Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Born In A Barn Syndrome:

Something Mom used to say to us as kids,

"Were you born in a barn?!
Close that door,
We're not trying to heat the whole neighborhood!"

I guess she'd never heard of Global Warming...

Daniel A. Stafford
(c) 10/26/2003.

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

A Growing Backlash Against Waste
by David Suzuki

Back in the early 1990's, environmental concerns topped the polls. Everyone, it seemed, was worried about the impact of human beings on the biosphere. It was as though the collective inertia of decades of unchecked industrial growth had suddenly caught up to us. When we stopped to take a breather, we realized there were consequences to all our actions - pollution, global warming, habitat loss and species extinction to name a few. We saw our species had the power to alter the very systems which sustain life on Earth and it scared us.

Unfortunately, it didn't penetrate our lifestyles. We did make some strides - we phased out ozone-depleting chemicals and started recycling and reducing some air pollutants. The problem was, once we made a few changes, we reverted to assuming everything was fine. Corporations and governments all developed bureaucracies focusing on environmental problems and we thought they were taking care of things for us.

This made us all feel better, but it blinded us to other growing problems. Many of the well-meaning people who were putting out their blue boxes once a week then walked across their driveways to get into massive SUVs to drive to work - alone. Most didn't even recognize this as an environmental problem. They felt they needed a vehicle and SUVs were big and looked safe. SUVs also looked like they could take people out to the wilderness in complete comfort. Who wouldn't want that?

Automotive manufacturers took advantage of this fantasy by using beautiful natural imagery in their commercials and advertisements. And boy, were they effective. By the late 90's, the majority of cars hitting the roads of North America weren't cars at all, but "light trucks" - a government classification term used to describe everything from pickups to SUVs and minivans.

This classification provided a convenient loophole for vehicle manufacturers. Light trucks are exempt from stricter "passenger vehicle" fuel-efficiency regulations, so they could burn more fuel and pollute more. Why? Because in the late 1970's automobile manufacturers lobbied for the measure, originally as protection against more fuel-efficient competitors from Europe.

At the time it didn't seem to be a big deal. Back then pickups were largely for farms and industry, and no one had heard of SUVs. All this would change as the auto industry found they could make enormous profits by slapping a passenger-vehicle type of body on a truck frame powered by an old-technology gas-guzzling engine. Toss in a dozen cup holders and leather seats and dealers couldn't keep them in the showrooms.

So a loophole, combined with effective advertising created a fad, which led to a decade of massive growth in greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. Air pollution and smog, which had been slowly shrinking in the late 80's, thanks to better fuel efficiency regulations for cars, is once again choking our cities. We're back where we started - or worse.

But change is afoot. Led by California, the pressure is on to update our antiquated fuel-efficiency regulations. And the charge is no longer being championed by only environmentalists. Average people are beginning to realize how wasteful large SUVs are. The "backlash against SUVs" even recently made the front page of USA Today. People are beginning to see them as big, dirty, safety hazards.

If that's the case and tastes are changing, do we really need improved regulations? Well, it would hardly be prudent to leave the fate of our health and well-being to automotive fads. Fuel efficiency is simply not a priority for manufacturers. In fact, the 2003 vehicle fleet on average actually burns more gas than the 2002 models. Better regulations to reduce greenhouse gases and smog are thus urgently needed. Let's call a car a car and a truck a truck, and bring fuel efficiency standards up to date.

David T. Suzuki PhD, the Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation, is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. David has received consistently high acclaim for his thirty years of award-winning work in broadcasting; explaining the complexities of science in a compelling, easily understood way. He is well known to millions as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's popular science television series, The Nature of Things. Take the Nature Challenge and learn more at
Elusive Cancer Killer's Deep-Sea Hideout Discovered After a Nearly 20-Year Hunt

From Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
Monday, October 27, 2003

FT. PIERCE, Fla. -- In 1984, HARBOR BRANCH scientists exploring deep waters off the Bahamas in one of the institution's Johnson-Sea-Link submersibles discovered a small piece of sponge that harbored a chemical with a remarkable ability to kill cancer cells in laboratory tests. Despite almost two decades of searching, though, the group was never able to find enough of the sponge to fully explore its potential. But now that process can finally begin because, thanks to some creative detective work, the team has found the animal's secret hiding place and collected enough of it to support years of intense research.

"It's just amazing," says Amy Wright, director of HARBOR BRANCH Biomedical Marine Research, of the sponge she has been on a career-long quest to find. "This is our next cure, I know it's our next cure."

A chemical produced within the sponge, which has not yet been given an official name, has proven in one test of cancer-fighting potential to be about 400 times more potent than Taxol®, a widely used treatment for breast and other forms of cancer. As important, preliminary experiments have also shown the compound to be fairly non-toxic to normal cells.

But the limited amount of the sponge initially collected was not enough to carry the team through the long process of developing a potential medical treatment, which involves careful study of exactly how a chemical kills cancer cells and of its chemical structure. "Since 1984 it has been on our target list for every dive," says Wright, who first studied the compound as a postdoctoral fellow at HARBOR BRANCH during the '80s.

On various expeditions over the years, scientists found only tiny pieces of the sponge, then last year two slightly larger pieces, but still they did not have enough to do the required research. So, in preparation for a cruise this year to the Bahamas that ran from Oct. 9 through the 24th, Wright and her team used clues from where each piece had been collected to put together a profile of the habitat where it must live.

The technique worked perfectly, and on the first submersible dive targeting an area that fit the profile, they found the sponge. "You know, you have these hypotheses, but when it is actually there, it just floors you that the hypothesis worked," says Wright, "We were really excited. I was just dancing around."

The sponge was found in water over 1,000 feet deep in an area the researchers often refer to as the "dead zone," because it is generally characterized by bare rock and very low biodiversity. The sponge, which can grow to about the size of a softball, had eluded researchers for so long because they generally avoid this area in favor of exploring more diverse habitats.

Wright predicts that the quantity of the sponge collected on the expedition using the submersible should be enough to carry the team through the full multi-year drug discovery process, possibly even to the first phase of human trials. "I never thought I would see that much of the sponge ever," says Wright, "Now we have enough to move forward."

If the chemical continues to show promise as the research process progresses, it would eventually be licensed to a pharmaceutical company, which would take the compound through clinical trials. A key step before that could happen would be for HARBOR BRANCH and its collaborators to develop a method to sustainably produce the chemical without having to collect it from wild sponges, which would be both economically and ecologically unfeasible. Possible methods would be raising the sponge through aquaculture, producing it synthetically, or, if the chemical turns out to be produced by a microorganism within the sponge, raising cultures of that microorganism. The full process of turning the chemical into a commercially available cancer treatment would likely take more than a decade.

The mystery sponge's hideout was found on an expedition to the Bahamas that covered some 1,300 miles and took the team throughout the island chain almost as far south as the Turks and Caicos Islands. For more information about this expedition as well as background articles on the team's research, please visit HARBOR BRANCH's online expedition site at:

HARBOR BRANCH has already patented nearly a hundred potential pharmaceuticals from the tens of thousands of the organisms the Biomedical Marine Research group has collected since the '80s at sites around the globe. Several of these are in various stages of development as potential commercial drugs. Discodermolide, a compound produced by a deepwater sponge found in the Bahamas, is currently in the first phase of human trials as a cancer treatment.

For more information please contact Mark Schrope at 772-216-0390, or Photos and B-roll related to the discovery are available to journalists.

For more information, contact:

Mark Schrope
Media Relations
Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution
5600 US 1 North
Fort Pierce, FL 34946

Web site:
States and cities challenge EPA air pollution rules

Tuesday, October 28, 2003
By Devlin Barrett, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lawsuits filed Monday by 13 states and more than 20 cities — which seek to block changes to the Clean Air Act — contend that new rules from the Bush administration would weaken protections for the environment and public health.

