Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα nature. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα nature. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Δευτέρα, Δεκεμβρίου 08, 2014

Israel's Greatest Ecological Catastrophe Unfolding in Arava Desert

The crude oil spill in the Arava Desert, southern Israel, is 'twice as bad as initially estimated,' according to the Israeli Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company....

"The volume of crude oil that spilled into the Arava Desert last week is 60 percent larger than the amount that was originally reported, the company responsible for the pipeline acknowledged on Sunday night," Haaretz, the Israeli news agency reported.
Although the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC) initially reported of a spill between one million and 1.5 million liters, it later revised its calculation to three million liters. However, the company reported on Sunday a report issued by the company on Sunday has revealed that some five million liters of crude oil spilled out of the pipeline last Thursday, December 4.

"We were skeptical about the figures provided by the company from the start," a ministry official said on December 8, as cited by Haaretz.

Meanwhile damage control teams have already removed 13,000 tons of polluted soil in order to reduce the impact of the pipeline leak.

The Times of Israel notes that according to weather forecasts heavy rainfall is expected in the region later this week. It has sparked concerns among ministry officials over the possibility of further contamination of the area, including the Gulf of Eilat, home to rare coral reefs, which could be damaged by the leak, the media outlet stresses.

Haaretz notes, however, that dams are being erected in order to prevent the oil flowing into this area.

"It's the biggest ecological disaster Israel has seen. This is because of the material itself, crude oil, which is particularly hard to flush out, and the location of the spill [on the reserve]," Gilad Golub of Israel's Environmental Services Company told Agence France Presse.

The Times of Israel notes that Eilat residents have already filed a lawsuit against the pipeline operators referring to the tremendous environmental damage caused through negligence.

"Mellish is demanding NIS 220 million ($55m) to rehabilitate the environment in coordination with the Environment Minster and the Israel Nature and Parks authority, as well as another NIS 180 million ($45m) for the 48,000 residents of Eilat for damage to their health and discomfort caused by the ecological disaster," the media outlet reports.

More than 80 people on both sides of the Israel-Jordan border have complained about health problems caused by the spill.

[sputniknews.com]
8/12/14
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Πέμπτη, Δεκεμβρίου 04, 2014

Oil pipeline bursts near Israel-Jordan border.(the reason for the spill was under investigation)

An oil pipeline rupture has caused thousands of cubic metres of crude oil to spill into the Arava desert in southern Israel near the border with Jordan, officials said Thursday (Dec 4).The incident took place just north of the Red Sea resort city of Eilat and 500m from the frontier. 

The spill was "a couple of kilometres long", according to an Israeli environment ministry spokeswoman who was unable to give more specific information.

She said it was unclear whether there was any foul play and environmental authorities would open an investigation. "They have forces on the ground that prevented it from spreading to Jordan," she added.
The leak involved a 245km pipeline carrying crude oil from the southern port city of Ashkelon on Israel's Mediterranean coast to Eilat. 

Ronen Moshe, spokesman for the Eilat Ashkelon Pipeline Company (EAPC), said the spill happened at 12.45 am on Thursday in a new section of the pipeline.
"The leak has been stopped," he said, adding that the reason for the spill was under investigation. "There are dozens of people in the field taking care of the aftermath," he said, indicating there had been no impact on supply. According to the company's website, the EAPC was founded in 1968 and serves as a land bridge for transporting crude oil between the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.

Παρασκευή, Αυγούστου 15, 2014

Farmer leaves wheat on field to bring wild birds back

A man living in a remote village of Turkey’s Black Sea region has been planting wheat in his fields and does not harvest it, in order to feed wild birds and thus keep them in the area.

Tahir Öztürk, 29, who runs a shop for door and window restorations in the town center of Gümüşhane, decided to plant wheat in his fields in the Boyluca village four years ago in order to “hear the sounds of wild birds once again.”

Öztürk said many villagers had moved out of Boyluca and ceased to plant their fields, meaning that many birds, particularly partridges, stopped returning to the village, as they were unable to find food anymore.


