Future Energy eNews October 23, 2002
1) Association for the Study of Peak Oil has the answer to the need for an independent, expert assessment of Hubbert's Peak, which they predict for 2010 (see graph below). Expect more wars for oil as shortages start to take effect, unless future energy alternatives are given the fast track. 2) White House Fights Against Electric Cars ?! New York Times. Anti-future energy article. 3) Congressional Energy Bill may still fall apart due to electricity disagreements. Associated Press. Such problems may result in an "energy light" bill instead, with not much in it, according to my conversation with an energy staffer on Capitol Hill this week. 4) Feeling Antigravity's Pull. Slate. NASA doesn't like the term "antigravity" for their research. 5) Sci Fi Channel holds Press Conference in Washington, DC to protest government secrecy. This is an extraordinary development in the political process of disclosure. It is history making. 6) Radioactive battery provides decades of power. An energy development from Cornell University similar to Dr. Paul Brown's nuclear beta particle battery. Compare to Brown's patent #4,835,433 or #6,238,812. 7) Miscellaneous links
1) Predictive World Peak Oil Graph Released by ASPO
In September, 2002, the Association for the Study of Peak Oil (ASPO) released this world oil production graph based on known and new oil fields. ASPO is composed of scientists from European institutions and universities "having an interest in determining the date and impact of the peak and decline of the world’s production of oil and gas, due to resource constraints." ASPO was founded in 2000. The newsletter includes quotes from recent articles such as "Oil is running out, says Shell" (Sunday Times, 8-25-02) and an excellent, well-researched article by the NY financial institution on oil depletion posted at: http://www.bloomberg.com/wealth/0902/sep.ft.crude.pdf
Contact to ASPO: Colin J. Campbell, Editor, Stabahill, Ballydehob, County Cork, Ireland e-mail: ColinCampbell@eircom.net
All ASPO Newsletters are in pdf and between 100 to 300 kB in size:
Newsletter 21 [ SEP 02 ]
Newsletter 20 [ AUG 02 ]
Newsletter 19 [ JUL 02 ]
Thanks to the Alternative Energy Institute www.altenergy.org for forwarding this information from ASPO. -TVReturn to top
2) White House Joins Fight Against Electric Cars
By Katharine Q. Seelye
New York Times
Thursday, 10 October, 2002
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 -- The Bush administration went to court today to support the automobile industry's effort to eliminate requirements in California that auto manufacturers sell electric cars.
President Bush's chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., was the chief lobbyist for General Motors, one of the plaintiffs in the case. Mr. Card was also head of an auto industry trade association when California proposed to require electric vehicles, and has publicly opposed such a requirement.
Under California clean air rules, 10 percent of the vehicles sold in the 2003 to 2008 model years must be electric or "zero-emission vehicles." But the state, recognizing that the car companies were not ready to meet that goal, offered to let them sell hybrid vehicles, which run on gasoline and electricity, to satisfy part of the requirement.
Still, the industry wants to avoid having quotas at all and was not satisfied with that relaxation of the rules. It sued the state, arguing that the hybrid provision violated federal law.
Katherine Kennedy, a lawyer at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which supports the California rule, said that California "attempted to make things more flexible for the car manufacturers, and cheaper, and this lawsuit is what they got as thanks."
In a brief filed today with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, the Bush administration endorsed the industry's argument that this substitution was improper because it would, in effect, regulate fuel economy standards, over which the federal government holds exclusive jurisdiction. The car companies would get credit toward the electric-vehicle quota depending on the fuel economy of the hybrids.
The brief does not appear to raise any new substantive arguments, but it carries some political significance in that it appears to favor Detroit over Los Angeles. Mr. Bush lost Michigan in 2000 to Vice President Al Gore, and while Mr. Bush was defeated in California as well, the vote was far closer in Michigan. Mr. Bush has been reaching out to union voters and is hoping to capture the state in 2004 while the likelihood of California voting for him appears more remote.
"The major issue isn't the substance of the brief but the fact of the brief," said Daniel Becker, director of the global warming and energy program for the Sierra Club. "The fact that the Bush administration, with the former chief lobbyist of G.M. as a chief of staff, is weighing in on the side of G.M. to overturn California's efforts to clean the air that Californians breathe is outrageous."
Scott McLellan, a spokesman for the White House, dismissed the accusation that the administration was siding with General Motors because of Mr. Card's past connection.
"Congress long ago made clear there should be a uniform fuel economy standard," Mr. McLellan said. "The American people would be best served if the leadership of special interest groups worked with us in our efforts to increase fuel efficiency, promote safety and improve air quality."
Congress has long allowed California to set its own emission standards because smog there is so bad. As a result, the state has set emission requirements that have forced car companies to invent new technologies for pollution control.
