Friday, September 28, 2007
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is proposing that the United States lessen its dependence on foreign oil by powering its cars with a coal-based synthetic fuel, or SynFuel. This fuel would be produced using the massive coal deposits underneath the eastern half of Montana, which compose roughly a third of the coal reserves in the entire country. SynFuel runs far cleaner than normal gas and diesel, and also leads to improved engine performance.
we care because the algae absorbs 80% of CO2 emissions and then can be converted into biodiesel or ethanol- creating two amounts of energy with one pollution.
pics coming soon!
Green roofs should definitely be supported, maybe they could even be tax deductible, similarly to hybrid cars are now on the market. As far as the wedge, this could forfill the reforestation technology, which would be created by establishing around 300 million hectares of plantations on non forested land.
How it works: Most companies charge a monthly fee plus additional fees per hour te case is in use and per mile used. A vehicle is reserved in advance through the internet or telephone. Members are responsible for returning the vehicles on time to the agreed parking area in good condition for the next user.
Goals: To help ease congestion of busy city streets and parking lots. Car sharing also reduces dependence on cars and increases usage of more environmentally friendly forms of transportation.
Advantages: Car sharing members have access to a variety of different cars to fit their specific needs without having to deal with maintenance and car repair.
Disadvantages: Must have adequate density of users so vehicles can be well used. Must be placed in an urban area where users can easily access pick up locations. Best if supported by public transportation.
Facts:Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, found that 30 percent of households that join City CarShare sell a car. Even more household members delay purchasing a car. Transit use, bicycling, and walking also increase among members.<
It's pretty much the greenest way you can drive. A UC Berkeley study conducted in 2003 showed that each person who joins City CarShare saves nearly 100 gallons of gasoline each year, on average. When you add it all up, our members have saved over 1,000,000 gallons of gas.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Research project for Danish Architecture Center
BIG believes that todays environmental issues are not political, economic or even ecological - it is a design challenge! They have designed HySociety, an urban super block that contains a cross section of Denmark boiled down to a living and working setting for 1500 people in which all currently available environmental technologies are being used in the most economically profitable way.
By following the natural propensity of each program BIG has organized the entire 100 000 square meter block so that each program claims its optimum position in the whole. The optimum location has been determined by solar orientation, urban adjacencies, proximity to symbiotic neighbours and requirements for access, views, scale, sunlight etc.
Big has traced the circulation of electricity, heat, water, oxygen and hydrogen on their way through different programs. All outputs are automaticly redirected to where they are wanted. All excess recources are taken to the hydrogen plant, where H20 is split into H2 and O2. The resultant heat is used for hot water and the hydrogen for fueling cars.
Our Moral Footprint
VACLAV HAVEL, New York Times, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Malaria can be deadly, but the sickness and malaise caused by the disease create unmeasurable losses to local economies due to missed work days and loss of investment in a region. Most people who actually die of malaria are children or people with weakened immune systems. Malaria is curable, but only if treated promptly and requires access to drugs and health care. Prevention methods remain the best way to avoid malaria. Preventative drugs are expensive and mosquito habitat destruction and insecticide spraying require organized, time-consuming efforts.
One of the cheapest, most effective ways of preventing malaria in poor regions with weak infrastructure is the distribution of insecticide-dipped mosquito nets. Education and efforts to make treatment drugs more available and affordable can also help.
While a vaccine has not yet been discovered, options are being tested and researched. Some organizations participating in global malaria control (Roll Back Malaria, Malaria Foundation International) have suggested that putting more funds towards malaria efforts and less towards AIDS could save more lives with less money.
Educating consumers is a highly effective way to raise awareness of important and pressing issues of the world. Some of these issues include AIDS/HIV, malaria, poverty, global warming, breast cancer, and smoking. An awareness campaign is an example of a strategy used in consumer education. Some known campaigns include: An inconvenient truth, a movie with Al Gore as an advocate, one.org for making poverty history, and thetruth.com to stop smoking.
