In a rare demonstration of a nearly non-Leftists bias, the Toronto Star printed an article that shows that it’s still capable of presenting slightly balanced views of contentious issues. In this case, it offered some visibility for a realistic presentation from the Organization of CANDU Industries (OCI) which offered clear insights into the effects of replacing two proposed nuclear reactors with the equivalent in renewable sources. In particular, the OCI demonstrates the physical scale of both the solar and wind turbine installations that would be required to match the energy production available from a nuclear site measuring 1.6 square-kilometers. In the end, the Star’s article simply took this issue as another opportunity to discredit nuclear energy, by (indirectly) claiming that the facts aren’t complete.
So in an attempt to right the scales abit, we’ll off our own slant on the subject as well…
So…After having to endure so much more global ennui this past month, EnviroNauts are going to try and take a more local approach to plotting-out sustainable Futures for ourselves…
- Earth Hour 2011
March 26th saw Earth Hour come and go here in Toronto, and astoundingly for a city so bent on demonstrating its political correctness, the initial visibility enjoyed by this annual event is showing signs of flickering right out.
What started as an easy way to for armchair environmentalists and idealists of all types to make a token, yet satisfyingly visible gesture about kicking their energy habits (even just for an hour) has now seemingly fallen right off the radar for most people…at least for this year anyhow. See pics below;
” Copper Nanowires can now be ‘grown’ in bulk and then ‘printed’ on a surface to transparently conduct current! ”
Most people probably don’t realize that thin film solar panels and flat screen TV’s share alot in common, since they both rely heavily on the technologies of ‘thin-film dialectrics’ (TFD) to produce the substrates (electrode layers) that control either the emission or absorption of light. So obviously, any advances made in the manufacturing processes for these films could create both cost and technical efficiencies that would enable TFD’s to either consume less power, or generate more energy on an even cost basis for a given amount of light. This would be no small achievement if you consider the growing demand for efficient display screens, and the persistent cost barriers to all the solar panels that people are hoping to install in the very near Future. The exciting Science News here is that new discoveries in copper-based ‘Nano Tech’ are offering the first cheaper and efficient alternatives to existing methods that we’ve seen in quite awhile, and could genuinely change the surface of playing field if Cu-based nanotech can continue to overcome the hurdles of establishing a brand new TFD process.
Currently the status quo of TFD manufacturing is based in a predominance of electrode films made from Indium Tin Oxide (ITO), and this rather expensive method still has quite a few nagging drawbacks. First of all, ITO is pricey to process, it’s also brittle and thus fragile; so its production process remains highly inefficient; and it’s already an expensive technology that’s becoming even more costly because of the dual increases in market demand (scarcity) for both raw materials and the finished product. Currently the only alternatives we see on the horizon are coming from nano technology that uses either silver or carbon nano-tubes – which both remain highly cost prohibitive and difficult to produce. However a research team at Duke University have recently announced that they’ve perfected a method to grow nanowires from Copper, which promises to dramatically reduce not only the manufacturing demands for these thin films, but also allow for them to be much more flexible, durable, and cost efficient – Especially since copper is an abundant resource who’s price can’t be as easily cornered and manipulated by merchants and market forces…
This Event has also generated the following Impact Report :
– EVENT REPORT –
Where’s the EPA Going with Airliners and Automobiles?
In decisive and well publicized move to strengthen the U.S. position on Global Warming, just in time for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threatens to upstage the U.S. Congress by stepping in (with a compliant Department of Transport) to begin placing regulations of it’s own on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in America. This event has also allowed Barack Obama to maintain his political poise and environmental commitments when assuring the World that the United States is indeed prepared to take clear and decisive actions against Global Warming. The significant risk in establishing this alternate legal route to the regulation of Greenhouse Gases (GhG’s) via the EPA, rather than waiting for any similar Bills to finally clear Congress, means that a political gauntlet has been tossed down that could either spur U.S. lawmakers to regain their role in this fight, or possibly generate a severe backlash from those who see this as an affront to their authority and who can also control the EPA’s funding and functions, depending upon who picks up this tossed challenge and rises to the occasion.
This bold opening move is based in a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (from a deeply divided decision) that the Clean Air Act granted EPA the authority to regulate automobile emissions, and furthermore that GhG’s could fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants according to subsequent EPA reports. At the risk of sideswiping industrialists and lawmakers throughout the land, on December 7/09, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came forward to issue its formal findings that greenhouse gasses (GhG’s), including carbon dioxide emissions, do indeed “threaten the public health and welfare of the American people”. This statement effectively sets the stage for the EPA to regulate a list of GhG under provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act, and CO2 is now at the top of that confirmed list.
Under the provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act, EPA is obligated to address declared pollutants. Jackson explained that the “premise” of the Act is that “once you know you have a pollutant and you know it’s endangering public welfare, then EPA must act.” The question remains what is teh EPa’s next move?