Tagged With energy

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In the autumn of 1917, a severe coal shortage hit the United States. Riots even broke out over the lack of energy as the nation went into the winter months. Some people were calling for conservation, but one snarky newspaper article insisted that conserving was for suckers. Why? People of the future — specifically, the people of 100 years hence — wouldn't be using coal anyway.

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On the climate and energy front, 2016 was a year of contradictions. Again and again, our planet smashed global temperature records. The fingerprints of climate change were visible in extreme weather from the North Pole to Louisiana. But the clean energy sector also hit some major milestones. Wind and solar power expanded rapidly as costs fell, demonstrating that a high-tech, low-carbon future is within reach.

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Temperatures expected to reach above 40 degrees in Sydney today, so here's some advice to keep you from melting into a puddle. It may be tempting to crank the air-con up high and keep your house at sub-arctic temperatures until the weather outside finally cools down, but it's worth thinking about the impact that's going to have on your bill. There are plenty of ways you can cool your house in a more economical way — or, if you can't bear turning off the air conditioner for a minute, we've collected a few tips so that you can use it more economically.

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Researchers at Ghent University have hit on a method of harvesting energy from raw sewage that treats the wastewater without using external electricity. It's all thanks to starving bacteria. Although this method is still in its lab testing stage, industry leaders are already interested in utilising it.

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An estimated 20 billion barrels of oil valued at up to $US900 billion ($1.2 trillion) has been discovered in a West Texan shale formation, the US Geological Survey announced this week. Three times the size of the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, it could be the largest such deposit ever assessed in the United States.

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Welcome to the future. A future that me, and many people who put their faith in science, have been staring at in bewilderment, denial and abject terror for the better part of a year.

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Scientists recently developed a method to convert sewage into biocrude oil, so it appears that our future will quite literally be shit. According to a report from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, researchers converted poop to oil using a process called hydrothermal liquefaction. PNNL explains that hydrothermal liquefaction "mimics the geological conditions the Earth uses to create crude oil, using high pressure and temperature to achieve in minutes something that takes Mother Nature millions of years."

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For the first time in human history, atmospheric CO2 concentrations exceeded 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015. They're expected to do so again this year, and every subsequent year for many generations to come, according to a new report issued by the World Meteorological Organisation.

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Iceland, land of elves and shark meat delicacies, is proving to be far more inventive than the rest of us when it comes to new energy technologies. Having already tamed its shallow geothermal resources, the chilly island nation is now trying to tap into the power of magma.

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MIT's fusion program has fallen on hard times, but that hasn't stopped it from smashing world records and keeping the dream of limitless, carbon-free energy alive. At an International Atomic Energy Agency summit in Japan this week, researchers involved with MIT's Alcator C-Mod tokamak reactor announced that their machine had generated the highest plasma pressure ever recorded.

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File this under bad news for humanity's climate ambitions: The dams and reservoirs we use to harness 'clean' hydroelectric power and irrigate our crops apparently emit carbon. A lot of it. All told, man-made reservoirs release roughly a gigaton of heat-trapping greenhouse gases each year. That's more than the entire nation of Canada.