Saturday 19 December 2009

Copenhagen Chaos and Crisis

Oh no the "leaders" of all our Governments have failied to agree on long term climate change.

What we have witnessed is political jockeying, self interest and fudge. We all know something has to be done but our elected (well not all are elected) "leaders" have not provided any real solution. We are all in the 'dark'.

The reality of a global financial meltdown have scared the west into inaction - they can't afford it, financially and perhaps more telling, politically.

Tell us what you think, we are simply going to start building alternative energy solutions and make a difference, the political squad can carry on talking!

Friday 18 December 2009

Report: Carbon Capture Adds 50%+ To Power Cost ( large-scale projects and coal-fired power plants, in particular)

A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.

The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.

The report will be a wakeup call to many on the potential of such systems, which are targeted at large-scale projects and coal-fired power plants in particular, the latter accounting for half of the world’s energy-related CO2 emissions.

Pike estimates that the CCS industry will grow to revenue of $221.5 billion by 2030. The margins, however, will be low, hovering “close to zero,” and “even over the longer term, the CCS industry, heavily subsidized and equally heavily regulated, will produce relatively low profits. In addition, margins will vary widely along the vertical chain of CCS, from capture to transport to geological storage.”

However, as the report notes, predicting the future profitability is guesswork, since the price of carbon emissions (i.e, the penalties for emitting too much) “will likely be set initially by government fiat and, over the longer term, market forces that are impossible to predict with confidence.”

The full report is available for purchase by contacting:

Thursday 17 December 2009

Clean Algae Biofuel Project Leads World in Productivity

Australian scientists are achieving the world's best production rates of oil from algae grown in open saline ponds, taking them a step closer to creating commercial quantities of clean biofuel for the future.

A joint $3.3 million project led by Murdoch University in Perth, Western Australia, and involving the University of Adelaide in South Australia, now leads world algae biofuel research after more than 12 months of consistent results at both universities.

“It was previously believed impossible to grow large quantities of algae for biofuel in open ponds consistently and without contamination, but we've proven it can be done,” says Project Leader Professor Michael Borowitzka from Murdoch University.

The project has received $1.89 million funding from the Australian Government as part of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.

“This is the only biofuel project in Australia working simultaneously on all steps in the process of microalgal biofuels production, from microalgae culture, harvesting of the algae and extraction of oil suitable for biofuels production,” Professor Borowitzka says.

Professor Borowitzka says that due to the project’s success, construction of a multi-million dollar pilot plant to test the whole process on a larger scale will now begin in Karratha in the North-West in January and is expected to be operational by July.

“We have achieved production rates of 50 tonnes per hectare per year, over half of which is converted to oil. These high production rates are expected to increase at the new pilot plant due to the even better climatic conditions in Karratha.”

Professor Borowitzka says the cost of producing biofuel from algae has already dropped from $12 a kilo to below $4 in the past year, but the aim is to get it down to less than $1 a kilo.

Africa: Climate Hubs Could Drive Clean Energy Research

Copenhagen — Africa needs new sources of clean energy, including a mix of wind and solar energy technologies, and should introduce 'climate innovation centres' to speed their uptake, energy experts have said.

Oliver Knight, energy advisor at the UK Department for International Development, said that the severe water shortages predicted for Africa as a result of climate change mean that the continent cannot rely on hydropower as its only clean energy source.

"Africa needs to diversify from hydroelectric power, which becomes less reliable with less rainfall," Knight said after addressing a session on low carbon energy sources at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen (7-18 December).

Different mixes of technologies would be appropriate for different countries, he said. For example, a mix of wind, solar and geothermal energies could work in Kenya, whereas hydropower, bio-energy and geothermal would be more relevant for Rwanda, which has less wind and solar radiation.

But the continent does not need to launch a massive research and development programme in its quest for clean technologies, said Knight. Rather, it should use existing technologies and adapt them to local conditions and needs.