Thursday, July 31, 2008

As I have mentioned in previous posts I am excited about alternative energy (wind, solar, fuel cells). In browsing the WEB news today I came across an article that literally had me bouncing in my seat.

It seems that Daniel Nocera, an MIT professor of energy, has been tinkering with coming up with a better means to split Hydrogen from water. By better, I mean more efficient than current and traditional means not to mention safer and less hazardously.

Splitting Hydrogen off in and of itself is not a miracle. I have done many times before using nothing more than a 9 volt battery and some wire.

Where Daniel's advancements make me excited though are from the implications of using this as a storage mechanism to allow you to capture the sunlight during the day (say through a photovoltaic array) saving it as a potential energy (in the form of Hydrogen) and then being able to safely and cleanly be able to use it on demand (via a fuel cell).

When it comes down to it, aside from Nuclear power, all other power sources mimic this process.

Coal, oil, natural gas, wood, grass pellets all do the same thing. They are representations of solar power collected through the biosphere and stored away.

Even wind power takes off on this concept when you consider that wind is simply capturing and converting the mommentum of air caused by the warming and cooling actions of having (or not having) sunlight.

So, read the article and see what you think.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Midsummer Nights Entry

I am even more lax now than in March in making entries.

Snow is no longer the complaint of Massena. After a seemingly endless Winter, Spring finally made an appearance and gradually made way for Summer. And now we complain of rain.

We have only had a few weekends with nice weather. One or two days of rain has been the norm. Just enough that my attempts to keep up with the lawn are continually thwarted. Looking into the dark out my back windows I can't see it, but I know that the lawn is too long to be respectable. And, I swear I can hear it laughing at me as it grows!

And now to start looking ahead to Autumn and the start of another school year.

Even though my sons have moved on to Boy Scouts, I still find myself leading Cub Scout Pack 31. I am eagerly looking to hand over leadership to a new group of parents and have high hopes for several that are promising (and whose boys seem to really like being scouts).

The wind farm located to the East of us in Ellenburg is up and running. I have had a chance to drive by several times now. It really amazes me how the turbines/towers fade into the background from a distance. The shade of paint they use is perfect camouflage. Unless you know where to look you just can't see them. Up close they are awe inspiring. They are quite graceful and I can imagine them being designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as they so perfectly fit the purpose they are designed for while at the same time fitting in, blending in, and actually complementing the environment they are a part of.

I can't understand why people are so opposed to wind farms. The NIMBY groups out there would rather have a 'natural' view in their back yard while out of sight (and out of mind) a coal or diesel plant spews pollution while providing the power for them to make their lattes.