Robber fly - Nature photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in amazing portraits of tiny insects. It isn't easy. Shahan says that this Robber Fly (Holcocephala fusca), for instance, is "skittish" and doesn't like its picture taken.

Eye-popping bug photos

Nature by Numbers (Video)

"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

(Live Kryon Channelings was given 7 times within the United Nations building.)

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Caroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“… 4 - Energy (again)

The natural resources of the planet are finite and will not support the continuation of what you've been doing. We've been saying this for a decade. Watch for increased science and increased funding for alternate ways of creating electricity (finally). Watch for the very companies who have the most to lose being the ones who fund it. It is the beginning of a full realization that a change of thinking is at hand. You can take things from Gaia that are energy, instead of physical resources. We speak yet again about geothermal, about tidal, about wind. Again, we plead with you not to over-engineer this. For one of the things that Human Beings do in a technological age is to over-engineer simple things. Look at nuclear - the most over-engineered and expensive steam engine in existence!

Your current ideas of capturing energy from tidal and wave motion don't have to be technical marvels. Think paddle wheel on a pier with waves, which will create energy in both directions [waves coming and going] tied to a generator that can power dozens of neighborhoods, not full cities. Think simple and decentralize the idea of utilities. The same goes for wind and geothermal. Think of utilities for groups of homes in a cluster. You won't have a grid failure if there is no grid. This is the way of the future, and you'll be more inclined to have it sooner than later if you do this, and it won't cost as much….”

"Fast-Tracking" - Feb 8, 2014 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Reference to Fukushima / H-bomb nuclear pollution and a warning about nuclear > 20 Min)

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change

Obama unveils landmark regulations to combat climate change
In a bid to combat climate change, US President Barack Obama announced the Clean Power Plan on Monday, marking the first time power plants have been targeted by mandatory regulations on carbon dioxide emissions in the US.
Google: Earthday 2013

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Taking in more sun with Clean Power Finance (Google)

Google Blog, 9/27/2011
(Cross-posted from the Green Blog)

This morning, at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum (REFF-West) in San Francisco, I announced a new $75 million investment to create an initial fund with Clean Power Finance that will help up to 3,000 homeowners go solar. This is our second investment in residential solar, and we’ve now invested more than $850million overall to develop and deploy clean energy.

As we said when we made our first residential solar investment, we think it makes a lot of sense to use solar photovoltaic (PV) technology—rooftop solar panels—to generate electricity right where you need it at home. It greens our energy mix by using existing roof space while avoiding transmission constraints, and it can be cheaper than drawing electricity from the traditional grid.

Purchasing a solar system is a major home improvement, but the upfront cost has historically been one of the biggest barriers for homeowners. Solar installers across the country don’t always have the resources to find financing for customers, or the capital to provide it themselves. And for investors like Google, banks and others, it can be difficult to enter a fragmented solar market with many companies, and get connected to individual homeowners.

That’s where Clean Power Finance comes in. They’ve developed an open platform that connects installers with investors like Google to provide financing to homeowners. Solar installers sign up with Clean Power Finance to get access to the company’s comprehensive sales solutions, including consumer financing from investors, like the Google fund. This enables installers to sell more systems and grow their business. The installer builds the system, the investor (in this case, Google) owns it, and homeowners pay a monthly payment for the system, at a price that’s often less than paying for energy from the grid. Maintenance and performance are taken care of by Clean Power Finance and its network of installers.

Owned by Google, operated by Clean Power Finance and installed by
American Vision Solar, the Colin family of Santa Clarita, Calif.
has a 4.14 kW solar system

This innovative and scalable model makes business sense for Google, Clean Power Finance, solar installers and homeowners too. We’re excited to be one of the first investors to partner with Clean Power Finance and enable the company to continue forging strong relationships with solar installers (like the ones they announced last week with SunLogic, California Solar Systems, American Vision Solar—learn more on Clean Power Finance’s website). By making financing more readily available, the Clean Power Finance platform has the potential to lower costs and accelerate adoption of solar energy.

We’ve already installed a 1.6MW rooftop solar installation at the Googleplex back in 2007. Now, through Clean Power Finance and our previous investment this year, we’re hoping to have an even larger impact. We look forward to watching our funding help more than 10,000 homeowners generate clean electricity from the sun.