The Environmental Protection Agency regulation makes it easier to upgrade utilities, refineries, and other industrial facilities without installing additional pollution controls.

The rule, proposed in December and signed by EPA's administrator in August, was made final Monday. It will take effect in two months, and states have up to three years to comply.

The agency said in a statement it does not believe the rule will result in significant changes in emissions, and it "preserves the public health protections" under law.

Attorneys general for 12 states — New York, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin — and legal officers for New York City, Washington, San Francisco, New Haven, and a host of other cities in Connecticut complained about the regulations that they contend will weaken protections for the environment and public health.

Illinois filed a separate but similar claim, and other states, including California, are considering legal action. Their filings could be consolidated later with the 12-state suit.

They argued only Congress can make sweeping changes to such a bedrock law.

"We are not going to sit by quietly and allow the energy interests in this country to receive special treatment while so many of our children and elderly are needlessly suffering from respiratory problems that are, in essence, brought on by bad environmental policy," Massachusetts Attorney General Tom Reilly said.

The rule broadens EPA's interpretation of routine maintenance for older plants. Before the rule change, operators who did anything more than routine maintenance were required to add more pollution-cutting devices.

Under the new rule, industrial facilities avoid paying for expensive emissions-cutting devices for up to 20 percent of the replacement costs for major equipment.

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer called the rule an attack on the Clean Air Act.

"The president is taking the nation in the wrong direction on environmental policy," Spitzer said.

Scott Segal, director of the Electric Reliability Coordinating Council, a group of power companies that support the rule change, argued it would clarify regulations, and "no litigation from the Northeast attorneys general can produce anything but confusion."

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. A similar group of states also filed suit in that court to challenge a previous batch of the administration's related changes to the Clean Air Act.

Source: Associated Press
Two new stories from ENN,


Tuesday, October 28, 2003
By Alister Doyle, Reuters

MOSCOW — With solutions costing up to a mind-numbing $18,000,000,000,000,000, it is among the most expensive questions in history: How do you stop people from causing dangerous global warming?

Eighteen quadrillion dollars is almost 600 times the 2002 world gross domestic product, estimated by the World Bank at $32 trillion. If you glued 18 quadrillion dollar bills end to end, they would stretch way past Pluto.

Luckily, most estimates of the costs of curbing global warming by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) run to just hundreds of trillions of dollars over 100 years — a relative pin prick for a growing world economy.

But the costs of cleaning up human emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide produced by factories and cars and of shifting toward cleaner energies such as solar or wind power are starting to give governments nightmares.

"The long-term costs could be enormous," said Andrei Illarionov, an adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin who has backed away from previous promises to quickly ratify the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol on curbing global warming.

Kyoto, a tiny first step towards reining in human emissions of nontoxic carbon dioxide from fossil fuels blamed for blanketing the planet and driving up temperatures, will collapse without Russia's approval. The United States pulled out in 2001.

"Maybe the money would be better spent on promoting economic growth, on ending poverty, or on helping developing nations," he told a climate conference in Moscow this month, pointing to the highest IPCC estimate of almost $18 quadrillion by 2100.

Bush Says Kyoto Costs Too Much

Beyond Kyoto, which runs to 2012, climate experts say quadrillions of dollars in the 21st century may hang on interpretations of the word "dangerous."

At root is the 1992 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratified by the United States, which aims for "stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic (human) interference with the climate system."

A heat wave in Europe this year killed about 15,000 people in France. About 1,300 died in a heat wave in India. There were 562 tornadoes in the United States in May, more than any month on record. Was any of that caused by humans and "dangerous?"

If so, humanity would have to start...(Read on in: Global warming, the quadrillion dollar question)

And second:

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Investments in green buildings pay for themselves 10 times over, according to a new study for 40 California government agencies.

The study — by the Capital E group, Lawrence Berkley Laboratory, and participating California state agencies — is the most definitive cost-benefit analysis of green building ever conducted.

With this study, the California Department of Finance has recognized for the first time the existence of financial benefits associated with improved health productivity and lowered operations and maintenance costs in green buildings.

The California Board of Regents also drew on the early findings of this study and is moving forward in pushing for all state higher education new construction to be "green." This study, drawing on national data for 100 green buildings and an in depth review of several hundred existing studies, found that sustainable buildings are a cost-effective investment.

"Green" or "sustainable" buildings use key resources like energy, water, materials, and land much more efficiently than buildings that are simply built to code, the study points out. They also create healthier work, learning, and living environments with more natural light and cleaner air and contribute to improved employee and student health, comfort, and productivity. Sustainable buildings are cost-effective, saving taxpayer dollars by reducing operations and maintenance costs as well as by lowering utility bills.

The report concluded that financial benefits of green design are between $50 and $70 per square foot in a LEED building, more than 10 times the additional cost associated with building green. The benefits include cost savings from reduced energy, water, and waste; lower operations and maintenance costs; and enhanced occupant productivity and health.

"Total financial benefits of green buildings are over ten times the average initial investment required to design and construct a green building," concluded the authors. "Energy savings alone exceed...(Read on in: Green building investments yield high returns, says study)

Saturday, October 25, 2003

On CNN for a day or two only:

Arctic being 'transformed' by warming

Friday, October 24, 2003 Posted: 1:01 PM EDT (1701 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- NASA scientists released new evidence this week that the Arctic region is warming up and its sea ice cover is diminishing, with implications for further climate change throughout the on in the title link above.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

From the

Dear Readers,

We’ve come so far , but there is still no resolution to the biodiesel provisions of the energy package. It is possible that negotiations could wrap up today. Please keep the calls and letters going to your Members of Congress.

Click here to see a letter and list of Senators who signed it in support of the biodiesel tax incentive. If your Senators signed it, please tell them thanks and ask them to speak to the leadership of their respective parties to urge them to include the biodiesel incentives in the final package. If your Senators didn’t sign it, please ask them to do so to go on record in support of the biodiesel tax incentive.

Please also contact your Members of the House and give them this simple message:
Include biodiesel tax provisions in the Energy Bill!

If you live in California, please contact Congressman Bill Thomas (R-CA) , Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. Ask him for his support to keep the biodiesel provisions in the Energy Bill. His contact numbers are 202-225-2915 and fax 202-225-8798. Since his phone lines are likely to be busy, please fax him a brief letter and blind copy NBB (573-635-7913). Thank you!

* To see a copy of the legislation click here.
* To see the description of the biodiesel tax incentive click here.
* To see a list of Senators signed on click here.

Joe Jobe
Executive Director
National Biodiesel Board
Great Lakes Daily News: 22 October 2003
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium.

For links to these stories and more, visit
Did you miss a day of Daily News? Remember to use our searchable story
archive at

Port of Toledo site in running for coal-coke plant
A consortium of investors is considering Toledo Lucas County Port Authority
land for a plant that would turn coal into coke, a key ingredient in steel
production, and create as many as 150 new jobs. Source: The Toledo Blade

Niagara Falls survivor says depression, not derring-do, drove him to jump
A man who went over Niagara Falls head first said Wednesday that he was
driven by depression, not a desire to become a daredevil. Source: Booth
Newspapers (10/22)

EDITORIAL: Time to protect natural treasures of Toronto area
Ribbons of green criss-crossing the Greater Toronto Area are under attack as
never before. Strong municipal defenders are needed more than ever to
protect those areas against sprawl. Source: The Toronto Star (10/22)

Deer disease cost put at nearly $15 million in Wisconsin
Combating chronic wasting disease has cost Wisconsin almost $15 million and
the price tag continues to grow, according to a report issued Tuesday by the
Legislative Audit Bureau. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (10/22)

Vineyard nuisance strikes again in northeastern U.S., Ontario
Winemakers and grapegrowers in the northeastern United States and Ontario
are being plagued once again by Asian lady beetles -- an insect that can
ruin the taste of their wine. Source: Wine Spectator (10/21)

