Future Energy eNews        IntegrityResearchInstitute.org     Aug.  6,  2006

1) A Fuel Tank Full of Water - Cars that run on water now possible with boron

2) Zero-Point Energy Casimir Based Device – Dr. Pinto’s Casimir force Transcaver(TM)

3) Nano Refrigerator - Same idea that may be used to rectify nonthermal fluctuations from ZPE

4) G-8 Energy Focus is on Oil - Renewable energy still not impacting the big eight

5) Free Power for Cars - Thermoelectrics can power cars. Tech Review says, "Why not now?"

6) Top Scientist Make Climate Plea - More money for "new energy technologies" urged on BBC

7) Ford Abandons Pledge on Hybrid Production - Choosing other options including E85 fuel

8) IRI Confirms Dr. Pinto for COFE2 - Zero point energy pioneer will keynote conference  

1) A Fuel Tank Full of Water

David Adam, New Scientist Print Edition, 01 August 2006, http://www.newscientisttech.com/channel/tech/mg19125621.200.html


Zero-emission transport system

Forget cars fuelled by alcohol and vegetable oil. Before long, you might be able to run your car with nothing more than water in its fuel tank. It would be the ultimate zero-emissions vehicle.

While water, plain old H2O, is not at first sight an obvious power source, it has a key virtue: it is an abundant source of hydrogen, the element widely touted as the green fuel of the future. If that hydrogen could be liberated on demand, it would overcome many of the obstacles that till now have prevented the dream of a hydrogen-powered car becoming reality. Producing hydrogen by conventional industrial means is expensive, inefficient and often polluting. Then there are the problems of storing and transporting hydrogen. The pressure tanks required to hold usable quantities of the fuel are heavy and cumbersome, which restricts the car's performance and range.

Tareq Abu-Hamed, now at the University of Minnesota, and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, have devised a scheme that gets round these problems. By reacting water with the element boron, their system produces hydrogen that can be burnt in an internal combustion engine or fed to a fuel cell to generate electricity. "The aim is to produce the hydrogen on-board at a rate matching the demand of the car engine," says Abu-Hamed. "We want to use the boron to save transporting and storing the hydrogen." The only by-product is boron oxide, which can be removed from the car, turned back into boron, and used again. What's more, Abu-Hamed envisages doing this in a solar-powered plant that is completely emission-free.

Simple chemistry

The team calculates that a car would have to carry just 18 kilograms of boron and 45 litres of water to produce 5 kilograms of hydrogen, which has the same energy content as a 40-litre tank of conventional fuel. An Israeli company has begun designing a prototype engine that works in the same way, and the Japanese company Samsung has built a prototype scooter based on a similar idea.

The hydrogen-on-demand approach is based on some simple high-school chemistry. Elements like sodium and potassium are well known for their violent reactions with water, tearing hydrogen from its stable union with oxygen. Boron does the same, but at a more manageable pace. It requires no special containment, and atom for atom it's a light material. When all the boron is used up, the boron oxide that remains can be reprocessed and recycled.

Abu-Hamed and his team are not the first to investigate hydrogen-on-demand vehicles. The car giant DaimlerChrysler built a concept vehicle called Natrium (after the Latin word for sodium, from which the element's Na symbol is drawn), which used slightly more sophisticated chemistry to generate its hydrogen. Instead of pure water as the source of the gas, it used a solution of the hydrogen-heavy compound sodium borohydride. When passed over a precious-metal catalyst such as ruthenium, the compound reacts with water to liberate hydrogen that can be fed to a fuel cell. It was enough to give the Natrium a top speed of 130 kilometres per hour and a respectable range of 500 kilometres, but DaimlerChrysler axed the project in 2003 because of difficulties in providing the necessary infrastructure to support the car in an efficient, environmentally friendly way.

Engineuity, an Israeli start-up company run by Amnon Yogev, a former Weizmann Institute scientist, is working on a similar strategy, but using the reaction between aluminium wire and water to generate hydrogen. In Engineuity's design, the tip of the metal wire is ignited and dipped into water to begin splitting the water molecules. The liberated hydrogen is piped into the engine alongside the resulting steam, where it is mixed with air and burnt. Engineuity is looking for investors to pay for a prototype, and claims it will be able to commercialise its idea "in a few years' time". The US company PowerBall Technologies envisages a hydrogen-on-demand engine containing plastic balls filled with sodium hydride powder that are split to dump the contents into water, where it reacts to produce hydrogen.

Abu-Hamed says the generation of hydrogen for his team's engine would be regulated by controlling the flow of water into a series of tanks containing powdered boron. To kick-start the reaction, the water has to be supplied as vapour heated to several hundred degrees, so the car will still require some start-up power, possibly from a battery. Once the engine is running, the heat generated by the highly exothermic oxidation reaction between boron and water could be used to warm the incoming water, Abu-Hamed says. Alternatively, small amounts of hydrogen could be diverted from the engine and stored for use as the start-up fuel. Water produced when the hydrogen is burnt in an internal combustion engine or reacted in a fuel cell could be captured and cycled back to the vehicle's tank, making the whole on-board system truly zero-emission.