Some tactics used in these campaigns include: confrontation, media exposure, company sponsor, product advertisement, and celebrity endorsement. The use of multiple tactics usually results in a more successful campaign.
Recycling saves resources, decreases the use of toxic chemicals, cuts energy use, helps curb global warming, stems the flow of water and air pollution, and reduces the need for landfills and incinerators.
Case study: As USA’s number-one specialty coffee retailer, Starbucks goes through a lot of cups, 1.9 billion of them. Environmental Defense calculates that Starbucks’ move to use new hot cups with 10 percent postconsumer recycled paper will achieve the following annual environmental improvements:
Resource savings // Equivalency
11300 fewer tons of wood consumed // about 78000 trees
58 billion BTUs of energy saved // enough to supply 640 homes for a year
47 million gallons of wastewater avoided // enough to fill 71 Olympic-sized swimming pools
3 million pounds of solid waste prevented // equivalent to 109 fully-loaded garbage trucks
Use durable goods!
Bring your own cloth bags to local stores. Replace plastic and paper cups with ceramic mugs, disposable razors with reusable ones. Refuse unneeded plastic utensils, napkins, and straws when you buy takeout foods. Use a cloth dishrag instead of paper towels at home, and reusable food containers instead of aluminum foil and plastic wrap.
Buy energy-efficient products!
When buying new appliances and electronics, look for the highest energy-efficiency rating. The most energy-efficient models carry the Energy Star label, which identifies products that use 20-40 percent less energy than standard new products.
Case study: According to the EPA, the typical American household can save about $400 per year in energy bills with products that carry the Energy Star. Refrigerator typically accounts for 20 percent of the electric bill. On the average, new refrigerators and freezers are about 75 percent more efficient than those made 30 years ago, so investing in a modern refrigerator can cut hundreds of dollars from your electric bill during its lifetime.
Switch to compact flourescent bulbs!
Each compact fluorescent bulb will keep half a ton of carbon dioxide out of the air over its lifetime. Though compact fluorescents are initially a lot more expensive than the traditional bulbs, they last ten times as long and can save $30 per year in electricity costs.
p.s. My sheet contains quite a lot of text, so here I did some editing, if you need the whole text, I can e-mail it to one of you.
Present Course - While conservative estimates maintain that sea levels in New York City could rise 18cm by mid-century, other estimates maintain that levels could increase by as much as 60cm. With a rise in sea levels, some parts of the city will become permanently submerged, and the city as a whole will become far more prone to flooding.
Potential Course - The Netherlands has a complex system of dams which keeps out the rising seas. Though 24 percent of the country is below sea level, the threat of flooding has been mitigated.
LEMONDE.FR | 29.11.05
At the same time, many scientists believe that even if we are able to hold carbon emissions at present levels we will still have to deal with significant climate change. As a studio we should consider 1. other methods to reduce carbon, 2. adaptation to climate change, and 3. better places to to onvest our limited resources.
Lead Follow or Move Aside Thomas Friedman, NYTimes
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
a fuel produced by mixing vegetable oils, fats or greases with an alcohol (usually methanol but sometimes ethanol) and a catalyst.
Biodiesel is a cleaner burning fuel than diesel, with lower emissions, notably the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Most commercial biodiesel is made from soybean oil, and some is already mixed in with diesel to reduce emissions.
an alcohol fuel made from distilling sugars in crops
a gasoline blend with 10 percent ethanol -- E10 -- is widely used to reduce carbon monoxide emissions.
largest crop in US recieves goverment incentives.
Just one wedge worth of carbon-neutral biofuels would require 1/6th of the worlds cropland. If all the corn production went towards biofules it would account for only 10% of transportation needs. It is feasible for this to help mitigate the carbon problem, but it needs to work in conjunction with all other processes. The answer is in ethanol made from switchgrass. Corn is not the answer and sugar cane is great except where it can grow is limited. Switchgrass is a weed and can grow anywhere; crop or pasture land.
