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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

In a fortuitous discovery, chemists have stumbled on a catalyst that strips carbon dioxide from the air and converts it into a useful compound.
Published in the most recent issue of the journal Science, researchers at Leiden University in the Netherlands have discovered a copper-based catalyst that can literally pull carbon dioxide out of thin air.
Researchers say the copper-based compound is not ready for primetime–removing carbon dioxide on a large scale–but they hope that the catalyst could one day remove the ubiquitous greenhouse gas from the atmosphere, turning it into organic chemicals.
Elisabeth Bouwman at Leiden University, who led the team that discovered the catalyst, said the selectivity of the new compound is “completely unexpected”.
This is not the first catalyst with a metal core that can pull CO2 from a gas stream, but it is the first that when faced with air, prefers to couple with oxygen molecules.
The system is far from being a practical method of extracting CO2 from the air to combat the buildup of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere and global warming because the conversion rates are too low.
So far, Bouwman and her team achieved a conversion rate in the lab that has cycled the system just six times in seven hours, well short of the tens of thousands of cycles per hour needed for efficient conversion.

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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

In ten years’ time Germany will double the land used for growing feedstocks, solar parks and wind turbines, in order to increase the production of biofuel.
Today, 1.77 million of Germany’s 35.7 million hectares are being used for renewable energy. If Germany is to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by the end of the decade, almost 4 million hectares will be required.
Most of this land will be under-utilised agricultural, military and industrial land and will be used to grow feedstocks such as corn, sugar beet and rapeseed, which can then be converted into biodiesel, ethanol and biogas.
‘Critical for all this to work is to make sure that bioenergy is integrated into the overall energy system’, said Daniela Thraen, director of the German Biomass Research Center in Leipzig.

segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

In Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobas) has signed an agreement with Gas Verde S.A. to supply 200,000 m3 of biogas per day. Replacing natural gas, the biogas will be generated by Gas Verde, from the Jardim Gramacho landfill in Rio de Janeiro to the Petrobras Duque de Caxis plant.
It is thought that the project will reduce greenhouse emissions. As well as helping to recover the mangrove close to the landfill, the project aims to recover the plant life that used to grow on the 3 million m2 landfill site. The living conditions of people living nearby will hopefully be improved and 2 billion litres of liquid waste will be treated every day.

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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

Petrobras’ Juiz de Fora power plant, also in Brazil, will become the country’s first ethanol-fueled power plant.
Since 31 December the plant has been using ethanol on an experimental basis. Now, in its efforts to create alternative sources of power, a 45MW turbine has been adapted that can be used with ethanol or gas.
The ethanol refinery is the newest addition to the company’s already long line of power plants totaling 7,028MW, including 14 natural gas power plants (5,820MW), 12 fuel oil power plants (892MW) and 16 small hydropower plants (316MW). There has been a 30% decrease in nitrogen oxides since the plant started using ethanol, 13 days ago.

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Brazil
produces the largest amount of ethanol in the world due to its production of sugar cane.

segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

A usina termelétrica Juiz de Fora, que faz parte do parque gerador da Petrobras, agora é flex-fuel (bicombustível). Além de operar com gás natural, a usina passa a ser a primeira do mundo a gerar energia com o etanol.
Com essa iniciativa, o Brasil reafirma sua posição de destaque na produção e uso do etanol e a Petrobras dá mais um passo na busca por fontes alternativas de geração de energia e no esforço para flexibilizar seu parque gerador, que tem capacidade instalada de 7.028 MW. São 14 termelétricas a gás natural (5.820 MW), 12 a óleo (892 MW) e 15 pequenas centrais hidrelétricas – PCHs – (316 MW). Agora, conta também com uma usina capaz de gerar energia elétrica a partir do etanol.
Cerca de 90% dos materiais e equipamentos para a infraestrutura de recebimento, armazenagem e transferência do etanol para a turbina são nacionais. Em relação aos equipamentos adquiridos para conversão da turbina, o percentual é de 5%. Países importadores de combustíveis líquidos e gasosos, como o Japão, são mercados potenciais para esse uso.

segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

Four formerly developing countries took the reins during climate talks in Copenhagen: China, India, Brazil, and South Africa. It could herald a redistribution of global clout, some experts say.
Global climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark, last month represented the latest sign that global power is shifting in ways that could give major developing countries a greater say in the global economic and environmental order.
That’s the view several analysts offer as they take stock of December’s dramatic talks in the Danish capital. The final deal was not struck among the more than 190 nations attending. Instead, much of it was crafted by the heads of state of about 30 countries, with key details ironed out at the last minute between the US, China, India, South Africa, and Brazil.
The geopolitical landscape is shifting, said former US Sen. Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, based in Washington.
“Copenhagen was a place where a lot of that played out,” added Mr. Wirth, speaking at a United Nations Foundation conference on green investing in New York Thursday.