Hydrogen-on-demand, whether from water or another source, could address two of the big problems still holding back the wider use of hydrogen as a vehicle fuel: how to store the flammable gas, and how to transport it safely. Today's hydrogen-fuelled cars rely on stocks of gas produced in centralised plants and distributed via refuelling stations in either liquefied or compressed form. Neither is ideal. The liquefaction process eats up to 40 per cent of the energy content of the stored hydrogen, while the energy density of the gas, even when compressed, is so low it is hard to see how it can ever be used to fuel a normal car.

Hydrogen-on-demand would not only remove the need for costly hydrogen pipelines and distribution infrastructure, it would also make hydrogen vehicles safer. "The theoretical advantage of on-board generation is that you don't have to muck about with hydrogen storage," says Mike Millikin, who monitors developments in alternative fuels for the Green Car Congress website. A car that doesn't need to carry tanks of flammable, volatile liquid or compressed gas would be much less vulnerable in an accident. "It also potentially offsets the requirements for building up a massive hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure," Millikin says.

There is a potentially polluting step that has to be tackled. "You'll need an infrastructure to produce and distribute whatever the key elements of the generation system might be," Millikin warns. While Abu-Hamed's scheme still requires a distribution network and reprocessing plant, he has devised an ingenious plan that will allow the spent boron oxide to be converted back to metallic boron in a pollution-free process that uses only solar energy (see Diagram). Heating the oxide with magnesium powder recovers the boron, leaving magnesium oxide as a by-product. The magnesium oxide can then be recycled by first reacting it with chlorine gas to produce magnesium chloride, from which the magnesium metal and chlorine can then be recovered by electrolysis.

Solar source

The energy to drive these processes would ultimately come from the sun. The team calculates that a system of mirrors could concentrate enough sunlight to produce electricity from solar cells with an efficiency of 35 per cent. Overall, they say, their system could convert solar energy into work by the car's engine with an efficiency of 11 per cent, similar to today's petrol engines.

Experts are sceptical that we'll be seeing cars running on water any time soon. "It's not the kind of thing you're going to see appearing in a car in five or even ten years' time," says Jim Skea, research director at the UK Energy Research Centre in London. For example, DaimlerChrysler is now focusing its efforts on cars running on compressed hydrogen because filling stations that supply it already exist in some places.

Proponents of cars that run on water are banking that long term the idea will win out. Engineuity's Yogev claims the running costs will be comparable to those of today's petrol engines and expects to have a prototype built within three years.

My other car runs on water? Don't bet against it.


2) How Zero-Point Energy Can be Utilized with a Casimir Force Based Device: A Smooth and Seamless Explanation

By Fabrizio Pinto, President and CEO of Interstellar Technologies Corp.


Quantum-Electro-Dynamics (QED)

By means of the Schrödinger equation, it is possible to determine all possible states of the electron in the electric field of the proton in a hydrogen atom. Such states are described by mathematical objects referred to as the wave functions, which describe the probability of finding the electron at any position in space. Despite further progress from the old quantum theory, we are still unable to determine why the electron should transition from one state of higher energy to one of lower energy.

In order to do so, we must implement the rules of quantum physics not only in our description of the electron, but also in that of the electromagnetic field itself. For as long as we keep our description of the electromagnetic field classical, it is impossible to show that the higher energy states of the hydrogen atom are unstable and, in time, they will decay into the ground state with the emission of one or more photons.

The theory that describes not only matter, but all fields as well, by means of quantum principles is referred to as quantum electrodynamics (QED). In its most complete form, it naturally includes Einstein's special theory of relativity and it is therefore more advanced than even the non-relativistic Schrödinger equation. In much the same way as the position and momentum of a particle represent a pair of quantities that cannot be both measured at the same time with infinite precision, so also in QED the components of the electric field and of the magnetic field represent such a pair in the sense given by the uncertainty principle.

Intuitively, this means that, even in a state of vacuum (absence of all sources) in any volume of space, the uncertainty principle, applied now to the electromagnetic field itself, implies the existence of a "ground state" for such vacuum. In other words, we must visualize the vacuum not as an absolutely empty region of space, but as one where, in accordance with the uncertainty principle, the electromagnetic field randomly changes form place to place. According to QED, it is impossible to ever obtain a state "emptier" than such vacuum in free space. Perhaps the most provocative concept about this quantum vacuum is that, if we attempt to compute its total energy density, we obtain an infinite number.

This shocking finding is traditionally interpreted as meaning that, in order to extract information from QED, we have to somehow eliminate, subtract, or renormalize our results so as to avoid its infinities. Since the structure of the theory allows for this to be done, the diverging energy density of the quantum vacuum has not represented an insurmountable obstacle to use it in practice. However, this procedure of course does not mean that this infinite energy simply does not exist and, in fact, a long-standing debate has been taking place as to whether its appearance is simply due to mathematical gadgetry or to its actual physical existence.

