Pat Blum

Renewable Fuels for Alternative Energy

Posted by Pat Blum on
Alternative energies

The Germans have really taken off when it comes to renewable fuel sources, and have become one of the major players in the alternative energy game. Under the aegis of the nation’s electricity feed laws, the German people set a world record in 2006 by investing over $10 billion (US) in research, development, and implementation of wind turbines, biogas power plants, and solar collection cells. Germany’s ìfeed lawsî permit the German homeowners to connect to an electrical grid through some source of renewable energy and then sell back to the power company any excess energy produced at retail prices. This economic incentive has catapulted Germany into the number-one position among all nations with regards to the number of operational solar arrays, biogas plants, and wind turbines. The 50-terawatt hours of electricity produced by these renewable energy sources account for 10% of all of Germany’s energy production per year. In 2006 alone, Germany installed 100,000 solar energy collection systems. 

Over in the US, the BP corporation has established an Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI) to spearhead extensive new research and development efforts into clean burning renewable energy sources, most prominently biofuels for ground vehicles. BP’s investment comes to $50 million (US) per year over the course of the next de cade. This EBI will be physically located at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The University is in partnership with BP, and it will be responsible for research and development of new biofuel crops, biofuel-delivering agricultural systems, and machines to produce renewable fuels in liquid form for automobile consumption. The University will especially spearhead efforts in the field of genetic engineering with regard to creating the more advanced biofuel crops. The EBI will additionally have as a major focal point technological innovations for converting heavy hydrocarbons into pollution-free and highly efficient fuels. 

Also in the US, the battle rages on between Congress and the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA). The GEA’s Executive Director Karl Gawell has recently written to the Congress and the Department of Energy, the only way to ensure that DOE and OMB do not simply revert to their irrational insistence on terminating the geothermal research program is to schedule a congressional hearing specifically on geothermal energy, its potential, and the role of federal research. Furthermore, Gawell goes on to say that recent studies by the National Research Council, the Western Governors’ Association Clean Energy Task Force and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology all support expanding geothermal research funding to develop the technology necessary to utilize this vast, untapped domestic renewable energy resource. Supporters of geothermal energy, such as this writer, are amazed at the minuscule amount of awareness that the public has about the huge benefits that research and development of the renewable alternative energy source would provide the US, both practically and economically. Geothermal energy is already less expensive to produce in terms of kilowatt-hours than the coal that the US keeps mining. Geothermal energy is readily available, sitting just a few miles below our feet and easily accessible through drilling. One company, Ormat, which is the third largest geothermal energy producer in the US and has plants in several different nations, is already a billion-dollar-per-year businessógeothermal energy is certainly economically viable. 

What is Alternative Energy?

Posted by Pat Blum on
Alternative Enery

There is a lot of energy that we can harness if we only seek to research and develop the technologies needed to do so. We can get away from the fossil fuels and the old electrical grids by turning to alternatives to these energy sources.

One of these alternative energy resources is wind power. Wind turbines continue to be developed that are progressively more energy efficient and less costly. ìWind farmsî have been springing up in many nations, and they have even become more strategically placed over time so that they are not jeopardizing birds as former wind turbines did.

Another alternative energy resource is the one that is most well known: solar energy. This involves the manufacturing of solar cells which gather and focus the energy given off directly by the sun and translate it into electricity or, in some cases, hot water. As with wind energy, solar energy creates absolutely zero pollution.

Ocean wave energy is seen by governments and investors as having enormous energy generating potential. A generator in France has been in operation for many years now and is considered to be a great success, and the Irish and Scots are running experimental facilities. 

Hydroelectric power has been with us for a while and where it is set up, it is a powerful generator of electricity and cleaner than a grid. However, there are certain limitations to the availability of the right places to set up a large dam. Many run-of-the-river, or small and localized, hydroelectric generators have been set up in recent times due to this limitation.

