biofuel for jet planesIt is estimated that biofuels could cut carbon emissions by up to 80 percent and hopes for the renewable energy source were boosted following results from a recent study. Future Farm Industries Cooperative Research published a study which found that the mallee tree in Australia is a viable source for producing biofuel for the aviation industry in the region. In fact, the study said that the source could provide approximately 5 percent of the jet fuel needs for the nation.

The study predicted that if a plant were to be developed, biofuel could be produced by employing 40 people and using fast pyrolysis method. The study estimated that this idea could produce $30 million annually using just 1 percent of the country's Great Southern Region. It was however underscored that the figure could increase ten-fold if production was scaled up. In addition, the study found that aviation fuel produced from these trees could result in new regional industries.

tofu bowlScientists have discovered a cheaper alternative to make thin-film solar films. The new ingredient is magnesium chloride, a popular component of tofu. This is also the same ingredient used to de-ice snow covered roads.

Large thick silicon plates are the most popular way to harness solar energy but it is very expensive and not very flexible. A cheaper alternative is thin film solar cells. However, it has to be treated with cadmium chloride which is quite toxic.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool were on a mission to find a cheaper and safer way compound that could perform similarly to cadmium chloride.  The result was magnesium chloride and it worked just as efficiently as cadmium chloride and cost less. In fact, it cost $0.001 per gram compared to $ 0.30 for the same amount of cadmium chloride.

Unlike cadmium chloride magnesium chloride doesn't have to go through a rinsing step. As a result, few resources and time is needed to produce the thin solar films. Due to its cost effectiveness and environmental benefits, magnesium chloride is poised to run a stiff competition against its toxic rival.

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced a proposed plan to require states wind wheat fieldsto reduce their individual rates of carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. The progress that the state of Texas has already made in development and collection of wind power, as well as the plans to continue to cultivate wind energy, mean that Texas is on track to meet the EPA’s requirements.

Texas is already creating and using more wind power than any other state, and has plans in place to increase its wind capacity by 70 percent in the next two years. However, Texas is also by far the nation’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide for power.

Plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in Texas are not reliant on wind power only. Experts expect to see significant reduction made by use of natural gas and solar power as well.  According to Nathan Daniel, an analyst with, natural gas is the single largest source of electricity in Texas.  It has displaced mostly coal as an energy source thanks to cheap prices for natural gas in recent years.  Coal will likely continue to lose ground in Texas as cleaner energy sources like wind and natural gas help slow growth in the state’s CO2 emissions.

biogas to steamIndian villagers regularly use biogas for their daily activities.  Now, companies are tapping the commodity as a disinfectant for hospital instruments and also a compound for washing laundry.  In fact, biogas is already being used by Oulun Jatehuolto in Helsinki  to produce detergent, disinfectants and electricity generation. Oulun Jatehuolto is also looking into the possibility of using the commodity to produce traffic fuel.

When microbes decompose matter in anaerobic conditions the result is biogas.  Biogas can be produced in two ways - by collecting landfill biogas via pumps or using biogas reactors. Oulun Jatehuolto has two landfills where they pump biogas to make their products.  After pumping the material, they clean it and dewater it.  Following this process, the distribution network then feeds the biogas into industrial processes.

Currently, the Oulu University Hospital uses biogas as a fuel in the production of steam at the facility.  This steam is used as a disinfectant for the hospital's instruments and also in their the laundry department.

batteryA team of Harvard scientists have developed a novel battery design that can help to store energy when there are low amounts of wind and solar power to be had.  At every turn, alternative energy sources have been helping to bolster and support the massive energy demands in large markets.  However, poor weather and massive demands can force the electricity grids near failing status simply because there is not power to be had.

These new battery designs use small and organic carbon-based molecules known as quinones to store energy.  These are very similar to the cells that store energy in plants, and they have a high capacity while taking up very little space.

These batteries are only limited by the size of the tank they use, and tanks can be built to massive proportions to store energy if necessary.  These fluid-based batteries could be the perfect way to store energy to allow for wind and solar power to be usable year round on the energy grid.  Only time will tell if the designs can be built to the right size.

biogas from wastewaterThe City of Oakland, California is using unique items to produce energy.  Every day, there are trucks entering the back of the wastewater treatment plant in the city filled with waste products that can be used as energy.  These natural waste products like carcasses and cheese whey are turned into a mush that can be burned to create a methane-like gas that can be converted into energy for the city.

The treatment plant is able to produce enough energy to power itself every year and another 1250 homes in the area.  With this type of program, the city is showing that biogas and other waste fuels can be very efficient and very simple to produce.

These wastewater plants are able to use the byproducts of their treatment as well to make biogas and power themselves or other homes and businesses in the area.  As the energy sector looks at this, it is clear that there could be good things on the horizon for biogas and the value of wastewater treatment plants.

wind energy in TexasThe demand for wind energy in Texas is not expected to wane anytime soon according to a report commissioned by the Texas Clean Energy Commission.  The report was done to examine the future of natural gas and renewable energy within the next twenty years.

Experts are predicting that there will be an increase in the amount of power share for renewable energy from 10% to 43% within the next two decades.  This is as a result of the continuous demands for power which is fueling the increase of construction of wind farms in the state as well as the introduction of new transmission lines.

The wind farms that are currently being constructed are being estimated to cost over $2 billion dollars and will generate more than a 1000 megawatts of energy.  The energy generated is expected to provide electricity to over 350,000 homes across the state.

oil, wind energyAs energy demands rise, the best sources of alternative energy on the marketplace are directly at odds.  With new wind farms going up every year and nuclear power plants struggling to hold their position in the market place, the two could begin to kill each other off if they are not careful.

The two sides are also being pressured by natural gas as a much cleaner alternative to coal.  The problem is that these competing forces are causing fluctuation in the markets that are radically altering their prices.  The changes in prices have brought electricity prices down as demand goes down due to help from alternative energy.  Because of this, alternative energy prices are not soaring, either.

As the alternative energy sources cut into each other's market share, we should look out for trouble in the future as demand and production rise simultaneously in the market.


electricity storageSolar power installations have been on the rise in California since 2006, and all of that energy is making a dent in the state's power grid.  Now, the state utility companies are going to start putting in huge batteries to store excess power that is produced by its customers.  This is yet another step in the fight to make sure that the California power grid does not experience an catastrophic failure in the future.

The batteries that the utilities will use are going to be the size of 18-wheelers and will discharge power at night when there is no solar energy to use.  This backup power system will allow customers to have energy all of the power they need regardless of the conditions around them.

As a backup to traditional energy sources, these batteries can help to keep California power customers' lights on all throughout the year.