The easiest way to reduce fuel consumption is to make the cars lighter. The amount of energy needed to move material is directly related with the total weight of it. By reducing size and weight of cars we can optimize and make use of the infrastructure we already have.
With all the modern products people pay for less weight, laptops, mobile phones, mp3-players etc. are getting smaller and lighter all the time. From this point of view it is very unusual that when it comes to cars people pay for heavier structures. The reason for this is that in transportation people think it is safer to have a big car. A heavy car may be safe to its passengers but to everything outside the moving ton of steel is a leathal projectile that in order to feel safe one needs even heavier vehicle. And also does a car need a rear seat bench when it carries an average of just 1,2 occupants in urban traffic?
In order to meet the goal of cutting carbon emissions we need to make cars lighter and smart as well. Smart so, that if the driver is not driving properly the car could take over the control. These automatic security features would enable us to reduce a lot of weight because we wouldn’t need the safety measures anymore.
MINIMUM MATERIAL >> MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE >> MAXIMUM SATISFACTION
In the process of rethinking cars substitutive materials play an essential role. For example duraluminum, fiberglass, carbon fiber or carbon nanotubes are materials to replace steel. Nanotechnology enchanged cars will be stronger than steel ones. This helps to reduce the crucial weight of cars and in the same time it helps to protect the passengers better. Frozen textile structures used in aerospace engineering offer pre-thought answers that just need to be adapted to automobile manufacturing.
When thinking about transportation of goods trucks should be versatile. Many modern trailers are fit to carry different kinds of loads but cooling trailer can’t transport unbotteled milk or gasoline. Specialization can be very limiting. This is were flexible containers come in handy. If fluids and gasses were stored in “bags” they could be transported with the same trailer that could hold anything. Also when considering the ecological point of view it is profitable to reduce the empty truck weight and by doing so increase the potential payload aswell. The only way to drasticly reduce truck weight is to apply composite technology. The faculty of Aerospace Engineering of the Delf University of Technology has developed “Cold Feather”, a prototype of a refrigerated trailer that is 3000 kilograms lighter than traditional cooling trailer.
There are some other examples as well. A Dutch company Prins Dokkum is developing fibre reinforced polymer trailer wheels that are about 45% lighter than aluminium ones and 64% lighter than steel wheels. There’s also been made a composite city bus that weights 999 kg.
Another existing technology is the hybrid car. It is a vehicle which combines a conventional propulsion system with an on-board rechargable energy storage systems. Reduced wear on the gasoline engine means reduced emissions. In addition the use of hybrid cars reduce noise emissions from substantial use of electric motor at low speeds. The city of New York started converting its taxi fleet to hybrids in 2005. In July 2007 375 hybrids were in use. The mayor plans to convert 20% of the remaining 13000 taxis each year.
EXAMPLE OF TECHNOLOGY: THE SMART CAR // Perfect for the city
- In Direct Solar Gain, this is done through strategic placement of windows, skylights, and other light-allowing apertures.
- In Indirect Solar Gain, heat is captured by a thermal mass and then transmitted indirectly throughout the building via conduction and convection.
- Isolated Solar Gain is a system in which a liquid or air is used to transfer heat in and out of the building.
- In Active Solar Systems, panels attached to a building either gather heat (via fluids running through the panels) or generate electricity (via photo-voltaic cells).
- Passive Solar capabilities allow buildings to improve thermal efficiency, and thus they require fewer resources to heat and cool. Active solar systems allow buildings to supplement their supply of electricity, and thus cause less strain on the grid during peak hours.
It is abundant and somewhat predictable.
Technologies for solar power are easy to install and use.
Solar energy could be a good solution for many developing countries with lots of sun.
-Passive solar energy (through use of strategies including insulation, window design, and landscape elements) can be used to conserve energy or increase energy efficiency.
-Active solar energy uses PV panels or thermal heat to harness energy for storage or converting it to other applications, like electricity.
-PV cells are modular peices that make up a panel. The panel consists of two layers of a superconducting material (usually silicon) under a layer of glass. The energy from photons collected from the sun makes electrons from the top (positive) layer move to the lower (negative) layer, allowing the electrical current to be collected in the panel.