“Four years ago, my uncle Halil and I decided to plant our fields with wheat so we could hear the partridges in our village again and support wildlife here,” said Öztürk.

He and his uncle have been planting wheat in their 2.8 hectares of land ever since.

“We do not harvest the wheat, but leave it for the animals. There were no birds here before. Now we can see many different kinds of birds after planting the wheat. We have spent around 6,000 Turkish Liras, and the Nature Protection and National Parks Department supported us for this year’s planting. We will continue to plant here,” Öztürk added.

He also called on authorities to open a road to their field, saying they had to carry seeds of wheat on foot for around 600 meters because there is no proper road to the field.

“It is difficult during the planting season. We carry seeds on our back for 600 meters. We want a road top come here,” Öztürk said. 

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/farmer-leaves-wheat-on-field-to-bring-wild-birds-back.aspx?pageID=238&nID=70448&NewsCatID=340
14/8/14

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 21, 2013

Climate finance is essential to addressing climate change, Ban tells ministers in Warsaw.


20 November 2013 – The top United Nations official today called on foreign ministers to prioritize the environment in domestic politics and contribute to climate financing as a way of moving towards a new global climate change agreement by 2015.
“This can do more than anything to unlock the huge investment necessary for climate change adaptation and mitigation,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a ministerial-level meeting on the margins of the UN-led climate change talks under way in the Polish capital, Warsaw.
“We must send the right policy signals,” Mr. Ban said, adding that the development of high-impact opportunities would unlock clean energy investments, close the viability gap between green and fossil fuel-based projects and de-risk renewable energy and low-carbon investments.

He called for public finance, private finance, and support to the Green Climate Fund as three areas for common action.
“Smart public financing can encourage local and international private investments,” the UN chief said, urging investors and companies to join forces with the public sector.
Mr. Ban today was scheduled to meet with chief executives and senior representatives attending the inaugural Caring for Climate Business Forum being held in Warsaw alongside the UN Climate Change Conference.
The Forum was launched by UN Global Compact, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, and UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
“The bulk of institutional investors’ assets are in high0carbon investments,” noted Mr. Ban.
“These investors have the power – and I believe the responsibility – to do their part in transforming the global economy and settling us on a safer path.”
Mr. Ban also called for support to the recently established Green Climate Fund, which functions under the guidance of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and supports projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing countries.
In addition, the Fund also aims to strengthen national ownership and enable countries to develop the capability and institutions needed to use climate finance effectively.
The UN chief described the current state of the new entity as “an empty shell” and called for it to be brought into full operation “as soon as possible” so support could be provided to developing countries’ adaptation and mitigation efforts.
 un.org
20/11/13
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Τετάρτη, Νοεμβρίου 20, 2013

In Warsaw, Ban urges climate negotiators to ‘rise to the challenge,’ reach global deal.

9 November 2013 – The world need look no further than the catastrophe in the Philippines to comprehend the profound and dangerous consequences of a warming planet, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned today, urging negotiators at a United Nations conference in Warsaw to rise to the challenge “with wisdom and urgency” and pave the way to a binding climate deal by 2015.

