January 20, 2008

3rd Generation Biofuel Algae

As known as Oilgae as well, is being considered to be the third generation biofuel. Its production is low cost and high yield, almost 30 times more energy production per acre as compared to the land required by other conventional feedstock to produce biofuels. At present researches are being conducted by Alga culture (farming Algae) to produce different fuels to harvest for making vegetable oil, biodiesel, bioethanol, biomethanol, biobutanol and other biofuels and it seems if the methodology is sustainable than other available biofuels then using algae to produce bio diesel would be the only viable method to replace the need of gasoline used for automotive today. Biofuels are considered to be the best way to reduce green house gas emissions and alternate to the pollutant fossil fuels. But recently, according to Nobel Laureate Paul Cortzen findings, some of the most commonly used biofuels Bioethanol from corn and bio diesel from rapeseed releases Nitrous Oxide (N2O) is contributing much more to the global warming than the fossil fuels are contributing right now. Processing of biofuel form algae has been tested that it captures large amounts of CO2 and N2O available in the atmosphere( 40% in a course of full day and 80% in sunny days) and an acre of algae can produce enough oil to make 5,000 gallons of biodiesel in a year. According to my point of view biodiesel and bio ethanol from rapeseed and corn is not only adding to global warming but economically it cannot be sustainable because its one of the main sources of edible oil. Ethanol demand can threaten the food prices. A recent study conducted by Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University reveled that considering the high-price crude oil scenario, U.S. ethanol production could reach 30 billion gallons by 2016, consuming more than half of U.S. corn, wheat and other coarse grain production and triggering higher meat prices for consumers, reduced production across-the-board for all segments of the meat sector, and even greater reductions in grain and meat exports. Taking in review the sustainability and economic factor biofuel from Alga culture seems to be most promising fuel for future.

January 19, 2008

Maglev Magnetic Levitation in Wind Turbines

During the last decade, countries like Germany, China and Japan, installed a high speed train system based on magnetic levitation. These trains are known for there energy efficiency, on time performance and low maintenance.
The advantage of using magnetic levitation in wind turbines is that of reduced maintenance costs, and increases life span of the generator. The magnetic levitation that they use is between the rotating shaft and the fixed base of the machine, basically taking the place of ball bearings. Such magnetic bearings have been used for decades in smaller turbines and pumps by Ebara, Leybold, Seiko-Seiki, and others. However these magnetic bearings can't handle being bumped around much (the magnetic force isn't that strong), and they need actively controlled electromagnets (to keep the levitating magnets from crashing--play with some magnets for a minute or two and you'll see why). Making magnetic bearings strong enough to handle the loads a wind turbine would put on them is hard, and would use exorbitant amounts of power just keeping the electromagnets running strongly enough. However, the World watch article says the new Chinese device (invented by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute and Guangzhou Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Science & Technology Co.) uses "full-permanent" magnets, meaning there are no electromagnets, only cleverly placed permanent ones, so it should use no power. It sounds like they will be used on small turbines (perfect for home use), which would be similar in scale to the pumps and industrial turbines currently using magnetic bearings. But who knows, in a few years it might be possible to scale them up.
Hopes are that maglev wind turbines, will be 20 time proficient then usual wind turbines, and the maintenance would drop to as low as 50 %. Maglev wind turbines should also have the advantage of 1000 amplified production hours compared to the traditional ones, and they might prove to be the solution for carbon free clean world.

January 17, 2008

Plastic Bags

Israel is the newest among the line of countries who are taking measures to eradicate or at least reduce the use of plastic bags. Word is that a bill has been introduced in Israel under which customers will now pay a charge for every plastic bag they will consume at the supper marker, this bill is similar to the one introduced in china late last year. This environment friendly chain reaction started from San Francisco, followed by Hong Kong, Melbourne, and then adopted by china and Israel.

The Bay’s board of supervisors of San Francisco approved the legislation under which use of 180 million plastic bags being used per annum were banned in all supper markets, by late 2007 and at pharmacies by early 2008. The problem was even more complicate in Hong Kong where 8 million plastic bags are dumped every year which is 3 bags per person a day. The total eradication program in Hong Kong will work in phases, first hyper marts, chains and retailers are suppose to charge USA6 cents a bag which is alone expected to cut the use to half by the end of 2008. Money earned through this charge will be utilized in the second phase through funds allocation to environment recovery projects and for educating people and indulging them into environmental friendly activities.

Melbourne has been active for reducing the use of plastic bags. In fact the Australian environment Minster Peter Garrett in an interview to a local newspaper stated that there are some four billion of these plastic bags floating around the place, getting into landfill, ending up affecting our wildlife, and showing up on our beaches while we are on holidays. A levy of 10 cents each bag consumed at the super markets has already has been imposed.

If the current pace of efforts for reducing plastic bag use continues on national levels allover the world, we might be able to find lesser number of these never wearing down bag on our roads, and chocking our drains. This will bring a significant reduction of petroleum thinning for manufacturing plastic bags.

January 15, 2008

Bioethanol production and cost efficiency

Pessimistic ecological consequences of fossil fuels and concerns about petroleum supplies have spurred the search for renewable transportation biofuels. To be a feasible alternative, a biofuel should provide a net energy gain, have environmental reimbursement, be economically competitive, and be producible in large quantities without reducing food supplies. Using these criteria’s to evaluate , ethanol from corn grain and biodiesel from soybeans. Ethanol yields 25% more energy than the energy invested in its production, whereas biodiesel yields 93% more. Compared with ethanol, biodiesel releases just 1.0%, 8.3%, and 13% of the agricultural nitrogen, phosphorus, and pesticide pollutants, respectively, per net energy gain. Relative to the fossil fuels they displace, greenhouse gas emissions are reduced 12% by the production and combustion of ethanol and 41% by biodiesel. Biodiesel also releases less air pollutants per net energy gain than ethanol. These advantages of biodiesel over ethanol come from lower agricultural inputs and more efficient conversion of feedstocks to fuel. biofuel can’t replace much petroleum without impacting food supplies. Even dedicating all U.S. corn and soybean production to biofuels would meet only 12% of gasoline demand and 6% of diesel demand. Recent raise in petroleum prices, high production costs made biofuels unprofitable without subsidy. Biodiesel provides sufficient environmental advantages to merit subsidy. Transportation of biofuels such as synfuel hydrocarbons or cellulosic ethanol, if produced from low-input biomass grown on agriculturally subsidiary land or from waste biomass, could provide much greater supplies and environmental benefits than food-based biofuels.