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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

56
votes
Israel Sees Gas as Key to Transforming Mideast Relations

Bloomberg -- After this summer’s war in Gaza battered Israel’s international reputation, the country’s leaders say they have a new foreign policy tool to build relations with its neighbors: natural gas.

By the the end of the year, Israel may have binding agreements to sell billions of dollars of gas to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. Preliminary talks are taking place with customers in Turkey, even though President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is among Israel’s fiercest critics. Gas may even help improve relationships in the Gaza Strip.

“There are now extraordinary opportunities for Israel based on energy policy, both economically and diplomatically,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon. “This is a real game-changer of common interests and benefits for many actors in the...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 14, 2014 By:
1332 Comments

50
votes
Gulf Coast crude imports fall to lowest level in 6 years

Fuel Fix -- Gulf Coast crude imports fell to their lowest levels in six years thanks to a resurgence in U.S. oil production, according to a new report by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Advances in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have unleashed vast new supplies of U.S. oil, reducing the nation’s need for foreign crude, particularly from West Africa, according to OPEC’s monthly oil market report released Friday.

The Gulf Coast, a six-state region including Texas and Louisiana that is home to more than half the nation’s refining capacity, imported 3.5 million barrels of crude oil per day in July, the latest data available by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The next report is due out later this month.

Despite the flood of domestic crude, refiners have been  (read more)

Submitted Oct 14, 2014 By:
1449 Comments

43
votes
Utilities, major retailers uncovering multi-millions in energy savings

fierceenergy.com -- This year, the Environmental Defense Fund's EDF Climate Corps of fellows has uncovered $130 million in potential energy savings

(snip)

For example, in China this year, EDF fellows worked with Apple, Walmart, McDonald's, Cummins and Legrand, identifying tens of millions of dollars in savings opportunities through improved energy efficiency in the companies' facilities, suppliers and retail outlets.

Freight movement accounts for 16 percent of all corporate greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and companies have the power and financial incentive to reduce their environmental impact in this area. In this regard, Ocean Spray has been working with EDF to identify reductions in its transmission emission by shipping a portion of their products by train instead of freight trucks.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 14, 2014 By:
1410 Comments

40
votes
Demand soars for collision-avoidance sensors

GasBuddy Blog -- Fully autonomous cars may be a decade away, but the sensors they'll need for collision avoidance -- radar, cameras, ultrasound and lidar -- have become a big business already.  Global sales of anti-crash sensors will total $9.90 billion in 2020 -- up from $3.94 billion this year, predicts IHS Automotive, a research firm based in suburban Detroit. Radar and cameras will account for the lion's share of that revenue, followed by ultrasound and 'lidar', according to the IHS forecast.Lidar, the sensor of choice used on Google's driverless car, will generate relatively small sales by 2020. It uses pulsed laser light to measure distances....  (read more)

Submitted Oct 14, 2014 By:
2358 Comments

38
votes
Lower gas prices spark fueling frenzy

The Boston Globe -- Gas price wars are breaking out in Eastern Massachusetts, with pump prices at several stations falling below $3 a gallon for the first time in years.

“My employees are really tired,” said John Mancuso, owner of Bay Village Auto in Bourne, which featured full-service pump prices on Friday of $2.89 a gallon. “We’re doing tremendous sales.”
The demand was so great, the station ran out of fuel during the weekend.

“It’s been crazy busy,” said Sal Succar, owner of Sal’s service station in Holbrook, where cars have lined up to buy regular gas at $2.88 a gallon.

Average gas prices in the state remain above $3 per gallon, but the trend nonetheless has been steadily downward. The average price of regular unleaded in Massachusetts on Monday was $3.30 a gallon, down from $3.45  (read more)

Submitted Oct 14, 2014 By:
66 Comments

Monday, October 13, 2014

66
votes
Forget What You’ve Heard: Oil and Gas Are Actually "Renewable" Resources

The Motley Fool -- Scientists are using algae to create a biofuel that closely resembles crude oil. This's actually not all that surprising given that most of the oil found in shale is thought to come from marine algae that was buried and converted into oil as it cooked underground over time. However a new process discovered by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has found a way to speed up the cooking process so that it can now convert a small mixture of algae and water into a kind of crude oil in less than an hour.

The process, which is called hydrothermal liquefaction, can even be used on other organic material like municipal sewage and be used as a drop in oil feedstock for refineries that process crude oil. Given the rapid time this oil can be created...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 13, 2014 By:
1061 Comments

61
votes
Gasoline prices fall to lowest level since November

l -- The average price of regular gasoline in the U.S. slid to the lowest level in more than 10 months, dropping 11.6 cents in the three weeks that ended Friday to $3.26 a gallon, according to a survey of gasoline retailers.