Since 1990, California has been trying to incubate an electric car industry, putting it on the leading edge of battle between clean-air advocates and the automakers. What California does, states in the Northeast tend to adopt as well, another reason the car companies are trying to block the electric car, which they say is impractical in California and even worse in cold climates.
Environmentalists said that the auto industry initiated contact with the Bush administration to file the brief on the industry's behalf. Jon S. Coifman, a spokesman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said, "It's our understanding that this whole thing is expressly at the behest of auto industry plaintiffs."
The administration brief acknowledges that the hybrid option is one of several ways that the car companies could meet the requirements. But it noted that a lower court found that "these other alternatives are in fact impractical, and that manufacturers seeking to minimize their costs will be forced to produce hybrid vehicles that meet the state's fuel efficiency standard."
It also said that the state cannot list compliance options in matters -- like fuel economy -- where only the federal government is allowed to regulate.
In a statement tonight, Gov. Gray Davis said: "Fuel cell and hybrid technology is a decade ahead of where it would have been in the absence of zero-emission vehicle regulations. I am disappointed that the federal government would intervene with our efforts to protect our air quality."Return to top
3) Energy bill may fall apart over electricity disagreemets
Thursday, October 10, 2002
By H. Josef Hebert, Associated Press
WASHINGTON - Lawmakers' inability to resolve a few issues important to the electric power industry - rather than a dispute over new oil drilling in the Arctic wild - is thwarting a deal in Congress to overhaul the nation's energy agenda.
With time running out, House and Senate negotiators were trying Wednesday to salvage an energy bill. The legislation repeatedly has been pronounced a top priority of the White House and essential to wean the country away from Mideast oil.
Over the past week, the sticking point has been disagreement over electricity policy. Lawmakers have been unable to resolve how much control they should give federal regulators over electricity transmission, how to protect consumers against market abuse, and how much utilities should rely on renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
Many Democratic senators and House members already believe the legislation has been weakened to a point where it will do little to spur new energy production or significantly curb energy use.
The dispute over oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is viewed by a growing number of Democrats and Republicans as so entrenched that it cannot be resolved quickly. They say it will be put off until they can agree on the other matters.
The energy legislation has taken almost the entire two years of the current Congress. Senate Republicans in early 2001 offered their proposals, focusing heavily on production incentives. They were quickly rejected by most Democrats.
The House pushed through an energy bill in early August 2001 that largely mirrored proposals by Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force a few months earlier. It tilted heavily toward boosting fossil fuel production, including drilling in the Arctic refuge.
The Senate rejected development of the Alaska refuge. Last April it passed its energy bill, giving more incentives to development of renewable energy sources, requiring wider use of corn-based ethanol, and banning MTBE, the gas additive blamed for polluting drinking water in many states.
The Senate version would scuttle a 1935 law limiting the activities of large electric power holding companies but would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) additional consumer protection responsibilities over them. House Republicans have strongly objected to giving FERC this new authority. There also is sharp disagreement over proposals to expand FERC's authority over public power companies and a dispute over who should pay for certain expansions of transmission lines.
The Senate proposal to expand ethanol use, an issue close to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., and other farm-state lawmakers, has riled some Texas lawmakers, including Rep. Joe Barton, one of the key GOP negotiators. Barton has also fought the proposed ban on MTBE, the additive ethanol would replace. If the ban is imposed, Barton has insisted, MTBE makers should be given a liability waiver against lawsuits arising from MTBE contamination of water supplies. So far, the Senate has balked on such a waiver.
At a meeting this week among Senate Democrats, some - including Daschle - suggested the entire electricity section might be scrapped to open the way for possible agreement on other issues, including a proposal on reporting emissions that contribute to global warming.
Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., the energy conference chairman, and Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., leader of the Senate negotiators, remained determined not to abandon the effort to forge the needed compromises. "It's like the seventh game of the World Series," said Ken Johnson, Tauzin's spokesman. "We're optimistic and hopeful, but we could still lose it."
Environmental and consumer groups made clear at a news conference Wednesday that they would just as soon see the energy bill go away. "Congress should abandon energy legislation and start again next year," said Adam Goldberg of the Consumers' Union.
Copyright 2002, Associated Press
All Rights Reserved
4) Feeling Antigravity's Pull
Can NASA stop the apple from falling on Newton's head?
By Adam Rogers
Posted on Slate, Friday, October 18, 2002, at 8:30 AM PT
Article URL: http://slate.msn.com/?id=2072733
"Don't call it antigravity research," Ron Koczor pleads. He's a physicist at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and he's talking about a project he's been working on for almost a decade. "Call it 'gravity modification.' 'Gravity anomalies.' Anything but antigravity. That's a red flag."
