Saturday, December 22, 2007

Virtual Recycling Arrives in America

Following the amazing success and demand from the virtual recycling site Vskips in England – Vdumpsters has been launched in the US.

Covering every State and County, users can create their own virtual dumpster and put whatever they want into it to give away. This puts whole new meaning on dumpster diving as you can do it from the comfort of your own home, business or in fact any organisation or person.

The idea is to promote the reusing and recycling of people’s unwanted items.The main benefit environmentally is the reduction in land fill or stuff just being dumped when there is always someone who may want your “unwanted items;” as the old saying goes “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Disposing of waste into landfill sites is detrimental to the natural environment around us. Conservation of natural resources is important for all future generations. It is estimated that over 400 million tons of waste was disposed into United States landfills in recent year and the situation is likely to be much worse. If this continues, we are likely to bury ourselves under a suffocating pile of landfill waste.

The fact of the matter is that much of it isn't really "trash" at all, but is good stuff that could be given a new home, reused or recycled. Computers, TVs, Antiques, Garden Tools, Wood, Toys, Bicycles, Musical Instruments - you name it, we dump it, and it all has an impact on the environment.

Your support of vDumpsters keeps stuff out of landfill, helping to protect your environment from further damage. Instead of using a real dumpster first, upload your unwanted items to a virtual dumpster (vDumpster) and then dive and claim other people's items for free.

Totally free to use, Virtual dumpster diving is set to become a national fun event, helping people to help each other and helping to protect their environment – what could be better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why China Is Rising and the United States Is Declining

By Lester R. Brown
I know Santa Claus is Chinese because each Christmas morning after all the gifts are unwrapped and things settle down I systematically go through the presents to see where they are made. The results are almost always the same: roughly 70 percent are from China. After some research, it seems that my one-family survey is representative of the country as a whole.

Let’s start with toys. Some 80 percent of the toys sold in the United States--from Barbie dolls to video games--are made in China. Talking toys that speak English learned the language from Chinese workers. Electronic goods--from Apple’s iPod to Microsoft’s Xbox--are made in China. Clothing--from the latest cashmere sweaters to gym suits--is also likely to have a "Made in China" label.

The Christmas tree itself may come from China. While real Christmas trees are grown in every state in the United States and are marketed locally, many families now gather around artificial Christmas trees. Eight out of every 10 artificial Christmas trees sold in the United States are made in China. Last year Americans spent over $130 million on plastic Christmas trees from China.

This year Americans will spend over $1 billion on Christmas ornaments from China. And in perhaps the greatest irony of all, even nativity scenes are made in China. Last year Americans spent more than $39 million buying nativity scenes shipped in from the East. China’s success in attracting foreign investment capital and mobilizing this huge workforce has made it the workshop of the world.

That the U.S. Christmas is made in China is a metaphor for a far deeper set of economic issues affecting the United States. Today Christmas is celebrated in both the United States and China--but for different reasons and with far different economic consequences. For the Chinese, the manufacturing bonanza means record profits, rising incomes, and, in a society where people save some 40 percent of their income, a sharp jump in savings. In the United States, Christmas shopping expenditures, headed for another record high this year, contribute to rising credit card debt and a soaring trade deficit.

Underneath the American Christmas spirit and good cheer is a debt-laden society that appears to have lost its way, marred in the quicksand of consumerism. As a society, we seem to have forgotten how to save so we can invest in a better future. Instead of leaving our children a promising economic future, we are bequeathing them the largest debt burden of any generation in history.

At the personal level, credit card debt just keeps climbing, and at the government level, we have the largest deficit in history. At the international level, we have a trade deficit that moves to a new high month after month.

It’s not the fact that our Christmas is made in China, but rather the mindset that has led to it that is most disturbing. We want to consume no matter what. We want to spend now and let our children pay. It is this same mindset that introduces tax cuts while waging a costly war. Economic sacrifice is no longer part of our vocabulary. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt banned the sale of private cars in order to mobilize the manufacturing capacity and engineering skills of the U.S. automobile industry to build tanks and planes. In contrast, after 9/11, President Bush urged us to go shopping.

In the United States we are so intent on consuming that personal savings have virtually disappeared. We have an average of five credit cards for every man, woman, and child. Of the 145 million cardholders, only 55 million clear their accounts each month. The other 90 million cannot seem to catch up and are paying steep interest rates on their remaining balance. Millions of people are so deeply in debt that they may remain indebted for life.

The official national debt, the product of years of fiscal deficits, now totals $8.5 trillion--some $64,000 per taxpayer.
By the end of the Bush administration in 2008, this figure is projected to reach a staggering $9.4 trillion. We are digging a fiscal black hole and sinking deeper and deeper into it.

Each month the Treasury covers the fiscal deficit by auctioning off securities. The two leading international buyers of U.S. Treasury securities are Japan and China. In this role, China is now also becoming our banker. This developing country, where income levels are one sixth those of the United States, is financing the excesses of an affluent industrial society. What’s wrong with this picture?

In times past, when our fiscal deficits were covered largely by U.S. lenders, interest payments on the debt were reinvested in the United States. Now they are flowing abroad to Japan, China, and other foreign holders of U.S. debt.

While the U.S. fiscal deficit, driven partly by the war in Iraq, soars to stratospheric levels, the country is facing an unprecedented fiscal challenge as the baby boomer generation retires, pushing up the costs of social security, Medicaid, and Medicare. This, combined with the growing interest payments on our debt to China and other countries, will put a nearly impossible tax burden on the next generation--something for which they may never forgive us.

The U.S. trade deficit is growing by leaps and bounds, nearly doubling from $452 billion in 2000 to an estimated $850 billion in 2006. Rising oil imports and the trade deficit with China account for over half of it.

National policy failures such as not adequately supporting the use of renewable energy technologies have contributed to the growing U.S. trade deficit. For example, the United States should be a leading manufacturer and exporter of solar cells and wind turbines, but it has fallen behind both Europe and Japan. The solar cell, invented at Bell Labs in 1954, is an American technology. But the U.S. effort to develop solar energy was so weak and sporadic that both Germany and Japan forged ahead and developed robust solar cell manufacturing and export industries.

