Category Archives: Guest Blog

Interesting Energy Stories You May Have Missed

Guest blog by Manny Topiques Here are some interesting and somewhat offbeat energy stories that haven’t gotten much media attention over the past year.

Is coal the new future for clean energy? In an amazing new discovery just announced by NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), the Perseverance Rover discovered an outcropping of high quality space coal not far from the spacecraft’s 2021 landing site. Using its rotary percussive coring drill, the rover was able to penetrate approximate 6 meters below the planet’s surface to confirm that this outcropping was the surface exposure of a large deposit of anthracite space coal. Further exploration on future missions will be required to determine if this deposit is native to Mars or the remains of a meteor that impacted the surface in the distant past. If native, it creates an incredible opportunity to solve the problem of global warming. Dr. Paullie Yanna of NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Energy Center explained: “I believe that the entire subsurface of Mars consists of coal or coal-type substances. The ancient oceans which covered almost the entire surface of the planet would have been ideal grounds for decomposition of Martian biologics as the planet lost its atmosphere. The oceans would have slowly transitioned into swamps and then finally the deserts that cover Mars today, leaving huge deposits of space coal.” When asked what was being done with this new information, Dr. Yanna excitedly explained how she is working with a digital coal company in West Virginia and a high-tech startup in California. The coal company was developing a coal burning process that would work without requiring oxygen in the atmosphere. The greatest part was that with no atmosphere all the particulate pollution, noxious gasses, and carbon dioxide could be discharged directly with no pollution control equipment. The California start-up is working on implementation of NASA’s power beaming concept to beam energy directly from outer space to earth. Unlimited energy with no concern over pollutants – the holy grail of politicians, environmentalists, and the coal industry.

Scientists Discover How to Make Energy from Air In Australia, scientists have discovered an enzyme (called Huc) from a bacterium that converts atmospheric hydrogen into energy. The discovery was somewhat unanticipated, but now researchers are examining other biological organisms and associated enzymes that could also provide additional energy utility. It may not be green, but slimy, wiggly and fungy is still good for the earth. Atmospheric energy sources could then be coupled with metal-air batteries to produce a truly robust and clean energy grid.

Earth’s Axis is Tilting As was reported last year by OWOE Staff, wind turbines are accelerating the earth’s rotational speed. Since then, it has been discovered that the human activity of pumping ground water form aquifers is shifting the earth’s axis. OWOE staff aren’t sure if this is a problem requiring a solution, but just in case, OWOE has been awarded a research grant to train hordes of blah blah bunnies to run in certain directions in order to both correct the axis shift and the earth’s rotational speed. OWOE staff have the bunny speeds properly calibrated but still need to work on the directionality.

Reducing Global Warming by Cooling the Sun Numerous academics have proposed that it could be possible to cool the earth by spraying aerosols and fine particulate matter into the upper atmosphere in order to reflect more sunlight away from the earth (see sciencealert.com and scientificamerican.com). Alternatively, some scientists have proposed deploying a large, space based parasol to shade the earth. However, Dr. Shirley Yurnutz, lead researcher at the Society for Protecting the Earth through Cooling, Transformation, Reduction and Engineering (SPECTRE) and her team have proposed that a lower cost and more effective means to cooling the earth would be to re-engineer the sun. Dr. Yurnutz’s team proposes to bombard the sun with iron atoms to reduce the heat output at the source. Her team has calculated that cooling the sun could be very effective for a long duration with only a few rocket launches. Other researchers at MIT, Caltech and similar, when contacted for comment, were too busy trying to book inter-stellar space on future X-Space launches.

Dippity Doo, Vintage Bar Novelty Could be another Clean Energy Source The evaporation effect that powers the classic drinking birds has now been coupled to a triboelectric nanogenerator to produce a 100 V potential operating for 50 hours continuously. This is small, but researchers believe that the technology is scalable and could be used to complement future solar and wind-based grids to provide power when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Larger scale prototypes have already been installed in some municipalities (see Dunking Bird Statues in front of Calgary Central Public Library) and results have been promising.

Ossification

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: Change is inevitable unless you’re well established. There is a reason why empires are lost to history, governments are overthrown, businesses collapse, and academia becomes irrelevant. The established organizations or systems could not change fast enough to respond to imminent threats, emerging technologies or changes in consumer habits.  When faced with such challenges established systems, especially governments, harden themselves. In extreme cases you end up with kingdoms such as North Korea. But in most cases, you end up with economically declining and socially irrelevant states like Canada. It is a problem of ossification of thought, of edicts being churned out ever more frequently with worse effects. It applies to everything from healthcare and education to defense and energy policy.

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If the Oil Sands Were in Quebec, Canada Would Be Outproducing Saudi Arabia

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: There are a lot of peculiarities about Canada that foreigners do not understand and residents shamefully ignore. For one, Canada is one of the biggest money laundering countries in the world.  Ask any person on the street about the dangers of corruption and he or she will point to places overseas, oblivious to the extensive graft in Canada. Graft and corruption exist at every government level and in every region of Canada. But the governments choose to overlook these things. Coupled with outright incompetence, Canada does not look good for common folks striving to make a better life.