Taking the Kalamazoo River from ugly to lovely
Battle Creek officials are debating whether to move forward with a project
to convert a concrete-lined stretch of the Kalamazoo River to a more natural
state. Source: Battle Creek Enquirer (10/21)

EPA to evaluate park for bacteria testing
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to evaluate Maumee Bay
State Park as a potential site for an advanced bacteria-testing technique
that would yield results in as little as two hours. Source: The Toledo Blade

Calmer waters could be ahead for Great Lakes Aquarium
The Great Lakes Aquarium is in a better financial position one year after
running out of money and being taken over by the city of Duluth. Source:
Duluth News Tribune (10/21)

EPA goes light on pollution sanctions
Western Michigan legislators were relieved to learn Monday that new air
pollution rules likely will not damage the local business climate or saddle
motorists with tailpipe tests. Source: The Grand Rapids Press (10/21)

Two-day conference focuses on state of Lake Michigan
Scientists, environmentalists and government decisionmakers gathered Tuesday
in Muskegon for a two-day conference on the health of Lake Michigan. Source:
The Muskegon Chronicle (10/21)

For links to these stories and more, visit

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From Alt Power Digest:

There are 5 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. New Way To Generate Electricity
From: (Alternate Power)
2. SHEC - Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation
From: (Alternate Power)
3. Chinese Water Splitter
From: (Alternate Power)
4. Enter your biofuel event into the calendar
From: "Steve Spence"
5. EERE Network News -- 10/22/03
From: Tom Gray


Message: 1
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 02:28:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: New Way To Generate Electricity

Electrokinetic microchannel battery by means of electrokinetic and microfluidic phenomena:
Jun Yang, Fuzhi Lu, Larry W Kostiuk and Daniel Y Kwok - Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB T6G 2G8, Canada:
Received 23 April 2003, in final form 25 June 2003: Published 20 October 2003:


Pressure-driven flow in a microchannel induces a streaming current due to the presence of an electrical double layer in the interface between the electrolyte solution and channel wall. As the streaming current is of the order of a nano-amphere and is additive, we propose here a method to develop an electrokinetic battery consisting of an array of microchannels that converts the hydrostatic pressure of a liquid into electrical work. We have given oscillating analytical solutions by means of an electrical circuit analysis to model the multi-microchannel battery.

Using superposition of the appropriate Fourier series, the derived analytical solutions are useful to predict the current when there is more general time-dependent flow through a microchannel array. To illustrate the idea, we have studied steady-state pressure-driven flow in micropore porous glass filter and compared the results with those predicted from our model. From a 30 cm hydrostatic pressure drop, an external current of 1–2 µA was obtained by means of water passing through the micropore porous glass filter. A larger current can be obtained by simply using a solution with higher salt concentration. This results in a new and potentially useful method of energy conversion by means of an array of microchannels.


DOI: 10.1088/0960-1317/13/6/320
PII: S0960-1317(03)62496-4
More At



Message: 2
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 02:29:02 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: SHEC - Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation

SHEC Labs develops Anti-Coking fuel reformation technology:

SASKATOON, October 21, 2003:
SHEC LABS - Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation today announced a breakthrough in "Dry Fuel Reformation" technology with the development of SHEC labs "Anti-Coking Dry Fuel Reformer".
SHEC labs has developed a "Dry Fuel Reformation" catalyst that can be used in conjunction with its' "Advanced Solar Concentrator" technology as well as other sources of heat to reduce the amount of fossil fuels required for the production of hydrogen.

There is an existing market today for the production of hydrogen from natural gas for industries such as ammonia based fertilizer, petroleum refining, methanol production and a host of other industries. Currently, the global market produces about 15 Trillion cubit feet of hydrogen per year by "Steam Reforming" natural gas. These markets are in the tens of billion of dollars annually. Future markets will include distributed electrical power for homes and businesses that utilize fuel cells fuelled by hydrogen derived from existing natural gas infrastructure. With automobile manufacturers developing both hydrogen consuming internal combustion engines and hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles, another market for hydrogen far exceeding existing markets will evolve.

One of the problems in the "Fuel Reformation" industry is the plugging of fuel reformers with carbon deposits that form over time and is referred to as coking. Industrial plants must shut down in order to physically remove the carbon deposits costing millions of dollars of lost production. SHEC Labs first successfully tested its anti-coking technology to reduce the affects of carbon buildup in mid September of 2003. In all tests performed, we were able to dramatically reduce and virtually eliminate coking, keeping the pathways of our prototype fuel reformer completely clear.

In the future, SHEC labs plans to integrate its "Dry Fuel Reformation" technologies into the marketplace, reducing the amount of natural gas used to produce hydrogen. With the lower operating temperatures of our "Dry Fuel Reformation" catalyst and the application of our "Advanced Solar Concentrator" technology we will be able to slow the depletion of our finite natural gas reserves and save financial resources for companies in these industries all the while reducing emissions.

Anticipated future licensing agreements will create a substantial revenue stream for SHEC labs.

For more information, contact:

Ray Fehr, V.P. Marketing
SHEC LABS - Solar Hydrogen Energy Corporation Phone: (306) 956-1133 Fax:
(306) 956-1144 E-mail:


Message: 3
Date: Tue, 21 Oct 2003 02:29:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Chinese Water Splitter

Mike Johnston wrote:


An apparatus for generating Hydrogen and Oxygen by means of electrolysis without requiring an external power. There are two main electrodes(the Anode and the Cathode) built at both sides of the Electrolysis compartment, in the said compartment there are multiple Electrode plates and gas separating membranes connected in series. At the upper part of the compartment, ducts convey Hydrogen and Oxygen separately to the repsective Gas Concentrating compartments. There is a separation built between the Electrolysis Compartment and the Gas concentrating Compartments. The Current Generating Tunnel is at the outskirts of the Electrolysis Compartment, the electrolyte can flow without hindrance from these Tunnels to the Electrolysis Compartment. Permanent magnets are fixed to the wall of the Current Generating Tunnels and Current Collecting Metal Connectors of both Positive and Negative poles are fixed to the ends of the permanent magnets for energy collection. These Metal Connectors are interconnected in series as shown in the drawings, the first connector is then connected to the Cathode and the last connector is connected to the Anode of the Electrolysis compartment. This invention does not require an external energy or traditional power to maintain the Electrolysis process.


1. A generator of Hydrogen and Oxygen by Electrolysis, without requirement of an external energy. The housing (3) of the device has two electrodes (the Anode(2) and Cathode(2)) connected at each end of it, inside the housing, a Electrolysis Compartment (1) containing Gas Separating Membranes (4) inserted between multiple Electrolytic Plates(6), these multiple sets of membranes and plates are manufactured and wrapped up by isolating rubber frames (13), there are Gas Concentrating Compartments (7), (20) for both Hydrogen and Oxygen separately, a division (8) is between the Gas Compartments and the Electrolysis Compartment. Some holes (5) are drilled in the division in order to convey gas produced to the indivudual Gas Concentrating Compartment for separate collection. The claim concerns to the Current Generating Tunnel (9) that is built around the Electrolysis Compartment, the said Tunnel communicate with the latter at the bottom, the upper part of the tunnels also communicate with the Electrolysis Compartment. There are permanent magnet bars (23) fixed to the walls of the tunnel, at the ends(North and South) of the magnet bars are the Positive electrodes and the Negative Electodes respectively(24) , (25), these electodes are interconnected in series as shown in the drawing, being the first electode connected to the Anode and the last one connected to the Cathode.

2. The claim concerns about a circulation pump (26) is installed in the circuit between the Current Generating Tunnel and the Electolysis Compartment for electrolyte circulation.

