Salt does much more than season food. Use in food accounts for only about 6% of all salt manufactured.
The Salt Institute claims it has about 14,000 uses. People have been cleaning with salt at least since the Middle Ages.
It’s only in the past half century or so that advertisers have convinced us to buy products that only clean one thing. Older products like salt, vinegar, lemon juice, baking (or washing) soda, and borax still clean just as well as the newer ones. Continue reading →
Princess Amalia Wind Farm, in the North Sea off the Netherlands coast.
Big oil and the wind industry might seem like an unlikely combination.
But several international oil giants have competed successfully with established players in the wind energy business to win offshore wind leases.
Major international oil companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil (a Norwegian company), and Eni (Italian), have begun to invest heavily in offshore wind farms.
In the North Sea, they have successfully outbid such other international giants as Dong Energy (Danish) and Vattenfall (Swedish), which have invested in North Sea wind farms longer. Continue reading →
Hickory Ridge Landfill near Conley, Georgia. Opened 1993, closed 2006, capped 2011
Landfills would never win a beauty contest. Not even when they’re closed and capped. They don’t have to remain ugly ducklings, however. With money and imagination, the land can be converted to other uses.
Here are some new landfill reclamation projects that have just started and a cautionary tale of one that didn’t work. Continue reading →
Hydrogen fuel cell block diagram
Hydrogen has great promise in producing electricity because it has no byproduct but water. Potentially, it also has advantages over batteries as a storage medium.
That doesn’t mean we’ll be driving hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) or storing renewable energy in fuel cells any time soon.
Pure hydrogen doesn’t exist in nature. Manufacture of hydrogen requires natural gas, biomass, alcohol, or water. The technology won’t be ready for prime time until some problems are worked out. Continue reading →
Portland General Electric lithium ion battery system
In the first quarter of 2017, the US energy storage market set a record.
The 234 MWH represents more than fifty-fold growth over the same period last year. The 71 MW capacity trails only the fourth quarters of 2015 and 2016.
Most of this growth comes from utility scale projects in Arizona, California, and Hawaii. Continue reading →
Trash and recycling truck
Doing recycling wrong can endanger the whole process. Including the people who work in it.
But we all make mistakes in recycling. We put materials out to the curb that don’t belong there. Or we neglect to put things in that do belong. Or we put them in the wrong way.
Recycling is a good thing, but it’s expensive. At first, it appeared that municipalities could break even by selling the material they collected. Not so any more, if ever. Commodity prices have plummeted.
These recycling mistakes make the process more expensive. Some municipalities have had to stop accepting some traditionally recyclable materials, like glass.
So how can we recognize how we’re doing recycling wrong so we can correct our mistakes? Continue reading →