Posted by Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Thames Water turns to 'poo power' for renewable electricity generation

Company estimates that 16% of its electricity needs will be met in the current financial year by burning sewage flakes, Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent, Monday 26 September 2011

The sludge incinerator at the Crossness sewage works, south-east
London, where the electricity will be generated.
Photograph: Nic Hamilton/Alamy

They look like instant coffee granules, but they are in fact sewage flakes – a highly combustible new renewable form of fuel that burns like woodchip and is being used for the first time to generate electricity for Britain's largest water and sewerage company.

Thames Water has begun producing the flakes by drying sludge – the solids found in sewage – in a purpose-built machine at sewage works in Slough, Berkshire. In a not-so-green move, the company then takes the flakes by lorry to Crossness sewage works in Bexley, south-east London, where they are burnt off to generate electricity.

The company estimates that 16% of its electricity needs will be covered in the current financial year by so-called poo power – enough to run about 40,000 average family homes – from a total energy requirement of 1,300 gigawatt hours.

Until now, the sludge dryer had been used to reduce waste simply to get rid of it more conveniently. The dryer promises to reduce the firm's carbon emissions by more than 500 tonnes a year, as well as bringing up to £300,000 a year of operational cost benefits.

Rupert Kruger, Thames Water's head of innovation, said: "This is the first time in Britain that a waste dryer has been used to create ready-to-burn fuel from sewage sludge, rather than simply being used as a waste-reducer. This innovative approach demonstrates our clear intent to help move Britain towards becoming a low-carbon economy by unlocking every ounce of renewable energy potential from waste."

Five tonnes a day of sewage sludge – 20% of the solids left over from the treatment process at the Slough works – are being put through the new dryer, which works by heating the sludge to around 180C and driving off the water using enclosed heated rotating paddles.

A further 20 sewage works, including Slough, generate electricity by burning biomethane gas from sewage, a process know as combined heat and power.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Faster than light particles found, claim scientists

Particle physicists detect neutrinos travelling faster than light, a feat forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity, Ian Sample, science correspondent, Thursday 22 September 2011

Neutrinos, like the ones above, have been detected travelling faster
than light, say particle physicists. Photograph: Dan Mccoy /Corbis

It is a concept that forms a cornerstone of our understanding of the universe and the concept of time – nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

But now it seems that researchers working in one of the world's largest physics laboratories, under a mountain in central Italy, have recorded particles travelling at a speed that is supposedly forbidden by Einstein's theory of special relativity.

Scientists at the Gran Sasso facility will unveil evidence on Friday that raises the troubling possibility of a way to send information back in time, blurring the line between past and present and wreaking havoc with the fundamental principle of cause and effect.

They will announce the result at a special seminar at Cern – the European particle physics laboratory – timed to coincide with the publication of a research paper (pdf) describing the experiment.

Researchers on the Opera (Oscillation Project with Emulsion-tRacking Apparatus) experiment recorded the arrival times of ghostly subatomic particles called neutrinos sent from Cern on a 730km journey through the Earth to the Gran Sasso lab.

The trip would take a beam of light 2.4 milliseconds to complete, but after running the experiment for three years and timing the arrival of 15,000 neutrinos, the scientists discovered that the particles arrived at Gran Sasso sixty billionths of a second earlier, with an error margin of plus or minus 10 billionths of a second.

The measurement amounts to the neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light by a fraction of 20 parts per million. Since the speed of light is 299,792,458 metres per second, the neutrinos were evidently travelling at 299,798,454 metres per second.

The result is so unlikely that even the research team is being cautious with its interpretation. Physicists said they would be sceptical of the finding until other laboratories confirmed the result.

Antonio Ereditato, coordinator of the Opera collaboration, told the Guardian: "We are very much astonished by this result, but a result is never a discovery until other people confirm it.

"When you get such a result you want to make sure you made no mistakes, that there are no nasty things going on you didn't think of. We spent months and months doing checks and we have not been able to find any errors.

"If there is a problem, it must be a tough, nasty effect, because trivial things we are clever enough to rule out."

The Opera group said it hoped the physics community would scrutinise the result and help uncover any flaws in the measurement, or verify it with their own experiments.