The situation is similar with wind. Although the modern wind industry was born in California at the beginning of the 1980s, the U.S. failure to sustain support for wind resource development allowed European countries to largely take over this industry.

Even though rising oil imports are widening our trade deficit, we consume oil with abandon, weakening the economy and undermining our political independence.

We have lost influence in world financial markets simply because of our mounting debt, much of it held by other countries. If China’s leaders ever become convinced that the dollar is headed continuously downward and they decide to dump their dollar holdings, the dollar could collapse.
Beholden to other countries for oil and to finance our debt, the United States is fast losing its leadership role in the world. The question we are facing is not simply whether our Christmas is made in China, but more fundamentally whether we can restore the discipline and values that made us a great nation--a nation the world admired, respected, and emulated. This is not something that Santa Claus can deliver, not even a Chinese Santa Claus. This is something only we can do.

# # #

Lester R. Brown is President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization.

Data and additional resources at

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cumulative Oil & Gas Contributions to Senators

Cumulative Oil & Gas Contributions to Senators Voting to Block a Measure to Rollback Oil Company Giveaways on HR 6
Source: Center for Responsive Politics

over past 4 years

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) - $577,556

John Cornyn (R-TX) - $561,380

Bob Corker (R-TN) - $215,350

Pat Roberts (R-KS) - $205,850

James Inhofe (R-OK) - $196,700

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) - $150,500

Pete Domenici (R-NM) - $145,950

Jon Kyl (R-AZ) - $140,700

Mary Landrieu (D-LA) - $133,650
(the only dem to vote against)

Christopher Bond (R-MO) - $129,350

Sam Brownback (R-KS) - $129,155

Trent Lott (R-MS) - $124,300

George Voinovich (R-OH) - $122,050

Arlen Specter (R-PA) - $119,878

Lamar Alexander (R-TN) - $98,300

Jim Bunning (R-KY) - $98,269

John Ensign (R-NV) - $95,100

David Vitter (R-LA) - $81,100

Michael Crapo (R-ID) - $63,650

Jeff Sessions (R-AL) - $58,800

Robert Bennett (R-UT) - $58,700

Thad Cochran (R-MS) - $58,500

Richard Shelby (R-AL) - $56,800

Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) - $53,400

Ted Stevens (R-AK) - $44,700

Michael Enzi (R-WY) - $42,500

John Sununu (R-NH) $- 41,900

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) - $41,250

Larry Craig (R-ID) - $33,500

Judd Gregg (R-NH) - $31,500

Lindsey Graham (R-SC) - $29,600

Richard Burr (R-NC) - $28,750

John Barrasso (R-WY) - $27,500

Johnny Isakson (R-GA) - $25,200

Jim DeMint (R-SC) - $23,722

Mel Martinez (R-FL) - $17,000

Chuck Hagel (R-NE) - $16,600

Tom Coburn (R-OK) - $9,600

John Warner (R-VA) - $9,500

Wayne Allard (R-CO) - $0*

Total $4,097,810

*Sen. Allard was last re-elected in 2002 and will be retiring in 2008

Turning Carbon Dioxide into Fuel

Researchers are harnessing solar energy to convert carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide, which can be used to make fuels.

Could concentrated solar energy be used to reverse combustion and convert carbon dioxide back into gasoline? That's what scientists at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM, aim to find out by building a novel reactor that can chemically "reenergize" carbon dioxide.

The device uses a two-stage thermochemical reaction to break down carbon dioxide to produce carbon monoxide, says Nathan Siegel, a senior member of technical staffat Sandia's Solar Technologies Department and one of the researchers developing the technology. "Carbon dioxide is a combustion product, so what we're doing is reversing combustion," he says. The carbon monoxide can then readily be employed to produce a range of different fuels, including hydrogen, methanol, and gasoline, using conventional technologies.

Within the Sandia reactor, invented by Sandia researcher Rich Diver, is a ring of a cobalt-ferrite ceramic material, which is essentially made up of iron oxide and cobalt. A parabolic solar concentrator directs sunlight onto the ceramic material, heating it to around 1,500 °C and causing it to give up oxygen.

As the ring continually rotates, the reduced material passes into a second, separate chamber containing carbon dioxide. Having given up its oxygen, the ceramic reacts with the carbon dioxide, stealing oxygen atoms off it. The result is the production of carbon monoxide. The process is continuous, so that the oxidized ceramic once again passes back into the solar chamber where it is again reduced. "It will work with either carbon dioxide to make carbon monoxide or with water to make hydrogen," says Siegel.

At least that's the theory. The Sandia group has carried out proof of principle demonstrations of various stages of the device but has yet to show that they all work together. The team is building a prototype that will be ready for testing by late spring. "It's 95 percent built," says Siegel.

The cobalt-ferrite ceramic was originally developed in Japan and is easy to produce. To maximize its effect, the material is constructed into a matrix of crisscrossing one-millimeter-diameter rods. This has the effect of producing a high surface area with which to react with the carbon dioxide.

By next June, the researchers expect to have the reactor's performance mapped out, and if it does as well as they expect, a practical version could be available within five years.

"At the moment, we are looking at getting carbon dioxide from industrial sources," says Siegel. The real potential, however, is to capture carbon-dioxide emissions and reuse them as fuel. "We're also looking at ways to pull carbon dioxide out of the air," he says. This would allow the reactor to be mounted anywhere, sucking up the atmospheric greenhouse gas and turning it into fuel. However, Siegel stresses, this is at a much earlier stage of development.

Despite the huge potential, there is currently very little research into finding ways to harness solar energy to produce carbon monoxide from carbon dioxide, says Siegel. But such technology deals with two problems directly: putting carbon dioxide to good use, and finding a way to make the best of the sporadic nature of solar energy. "It offers a way to store this solar energy and use it when you want it," he says.

It's excellent work and, in principle, scientifically quite possible, says Christian Sattler, of the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Center, in Cologne. "The question is, at what efficiency?" he says. "How much energy does it take to carry out this reduction? It may be more efficient to use the solar energy for direct power production."

By Duncan Graham-Rowe

To the source

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tempers Rise as Climate Talks Stall; UN Official Sheds Tears

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The head of the United Nations' climate unit walked out of global warming talks in Bali, Indonesia in tears, as tempers flared among nations wrangling over the terms of a new climate change treaty.