3. The claim concerns about the addition of the Current Generating Tunnel (22) around the Electrolysis Compartment.

4. The claim concerns about claims (1) and claim (3), that the isolating frames are elastomer isolating frames( rubber).

5. The claim concerns about claim (4) that the current producing sources are permanent magnet bars.

Description of the operation of the apparatus:

An apparatus for splitting water into Hydrogen and Oxygen without the requirement of an external power

This invention concerns a Generator of Hydrogen and Oxygen by means of electrolysis without requirement of an external supply of energy, such as electric current, petroleum derivated products or coal. According to Chinese Patent ZL 95220793, a type of H2-O2 Generator by electrolysis is disclosed. Such generator has a housing and a liquid deposit, with anode and cathod on both sides of the housing, with multiple sets of electrolysis plates and gas separating membranes inserted in the Electrolysis Compartment. At the top of the compartment there are two gas concentrating compartments, one for the H2, and the other for the O2. In order the generator to work, electrolyte has to be introduced into the compartment, and electricity is required. The apparatus consumes a great deal of electricity. The improvement of this invention is the elimination of the external power source such as electricity, petroleum derivated products or coal for producing H2 and O2. This is done by the following solution: an apparatus consisted of a housing with electrodes at each side of the housing, inside the Electrolysis Compartment multiple sets of Electrolysis Plates and Gas Separating Membranes are connected in series, each Plate and Membrane is framed by isolating elastomer, at the top of the Compartment there are compartments for the collection of H2 and O2 separately. They are separated from the Electrolysis Compartment by a division sheet. Holes are drilled through this sheet in order to convey the gases to the upper compartments. Outside the Compartment wall, a Current Generating Tunnel is located, both top and bottom of the tunnel communicate with the top and bottom of the Electrolysis Compartment. Multiple permanent magnet bars are fixed to the wall of the Tunnel. Collecting Electodes are fixed to the north and south ends of the magnet bars for current collection. The first of the electode is connected to the Anode and the last point of the last electrode is connected to the Cathode of the Electrolyser.

The apparatus works as follows: Introduce electrolyte into the Electrolyser Compartment. The electrolyte consists of a Sodium Hydroxide solution at 20~30% (30% weight NaOH, 70% weight distilled water), activate the pump to circulate the solution, the circulating electrolyte within the Current Generating Tunnel will interact with the Permanet magnet bars, producing positive and negative ions, these ions cut the magnetic flux and will induce electric currents, the Collecting Electrodes will collect the induced currents to the Anode and Cathode, and the Electrolysis will initiate. While the process maintains and intensifies, heat will be soaked up by the electrolyte and the liquid will self circulate through the Tunnel by convection, and finally the circulation will self-sustain, therefore pump can be disconnected eventually. But in order to archive high production rate of gases, the pump can maintain its functioning.

Drawings of the invention

Drawing 1 Conceptual design of the apparatus (drawing 2 B-B cut-through view)

Drawing 2 Drawing 1 A-A cut-through view of Gas Concentration Compartments

Drawing 3 Electrolytic Plate

Drawing 4 Gas Separating Membrane

Drawing 5 Connnection of the Collecting Electodes with magnet bars and Anode and Cathode

Drawing 6 Transversal view of this invention Drawing 7 Pump location and other particulars

Referencing to Drawing 1 and 2, the apparatus has a rectangular housing (3), made of alkali resistant plastic (such as Polyethelene or Silicone), with a removable base (19), On one side of the Electrolysis Compartment is the Anode(2) and the Electrolytic Plate(12), on the other side is the Cathode(11) and the Electrolytic Plate (10), Inside the Electrolysis Compartment (1) there are multiple sets of Electrolytic Plates (6) with Gas Separating Membrane (4) inserted in-between. Sixty sets are used in this invention. Each membrane and its respective Plate are built with its individual isolating elastomer frame (look at drawing 4), The rubber frame (13) is mold formed by injection to the membrane (4), the membrane is nylon-polyester fabric, of 300 seive finess and 0.08mm thick. The rubber frame (14) is mold formed by injection to the Electrolytic Plate(6). At the bottom of the frame there is a channel for pressure balancing(21), also there is a returning path (15) at the bottom of the basement, through the channels(21), each electrolytc plate element can balance the level of liquid during the operation. The Division (8) separates the Electrolysis Compartment from the Gas Concentrating Compartments, holes (5) are drilled through the Division, and convey the hydrogen generated at one side of the membrane to one of the gas collecting compartment (20), the oxygen generated at the other side of the membrane is conveyed through the another set of holes to (7). (17) and (18) are exits for the H2 and O2 respectively. Curent Generating Tunnel(9) are located around the Electrolysis Compartment, both the top and bottom of the tunnel is connected to the top and bottom of the compartment. Multiple permanent magnet bars are fixed to the wall of the Tunnel. For this purpose, 40 Strong Rare Earth Magnets( BaFe) are used(See drawing 5). Collecting Electrodes (24) and (25) are fixed to the ends of the magnet bars, according to drawing 6 they are connected in series and also fixed to the anode and cathode of the apparatus. Drawing 6 shows the lateral disposition of the Tunnel (22)with respect to the Electrolysis Compartment, Drawing 7 shows the tunnel is connected to the compartment through channel (27), a circulation pump (26) is connected between them. For a higher rate of gas production, the permanent magents bars can be replaced by electromagnets, but then it will require an external power source.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



Message: 4
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 12:21:00 -0000
From: "Steve Spence"
Subject: Enter your biofuel event into the calendar

Please got to and make sure your
biofuel event is submitted to the VeggieVan calendar. Thousands of
people see this calendar daily. Help us get your word out!


Message: 5
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2003 09:57:47 -0400
From: Tom Gray
Subject: EERE Network News -- 10/22/03

EERE NETWORK NEWS -- October 22, 2003
A weekly newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE)
Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE).


*News and Events

DOE Awards $20.4 Million to 13 Building Efficiency Projects
Canada to Join International Hydrogen Partnership
Oklahoma Gains a Massive 102-Megawatt Wind Power Plant
Toyota Launches U.S. Sales of its New Prius
Netherlands Team Holds Wide Lead in World Solar Challenge
Will Electrokinetics Yield a New, Clean Energy Source?

*Site News

DOE Launches "Energy Savers," a New Web Site for Consumers

*Energy Connections

DOE Report: U.S. LNG Imports Doubled in First Half of 2003

*About this Newsletter

DOE Awards $20.4 Million to 13 Building Efficiency Projects

DOE announced last week its award of $20.4 million to 13 projects that will advance energy efficiency in buildings. Industry partners will contribute more than $10 million to the projects, bringing the total
investment to more than $30 million. The three-year projects will aim to develop advanced technologies for lighting systems, windows, water heaters, and air conditioning systems.

Among the technologies being investigated are: LED (light-emitting diode) light sources using nanomaterials, organic materials, and other novel materials; new phosphor coatings for fluorescent lamps; wireless lighting control systems; advanced windows that use extremely lightweight insulating materials, called aerogels; "smart" windows that mirror over in direct sunlight to reflect heat; electrochromic windows, which can be electronically lightened or darkened; commercial heat pump water heaters that use carbon dioxide as a refrigerant; air conditioning systems that add fresh outdoor air to maintain indoor air quality; and magnetocaloric air conditioners. Magnetocaloric cooling devices, sometimes referred to as magnetic refrigeration, use a metallic refrigerant that exhibits the magnetocaloric effect: it heats up when placed in a magnetic field, and cools when the magnetic field
is removed.

See the DOE press release at:

Canada to Join International Hydrogen Partnership

After an October 16th meeting with Herb Dhaliwal, Canada's minister of natural resources, Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham announced that Canada intends to join the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy. Secretary Abraham proposed the hydrogen partnership in April during his speech to the International Energy Agency Ministerial Meeting. Several other countries have shown interest in joining the partnership, which Secretary Abraham will kick off this fall by hosting the first ministerial meeting of the partnership.

