Environmental

Recent Posts

Ethanol industry questions EPA lifecycle GHG emissions analysis
Posted on 6 Nov 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Using the classic Executive Branch backdoor/end-run around an agency [a common practice in all of the last Administrations stretching back to the 1970s], the ethanol industry has met with OMB to raise questions about EPA's proposed lifecycle emissions... Read More

Coal-to-liquid and oil-sand-extraction may become economically viable in the future, but they are unlikely to help the environment, says RAND Corp.
Posted on 7 Nov 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Both high import payments for petroleum motor fuels and concerns regarding emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are motivating interest in possible fuel substitutes. Petroleum products derived from conventional crude oil constitute more than 50 percent of... Read More

Economically recoverable coal reserves much less than previously believed
Posted on 8 Jun 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted the various technologies that may be involved in weaning the U.S. from its reliance on hydrocarbons. One of the constant refrains of opponents of so-called alternative generating technology is that the "U.S. is the Saudi Arabia... Read More

House voted to lift ban on the Federal Government using nonconventional fuels that could increase GHG emissions; Senate voted to allow importation of oil from tar sands
Posted on 25 Aug 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

As part of the 2010 Defense Authorization legislation ( HR 2647 ) the House revised the language of Section 526 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 ( P.L. 110-140 ) the prohibits Federal agencies from using nonconventional fuels that... Read More

You know energy efficiency has arrived when it is featured in the WSJ
Posted on 10 Mar 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

The logic of energy efficiency has arrived. As noted recently in the Wall Street Journal: "Homes are embarrassingly inefficient. They consume 21% of all energy used in the U.S., according to federal figures. That's more than cars, or planes,... Read More

Using silver nanoparticles in thin-film solar cells greatly increases their efficiency, and allows them to capture infrared energy
Posted on 13 Jan 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted that there is a lot of infra-red energy in the energy spectrum, but that it is not powerful enough to knock electrons free. Traditional solar cells work because visible and ultraviolet light knock electrons free from atoms, and... Read More

DOE & USDA announce action plan for cellulosic ethanol production
Posted on 1 Nov 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Public Law No. 110-140 requires, among other things, that by 2022 there are 36 billion gallons of biofuel produced, of which 16 billion gallons is to come from cellulosic biofuels. Toward that end, DOE and USDA announced an interagency blueprint to expand... Read More

Internal combustion engines have a lot of potential 'tweaks' that will significantly increase mileage
Posted on 15 Jan 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

In several prior posts it has been noted that for all the favorable PR given to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric vehicles, internal combustion engine systems and their associated drive-trains and designs could significantly achieve much better... Read More

Solar thermal power and fantasy
Posted on 15 Jul 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

I am ancient enough to remember when nuclear power was promoted as being so inexpensive that there would not be any need for electric meters. Well, in this new age, even solar power enthusiasts can have dreams, however improbable they may be. Munich Re... Read More

A number of alternative and energy efficient technologies are on the horizon
Posted on 18 Sep 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

As noted in numerous prior posts, energy efficiency is a very cost efficient strategy for addressing reducing carbon footprints. Also, there are a variety of "alternative" technologies being developed to both improve efficiency and to provide... Read More

Bush punts to Obama the new fuel efficiency rule
Posted on 9 Jan 2009 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Prior posts have noted the proposed fuel efficiency standard, and have also noted that current technology would likely permit even higher per mile standards because of the as-yet untapped potential of current automotive power systems. As noted, pursuant... Read More

EPA encourages communities to use landfill gas to generate electricity
Posted on 10 Nov 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

EPA is making available new financing options and incentives to make smaller landfill gas projects more cost-effective. The tax credits were added to the recently enacted economic rescue plan. The tax breaks are available only to communities that voluntarily... Read More

OECD says U.S. should consider adoption of a carbon tax and reconsider its support for ethanol
Posted on 22 Dec 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

Because the U.S. is a major source of GHG emissions, the OECD recommends that the U.S. should price carbon emissions to reflect their environmental costs, either through a cap-and-trade system or a carbon tax. The OECD also suggested that the U.S. reconsider... Read More

EPA considering boosting ethanol content in gasoline to 20%; auto firms say it will void warranties
Posted on 6 Dec 2008 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

As noted in a prior post, current law envisions the entire country moving to gasoline with 10% ethanol over the next couple of years. At the Carbon Market Insight Americas conference in November, EPA's Director of the Office of Transportation and... Read More

Electric cars may entail more than putting an electric motor where the internal combustion engine goes
Posted on 2 May 2010 by Thomas H. Clarke, Jr.

The replacement of the internal combustion engine and drive-train with electric motor(s), batteries, and control systems is leading to a rethink of the way in which cars are designed and manufactured. One of the proposals, which dates from the turn of... Read More