The Casimir Effect

Let us now once again consider our two parallel plates. In the QED framework, any volume of empty space both within and without the gap between the plates actually contains electromagnetic zero-point energy (ZPE) due to the electric and magnetic fields fluctuating because of the uncertainty principle. Such fluctuating fields correspond to photons that appear and disappear continuously. Unlike photons we experience in our daily lives, referred to as real photons, these photons cannot be directly detected nor can they exist for an infinitely long time because their existence violates the principle of the conservation of energy. They are referred to as virtual photons.

Because of the same arguments we discussed in the case of the acoustic Casimir effect, the presence of the two boundaries alters the energy density in the region between the two surfaces. Although this number is infinite, it is possible to devise techniques to subtract it from the energy density outside of the gap, which is also infinite. The result so obtained is a finite value.

This important finding shows that the presence of the two surfaces causes a change in the zero-point energy of the system that depends on the distance between the plates: the smaller the distance, the larger the change. This is the ultimate origin of the Casimir force.

It is natural to wonder whether it is possible to view the Casimir force in QED as a result of radiation pressure, given the fact that, in this case, no real photon field actually exists. The answer is affirmative, as it has been shown that the Casimir effect can be explained as the result of radiation pressure of the virtual photons upon the boundaries.

From the mathematical standpoint, there is absolutely no difference between the SED and QED treatments of the problem. Also, depending on the boundary conditions, the Casimir force may be repulsive - as is the case for instance in the interaction between a perfectly conducting and an infinitely magnetic plate.

Energy and the Casimir Effect

In this section we shall carry out a type of experiment that is based exclusively upon logical reasoning and not actual measurement. Of course such thought (or gedanken) experiments, although they cannot produce new experimental data, are extremely powerful, as they allow one to extract a wealth of information from known physical laws.

Initially, let us restrict ourselves to a Casimir system consisting of two perfectly conducting plates, placed vertically one in front of the other at some relatively large, initial distance (Fig. 1). In the case of perfectly conducting plates, the Casimir force can be shown to be attractive at all distances. Our gedanken experiment consists of attaching a string to the left of the two plates, which will be free to move, while the plate on the right will be fixed in a permanent position. The string will be stretched horizontally to a pulley and then run down to a mass hanging in the gravitational field of the Earth.

>> click for Figure 1 enlargement

Let us now slowly let the two plates come together to a smaller, final distance (Fig. 2). As the Casimir plates come together, the Casimir force increases. Therefore, in order to maintain a state of quasi-equilibrium during this process, we must constantly add extra mass in addition to what was attached to the string in the beginning. The end result of this process will be that a total mass has been raised to a distance equal to the change in separation between the two plates. What has happened to the total energy of the system, including the plates, the mass, the Earth, and the vacuum?

>> click for Figure 2 enlargement

We know from basic mechanics that, whenever a force moves its application point, it is said to have done work. If the force is constant in magnitude and direction, the work done by this force is simply the product of the component of the force along the distance traveled multiplied by the force itself. In the case of the Casimir force, however, the force is not a constant and this calculation is not as trivial as carrying out a multiplication.

Regardless of mathematical details, this work done by the Casimir force upon the total mass raised manifests itself as an increased gravitational potential energy of the mass. Potential energy is so called because it can "potentially" be converted for instance into kinetic energy, or energy of motion, by dropping the object back to its initial position above the ground. Therefore, as the Casimir plates were drawing closer and closer, work was being done upon the mass, and its potential energy increased. Where did this increased potential energy come from?

Let us look at the total zero-point energy between the two Casimir plates. Since the Casimir force in this case is attractive, both the energy density and the total energy in such volume are negative (of course we are counting such value from the infinite offset of zero-point energy in free space). We also know that, as the plates become closer, the energy density, and therefore the total energy, becomes larger in magnitude while remaining negative in sign. Therefore, at the end of the lifting process, the total energy in the gap volume is larger in magnitude but still negative in sign than at the beginning. Mathematically, this means the total zero-point energy is smaller than previously. Of course, as one would expect, the increase in the gravitational potential energy of the mass exactly equals the decrease of the zero-point energy in the gap volume. Therefore, the total energy of the system is conserved.

Let us now imagine that we want to continue such process and raise more mass from the initial to the final height. In order to do so, we need to "reload" the Casimir system by again pulling the plates apart to their initial separation. How can we do that? The only way is to apply an outward force equal to or larger than the Casimir force and pull the plates away from one another. Again as expected, in order to do so we must provide exactly the same amount of energy as we obtained from the Casimir force system to lift the mass in the first place -- for instance by lowering the mass we just raised back to its initial position.