“Climate change threatens current and future generations,” Mr. Ban said in his address to the high-level segment of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, taking place in Poland.
Extending his deepest condolences to those affected throughout the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, he said that all around the world, people now face and fear the wrath of a warming planet. “The science is clear. Human activities are the dominant cause of climate change. We cannot blame nature.”
Indeed, greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise and the consequences are profound, dangerous and known to all, the Secretary-General said, recalling a visit earlier this year to Iceland where the rate at which the glaciers are melting is among the fastest in the world. “I was told if we do not take urgent action now Iceland may be a land without ice soon.”
Offering another sobering example, Mr. Ban said that earlier this month he visited the Sahel, together with the President of the World Bank, and had witnessed climatic conditions – including extreme drought – undermining the region’s development and security.
“All of us in this room share a momentous responsibility. We must rise to these challenges with wisdom, urgency and resolve to address climate change,” he said, expressing deep concern that the scale of efforts being undertaken by the international community are still insufficient to limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.
But the UN chief said that he is also hopeful because there has been progress on multiple fronts towards a low-carbon future. Governments, business, community groups, women, youth and indigenous leaders are building collective capacity. New programmes for sustainable cities and climate-smart agriculture are delivering benefits of people and the planet, and global demand for renewable energy continues to rise very sharply.
“We now know it is possible to close the emissions gap. We must build on this momentum,” he said, stressing that the United Nations, for its part, is engaging on many fronts including “Greening the Blue” by reducing the Organization’s footprint and working towards climate neutrality.
Noting that delegations in Warsaw have agreed to finalize an ambitious global legal agreement on climate change by 2015, Mr. Ban acknowledged that there is “a steep climb ahead” and called for action in four areas: swift ratification by all countries of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol; stepping up on finance, including long-term finance and the Green Climate Fund; agreeing a comprehensive action agenda to meet the climate challenge; and laying firm foundations for the 2015 agreement.
“Success in Paris means bringing substantive progress to Lima. That means [in] Warsaw here we have to build a crucial stepping stone,” he said, looking ahead to the next meetings of States parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC).
The Secretary-General drew attention to the climate summit he intends to convene on Tuesday, 23 September 2014, ahead of the opening, next year, of the annual General Assembly debate. That meeting is meant to complement the UNFCCC process and to be a “solutions summit,” not a negotiating session. “This will be a complimentary session to the ongoing UNFCCC negotiation process,” he said.
Inviting to this summit Heads of State and Government along with leaders from finance, business community, local government and civil society, he urged all to bring “bold and new announcements and action. We need your political leadership at this crucially important time.”
“I urge you to think in terms of your legacy,” said Mr. Ban adding: “Let us work together…to make this world better for all. Let us shape this future, our own future for all succeeding generations and environmentally sustainable planet Earth.”
In his remarks to the Conference, General Assembly president John Ashe urged negotiators to be realistic, telling them they cannot afford to ignore the harsh realities that the climate change challenge brings to the overall task of sustainable development for all. “We have now entered the era of super storms, and the human tragedies and ravages such storms and typhoons bring are part of our daily vernacular.”
“However, we in this room must never ever become inured to this. What is the point of focusing on providing jobs, livelihoods, education, and healthcare, if one storm – or maybe future super storms - wipes it all away in a few hours?” he asked, adding: “ We, all of us in this room, who represent the UN family, must reach an agreement by 2015. Period.”
Telling the Conference that “the clock is ticking,” Mr. Ashe said the time has come for Governments to stand up and say, “yes we will. Yes, we will do something. We will act. Not tomorrow, not next week, but right here. Today.”
He noted that recent catastrophic events have made it all the more obvious that action is needed. They require, he said, resolute measures and a vision well beyond the usual political posturing along with a political willingness to look beyond particular narrow interests and focus instead on the common good for all.
 un.org
19/11/13
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Δευτέρα, Νοεμβρίου 11, 2013

Negotiators told ‘the world is ready’ for climate change deal, as UN conference opens in Warsaw


11 November 2013 – The United Nations Climate Change Conference opened today in Warsaw, Poland, with a call to reach a new agreement to cut climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions during what is seen as a pivotal point in the negotiating process, made all the more urgent by the devastation in Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan.
“We must win the Warsaw opportunity,” Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), told participants at this 19th session.
She noted that “the world is ready” and there is a groundswell of climate action, not only for the environment, but also for security, energy, economic and governance reasons.