The Copenhagen 5
The key players in the last-minute horsetrading in Denmark contrast strikingly to those involved in last-minute talks over the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. In Kyoto, Japan, the core deal was struck between the US, Japan, and the European Union, explains Elliot Diringer, vice president for international strategies at the Pew Center for Global Climate Change in Arlington, Va.
The difference partly reflects the differences between the respective agreements. The Kyoto Protocol covers only industrial countries. The Copenhagen political agreement aims to include developing countries. While they aren’t expected to take on absolute cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions against a given base year, the way industrial countries are – at least for now – they are expected to substantially reduce their emissions below a so-called business-as-usual trajectory.
But the difference also suggests that the economic gap between developed and developing countries – one measured as much by greenhouse-gas emissions as by standard economic statistics – has narrowed significantly.
At Copenhagen, five world leaders – four from countries outside the usual post-World War II power brokers – nailed down the final details. That “may encapsulate the kind of shift that we see” in other arenas, Mr. Diringer says.
One of those arenas involves international finance. During the current economic crisis, world leaders recharged the International Monetary Fund’s fiscal aquifer with $1 trillion. Hard bargaining by countries such as China, India, and Brazil in the run-up to that decision translated into receiving a 47 percent share of the voting rights in the body.
“And that is likely to rise to 50 soon,” said Jonathan Lash, president of the World Resources Institute, during a press briefing last week in Washington.
At a time when such institutions are becoming increasingly involved in a range of issues, including climate, “developing countries are demanding a much greater say,” he said. That’s more in line with what one might expect from a Copenhagen 5 than the G-8 group of industrial countries, he added.

The new world order?
It’s not yet clear how solid any new alignment is, says Sarah Ladislaw, an energy and national-security analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.
The China-India-Brazil-South Africa bloc at the climate talks did something new, she says. The four countries were not negotiating on behalf of the larger bloc of developing countries, as they might have in the past, she adds. Instead, they were negotiating based on their own interests as developing countries with rapidly growing economies.
That led to cracks in the firewall that the Kyoto pact establishes between developed to developing countries – a firewall that allows for no shift in status from developing nation to developed nation, says Ms. Ladislaw.
Further divisions appeared in the fragile developing-country bloc when the US offered to take part in setting up a $30 billion “fast start” fund over the next three years to help developing countries adapt to global warming and grow on a more climate-friendly path. Countries with the most to lose from global warming urged support – if sometimes grudgingly – for the final agreement, while five developing countries refused to support it.
The key question now is whether Copenhagen 5 become the nucleus for future climate negotiations.
“India always has a little bit of a problem playing second fiddle to China, and Brazil and South Africa have separate interests as well,” Ladislaw says. More will come clear after a meeting between the four coming up next month, she adds.

The Christian Science Monitor

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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