The International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy will support the deployment of hydrogen technologies by establishing collaborative efforts in hydrogen production, storage, transport, and end-use technologies; creating common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel utilization; and sharing information necessary to develop hydrogen-fueling infrastructure. See the October 16th press release on the DOE Web site at:

For more information on hydrogen technologies, see DOE's Hydrogen, Fuel Cells, and Infrastructure Technologies Program Web site at:

Oklahoma Gains a Massive 102-Megawatt Wind Power Plant

The first major wind power plant in Oklahoma went online last week, bringing 102 megawatts of wind power to the state. The Oklahoma Wind Energy Center, located near Woodward in northwest Oklahoma, was developed by FPL Energy and is providing half its power to the Oklahoma Gas and Electric (OG&E) and the other half to the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority (OMPA). It features 68 1.5-megawatt turbines, manufactured by GE Wind Energy. See the link to the OG&E press release on the company's home page at:

The OMPA press release is available in PDF format only at:

For background on the project, see the July 11th press release from
FPL Energy at:

Oklahoma will soon gain its second wind power plant, as Zilkha Renewable Energy is building a 74.25-megawatt wind project near Lawton. Zilkha expects to complete the project, called the Blue Canyon
Wind Farm, in December. See the Zilkha Web site at:

Toyota Launches U.S. Sales of its New Prius

Toyota Motor Sales officially launched U.S. sales of its new Prius last week. The upgraded hybrid-electric vehicle is not only larger than its predecessor, but also achieves a higher mileage: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the new Prius will achieve 60 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 51 MPG on highways, for a combined city/highway mileage of 55 MPG. In contrast, the
earlier version earned an estimated combined city/highway mileage of 48 MPG. In terms of emissions, the Prius has earned an AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle) rating, which
means that it is an SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) with zero evaporative emissions.

Toyota is also holding the line on pricing for the new vehicle, keeping the base MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price) at just under $20,000. But it may be awhile before you see one on a dealer's
lot: the company has already received nearly 12,000 pre-orders for the new Prius. Toyota currently plans to manufacture 36,000 Prius hybrids for the U.S. market this year.

The new Prius is packed with features to appeal to the technology hound, including drive-by-wire technology for the throttle and shifting systems, an electronically dimming "electrochromic" rear-view
mirror, and a keyless entry and start system. See the Toyota Prius Web site at:

California drivers may have a new reason to buy a hybrid vehicle: On October 2nd, the State of California requested authority from the Secretary of Transportation to allow hybrid vehicles to drive in the HOV (high-occupancy vehicle) lanes, even if they're not carrying a passenger. See the Toyota Prius press releases at:

Netherlands Team Holds Wide Lead in World Solar Challenge

The World Solar Challenge is underway in Australia, and at the end of Tuesday's racing, the Nuon Solar Team from the Netherlands holds a commanding lead. The lead vehicle, called the Nuna II, was one of
three solar cars that reached Alice Springs on Monday, but the team widened its lead on Tuesday. A team from Melbourne, Australia, is trailing the Nuna II by 46 minutes, and the U.S. team from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is in third place. As of Tuesday, 22 solar cars were competing in the race.

By the time you read this newsletter, the race will probably be decided, as the lead teams were expected to reach the finish line in Adelaide by Wednesday afternoon. That translates to early Wednesday morning in the eastern United States, or late Tuesday night on the West Coast. See the "Latest Updates" and "Media" pages on the World Solar Challenge Web site at:
and .

Will Electrokinetics Yield a New, Clean Energy Source?

A team of researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada announced Monday that they have discovered a new method of generating electricity. The researchers forced water through a filter made of
porous glass, causing an electrical charge to build up on the filter via the electrokinetic effect -- the physical separation of charges within a liquid, such as water, due to its interaction with a solid surface, such as glass. Using the pressure caused by a 30-centimeter column of water (a column about one foot high), the researchers were able to draw a current of 1.5 micro-amps from the glass filter. That's an extremely small current, but the researchers believe that using saltier water and a greater number of "microchannels" -- the miniature channels existing in the pores of the glass filter -- could yield a
practical power source.

Although the authors described the technique as possibly "a new alternative energy source to rival wind and solar power," it suffers from a potentially fatal flaw, namely, its low conversion efficiency.
According to the authors' paper, published Monday in the Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering (a publication of the Institute of Physics), the amount of electrical energy produced by the technique is expected to be less than 0.05 percent of the mechanical flow energy consumed by the pressure drop across the microchannels -- at least, for dilute solutions. That suggests that for any natural source of flowing water, such as a river, a conventional turbine-generator would yield far more electricity than would an electrokinetic device.

However, the devices should be more efficient when driven by salt water, and may have an application in tidal or wave energy devices that aim to convert the energy in flowing seawater into electricity.
See the announcement from the Institute of Physics at:

See also the October 20th press release on the University of Alberta Web site at:

DOE Launches "Energy Savers," a New Web Site for Consumers

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) launched a new consumer-oriented Web site in early October, called "Energy Savers: A consumer guide to energy efficiency and renewable energy."

The new site combines the popular "Energy Savers" booklet with new content on ways to save energy at home, as well as ways to use renewable energy to provide power, hot water, and heating and cooling for your home. It even includes information on how to buy energy-smart vehicles, including alternative-fuel vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles. The site features the "look and feel" of the redesigned EERE Web site, and can be accessed by selecting "Consumers" on the EERE home page at:

People looking to save energy at home can also turn to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), which just launched the eighth edition of its popular "Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings." Although the full booklet is available for a fee, a quick checklist and a list of the most energy-efficient home appliances are both available for free on the ACEEE Consumer Guide Web site at:

DOE Report: U.S. LNG Imports Doubled in First Half of 2003

U.S. imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the first half of 2003 were more than double the amount imported in the first half of 2002, according to a new DOE report. DOE's quarterly report on natural gas
imports and exports found that the United States imported a total of 201.5 billion cubic feet of LNG during the first half of 2003, compared to only 96.9 billion cubic feet during the first half of 2002. In fact, for the entire year of 2002, the United States imported only 228.7 billion cubic feet of LNG, an amount nearly equaled in the first half of 2003.

The increase in LNG imports reflects an increased emphasis on finding new ways to meet U.S. natural gas demands, which are beginning to outstrip domestic supplies. Although natural gas can be brought to the continental United States from Alaska, Canada, and Mexico via pipelines, overseas sources of natural gas must be converted to LNG for shipping to the United States. According to the DOE report,
LNG imports are currently coming from Algeria, Nigeria, and Trinidad. See the report for the second quarter of 2003 by selecting "Summary Reports" on DOE's Office of Fossil Energy Web site at:

Meanwhile, the major energy companies continue to announce agreements aimed at insuring a future supply of LNG to the United States. On October 14th, for instance, BG LNG Services, LLC -- one of four
current importers of U.S. LNG -- signed a 20-year agreement to import LNG from Nigeria at a rate of about 117 billion cubic feet per year.

Two days later, ExxonMobil Corporation announced a 25-year agreement to import LNG from Qatar to the United States. The $12-billion agreement will bring in about 730 billion cubic feet of LNG per year,
starting in 2008 or 2009. See the BG Group and ExxonMobil press releases at: and

While companies are lining up overseas LNG supplies, security and environmental concerns still make it difficult for LNG importers to build new U.S. LNG import terminals. For some companies, the answer is
to build terminals in Mexico and import from there via pipelines. For others, like BHP Billiton, the answer is to build a floating terminal offshore. BHP Billiton's proposed Cabrillo Deepwater Port would be located 21 miles off the California shore and would convert the LNG into natural gas, which would then be piped to shore via an undersea pipeline. See the company's Cabrillo Deepwater Port Web site at:


You can subscribe to this newsletter using the online form at:
This Web page also allows you to update your email address
or unsubscribe to this newsletter.

