"Inauspicious as it may look, what happens on this patch of ground in the coming months could help determine the future of Britain’s, and even Europe’s, approach to shale gas. The energy source has made the United States, for one, suddenly self-sufficient in natural gas, but it raises environmental concerns that have made many countries on this side the Atlantic dead set against it. Shale gas is extracted by the technique known as hydraulic fracturing — or fracking, the harsh-sounding word that can stir the passions of the technology’s harshest critics. In France, the nation’s highest court recently upheld the government’s right to ban fracking. In Germany, fracking activity is suspended at least until a new government is formed. But within the European Union, Britain — struggling to confront its energy future as its North Sea oil reserves are depleted, dirty coal is demonized and nuclear power remains expensive and geopolitically fraught — stands out as the country in which the government has officially encouraged the development of shale gas. Prime Minister David Cameron has thrown his support behind shale gas drilling, hoping to reap some of the benefits seen in the United States."
The US was on pace to achieve global energy domination on Friday, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil and natural gas producer.
New estimates released on Friday by the Energy Information Administration showed America pulling ahead of both countries in oil and natural gas production for 2013.
The rise to the top was fuelled by new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations – especially in North Dakota and Texas.
A lone oil Derrick works late with no supervision. Kern County California
Lone Horse (by 17Millimeters)
Despite the disgust, as well as the inconvenience, there’s actually some good news about fatbergs. Made of dense fats and oils, the structures are highly caloric, which makes them helpful for producing energy.
Rob Smith, a man with the enviable title of London’s “chief flusher,” told us that simply removing the fat and burning it in a turbine can produce more than 130 gigawatt-hours of energy each year, or about enough to power 40,000 London homes. The city plans to put the 15-ton berg to the same use, creating some very real cracks in the term clean energy.
Germany produced a record 23.9 gigawatts of electricity yesterday from thousands of solar photovoltaic systems yesterday, according to SMA Solar Technology.
Despite setting yet another solar world record, the collapse of Germany’s solar energy industry seems to be spreading downstream from manufacturers to distributors and installers.
"Congressional supporters of unlimited exports argue that turning the U.S. into a major net exporter of LNG would not only boost our economy and create jobs, but also — seeming to defy the basic tenets of supply and demand — sustain low domestic natural gas prices, increase our energy security and propel us to energy independence. Some have even contended that such exports would smooth out boom-and-bust cycles and stabilize the price of natural gas. By law, the Natural Gas Act requires the Department of Energy to grant export permits of LNG to non-free trade agreement countries only if such exports are deemed in the public interest. LNG exports to countries the U.S. has free-trade agreements with, such as Canada and Mexico, do not require a public interest determination. On the Senate floor last month, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) argued, “What could be inconsistent with this for the public interest? This is something that would be cheaper gas for us and give us total independence in a matter of weeks."
A deeply flawed study that ignores the harmful environmental and health impacts of gas drilling is being used to rally for exports.
"Japan says it has successfully extracted natural gas from frozen methane hydrate off its central coast, in a world first. Methane hydrates, or clathrates, are a type of frozen “cage” of molecules of methane and water. The gas field is about 50km away from Japan’s main island, in the Nankai Trough. Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs."
Japan extracts gas from methane hydrate in world first
Methane clathrate - ‘Fire ice’
- Hydrates, or clathrates, are a frozen mixture of water and gas, primarily methane
- The methane molecules reside inside a water molecule lattice
- The methane will ignite in ice form - hence the “fire ice” moniker
- Clathrates tend to form under frigid temperatures and high pressures
- They are found in ocean sediments and under the permafrost on land
- Vast deposits are thought to exist, rivalling known reserves of traditional fossil fuels
Alternative Energy Revolution
~*~* high voltage sunrise *~*~
What’s the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun’s not out and the wind’s not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: “We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap.”
Donald Sadoway is working on a battery miracle — an inexpensive, incredibly efficient, three-layered battery using “liquid metal.” Full bio »
With a giant battery, we’d be able to address the problem of intermittency that prevents wind and solar from contributing to the grid in the same way that coal and gas and nuclear do today.” (Donald Sadoway)