Friday, December 18, 2009

Notable Energy Briefs

Switchgrass is twice as efficient as maize for producing biofuels
Switchgrass can yield 1,000 gallons of fuel per acre planted, while miscanthus (elephant grass) is projected to yield 1,250 gallons per acre. By comparison, corn yield only 400 gallons of ethanol per acre, and even sugarcane only 650. Oil palms produce 610 gallons of biodiesel per acre planted, while coconut yields only 276 gallons per acre. (Figures for ethanol come from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, for biodiesel from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.)

Residential fuel cells for producing home electricity, heat, and hot water, are coming to Japan. Initial models will run on natural gas. Methanol fuel cells will come later.

Cyclone Power Technologies Inc. has agreed to develop its novel biomass-burning external combustion engines for China.

British Columbia company to produce Dimethyl Ether (DME) diesel substitute, from forest waste. DME can also be made from black liquor wasteproduct from paper / pulp mills, and other low quality carbonaceous waste.

Boston College researchers are investigating new "hot electron" technology for improving efficiencies of photovoltaics

China prepares to steal copy 3G nuclear technology from Westinghouse AP1000 reactors -- before the reactors are even built! Westinghouse - Toshiba won their license to build 4 AP1000 reactors in China only after they agreed to transfer the license for much of the technology to China.

Government energy projects such as Lawrence Livermore's laser fusion National Ignition Facility (and mega-project ITER) continue to devour enormous amounts of funding with projected practical payoffs receding ever into the future. Meanwhile, small projects such as IEC and Vancouver-based General Fusion, have to bow and scrape for meager funding.



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