Talks aimed at setting a negotiating agenda leading to a new international treaty on fighting global warming to replace the Kyoto Protocol were suspended twice after China and India objected to some of the language in the draft document.

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, left the auditorium in tears after China's delegation demanded to know why the session had twice been started while separate talks were ongoing elsewhere.

``The secretariat was not aware that meetings were going on elsewhere,'' de Boer said, before closing the book in front of him and walking off stage. He returned about 15 minutes later.

Tempers rose during an earlier session when Sun Guoshun, a member of the Chinese negotiating team, told the plenary meeting: ``I'm not sure whether the secretariat is our secretariat, and I would like to ask for an apology.''

De Boer was then heard to say ``I have been offended now,'' before Witoelar suspended the session a second time.

Talks overran yesterday's deadline and carried on into the early hours as delegates tried to reach a compromise. The European Union and developing nations clashed with the U.S. over language outlining greenhouse-gas emissions reduction targets for industrialized countries and possible commitments by developing nations such as China and India.

`Game of Chicken'

``It's a big game of chicken right now,'' said Andrew Deutz, senior policy adviser for UN affairs at the Nature Conservancy. ``The U.S. doesn't want to move unless they know India and China are going to move, and India and China of course don't want to move until the U.S. does.''

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon canceled a speech in Jakarta today to stay in Bali and push for a compromise.

``This has been a tough set of negotiations,'' said Australian Climate Change Minister Penny Wong, the co-chair of the Bali negotiations. ``We were cautiously optimistic last night about the progress that was being made, unfortunately that progress has not continued this morning. But we are still attempting to proceed to a negotiated resolution.''

Delegates resumed today for a plenary session designed to adopt all decisions made during the two-week conference and set a deadline for a new climate accord. When he came to the contentious document, Witoelar, the president of the conference, urged delegates to ``exercise leadership'' and accept the text.

EU Agrees

Portugal, speaking for the EU, agreed to the document, before India, speaking on behalf of the G77 group of developing nations, and then China, objected to language describing efforts developing nations should take, forcing the session into recess. The meeting resumed after a 100-minute pause, and the fractious exchange led to a second halt.

``When the ministers broke up last night there were two options'' for the disputed text, Prodipto Ghosh, an adviser to the Indian delegation, told reporters after the meeting was suspended for the second time. ``Our understanding was both would be available for discussion in the plenary. The president in his wisdom chose one option,'' he said, referring to Witoelar.

``Our minister would prefer the second option.''

At issue are two paragraphs in the so-called Bali Roadmap for a new climate treaty that calls for ``commitments or actions'' from all developed countries to reduce emissions blamed for global warming. Developing countries should take ``appropriate mitigation actions,'' according to the text.

``The Americans would like the two paragraphs to look as much alike as possible and the Indians want them to look as different as possible,'' said David Doniger, former head of climate policy at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and now climate policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He spoke in an interview in Bali.

`Not Good Enough'

The U.S. succeeded in its aim to have removed from the preamble of the text a statement that developed nations should slash emissions by 25 to 40 percent by 2020. Instead, a footnote was placed, referencing passages in reports by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that call for emissions cuts of as low as 10 percent in the same period. That left some delegates unhappy.

``An ordinary person picking up the text will then have to follow the reference and find it on page seven hundred and whatever it is,'' Grenadian Ambassador Angus Friday, a spokesman for 39 small island states, told reporters early today in Bali. ``That's not good enough.''

To contact the reporters on this story: Alex Morales in Nusa Dua at ; Kim Chipman in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, at .

Friday, December 14, 2007

Big Coal's Dirty Plans for Our Energy Future

Just as the American people and the world are beginning to recognize the necessity of shifting to renewable energies, Big Coal, in collusion with an out-of-step administration, is pushing their dirty fossil fuel as the solution to our nation's energy crisis.

Big Coal and its cohorts envision a "clean coal technology" future fueled by liquifying and gasifying coal, capturing the carbon emissions and injecting them underground. By 2030 the West Virginia Division of Energy -- a nascent state agency formed in July, 2007 -- wants to oust oil and exalt coal by displacing the 1.3 billion gallons of foreign oil the state currently imports every year.

The WVDoE believes "that higher energy prices are providing and will continue to provide market opportunities" for a variety of alternative coal technologies including "coal waste, coal fines and coal bed methane," according to a document released in December 2007 called, "A Blueprint for the Future."

But scientists and environmentalists say "clean coal" does not exist; it is a misnomer and an oxymoron. The National Resources Defense Council has said, using the term "clean coal" makes about as much sense as saying "safe cigarettes." The extraction and cleaning of coal inevitably decimate ecosystems and communities.

Citing abundant supplies of quality domestic coal, escalating oil prices that are hoving around $100 per barrel, and security concerns raised by dependence on foreign oil, the coal industry is chomping at the bit to secure their stake in the false pursuit of domestic energy independence through a federally assisted coal-based economy. But as the world wakes up to the climate crisis and people learn more about modern coal mining and the continuing exploitation of Appalachia, which has sickened entire communities, polluted the water and air, and condemned vast sections of an ecologically extraordinary land to death, the coal industry faces an increasingly uphill battle against growing public awareness and concern.

Just this year, plans for a dozen new coal plants in Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Kansas and others have been repudiated by the growing public awareness and concern about the role of coal and other fossil fuels in our climate crisis. Playing on stereotypes and employing scare tactics about the unpredictability of the Middle East, the coal industry is developing a Frankenstein-like future for U.S. energy needs.

In Kansas, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius recently blocked plans for two coal-fired electricity plants; afterwards, on Nov. 5, a full page ad in Kansas newspapers explained that now, because of Sebelius' decision, "Kansas will import more natural gas from countries like Russia, Venezuela and Iran." The ad displayed the grinning faces of the leaders of these countries and continued, "Without new coal-fueled plants in our state, experts predict that electric bills will skyrocket and Kansans will be more dependent than ever on hostile, foreign energy sources." In fact, Kansas exports natural gas to other states and the United States does not even import natural gas from Russia, Venezuela or Iran, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

Why carbon capture is no safety net

Nationwide there are grandiose plans for more than 100 new coal-fired power plants but that will all hinge on being able to sell the public and legislators on outfitting and funding these new plants with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) technology. This process siphons off or "captures" carbon dioxide before it can escape into the atmosphere, contributing to acid rain, smog and warming the planet. The sequestered carbon would then be pumped and stored underground.

