In Search of Energy Miracles
At a legendary but secretive laboratory in California, Lockheed Martin is working on a plan that some employees hope might transform the world’s energy system: a practicable type of nuclear fusion.
Some 900 miles to the north, Bill Gates and another Microsoft veteran, Nathan Myhrvold, have poured millions into a company developing a fission reactor that could run on today’s nuclear waste.
And on the far side of the world, China has seized on discarded American research to pursue a safer reactor based on an abundant element called thorium.
Beyond the question of whether they will work, these ambitious schemes pose a larger issue: How much faith should we, as a society, put in the idea of a big technological fix to save the world from climate change?
Read more at New York Times
Poo Power Saves Water Company $22.6 Million
Thames Water says it will spend £250 million ($37.7 million) on thermal hydrolysis process (THP) plants to enhance its “vast poo power” program, which converts sewage sludge to electricity.
The UK water company saved about £15 million ($22.6 million) last year on its power bills by generating 14 percent of its annual energy requirement from sewage.
THP plants — essentially industrial-scale pressure cookers — condition the leftover solids from wastewater treatment by heating it up to around 160 degrees Celsius.
The pre-conditioned sludge then goes into existing anaerobic digesters (pictured) that break it down, producing biomethane gas that is then burned to create heat and generate renewable electricity.
Read more at Energy Manager Today
House, Senate Democrats Introduce Carbon Pricing Discussion Draft
Members of Congress on March 12 introduced draft carbon-pricing legislation that would require those responsible for large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions to pay for the pollution they produce.
Introduced by House Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), the “discussion draft” would require the nation’s largest polluters to pay a fee for each ton of carbon emissions they release. Assessment of carbon fees would be based on EPA’s database of reported emissions, with the Treasury Department responsible for collection and handling.
Read more at CleanTechnica
‘Green’ Buildings Gaining Status
Sustainable buildings result in lower operating costs, not to mention long-term savings as the cost of energy continues to rise. Many real estate scions are building green—think of the Durst Organization’s Bank of America Tower in New York City and One World Trade Center, which is being co-developed by Durst and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey—as well as retrofitting green—most famously, Malkin Properties’ newly refurbished Empire State Building.
So it isn’t surprising that some investors and real estate firms are starting to focus on amassing green portfolios. But when will sustainability become as standard a criterion as location and quality in U.S. investors’ acquisitions? According to many within the industry, thanks to a growing awareness of green as well as several benchmarking programs, that day is almost here.
Read more at NuWire Investor