Subir Sarkar, head of particle theory at Oxford University, said: "If this is proved to be true it would be a massive, massive event. It is something nobody was expecting.

"The constancy of the speed of light essentially underpins our understanding of space and time and causality, which is the fact that cause comes before effect.

"Cause cannot come after effect and that is absolutely fundamental to our construction of the physical universe. If we do not have causality, we are buggered."

The Opera experiment detects neutrinos as they strike 150,000 "bricks" of photographic emulsion films interleaved with lead plates. The detector weighs a total of 1300 tonnes.

Despite the marginal increase on the speed of light observed by Ereditato's team, the result is intriguing because its statistical significance, the measure by which particle physics discoveries stand and fall, is so strong.

Physicists can claim a discovery if the chances of their result being a fluke of statistics are greater than five standard deviations, or less than one in a few million. The Gran Sasso team's result is six standard deviations.

Ereditato said the team would not claim a discovery because the result was so radical. "Whenever you touch something so fundamental, you have to be much more prudent," he said.

Alan Kostelecky, an expert in the possibility of faster-than-light processes at Indiana University, said that while physicists would await confirmation of the result, it was none the less exciting.

"It's such a dramatic result it would be difficult to accept without others replicating it, but there will be enormous interest in this," he told the Guardian.

One theory Kostelecky and his colleagues put forward in 1985 predicted that neutrinos could travel faster than the speed of light by interacting with an unknown field that lurks in the vacuum.

"With this kind of background, it is not necessarily the case that the limiting speed in nature is the speed of light," he said. "It might actually be the speed of neutrinos and light goes more slowly."

Neutrinos are mysterious particles. They have a minuscule mass, no electric charge, and pass through almost any material as though it was not there.

Kostelecky said that if the result was verified – a big if – it might pave the way to a grand theory that marries gravity with quantum mechanics, a puzzle that has defied physicists for nearly a century.

"If this is confirmed, this is the first evidence for a crack in the structure of physics as we know it that could provide a clue to constructing such a unified theory," Kostelecky said.

Heinrich Paes, a physicist at Dortmund University, has developed another theory that could explain the result. The neutrinos may be taking a shortcut through space-time, by travelling from Cern to Gran Sasso through extra dimensions. "That can make it look like a particle has gone faster than the speed of light when it hasn't," he said.

But Susan Cartwright, senior lecturer in particle astrophysics at Sheffield University, said: "Neutrino experimental results are not historically all that reliable, so the words 'don't hold your breath' do spring to mind when you hear very counter-intuitive results like this."

Teams at two experiments known as T2K in Japan and MINOS near Chicago in the US will now attempt to replicate the finding. The MINOS experiment saw hints of neutrinos moving at faster than the speed of light in 2007 but has yet to confirm them.

"The Quantum Factor Physics with an attitude" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.)

"Energetics Conciousness" – Jul 17, 2010 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: DNA, Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Multidimensional, Talking to the Dead: Different Than You Think, Time is ComplexGlobal Unity.. etc.)

(.... I want to show you how time works, but I can't. It's because the reality of the complexities of multidimensionality preclude the Human Being's ability to understand it. It's simply not teachable in your 3D perception. So I will metaphorize it and give it to you in its simplest form, which is only a fraction of its reality. ...)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Finnish Neste Oil launches renewable diesel plant in Rotterdam   2011-09-21

HELSINKI, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Finnish Neste Oil Corporation has started up Europe's largest renewable diesel plant in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, according to a press release of the company on Tuesday.

With its current capacity of 800,000 tons per year (t/a), the Rotterdam plant will help increase Neste Oil's total renewable diesel capacity to 2 million.

"We are very proud of the new plant in Rotterdam," said the Nest Oil's President and CEO Matti Lievonen in the statement. "It will help us meet demand in the European market, the world's largest for renewable diesel."

According to the press release, the plant can make use of almost any vegetable oil or waste fat in the production of premium-quality renewable diesel utilizing Neste Oil's proprietary NExBTL technology.

The plant employs approximately 150 people, with 110 Neste Oil employees and 40 service provider personnel.