-Thin film technology now makes building facades and other surfaces into solar collectors, taking up less space than in the past.
-Solar energy is an intermittent energy source- the energy must be stored if there is no sunlight. It is also expensive, but prices are dropping. It could be used successfully along with wind energy, with solar energy being used in the sunniest times of year and wind energy being optimized in the winter and months with less sun.
-A wedge worth of PV cells would require arrays with the combined area size of New Jersey.
Wedge information I could find in relation to heat is as follows: 1 wedge could be achieved by using the best technology available in all new and existing buildings. (US "Energy Star program" have achieved 1/40th of a wedge in 2003. If there was an increase of 25% efficiency in all new and existing residential and commercial buildings, it would achieve a wedge worth of emissions reduction.
Some methods used include polygeneration which uses simultaneously generate electricity and heat, increasing efficiency. Other much smaller methods of trying to limit carbon emissions as applied to developing worlds include substituting coal for sugar cane or corn. Using this technology and applying it to the
Carbon emissions from road trasport grew by some 10% between 1990 and 2000, and they were expected to grow by a further 9% or between 2000 and 2010.
With average new vehicle emissions of 140g CO2/km by 2008, a combination of new technology, improvements to current technology and changes in purchasing behaviour toward more efficient vehicles should yield a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050.
Also please post any images that you feel are necessary to the understanding of any of the previous 3 points.
To reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tons per year using wind power, 2 million more turbines will need to be installed on an area roughly the size of Germany.
2 million additional turbines
6 turbines per km
1/1500 of the earths surface or,
roughly the size of Germany
What it looks like?
3 or more km inland from the shore.
Usually placed on hillsides or ridges to exploit topographic acceleration. As wind approaches, the hill or ridge causes the wind to accelerate as it is forced over it, resulting in vast gains in the amount of energy able to be produced.
Farmers can lease their land to companies for the building of wind farms for $2,000-$5,000 annually. Less than 1% of the land is used for foundations and access, therefore it can still be used for farming and grazing.
These areas are also protected from further development.
3 km off shore on land, 10 km off shore on water.
Tend to be good site for turbines seeing that a source for wind is convection, which is caused by the difference in temperatures and rates of heating and cooling of land and water.
As with onshore facilities these areas can as well be used for farming and are protected from development.
10 or more km off shore.
Water has less surface roughness than land, resulting in greater windspeeds. Because of these greater speeds the capacity is higher allowing for the use of shorter towers, reducing their obtrusion in picturesque landscapes.
Although the towers can be shorter visually, many times because of the depth of the water they need to be taller overall raising costs. Also raising costs are a more difficult instalation and maintence process as well as corrosion caused by salt water.
The effect of offshore wind farms on aquatic life is currently unknown positivly. Noise pollution due to the turbines has the potential to impact creatures such as whales who use similar frequencys to those being emitted by the turbines in deeper locations.
IS THIS A FEASABLE ALTERNATIVE?
I think that wind power is a good candidate for producing a wedge. Looking at the scale as 1/1500 the surface of the earth as opposed to the size of Germany makes it a more feasable number. For instance there is enough wind power off of the atlantic coast of the United States to power 75% of eastern seaboard needs. On top of wind farms placed in open waters out of the way of shipping routes farm land does not have to be sacrificed in order to install turbines on land.
Cars in the United States attribute to 90% of carbon monoxide in the air as well as hydro carbons and nitrogen oxides let alone the mass amounts of carbon dioxide emitted. These contaminants are caused by the fuel’s combustion. Even the fuel evaporation when the car or other vehicle is simply sitting in the sun contributes to carbon emissions. Millions of tons of pollutants are emitted a year by our dependence of personal transportation.
American use 753 million gallons of gas a year. On average, a single person waists $1,194 dollars a year on fuel and time in stop and go traffic. Busses and Trains are NOT the answer.
What can we do?