But is it really possible to bury our daily CO2 emission? Australia's renown physicist, Karl Kruszelnicki, who is running for public office on the Climate Change Coalition ticket, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Nov. 1, "One cubic kilometer of CO2 to get rid of every day? It's not possible! But they don't tell you that that's what they've got to get rid of. They make reassuring noises that they're spending millions looking for underground caverns. But I'm here to tell you that they're not going to find it ... The point is that they can only store 1,000th of 1 percent, not all their daily output."

Not only do we not have the capacity to store all the CO2 we produce, but the technology isn't there yet. The coal industry acknowledges that CCS is 15 years away, but continues to promulgate the myth of "clean coal technology" and to guide generous government subsidies to themselves and to West Virginia universities, assigning valuable research money to dirty technology. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's 2007 report "The Future of Coal" stated that "there is no standard for measurement, monitoring, and verification of CO2 distribution. Duration of post-injection monitoring is an unresolved issue."

In other words, Big Coal is betting on a pipe dream with an entire ecosystem at stake. Adding CCS to plans for the more than 100 proposed coal-fired power plants on the drawing board would increase operating budgets by 50 percent to 80 percent. And the gasifying and liquifying of coal into syn-gas and diesel would create potential emissions twice as carbon-rich as petroleum based gasoline or natural gas. If Big Coal gets its way, the U.S. Air Force will cruise the skies on liquid coal fuel -- spewing dangerously concentrated CO2 into our fragile atmosphere, and we'll be building more polluting plants based on false promises from an outlaw industry.

Exacerbating the water crisis

To many observers, the next natural resource wars will be waged over water, not oil or coal. People in the United States are waking up to the reality of a looming water crisis, but the coal industry is still advocating for a technology that is part of the problem, not the solution.
The U.S. Department of Energy stated in December 2006, that the demand for water to produce coal conversion fuels "threaten our limited water supply." Coal conversion -- gasification or liquefaction -- requires an absurd amount of fresh water. Each new Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) or Coal to Liquid (CTL) plant will require millions of gallons of fresh water every day. And these new plants will require even more coal.

Big Coal's proposed plans will require a large increase in coal extraction -- at least 15 percent more, though some reports quote as high as a 45 percent increase in coal production would be necessary to fuel "clean coal technology." The surge in demand for coal would be met with a surge in mountaintop removal coal mining, which means more water pollution. Mountaintop removal mining and the chemical cleaning of coal also threatens Appalachian headwater streams, which are the drinking water source for the southeastern United States -- an area that has endured frightening water shortages this year in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The coal-to-liquid plants that coal state politicians like Gov. Joe Manchin, III of West Virginia and Gov. Ernie Fletcher of Kentucky are scrambling to site in their states would have one consequence that many observers underestimate or ignore: the increase in production of coal sludge -- one of the least known and least regulated toxic wastes in the United States -- a direct threat to water supplies.

Ben Stout, a biologist from Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va., who testified in the landmark Bragg v. Robertson case, where 88 community members sued a coal operator for destroying their land, has witnessed the environmental and human health devastation wreaked on the unique mountain ecosystems and communities of Appalachia firsthand.

"Clean Coal Technologies is a misnomer," he said. "There's nothing clean about coal. The extraction end is not addressed; if you live in southern West Virginia, the landscape you grew up in has been destroyed and rearranged. The question is, why are so many people in West Virginia so desperate to get hooked up to county water supply?"

The answer is: toxic coal sludge. Coal sludge, laden with heavy metals found in coal and released during extraction, like arsenic, chromium, cadmium and mercury, has been pumped underground in West Virginia for decades, with scant regulatory oversight. The sludge has intercepted underground water tables, from which mountain communities draw their drinking water. Coal sludge also contains carcinogenic chemicals like floculants, which are used to process coal.

In West Virginia, the second-largest coal-producing state in the nation, more than 470 mountaintops have been blown apart, 800 square miles of the most diverse temperate hardwood forest razed and replaced with more than 4,000 valley fills and 675 toxic coal sludge ponds. By 2012, the U.S. government estimates that we will have destroyed 2,500 square miles of pristine Appalachia. Currently there are over 107 trillion gallons of coal slurry stored or permitted to be stored in active West Virginia "impoundments."

The total mechanization of coal extraction epitomized by mountaintop removal/valley fill coal mining has buried thousands of miles of vital headwater streams and pumped previously mined lands full of sludge. The coal industry says that it has "elevated" some streams -- after they've buried them upstream -- relocating them and "repurposing" them into chemical spillways called National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) streams.

Coal sludge, the waste by-product of the chemical cleaning of coal in preparation for shipping to market, is initially put into surface ponds, but eventually this chemically concentrated, pudding-like waste leaches into the groundwater. In southern West Virginia, where the largest seams of coal lie, whole communities have been poisoned over years by mining waste that has contaminated their drinking water.

Coal sludge is a disaster waiting to happen, like the 2.8 billion gallons of toxic sludge that stand behind a 325-foot, leaking, unsound dam of slate, 400 yards from the Marsh Fork Elementary School in Sundial, W.Va. Or, Brushy Fork, in Boone County, W.Va., one of the largest coal sludge dumps in the world, holding back 9 billion gallons of coal waste.

Sludge is also injected underground into the sprawling abandoned mine works of decades past. Coal sludge is turning up in the water in Mingo County, W.Va., where documentation of this practice stretches back for more than 30 years. Residents of Mingo County have suffered catastrophic illness after the toxic sludge breached the local aquifers that feed home wells. More than 650 of these residents have signed on to a massive class-action lawsuit against the offending coal company, Massey Energy.

Pursuing "clean coal technology" will cause an increase in the production of coal and toxic coal waste which contains dangerous levels of arsenic, barium, cadmium, coper, iron, lead, manganese and zinc. In some cases, there are no standards by which to measure contaminants because some have never been found in drinking water before.