When people find out that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has researchers working on sci-fi stuff like antigravity-or rather, "gravity modification"-the red flags do indeed start waving. Reputable scientists like Koczor earn polite disdain from colleagues (or worse, from funders of research). But truth's truth: NASA has been studying the manipulation of gravity for at least 10 years, as have nongovernment researchers.
NASA began its work after a Russian physicist named Evgeny Podkletnov published an article in the peer-reviewed journal Physica C in 1992. Podkletnov claimed that a device built around a superconductor* and a magnet could shield an object from gravity. The trick, he said, was to make a superconducting disc about a foot in diameter, chill it, levitate it over magnets-a nifty property of superconductors is that they repel magnetic fields-and set it revolving like a compact disc. Podkletnov said an object placed above that contraption lost 0.3 percent of its weight. The object itself didn't change. Rather, gravity's effect on it lessened.
If that effect could be harnessed and strengthened, the aerospace industry would be upended. Vessels bound for space wouldn't have to ride atop massive, barely controlled explosions. All the energy human beings expend moving things around, from cargo to cars, could be reduced or eliminated. And post-Einsteinian physics would have to be rewritten to explain what the hell was going on. Podkletnov called the effect "gravitational force shielding," and even in the absence of a good theory to explain the phenomenon, other researchers took notice. "Because his experiment and results were published in a peer-reviewed, scientific journal, that gave it a level of credibility," Koczor says.
After Podkletnov published his article, it took NASA until 1999 to figure out how to make a large, thin superconducting disc. Ceramic high-temperature superconductors are brittle as cheap china, and the discs kept shattering. Once they solved that problem, NASA paid Columbus, Ohio-based SCI Engineered Materials $650,000 to build the entire apparatus. But Podkletnov had called for a disc with two layers, one superconducting and one not, and SCI didn't solve that engineering challenge until last year. Then they hit another roadblock. The disc wouldn't spin. SCI engineers stuck a rotor through the disc's center to turn it mechanically, but Podkletnov specified 5,000 revolutions per minute. SCI's device barely pulls 30 rpm.
Why not just ask Podkletnov how to build the thing? SCI brought him over to consult a couple of years ago, to little avail. "His excuse basically was that he was a ceramics physicist, not an electrical or mechanical engineer, and other people built the device for him," Koczor says. "Draw your own conclusions. All I know is, if I were a principal investigator on something like this, I would know the size and thread-depth of every screw in the damn thing. But you know, the Europeans and the Russians, they're different. They're much more, 'this is your job and this is my job.' So it's plausible that he didn't know the details." It might not matter. SCI's contract is ending, and Koczor's budget to explore "way-out physics" is spent. He hasn't got the money to actually test the device even if it did meet Podkletnov's specs.
But researchers outside NASA are working on the problem, too. This summer Nick Cook, a writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, reported that aerospace giant Boeing was pursuing antigravity research. Boeing denied it. "We are aware of Podkletnov's work on 'anti-gravity' devices and would be interested in seeing further development work being done," said a company statement. "However, Boeing is not funding any activities in this area at this time." Note Boeing's use of the Clintonian present tense. They never contacted Jane's to ask for a correction, Cook says. Meanwhile, British aerospace company BAE Systems says it's keeping an eye on the research, and that it had once funded its own antigravity project, Greenglow.
Unfortunately, Cook strains his own credibility somewhat. A couple of weeks after his Jane's piece appeared, Cook's book on antigravity research, The Hunt for Zero Point, came out. In it, he claims that the Nazis built an antigravity device during World War II. Its absence from present-day science, Cook says, implies a vast "black" world of secret antigravity aircraft that might explain the UFOs people see over Area 51. He's a careful investigative reporter, but once you start talking about UFOs and Nazi antigravity you're not far from hidden tunnels under the White House full of lizard-men disguised as Freemasons.
Even without Nazis, there are plenty of reasons to doubt Podkletnov. My e-mails to the account listed on his recent articles (not peer-reviewed) went unanswered. Even more problematic, I can't find the institution he lists as his affiliation in Moscow. "Eugene always expressed his worries that others could copy his work, although as far as I know he never applied for a patent," Giovanni Modanese, a collaborator of Podkletnov's at the University of Bolzano in Italy, wrote in an e-mail (using a Western version of Podkletnov's first name). "Nonetheless, at the scientific level if one wants a confirmation by others and a successful replication, one must give all the necessary elements." Well, yeah. Modanese says that the current version of the device, now called an "impulse gravity generator," is simpler and could be built "by a big-science team of people expert in superconductivity." A Boeing spokesperson didn't respond to follow-up questions. So, either there's nothing going on here, or it's an X-File.