Prices are 12.5 cents lower than a year ago, according to a survey by Lundberg Survey Inc. in Camarillo. The survey is based on information obtained from 2,500 filling stations.

The cost of higher-grade gasoline also fell, with midgrade averaging $3.48 and premium $3.64. Retail diesel sold for an average of $3.74, according to the survey.Trilby Lundberg, president of Lundberg Survey, said gasoline prices have decreased for 16 consecutive weeks because of lower crude oil prices.

The average cost of regular gasoline is now at its lowest point since Nov. 22, and pump pri  (read more)

Submitted Oct 13, 2014 By:
1296 Comments

60
votes
Lego to Scrap Shell Deal After Protests

boston.com -- COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish toy maker Lego said Thursday it won’t renew a deal allowing Shell to hand out Lego sets at its gas stations in some 30 countries, following a viral campaign protesting Arctic drilling.

Environmental activists Greenpeace launched in July a video showing an Arctic landscape with a Shell drilling platform made of Lego bricks covered in oil.

Lego CEO Joergen Vig Knudstorp said the protest ‘‘may have created misunderstandings among our stakeholders,’’ adding the company didn’t want to be embroiled in the environmental campaign.

The world’s largest toy maker ‘‘should never have become part of Greenpeace’s dispute with Shell,’’ Vig Knudstorp said. He added Lego had urged Greenpeace to have a direct conversation with Shell.

Under the deal Lego signed with She  (read more)

Submitted Oct 13, 2014 By:
1454 Comments

59
votes
Rebuilding boom coming at Michigan power plants

Detroit Free Press -- Efforts to battle global warming and climate change by limiting carbon dioxide emissions are likely to produce a massive building boom at Michigan power plants in years to come, potentially creating thousands of jobs.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is refining its proposed clean air regulations that would require states to dramatically lower output of greenhouse gases over the next 15 years. For Michigan, the targeted reduction is 31% over 2012 levels.

Gerard Anderson, CEO of DTE Energy, estimated the emissions regulation will lead to the retirement of half or more of the coal-fired generation in Michigan. That capacity will be replaced with natural gas and wind power, both requiring big new investment in facilities. For the state as a whole across several power companies,...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 13, 2014 By:
74 Comments

57
votes
Why Self-Driving Cars Will Change Retirement

Wall Street Journal -- When it comes to advances in technology, young adults are often the first to embrace change. But it’s the 50-plus crowd that could end up as early adopters of a coming revolution in transportation: self-driving cars.

Most major auto makers already are testing such vehicles. In May, Google , the Mountain View, Calif., search giant, which has pioneered the self-driving idea, unveiled its latest prototype car—with no steering wheel, and no accelerator or brake pedals.

We recently visited with Brad Templeton, who consulted on the Google car team in 2011 and 2012 and now teaches at Singularity University in Silicon Valley. He noted that self-driving vehicles still face significant regulatory hurdles (think: liability and insurance) and that widespread use is probably decades away.

 (read more)

Submitted Oct 13, 2014 By:
240 Comments

Sunday, October 12, 2014

71
votes
An Industrial-Size Generator That Runs on Waste Heat, Using No Fuel

MIT Technology Review -- Power plants waste huge amounts of energy as heat—about 40 to 80% of the total in the fuel they burn. A new device could reduce that waste, cutting fuel consumption and carbon emissions by as much as 3% and saving companies millions of dollars.

The generator makes use of a novel, highly efficient thermoelectric material discovered recently at the University of Michigan. Thermoelectric materials, which convert heat into electricity, have been around for decades, but they have always been too expensive to use outside extreme situations—in spacecraft, for example.

Matt Scullin, the CEO of Alphabet Energy, the startup that developed the new device, says connecting it to the exhaust pipe of a 1,000-kilowatt generator will yield enough electricity to save 52,500 liters of diesel fuel a year  (read more)

Submitted Oct 12, 2014 By:
1385 Comments

69
votes
Industry players learn from polar-vortex winter as they prepare for new season

The Canadian Press -- OTTAWA - Hang on to your wallet and put on an extra sweater.

Energy industry players say they've learned from last year's so-called polar vortex and are bracing for what the Farmer's Almanac says will be another bitterly cold season — one that's already being dubbed the "T-Rex" of winters.

But a number of factors, including unpredictable winter temperatures and the strength of the Canadian dollar, could create a perfect storm and trigger a spike in energy prices, much like the one that occurred last year.

As it prepares next month's annual prediction of what lies ahead for the 2014-15 heating season, the National Energy Board says it's basically a crap shoot.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 12, 2014 By:
1130 Comments

67
votes
Drilling in backyards equals cash for land owners

Detroit Free Press -- A little-known source of revenue for Livonia, the city's longtime Mayor Jack Kirksey said, is three — and soon, possibly four — active oil wells.

