Renewables, fuel cells, hydrogen, and efficiency
Ken Novak's Weblog
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Biofuels via cellphone: "More people would be likely to refuel with biodiesel if
they knew where to find a filling station .. NearBio delivers a
database of more than 1,000 biodiesel sellers to mobile phones via WAP
(wireless access protocol) or text messaging. The free applet and
service from WHDC of Nevada City, CA, provides driving directions, the
phone number and the blends available at the five closest locations.
Since most of the diesel engines in the U.S. are inside of trucks,
truck drivers who can factor biodiesel stations into their routes are
the most likely beneficiaries of this service. The number of biodiesel
stations is increasing rapidly and NearBio says it will add new
locations within a day. " 11:01:21 AM
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Taking the Measure: IT and Energy:
I've heard these numbers verbally before, but not online; I've asked the author for the reseach citation. "According to researchers at MIT, less than 1 percent of all commercial and industrial companies use advanced technology to measure and manage energy spend. On the other hand, nearly 100 percent of companies use advanced technology to measure and manage telecommunications spend. Now consider that, according to the MIT researchers, the U.S. spend in electricity is about $270 billion per year while the U.S. spend in telecommunications is about $125 billion per year.
Does your company know down to the fraction of a minute how your telecommunications bill is derived? Probably, and you can probably produce pages of reports showing spending by person, department and project. .. Can you also break out by building, department, project and individual worker how your electrical bill is derived? Or your heating bill? Or your air-conditioning bill? I doubt it, but that is where your next round of cost savings resides." 3:21:11 PM
Another network-based energy management company, this one based in Texas. "Site Controls provides on-demand energy and asset management solutions that increase profitability and improve the environment through energy efficiency. The company’s flagship platform, Site-Command™, was specifically designed to address the unique needs of Retail, Restaurant, and Convenience Store operators who seek to profitably deliver a consistent and compelling customer experience. By providing persistent real-time access, visibility and control over thousands of assets and sites nationwide, Site Controls helps customers create that compelling customer experience while simultaneously reducing emissions, saving money, and improving business efficiency.
Site-Command remotely monitors, logs, and controls HVAC, lighting, outdoor signage, refrigeration, and other major in-store energy consumers, online and in real-time. And, Site-Command features an intuitive, user-friendly, interface, accessible from any web-browser, or web-enabled PDA, minimizing IT overhead and ongoing support. Site-Command will deliver cash on cash payback within 18 to 24 months of install. ROI is further accelerated by utility rebates, which Site Controls manages on your behalf." 2:43:53 PM
Sunday, November 26, 2006
CBC News: The Denial Machine:
Nov 2006 Canadian TV documentary: "The Denial Machine
investigates the roots of the campaign to
negate the science and the threat of global warming. It tracks the activities
of a group of scientists, some of whom previously consulted for for
Big Tobacco, and who are now receiving donations from major coal and oil
companies. The documentary shows how fossil fuel corporations have kept the global
warming debate alive long after most scientists believed that global warming
was real and had potentially catastrophic consequences. It shows that
companies such as Exxon Mobil are working with top public relations firms
and using many of the same tactics and personnel as those employed by
Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds to dispute the cigarette-cancer link in
the 1990s. " 11:22:06 PM
Monday, November 20, 2006
"E3 BioFuels Genesis plant "will begin production in December 2006 at Mead, Nebraska, as the first-ever closed-loop system for distilling commercial quantities of ethanol using methane gas recaptured from cow manure, instead of fossil fuels. This virtually eliminates the need for fossil fuels in the production of ethanol. [The plant] combines a 25-million-gallon ethanol refinery, beef cattle feedlot, and anaerobic digesters to maximize energy efficiencies unavailable to each component on a stand-alone basis. This system eliminates the potential for manure to pollute watersheds, and it enables the wet distillers grain from ethanol production to be fed on-site to cattle without energy-intensive drying and transportation costs. [CEO] Langley said. "This plant will make ethanol more than twice as energy-efficient as any other method of producing ethanol or gasoline."" Seems a promising combination of biogas with liquid biofuel production. A major failing of today's ethanol production is the reliance on natural gas for process heat, so that ethanol produces only 20% less greenhouse gas than gasoline. By feeding the distillers grain byproducts of ethanol production to cows, and converting the cow dung to gas for process heat, the GHG savings are much higher. The company plans to build ethanol plants at existing feedlots. It helps that these commercial feedlots are under pressure to clean up their cow dung processing; that corn is already transported in volume to the feedlot; and that the distillers grain byproducts of ethanol production can be used onsite without transportation. (See also Verasun's plans
to use distillers grain to produce biodiesel, may also improve the GHG balance for ethanol.) 11:27:46 PM
Monday, November 06, 2006
For PG&E customers, it pays to virtualize:
A major California utility creates an incentive for saving energy through server consolodation with virtualization. "They said the company had recently approved a three-year, $950 million plan whereby PG&E will reimburse 50% of the costs of a server consolidation project, including software, hardware and consulting, up to a maximum of $4 million per customer.
"We will calculate the energy consumed by existing servers and subtract the difference in the energy consumed by the new servers," said Randall Cole, senior project manager for PG&E's Customer Energy Efficiency program. "Then we'll pay 8 cents for every kWh saved over the first year of the server virtualization implementation." Electricity rates for PG&E's non-residential customers currently stand at 12 cents to 15 cents per kWh. ..
What's in this incentive plan for PG&E? The motives are fairly obvious: "We don't want to build any more power plants," said Bramfitt. At the same time, "regulators have told us loud and clear that we need to meet certain energy efficiency goals," he said. "We want customers to save energy, and we will pay them to do so." ..
"Virtualization isn't mainstream yet, and once it ramps up, I'm not going to incent it anymore," Bramfitt said. "But, in the meantime, I'm going to do whatever I can to light a fire under peoples' butts."" Nice to see a coincidence between my interests in energy efficiency and my main work in computers. And I wish I knew more about how the electric utilities are regulated in California, so they make money with this program, compared to other states where they do not. 10:25:11 PM
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Carbonfund.org has a national marketing partner:
Good to see that they are reaching larger audiences through partnerships. In this case, Working Assets is not only advertising to their membership, but offering a matching grant of approximately 25%. 11:11:15 PM
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Carbon Emissions Offset Directory:
Useful comparison chart of carbon offset vendors. Cost ranges from $5/ton from US sellers to $30/ton top price in Europe. Sources of carbon offsets (Chicago Climate Exchange, green-e, European projects, reforestry, etc.) are listed. 2:52:22 PM