It’s that time of year again. The weather is turning colder, football is in full swing, and the kids are back in a school routine. Once school starts in our house each fall, the crazy begins. No matter how much preparation goes in the night before, mornings are chaos. There is fighting, moodiness, confusion, yelling… . Breakfast is every man for himself and resembles a scene from Lord of the Flies. The dogs circle the kitchen, desperately hoping that the baby is just sleepy enough to drop his waffle on the floor. A child screams, “Where’s my belt?” Well, it’s right where it should be of course – looped around the bathroom door by one brother to keep another trapped inside. continue
Category: emerging technologies
Tar sands (also known as oil sands) has become a topic of conversation in the energy procurement world these days. Despite its recent popularity, most people don’t understand what it is, how it is used and its awesome history. continue
My wife and I were on our way to Chicago for a long weekend. We were taking in the sites, wondering if we should stop in Lafayette on the way back to see Purdue University’s campus when we came around a bend in I-65 and saw something completely disorienting. Actually, the disorientation was not immediate.
“Look,” my wife said, “there are some windmills over there, giant windmills.” We made this trip to Chicago a
couple of years earlier and didn’t see any windmills. It was like they had just appeared overnight. They were pretty cool looking, for the first couple of miles. But those few windmills become dozens and those dozens became hundreds. They were spinning slowly, majestically and some of them were very close to the interstate. continue
Someone recently said the words “Fibonacci” and “solar panels” to me, and my ears immediately pricked up. I’ve always been intrigued by the Fibonacci sequence and my first thought was of the PBS show Square One and its segment, MathNet, where I first learned about it.
But this decade’s reference to Fibonacci isn’t fiction. A seventh grader from New York named Aidan recently won the 2011 Young Naturalist Award from the American Museum of Natural History for his work identifying how the Fibonacci sequence can help increase electricity output of solar panels. continue
When I was but a wee tot, I really, really wanted a pink, battery-powered Barbie car. I coveted. Oh, yes. My parents, however, had sense enough not to shell out $400 for a piece of plastic that zipped along at 0.2 miles an hour and that I likely would have plowed into the family dog as soon as I took the wheel. I had to settle for a “manual” toy car that I powered myself through a hole in the floorboard — a la “The Flintstones.” I probably got going faster in that thing than I would have in the Barbie-mobile. I definitely got more exercise!
I hadn’t thought about those childhood toys in years, until I listened to an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air back in June. The host talked to the senior editor for Popular Science magazine, Seth Fletcher, about his new book, “Bottled Lightning: Superbatteries, Electric Cars and the New Lithium Economy.” Fletcher believes that “advanced lithium batteries could hold the key to an environmentally sustainable, oil-independent future.” Read more here. continue
For a few years now, clean energy and sustainable business practices have been driving large-scale efforts inside companies of all sizes. Whether the end goal was cheap energy, response to impending government regulation or even a little positive media exposure, evidence of the new green corporate landscape is everywhere. The green movement is gaining a substantial amount of momentum with little evidence of slowing down, due to large-scale implementation of energy efficiency projects. I recently stumbled on an article that discussed how Google has invested $280 million through a partnership with SolarCity, a California-based solar design and installation company. continue
Those of you who read one of my previous blog posts (“About Sailing and Energy Management”) will remember my adoration for ocean sailing. With all these years and miles of sailing, my respect and love for the ocean has grown very strong. That’s why I could not let the month pass by without remembering the annual “World Oceans Day,” celebrated on June 8.
World Oceans Day (WOD) is an opportunity every year to honor the ocean, celebrate the products the ocean provides and appreciate its own intrinsic value. WOD was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008, and since then it has been coordinated internationally by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network with greater success each year in participation and building awareness of how our lives depend on the ocean. It’s actually amazing to consider, but the ocean helps generate most of the oxygen we breathe, feeds us, regulates our climate, cleans the water we drink, offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines and last but not least, forms an inexhaustible source of renewable energy! continue
With Memorial Day 2011 only a few days behind us, I’m positive that there were about 307 million other Americans who took that inaugural trip to the neighborhood swimming pool and enjoyed a glorious three-day weekend. I’m also positive that I was the only one in America who, when reflecting upon US soldiers who have died in combat, started thinking about the intersection between US military history and the history of energy. (Working day in and day out with energy consultants rubs off on you.) So here it goes – a little something for you to consider in your post-Memorial Day musings. continue
Another birthday and a drawer full of v-neck undershirts signal I’m ready to embrace my inner “old man.” These days I spend a lot of time complaining and talking about the way things were “back in my day,” back before gasoline was $4.07 a gallon. One day last week unleaded gas shot up 37 cents a gallon. Summit Energy commodity analyst, Matt Smith, attributed the meteoric rise to “flooding on the Mississippi, which is impacting both production and transportation of the fuel.” Matt’s right, of course, but the grumpy old man in me would rather blame it on “kids these days” or Communism. continue
It looks like it is left to me to break the silence on The Watercooler about the Japanese Fukushima nuclear incident. First, it might be months or years before we have a full picture of the damage at the plant and its impact on the environment and population. Our prayers go out to those impacted by the radiation. This incident is a sobering reminder that processes behind nuclear power production are complicated and allow a slim margin for error.
With that said, continue