Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peak Phosphorus May Follow Peak Oil

From Facebook:  David Brin - We  face a crisis in phosphorus, which Asimov called “life’s bottleneck.” The best deposits of phosphate rock, source of phosphorus for fertilizer, will be gone in 50 to 100 years. Yet we flush it away: human urine is an effective fertilizer when combined with wood ash, lessening the need for agricultural chemicals. We must begin to efficiently recycle/capture the phosphorus in wastewater.

The global demand for phosphate rock, a source of phosphorus for fertilizer, could outstrip supply in 20 years. To avert a future food crisis, researchers say, the world must shift away from mining phosphate rock and recycle more phosphorus from human and animal waste.

Here’s an excellent site: 15 Facts you absolutely need to know about phosphorus:
Phosphorus is essential to growing sufficient food to feed a burgeoning population. Three countries control 73% of the world’s known reserves of phosphate rock, with China and Morocco being major suppliers; Europe has virtually no reserves. The U.S. has reserves in Florida and North Carolina, which may be depleted in a few decades. Yet, there’s enormous overuse/waste of phosphorus; runoff of phosphorus in waterways causes algal blooms, which leave dead zones. It’s crucial to recapture/recycle phosphorus instead of flushing it away. Sweden is leading the way, developing new toilets to separate wastewater for agricultural use.

Pecunia non olet, Latin for “Money does not smell”, referred to the tax on urine instigated by Roman emperor Nero. Urine was collected in pots from public latrines, where it was sold for use by tanners and launderers; these buyers paid the urine tax. Later, Emperor Vespanius taxed the people using the public toilets. Urban mining of our wastes will be the wave of the future:,1518,690450-2,00.html

Urine contains abundant nitrogen, phosphorus & potassium. Tests showing that human urine is an effective fertilizer:

GM's Volt out, Porshce steps out.

GM's Volt is out at $41,000

Meanwhile Porsche jumps into the game

Let's not forget Volkswagon


(added by John)  from Slashdot:
"The Porsche 918 Spyder hybrid supercar, first shown as a concept at this spring's Geneva Motor Show, got official approval as a production model today from the company's board of directors. Just consider the specs: a 500-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-8 engine with a 9200-rpm redline, 0-to-62-mph acceleration of 3.2 seconds, and top speed of 198 miles per hour. Oh, and did we mention it gets 78 miles per gallon on the European cycle? The astounding fuel efficiency comes courtesy of an E-Drive mode that lets the 918 Spyder drive up to 16 miles on pure electric power, though [ahem] not at 198 mph."

Electric Vehicles Charging Stations Exempted from Public Utility Regulations

KQED's California Money has a short report:

At the same time in NY and NJ

Partners With Laz Parking to Provide Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Throughout the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan Areas


Nuclear Energy Now More Expensive Than Solar

From Slashdot:

"According to an article on the New York Times, a historical cross-over has occurred because of the declining costs of solar vs. the increasing costs of nuclear energy: solar, hardly the cheapest of renewable technologies, is now cheaper than nuclear, at around 16 cents per kilowatt hour. Furthermore, the NY Times reports that financial markets will not finance the construction of nuclear power plants unless the risk of default (which is historically as high as 50 percent for the nuclear industry) is externalized to someone else through federal loan guarantees or ratepayer funding. The bottom line seems to be that nuclear is simply not competitive, and the push from the US government to subsidize it seems to be forcing the wrong choice on the market."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Future of Electric Cars

On Thursday, July 29, 2010, KQED's Forum Program discusses the future of electric cars.

Guests from GM, EPRI, & NRDC. Or if you like, car producer (rep), energy producer (rep) & environmentalist.


  • Britta Gross, director of global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization for General Motors
  • Mark Duvall, director of electric transportation for the Electric Power Research Institute
  • Simon Mui, clean vehicles and fuels scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

KQED's Forum discusses with experts the status of solar energy in California

This hour show discusses the viability for home owners. This in light of recent actions by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Future of Solar in California

  • Danny Kennedy, president and co-founder of Sungevity, a Berkeley-based residential solar installation company.
  • Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Germany
  • Severin Borenstein, professor at U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business and co-director of The Energy Institute
  • Todd Woody, reporter for The New York Times and Los Angeles Times

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tesla/Toyota progress on All Electric

ON Mon, Jul 12, 2010 -- 3:57 PM KQED Radio's "California Money" reports:
Toyota is reportedly developing battery-powered test versions of its Lexus-RX and RAV-4. Some details given.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Power Grids, Energy Storage and the Politics

NPR's Fresh Air interviews journalist Joel Achenbach about the modern issues with update the Power Grid System, Storing the energy, and the politics of the moving target. He talks about the "Smart Grid" in popular terms -- Not much technical details.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

"Living on Earth" Gets the Straight Poop on Bacteria Eating Oil

Microbiologist Ronald Atlas, at the University of Louisville, has real experience with dealing with bacteria to eat oil, etc., and testified in front of Congress and the White House.

Public Radio tracks California's Progess to be 33% green power by 2020

This link will track the progress in a series. But the first two parts are extremely interesting. A green company (Solargen) tries build a solar farm, but get local opposition. Includes maps, videos, and interactive information.