While scrubbers on smoke stacks have cleaned coal fired power plant emissions considerably, the cleaning on the combustion end causes the processing of coal for market to be exponentially dirtier. The coal going to market is cleaner burning today, with lower sulfur and mercury content, but these dangerous elements are left behind in the coal sludge and in drinking water.

The dirty truth about "clean coal"

The environmental destruction caused by mountaintop removal coal extraction is just one of many reasons to immediately transition out of coal. A plethora of substantial hurdles for the alternative coal industry include technological uncertainties, billion dollar budgets, lack of project partners willing to invest in coal, growing concern about carbon emissions from coal fired power plants, uncertainty about future environmental regulations, rising constructions costs and an array of water contamination issues.

But, we've been here before. In response to the energy crisis of the 1970s, the U.S. government invested $15 billion in a failed attempt to jump-start the coal-based synthetic fuel industry including the infamous 1.5 billion syn-fuel plant in Beulah, N.D. In the end, the '80s era attempt at gasification and liquefaction of coal failed miserably because of volatile oil prices bankrupting the nascent industry leaving taxpayers with a $330 million loss.

The newborn West Virginia Division of Energy -- formed to put a better face on coal -- would like to institutionalize all possible manifestations of coal production. The state agency says it would like to surround coal extraction sites and the coal-fired power plants with "additional advance coal opportunities" like the "production of ammonia nitrate from coal, as well as nitrates for fertilizer."

These processes require the same copious amounts of water as CTL and IGCC plants. WVDoE's outline for an energy future goes hand-in-hand with what mountain people call the declaration of a "National Sacrifice Zone" fueled by a plan to depopulate the coal-rich region of the southern mountains. A similar strategy was publicly declared when the federal government found uranium under Native American lands in the Four Corners area in the 1970s. In the end, the uranium was deemed more important than the land and the people; vast regions of Native American lands were declared "National Sacrifice Zones," and people were forced from their homelands.

Massey Energy's CEO, Don Blankenship, recently suggested the idea of a far-reaching coal industrial complex upon releasing a statement regarding the purchase of vast parcel of coal lands, increasing Massey's reserve holding to 100 million tons in Northern Appalachia. "This region is becoming increasingly important to the coal and energy industry, and this transaction will enable us to take advantage of the growth in demand for Northern Appalachian coal," he said. Massey's newly acquired coal lands are in West Virginia, across the Ohio River from Meigs County, Ohio, where a notorious cluster of coal-fired power plants are concentrated.

And momentum is building in the region. At a coal-to-liquids conference in Beckley, W.Va., in August this year, U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller sent word to the crowd that, "We need the equivalent of the Apollo and Manhattan Projects that would provide billions in federal funding for research and development so that the best and brightest engineers and scientific minds can tackle carbon capture sequestration and CTL development."

It is time to stop the momentum and break our coal habit. Instead we need an Apollo and Manhattan project to replace coal with solar, wind and geo-thermal or our kids will be stuck cleaning up after the dirtiest energy industry. Coal companies are notorious for leaving their mess behind.

"The worst offenders declare bankruptcy, opting to clear their plate of financial obligations and skip town," says Earthjustice attorney Lisa Evans. "Residents are left with poisoned soil and water; taxpayers are stuck with a hefty clean up bill." Only 3 percent to 5 percent of West Virginia mined lands have been reclaimed and developed -- the Twisted Gun Golf Course in Mingo County, Mt. View High School in McDowell County and a FBI complex in Clarksburg, W.Va., are all built on unstable, previously mined lands -- but the lands can never be truly reclaimed because of the extent of the destruction. Large-scale surface mining has converted forests to grasslands, resulting in a loss of carbon sequestration capacity of approximately 1.4 million acres, according to Stout.

When Big Coal talks about economic benefits of CTL, they talk about how cheap raw coal is and how we need to stick with cheap energy. But they avoid talking about the budgets in the multi-billions, the fact that CCS is unproven and untested commercially, and the externalities of extracting coal: the decimation of Appalachia's ecosystems and communities.

It is impossible to estimate the true cost of coal in a dollar figure -- how do you calculate the destruction of animal habitats, forests, fresh water, heritage, family history, hometowns, livelihoods, and personal health? When you add it all up, coal costs too much!

The plunder and destruction of West Virginia began with a plan in 1760 called the Great Land Grab, when a small group of wealthy Americans plotted to buy the coal-rich lands out from under the mountain people who didn't know the value of what was beneath their homes. Today, coal advocates ignore the global climate crisis, while pushing untested coal-based technology and scaring Americans about our dependence on foreign oil, hoping to fuel the planet with their coal, regardless of the consequences.

No matter what, the immediate transition away from coal is necessary and inevitable, as is a moratorium on all new coal-fired power plants. The world is coming to understand the impacts of dirty energies like coal and the need for sustainable, renewable, clean energy. James Hansen, the leading climate scientist at NASA, who shared the Nobel Prize this year with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), testified as a private citizen at the Iowa Utilities board and said, "Coal will determine whether we continue to increase climate change or slow human impact."

The coal industry's proposed path to a coal-based energy independent future for the United States is like laying down a 16-lane superhighway through the bedrooms of coal-rich regions like Appalachia. "Clean coal technology" would require a sizable increase in coal extraction and for the mountain communities of Central Appalachia, already suffering under the mountaintop removal/valley fill coal-mining campaign, "clean coal technology" is a highway to hell. We have a choice -- let's build a new road to renewable energy and sustainable communities.
By Antrim Caskey, AlterNetPosted on December 14, 2007, Printed on December 14, 2007

The Peak Oil Crisis: The Times Drops The First Shoe

Peak Oil started as a story about geology. It was once relatively simple. After 150 years of pumping up oil, the easy-to-find kind was gone and from here on out it was going to be much more difficult to find and eventually prohibitively expensive.

In recent years, however, the peak oil story took on new facets such as rapidly increasing consumption of oil in Asia and producing countries, concentration of most production in the hands of a few governments, unstable world finances, rapidly increasing cost of production and a growing inability or unwillingness to export oil to other countries.

Of all the reasons that gas prices are going up, only the geologic constraint – “supplies are running out” – has an air of finality. There is nothing anybody can do about it.