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
home page is located at:

If you have questions or comments about this
newsletter, please contact the editor, Kevin Eber, at


Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Great Lakes Daily News: 21 October 2003
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium

For links to these stories and more, visit
Did you miss a day of Daily News? Remember to use our searchable story
archive at

Man survives plunge over Niagara Falls
A man survived a plunge over Niagara Falls with only the clothes on his
back, witnesses said, the first person known to have done it without safety
devices and lived. Source: CNN (10/21)

MMSD to set nets to catch condoms
Milwaukee's sewerage district has put on the fast track a never-before-tried
$2 million system to filter used condoms from discharges at its Jones Island
plant. The issue came to light in spring when a fisherman reported seeing
what he called a "slick" of hundreds of used condoms floating in Lake
Michigan. Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (10/21)

CN wants to buy DM&IR and Great Lakes Fleet
Two cornerstones of the Twin Ports' transportation industry soon could have
new owners. The deal will likely cost the area some jobs but may, in the
long run, enhance its role as a regional transportation center. Source:
Duluth News Tribune (10/21)

COMMENTARY: Michigan becomes Democratic primary player
In his long battle to make Michigan an earlier player in the Democratic
presidential nomination process, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin argued that contenders
needed to focus as much on the Great Lakes as on Iowa's great fields of
corn. With its Feb. 7 caucus, Michigan will be the earliest major industrial
state to vote next year. Source: The Detroit News (10/21)

Tall ship favorite Larinda meets sad end
The Larinda, a popular attraction during last summer's Tall Ship events on
the Great Lakes, was recently recovered from Halifax Harbor after sinking
during a hurricane on Sept. 29. Source: The Bay City Times (10/21)

State efforts to preserve farmland face challenges
Michigan tax credits to save farmland often can't compete with big money
from developers building subdivisions, malls and office complexes. Source:
The Macomb Daily (10/20)

Leaders sober, hopeful after touring polluted sites in White Lake
There were many grim faces Friday as White Lake area leaders showed the
director of Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality the legacy of
pollution left by once-flourishing chemical companies. Source: The Muskegon
Chronicle (10/18)

For links to these stories and more, visit

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Information Network ( and the Great Lakes Radio
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TO SUBSCRIBE and receive this Great Lakes news compendium daily, see or send an e-mail message to with the command 'subscribe dailynews' (minus
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Monday, October 20, 2003

Another day of Alt Power Digest:

There are 4 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Republicans Say Hair-Breadth From Energy Plan
From: (Alternate Power)
2. Energy Bill Held Up by Tax Package Dispute
From: (Alternate Power)
3. Smooth Gasoline Switch Expected in California
From: (Alternate Power)
4. China To Put Corn Into Gas Tanks To Clean Up
From: (Alternate Power)


Message: 1
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:02:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Republicans Say Hair-Breadth From Energy Plan

(REUTERS) USA: October 20, 2003:
WASHINGTON - Despite urgings from their House and Senate leaders, the Republicans negotiators overhauling U.S. energy policy were stymied last week by disagreements over modernizing the electric grid and the future of the gasoline additive MTBE.

Nor did they agree on $16 billion in tax breaks and incentives to encourage building of power plants, development of alternative energy sources and construction of an Alaska natural gas pipeline. Nonetheless, the Energy Committee chairman from each chamber said the high-level discussions - limited to party leaders and committee chairmen - were close to wrapping up the bill. Louisiana Republican Billy Tauzin, chairman of the House panel, said agreement was "a hairs-breadth" away. "We're still hopeful we can get it done tomorrow," he said. "It is fair to say we are within two items," said New Mexico Republican Pete Domenici, chairman of the Senate Energy Committee. But he declined to say which items had been locked up or if negotiators had deleted a White House-backed proposal to allow oil and gas drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.

A Senate aide tabbed electricity and renewable fuels as the sticking points for the negotiators. A Senate Finance Committee staff worker said there was no agreement on the tax portion of the bill. Tauzin and Domenici met privately for nearly an hour after a session with House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Earlier this week, the leaders told the chairmen they wanted them to produce a bill by late Thursday so it could be taken to a floor vote next week.


Democrats, who have complained about being locked out of the bill-writing process by Republicans, were not invited to this week's meetings. They probably will not get a chance to work on the bill until a formal meeting of negotiators is called, preparatory to sending the bill to full Senate and House.
No amendments are allowed when a so-called conference report is called for a floor vote.

Three issues in particular have split Republicans and stopped the bill in its tracks during the past month.
Virtually all lawmakers agree on the need for stricter standards of power transmission reliability since the August blackout, but Southern Republicans want the bill to prohibit federal regulators from requiring all utilities to join regional grids. The Southerners view the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's grid rule as usurping state authority. The proposed ban of gasoline additive MTBE, a suspected carcinogen blamed for groundwater pollution, is another source of disagreement. Delay opposes a ban and wants language that would protect MTBE producers from liability lawsuits.

Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle - who backs corn-based ethanol as a substitute for MTBE, as do many Midwestern lawmakers - said earlier this week he had not decided whether to support a filibuster if the final version of the bill protects MTBE manufacturers from lawsuits. Another dispute centers on Domenici's opposition to a tax credit guaranteeing a minimum price for natural gas that would be shipped through a proposed $20 billion pipeline from Alaska to the lower 48 states.
Alaska's Republican senators say the tax credit is crucial for construction, but House lawmakers and the Bush administration say it would distort markets and discourage gas development in other parts of the country.

Story by Chuck Abbott and Tom Doggett



Message: 2
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:03:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Energy Bill Held Up by Tax Package Dispute

USA: (REUTERS) October 20, 2003:
WASHINGTON - Disputes over a $16 billion package of energy tax credits and incentives prevented Republican negotiators from finalizing sweeping U.S. energy legislation on the weekend, but they hope to wrap up their work on Sunday, according to congressional sources. Negotiators are racing against the clock to finish a bill that would overhaul U.S. energy policy for the first time in a decade, and then present it to a joint Senate-House conference committee for a vote that is tentatively scheduled for mid-day on Monday. Senate and House Republican staff, who spent most of Saturday in their Capitol Hill offices trying to hammer out the bill, informed their Democratic colleagues late in the day there was no final legislative language for them to review.

In a big win to win for environmental groups, controversial plans to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling are set to be dropped from the final bill. "I don't think it's going to be in the bill," Republican negotiator Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi told reporters late last week, when asked about ANWR drilling.
Holding up the bill are multi-billion-dollar tax provisions, with disagreement among Senate and House negotiators in particular on separate incentives to build an Alaskan natural gas pipeline and provide a fuel tax break for ethanol-blended gasoline, the congressional sources said. "The two tax packages don't match up very well," said one congressional aide.

Nonetheless, Republican staffers are shooting to finish the bill on Sunday and send the legislation to the House floor as early as Tuesday, after it is voted on by the conference committee. A vote in the Senate would soon follow.

The wide-ranging bill would also modernize the U.S. electrical grid, promote oil and natural gas drilling and encourage the development of alternative energy sources.

But the final bill will not contain a requirement that the government conduct an inventory of oil and natural gas reserves in offshore U.S. waters where drilling is banned, Republican Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico, who is steering the energy bill through Congress, said last week.

The Bush administration made drilling in the Arctic refuge a key part of its national energy plan and argued ANWR's potential 16 billion barrels of crude was needed to help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil imports. However, Republicans feared a threatened Democratic filibuster against ANWR drilling would kill the bill.

Story by Tom Doggett



Message: 3
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:03:33 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Smooth Gasoline Switch Expected in California

USA: (REUTERS) October 20, 2003:
HOUSTON - Refiners, regulators and analysts said last week that as California finishes its switch to a new clean-burning gasoline over the next few weeks they don't expect price spikes like those seen since spring.

State officials set Dec. 31 as the deadline for refiners to begin adding ethanol, an alcohol, to gasoline to reduce tailpipe emissions. Ethanol replaces methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a petrochemical, found to pollute groundwater.