Editor: yan

Harvesting 'limitless' hydrogen from self-powered cells

BBC Newsby Mark Kinver, Environment reporter, 20 September 2011

Related Stories 

An example of a microbial fuel cell has gone
on display at London's Science Museum
US researchers say they have demonstrated how cells fuelled by bacteria can be "self-powered" and produce a limitless supply of hydrogen.

Until now, they explained, an external source of electricity was required in order to power the process.

However, the team added, the current cost of operating the new technology is too high to be used commercially.

Details of the findings have been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"There are bacteria that occur naturally in the environment that are able to release electrons outside of the cell, so they can actually produce electricity as they are breaking down organic matter," explained co-author Bruce Logan, from Pennsylvania State University, US.

"We use those microbes, particularly inside something called a microbial fuel cell (MFC), to generate electrical power.

"We can also use them in this device, where they need a little extra power to make hydrogen gas.

"What that means is that they produce this electrical current, which are electrons, they release protons in the water and these combine with electrons."

Prof Logan said that the technology to utilise this process to produce hydrogen was called microbial electrolysis cell (MEC).

"The breakthrough here is that we do not need to use an electrical power source anymore to provide a little energy into the system. 

Hydrogen has long been hailed a transport fuel
of the future but has yet to fulfil its potential
"All we need to do is add some fresh water and some salt water and some membranes, and the electrical potential that is there can provide that power."

The MECs use something called "reverse electrodialysis" (RED), which refers to the energy gathered from the difference in salinity, or salt content, between saltwater and freshwater.

In their paper, Prof Logan and colleague Younggy Kim explained how an envisioned RED system would use alternating stacks of membranes that harvest this energy; the movement of charged atoms move from the saltwater to freshwater creates a small voltage that can be put to work.

"This is the crucial element of the latest research," Prof Logan told BBC News, explaining the process of their system, known as a microbial reverse-electrodialysis electrolysis cell (MREC).

"If you think about desalinating water, it takes energy. If you have a freshwater and saltwater interface, that can add energy. We realised that just a little bit of that energy could make this process go on its own."

Early days

He said that the technology was still in its infancy, which was one of the reasons why it was not being exploited commercially.

"Right now, it is such a new technology," he explained.

"In a way it is a little like solar power. We know we can convert solar energy into electricity but it has taken many years to lower the cost.

"This is a similar thing: it is a new technology and it could be used, but right now it is probably a little expensive. So the question is, can we bring down the cost?"

The next step, Prof Logan explained, was to develop larger-scale cells: "Then it will easier to evaluate the costs and investment needed to use the technology.

The authors acknowledged that hydrogen had "significant potential as an efficient energy carrier", but it had been dogged with high production costs and environmental concerns, because it is most often produced using fossil fuels.

Prof Logan observed: "We use hydrogen for many, many things. It is used in making [petrol], it is used in foods etc. Whether we use it in transportation... remains to be seen."

But, the authors wrote that their findings offered hope for the future: "This unique type of integrated system has significant potential to treat wastewater and simultaneously produce [hydrogen] gas without any consumption of electrical grid energy."

Prof Logan added that a working example of a microbial fuel cell was currently on display at London's Science Museum, as part of the Water Wars exhibition.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Observations of Climate Change from Indigenous Alaskans

USGS Newsroom, 9/13/2011

Personal interviews with Alaska Natives in the Yukon River Basin provide unique insights on climate change and its impacts, helping develop adaptation strategies for these local communities.

The village of St. Mary's, Alaska where USGS scientists
conducted  interviews with hunters and elders to document
 their observations of climate change. The village lies in the
 Yukon River Basin on the banks of the Andreafsky River,
a tributary of the Yukon River. 
Photo Credit: School District
of St. Mary’s, Alaska. 
The USGS coordinated interviews with Yup'ik hunters and elders in the villages of St. Mary's and Pitka's Point, Alaska, to document their observations of climate change. They expressed concerns ranging from safety, such as unpredictable weather patterns and dangerous ice conditions, to changes in plants and animals as well as decreased availability of firewood.

"Many climate change studies are conducted on a large scale, and there is a great deal of uncertainty regarding how climate change will impact specific regions," said USGS social scientist Nicole Herman-Mercer. "This study helps address that uncertainty and really understand climate change as a socioeconomic issue by talking directly to those with traditional and personal environmental knowledge."