“A new universal climate agreement is within our reach,” said Ms. Figueres, noting that agencies, development banks, investors and subnational governments are on board.
“Parties can lead the momentum for change and move together towards success in 2015,” she said.
The UNFCCC is an international treaty which considers what can be done to reduce global warming and to cope with whatever temperature increases are inevitable.
The two-week conference, being held through next Friday at the National Stadium in the Polish capital, brings together the 195 Parties to the UNFCCC, the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
Over the course of the next two weeks, delegates will attempt to hammer out a universal UN-backed treaty on climate change by 2015 which would enter force by 2020.
In her speech, Ms. Figueres highlighted the key areas in which the Conference of the Parties (COP-19) can make progress.
“We must clarify finance that enables the entire world to move towards low-carbon development,” she said. “We must launch the construction of a mechanism that helps vulnerable populations to respond to the unanticipated effects of climate change.”
Also addressing today’s open, the newly elected President of COP-19, Polish Environment Minister Marcin Korolec, noted that climate is a global issue, global problem and global opportunity at the same time.
“It becomes opportunity where we can act together. One country or even a group cannot make a difference. But acting together, united as we are here, we can do it,” he said.
The conference takes place against a backdrop of devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan where the UN World Food Programme (WFP) fears that 10,000 people have perished.
The Philippines’ lead negotiator, Yeb Sano, called the climate crisis “madness” and urged the international community to act.
“We can stop this madness. Right here in Warsaw,” Mr. Sano said. “Typhoons such as Haiyan and its impacts represent a sobering reminder to the international community that we cannot afford to procrastinate on climate action.”
He also decried the concept of a “natural disaster” stating in a news release from the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) that “it is not natural when people continue to struggle to eradicate poverty and pursue development and get battered by the onslaught of a monster storm.”
Ms. Figueres, Mr. Korolec and other participants have extended their thoughts and prayers to the people in South-East Asia affected by the typhoon, particularly those in the Philippines and Viet Nam.
The UNFCCC Executive Secretary also highlighted that “we are the first human beings to ever breathe air with 400 parts per million CO2,” a reminder that the air has reached the highest level of carbon dioxide in at least three million years.
 un.org
11/11/13
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Climate Talks Open in Warsaw. -"We are loosing this unequal struggle of men and nature".

"Only two days ago a powerful typhoon swept through the Philippines claiming thousands of lives and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced from their homes. A great human tragedy. Unforgettable, painful, awakening. I said awakening because it's another proof that we are loosing this unequal struggle of men and nature that beset us yet again and will continue in the future if we do not close ranks and act together to strike back."

U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres also referenced the "devastating impact'' of the typhoon in her opening speech. She urged delegates to guarantee greater climate security for the generations to come.




"There is no doubt that climate change has created an unlevel playing field for future generations. Previous generations, unknowingly, had an advantage. And now we know that the next generations face a monumental uphill struggle. We must urgently level the playing field."

No major breakthroughs are expected at the talks, but the level of progress could be seen an indicator of the chances of reaching a new global warming treaty in 2015. 

voanews.com
11/11/13
 

Πέμπτη, Νοεμβρίου 07, 2013

Δέκα φορές υψηλότερος του αναμενομένου ο κίνδυνος πρόσκρουσης αστεροειδή στη Γη./Hazardous asteroids may be more numerous than previously thought, scientists say.

Σήμα κινδύνου για την αύξηση περιστατικών όπως αυτό που συνέβη στο Τσελιάμπινσκ τον περασμένο Φεβρουάριο αφήνοντας πίσω του 1.200 τραυματίες εκπέμπει σχετική μελέτη που δημοσιεύθηκε στο περιοδικό Nature.

Όπως αναφέρουν τα μέλη της επιστημονικής ομάδας που τη συνέταξε, διαστημικοί βράχοι παρόμοιου μεγέθους με αυτόν που εξερράγη πάνω από το Τσελιάμπινσκ εμφανίζονται στην τροχιά της Γης με εκπληκτική συχνότητα.

Γι' αυτό και ζητούν την ενεργοποίηση συστημάτων έγκαιρης προειδοποίησης.


«Αξίζει να αναπτύξουμε ένα σύστημα που να σκανάρει τον ουρανό σχεδόν συνεχώς ψάχνοντας για τέτοιου είδους αντικείμενα πριν χτυπήσουν τη Γη. Στην περίπτωση του Τσελιάμπινσκ η προειδοποίηση λίγων ημερών ή μιας εβδομάδας θα ήταν πολύτιμη» δήλωσε στο BBC ο επικεφαλής της επιστημονικής συντακτικής ομάδας, καθηγητής Πίτερ Μπράουν.