Most refiners switched to making the new ethonol-blend gasoline, called by its acronym CARBOB, last year, but Tesoro Petroleum Corp. (TSO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and Valero Energy Corp. (VLO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) are both still phasing out MTBE. They make about 20 percent of the 1 million gallons produced each day in the state with MTBE, but should be fully converted to ethanol by Nov. 1, according to the companies and the California Energy Commission. Since March, West Coast gasoline spot market prices have shot up as much 80 cents on at least two occasions as several refineries suffered breakdowns that caused cuts in gasoline production. But Valero and Tesoro said they do not expect market-moving production cuts as they complete the conversion. "We will not experience a noticeable change in production volumes," said Valero spokeswoman Mary Rose Brown. Valero operates two California refineries with a combined throughput of 320,000 barrels per day (bpd). "We've been preparing for this for the past two years," said Doug Miller, Tesoro's California region business manager. Tesoro runs a 168,000 bpd refinery in Martinez, California. If production levels are maintained as expected, seasonality should favor stable prices, too, because fall and winter are usually calmer times for gasoline prices in California, said Dave Hackett, president of the California consulting firm Stillwater Associates. There is less driving and environmental regulations are easier to meet. "Other than what's driven by the price of crude oil, there's generally very little in terms of price spikes even if there is a refinery problem," Hackett said.
He said that having all the state's 14 refineries making the same gasoline blend also should help stabilize supply in the future and perhaps limit price spikes.

The Energy Commission expects MTBE to be out of the state's gasoline supply by mid-November.

Story by Erwin Seba



Message: 4
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 2003 00:03:57 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: China To Put Corn Into Gas Tanks To Clean Up

CHINA: (REUTERS) October 20, 2003:
JILIN, China - Jilin province, home to China's first car factory and also its biggest corn producer, is putting corn and cars together in a project to ease the country's exploding pollution ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Like many other agriculture giants such as Brazil, the United States, and India, the northeast province is using its huge farm surplus to make organic fuel that cuts pollution, and reduces dependency on petroleum imports at the same time.

Industry sources say China, which is the world's fastest growing car and energy market, could extend the use of ethanol gasoline throughout the country by 2005 if initial exploratory steps are successful. An Olympics shrouded in smog is not a scene China wants to show the world, but that is what it will look like, unless the traffic pollution in major cities is brought under control.

Turning grains into fuel also happens to allow the government to continue to subsidize agriculture outside its obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO), avoiding more social unrest from farmers who are now exposed to global competition. In Jilin, not far from the provincial capital Changchun, one of the world's largest fuel ethanol plants is currently gearing up for full operation.

From October 18, all car, truck and bus drivers in the province must blend into their gasoline 10 percent of the biofuel distilled from corn. A similar policy nationwide would make a significant dent in regular gasoline consumption, which totaled more than 37 million tonnes last year.

Fuel ethanol cuts greenhouse gas emissions that are held responsible for global warming. It can be produced also from wheat, sugar, rapeseed, palm oil, cassava or even recycled food oil, such as old frying oil collected from fast food restaurants.


Jilin Fuel plant is one of four Chinese ethanol plants under construction, including one in neighboring Heilongjiang, one in the eastern province Anhui, and another in wheat-producing Henan. "Such projects are viable only in grain-producing areas," Liu Yi, technical department manager told Reuters at the plant in the outskirts of Jilin city, from where the hills of the province's vast corn fields roll off far away and out of sight.

Jilin, which is three times the size of Austria, accounts for more than 10 percent of China's annual corn output of about 120 million tonnes, the second biggest after the United States. It takes about three tonnes of corn to produce one ton of ethanol.

Jilin Fuel will purchase corn from farmers and store it in silos at the sprawling complex. The air here is filled with a sweet smell, similar to a brewery, as it conducts test runs.

The plant cost 1.94 billion yuan (about $235 million) and is equipped with its own power generators as well as water treatment facilities, still a rarity for China.

Along with Beijing, the local government has provided favorable taxes and low-interest loans to the company. It has also promised subsidies to make up for the difference between gasoline and ethanol prices. Liu calculated ethanol to cost about 4,000 yuan ($484) per tonne, compared with gasoline at 2,700 yuan ($327) a tonne. With car sales doubling this year to over two million, the International Energy Agency forecast that China would overtake Japan next year as the second largest oil consumer after the United States. Jilin Fuel Ethanol, a joint venture between the China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China Resources Enterprises Ltd and Jilin Grain Group (JGG), is to convert 900,000 tonnes of corn into 300,000 tonnes of fuel ethanol each year. It plans to double its capacity to 600,000 tonnes after that.


China has recently been trying to pull back from grain export markets because it cannot continue to pay out the export subsidies it used to under WTO trade rules. "To help the fuel ethanol company is to help improve farmers income, restructure the old agriculture system and help maintain social stability," Hong Hu, governor of Jilin province, said. "It's a top government agenda item."

Over the past decade, China accumulated massive grains stocks as results of its policy of food security but these are now costing a fortune in storage fees, and are depressing prices of new crop, which hurts farmers. Jilin alone is estimated to have over 20 million tonnes of corn in stock.

"Maybe they are willing to say 'Okay this is in the name of fuel security and environmental protection ... we'll do this'," said one source in Beijing, who declined to be named. "And if the prices of grains go too high, that's good for the farmers."

Story by Nao Nakanishi

Great Lakes Daily News: 20 October 2003
A collaborative project of the Great Lakes Information Network and the Great
Lakes Radio Consortium.

For links to these stories and more, visit
Did you miss a day of Daily News? Remember to use our searchable story
archive at

New contaminants in the lakes?
The U.S. EPA and Canada are launching studies to look at emerging
contaminants, a new class of chemicals that is being found in water and fish
of the Great Lakes. Source: Great Lakes Radio Consortium (10/20)

Wisconsin board to rule on smelt fishing this week
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board is scheduled to decide this week
whether to forego a legislative request to let commercial smelt fishing
continue on Green Bay and instead keep a proposed five-year ban. Source:
Green Bay Press-Gazette (10/20)

COMMENTARY: Great Lakes need protection from foreign ship water, species
By stopping the introduction of invasive species through ballast water
tanks, one of the greatest threats to the U.S. waters and ecosystems can be
greatly reduced. Source: Detroit Free Press (10/20)

EDITORIAL: Cleaner rivers in Minnesota
Last week Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said "yes" to a major new initiative,
a conservation proposal for three of Minnesota's great rivers. Source:
Minneapolis Star Tribune (10/20)

Transportation or trees? A highway runs through it.
Growing cities mean more suburbs, more cars and, according to traditional
thinking, the need for more roads. But some people think new roads are not a
solution, but part of the problem. Source: Great Lakes Radio Consortium

CN Rail pays $500M for U.S. railways
Beefing up its cross-border steel transport services, Canadian National
Railway Co. says it will buy two small U.S. railways and a fleet of vessels
owned by Great Lakes Transportation LLC. Source: The Toronto Star (10/20)

Tapping into a resource
Believing that water can be an economic tonic, a group call HOhio is trying
to transform northeast Ohio from a rust belt region to a water-based mecca.
Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer (10/19)

COMMENTARY: American Indians have been stewards of Wisconsin lands for
While most of the news about Wisconsin's American Indians focuses on
gambling and casinos, they have been and continue to be especially good
stewards of the land and its resources. Source: The Shawano Leader (10/19)

EPA won't regulate sludge dioxins
The Environmental Protection Agency will let farmers and others use sewage
sludge as fertilizer without concern for the amount of dioxins, a class of
organic chemicals that the agency's studies have shown pose a possible
cancer risk in humans. Source: Duluth News Tribune (10/18)

Whiskey Island plan unveiled
A public wharf, bike rentals, an ecological center and a lookout tower are
some of the features Cuyahoga County would like to plant on Whiskey Island,
with Cleveland's help. Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer (10/18)