By integrating scientific studies with indigenous observation, these multiple forms of knowledge allow for a more comprehensive understanding of the complex challenges posed by climate change. The indigenous knowledge encompasses observations, lessons and stories about the environment that have been handed down for generations, providing a long history of environmental knowledge. These observations can also help uncover new areas for scientists to study.

The Arctic and Subarctic are of particular interest because these high latitudes are among the world’s first locations to begin experiencing climate change.

The most common statement by interview participants was about warmer temperature in recent years. It was observed to be warmer in all seasons, though most notably in the winter months. In previous generations, winter temperatures dropped to 40 degrees Celsius below freezing, while in present times temperatures only reach 25 C or 30 C below freezing. Moreover, in the rare case that temperatures did drop as low as they had in the past, it was a brief cold spell, in contrast to historic month-long cold spells.

The considerable thinning of ice on the Yukon and Andreafsky Rivers in recent years was the topic of several interviews. Thin river ice is a significant issue because winter travel is mainly achieved by using the frozen rivers as a transportation route via snow machines or sled dogs. Thinning ice shortens the winter travel season, making it more difficult to trade goods between villages, visit friends and relatives, or reach traditional hunting grounds. One interview participant also discussed how the Andreafsky River, on whose banks their village lies, no longer freezes in certain spots, and  several people have drowned after falling through the resulting holes in the ice.

The unpredictability of weather conditions was another issue of concern, especially since these communities rely on activities such as hunting, fishing and gathering wild foods for their way of life. One does not want to "get caught out in the country" when the weather suddenly changes.

Vegetation patterns were also observed to be shifting due to the changes in seasonal weather patterns, and this leads to increased difficulty in subsistence activities. Interviews showed the unpredictability from year to year on whether vegetation, particularly salmonberries, could be relied upon. Those interviewed spoke of a change in the range of species of mammals (moose and beaver) as well as a decrease in the number of some bird species (ptarmigan). This is of special concern because of the important role these animals play in the subsistence diets of Alaska Natives. Many also rely on hunting or trapping for their livelihoods.

Participants also discussed lower spring snowmelt flows on the Andreafsky and Yukon Rivers, meaning less logs are flowing down the river. This hampers people's ability to collect logs for firewood and building materials, placing a strain on an already economically depressed region through increased heating costs and reliance on expensive fossil fuels.

An article on this topic was published in the journal, Human Organization. The full article with additional quotes and observations from indigenous people is available online.

Contact Information:
U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Office of Communications and Publishing
12201 Sunrise Valley Dr, MS 119
Reston, VA 20192       
Phone: 303-541-3012

Phone: 703-648-6624

Related Articles:

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..)Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.New !

Friday, September 9, 2011

How our cloud does more with less: Google

Google Blog, 9/08/2011

We’ve worked hard to reduce the amount of energy our services use. In fact, to provide you with Google products for a month—not just search, but Google+, Gmail, YouTube and everything else we have to offer—our servers use less energy per user than a light left on for three hours. And, because we’ve been a carbon-neutral company since 2007, even that small amount of energy is offset completely, so the carbon footprint of your life on Google is zero.

We’ve learned a lot in the process of reducing our environmental impact, so we’ve added a new section called “The Big Picture” to our Google Green site with numbers on our annual energy use and carbon footprint.

We started the process of getting to zero by making sure our operations use as little energy as possible. For the last decade, energy use has been an obsession. We’ve designed and built some of the most efficient servers and data centers in the world—using half the electricity of a typical data center. Our newest facility in Hamina, Finland, opening this weekend, uses a unique seawater cooling system that requires very little electricity.

Whenever possible, we use renewable energy. We have a large solar panel installation at our Mountain View campus, and we’ve purchased the output of two wind farms to power our data centers. For the greenhouse gas emissions we can’t eliminate, we purchase high-quality carbon offsets.

But we’re not stopping there. By investing hundreds of millions of dollars in renewable energy projects and companies, we’re helping to create 1.7 GW of renewable power. That’s the same amount of energy used to power over 350,000 homes, and far more than what our operations consume.

Finally, our products can help people reduce their own carbon footprints. The study (PDF) we released yesterday on Gmail is just one example of how cloud-based services can be much more energy efficient than locally hosted services helping businesses cut their electricity bills.