Less mileage, drive at an average speed of 35-45 miles an hour, do not top-off at the gas station, use clean fuels, car-pool, or simply stop driving.
Although electric vehicles have few direct emissions, all rely on energy created through electricity generation which will emit pollution unless it is from a renewable source. If a large proportion of private vehicles were to convert to plug-in electricity, there would be a significant need for generation and transmission capacity, even if most charging occurred overnight drawing power from the most efficient off-peak base load. Electromagnetic radiation, from high performance electrical motors has been claimed to be associated with some human ailments
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and LEDs
If each customer of the Wal-Mart stores (176 million people) each bought one CF bulb, that uses 75% less electricity, a weak they would save roughly three billion dollars on electrical bills, would cut fifty billion tons of cal use, and keep incandescent bulbs out of our landfills over the life of the one CF. If each customer bought one CF every weak, at the end of the year they would have collectively cut the use of coal by 2.4 trillion tons.
What is Inside an LED?
LED's are special diodes that emit light when connected in a circuit. They are frequently used as "pilot" lights in electronic appliances to indicate whether the circuit is closed or not. A clear (or often colored) epoxy case enclosed the heart of an LED, the semi-conductor chip.
Nuclear and Hydro Power
Electric power companies, which emit about one-third of America’s global warming gases, could reduce their emissions to below the levels of 1990, but that would take about 20 years, no matter how much the utilities spend, according to a new industry study. No, if money was no object then the entire fleet of coal and natural gas burning electric generation plants could be replaced by nuclear power plants. The industry study calls for 64 gigawatts of additional nuclear power by 2030, an increase of about two-thirds from the current level. In the United States we could switch to nuclear where we now use coal and natural gas. In 2005 nuclear power accounted for 19.3% of total electric power generated. The United States had 104 nuclear reactors operating in 2005 with a total capacity of 97 gigawatts (almost 1 gigawatt per plant). So as a rough first approximation if we built 400 nuclear power plants or 4 times as much as we already have we could shut down all the fossil-fuels burning plants. Also, hydro could be used for part of the peak demand capacity. The average nuclear power plant now operating is smaller than the average that would get built in a new nuclear power plant building program. But if we had to build 8 times as much nuclear power (about 800 gigawatts) as we now have and they cost $1.5 billion per 1 gigawatt of capacity then we are looking at $1.2 trillion dollars to build a fully nuclear electric power plant fleet. That's less than 10% of the US economy's product for one year.
This would only be eliminating a third of the problem. Also, a massive nuclear power plant building program would drive down the cost of nukes.
Hydroelectricity eliminates the flue gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion, including pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, dust, and mercury in the coal. Compared to the nuclear power plant, hydroelectricity generates no nuclear waste, nor nuclear leaks. Unlike uranium, hydroelectricity is also a renewable energy source. Compared to wind farms, hydroelectricity power plants have a more predictable load factor. If the project has a storage reservoir, it can be dispatched to generate power when needed. Hydroelectric plants can be easily regulated to follow variations in power demand.
2.We would need to multiply the amount of nuclear energy produced by three. We would have to increase our number of plants from 440 to 1320.
3. Nuclear power, though the energy is one of the cleanest burning and most efficient, is very expensive. On the scale needed to effect one wedge, the building of new plants is simply not feasable. More nuclear power plants are definitely better than coal, so perhaps if this technology was used with others, some sort of change might be possible. The bad part of plants is also the waste produced, which I believe that personally, in this instance, the good would outweigh the bad if we actually had the money to increase our nuclear power.
4. If you guys want any of the images from my poster, let me know and I'll be sure to post them tonight.
Monday, September 24, 2007
In order to make one wedge by 2054, relative to 14 GTC/year…
We would have to decrease the tropical deforestation to zero instead of a half GTC/year, and establish 300 MHA of new tree plantations, which is twice the current rate.
One wedge could be available via the reduction of deforestation and management.
At least half a wedge could be created if clear-cutting of primary tropical forests was reduced to zero over 50 years.
