(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Urban housing needs are overstretched worldwide, with 54 percent of the global population of 7.2 billion now living in cities, says the United Nation’s World’s Urbanisation Prospects 2014 report. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 6.33 billion of a predicted world population of 9.6 billion.
Talk about flying under the radar! While the White House and Congress are in gridlock, with the legislative body doing everything they can to ensure that nothing is being done about climate change, a number of provisions that were included in the 2007 Energy and Security Act that was passed during the Bush administration are quietly being used to produce enormous energy savings for the American people.
According to a white paper by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), actions that have already been taken, are planned, or that are now underway, could have a net present value, through 2040, of $2.6 trillion. That’s roughly equivalent to the entire US government tax revenue for the year 2013. It also equates to 34 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and a reduction of energy consumption equivalent to 3.4 million barrels a day. For comparison purposes, the US has been emitting somewhere between 5 and 6 billion metric tons per year since 1990 and imports roughly 9 million barrels of oil per day. That works out to an annual reduction in emissions exceeding 20%.
These actions are being taken through various Federal agencies including DOE, EPA, Dept. of Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These include appliance standards (both existing and proposed), vehicle standards (existing and proposed), power plant standard (proposed), and housing policies (existing and proposed). Results are shown for the cumulative estimated savings by 2040 in the table below.
(3BL Media/Just Means) - When we think of Canada, the country’s vast and spectacular natural resources spring to mind. In relation to forestry, we often think of lumberjacks in plaid shirts felling whole forests. But the times have changed and so have forestry practices. With dwindling forest coverage all over the world, Canada faces international scrutiny over the sustainability of its forest-based industries.
(3BL Media/Justmeans) - One thing we can say for sure: people are not likely to give up the convenience, freedom and utility offered by motorized transportation as long as there are options available. Given that our current fleet of gasoline and diesel powered cars and trucks are emitting huge amounts of climate-wrecking carbon dioxide, it’s clear that things have got to change. With all the options on the table: hybrids, electric, hydrogen, compressed air, and a myriad of alternative fuels, it’s anyone’s guess how things will look, even a few years from now, never mind a couple of decades down the road.
Ultimately, if we are going to stick around, we’ll be driving cleaner cars—the cleaner the better, and the sooner the better. What if we could drive a car that used today’s technology, only powered by burning water? That would certainly be very clean—no carbon, no methane, no particulates, sulfur or nitrogen. Of course, we know that water doesn’t burn, but diesel fuel does. And researchers have known for years that a small amount of water can be added to diesel fuel to extend fuel economy while also burning cooler and cleaner. Generally speaking, experiments have found reductions as high as 90% in particulate matter as well as a 37% decrease in NOx.
This can be accomplished with a water-fuel emulsion achieved by blending the two liquids together as if making a milkshake. Researchers in New Zealand found that a mixture containing 12-15% water worked best. The problem with this is, like with a milkshake, that if you let it sit for a while the two liquids will begin to separate at which point the engine will stall. So the challenge has been to find a way to stabilize the emulsion.
Now, a British company called SulNOx Fuel Fusions claims to have found a way utilizing nanotechnology to create fuel-water emulsion that they call “white diesel.” According to a company press release this emulsion improves fuel economy and reduces emissions “by improving atomization of the fuel and lowering engine temperatures. “
The presence of water in the emulsion has the effect of “breaking down the fuel particles [which] increases their surface area which helps the fuel to burn more completely and efficiently.”