Month of February, 2008

Offshore Floating Energy Islands

February 12, 2008 - 04:56:33 PM

Offshore Energy Island

The concept - creating artificial islands to collect wind, wave and solar power in the tropics - is based on the work of Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, a 19th-century French physicist, who envisioned the idea of using the sea as a giant solar-energy collector.

Inspired by Jacques-Arsène d’Arsonval, architect and engineer Dominic Michaelis, his son Alex Michaelin (also an architect), and Trevor Cooper-Chadwick are developing a new technique called Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) that takes advantage of differences in temperature between the ocean surface sea (up to 29°C in the tropics) and water a kilometer down (which is typically 5°C). Here’s how it works: warmer surface water is used to heat liquid ammonia, converting it into vapor, which expands to drive a turbine — which in turn produces electricity. The ammonia is then cooled using cold water from the ocean depths, returning it into a liquid state so the process can start all over again.  READ MORE »


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The Virgin Earth Challenge

February 12, 2008 - 07:21:19 PM

 APPhoto: AP

The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate.

 

OBJECTIVE: To encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects.

Today [ 9/2/2007], Sir Richard Branson and Al Gore announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize – The Virgin Earth Challenge – in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth’s climate.

Sir Richard also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges - all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery, Jim Hansen and James Lovelock. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard (see Editors notes for biographies).  READ MORE »


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Leading Wall Street Banks Establish The Carbon Principles

February 12, 2008 - 07:57:14 PM


Guidelines to strengthen environmental and economic risk management in the financing and construction of electricity generation

The Rainforest Action Network, among others, offers a critique of what they feel are the principle's strengths and weaknesses.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C)
February 04, 2008

NEW YORK – Three of the world's leading financial institutions today announced the formation of The Carbon Principles, climate change guidelines for advisors and lenders to power companies in the United States. These Principles are the result of a nine-month intensive effort to create an approach to evaluating and addressing carbon risks in the financing of electric power projects. The need for these Principles is driven by the risks faced by the power industry as utilities, independent producers, regulators, lenders and investors deal with the uncertainties around regional and national climate change policy.

The Principles were developed in partnership by Citi, JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, and in consultation with leading power companies American Electric Power, CMS Energy, DTE Energy, NRG Energy, PSEG, Sempra and Southern Company. Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council, environmental non-governmental organizations, also advised on the creation of the Principles.

This effort is the first time a group of banks has come together and consulted with power companies and environmental groups to develop a process for understanding carbon risk around power sector investments needed to meet future economic growth and the needs of consumers for reliable and affordable energy. The consortium has developed an Enhanced Diligence framework to help lenders better understand and evaluate the potential carbon risks associated with coal plant investments.  READ MORE »


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Challenges of the 21st Century from an Engineering Perspective

February 16, 2008 - 08:32:12 PM

LEADING ENGINEERS AND SCIENTISTS IDENTIFY ADVANCES THAT COULD IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE AROUND THE WORLD
21st CENTURY'S GRAND ENGINEERING CHALLENGES UNVEILED

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. National Academy of Engineering (NAE) today announced the grand challenges for engineering in the 21st century. A diverse committee of experts from around the world, convened at the request of the U.S. National Science Foundation, revealed 14 challenges that, if met, would improve how we live.

"Tremendous advances in quality of life have come from improved technology in areas such as farming and manufacturing," said committee member and Google co-founder Larry Page. "If we focus our effort on the important grand challenges of our age, we can hugely improve the future."

The panel, some of the most accomplished engineers and scientists of their generation, was established in 2006 and met several times to discuss and develop the list of challenges. Through an interactive Web site, the effort received worldwide input from prominent engineers and scientists, as well as from the general public, over a one-year period. The panel's conclusions were reviewed by more than 50 subject-matter experts.

The final choices fall into four themes that are essential for humanity to flourish -- sustainability, health, reducing vulnerability, and joy of living.  READ MORE »


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