Other constraints on unlimited oil flows sometimes called “above ground factors” carry with them the subtle implication that there is something that can and just might be done to set things right. A war on top of your oilfield? Stop it! Getting too expensive to produce the necessary oil? Invest more. Government failing to step up production? Change the government! You get the idea. Peaking of world oil production by definition implies that the oil age is on the way out. Almost any other reason for restricted oil flows implies there is a “fix” which will allow us to continue on for awhile without any great disruption.

For over 25 years now, nobody in America has had to think much about oil. It was cheap, hardly taxed at all (by European standards), and available in unlimited quantities. In the last few years, this has started to change with gasoline circa $3 a gallon, oil in the $90s and, thanks to the ethanol craze, food prices going through the roof. Our newspapers are starting to take notice.

The problem has become too big to ignore.

Three weeks ago the Wall Street Journal took a stab at explaining what was happening and came up with the notion that world oil production was only “plateauing,” not peaking. Plateauing carries the implication that life as we know it can go on for awhile. All the oil we import today will continue to be available and, if only the Chinese economy would stop growing so fast, all will be well.

Last Sunday, the New York Times came at the high gas price problem from a different direction – availability of imports. Drawing on the combined wisdom of no less than seven of their reporters strung out around the earth, the Times boldly concluded that “The economies of many big oil-exporting countries are growing so fast that their need for energy within their borders is crimping how much they can sell abroad.”

The Times then told its readers some very scary stuff. “Experts say the sharp growth, if it continues, means several of the world’s most important suppliers may need to start importing oil within a decade to power all the new cars, houses and businesses they are buying and creating with their oil wealth.” I particularly like the “if it continues” clause which suggests that the Russians, Mexicans, Venezuelans, Iranians and all those incredibly rich Persian Gulf Arabs might just stop buying new cars, building themselves places to live, and buying flat screen TV’s so they can export their oil to their good friends in America instead.

After more scary talk about world oil exports dropping by 2.5 million barrels a day in the next three years and how a drop of this size could lead to major economic problems, the Times switches to a reassuring mode. “The trend, though increasingly important, does not necessarily mean there will be oil shortages. More likely, experts say, it will mean big market shifts, with the number of exporting countries shrinking and unconventional sources like Canadian tar sands becoming more important, especially for the United States. And there is likely to be more pressure to open areas now closed to oil production.”

They even go so far as to suggest that an era of peace and friendship might just break out in the next few years. ”Greater political stability and increased drilling in some important oil states, notably Iraq, Iran and Venezuela, could help offset the rising demand from other oil exporters.”
After reassuring us that all is not necessarily lost, the Times concludes by reinforcing its basic point by saying “Internal oil consumption by the five biggest oil exporters — Saudi Arabia, Russia, Norway, Iran and the United Arab Emirates — grew 5.9 percent in 2006 over 2005, according to government data. Exports declined more than 3 percent. By contrast, oil demand is essentially flat in the United States. CIBC’s demand projections suggest that for many oil countries, including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Libya, internal oil demand will double in a decade.”

The Times and the Journal have taken a major step forward by admitting for essentially the first time in front-page stories that the U.S. is going to face a big problem in the next few years. Neither however has connected the dots.

Nowhere does the Times remind us that the U.S. is now importing two-thirds of its oil consumption each day and that a drop of a few percent in daily flow is likely to cause pandemonium at the pumps as it did back in the 1970’s. Neither paper has as yet mustered the editorial courage to discuss the 800-pound gorilla, oil depletion, which every year quietly eats away 4 or 5 percent of our oil supply – the life blood of modern civilization.

Until our major newspapers begin discussing in a frank and open manner what will soon be the first major crisis of the 21st Century, the U.S. Congress is doomed to empty posturing and debating energy red herrings. It is clear that most have no clue as to what is about to befall us.

Written by Tom Whipple
Thursday, 13 December 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Short-Term Energy Outlook (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

Short-Term Energy Outlook
December 11, 2007 Release

To see details of this forecast update, go to:


Global oil markets will likely remain tight through the forecast period. EIA projects that world oil demand will grow much faster than oil supply outside of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), leaving OPEC and inventories to offset the resultant upward pressure on prices.

However, at last week’s meeting in Abu Dhabi, OPEC decided to maintain existing production targets, noting that, in its view, the global oil market continued to be well supplied. Additional factors contributing to expectations that prices will remain high and volatile through 2008 include ongoing geopolitical risks, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) inventory tightness, and worldwide refining bottlenecks.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) monthly crude oil prices averaged more than $85 per barrel in October and almost $95 per barrel in November, up $27 and $36 per barrel, respectively, from a year earlier. The daily closing spot price for WTI peaked at $99.16 per barrel on November 20, but started falling near the end of the month in anticipation of additional OPEC production and is expected to continue to decline slightly through 2008. Monthly average prices for WTI are expected to exceed $80 per barrel over the next year.

The $80-plus per barrel projected crude oil prices are likely to result in historically high prices for the major petroleum products. Residential heating oil prices are projected to average $3.23 per gallon this heating season, a 30-percent increase over the previous heating season. Both motor gasoline and diesel prices are projected to average well over $3 per gallon in 2008, with gasoline prices peaking at over $3.40 per gallon next spring.

Working natural gas in storage reached 3.44 trillion cubic feet (tcf) as of November 30. This high level of storage going into the heart of the winter, combined with limited remaining fuel switching capability, has insulated the natural gas market from the impact of the recent price increases in petroleum markets to some extent.

Consequently, while petroleum product prices are expected to increase and remain historically high, only moderate gains are expected for natural gas prices through 2008. The Henry Hub natural gas spot price is expected to average about $7.21 per thousand cubic feet (mcf) in 2007 and $7.78 per mcf in 2008. Average household natural gas expenditures this winter are expected to show an increase of about 7 percent compared with last winter.

Global Petroleum Markets

Expectations that tight market conditions will persist into 2008 are keeping oil prices high. Despite the OPEC decision to hold production steady at its meeting last week and downward revisions to projected consumption growth in 2008, the oil balance outlook remains characterized by rising consumption, modest growth in non-OPEC supply, fairly low surplus capacity, and continuing risks of supply disruptions in a number of major producing nations.

