Archives for April, 2012

In life there will be most of us, and there will be the one percent. There will be those of us who fly in coach, and there will be those of us who have their own private jets. There will be those of us who enjoy our small homes, and those of us who dwell…

Nearing record highs in March, gasoline prices have dropped for most of April across the U.S. and on average are cheaper than they were a year ago. As pump prices ease, federal prosecutors are turning up the heat in the BP oil spill case, arresting an ex-engineer accused of obstructing justice by deleting potentially damaging e-mails. And as the…

It was just two years ago when a couple of young highly motivated students at the Technical University of Munich in Germany decided to found the TUfast Eco team and build a car for Shell Eco-marathon Europe. Building race cars for the Formula Student has already become a tradition at our university, but designing a…

Can jobs be more than a talking point in the debate over energy? It’s not just a rhetorical question. It’s not a surprise that jobs and the economy consistently show up as the number-one issue for voters this election year. It’s also no surprise that the both sides of the energy debate use estimates of…

By Brendan Schoenman, 2012 Human Impacts Institute Environmental Leadership Intern, and Tara DePorte, Founder and Executive Director, Human Impacts Institute As United Nations’ Rio+20 conference on sustainable development approaches, youth around the world have the opportunity to speak with a unified and influential voice on the issues that will be discussed in June. The United…

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday approved the first large-scale liquefied natural gas export terminal in the lower 48 states despite record falling gas prices. Shipping from the $10 billion Louisiana plant is projected to begin as early as 2015. The Cheniere plant is the third liquefied natural gas plant in the works in Louisiana. Others are planned elsewhere in the country. The plants…

Every night, something unusual happens in Samuel Kimani’s home on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. Samuel, 48, lives with his wife Mary and their three children. Their family supports itself day-to-day through their main source of income, their cow Baraka, whose milk is collected daily and sold directly to customers for about $1.80 a day.…

Proposals to build more than 150 hydroelectric dams on Andean tributaries of the Amazon River could have catastrophic ecological impacts, causing the first major breaks between the tributaries and the Amazon and leading to widespread forest loss, according to a study published today in the scientific journal PLoS ONE. The study by researchers at the…

Under a new rule from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, new oil and gas wells that are hydraulically fractured—or “fracked”—will have to use new equipment to capture the gases that escape, rather than releasing them into the air or burning them off. Hydraulic fracturing has been in use since the 1950s, but in the past…

The U.S. government announced Wednesday that it had finalized plans for $60 million in Gulf Coast restoration projects following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But it has a broader to-do list ahead in order to boost its grades on the mediocre “report card” issued on its efforts two years after the worst oil spill in U.S.…

Aggressive nationalization of large profitable companies seemed to be a thing of the past until Monday, when Argentina seized control of YPF, the former Argentine oil and gas monopoly, from Repsol, Spain’s own former oil and gas monopoly. Top executives were forced out of YPF’s headquarters in Buenos Aires as Argentine President Cristina Fernández de…

Have you ever wanted to tell a big-city Mayor what environmental or energy policies he should be implementing? How about telling a business leader what his company should be doing to become more sustainable? From 1-6 PM, Planet Forward will be live streaming the GW Moving the Planet Forward Innovation Summit, but this won’t just…

Natural Gas for Cars

Does it make climate sense to drive cars with natural gas? Our nation appears to be rapidly moving to a natural gas-powered economy. Advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling have made huge deposits of natural gas in shale and tight sands commercially viable. (See “Hydrofracturing: An Energy Revolution.”) Suddenly the United States is…

Next Tuesday, the Great Energy Challenge Blog will be live streaming a conference from the George Washington University that will feature innovations in energy, climate and sustainability. Top thought-leaders from government, academia and industry will participate in GW Moving the Planet Forward, a symposium that will find and highlight solutions to the challenges of a…

Gasoline prices have edged off the pedal in recent days, but the Energy Information Administration this week released new data showing motorists will pay about a quarter more per gallon during peak travel season—April through September. Prices will top out at $4.01, on average, in May. The last time gasoline spiked to such levels was…

Wind energy in the United States faces strong cross-currents—some blowing in from overseas, and others being stirred up right at home. The nation that comfortably led the world in wind power (in both installed capacity and growth) as recently as three years ago saw a 17 percent increase in wind capacity to nearly 47,000 megawatts…

Co-authored by Randy Essex, RMI Editorial Director It’s a fallacy that we can drill our way to low gas prices, and trying to do so not only threatens our health, but also wastes our money and misdirects innovation. If we stop focusing on the problem of high gas prices and who’s to blame and start…

Plans for a radioactive waste dump in Australia, the first such facility of its kind in the country, are encountering trouble because of divisions within the indigenous community where it would be located. Last month, the Australian Senate approved the National Radioactive Waste Management Bill, which proposes the construction of a nuclear waste dump in…

Before Congress headed home for spring recess, the Senate, with a rate vote of 100, approved President Obama’s new round of sanctions designed to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The president’s decision was based on an analysis of current oil supply and the likely effect of further sanctions on prices. The Senate also shot down the president’s bid to reduce subsidies to oil producers. Oil…

By Morgan Bazilian, Alan Miller and Daniel M. Kammen Out of the sighs of one generation are kneaded the hopes of the next. –Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, Brazilian novelist, poet, and playwright (1839 – 1908) The June 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, commonly referred to as Rio+20, provides the global community an opportunity…

Our team arrived to Houston on March 29th with both HotRod and ThunderDawg and got straight to work! For the rest of Thursday, our team reassembled the vehicles and got them ready for technical inspection on the following day. Also on Thursday, the Louisiana Tech University Engineering and Science Board had a dinner where a…

If you’re looking for a car that gets decent mileage on the road but also functions as an aircraft when you’re in the mood to fly, you may have some options in the near future. The Terrafugia Transition Street-Legal Airplane is now one step closer to delivery after a successful prototype test flight, according to…

Taxpayers could end up being on the hook for a very large bill. Subsidies have been very much on the minds of lawmakers of late. The Obama administration failed in its bid to get Congress to withdraw the substantial subsidies we provide to the oil and gas industry. And the New York Times reports that…

“This was a real year of firsts,” Dick Williams, president of Shell Windenergy, told the crowd of hundreds in the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston, Texas Sunday evening, at the closing ceremony to the Shell Eco-marathon Americas 2012. “This is the first year we had a flash mob come dance on our stage,”…

Are you or is someone you know a green-minded software developer? The U.S. government wants you to help secure the country’s energy efficient future via the U.S. Department of Energy‘s (DOE) “Apps for Energy” competition. The challenge here is to build apps for mobile phones, computers, tablets, software programs and more that utilize data from major utility companies to help consumers and…