Taxonomy term

alternative energy

2012 budget requests a mixed bag for science

The Obama administration emphasized scientific innovation and education in its fiscal year 2012 budget requests. On Monday, the president’s science advisor, John Holdren, summarized the requests across the different agencies as part of a “tough-love” strategy outlined in the president’s State of the Union speech in January to “win the future.”

17 Feb 2011

Highlights of 2010: Offshore wind in Texas and the curious case of Massachusetts

Humans have harnessed wind energy throughout history for milling, pumping and transportation — in a way you could say it’s the “original” form of industrial energy. But only recently have we built massive, powerful turbines to convert that wind into electricity. As concerns about pollution, carbon emissions, resource depletion and energy security mount, wind farms are an increasingly attractive alternative for meeting growing energy demand.

07 Dec 2010

Sea sprawl: Into the blue frontier of ocean development

Picture it: Dozens of kilometers off the coast of Texas, a giant polygon-shaped cage constructed of steel ribs and mesh netting floats 30 or so meters beneath the waves. The cage, moored to the seafloor, is filled with tens of thousands of teeming, silvery fish. Several kilometers away, offshore wind turbines sprout from the sea surface in a curving line, their spindly white arms churning the atmosphere.

01 Mar 2010

Making electric grids smarter

How information technology will make America's electrical system cleaner, more efficient and more reliable.

19 May 2009

Dry dock to wet tap: Old ships become floating desalination plants

Last year’s hurricane season was not kind to Haiti. First, tropical storms Fay, Gustav and Hanna hit the Caribbean nation; then Hurricane Ike pummeled the island, flooding much of the country, wrecking roads and bridges and leaving Haitians desperate for food, water and other basics. To help the battered country, the United States sent hundreds of metric tons of supplies and hygiene kits aboard the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge. The Navy deployed helicopters, landing craft and personnel to help local residents. And they brought in thousands of gallons of freshwater.

14 May 2009

As Green As It Gets: Algae Biofuels

It’s hard to think of a humbler organism than algae, or a less-likely prospect to become savior of our energy future. “Algae fuel” does not conjure up images of power, big business or high-tech gadgetry; it suggests a modest picture of a murky pond covered by a greasy, greenish film. But unassuming algae, some researchers think, have the potential to become the ultimate in “green” fuel, powering everything from cars to jets — and perhaps putting an end to one of the more bitter battles in the biofuels industry: the “food versus fuel” debate over how best to use arable lands.

13 Feb 2009

Wal-Mart to use wind energy

Wal-Mart’s reputation for cheap prices precedes it, but recently the retailer showed its greener side when it announced plans to supply 15 percent of its total energy load with wind power.

The energy will come from Texas wind farms constructed by Duke Energy, which will go online this spring, a Wal-Mart press release said.

That avoids releasing more than 139,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year — the equivalent of taking about 25,000 cars off the road, Wal-Mart said.

25 Nov 2008

Raising bees and capturing rainwater: U.S. prisons go green

Blogging on EARTH

The flagging economy may complicate federal aspirations for a green revolution, but at least one government entity has adopted the movement in stride: state prisons.

According to a recent report by the Associated Press, prisons across America now host the likes of compost heaps, organic gardens and solar panels in an attempt to save precious state budget money.

04 Nov 2008

Geologic Column: Saving the World? Or Just Saving Money?

It all started with a reporter.

I had just signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, which pledges that my university will try to decrease its carbon footprint and develop a plan to become carbon neutral, when a reporter from the local newspaper challenged my personal credentials, my knowledge of and commitment to the environment. Forget my background as an earth scientist, the many years I taught environmental geology, the summers I worked at a conservation-education camp. He wanted to know what kind of car I drove.

31 Oct 2008

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