"It's a subtle operation," Kirksey said. "They don't see it, they don't smell it, they don't taste it. Even if I told you where they were, I'd have to give you a map so you can find them."

One of the three wells in Livonia, he said, is on the campus of Schoolcraft College.

New technology in the past decade, such as three-dimensional imaging and horizontal drilling, has led to an oil and gas boom in places like North Dakota, and put more wells in urban and suburban areas so some landowners and cities can reap a steady income.

As oil and gas production surges, cities like Youngstown, Ohio, that declined as industry left it are trying to revive.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 12, 2014 By:
88 Comments

64
votes
How to install solar power and save

Boston Globe -- It’s never been easier or more financially appealing.

By now everyone knows that solar power can save homeowners big money on utility bills. But doesn’t it also cost big money to install? It doesn’t have to. (Read on.) Isn’t there a big learning curve? Nope. “You don’t need to know anything,” Thomas says. “It just runs.” And does it even work during dreary New England winters? Yes, as long as you have land or a roof that’s not shaded by trees or other buildings and is oriented correctly (south-facing is ideal but not mandatory). “Even snow doesn’t matter if your panels have a steep angle,” says Henry K. Vandermark, founder and president of Solar Wave Energy in Cambridge. “It just slides right off them.”

There are two kinds of solar power: photovoltaic, or PV, which produces electricity,  (read more)

Submitted Oct 12, 2014 By:
86 Comments

64
votes
Reducing your carbon bootprint - electric vehicles for countryfolk

Nanowerk -- Electric vehicles in towns and cities are not the answer to pollution problems and climate change, but they might help country folk reduce their carbon bootprints. Researchers in the UK are questioning the received wisdom regarding the promotion of electric vehicles in towns and cities.

Writing in the International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management ("Urban, sub-urban or rural: where is the best place for electric vehicles?"), they suggest that the evidence of benefits in terms of energy usage and emissions points to electric vehicle use in sub-urban and rural settings as being much stronger.
 (read more)

Submitted Oct 12, 2014 By:
917 Comments

Saturday, October 11, 2014

57
votes
OPEC’s Biggest Supply Boost Since ’11 Spurs Bear Market

Bloomberg -- OPEC increased oil production by the most in almost three years, helping to drive prices toward a bear market. Iran and Saudi Arabia offered their oil at the deepest discounts since 2008, adding to speculation that members of the group are competing for market share.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which supplies 40 percent of the world’s oil, increased output by 402,000 barrels a day in September to 30.47 million the group’s Vienna-based secretariat said in a monthly report. Iran matched Saudi Arabia yesterday by cutting the price of its main export grade to Asia by $1 a barrel according to two people with knowledge of the pricing decision.

Brent futures, the international benchmark traded at a four-year low today. Saudi Arabia told OPEC it raised output 11 percent...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 11, 2014 By:
166 Comments

56
votes
200-Mile Electric Car Confirmed By GM

Cleantechnica -- Since last summer there have been rumors that GM is building a $30,000 electric car with a driving range of 200 miles, and the Detroit Free Press reports that GM has confirmed the existence of this EV, minus any revealing details.

Select investors and media were invited to check out several upcoming GM vehicles, though no cameras or phones were allowed, and press were limited to audio feed only. As such, we don’t know much of anything about this $30,000 electric car GM is supposedly building, other than that it does actually exist. The technology is separate from the Voltec drivetrain found in the Chevy Volt and Cadillac ELR, as well as GM’s only pure electric car, the Chevy Spark EV.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 11, 2014 By:
1427 Comments

55
votes
Holiday Drivers Closest to Paying $3 Gasoline in 4 Years

Bloomburg -- The premium of gasoline at the pump to futures prices has widened to almost $1 a gallon for the first time since 2012, foreshadowing further declines for motorists and bringing U.S. holiday travelers closer to $3 gasoline than they’ve been in four years.

Gasoline for November delivery settled at $2.2575 a gallon on the New York Mercantile Exchange today, 98.25 cents below the retail price posted by Heathrow, Florida-based motoring club AAA. That’s the biggest gap since October 2012, which was the last time the discount topped $1. The futures, which help dictate retail costs, have dropped about 40 cents in the past two weeks while prices at the pump are down 10 cents.

The widening spread indicates that filling stations have yet to match declines in futures, according to Michael Green,  (read more)

Submitted Oct 11, 2014 By:
552 Comments

55
votes
Electric vehicles sell power back to the grid

GasBuddy Blog -- In the 1990s, Willett Kempton, a professor at the University of Delaware, proposed in a paper that electric vehicles could help pay for themselves by selling power back to the grid. When no one jumped on the idea, he decided to develop the technology himself.Now, the pilot project he spearheaded at the university in conjunction with power-plant operator NRG Energy Inc. brings in roughly $110 a month per electric vehicle. The operation uses software to link a minimum of nine electric vehicles, mostly Mini Coopers, together into a virtual power plant on wheels that can both draw energy from the grid and discharge energy when needed.“We’re not earning enough money to get rich,” says Dr. Kempton. But “it earns money, and it earns more money than it costs to do it.”...  (read more)

Submitted Oct 11, 2014 By:
3482 Comments

54
votes
EPA's Rules On CO2 Emissions Will Kill The Economy

Investor's Business Daily -- Regulation: In Washington, no good deed goes unpunished. So it's no surprise that Obama regulators want to impose giant new costs on the Texas economy — the very state that has led the nation in job creation.

