CEI - News & Resources
Aquamarine Power has developed and is currently testing a device for turning wave energy into electricity. Named “Oyster,” it is essentially a wave-powered pump that can use the energy from the waves to drive an onshore hydro-electric turbine. The device floats on the surface of the water and is moored to the sea bed. It has a hinged flap which oscillates due to the waves and this movement drives a hydraulic piston. The piston pushes the water onshore using a subsea pipeline and can be used to drive a conventional turbine. It is envisioned that subsea pipelines will connect many such Oyster devices to a single onshore plant to generate a much higher capacity of electricity. The device is being tested in Orkney, Scotland – read a Wall Street Journal about it here.
General Electric has teamed up with Quirky, a New York-based startup, to launch what they call “the world’s smartest air conditioner”. Named "Aros," this app-controlled A/C uses information like your location, usage history, and monthly budget to automatically maintain the perfect temperature and maximize your savings!
Source - PC Magazine
In what seems to be straight out of a sci-fi movie, efforts are currently underway to have flexible photovoltaic fibers in fabrics to harvest solar energy. A separate project looks to capture kinetic energy from clothing. Both concepts give people an opportunity to generate their own energy from the clothes they wear and charge their gadgets (e.g. cell phones) on the go!
Source - The Guardian
A collaborative effort in UK has developed a new technique to turn urine into electricity using microbial fuel cells (MFCs). The urine flowing through the cell is consumed by the microbes as per their usual metabolic process, freeing up electrons which are in turn gathered by electrodes to generate a current.
Source - Economist
Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a new type of solar concentrator that allows people to actually see through the window while creating solar energy. The advantage is that these concentrators can be used on tall buildings with many windows or any other mobile device that has a flat, clear surface.
Source – ScienceDaily
In a recent report, the International Energy Agency has estimated that common electronic devices like TVs, printers, game consoles, etc. waste $80 billion of power a year due to inefficient technology. This is expected to rise even further primarily because of the power used when these devices are on standby, a common feature in almost all devices available today!
Quasar Energy Group has developed a technology to generate electricity from bio-waste. Quasar rebuilt and updated an old sewage plant in Ohio (Wooster) with three new digesters that generate biogas (methane) from waste. The biogas is used to produce electricity, part of which is used to run the plant, and the rest is sold to local electricity grid. Read more about it here.
The FTSE Group, in collaboration with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and BlackRock, has launched a first equity global index series that excludes companies linked to production of fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. The index is called “FTSE Developed ex-Fossil Fuels Index Series” and has more than 2000 securities from 25 nations. The goal is to discourage the fossil fuel companies from further extracting carbon-based fuels and provide an impetus to the renewable energy industry. This is the first investment tool that completely excludes stocks of fossil fuel-related companies and thus allows environmentally-conscious investors (e.g. university endowment funds, etc.) to invest in securities that match their values. Read more about it here.
This development closely follows similar other developments related to the energy industry. Students of the Harvard University have started a Divest Harvard campaign which calls upon the University to freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies, and divest direct and indirect holdings in publicly-traded fossil fuel companies. Rising awareness among investors and shareholders has also led to companies acknowledging the risks related to “stranded assets” – these are the carbon assets that a company may not be able to exploit in order to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. ExxonMobil recently issued an environmental report disclosing its “carbon risk” in response to demands from shareholders.
Based on news reports by Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal: Adding to the list of potential ill effects of hydraulic fracturing or fracking which include ground water contamination and enhanced seismic activity (earthquakes), the generation of radioactive waste becomes the latest topic of debate. The shale rock formations, which house the large quantities of oil and gas that are being unlocked across the US, often contain higher levels of radium as compared to traditional oil fields. When water (along with sand and chemicals) is used to crack open these formations to release the hydrocarbons, the radium is also displaced to the surface along with the water which then comes in contact with the soil and surface equipment. The “spent filters” used to strain this radium-laden water also pose a disposal problem since elevated levels of radiation have been detected in their vicinity. While some regulations are in place to ensure proper disposal and avoid illegal dumping, a further strengthening of the rules is likely in the states experiencing intense fracking activity.
Read the article from Bloomberg.
Read the article from The Wall Street Journal.
This article from The Global Warming Policy Foundation and Dr. Benny Peiser discusses the use of coal in Germany and some other parts of Europe.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 19, 2013
EPA Rule Provides a Clear Pathway for Using Carbon Capture and Sequestration Technologies
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that helps create a consistent national framework to ensure the safe and effective deployment of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technologies.
“Carbon capture and sequestration technology can help us reduce carbon pollution and move us toward a cleaner, more stable environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, EPA assistant administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Today’s rule provides regulatory clarity to help facilitate the implementation of this technology in a safe and responsible way.”
CCS technologies allow carbon dioxide to be captured at stationary sources - like coal-fired power plants and large industrial operations - and injected underground for long-term storage in a process called geologic sequestration.
The new rule clarifies that carbon dioxide streams captured from emission sources, injected underground via UIC Class VI wells approved for the purpose of geologic sequestration under the Safe Drinking Water Act, and meeting certain other conditions (e.g., compliance with applicable transportation regulations), will be excluded from EPA’s hazardous waste regulations. Further, EPA clarifies that carbon dioxide injected underground via UIC Class II wells for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is not expected to be a waste management activity.
EPA concluded that the careful management of carbon dioxide streams under the specified conditions does not present a substantial risk to human health or the environment. EPA’s determination will help provide a clear pathway for the deployment of CCS technologies in a safe and environmentally protective manner while also ensuring protection of underground sources of drinking water.
Today’s rule is complementary to previous EPA rulemakings, including Safe Drinking Water Act regulations that ensure the Class VI injection wells are appropriately sited, constructed, tested, monitored, and closed.
EPA is also releasing draft guidance for public comment that provides information regarding transitioning Class II wells used to inject carbon dioxide for oil and gas development to Class VI wells used for carbon capture and sequestration. The comment period for the draft guidance is 75 days.
Information on the final rule – http://www.epa.gov/wastes/nonhaz/industrial/geo-sequester/
Information on the Geologic Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/wells_sequestration.cfm
Read the draft guidance on transitioning from Class II to Class VI wells: http://water.epa.gov/type/groundwater/uic/class6/gsguidedoc.cfm