than a quarter of the UK’s electricity in the first quarter of this year, with onshore wind setting a record high of 8.3%, helping to further dismantle the UK’s reliance upon coal energy.
Reports Suggest Angela Merkel Warming Up For Climate Confrontation With Donald Trump | CleanTechnica
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, arguably one of the currently most influential leaders in the world, and most certainly one of the more respected, has issued a shot across the bow of Donald Trump’s nascent US leadership in advance of next week’s G20 summit next week, raising the specter of a public and contentious clash over the protectionist and isolationist policies of the United States, in particular its stance on climate change.
That will be a sight to see.

Most recently,
Through it all, several world leaders have stepped into the spotlight, or straightened further in the spotlight, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Specifically, in the wake of the NATO meeting in Brussels, Merekel set the stage for an emerging new world order that did not include the United States or the United Kingdom as key and leading members:

“The times in which we could completely depend on others are, to a certain extent, over. I’ve experienced that in the last few days. We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.”

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lpetrich
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Post by lpetrich » Mon Jul 03, 2017 10:56 am

Mass-Produced, Printable Solar Cells Enter Market And Could Change Everything… | Eco Snippets
Australian solar power experts making up the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium have developed and begun to market solar cells that are created with a 3D printer.

The group, consisting of scientists from the CSIRO, the University of Melbourne and Monash University have been working on the technology for over seven years and have figured out a way to cheaply print the panels onto plastic, including smart-phones and laptops, enabling self charging electronics. They are also able to print directly on to walls and windows using an opaque solar film and claim that they can line a skyscraper with panels, making it totally electrically self sufficient.
From the video, VISIONS — CTRL+P Australia's Largest Solar Cells - YouTube it seems like an ordinary sort of printer, but it does seem real.

I'd like to see how this works out in practice. Will it be good competition for existing sorts of solar cells?

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Tubby
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Post by Tubby » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:21 am

Speaking of time frames (as I was above), Exxon thinks another 25 years might suffice to have a "fatter algae" source of biofuel.

http://www.businessinsider.com/exxon-an ... ket-2017-7

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Tubby
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fusion

Post by Tubby » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:48 pm


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Tubby
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fusion

Post by Tubby » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:04 pm

China hopes for 1,000 seconds of stability in six years.

{I edited out the link because it was not working correctly.}

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