Η ομάδα υπολογίζει ότι η συχνότητα εμφάνισης τέτοιων αστεροειδών είναι απο δύο έως δέκα φορές μεγαλύτερη από αυτό που πιστεύαμε μέχρι σήμερα.

«Κάποιο παρόμοιο περιστατικό με αυτό του Τσελιάμπινσκ θα το περιμέναμε κάθε 150 χρόνια με βάση τα στοιχεία από τα τηλεσκόπια. Αλλά αν κοιτάξει κανείς τα νεώτερα στοιχεία τότε ένα τέτοιο συμβάν θα μπορούσε να συμβεί κάθε 30 χρόνια» δήλωσε ο καθηγητής στο πανεπιστήμιο του Οντάριο.
 protothema.gr
6/11/13
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  • Hazardous asteroids may be more numerous than previously thought, scientists say.

By Joel Achenbach

There are scads of building-size, potentially hazardous asteroids lurking in Earth’s immediate neighborhood, and they may be colliding with the planet 10 times more often than scientists have previously believed, according to a new study published Wednesday that examined the airburst of a 25-million-pound asteroid earlier this year near the Russian city of Chelyabinsk.
Three studies released Wednesday, two in the journal Nature and one in the journal Science, have provided the most detailed description and analysis of the dramatic event on the morning of Feb. 15. 

Scientists now estimate the diameter of the object at just a hair under 20 meters, or about 65 feet. Undetected by astronomers, the rock came out of the glare of the sun and hit the atmosphere at 43,000 miles per hour.

As it descended through the atmosphere, it broke into fragments, creating a series of explosions with the combined energy of about 500 kilotons of TNT, making it more than 30 times more powerful than the atom bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945, although the energy in this case was spread out over a much broader area.
The shock wave blew out windows in nearly half the buildings in Chelyabinsk. It knocked people off their feet; dozens were sunburned by the blinding flash, which at its peak was 30 times brighter than the sun. About 1,200 people were hurt, most by broken and flying glass, but no one was killed.
One chunk the size of love seat landed in frozen Chebarkul Lake, leaving a circular hole, as if shot with a bullet from space. That fragment, which weighed about 1,900 pounds, was retrieved months later, breaking into several pieces in the process. Thousands of smaller pieces have also been recovered.
The scientific investigation relied to a great degree on video imagery obtained by “dashcams,” the cameras Russian drivers often use to document car crashes and potentially abusive law enforcement. Scientists visited 10 locations where the footage had been taken by stationary cameras, and used landmarks to create a map of the asteroid’s trajectory. The shock wave damage propagated perpendicularly to the path of the rock.
“It’s incredible how well-documented all this is,” said Peter Jenniskens, a meteor astronomer at the SETI Institute and a co-author of the paper in Science.
Taken together, the new information on Chelyabinsk does not suggest that the sky is falling (no one has ever been killed by an asteroid in all of recorded human history). But it may shift the overall risk profile of asteroids, making Chelyabinsk-size events look more probable.
That’s the conclusion of Peter Brown, a professor at Western University in London, Ontario, who reexamined decades of data compiled by scientific and military sensors. The scientific orthodoxy said that a Chelyabinsk-size event ought to happen every 140 years or so, but Brown saw several such events in the historical record.
Famously, a large object exploded over the Tunguska region of Siberia in 1908. But there have been less-heralded impacts, including one on Aug. 3, 1963, when an asteroid created a powerful airburst off the coast of South Africa.
“Any one of these taken separately I think you can dismiss as a one-off. But now when we look at it as a whole, over a hundred years, we see these large impactors more frequently than we would expect,” said Brown, whose paper appeared in Nature.
Most rocks that size have yet to be identified, and it would be difficult and expensive to find them and calculate their trajectories, Brown said. But this could boost efforts already underway to create early-warning systems for Chelyabinsk-class impactors that are just a few days away, he said.
The paper in Science hypothesized that the Chelyabinsk asteroid is a piece of “rubble” from a larger body that had been broken apart by tidal forces from an earlier near-Earth encounter.
“The rest of that rubble could still be part of the near-Earth object population,” the authors wrote.
 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/hazardous-asteroids-may-be-more-numerous-than-previously-thought-scientists-say/2013/11/06/c022a022-46f2-11e3-bf0c-cebf37c6f484_story.html?wprss=rss_homepage
6/11/13