Estudo da PricewaterhouseCoopers aponta o Brasil como a 5ª economia mundial em 2013. O Brasil terá ultrapassado, então, gigantes como Alemanha, Reino Unido e França.  O estudo indica ainda que até 2020 o Produto Interno Bruto (PIB) do grupo de sete maiores emergentes - chamado E-7 e formado por China, Índia, Brasil, Rússia, México, Indonésia e Turquia - será maior do que o do G-7.  Cinco das 10 maiores economias, até 2030, serão países hoje tidos como emergentes.
O relatório leva em consideração o ritmo de crescimento e a valorização média das moedas de cada país para traçar perspectivas de médio e longo prazos. Para a PricewaterhouseCoopers, E-7 e G-7 terão pesos equivalentes por volta de 2019.
A diferença de riquezas vem caindo - em 2000, o PIB dos sete países mais ricos do mundo era o dobro dos países hoje considerados emergentes pela consultoria - e, este ano, deve sofrer sua maior redução: 35%. Após a ultrapassagem, a distância seguirá aumentando: em 2030, o E-7 será 30% mais rico que Estados Unidos, Canadá, Japão, Alemanha, França, Reino Unido e Itália (G-7).
Em 2030, as projeções sugerem que o top 10 global do ranking de PIB terá a liderança da China, seguida dos Estados Unidos, Índia, Japão, Brasil, Rússia, Alemanha, México, França e Reino Unido, afirma o relatório, assinado pelo diretor de Macroeconomia da PwC, John Hawksworth.
Entre os reposicionamentos, três chamam mais atenção: a China, que ultrapassa os EUA, a Índia, superando o Japão, e o Brasil deixando para trás todos os gigantes europeus. Outra constatação do estudo é que a economia indiana crescerá mais rápido que a chinesa na década de 2020. A influência do E-7 já é enorme e esta análise mostra que a questão não é se o E-7 ultrapassará o G-7, mas quando, explicou Ian Powell, economista da PwC.
Para Powell, as mudanças econômicas já resultam em uma nova geopolítica. O G-7 já foi expandido para G-20 como o fórum-chave para decisões de economia global.
De acordo com a PwC, o Brasil contará com o crescimento e a exposição internacionais obtidas com a Copa do Mundo de 2014 e com a Olimpíada de 2016, no Rio de Janeiro. Já a Rússia conta com superpoderes na área de energia e a Índia, graças a seu crescimento demográfico, passará a crescer mais que a China.
As estimativas da PwC são ainda mais otimistas sobre a performance dos países em desenvolvimento do que as feitas por Jim ONeill, chefe de pesquisa em Economia Global do banco de investimentos americano Goldman Sachs e autor do acrônimo Bric, sigla com a qual destacou a emergência de Brasil, Rússia, Índia e China na década passada. ONeill afirmara em novembro do ano passado que a China superará os Estados Unidos em 2027.

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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

The deadline for agreeing to the Copenhagen Accord may have been dropped, but the pressure to agree to the Accord and to announce commitments to create cleaner energy sources and reduce pollution is still on.
The US Climate Action Network (USCAN) is making it easier for all of us to follow all of the countries’ commitments through a useful chart of their pledges, how their 2020 targets compare to their 1990 pollution levels, their per capita CO2 emissions, and other information. The chart also lists those countries which reject the Copenhagen Accord.
Currently, Brazil, South Korea and South Africa have made formal commitments. Respectively, they have committed to 36-39%, 20% and 34% reductions from “business as usual” scenarios. Ghana has also committed to the Accord but hasn’t announced its specific reduction pledge.
Compared to 1990 levels, these commitments mean Brazil will have a 1.9-6.4% increase in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, South Korea will have a 48% increase, and South Africa an 87% increase.
A United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) spokesman has also listed Australia, France, Canada, Papa New Guinea, and Maldives as countries that will sign onto the Accord.
The information on the chart comes from different media sources: The New York Times, Bloomberg, AFP, etc.
Cuba is the only country that has announced it will not sign onto the Accord. We can expect to see many more commitments in the coming week or so.

CleanTech

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segunda-feira, janeiro 25th, 2010 | Author: admin

As Indian environment minister launches a blistering attack on Ed Miliband, Yvo de Boer says international climate talks have entered a “cooling-off period ”

