Posts Tagged ‘energyandenvironment’

How to stop data centres from gobbling up the world’s electricity

Sunday, September 29th, 2019


“The savings made by hyperscale centres can be seen in their power usage efficiency (PUE), defined as the total energy needed for everything, including lights and cooling, divided by the energy used for computing (a PUE of 1.0 would be a perfect score). Conventional data centres typically have a PUE of about 2.0; for hyperscale facilities, that’s been whittled down to about 1.2. Google, for one, boasts a PUE of 1.12 on average for all its centres.

Older or less technologically adept data centres can contain a mix of equipment that is hard to optimize — and some that is even useless. In 2017, Jonathan Koomey, a California-based consultant and leading international expert on IT, surveyed with a colleague more than 16,000 servers tucked into corporate closets and basements and found that about one-quarter of them were “zombies”, sucking up power without doing any useful work — perhaps because someone simply forgot to turn them off. “These are servers sitting around doing nothing except using electricity, and that’s outrageous,” says Koomey.”

Efforts to make buildings greener are not working

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

“One reason is the rebound effect. Insulate buildings better, and people will wear fewer layers rather than turn the heat down. The way energy-efficiency schemes are structured does not help, argues Richard Twinn of the UK Green Building Council, a think-tank. The schemes only finance a single type of upgrade at a time, such as loft insulation. A whole-house retrofit, in contrast, could have added digital
thermostats to ensure that greater efficiency was converted into lower bills rather than higher temperatures.”

Efforts to make buildings greener are not working

Lego Wants to Completely Remake Its Toy Bricks (Without Anyone Noticing) – The New York Times

Wednesday, September 26th, 2018

Why the UK’s plan to tackle air pollution is mostly hot air | New Scientist

Saturday, July 28th, 2018

And the take-home message from their efforts to control the release of harmful particulates in the air is simple: ban wood burning. “”}}

Livestock emissions still up in the air

Monday, April 30th, 2018

terrible neighbors!

The Dark Bounty of Texas Oil

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

The Dark Bounty of Texas Oil The development of #fracking & horizontal drilling by Mitchell et al. is perhaps not appreciated as a major tech success of late 20th century (up there w/ the web & iPod!) but it did radically change the #energy economy

“In 1954, Mitchell obtained a contract to supply ten per cent of Chicago’s natural-gas needs. However, the producing wells operated by his company, Mitchell Energy & Development, were declining. He needed to discover new sources of petroleum, or else.

A safer and more precise method, developed in the seventies, was to use jets of fluid, under intense pressure, to create micro-cracks in the strata, typically in limestone or sandstone. Expensive gels or foams were generally used to thicken the fluid, and biocide was added to kill the bacteria that can clog the cracks. A granular substance called “proppant,” made of sand or ceramics, was pumped into the cracks, keeping pathways open so that the hydrocarbons could make it to the surface. The process, which came to be known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, jostled loose the captured oil or gas molecules, but the technology had a fatal flaw: it was too costly to turn a profit in shale.

In 1981, Mitchell drilled his first fracked well in the Barnett shale, the C. W. Slay No. 1. It lost money, as did many wells that followed it.

To cut costs, one of Mitchell’s engineers, Nick Steinsberger, began tinkering with the fracking-fluid formula. He reduced the quantity of gels and chemicals, making the liquid more watery, and added a cheap lubricant, polyacrylamide…

Mitchell combined his new fracking formula with horizontal-drilling techniques that had been developed offshore; once you bored deep enough to reach a deposit, you could direct the bit into the oil- or gas-bearing seam, a far more efficient means of recovery. In 1998, one of Mitchell’s wells in the Barnett, S. H. Griffin No. 4, made a profit. The shale revolution was under way. Soon the same fracking techniques that Mitchell had pioneered in gas were applied to oil.”

The world economy
was in danger of being held captive to oil states that were often intensely anti-American. Then, around the time that Barack Obama became President, U.S. production shot back up, approaching its all-time peak. On Fowler’s graph, it looked like a flagpole. “In the span of five years, we go from 5.5 million barrels a day to 9.5 million, almost doubling the U.S. output,”…The difference, Fowler said, was advanced fracking techniques and horizontal drilling. …
The town used to be called Clark, but a decade ago its mayor made a deal with a satellite network to provide ten years of free basic service to the two hundred residents, in return for renaming the town after the company. Satellite dishes still sit atop many houses there, and even though the agreement has expired the town’s name remains: dish.


Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

Can Carbon-Dioxide Removal Save the World? #BECCS, “which stands for bio-energy with carbon capture & storage,” actually removes #CO2 from the atmosphere, while generating energy: plant trees & burn them w/ C-capture.

“BECCS, which stands for “bio-energy with carbon capture and storage,” takes advantage of the original form of carbon engineering:
photosynthesis. Trees and grasses and shrubs, as they grow, soak up CO2 from the air. (Replanting forests is a low-tech form of carbon removal.) Later, when the plants rot or are combusted, the carbon they have absorbed is released back into the atmosphere. If a power station were to burn wood, say, or cornstalks, and use C.C.S. to sequester the resulting CO2, this cycle would be broken.”

New Haven, CT Electricity Rates | Electricity Local

Tuesday, December 12th, 2017


Mapping air pollution with new mobile sensors

Monday, December 4th, 2017

Mapping #AirPollution with new mobile sensors Quote: “Any business that relies on heavy-duty diesel trucks can pose a health risk to its neighbors.”

“This is one of several spots that caught our interest: High levels of pollutants in an area that includes homes, and this playground, close to industrial warehouses. Any business that relies on heavy-duty diesel trucks can pose a health risk to its neighbors.”

Tokyo Is Preparing for Floods ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen’

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Tokyo Is Preparing for Floods ‘Beyond Anything We’ve Seen’ Quote: “Extreme rainfall, along with the potential for destructive
earthquakes & tsunamis, make Tokyo…the riskiest metropolitan area in the world.”

“Extreme rainfall, along with the potential for destructive
earthquakes and tsunamis, make Tokyo and the neighboring port city of Yokohama the riskiest metropolitan area in the world, according to a 2014 study of natural disaster risks by the Swiss Re reinsurance firm.

In late 2015, heavy typhoon rains wreaked havoc across greater Tokyo, forcing a record 670 million cubic feet of water into the underground facility, known as the Metropolitan Area Outer Underground Discharge Channel. It took four days for the site’s four large pumps — powered by engines similar to those used in a Boeing 737 jet — to clear the deluge.

“Tokyo faces dangers on all sides,” said Nobuyuki Tsuchiya, an anti-flooding expert and the former head of civil engineering for Tokyo’s flood-prone Edogawa ward. “It’s difficult to say that it’s doing enough.””