It is clear to see that, as predicted by the laws of mechanics, the total energy of the system is always rigorously conserved. However, it is also evident that this Casimir system does not represent a useful engine to lift masses from the ground up as such masses must then be lowered back down to reload the device. It rather resembles a car engine whose pistons can move down but must be pulled back up by hand -- definitely not a desirable situation.

The Transvacer™

In order to design an idealized, yet physically admissible, engine able to carry out a complete cycle, we need a process to manipulate the value of the Casimir force at any given separation of the plates. This is similar to what can be done, for instance, in the cylinders of a steam engine. If, for a fixed position of the piston, we change the temperature of the gas contained in the cylinder, the gas pressure will change. Likewise, again for a fixed position of the piston, we can open a valve in the cylinder and let air in or out and again change the gas pressure. This ability to modulate the force that is doing mechanical work in an engine at constant volume is what permits the cycle to be closed.

Can this be done in the case of the Casimir force? The answer is affirmative, and it represents one of the cornerstones of the applications we are pursuing at InterStellar Technologies Corporation.

The critical concept at the core of our idealized Casimir engine is the well-established fact that, in the realistic case of a material that is not a perfect conductor, the magnitude of the Casimir force at any distance between the plates depends on the detailed optical properties of the boundaries. That is, any process that can alter the reflectivity of the material, also affects the value of the Casimir force at any distance. This can be achieved in a wide variety of ways.

Let us for instance consider two plates made of a semiconducting material. The reflectivity of a semiconductor at any given wavelength is determined by several factors, including of course its lattice structure and its density of charge carriers, such as for instance electrons. By altering the density of charge carriers, one is effectively altering the reflectivity of the material in a range of wavelengths and, consequently, of the Casimir force. In a semiconductor, the density of charge carriers can be modified in any of several ways, such as by illuminating the surface with a beam of light of appropriate wavelength or by changing its absolute temperature.

The fact that the Casimir force can be modulated by acting on the charge carrier density of a semiconductor such as silicon is clearly predicted by available theories and very precise calculations of such have been carried out at InterStellar Technologies and have appeared in the refereed literature. Early experimental evidence that such effect does indeed occur was produced independently almost thirty years ago, although this finding was never used to implement any technological applications and quantitative agreement with theory was lacking because of the lack of precise computations.

With this important tool at our disposal, we are now ready to describe a realistic Casimir engine cycle to continuously raise mass from an initial to a final height.
At the beginning of the cycle, we shall assume that the Casimir force has been set to its maximum value by, for instance, transferring heat to the two surfaces from a large higher temperature heat reservoir thereby increasing their own temperature (Fig. 3). This will increase the charge carrier density and, in turn, the Casimir force. Let us again set the two plates at an initial distance and connect the system to an appropriate mass to find a position of quasi-equilibrium.

>> click for Figure 3 enlargement

The first leg of the engine cycle closely resembles what we have already discussed in the previous section. However, once the mass has been raised to its final height
(Fig. 4), we now cause the Casimir force to decrease while the plates are kept in a constant position, for instance by transferring heat from the plates to a lower temperature heat reservoir thereby decreasing their temperature and charge carrier concentration (Fig. 5). This induces a decrease of the Casimir force intensity, which requires us to remove some mass brought to final height in the first leg of the cycle. This process of decrease of the Casimir force at constant volume of the space between the plates represents our second leg of the cycle.

>> click for Figure 4 enlargement

>> click for Figure 5 enlargement

At this point, again similarly to what was done in our initial example, we lower the remaining mass attached to the string back down in quasi-equilibrium. However, the mass being moved downward is now smaller than what was lifted, because of the overall decrease of the Casimir force between the plates. This is the third leg of our cycle (Fig. 6).

>> click for Figure 6 enlargement

Finally, the cycle is closed by again connecting the Casimir plates to the higher temperature heat reservoir and by causing the Casimir force to increase. This requires us to connect extra mass to the string to retain equilibrium at constant volume. At the end of this fourth leg of the cycle, the system appears exactly as initially, although a finite mass has been permanently raised to the final height (Fig. 7).

>> click for Figure 7 enlargement

In the case of the Casimir force-based engine cycle just described, zero-point energy is transformed, for instance, into mechanical energy. Of course variants are very numerous, in the way the Casimir force is modulated as well as in the type energy into which the zero-point energy is transformed. However, all such implementations have in common the fact that energy associated with the zero-point field is transformed into usable energy of some type. For this reason, the discoverer of the cycle, Dr. Pinto, introduced the term Transvacer™, from the acronym of TRANSducer of VACuum energy, to describe it.

The background provided in this section therefore justifies the following general definition:

The Transvacer™ is a Casimir force-based device designed to carry out a complete engine cycle to convert a type of energy into another by appropriately modulating the zero-point field.