Yvo de Boer, the UN’s top climate change official, has expressed optimism that a binding international climate change treaty can be agreed later this year at the Mexico summit, arguing that the agreement brokered in Copenhagen last month has given countries “all the ingredients” they need to reach a deal.
Speaking in an online press conference this afternoon, de Boer admitted the Copenhagen summit had not resulted in the ambitious deal hoped for by many, but insisted a binding international treaty to deliver deep cuts in carbon emissions could still be delivered.
“Copenhagen did not produce the final cake, but it left countries with all the right ingredients to a bake a new one in Mexico,” he said, adding that “if countries follow Copenhagen’s outcomes clearly with their eyes firmly fixed on the advantages of global action, then we can finish the job.”
De Boer said he had written to representatives of all countries to ask if they wished to support the Copenhagen Accord, which was controversially agreed between the US, China, India, Brazil and South Africa in the frantic final hours of the Copenhagen summit.
He said that he had issued a deadline for countries to signal their support for the Accord and submit carbon targets and action plans for use in the document by the end of this month. However, he insisted that it was a “soft deadline”, adding that the Copenhagen Accord would become a “living document” that nations could endorse over the course of the year.
De Boer’s comments came as the UN confirmed that Australia, France and Canada had become the latest countries to confirm they would accept the accord, taking the number of nations that will definitely sign up to 14. Only Cuba has so far told the UN it will definitely reject the Accord.
De Boer also sought to play down concerns among developing countries that the Copenhagen Accord could sideline the ongoing UN-backed process, arguing that it instead represented an important political agreement between countries accounting for about 80 per cent of global carbon emissions that would help inform the wider negotiations.
He added that the negotiations had now entered a “cooling-off period” ahead of the next UN meeting in Bonn in late May/early June.
However, he also revealed that several countries had called for an ” intensified negotiating schedule” that could see an additional meeting hosted ahead of the Bonn event and a series of further meetings scheduled in the build-up to the COP 16 summit in Mexico in December.
De Boer’s comments were echoed by Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who told the third World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi that agreement could still be reached in Mexico.
“Mexico could produce a binding agreement but there are critical factors that need superhuman efforts,” he said. “We need leadership from several countries of the world. There should be no bickering after a feeling of dismay after Copenhagen.”
However, the need for a “cooling-off period” was dramatically underlined today when India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh launched a blistering attack on the “hypocritical” stance of rich nations at the Copenhagen summit.
Ramesh accused industrialised nations of bullying poorer countries to cut their carbon emissions while making few commitments themselves to tackle climate change.
Reserving much of his ire for the British energy and climate change secretary, Ramesh expressed his anger at what he regards as the “constant preaching from Ed Miliband” about China and India’s carbon emissions.
“I can tell you that Ed Miliband’s carbon footprint is probably 20 times my carbon footprint,” he added, arguing that rich nations were “in denial” about the need to change lifestyles to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“Indian emissions are survival emissions,” he said. “In the West they are lifestyle emissions, so I would tell my environmentalist friends to change their lifestyles before they preach to us as to what our development strategy should be.”
He added that India was “very aggressively” committed to curbing its carbon emissions, but would not accept binding emission targets until industrialised nations show significantly more ambition.
Ramesh’s comments come ahead of a meeting next week of India, China, Brazil and South Africa intended to co-ordinate their position ahead of the deadline for the publication of commitments under the Copenhagen Accord.
In a further blow to the next round of negotiations, he downplayed the chances of a binding agreement being reached this year. “These are very difficult issues – because the Western countries don’t want to compromise on lifestyle and we cannot compromise on our developmental priorities,” he said. ” So I don’t see how we break out of this logjam.”
India’s stance will further add to the pessimism surrounding the negotiations after the Obama administration’s chances of passing climate change legislation this year were dealt a blow by the loss yesterday of the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.
De Boer attempted to downplay the implications of any possible delay to US carbon legislation, arguing that president Obama should be judged by his commitment to world leaders at Copenhagen that the US would cut emissions 17 per cent by 2020 and deliver significantly deeper cuts by 2030.

BusinessGreen, James Murray

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terça-feira, janeiro 19th, 2010 | Author: admin

Joint New Zealand-U.S. project begins harvesting steady Antarctic winds on Ross Island

Besides the heavy snow, unrelenting wind, and bone-chilling temperatures, what’s the most difficult part of building a wind farm in Antarctica? The lack of daylight in the winter means construction can only take place in the summer months. And with only one supply ship a year, you better not forget any parts.
On Saturday, the $7.4-million Ross Island Wind Farm in Antarctica began feeding electricity at full power for the very first time.
The new wind farm can generate up to one megawatt of electricity and will cut diesel use at New Zealand’s Scott Base and the U.S.’ McMurdo Station by 120,000 gallons and reduce carbon dioxide output by 1,370 tons annually, according to New Zealand’s state-owned Meridian Energy, the project’s developers.
The wind farm’s three 333-kW Enercon E33 turbines will provide roughly 11 percent of the power for the two bases, smoothed by a 500kW PowerStore flywheel system which helps reduce the impact of fluctuating power on the area’s small electric grid. (Watch a live webcam of the Ross Island Wind Farm in Antarctica)
“This turbine makes a very visual statement that renewable energy has arrived on Ross Island,” wrote Meridian’s Scott Bennett on the Ross Island project’s blog, earlier on in the project. “It’s operation, which can be viewed from both Scott Base and McMurdo Station is raising intense interest from the residents in both communities.”
While the turbines have been operating at partial power since December, the units did not begin producing full power until Saturday, when New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully and U.S. Ambassador David Huebner officially flipped the switch via video link with the site from Auckland, in northern New Zealand.
Meridian began the project back in November of 2008 but didn’t finally wrap-up the construction phase of the wind farm until late December 2009.
While the new Ross Island Wind Farm is the largest in Antarctica, it is not the first. A 600-kW, two-turbine wind installment has been providing electricity for Australia’s Mawson Station since 2003.

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