Tag Archives: energy

Just a collection of links concerning "alternative energy"


Microbial (dang it, I closed the tab before catching the link)

The microbial energy solution for biofuels and solar power The Biodesign team, in their Nature Review Microbiology perspective article, outlines the prospects for bioenergy. They believe the future of microbial bioenergy is brightened by recent advancements in genome technologies and other molecular-biology techniques. One species of bacteria, the human gut bacterium E. coli, has become the workhorse of the multi-trillion dollar global biotech industry.

E. coli?

LiveFuels uses open ponds to grow algae that are indigenous to the local environment, hoping that this will avoid the invasion problem. Since algae need nutrients to grow, including nitrogen and phosphorous, the company plans to feed agricultural runoff water - polluted with nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers - into its ponds, combining energy production with water treatment.

Another company, Bionavitas, of Redmond, Washington, also grows native algae, but in deep, narrow canals, with a special optical system to bring light to the algae beneath the surface. It too hopes to harness nutrients from polluted wastewater; and because intense carbon dioxide inputs can speed growth, it envisages setting up sites next to a factory that could funnel smokestack emissions directly into its canals. Michael Weaver, the chief executive, said that Bionavitas aimed to use "the whole algae" to produce biodiesel, ethanol, nutriceuticals and products currently derived from petroleum.

Use "bad stuff" to grow "good stuff"...


Shale Oil:

In the post immediately below, Senator John Cornyn talks about the need to get serious about solving our energy problems by developing our own domestic resources. One good example is shale oil, of which the U.S. has more than any other country. In fact, Rocky Mountain shale is believed to contain the equivalent of 2 trillion barrels of oil. Is that a lot? The entire world has used around 1 trillion barrels since oil was discovered in Pennsylvania in 1859.

Not exactly "alternative", except in the "it's an alternative to importing our oil" sort of way.  Lots of oil, hard to get and we need more refining capability.


Picken's Wind Power...

Studies from around the world show that the Great Plains states are home to the greatest wind energy potential in the world — by far.

The Department of Energy reports that 20% of America's electricity can come from wind. North Dakota alone has the potential to provide power for more than a quarter of the country.

Okay...bit start up cost.  If we deal with that, what are the long term benefits?

Or, we could just hook the generators up to the chambers of congress...


On a link from Picken's site:  A car that runs on natural gas (which we have quite a bit of).

But wait!  We don't have very many fuel stations for natural gas...but wait!  I heat my house with natural gas - and there are ways to add a fuel station right at my house.

There are drawbacks, of course...let's work them out.

(AP) A federal judge has overturned a decision by the U.S. Forest Service to allow oil and gas drilling near a forest and a river in Michigan's northern Lower Peninsula.

U.S. District Judge David Lawson of Detroit ruled Thursday the agency had acted "arbitrarily and capriciously" in 2005 by giving Savoy Energy LP of Traverse City a permit to drill an exploratory well near the Au Sable River's south branch.

When I was a kid I fell in love with the idea of Kirtland's Warbler.  It was the "underdog"  and I had never seen one.  My family (grandparents) owned property in Grayling and I remember the time spent there very fondly.  I believe at that time the "specialists" were pretty sure the bird would be extinct soon and it would have been if they had not worked hard to protect it.

One of the rarest birds in the world, Kirtland's Warbler is a small songbird.  They spend winters in the Bahamas and during the summer all of these birds come to the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

They are in danger for two reasons:  1) habitat and 2) cowbirds.

In the article I linked to above, a judge has ruled that the drilling company cannot drill in the area for which they paid for a permit to drill (and said permit was granted).

Here are the two quotes that (for those who care to pay attention) make the Sierra Club and the judge (a collaborative effort) look like idiots.

quote #1:

But the judge ruled the Forest Service didn't consider how degrading the area could harm tourism, and said the agency did a "woefully inadequate" job of evaluating how the drilling might affect the Kirtland's warbler, an endangered songbird that nests in the area.

quote #2

"We've said from the beginning we didn't want to stop them from drilling," said Marvin Roberson, a forest policy specialist with the Sierra Club. "We want them to drill from a place that won't be harmful to the old-growth forest or the recreational experience."

This is where a person has to have a little bit of knowledge to know that these two things are mutally exclusive.

  • Old-growth forest
  • Kirtland's Warbler...

Folks...Kirtland's Warblers...DON'T NEST IN OLD GROWTH FORESTS!!!There are not many areas of old-growth forest in Grayling - the only significant acrage that is listed anywhere I could find is inside the boundries of Hartwick Pines State Park (we camped there a couple of weeks ago).  This is not where the drilling would be taking place.  Sierra Clubs appeal to "old growth" is a misleading at best.

Kirtland's Warblers nest in Jack Pine Forests - one of the first tree to grow after a forest fire.  A Jack Pine Forest is  NEW GROWTH FOREST.

Not only does this darling little bird not nest in "old growth forests", they don't even next in older Jack Pine forests!  Kirtland's Warblers nest under (not in)  Jack Pine trees that are young - between 8 and 20 years old.

The DNR in Michigan is giving Kirtland's Warblers new and safe habitat in which to live.

How do they do this?


Local anglers can make a good case for prohibiting drilling withing a reasonable distance of the AuSable River.  The Mason Tract (where the drilling would be angling under) was given to the state with the intent that it be maintained as wilderness.  I think that it should be maintained as wilderness.

So I am NOT saying that drilling should happen (there are good reasons that it should not), but that the people who want it stopped should at least get their act together and not let the Sierra Club undermine their credibility by appealing to the Kirtland's Warblers nesting area in the Old Growth Forest.