The short-term commercialization of an extremely broad variety of Transvacer™ applications, as well as that of a host of advanced applications in zero-point field and Casimir force manipulation, represent the central interest of InterStellar Technologies Corporation. Furthermore, InterStellar Technologies Corporation investigates possible regimes in which the zero-point field energy itself may become available in addition to that exchanged with other sources during the engine cycle. In such regimes, although all laws of thermodynamics can be satisfied, the zero-point field (ZPF) becomes an energy resource from the standpoint of the user. 

For further information:

With Introductory Math: http://www.interstellartechcorp.com/phyMathintro.html

Advanced Math: http://www.interstellartechcorp.com/phyMathadvan.html

>> Click to visit InterstellarTechCorp

3) Theorists devise world's smallest fridge

Belle Dume, 12 June 2006, Physics Web and IOP Nanotechweb http://nanotechweb.org/articles/news/5/6/4?alert=1

Two theoretical physicists say it is possible to build a tiny refrigerator that is powered by Brownian motion, the random movement of small particles caused by collisions with surrounding molecules. The concept, which is counterintuitive because such fluctuations normally hinder cooling, has been proposed by Chris Van den Broeck from Hasselt University in Belgium and Ryoichi Kawai of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in the US. If realised, the molecular-sized device would be the world's smallest refrigerator and could be used to cool down future nanoscale machines (Phys. Rev. Lett. 96 210601).

Van den Broeck and Kawai recently made a microscopic motor consisting of a single chiral, or asymmetrical, molecule. When placed between two reservoirs at different temperatures, this motor automatically moves in one direction to "rectify" the thermal fluctuations. In this way, it transfers heat from the high-temperature reservoir to the low-temperature one.

In their latest work, the researchers propose using an external force to drive the Brownian motor in the opposite direction so that it does the reverse - that is, causes heat to flow from the colder region to the warmer one and so acts as a refrigerator. This is much the same way that a household heat pump cools a room.

The researchers' theoretical model of the new fridge makes use of a chiral rod - which has flat paddles (like those on a paddle-wheel boat) at one end and wedge-shaped paddles at the other - piercing an insulating membrane. If the molecules surrounding the wedges have more kinetic energy than those surrounding the paddles the rod will spin, thereby moving heat from the warm side of the device to the cooler side. If a force is then applied to the rod, the motor runs "backwards" and moves heat in the opposite direction.

Such a fridge could, for example, be used to cool down semiconductor chips, channelling energy away from the centre of a chip to a cooling port by applying a torque to the molecules. It could also be used to cool down nanoscale machines.

"Advances in nanotechnology will eventually bring machine sizes down to the limit where thermal fluctuations dominate," states Kawai. "Our Brownian machine magically exploits this random motion of molecules rather than fighting against it."

4) From Group of 8, Energy Focus Is on Oil

By ANDREW E. KRAMER, New York Times, July 17, 2006, http://select.nytimes.com/mem/tnt.html?emc=tnt&tntget=2006/07/17/world/europe/17summit.html&tntemail1=y

STRELNA, Russia, July 16 — The world leaders at a Group of 8 summit meeting on Sunday issued a communiqué on energy policy that touched lightly on alternatives to fossil fuels, like biomass and wind power, but focused mostly on how to bring more oil to the market.

President Bush and the other leaders — from Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Britain, Italy and Canada — produced statements on corruption, trade and protection for copyrights and patents at a meeting that was overshadowed by the violence this weekend in Lebanon, Israel and the Gaza Strip.

On energy, the Group of 8 leaders said they were addressing “high and volatile” prices, with oil soaring above $75 a barrel last week, by endorsing policies to encourage oil field investment and raise production. They said that demand for oil, natural gas and coal would rise more than 50 percent above current levels by 2030, and that these fossil fuels would constitute 80 percent of the world’s energy supply by then.

Still, few concrete measures to control prices emerged from Sunday’s talks in this town near St. Petersburg, reflecting the divergent interests of the countries here.

The final statement called for “investment in all stages of energy supply” and “transparency and good governance in the energy sector,” but suggested no requirements on countries to make that happen.

A Kremlin spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, conceded that the language seemed directed against Moscow’s consolidation of its oil and natural gas industry under state control. Still, all countries, including Russia, agreed to the statement.

To dampen world oil prices, the Group of 8 members agreed to push oil-producing countries to be more open with data on reserves, or how much oil remains in the ground, an initiative put on the agenda by Russia.

The group endorsed efforts by the Paris-based International Energy Agency to prepare for a possible world oil shock with a plan to coordinate the release of the Group of 8 countries’ emergency reserves, like the Strategic Petroleum Reserve in the United States.

On the environment, the statement praised the Kyoto Protocol as a tool to discourage energy waste and greenhouse gas emissions — but only for those who have ratified the document, an acknowledgment that the United States had rejected the treaty.

“It is important to engage the private sector and other stakeholders in achieving these ends,” the statement said, reflecting the Bush administration’s preferred approach to climate change.

The Group of 8 leaders said countries producing oil and other fossil fuels should open their energy industries to outside investment, crack down on corruption and prevent waste such as burning natural gas at oil fields, a practice called flaring that is widespread in Siberia.