Δευτέρα, Απριλίου 08, 2013

Microalgae Produce More Oil Faster for Energy, Food or Products



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Apr. 7, 2013 — Scientists have described technology that accelerates microalgae's ability to produce many different types of renewable oils for fuels, chemicals, foods and personal-care products within days using standard industrial fermentation.
The presentation was part of the 245th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) on April 7.

Walter Rakitsky, Ph.D, explained that microalgae are the original oil producers on earth, and that all of the oil-producing machinery present in higher plants resides within these single-cell organisms. Solazyme's breakthrough biotechnology platform unlocks the power of microalgae, achieving over 80 percent oil within each individual cell at commercial scale while changing the triglyceride oil paradigm by their ability to tailor the oil profiles by carbon chain and saturation. The ability to produce multiple oils in a matter of days out of one plant location using standard industrial fermentation is a game-changer. Solazyme's patented microalgae strains have become the workhorses of a growing industry focused on producing commercial quantities of microalgal oil for energy and food applications. Rakitsky is with Solazyme, Inc., of South San Francisco, Calif., one of the largest and most successful of those companies, which in 2011 supplied 100 percent microalgal-derived advanced biofuel for the first U.S. passenger jetliner flight powered by advanced biofuel.
In a keynote talk at the ACS meeting, Rakitsky described Solazyme's technology platform that enables the company to produce multiple oils from heart-healthy high-oleic oils for food to oils that are tailored to have specific performance and functionality benefits in industry, such as safer dielectric fluids and oils that are the highest-value cuts of the barrel for advanced fuels. The benefits of these oils far surpass those of other oils that are currently available today.
"For the first time in history, we have unlocked the ability to completely design and tailor oils," he said. "This breakthrough allows us to create oils optimized for everything from high-performance jet and diesel fuel to renewable chemicals to skin-care products and heart-healthy food oils. These oils could replace or enhance the properties of oils derived from the world's three dominant sources: petroleum, plants and animals."
Producing custom-tailored oils starts with optimizing the algae to produce the right kind of oil, and from there, the flexibility of the fermentation platform really comes into play. Solazyme is able to produce all of these oils in one location simply by switching out the strain of microalgae they use, Rakitsky explained. Unlike other algal oil production processes, in which algae grow in open ponds, Solazyme grows microalgae in total darkness in the same kind of fermentation vats used to produce vinegar, medicines and scores of other products. Instead of sunlight, energy for the microalgae's growth comes from low-cost, plant-based sugars. This gives the company a completely consistent, repeatable industrial process to produce tailored oil at scale.
Sugar from traditional sources such as sugarcane and corn has advantages for growing microalgae, especially their abundance and relatively low cost, Rakitsky said. The company's first fit-for-purpose commercial-scale production plant is under construction with their partner Bunge next to a sugarcane mill in Brazil. Initial production capacity will be 110,000 tons of microalgal oil annually, expanding up to 330,700 tons. In addition, the company has a production agreement with ADM in Clinton, Iowa, for 22,000 tons of oil, expandable to 110,000 tons. Ultimately, cellulosic sources of sugars from non-food plants or plant waste materials, like grasses or corn stover, may take over as those technologies reach the right scale and cost structures.
.sciencedaily.com
7/4/13
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Τετάρτη, Δεκεμβρίου 26, 2012

Mercedes Biome Concept emits pure oxygen.


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At the 2010 Los Angeles Design Challenge, the designers from the Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Studios in Carlsbad, California, surprised everyone with a revolutionary vision. 