Although the balance assumes a mild slowdown in world economic growth, the major downside risk remains the possibility of a sharper-than-expected economic slowdown brought on by the fallout from the unsettled financial markets that would dampen oil demand and ease oil price pressures.


China, non-OECD Asia, and the Middle East countries are expected to remain the main drivers of higher world oil consumption through 2008. World oil consumption in the fourth quarter of 2007 is expected to rise by 1.7 million barrels per day (bbl/d) above fourth quarter 2006 levels and oil consumption in 2008 is projected to rise by 1.4 million bbl/d. Both projections are slightly lower than last month’s assessment.

Indeed, higher prices appear to be dampening oil consumption in a few countries, including the United States, in recent months. (Table 3a indicates U.S. consumption in third quarter 2007 was 210,000 bbl/d lower than third quarter 2006 levels, compared with a year-over-year rise of 170,000 bbl/d during first half of 2007.)

In 2008, China alone is expected to account for over 400,000 bbl/d, or one-third, of world oil consumption growth. Downward revisions, however, in consumption growth are certainly possible, particularly if the slowdown in world economic growth is greater than expected.

Non-OPEC Supply.

Non-OPEC production is expected to rise by 0.5 million bbl/d in the fourth quarter of 2007 compared with fourth quarter 2006 levels.

For 2008, non-OPEC supply is projected to grow by 0.9 million bbl/d over 2007. Gains in Brazil, the United States, Russia, and Canada will more than offset lower production in a number of countries, including Mexico, the United Kingdom, Norway, and Egypt. Russia and the other countries of the former Soviet Union combined are projected to account for nearly half of the gain in non-OPEC supplies in 2008.

Non-OPEC supply is expected to increase by less than global oil consumption in 2008, putting pressure on OPEC and inventories to bridge this gap. Projected growth of production capacity is very sensitive to the progress of several large-scale projects, including the already-delayed Sakhalin II project in Russia, the Marlim field in Brazil, and the ACG project in Azerbaijan.

Recent history has shown non-OPEC capacity growth projections often fall short of expectations.

OPEC Supply.

OPEC members decided to maintain existing production targets at last week’s meeting in Abu Dhabi. The combination of recent price weakness, downward revisions in demand projections, and higher supplies already expected from Saudi Arabia, Angola, Iraq, and Abu Dhabi (after recent maintenance), led OPEC to dismiss the need for additional supplies.

EIA projects that OPEC crude production in the first quarter of 2008 will average about 31.6 million bbl/d, an increase of 400,000 bbl/d from fourth quarter 2007 levels. For full year 2008, EIA’s balance assumes that OPEC crude oil production will average 31.7 million bbl/d. In addition, OPEC production of non-crude liquids is expected to increase by 300,000 bbl/d in 2008. OPEC countries’ plans to add substantial crude oil production capacity in 2008, with growth totaling roughly 1.3 million bbl/d by year’s-end, should help meet growing oil demand.

Saudi Arabia and Angola will account for most of the growth in capacity. Despite higher capacity, our balance indicates that OPEC surplus production capacity, held mostly in Saudi Arabia, will remain fairly low, averaging about 2 to 3 million bbl/d.


Total OECD commercial inventories continue to fall. Preliminary and partial data indicate commercial OECD inventories fell by 16 million barrels in October, leaving inventories slightly below the 5-year average at an estimated 2.6 billion barrels.

Last year at the same time, inventories were 125 million barrels above the 5-year average.

Preliminary data for the United States indicate that inventories declined by more than the past 5-year average during November. EIA’s oil balance suggests that OECD commercial stocks will be just below their 5-year average at year’s-end.

Even with the additional OPEC production expected next year, OECD commercial inventories (measured on a days-supply basis) would remain in the low end of the 5-year range in 2008.

U.S. Petroleum Markets


Total domestic petroleum consumption is projected to average 20.8 million bbl/d in 2007, up 0.4 percent from the 2006 average.

A further 1.1-percent increase to an average of 21.0 million bbl/d is projected for 2008. Motor gasoline consumption is projected to increase by 0.6 percent in 2007 and 1.0 percent in 2008. Reflecting moderate economic growth and assumptions of normal weather during the upcoming winter season, total distillate consumption is projected to increase by 1.8 percent in 2007 and 1.4 percent in 2008.


In 2007, domestic crude oil production is projected to average 5.1 million bbl/d, 0.2 percent higher than 2006 production levels. Domestic production in 2008 is projected to rise by 2.3 percent to 5.23 million bbl/d. Contributing to output growth are the Atlantis deepwater platform, which began production in October, and the Thunderhorse platform, expected to come on stream late in 2008.


The refiner acquisition cost (RAC) of crude oil is projected to increase from an average of $60.23 per barrel in 2006 to $67.89 per barrel in 2007.

Although RAC prices are expected to decline slowly from their November peak, they are expected to average almost $80 per barrel in 2008. WTI prices are projected to increase from an average of $66.02 per barrel in 2006 to $72.05 per barrel in 2007 and to nearly $85 per barrel in 2008.

Slower U.S. economic growth of 2.1 percent is projected for 2007 and 1.8 percent for 2008, compared with 2.9 percent in 2006, which may be a mitigating factor for even higher crude oil prices.

Gasoline prices, which hit a recent weekly peak of $3.11 per gallon in mid- November, fell by about 19 cents per gallon over the last several weeks corresponding drop in crude oil prices. Nevertheless, by the middle of next spring they are projected to rebound to over $3.40 per gallon as the driving season begins.

In 2008, heating oil prices are projected to average $3.11 per gallon while diesel fuel prices are expected to average $3.21 gallon.


Commercial crude oil inventories have generally been declining since May, a trend that is expected to continue through the forecast. As of November 30, total motor gasoline inventories were an estimated 201 million barrels, down 3.4 million barrels from 2006 and 5.5 million barrels below the previous 5-year average. Distillate stocks were an estimated 132 million barrels on November 30, down 8 million barrels from 2006 but about equal to the previous 5-year average.

Natural Gas Markets


Total natural gas consumption is expected to increase by 5.0 percent in 2007, largely driven by increases in the residential, commercial, and electric power sectors that occurred earlier this year. The return to near-normal weather in 2008 is expected to increase total consumption by 1.1 percent.