Visit our Google Green site to find out more.

Posted by Urs Hoelzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure

Related Article:

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California. The internet
 giant has published its carbon footprint for the first time.

Photograph: David Paul Morris/Getty Images

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Japan just beginning to tap into high potential for geothermal power generation

Mainichi Japan,  September 3, 2011

Kuju Kanko Hotel President Yoshiaki Koike stands next to the Kuju
 Geothermal Power Plant, with the hotel in the background, in the Oita
Prefecture town of Kokonoe. (Mainichi)

The president of Kuju Kanko Hotel, Yoshiaki Koike, is also the manager of the Kuju Geothermal Power Plant.

Located at the foot of Mt. Kuroiwa in Aso-Kuju National Park in Oita Prefecture, the plant has a power output of 990 kilowatts, producing enough electricity to power the hotel and have some left over to sell to a private electrical supply company.

Koike took an interest in the geothermal power business in the early 1990s when he saw the amount of steam pouring out of a well for hot springs that were drilled in the area. Two wells -- 350 and 405 meters deep respectively -- were dug up for the power station, into which Koike invested 200 million yen in equipment including generators and cooling towers. Plant operations began in 1998.

Although Koike had hoped the plant would "kill two birds with one stone" by saving electricity costs and increasing hotel publicity, he had not expected the selling price of electricity to be so low. The electricity produced at Kuju would have to be sold at 16 yen per 1 kilowatt per hour of electricity to be profitable, but the going rate is a mere several yen. Koike would not be able to turn a profit if the plant hadn't given the hotel the reputation of being eco-friendly. Needless to say, he's eager to see what will happen to electricity prices once a feed-in tariff is adopted next July.

About a 15-minute drive west from Mt. Kuroiwa is the Hacchobaru Geothermal Power Plant. It is the biggest plant of its kind, costing 37 billion yen to build and generating 110,000 kilowatts of electrical power with its two generators. Hot water and steam retrieved from a well that has been dug about 2,000 to 2,500 meters underground to a geothermal reservoir heated by magma power the plant's turbines.

Located adjacent to the main geothermal power plant is Japan's only geothermal binary power plant. Standard geothermal plants require steam and water at temperatures of 150 degrees Celsius or higher to function. However, because binary plants use pentane, an organic solvent that evaporates more easily than water with a boiling point of 36 degrees Celsius, they can be used in locations where extremely hot water and steam are unavailable. Japan's sole binary plant, which began its operations in 2006, has a relatively small power output of 2,000 kilowatts, but Kyushu Electric Power Co. officials anticipate that such plants will make the local production and consumption of energy possible.

The estimated geothermal power-generation capacity of volcano-dotted Japan is about 23.47 million kilowatts, the world's third highest behind the U.S. and Indonesia. Furthermore, Fuji Electric Co., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., and Toshiba Corp. comprise 70 percent of the world's share in geothermal power generators. Compared to solar-power and wind-power generation, which are easily affected by the weather, geothermal power plants have a consistently high operation ratio of around 70 percent.

Of the areas in Japan with abundant geothermal resources, 80 percent were designated as national parks or quasi-national parks prohibiting development, and many are located adjacent to hot spring resorts. A power industry insider says that local businesses strongly oppose the construction of geothermal power plants, citing fears that their hot springs will dry up. This explains why, despite favorable conditions for geothermal power generation in Japan, the country's 17 geothermal plants produce a mere 535,000 kilowatts total per year, or just 0.3 percent of all the electricity produced nationwide every year.

To address this conundrum, the government last June eased restrictions on development in national and quasi-national parks. Developers are now permitted to tap into geothermal resources underground if they drill diagonally into the ground from outside national and quasi-national parks, or take other steps to preserve the parks' landscapes.

Using diagonal-digging technology, Mitsubishi Materials Corp. and Tohoku Electric Power Co. in July began probing for geothermal resources below Towada-Hachimantai National Park, located next to Sumikawa Geothermal Power Plant in the Akita Prefecture city of Kazuno. According to a senior official at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, there is growing momentum among private companies in the renewable energy business to create an "All-Japan" company dedicated to the development of geothermal power.

"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power RevealedGeothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)