But the main argument for supporting corn ethanol production has always … Read more
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That's how many rooftops you'd have to cover with solar panels to displace a cubic mile of oil (CMO), a measure of energy consumption, according to Ripudaman Malhotra, who oversees research on fossil fuels at SRI International. The electricity captured in those hypothetical solar panels in a year (2.1 kilowatts each) would roughly equal the energy in a CMO. The world consumes a little over 1 CMO of oil a year right now and about 3 CMOs of energy from all sources.
Put … Read more
Today the 404 boys talk about the new art of reverse airbrushing, filling up an imaginary car with gas, and "Osama, Obama?" on a church sign--Hmmm, which one of these stories isn't in the South? We'll tell you. Also, Allen Stern of CenterNetworks joins us for the podcast for some good old fashioned Internet fun.
Listen now: Download today's podcast
Shell is filling cable channels with commercials for GTL, or gas-to-liquids, and someone asked me about it, so here's your answer:
GTL is a type of liquid fuel produced from natural gas. It isn't classic liquefied natural gas, which is natural gas cooled to the point where it turns into a fluid. Instead, methane from underground is cracked by catalysts and heat, turned into synthetic gases, and then transformed into a liquid similar to diesel. The process resembles the coal-to-liquid Fischer-Tropsch process devised in the 1920s.
Shell already makes token amounts of GTL in a plant in Indonesia; … Read more
Wind power is worth it, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
ERCOT studied the costs and benefits of wind power in three scenarios and concluded that expanding wind power in Texas would outweigh the total costs of boosting the state's electrical grid with conventional technologies. (Renewable Energy Access has a more detailed story here.)
The organization estimated the costs of putting in 5.1 gigawatts (GW), 11.6GW, and 18GW of new wind energy as well as the required grid connections. The 5.1GW plan would bring with it a $3.8 billion premium, but save $1.… Read more
Ever since plasmas and LCDs went mainstream, furniture makers have struggled with ways either to showcase or hide the TV once the bulky and cliched media armoire was no longer needed. The result has been experimentation ranging from updated wall units to diamond-dust cabinets with a few ill-advised attempts at art in between.
Observing this quandary with bemused detachment, we herewith offer the obvious and ultimate solution: the "Gas Pump Entertainment Center." The "Tokheim 39 Series," as it's known in interior-decorator parlance, has produced this replica of pumps that were commonplace at gasoline stations across … Read more
Researchers at the University of Massachusetts say forget about cellulosic ethanol. They can make regular gas out of plant matter.
Professor George Huber and grad students Torren Carlson and Tushar Vispute have come up with a way to cook plant matter in the presence of a solid, reusable catalyst to produce a liquid that contains compounds like naphthalene and toluene that are found in gasoline. The liquid can be further processed to produce gas or burned as is.
It might be 10 years before gas made from the process appears at the pump, but conceivably it could be used more … Read more
A few years ago--specifically, after Sept. 11, 2001--something like a jewel-studded gas mask would have been considered to be in poor taste, to say the least. And it still is, in our opinion, but that doesn't count for much when you're talking about obscenely expensive designer items showcased at the Luxury Show 2008 in Bucharest. That was, after all, the site of such egregiousness as a 24k-plated Hummer.
The gems pictured here are the products of artist Diddo Velema' along with Gucci and Louis Vuitton, according to Dvice, some even encrusted with diamonds. Velema explains the concept thusly: &… Read more
Plug-in hybrids get far better mileage than standard cars or regular hybrids--and emit far less pollution.
But they are also tough to justify economically at the moment with existing technology, according to the first several months of data from RechargeIT.org, which is studying how well plug-in hybrids work in real-world circumstances.
Plug-ins, in fact, only cut gas consumption by about 88 gallons a year over regular Priuses in urban driving. That comes to an annual savings of $158 to $250 (when you factor in the cost of electricity too). With the conversion running around $15,000, the payoff … Read more