Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Coal

The University of Washington's HIT-SI3 experimental reactor (Photo: University of Washingt...

In the 21st century, the world lives with two futures ahead of it – one of looming energy shortages, and another of godlike energy abundance. The key to this whether it’s possible to turn fusion reactor technology from a laboratory exercise into a real-world application. Engineers that the University of Washington are working on a fusion reactor that, when scaled up, could produce energy on a practical scale, yet at a cost rivaling that of a conventional coal-powered plant.  Read More

The GE Industrea Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser is designed to operate safely in colleries

The depths of a coal mine couldn't be considered ideal driving conditions for most vehicles, but the Mk7.0 TIER 3 Mine Cruiser isn't most vehicles. GE recently announced that it has delivered its 500th Mine Cruiser, which is a four-wheel drive utility vehicle capable of carrying up to 14 passengers, yet is built to operate safely in the vast galleries of modern underground coal mines.  Read More

Bloomberg analysts say electricity generation from new wind farms is cheaper than new coal...

In 2008, the Garnaut Climate Change Review ranked Australia as the highest per capita emitter of greenhouse gases of any OECD country and amongst the highest in the world. One of the reasons for the country's high carbon footprint is its reliance on coal for electricity generation – 54 percent of it, according to the Australian Coal Association. But a new study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) points to a cleaner energy future with the claim that unsubsidized renewable energy is now a cheaper option for electricity generation than new coal- or gas-fired power stations.  Read More

The Lake Side Power Station natural gas power plant in Utah, USA (Photo: Mscalora)

Since peaking in 2005, US domestic energy CO2 emissions have fallen by 8.6 percent. A new report asserts that up to half of this reduction may be down to "energy switching," as generators switch from coal to shale gas (partly on cost grounds), which emits about half the CO2 when burned. Yet the same report, from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, questions the wisdom of touting shale gas as a low-carbon technology, with its authors actually asserting that "the exploitation of shale gas reserves is likely to increase total emissions." How so?  Read More

Locomotive 3463, the 75 year-old test bed locomotive for CSR's Project 130

You might think that a coal-burning locomotive built in 1937 had nothing left to offer the modern rail industry, short of being a nice museum piece. In the case of Locomotive 3463, however, that appears to be far from true – now in the hands of engineers from the Coalition for Sustainable Rail (CSR), it is set to become the world’s first carbon-neutral higher-speed locomotive. It won’t be electric, however. Instead, it will run on steam generated by the burning of biocoal.  Read More

Regents professor Meilin Liu and postdoctoral researcher Mingfei Liu examine a button fuel...

Lately we’re hearing a lot about the green energy potential of fuel cells, particularly hydrogen fuel cells. Unfortunately, although various methods of hydrogen production are being developed, it still isn’t as inexpensive or easily obtainable as fossil fuels such as coal. Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, however, have recently taken a step towards combining the eco-friendliness of fuel cell technology with the practicality of fossil fuels – they’ve created a fuel cell that runs on coal gas.  Read More

New research shows real government subsidies for clean and dirty power

How can you tell when a politician is lying? First check to see if his/her lips are moving. New research has revealed that despite what they would have you believe, the world’s governments subsidize the fossil fuel sector far more than they do renewables and biofuels. Indeed, the assistance delivered to the oil, coal, and other fossil fuel sectors makes a mockery of claims that government is serious about reducing carbon emissions. Hey folks, that’s YOUR MONEY!  Read More

Colorado Integrated Solar Project

The world's first hybrid solar/coal power plant has been built near Palisade in Colorado. Xcel Energy and Abengoa Solar are partnering on the demonstration project which uses solar parabolic trough technology to supplement the use of coal. Initially, it's expected to reduce the emissions generated by the Cameo Station's Unit 2 plant by three to five percent, but it's thought that this could increase to up to ten percent.  Read More

REO's planned redevelopment of London's Battersea Power Station

June 25, 2008 A controversial development proposal now under consideration aims to turn London's iconic but defunct Battersea Power Station into a carbon-neutral biofuel power plant. The proposal also includes a 300 meter-tall residential tower featuring solar powered climate control and a glass 'eco-dome' that would allow residents to grow tropical roof gardens even in London's distinctly non-tropical weather. But is it a revolutionary plan to revitalize an old collapsing fossil fuel plant with a new green lease of life, or simply a grandstanding attempt by a property developer to build an ultramodern skyscaper in old London town?  Read More

Ventilation air methane (VAM) system

November 5, 2007 A new power plant that generates electrical power using ventilation air methane (VAM) from coal mining is now in operation. The technology significantly reduces harmful emissions of methane (a gas 20 times more potent than CO2) released in the mining process, while producing power that can be delivered to the grid or used directly in the mine.  Read More

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