The statement said the Group of 8 members “support the principles” of the Energy Charter, a treaty intended to integrate the energy industry in former Soviet countries with Europe. Russia has signed the document, but it has not been ratified by Parliament, and the wording of the statement left unanswered questions of access to Russia’s natural gas export pipelines for independent companies or third countries.

Russia, acting as host of the Group of 8 for the first time, chose energy security as a focus of the meeting, a nod to the oil-fueled economic comeback here eight years after a severe economic crisis.

When Russia briefly placed an embargo on natural gas supplies to Ukraine in January, however, European leaders and the International Energy Agency questioned the security of Russia’s own supplies.

The leaders adopted separate statements condemning piracy of intellectual property and counterfeiting of brand-name products, suggesting that each member country set up a Web site with information for patent and trademark holders on legal methods to defend their rights.

They issued a statement supporting the Doha round of trade talks, a largely stalled effort by developing countries to level the playing field with rich nations on trade by opening markets in agricultural goods.

The leaders also issued statements on education and infectious diseases, especially avian flu.

On corruption, the Group of 8’s statement was a follow-up to an initiative begun by the British prime minister, Tony Blair, to encourage oil and mining companies to disclose to the public their royalty payments to Third World governments — to help ensure that the money shows up later in those countries’ budgets.

The program, called the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, has produced mixed results.

5) Free Power for Cars


Kevin Bullis, Technology Review, Feb. 21, 2006 http://www.technologyreview.com/read_article.aspx?id=16402


Automakers look to thermoelectrics to help power tomorrow's vehicles.


Converting heat directly into electricity is nothing new; it has been possible since 1821. But thermoelectric materials have been too inefficient to make them practical for anything but a few niche uses, such as in deep space probes.

Recent advances using nanotechnology, however, have revived this moribund field, and have car makers such as General Motors and BMW taking notice, hoping to increase fuel efficiency and eventually replace alternators and possibly even internal combustion engines with thermoelectric generators.

"I think right now that thermoelectrics have a good chance of succeeding," General Motors senior analyst Francis Stabler reported last week at the Materials Research Society meeting in Boston.

As much as 70 percent of the fuel energy burned up in car engines doesn't go toward moving the vehicle along or powering the CD player, he said. Instead, it's dissipated as waste heat. Stabler says a new generation of thermoelectric materials can convert heat to electricity well enough to be used for taking the burden of electricity generation off the engine, thereby saving fuel.

Researchers still need to find ways to make these materials cheaply and consistently, however, before they can be widely deployed. But certain niche uses could help the technology get established. Already, Amerigon, a Deerborn, MI manufacturer, has sold well over a million car seat heating and cooling units that use an older version of the technology. When electricity is applied to thermoelectrics materials they transfer heat, cooling an area or heating it depending on the direction of the current.

If the next generation of thermoelectric materials can be manufactured inexpensively, they could be used in more demanding applications. Wrapped around a car's exhaust pipe, for instance, they could harvest waste heat to produce electricity. Initially, this electricity might be used to supplement the electricity generated by the vehicle's alternator, making it possible to run more electrical devices without adding more strain to the engine.

If the technology proves to be reliable, Stabler says, it could eventually replace alternators altogether and run electrical water and oil pumps, relieving the extra work for the engine, boosting performance, and saving fuel. John Fairbanks, technology development manager at the U.S. Department of Energy, suggests that if all GM cars alone used this technology, it would save roughly 100 million gallons of gas per year.

Thermoelectric materials, which are most often made of semiconductors, need to conduct electricity well, allowing electrons to move away from a heat source and thereby generate an electrical current. But the material also has to conduct heat poorly, or else it will heat up and the temperature difference that drives the electrons will disappear. The challenge is that when electrical conductivity goes up, heat conductivity tends to go up as well.

The growing knowledge of how to structure materials on a nanoscale could provide a solution. For example, researchers have created materials with molecular lattices that interrupt vibrations from heat, keeping the heat from thermally conducting, while allowing electrons to move freely.

Stabler believes thermoelectric generators can beat out near-term competitors for improving fuel efficiency, such as turbo-chargers and turbo-generators, which also harvest energy from exhaust. "Thermoelectrics is something that seems to give a better efficiency gain long term," he says, adding that "there's always going to be waste heat."

According to the DOE's Fairbanks, there is an even chance that thermoelectric generators could one day beat out internal combustion engines.

While GM's Stabler agrees this could happen, he cautions that it's a long way off. A new technology has to be well-proven before it can be implemented in essential systems like power generation. Even after researchers have succeeded in making materials that can be manufactured, it could be an additional three to eight years, he says, before the industry is willing to use them to completely replace the alternator in production vehicles.

But don't be surprised if cars start appearing that have extra power skimmed from exhaust heat. It'd be "environmentally friendly," Stabler says. "Being able to generate some power from waste heat certainly will attract some attention."

