Monday, October 26, 2009

Savings for Consumers and Saving the Environment

Saving energy in the future may be possible with washing machines that use less water.

There is a prototype washing machine that uses 90 percent less water than current washers do, which could make sustainability easier in the future. Nylon beads replace the water. The polarized molecules in the nylon beads attract dirt, then separate enough to allow that dirt to become trapped inside, thus requiring less water than standard washers do.

Less water means less energy to purify, heat, and transport it. Plans are underway to use these machines in commercial laundries sometime during next year and someday they may be available for in home use. This would have a great effect on consumer energy bills.

To learn more, read the entire article in Popular Science at http://www.popsci.com/gadgets/article/2009-10/clean-your-clothes-plastic .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Biodiesel

To make a vehicle work some sort of energy must be used. Gasoline and diesel are the normal sources but other products are coming to the forefront of alternative fuels. As the cost of conventional fuel rises consumers are demanding cheaper and more environmentally friendly ways to run their vehicles.
In the article, “Grease Guzzlers”, by Zachary Gonzalez-Landis we learn about this alternative fuel. Diesel engines are being converted to run on vegetable oil. “Vegetable oils are biofuels, renewable raw materials from which one can extract the same kind of energy as found in fossil fuels, such as natural gas and coal”. The process of converting a diesel engine is actually often less than buying a new car. Besides the cost effectiveness of SVO or straight vegetable oil the benefits to the environment are astounding. “It’s a recycled resource; reduces air pollution and greenhouse gases; biodegrades and is non-toxic; decreases dependence on imported oil; and offers better fuel economy than diesel. Overall, biodiesel presents the lowest carbon footprint of any alternative fuel. And it’s cheaper”.
The only downfall is the lack of diesel vehicles in the United States. According to the article less than five percent of all cars in the U.S. run on diesel. How can we get the U.S. to take advantage of this cost saving environmentally friendly alternative? Any ideas?

Check out inthesetimes.com to read the rest of this informative article.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In Between

It seems that who ever you are and where ever you live you depend on different sources of energy. These sources range from gasoline, diesel, propane, electricity, charcoal and wood. All of these sources are linked to something that we all need or use. The things we need or decide to use have limited options at this point and time. There are those of us that have limited choices depending on our demographic location or economical status. We all would like to see an alternative to fuel. This may be for different reasons like the price, environment or other reasons. What ever the reason may be we are limited to sources as of now. There are the obvious ways to save money on energy. If you are a consumer of fuel you may think drive less, carpool,or find an alternative station with lower prices. All of these products cost money and the supply and demand controls there price.
What if we found ways to utilize and get the most out of the product we need or choose to use? For example, we all use electricity and depend on it for most household objects. The power companies look for more efficient ways to generate power and we as consumers try and manipulate the use as much as we can. We may by products that say more efficient or turn things off when we are done with them, but there is something in between that company and our product. How many of you recycle certain products? What if there was a way to recycle energy? For example, when we use a fan we use energy to run it and when we unplug it, it stops working. When energy is used it feeds something to turn on. What ever the thing be that uses this energy, why couldn't the energy being generated from the product be stored in a module in the product? The energy would be recycled. If we run our fan for three hours and unplug it, the module would have three hours of recycled energy stored for use without being plugged in the wall. What this would do is you would be able to cut your power bill in half. It is just an idea, but with the right engineering it could be a step into the future for us.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Alternative Fuels

When I think about comparing fuels or using alternative fuels I automatically think of cars, and buses. While looking around the Internet I discovered an article about using alternative fuels for airplanes. It makes sense, there are thousands of flights a day and those huge airplanes just fly through fuel, why not use better fuels in the skies as well?

The article Alternative Jet Fuels Put To The Test, we learn that researchers along with NASA are testing 2 types of fuels, both not petroleum based. For these tests the alternative fuels will be used on a DC-8 aircraft. The aircraft will remain on the ground so that the researches can test the exhaust. For these experiments they will use a 50/50 blend of fuels and also a 100 alternative fuel.

I wonder if it would cost more for the airline to use alternative fuels? Would you as a passenger be willing pay more per ticket if your airline was more environmentally friendly? Could it be cheaper to produce these fuels?

NASA/Langley Research Center. "Alternative Jet Fuels Put To The Test." ScienceDaily 1 February 2009. 15 October 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Comparing Fuels

According to Alan Boyle’s article Energy Guru says Green needn’t be Grim, Amory Lovins has concluded that America’s future energy needs could actually be met without the use of fossil fuels or nuclear power. Lovins believes that there are more efficient and less costly modes of energy available to us all, but it will take considerable revamping of the current power grid, and revenue. Nevertheless, the results would ultimately produce large returns. Technological advances making consumer products more energy efficient will cut operational expenses for the consumer. Lovins wants to see changes in the way America conducts the business of energy. Rather than relying on current tax breaks, subsidies and other federally mandated economic maneuvers. Lovins wants to see honest and fair prices not biased against technology, location or ownership, thus allowing Americans to produce and save energy.