We're referring to the Environmental Protection Agency's new "Clean Power Plan" to reduce carbon emissions from electric power plants. These rules are estimated by the Heritage Foundation to cost the national economy some $2 trillion in lost GDP and 600,000 jobs through the next decade.

But a new study shows that some states are much bigger losers than others. Just eight — Texas, Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma — will absorb almost as much of the carbon-reduction requirements as the other 42 states combined. Texas and Florida are responsible  (read more)

Submitted Oct 11, 2014 By:
220 Comments

Friday, October 10, 2014

62
votes
Electrically conductive plastics promising for batteries, solar cells

Purdue University News -- An emerging class of electrically conductive plastics called "radical polymers” may bring low-cost, transparent solar cells, flexible and lightweight batteries, and ultrathin antistatic coatings for consumer electronics and aircraft.

Researchers have established the solid-state electrical properties of one such polymer, called PTMA, which is about 10 times more electrically conductive than common semiconducting polymers.

"It's a polymer glass that conducts charge, which seems like a contradiction because glasses are usually insulators," said Bryan Boudouris, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Purdue University.

The polymer is easy to manufacture, resembling Plexiglas, an inexpensive transparent plastic found in numerous products.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 10, 2014 By:
1354 Comments

59
votes
Crude prices fall to lowest levels in years as market pressures converge

Fuel Fix -- Crude oil prices fell to the lowest levels since 2012 Thursday, as concerns about both oversupply and a weak global economy weighed on traders.

U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude fell $1.54 to $85.77 a barrel in Thursday trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell $1.62 in London trading to to $89.76, near its lowest levels since 2012.

Both crudes have slid about 20 percent since this summer, first as traders feared that rising production would flood the market and then that tepid global growth would weaken demand for crude oil.

Lackluster Demand

Growth for oil demand – which is tied closely to economic growth – has slipped recently as worries about the broader global economy have outweighed better news from the United States.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 10, 2014 By:
1466 Comments

56
votes
Trucks to drive with current collectors on a public road for the first time

Phys.org -- Trucks will soon drive with current collectors on a public road for the first time, thanks to overhead cables that Siemens is installing for electric and hybrid trucks in Carson, California. Up to four test trucks will be supplied with electricity in both directions, enabling them to travel along the two-mile eHighway system without producing any emissions. The technology will be tested in practice until mid-2016. Siemens is running the project in cooperation with Volvo Group's Mack Trucks subsidiary and the conversion specialist Transpower.

According to experts, freight traffic will increase threefold by 2050. As a result, far more trucks will be on the road in the future, despite the expansion of railways.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 10, 2014 By:
509 Comments

55
votes
Gas Prices Drop Below $3.00

ABC 22 Dayton -- MIAMI VALLEY-- Gas prices are continuing to drop across the Miami Valley. Dropping below $3.00 a gallon for drivers.

The National average for a gallon of regular is $3.25. The average gas price in Ohio is $3.11 cents per gallon of regular.

According to AAA the dip in prices is due to less demand for fuel.

In the u-s oil production also has increased dramatically, our increased supply, is protecting the U.S. from overseas conflicts and instability, which previously would have caused prices to spike at the pump.

AAA predicts that the gas prices will continue to fall, expecting the National average could drop below $3.00 a gallon by December.  (read more)

Submitted Oct 10, 2014 By:
108 Comments

54
votes
Oil bulls keep faith Saudi supply cuts will revive price

Bloomburg -- Ignore the talk of an OPEC price war, say crude market bulls. Oil’s next move was spelled out inSaudi Arabia’s own words.

Price cuts announced by the Saudis, including the biggest discounts for Asia since 2008, sparked speculation that the world’s biggest crude exporter would let oil tumble rather than cede market share to rivals in OPEC.

This is misguided, said UBS AG and BNP Paribas SA. Brent is below the $95-to-$110 range endorsed by Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi, ensuring the country will curb output, they said.

Brent, the European benchmark, fell into a bear market amid a surplus of U.S. shale oil and weaker economic growth. The discounts prompted predictions that Saudi Arabia would tolerate lower prices to deter investment in higher-cost U.S. shale. The advance of Islamist milit  (read more)

Submitted Oct 10, 2014 By:
232 Comments