Even though consumption of natural gas in the industrial sector is projected to decline by 0.7 percent in 2007, the weaker U.S. dollar and global demand for natural-gas-intensive goods produced domestically are expected to contribute to a 0.8-percent increase in industrial sector consumption in 2008.

Production and Imports.

Total U.S. marketed natural gas production is expected to rise by 2.1 percent in 2007 and by 1.6 percent in 2008. In 2007, a portion of the 2.8-percent rise in marketed natural gas production in the Lower-48 onshore region is being offset by a 1.7-percent decline in Gulf of Mexico production. However, new deepwater supply infrastructure in the Gulf and ongoing efforts to develop unconventional reserves are expected to increase Gulf of Mexico and Lower-48 onshore production by 5.1 and 1.0 percent, respectively, in 2008.

Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are expected to reach about 790 billion cubic feet (bcf) in 2007, a 35-percent increase over 2006, and about 940 bcf in 2008, a 19-percent increase over 2007. In recent months, LNG imports have slowed due to complications with key production and liquefaction facilities as well as increases in global demand.

The expansion of global liquefaction capacity is expected to boost LNG shipments to the United States in 2008, but the risk of project delays and production shortfalls, as well as negative price differentials between the U.S. market and other LNG-consuming countries, could temper the number of spot cargoes directed to U.S. ports next year.


On November 30, 2007, working natural gas in storage was 3,440 bcf (U.S. Working Natural Gas in Storage). Current inventories are now 273 bcf above the 5-year average (2002-2006), and 32 bcf above the level during the corresponding week last year.


The Henry Hub spot price averaged $7.31 per mcf in November, $0.37 per mcf more than the average October spot price. Despite high storage levels and the relatively moderate winter weather thus far, the onset of seasonal natural gas demand for space heating has caused an steady increases in the monthly average spot price since September.

Spot prices at the Henry Hub are projected to reach a winter peak of $8.22 per mcf in January 2008. On an annual basis, the Henry Hub spot price is expected to average about $7.21 per mcf in 2007 and $7.78 per mcf in 2008.

Electricity Markets


Total electricity consumption in 2007 is projected to increase by 1.9 percent over last year. Cooling degree‐days in 2008 are assumed to be about 12 percent lower than in 2007. The assumed return to near-normal temperatures should keep residential electricity sales growth relatively flat at a rate of 0.2 percent next year. Slow macroeconomic growth in 2008 will also limit growth in electricity sales to the commercial and industrial sectors.


U.S. residential electricity prices are expected to average 10.6 cents per kilowatthour in 2007, 2.1 percent above prices in 2006. Residential prices are expected to grow at a somewhat lower rate of 1.7 percent in 2008. Most States that had planned to let price caps expire within the next year have either delayed those plans or changed the expiration schedule so that increases occur over a longer time frame.

Coal Markets


Electric-power-sector coal consumption, which accounts for more than 90 percent of total U.S. coal consumption, is expected to grow by 2.2 percent in 2007. Slow growth in electricity consumption, combined with projected increases in natural-gas-fired and hydroelectric generation, will lead to a 0.5-percent decline in 2008.


U.S. coal production, which increased by 2.8 percent in 2006, is expected to fall by 1.0 percent in 2007. Interior region coal production is expected to grow slightly (by 0.5 percent) in 2007. The projected decline in coal consumption, coupled with continued draws on inventories, will lead to a 1.7-percent decline in total coal production in 2008, with declines occurring in all coal producing regions.


Withdrawals from primary (producer/distributor) and secondary (consuming sectors) inventories are expected to supply approximately 28 percent of the projected coal consumption increase in 2007.

Total coal stocks are expected to fall by 3.6 percent in 2007 to 180 million short tons. Primary inventories are projected to fall by an additional 11.2 percent in 2008, and secondary inventories are projected to be 2.2 percent lower than the previous year.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Algae Emerges as a Potential Fuel Source

Roger Ruan of the University of Minnesota says algae is a far more efficient fuel crop than corn.
ST. PAUL, Dec. 1 (AP) — The 16 big flasks of bubbling bright green liquids in Roger Ruan’s laboratory at the University of Minnesota are part of a new boom in renewable energy research.
Driven by renewed investment as oil prices push $100 a barrel, Dr. Ruan and scores of scientists around the world are racing to turn algae into a commercially viable energy source.

Some algae is as much as 50 percent oil that can be converted into biodiesel or jet fuel. The biggest challenge is cutting the cost of production, which by one Defense Department estimate is running more than $20 a gallon.

“If you can get algae oils down below $2 a gallon, then you’ll be where you need to be,” said Jennifer Holmgren, director of the renewable fuels unit of UOP, an energy subsidiary of Honeywell International. “And there’s a lot of people who think you can.”

Researchers are trying to figure out how to grow enough of the right strains of algae and how to extract the oil most efficiently. Over the past two years they have received more money from governments, the Pentagon, big oil companies, utilities and venture capital firms.

The federal government halted its main algae research program nearly a decade ago, but technology has advanced and oil prices have climbed since then, and an Energy Department laboratory announced in late October that it was partnering with Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, in the hunt for better strains of algae.

“It’s not backyard inventors at this point at all,” said George Douglas, a spokesman for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, an arm of the Energy Department. “It’s folks with experience to move it forward.”

A New Zealand company demonstrated a Range Rover powered by an algae biodiesel blend last year, but experts say algae will not be commercially viable for many years. Dr. Ruan said demonstration plants could be built within a few years.

Converting algae oil into biodiesel uses the same process that turns vegetable oils into biodiesel. But the cost of producing algae oil is hard to pin down because nobody is running the process start to finish other than in a laboratory, Mr. Douglas said.

If the price of production can be reduced, the advantages of algae include the fact that it grows much faster and in less space than conventional energy crops. An acre of corn can produce about 20 gallons of oil per year, Dr. Ruan said, compared with a possible 15,000 gallons of oil per acre of algae.

An algae farm could be located almost anywhere. It would not require converting cropland from food production to energy production. It could use sea water and could consume pollutants from sewage and power plants.

The Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, is financing research into producing jet fuel from plants, including algae. The agency is already working with the Honeywell subsidiary, General Electric and the University of North Dakota. In November, it requested additional research proposals.

Published: December 2, 2007