6) Top Scientist Makes Climate Plea


 BBC NEWS, Published: 2006/08/04, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5244240.stm


World leaders have been urged to put more money into developing new energy technologies to tackle global warming.

Royal Society president Martin Rees wants a publicly funded international research programme, he says in the US journal Science.

Lord Rees says a pledge to increase governments' investments in energy technologies should have been made at the recent G8 summit in Russia.

He describes a "worrisome lack of determination" among world leaders.

'Urgent challenge'

Lord Rees said: "Energy security was a key issue at the St Petersburg summit of G8 leaders last month.

"Their joint communique included many important commitments, but it omitted one crucial pledge - a significant increase in their governments' investments in R&D (research and development) for energy technologies."


None of the kinds of energy that we can produce now routinely are going to really be sustainable in the long run at the scale we need
Lord Rees

He said an "urgent challenge" was to meet global demand for energy, while reducing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on climate change.

To do this, "more needs to be done to develop new energy technologies that are currently far from market", he said.

Lord Rees suggests money for research could be raised through methods such as carbon taxes, levied initially on the countries with the largest greenhouse emissions.

Public funding for energy research has reduced around the world

Public funding for energy research across the world has halved in real terms since 1980, and in the UK it is now one-tenth of what it used to be.

Lord Rees says the UK and US have taken some steps towards tackling the problem but there is an urgent need to increase efforts in research and development.

He told BBC News: "If we look at what is happening worldwide, there is a greater and greater demand for energy, especially in the developing world, India and China in particular, and at the same time carbon dioxide is rising very fast and it's clear that unless we can control the carbon dioxide then we will run into a dangerous level of potential climate change 50 years from now.

"And that's why there's urgency, because if you want to meet the expectations of the developing world, we need new kinds of energy.

"None of the kinds of energy that we can produce now routinely are going to really be sustainable in the long run at the scale we need."

The International Energy Agency predicts that by 2030 global energy demand will increase by 50%.

For further information

BBC Story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/science/nature/5244240.stm

How the Greenhouse Effect Works: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/spl/hi/sci_nat/04/climate_change/html/climate.stm


Backing for 'hockey stick' graph

'Clear' human impact on climate

Spacecraft seek climate clarity

Air trends 'amplifying' warming

Blagging in the blogosphere

Climate news: A load of hot air?

Earth is too crowded for Utopia

Earth - melting in the heat?

Q&A: Climate change

Q&A: The Kyoto Protocol

Climate: What science can tell us

The big greenhouse gas emitters

Warming: The evidence

7) Ford Abandons Pledge On Hybrid Production

Sholnn Freeman, Washington Post Staff Writer, Friday, June 30, 2006; D01,



Ford Motor Co. has dropped a pledge to build 250,000 gas-electric hybrid cars per year by the end of the decade, saying it will expand into other fuel-saving technologies.

Environmentalists accused the automaker of backpedaling, but industry analysts said the move underscored the difficulty the industry is having in selling the technology to mainstream car buyers.

Ford Chairman William C. Ford Jr. outlined the decision in a letter to employees Wednesday. The company made the letter public yesterday after details were reported in the Detroit News. In the letter, Ford said the 250,000 goal was "too narrow" to achieve substantial improvements in vehicle fuel economy or curb carbon dioxide emissions. He said that the company shouldn't wed itself to a single technology and that Ford will consider other options, including diesel, biodiesel and ethanol fuel blend E85, as well as seek advances in engine and transmission technology.

Building a lot more hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles has been touted as a major component of the No. 2 U.S. automaker's "Way Forward" turnaround plan. Like General Motors Corp., Ford's North American business strategy has unraveled in the past year as consumers have turned away from their highest-profit vehicles: large cars and sport-utility vehicles.

William Ford made the original hybrid pledge last fall in a speech to employees at the company's Dearborn, Mich., headquarters. In the speech, Ford said the automaker was acting out of concern for the environment and was working to combat a "multidimensional" energy crisis afflicting the nation. Ford said that he knew the goal was going to be tough to meet but that it was time to "get on with it."

Ford and other Detroit automakers are now touting another technology to counter national anxiety over high gas prices, foreign dependence on oil and global warming: ethanol, a fuel made from corn or, potentially, other agricultural products. In a joint letter sent Wednesday to members of Congress, General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrsyler AG announced a new promise to double annual production of vehicles that run on alternative fuels, to 2 million per year.

Yesterday, the House rejected an attempt led by Republican lawmakers to offer legislation to increase the government's fuel-economy standards for new cars and trucks. Automakers have resisted those increases and often pointed to their own voluntary efforts to reduce oil consumption and curtail greenhouse gas emissions.

Daniel Becker, the director of the Sierra Club's global-warming program, said, "It's becoming clear that Bill Ford himself is unable or unwilling to live up to his own commitments on the environment." He complained that in 2003, Ford reneged on a promise to improve the fuel economy of sport-utility vehicles by 25 percent over three years.

