Archives for May, 2012

Comments Off on A Cold War Over Resources in Central Asia

Earlier this year, a U.S. intelligence report predicted that as water shortages become more acute, “water in shared basins will increasingly be used as leverage” over the next 10 years and beyond.  This prediction is already being borne out in places such as Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (map), where long-standing distrust between the two nations has…

Comments Off on Energy Efficiency: Gaining Traction or Spinning Its Wheels?

Congress, businesses, and consumers show an appetite for the proverbial low-hanging fruit. Remember the Brouhaha Over the Light Bulb Efficiency Standard? On December 19, 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act [pdf] became law with bipartisan Congressional support and a stroke of President George W. Bush’s pen. The bill attempts to reduce energy consumption and…

Laurens van Mulukom, a mechanical engineering student at Hogeschool van Amsterdam, talked about why hydrogen is “one of the most innovative fuels to work with,” at Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2012 in Rotterdam. With this year’s competition that ended Saturday taking place on its home country’s soil, <a href=”http://www.h2a.nu/h2a-news/”>Team H2A</a> was proud to achieve a new…

Comments Off on Stirling Engine: External Combustion Efficiency

One of the most unusual looking cars at this year’s Shell Eco-marathon Europe was testing out one of the oldest concepts for harnessing energy for motion: the Stirling heat engine. Team Schluckspecht from the University of Applied Sciences, of Offenburg, Germany, designed a vehicle that relied on external heating and cooling to drive pistons. The…

Comments Off on Top U.S. Nuclear Regulator’s Parting Message: Fukushima Was “A Wake-Up Call”

Gregory Jaczko, chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, announced his resignation this week, but he is still making pointed comments about the need to strengthen regulations to ensure nuclear power plants are safer. “I think the Fukushima event was a wake-up call, hopefully for everyone,” Jaczko said in a news conference today, referring to…

What will it really take to get the public to make tradeoffs on energy? It’s a fundamental question, because energy policy is all about the tradeoffs. No form of energy is perfect. Everything comes with pros and cons. The key to moving forward is figuring out what people will accept: how much will they pay,…

Comments Off on French Teams from Loire Valley Grab Top Prizes in Shell Eco-marathon Europe

A pair of French student teams from schools side-by-side on the Loire River shared technology, team spirit, and sleek aerodynamic styling to capture top fuel efficiency prizes Saturday at Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2012 in Rotterdam. Team Microjoule from the technical school La Joliviere in Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire won the gasoline prototype division for the third year in…

Comments Off on A Solar Car Inspired by Manisa’s Own Tarzan

Oguzhar Yalcin, a student at the University of Celal Bayar in Manisa, Turkey, explains the inspiration for his team’s solar car at Shell Eco-marathon Europe 2012 in Rotterdam. The car is named for the “Manisa Tarzan,” the environmentalist Ahmet Bedevi, who is legendary for his work in the first half of the last century planting…

Comments Off on Trier: Practical Experience in Efficient Design

Many engineering students, like Matthias Jungbluth of Fachhochschule (The University of Applied Sciences) Trier  in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, are attracted to a project like Shell Eco-marathon by the hands-on experience involved in designing and building a fuel-efficient car. The Trier school’s team, called team ProTRon (a combination of the word “protype” and the abbreviation for the…

Comments Off on Warsaw: Hussar Charge for Fuel Economy

Students from the Warsaw University of Technology in Poland conduct some final technical tests on their vehicle at Shell Eco-marathon 2012 in Rotterdam. Cars in the fuel efficiency race need to pass a battery of safety tests, including on the fueling and exhaust systems, the braking and steering, and the solidity of the chassis. The…