Algae biofuel production often uses petroleum-based NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus Potassium) fertilizers to grow algae. Over half of US NPK fertilizer is imported. In addition, algae biofuel facilities are generally based in deserts where the sun is strong and water scarce, yet it uses large amounts of water. It takes over three gallons to produce one gallon of algae fuel.
Thus it is clear that algae biofuel is not environmentally friendly nor does it cut dependence of foreign oil. This from the president of a non biofuel algae company with 40 years experience and who has no financial interests in biofuel or petroleum.
Nearly every in-depth economic (fiscal and physical) analysis – and especially mass balance analysis of the algae biofuel production process – has shown it to be both economically, environmentally and resource unsustainable and non-renewable at-scales significant enough to impact the U.S.’s energy deficits.
However, some types of algae biofuel doesn’t need NPK fertilizer.
Algae biofuel companies generating algae biofuels and other products from wastes – such as sewage and CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations – cattle, dairy, poultry, swine and aquaculture) discharges are largely unaffected directly by the NPK sustainability issues.
Ok, it’s just a 1/8 scale prototype floating wind turbine but it is an offshore wind turbine nonetheless. It only took a couple of decades to begin offshore wind in the US, while Scotland, Germany, and other countries zoomed ahead of us. But we are in the game now, with potentially huge wind farms coming. W00t!
The 65-foot-tall VolturnsUS 1:8 prototype is a small-scale model of the giant 6-megawatt turbines the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center and its partners in the DeepCWind Costortium hope to have in the water someday. They believe that by 2030 they can grab 5 gigawatts of power with a large array of turbines some 20 miles off the coast, away from conflicts and where the winds blow strong and consistent.
Wave power doesn’t get nearly as much attention (or respect) as solar or wind. Yet the potential is enormous. Aquamarine Power is leading the way and will be building the biggest wave energy site ever.
Aquamarine Power has received full consent from the Scottish Government for a 40MW wave farm off the north-west coast of Lewis, Scotland – making it the world’s largest fully-permitted ocean energy site.
This will ultimately see the deployment of between 40 and 50 Oyster devices along the coast … in one of the best wave energy locations in Europe. Once complete, the farm will have the capacity to power nearly 30,000 homes.
Supermarket giant Kroger has teamed with FEED Source Recovery to convert waste food into electricity on a mass scale.
The anaerobic conversion system (PDF) will process more than 55,000 tons of organic food waste into renewable energy annually and provide power for the over 650,000 square foot distribution center. By diverting that food waste – the equivalent of 150 tons per day – the system will also reduce area truck trips by more than 500,000 miles each year. The Kroger Recovery System uses a sophisticated process to convert the carbon in organic material into a renewable source of methane.
Washington state has two potential sites where excess electricity generated by wind turbines could be stored underground as compressed air then converted back nearly instantly when needed. Compressed air energy storage is already in use in Alabama and Germany in man-made salt caverns. The Washington sites would use already existing natural caverns deep underground. One site would also harness geothermal power to aid in production.
With aquaponics, you farm fish, and process the fish poop to be used as the sole fertilizer for growing food hydroponically. 20 foot urban farm has free plans for how to do this with a shipping container as the basic structure with a hydroponic greenhouse on top. This can be done in small spaces in cities.
On May 9th, 2013, the Makani team conducted the first fully autonomous flight of an airborne wind generation system. The following video illustrates this landmark turnkey flight (launch, hover, power generation, hover, land) with footage compiled from several recent tests. For a shortened video showing all flight modes in real time: launch, hover, power generation, hover and land
Makani’s Airborne Wind Turbine is a tethered wing that generates power by flying in large circles where the wind is stronger and more consistent. It eliminates 90% of the material used in conventional wind turbines, and can access winds both at higher altitudes and above deep waters offshore.
Advances in solar photovoltaic technology has boosted output of the panels so that (finally) solar PV is a net producer of electricity. Until until now, PV panels took more electricity to manufacture than the panels generated. That has finally flipped.
The amount of energy generated by all of the world’s installed solar PV panels finally surpassed the amount of energy it took the industry to fabricate modules to fuel its rapid growth since 2000.
It takes energy to create energy. There’s no way around that. The best we can hope for it increasingly more efficient ways of generating energy. It also takes considerable amounts of water to build any type of energy generation equipment. However solar PV, along with wind power, use tiny amounts of water in their creation of electricity. Coal, natural gas, nuclear, and solar thermal by contrast, use large amounts of water.
Sheerwind says their innovative design for wind power is more efficient than traditional wind turbines at a cost equal to hydropower and natural gas.
Conventional wind turbines use massive turbine generator systems mounted on top of a tower. INVELOX, by contrast, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators. Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow. This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level.