For links to these stories and more, visit

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There are 2 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Delaware Looks to Biodiesel to Fuel Vehicles
From: (Alternate Power)
2. Trend Favors Nuclear-Hydrogen Economy
From: (Alternate Power)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:06:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Delaware Looks to Biodiesel to Fuel Vehicles

06 May 2003:
By Randall Chase, Associated Press:
DOVER, Del. — Farmers in Delaware are looking hopefully toward biodiesel as a way to expand the market for their soybeans. A $60,000 federal grant is being used to study the feasibility of building a biodiesel production plant in Delaware, where soybeans, the most common ingredient in biodiesel, are the top agricultural crop. "It is an industry that's just getting started," said Marty Ross of Delmar, a soybean farmer and chairman of the Mid-Atlantic Biodiesel Exploratory Committee, the group leading the charge for a biodiesel production plant. Ross also is a member of a state energy task force subcommittee recommending the mandatory blending of biodiesel with conventional diesel fuel sold in Delaware. Biodiesel is a clean-burning alternative fuel made from animal fat or vegetable oil: anything from used restaurant grease to virgin soybean oil. Glycerin is removed from the fat or oil, and the resulting methyl esters are used for biodiesel, while the glycerin is sold for use in drugs, cosmetics, and other products. Nationwide, sales of biodiesel have soared from about 500,000 gallons in 1999 to an estimated 15 million gallons last year, said Joe Jobe, executive director of the National Biodiesel Board in Jefferson City, Mo. Jobe noted that low-percentage blends of biodiesel and conventional diesel fuel can be used in virtually all diesel applications, from trucks to farm equipment to boats, with no engine modifications. "The single biggest challenge is education," he added. "Biodiesel is still not a household world." Unlike conventional diesel fuel, biodiesel contains no sulfur or petroleum, meaning it burns much cleaner and reduces emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and particulates. Its high lubricity improves engine life, and the exhaust is far less noxious than the oily, black smoke often seen trailing behind diesel vehicles. Biodiesel fans also tout it as a domestic resource that can help reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Currently, there are about 20 biodiesel producers registered with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. That number may grow if Congress approves a reduction in the diesel fuel excise tax when biodiesel is blended with petroleum diesel, making biodiesel competitive on price, Jobe said. Delaware soybean farmers have struggled in recent years. Following last year's drought, they harvested about 4.6 million bushels of soybeans, down from 7 million bushels in 2001 and well below the record high of 9.2 million bushels in 2000. Advocates believe a biodiesel plant in Delaware could help boost soybean prices. They also say it would complement the region's poultry industry, which uses soybean meal for livestock feed and might even supply animal fat for biodiesel production. A report from a state energy task force subcommittee last month called for legislation requiring conventional diesel fuels sold in Delaware to contain 2 percent biodiesel, a blend known as B2. The subcommittee also called on the General Assembly to recognize biodiesel in state law for tax purposes and for the governor to require B20 — a blend of 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent petroleum diesel — in state vehicles. A spokesman said Gov. Ruth Ann Minner would consider it. "It's not only good for the environment, but it's good for Delaware farmers," Minner spokesman Greg Patterson said. Currently, state fleets, including those of the agriculture, natural resources, and transportation departments, are the largest users of biodiesel in Delaware. Biodiesel pumps aren't yet widely available to the public, with the first two opening just this year.


Message: 2
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 20:06:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: (Alternate Power)
Subject: Trend Favors Nuclear-Hydrogen Economy

By John C. Zink, Ph.D., P.E.,
Contributing Editor:
A prominent environmentalist has observed that societies exhibit a natural trend toward the use of more-concentrated energy sources. He concluded that, regardless of government energy policy, people use ever-more hydrogen-rich fuels. Ultimately, this trend could lead to a hydrogen-based economy, with nuclear energy in the pivotal role of producing the hydrogen. In last May's column I discussed one such scenario: Chauncey Starr's proposal for a nuclear-hydrogen "SuperGrid." Researchers are now bringing these visions closer to reality by addressing which nuclear technologies would be most appropriate for hydrogen production.

Last April, Jesse H. Ausubel, director of the Program for the Human Environment and Senior Research Associate at The Rockefeller University, spoke to scientists at the George C. Marshall Institute about historical trends in energy use. Ausubel observed that, over the past 130 years, there has been a long-term evolution in society's dominant energy sources. This trend has manifested itself in three waves, with one overriding trend, which Ausubel calls decarbonization.

Ausubel notes that end users have steadily increased the spatial density of energy they consume, as civilization has progressed from tribes in the wilderness, to an agrarian society, to an urban society. Following this trend, the commonly used fuel sources have increased in energy intensity, and have progressed from sources with high carbon content to those with lower carbon content. And as the carbon content has decreased, the hydrogen content has increased. Wood, the most primitive fuel, has a carbon to hydrogen ratio of 10:1. Progressing to coal, oil, and natural gas, the carbon to hydrogen ratio progresses from 2:1 to 1:2 to 1:4. In 1988, Ausubel and some colleagues extrapolated this 130-year trend to the year 2100. They projected that, by then, carbon will disappear entirely from the fuel supply. Furthermore, this trend appears to be stable: it continued through such societal upheavals as economic depressions and wars; and the trend seems impervious to interference from government energy planners.

It is instructive to consider the relevance of these observations to our current energy policy debate. First, the trend observed by Ausubel seems to indicate that the projected steady increase in CO2 emissions which so alarms the global warming advocates is an artifice of their own computer models; it is not a verifiable long-term trend. Second, to the extent to which energy policy can accelerate the trend, Ausubel says, "In the case of the USA, the policy prescriptions are simple: favor gas, hydrogen and nuclear." Ausubel offers the prognostication that, "Over the longer term, the production of hydrogen is what will improve the economics of nuclear power, much more than standardizing plants or building plants more quickly; it gives nuclear power plants something to do 24 hours a day."

In the February 2003 issue of Nuclear News, Charles Forsberg, Paul Pickard and Per Peterson note that there is currently a large and growing U.S. market for commercial hydrogen. (If the president's proposed $1.3 billion project to develop a hydrogen fuel cell powered car succeeds, that market eventually may exceed even the electricity market.) The authors observe that the Advanced High-Temperature Reactor (AHTR) concept, proposed for the Department of Energy's Generation IV nuclear plant development program, is specifically designed for hydrogen production. The AHTR uses graphite-matrix coated-particle fuel and high-temperature molten salt coolant. Because of its high-temperature operation, the AHTR is capable of high-temperature electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen. The hot electrolysis method uses both electricity and heat to convert water to hydrogen and oxygen, yielding a thermal-to-hydrogen efficiency twice that of the low-temperature electrolysis process. According to the authors, Japanese researchers think this may reduce the cost of hydrogen production by as much as 40 percent.
Contrary to Ausubel's expectation of dual-use nuclear plants, the Nuclear News authors observe that, to be practical, an AHTR would be built to produce either electricity or hydrogen, but not both. They note that, "Experience with high-temperature chemical plants is that cyclic operation results in serious reliability problems." So it is clear that engineers must still work out a lot of the details pertaining to the hydrogen economy. Nevertheless, it seems that knowledgeable people from diverse areas of science and engineering are concluding that the nuclear-hydrogen energy system holds great promise for the world's future energy needs.

While it is risky to project the future as an extrapolation of the past, Ausubel's predictions are especially compelling because they come from an understanding of the reasons behind the fuel-use trend. Similarly, those who understand nuclear technology recognize its inherent merits and are developing its unique potential to contribute to the hydrogen economy. I would not argue that the nuclear-hydrogen future envisioned by Starr, Ausubel and others is inevitable, but it seems to be the most-plausible long-term energy scenario for sustaining a thriving economy.

(Thanks to reader Patrick Chapman for pointing out the Ausubel speech, which is available on the Marshall Institute Web site.) Power Engineering April, 2003