And the science? Ten years is a long time to go without replication. Combine that with Podkletnov's cagey behavior and it's enough to make even sci-fi geeks like me lose hope. But like the core of any good conspiracy, antigravity research has the ring of plausibility. One of the outstanding problems in physics and cosmology today involves the existence of so-called dark matter and dark energy. They're by far the main constituents of matter in the universe, and nobody knows what they're made of-researchers have only inferred their existence from gravitational effects. Coming up with a new theory of how gravity works might explain that, though it'd be a scientific revolution on a par with relativity. "Changing gravity is in the cards," says Paul Schechter, an astronomer at MIT. "But so far no one's been able to do better than Einstein." Still, Einstein worked in a lowly patent office. Ron Koczor works for NASA.
*Superconductors are already pretty miraculous. Every material conducts electricity to a greater or lesser extent-think copper versus rubber. Supercooled to below 20 degrees Kelvin, materials lose all resistance. But getting there is energy-intensive and expensive. (At 0 degrees K-absolute zero-all molecular motion ceases.) In 1987, a researcher at the University of Houston discovered a ceramic that was, superconductively speaking, a cheaper date, losing resistance at a more easily attainable 94 degrees K. That's about -290 degrees Fahrenheit, still not convenient for the dream applications of superconductivity like loss-free transmission of electricity, but good enough to experiment on.Return to top
5) SCI FI Channel Holds Press Conference to Announce New Coalition for Freedom of Information
October 17, 2002
SCI FI Channel Challenges Government Secrecy
Supports New FOIA Effort on UFO Records and
Release of Report on Failure to Conduct Scientific Research
The SCI FI Channel will announce its support of a
new effort to gain release of secret government records
on unidentified aerial phenomena, commonly referred to
as UFOs and release a new report by an independent
journalist on the federal government's failure to carry
out systematic scientific research into this widespread
phenomenon (5% to 10% of which scientists say cannot
be explained by natural or human causes).
Citing the importance to the public of declassifying
government records, John Podesta, former Clinton White
House Chief of Staff, will speak in support of the effort to
gain release of still secret government records.
A new FOIA initiative will also be announced.
To generate public support for more disclosure and a
scientific investigation the formation of the Coalition for
Freedom of Information (CFI) will also be announced.
Bonnie Hammer, SCI FI Channel President
John Podesta, former White House Chief of Staff
Leslie Kean, journalist
Lee Helfrich, attorney, Lobel, Novins & Lamont
Ed Rothschild, executive director, Coalition for Freedom of Information
WHEN: Tuesday, October 22, 2002
WHERE: National Press Club, Washington, DC
(Thanks to the SCI FI Channel www.scifi.com and Stephen Bassett www.disclosureproject.org for this information. - TV)Return to top
6) Radioactive battery provides decades of power
12:31 22 October 02 New Scientist
Tiny batteries that draw energy from radioactive isotopes could provide 50 years of power for micro-devices and electronics, its inventors say.
The battery is fuelled by the radioactive isotope nickel-63. "It might be possible to make really tiny microelectronic sensor systems that can be embedded in a building or even in the body," says Amil Lal, who developed the system with colleagues at Cornell University, New York.
Lal thinks any device that requires low power for long periods, but is not accessible, could make use of the battery. He says using an isotope that emits beta radiation, the least energetic radiation associated with nuclear decay, could make it safe for implantation.
The battery consists of a thin piece of copper suspended above a layer of nickel-63. As the nickel isotope decays, it fires out beta particles, i.e. electrons. These give the copper strip a negative charge.
The loss of electrons causes the nickel layer to become positively charged, so the copper layer bends until contact is made. At this point, electrons flow from the copper to the nickel layer, equalising the charge, and the process begins all over again. This mechanical energy could be used to generate electricity or power a small mechanical device, says Lal.
The researchers have so far developed a prototype that has a volume of just five cubic millimetres. This produces only a few milliwatts of power, but could last for decades. Nickel-63 has a half-life of 100 years and Lal estimates that useful power could be generated for at least half this time.
Peter Bruce, at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, says radioactive power sources "have tended towards low power and the applications have therefore been exotic", such as isolated sensing equipment.
But Lal says the power source might be ideally suited to future microelectronics and miniature mechanical devices.
Batteries based on radioactive energy sources were first suggested in the 1960s during a boom in nuclear power research. Bruce says many of these were shelved because of public safety concerns.
12:31 22 October 02
Atomic battery link with photo and graphics: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Oct02/cantilever.ws.html
Nuclear Solutions Inc. (founded by Paul Brown) www.nuclearsolutions.comReturn to top
Europe Pushes for Renewable Energy
U.S. judge orders release of Cheney energy papers
Is it all about oil?
Environmental & Energy Study Institute article - Here Comes the Sun:
Renewable Sources of Energy - The Time Has Come
Forwarded as a courtesy from: http://www.integrityresearchinstitute.org
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