Taking their inspiration from nature, they designed a vehicle which is fully integrated into the ecosystem, from the moment of its creation right through to the end of its service life.  
Out on the road the car emits pure oxygen.

Τετάρτη, Οκτωβρίου 31, 2012

Biofuel breakthrough: Quick cook method turns algae into oil



ScienceDaily (Oct. 31, 2012) — ANN ARBOR—It looks like Mother Nature was wasting her time with a multimillion-year process to produce crude oil. Michigan Engineering researchers can "pressure-cook" algae for as little as a minute and transform an unprecedented 65 percent of the green slime into biocrude.

"We're trying to mimic the process in nature that forms crude oil with marine organisms," said Phil Savage, an Arthur F. Thurnau professor and a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan.
The findings will be presented Nov. 1 at the 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh.
Savage's ocean-going organism of choice is the green marine micro-alga of the genus Nannochloropsis.
To make their one-minute biocrude, Savage and Julia Faeth, a doctoral student in Savage's lab, filled a steel pipe connector with 1.5 milliliters of wet algae, capped it and plunged it into 1,100-degree Fahrenheit sand. The small volume ensured that the algae was heated through, but with only a minute to warm up, the algae's temperature should have just grazed the 550-degree mark before the team pulled the reactor back out.
Previously, Savage and his team heated the algae for times ranging from 10 to 90 minutes. They saw their best results, with about half of the algae converted to biocrude, after treating it for 10 to 40 minutes at 570 degrees.
Why are the one-minute results so much better? Savage and Faeth won't be sure until they have done more experiments, but they have some ideas.
"My guess is that the reactions that produce biocrude are actually must faster than previously thought," Savage said.
Faeth suggests that the fast heating might boost the biocrude by keeping unwanted reactions at bay.
"For example, the biocrude might decompose into substances that dissolve in water, and the fast heating rates might discourage that reaction," Faeth said.
The team points out that shorter reaction times mean that the reactors don't have to be as large.
"By reducing the reactor volume, the cost of building a biocrude production plant also decreases," Faeth said, though both she and Savage cautioned that they couldn't say for sure whether the new method is faster and cheaper until the process is further developed.
Current commercial makers of algae-based fuel first dry the algae and then extract the natural oil. But at over $20 per gallon, this fuel is a long way from the gas pump.
"Companies know that that approach is not economical, so they are looking at approaches for using wet algae, as are we," Savage said.
One of the advantages of the wet method is that it doesn't just extract the existing fat from the algae—it also breaks down proteins and carbohydrates. The minute method did this so successfully that the oil contained about 90 percent of the energy in the original algae.
"That result is near the upper bound of what is possible," Savage said.
Before biocrude can be fed into the existing refinery system for petroleum, it needs pre-refining to get rid of the extra oxygen and nitrogen atoms that abound in living things. The Savage lab also is developing better methods for this leg of biofuel production, breaking the record with a biocrude that was 97 percent carbon and hydrogen earlier this year. A paper on this work is currently under review.
Once producing biofuel from algae is economical, researchers estimate that an area the size of New Mexico could provide enough oil to match current U.S. petroleum consumption. And, unlike corn produced for ethanol—which already accounts for half that area—the algae won't need to occupy good farmland, thriving in brackish ponds instead.
The research, "The Effects of Heating Rate and Reaction Time on Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Microalgae," was funded by the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program of the National Science Foundation. The university is pursuing patent protection for the intellectual property, and is seeking commercialization partners to help bring the technology to market.
Abstract: https://aiche.confex.com/aiche/2012/webprogram/Paper280193.html
Savage Lab: http://savageresearchlab.wordpress.com
EDITORS: Watch and link to a video about Savage's work on biofuels at http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=dvGssEM4bLg#
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Biofuel breakthrough: Quick cook method turns algae into oil

Οι νεκροί Έλληνες στα μακεδονικά χώματα σάς κοιτούν με οργή

«Παριστάνετε τα "καλά παιδιά" ελπίζοντας στη στήριξη του διεθνή παράγοντα για να παραμείνετε στην εξουσία», ήταν η κατηγορία πο...