Becker called Detroit's growing emphasis on ethanol a scam, saying automakers are building flex-fuel vehicles to qualify for government credits that would allow them to build even more gas-guzzling vehicles. He said government reports show that fewer than 1 percent of ethanol-capable vehicles ever run on the fuel. There are 170,000 gas stations in the United States but only about 700 with E85 pumps, according to the auto companies.

Ford officials tried to allay concerns with a conference call between environmentalists and high-level company officials yesterday. The environmentalists pushed Ford to take a stronger stance on public policy solutions for oil dependence and global warming, including pushing the federal government to adopt higher vehicle fuel-economy standards or endorse a national policy to cap greenhouse gases.

Industry analysts say the hybrid market is proving to be more difficult to crack than automakers initially expected. Anthony Pratt, a powertrain analyst at J.D. Power Automotive Forecasting, said he wasn't surprised that Ford dropped its commitment.

"We never really forecast they would do 250,000," he said.

Pratt said that the Toyota Prius is selling well but that most other hybrids in the market are barely meeting expectations, including Ford's Escape and Mercury Mariner hybrid SUVs. He said that Honda's Accord hybrid is struggling in the market and that Toyota has had to add financing incentives to lift sales of the hybrid version of the Highlander. Costs are still too high compared with traditional vehicles, Pratt said.

"Consumers are willing to accept hybrid technology, but they are not willing to accept a price premium that can't be paid off over time by consuming less fuel," Pratt said. "They want to see an economic break-even point."

Hybrid vehicles made up 1.2 percent of the overall U.S. new-vehicle market in 2005 and are projected to reach 5 percent by 2013. "While it's significant growth, it's still a relatively small percentage of the market," he said.

 8) Former Jet Propulsion Laboratory Scientist to Address COFE2


Thomas Valone, Integrity Research Institute, August 4, 2006, http://users.erols.com/iri/cofe.html


Washington, D.C. -- Integrity Research Institute confirmed last week that Dr. Fabrizio Pinto has agreed to be the keynote speaker for the Second International Conference on Future Energy, to be held in the Washington DC area September 22-24, 2006. Dr. Pinto is known for his work on the "Engine cycle of an optically controlled vacuum energy transducer" while at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), published in the Physical Review journal in 1999. His thermodynamics analysis proved that a microlaser pulse could change boundary conditions and the Casimir force sufficiently in a micron-sized cantilever cavity in order to propel a few electrons during each cycle. At the rate of 10 kHz, he predicted a power per unit area of about 1 kW/m2 from arrays of 100 micron-size cavities.


Upon leaving JPL, Dr. Pinto founded Interstellar Technologies Corporation in Monrovia, California and received several patents that capitalize on his discoveries: "Method for Energy Extraction-I" US Patent #6,665,167, "Method and Apparatus for Energy Extraction" #6,477,028, "Method and Apparatus for Particle Acceleration" #6,593,566, and "Article Comprising a Casimir Force Modulator and Methods Therefor" #6,650527. His more recent work centers on a "Method and Apparatus for Controlling Dispersion Forces" #6,661,576 and this year, an "Apparatus Comprising of a Propulsion System" Patent Application Publication #2006/0027709 which discloses "a propulsion system that does not consume fuel."


Dr. Pinto has several physics articles posted on his company's website www.InterstellarTechCorp.com which help explain the theory and experimental design needed to implement his discoveries (see FE eNews #2 article). There he also states, “Our mission is to develop the novel field of quantum vacuum engineering to its full commercial potential including its applications to much more efficient energy production, superfast nanoactuation, completely revolutionary aerospace propulsion, and targeted nanosurgery you could only dream about before.”


On May 21, 2002, Company President and CEO, Dr. Fabrizio Pinto obtained an Honorable Mention award from the Gravity Research Foundation for his research on the possibility of measuring the Casimir stress caused by the gravitational field on a finite object at the surface of the Earth. His essay is entitled, "Casimir Force between a Gravitational Field and a Finite Object" and is also online. He concludes that the compression from a gravitational field on an object will modify the electromagnetic zero-point field and is probably measurable.


In communicating his COFE2 keynote speaker acceptance, Dr. Pinto expressed this view about science and technology, “Our position at InterStellar has always been that there is nothing controversial about the laws of physics and their correct application to engineering solutions, although, of course, such solutions may have a ‘controversial’ impact in the minds of some from the standpoint of policy, politics, and finance. Our point of view is that the world can be improved, and financial returns can be generated, by just applying good science to engineering.”


As the need for new energy sources continues to increase, Pinto’s work may soon fill the gap in government energy R&D shortfalls and consumer demand for more commercial electricity supply.


More information about COFE2 is available from http://users.erols.com/iri/cofe.html .

 - Future Energy eNews is provided as a public service by www.IntegrityResearchInstitute.org -