A second half could be created by reforesting 250 million hectares in the tropics or 400 million hectares in temperate zones. In perspective, what is left now are 1500 million hectares of tropical forests and 700 million of temperate forests. 250 hectares is about the size of the
A third half wedge could be created by establishing around 300 million hectares of plantations on non-forested land.
After looking at these statistics, it seems like this technology is definitely feasible, especially if it were conducted in conjunction with other technologies. However, I do feel that reducing clear-cutting to zero over 50 years is highly unlikely. Wood is definitely a necessity in our culture; its even a basic need for construction a house or heating. In my opinion, reforesting 250 million hectares is feasible, however what worries me is that regenerating a tropical forest would be more difficult then a temperate forest, due to its complex and rich ecosystem.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Coal Plant and Technology
Natural Gas Plant and Technology
Coal is everywhere, cheap and easy. Though frowned upon due to its ability to pollute the air, land, and water throughout the entire process, from mining to solid waste disposal, it is not completely horrible. Coal gasification is an example of the advances in coal efficiency and cleanliness, not only is it used worldwide, but is also being further developed. http://www.fossil.energy.gov/programs/powersystems/futuregen/index.html
Natural gas is much cleaner in comparison, and expanding its use is feasible for it is already the third largest supplier of electricity. And when it comes to heating, industry is its largest consumer, and residency is the second with 6/10 homes using natural gas. However, it is more expensive than coal and not as plentiful, both in terms of supply and local resource.
Energy needs to be regarded from a local and global perspective. Due to supply and international relationships, certain areas would benefit from certain types of electricity. Natural gas is not available in all areas; coal is on every continent. However, technologies for transporting natural gas are available, where pipelines are usually used or it can be liquefied.
When speaking of global perspective, it is important to note that with developing economies, the demand for energy is increasing. Furthermore, policies are being considered by Congress for taxing carbon emissions, where 1/3 of perspective coal plants in the
Yes, there are other types of energy sources than the discussion’s concentration on natural gas and coal, and some even being developed in conjunction with the latter sources (see first link). However, these two were paired up due to their similarities as nonrenewable fossil fuels and characteristic as generalists when it comes to electricity and heating.
Thus, energy and its use is a notable concern in many areas, from government, to industry, to the consumer. Considering recent events, it is a good time to suggest a solution, or a different solution. However, displacing 1400 coal plants is pretty ridiculous in practice. Tearing down what is already available is a one step back, while pushing forward, especially with developing economies, is three steps forward at a more enthusiastic pace. The combination of cleaner coal technologies, improvements of current plants, advancements in natural gas, and practice of efficient and clean energy production in developing countries could reach the wedge as well as influence future advancements. /thanks
Friday, September 21, 2007
Following Socolow’s model, wel assume that these strategies cannot be realistically applied across a single sector. Instead we will draw across the electricity, heating and transportation sectors. For the purposes of our research we must understand each of the wedge approaches.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
Global warming is one of the most pressing issues of our time. There is deep consensus around the causes and implications of climate change. And in recent years significant work has been done to identify technical solutions to mitigate carbon emissions. But to date, design examination of these measures has been sorely lacking.
This year the Innovation Studio will focus on carbon mitigation at the scale necessary to stabilize worldwide emissions at 2005 levels. In so doing, the studio aspires to help shift the attention of the design disciplines to the immediate challenges that we face and communicate to a larger public the kinds of investment that need to be made now.
Since 1999 the Innovation Studio at RISD has been tackling the “big stuff” – the difficult environmental and infrastructure problems of our day. The studio uses interdisciplinary collaboration to rethink our fundamental assumptions about energy production, manufacturing, waste management and water to develop new models of ecologically sound infrastructures. Over the last eight years the studio’s subject matter has garnered wide ranging support including studio sponsorships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (a National Science Foundation Initiative), the Rhode Island Economic Policy Council and many RISD departments. In addition the Studio relies on the active participation of policy makers, planners, community activists and businesspeople.