Geothermal energy is extremely abundant since it lies directly beneath our feet, just a few miles below the earth’s surface. This energy is produced by the heating of water through the actions of earth’s fantastically hot molten core. The water turns to steam, which can be harnessed and used to drive turbine engines which in turn generate electricity. Great amounts of research and development should be put into geothermal energy tapping. 

Waste gas energies, which are essentially methane, reverse the usual energy-pollution relationship by creating energy from waste that lies in the dumps and from some air pollutants. This gas is used in fuel cells and can be used in standard gasoline generators. 

Ethanol is a gasoline substitute and is created from such things as wheat, sugarcane, grapes, strawberries, corn, and even wood chips and wood cellulose. There is controversy over this fuel with regards to its ever becoming truly economical or practical except in very localized areas, but technologies for its extraction and admixt-uring are continuously being refined. 

Biodiesel energy is created out of the oils contained in plants. So far, the commercial stores of biodiesel have been created using soybean, rapeseed, and sunflower oils. At the time of this writing, biodiesel is typically produced by entrepreneurial minded individuals or those who want to experiment with alternative energy, but commercial interest from companies is on the rise. It burns much cleaner than oil-based diesel. 

Atomic energy is created in atomic energy plants using the process of nuclear fission. This energy is extremely efficient and can generate huge amounts of power. There is concern from some people about what to do with the relatively small amount of waste product atomic energy gives off since it is radioactive and takes hundreds of years to decay into harmlessness.

What is An Air Purifier?

Posted by Pat Blum on
Air purifier

Air purifiers; there is a good chance that you have heard of them before.  Despite the fact that you may have heard of air purifiers before, do you know what they are or what they do?  A large number of individuals do not. Air purifiers can greatly benefit you and you family, but before the benefits can be felt, you must familiarize yourself with air purifiers, namely what they are and what they do.

Air purifier, also commonly referred to as air cleaner, are electronic devices. The goal of these electronic devices is to clean the air.  This is done by eliminating harmful air contaminants.  Air contaminant is another word that is used to describe air particles. No matter what they are called, they could be harmful to your health or to those who visit your home.  That is why it is recommended that all homes have an air purifier in them.  In fact, in addition to be recommended, some homeowners are actually urged to have an air purifier for their home.

If you are wondering why someone would be urged to have an air purifier in their home, you may be wondering who those individuals are and just who it is that is doing the urging.  Well, the truth is that there are a fairly large number of individuals who are urged to have air purifiers.  These individuals may be those who have pets or who have in-house smokers.  It has been said, and actually proven in multiple studies, that pets and cigarette smoke causes unhealthy air particles to form. With an air purifier, those particles will either be completely eliminated or reduced.

In addition to those who have a house with pets or a cigarette smoker, it is also advised that those with allergies purchase an air purifier for their home.  Air purifiers work to eliminate common dust particles, which is a common cause of allergies.  As previously mentioned, air purifiers are also recommended for those with pets. In addition to keeping your homeís air clean, an air purifier may also help to reduce an allergic reaction to pets or pet hair. 

Although it is important to know who can benefit from an air purifier, you may also be wondering exactly how they work. With air purifiers, you will find that different purifiers work in different ways. This is because many air purifiers are produced by different manufacturers.  Each of those manufacturers is likely to develop their own product in their own way. Despite these differences, there are a number of different air purifiers that use ionizers and filters.  These filters often filter out harmful air purifiers by preventing them to pass through the system. Essentially, this means that only safe, clean, and breathable air is allowed to pass through.

If you make the decision to purchase an air purifier or cleaner, and with all of the benefits there is a good chance that you will, you are advised to shop carefully.  You will find that many air purifiers claim to be the best, but very few are. Although you may wish to purchase a low-cost air purifier, you are advised to be cautious when doing so. Many cheaper air purifiers are low-performing and the high-performing ones may need to have their filters replaced every few months.  If this is the case, you will want to check the cost of replacement filters; in some cases, the filters may end up costing more than the machine originally did.