Continue reading If the Oil Sands Were in Quebec, Canada Would Be Outproducing Saudi Arabia

Interesting Energy Stories You May Have Missed

Guest blog by Yumusbe Joacquin: Here are some interesting and somewhat offbeat energy stories that haven’t gotten much media attention over the past year.

Wind Turbines Causing Earth to Speed Up

In 2020 scientists noticed that the earth’s rotation had begun to speed up. Historically, the earth has been slowing down, primarily due to the drag created by the gravitation effect of the moon. The International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) has been adding leap seconds every now and again to make up for the slower spin (which last happened on December 31, 2016). However, there were 28 days in 2020 where the earth actually spun faster than any time during the previous 60 years. And on July 26, 2022, the earth completed its quickest-ever spin with a rotation that was 1.50 milliseconds less than its nominal 24-hours.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Reality

Guest blog by S.A. Shelley: For some time, I’ve written in previous blogs that the world has gone nuts with respect to energy policies and proclamations. Too much emphasis is on a speedy , if not immediate, Green Energy transition that does not mesh with physical reality. Politicians are master tacticians but lousy strategists and while the world needs more green and renewable energy and associated products, the world is instead starting to see uncontrolled cost increases, supply chain bottlenecks, and increasing local opposition to energy salvation. Reality bites.

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In Canada It’s OK to Cut Down Trees but It’s Not OK to Export LNG

Guest Blog by S. A. Shelley: Welcome dear readers to another blog highlighting more energy follies. The world is a mess on several levels, with equity markets roiling, bonds markets churning and of course inflation running amok. Politicians at every level use every hurricane to announce that catastrophic climate change has arrived, and every excuse except fiscal imprudence as the sinister root cause for inflation (nytimes.com, nbcnews.com). We have Europeans still worrying about heat this winter and OPEC+ machinating oil prices. In response to OPEC+ moves, Washington intelligentsia responded by condemning OPEC while sidelining any effort to increase US oil production let alone finish the Keystone XL pipeline. In Europe, Germany has rapidly fired up previously shut down coal burning power plants, and citizens in Austria are scavenging forests for firewood (euronews.com, abcnews.com). In one panicked moment Germany has fallen back to fossil fuels and will once again pump more CO2 into the atmosphere than when it began its Energiewende. Perhaps the sudden new German energy plan is to accelerate global warming to prevent freezing of its populace?

Continue reading In Canada It’s OK to Cut Down Trees but It’s Not OK to Export LNG

I Call BS!

Guest blog by S.A. Shelley: WARNING: Adult language and un-woke phrases are embedded in this blog.

Writing a good blog takes some forethought and planning. But sometimes, nay too often these days, so many politicians of all stripes are continuing to make horrendously dumb statements regarding energy matters that I feel compelled to write a rebuttal to something that Angela Merkle, the former German Chancellor, said last week.

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2022: Continuing the Year of Bad Government Decisions

Guest blog by S. A. Shelley: It is very difficult to keep up with all the energy changes in the world. Every week, some Big Government Agency, NGO, International Think Tank or Big Company proclaims some new solution to the looming global energy problem of too much of the wrong kind of energy and too often from the wrong place. While most of the analysts and prognosticators seem knowledgeable and well intentioned, OWOE analysts cannot conclude for certain that the resultant big government plans foisted through bureaucrats onto ordinary citizens are based upon sound knowledge and understanding of energy markets, resources, technology and costs.  I emphasize technology and cost because most government edicts are based more upon woke and vote political expedience than anything technically attainable without causing significant long term economic pain, e.g., recent decisions to shut down nuclear reactors. Nor have governments shown themselves to understand the political issues of energy supply, as we now see with Europe stuck paying for Russia’s conquest of Ukraine. We have some insightful and interesting comments about the Russian war, but these won’t be discussed in this blog – maybe later.

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More interesting energy stories that you might have missed

Guest blog by Mr. R. U. Cirius: Here are some interesting and somewhat offbeat energy stories that haven’t gotten much media attention that OWOE readers might have missed.

Very Small Modular Reactors There has been a lot of press coverage for Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) recently, with some touting them as the solution to the world’s energy challenges to others expressing doubt that they can actually be successful (see also OWOE blog Nuclear Power: Climate Solution or Hype). However, a new version of these nuclear reactors has just been announced that may actually meet the high expectations. William Fences, the entrepreneur and philanthropist, and his company MicroPower, claims to have developed the first Very Small Modular Reactor (VSMR). This is a stand-alone suitcase-sized micro nuclear reactor for both private and commercial use. The reactor includes: molten salt nuclear fuel module, molten salt pump, thermo-electric battery with inverter to export power at 480v, water coolant system that connects directly to the home or business water supply, and auxiliary air cooling motor that plugs easily into a standard 220v power receptacle, all enclosed withing an easily movable case (see Figure 1). Although not yet available for purchase, MicroPower is planning to sell units with power generation capability ranging from 5kW to 50kW.

Figure 1 – Very Small Modular Reactor (VSMR) (courtesy MicroPower)
Continue reading More interesting energy stories that you might have missed