Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas
“Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas. This is part of the difficulty with the public and the media in understanding that 95% of greenhouse gases are water vapour. The public understand it, in that if you get a fall evening or spring evening and the sky is clear the heat will escape and the temperature will drop and you get frost. If there is a cloud cover, the heat is trapped by water vapour as a greenhouse gas and the temperature stays quite warm. If you go to In Salah in southern Algeria, they recorded at one point a daytime or noon high of 52 degrees Celsius – by midnight that night it was -3.6 degree Celsius. […] That was caused because there is no, or very little, water vapour in the atmosphere and it is a demonstration of water vapour as the most important greenhouse gas.”
These Dam Decisions | Anne Stanton
When Traverse City Light and Power proposed building a 10 megawatt biomass plant (or three or four) earlier this year, people wondered about the wisdom of removing the three Boardman River dams, which once produced more than 2 megawatts of energy each year, enough to power 1,400 homes. The owners, the city of Traverse City and Grand Traverse County, voted last year to dismantle them, but people wonder if it’s too late to reconsider. The cost to remove the dams is about the same as to bring them into compliance and add upgrades to get the river colder.
Why the Dam Hurry? | Anne Stanton
Why the Dam Hurry? Biomass controversy sparks a kinder, gentler look at hydropower By Anne Stanton Fred Kiefer, an older gentleman from northern Indiana, walked down the path of Lone Pine Trail off Keystone Road in Traverse City with his wife, to a place they held dear in their memories. Hung around his neck was a camera, ready to capture a picture of the blue herons, swans, mergansers, and, if he was lucky, a pair of loons. But the scene he remembered was no more. Instead he saw a river with banks of bare dirt and the pond’s exposed bottomlands. He turned to a trio of folks and remarked that water levels must have really dropped. One of the men, a big guy, told him the county lowered the pond level by 17 feet in 2007. “Oh, this makes me sick,” said Kiefer. “I have a picture hanging in my living room from the last time I was here. Fall colors, swans swimming across there. It was gorgeous. This was a big ol’ lake, hundreds and hundreds of birds. We watched an osprey. But it’s dried up. It’s gone. This looks like a savannah.”
Dam Builder Denied | Anne Stanton
Entrepreneur Charles Peterson, who bought the dam equipment from Grand Traverse County for $60,000, is confident that he could run the dams, but his credentials have often been questioned. Ed Rice, director of TCL&P, says that Peterson is a salvager, who has no experience running a hydro dam, and that safety to the town was key. (The previous TCL&P management supported Peterson). Peterson, who buys and sells heavy and high-tech machinery, worked with TCL&P previously, dismantling the coal-fired power plant on Grand Traverse Bay and selling it to a city in Honduras. He holds a degree in industrial and mechanical engineering from the Illinois Institute of technology. “I’ve been involved in machine retrofits, conversions, plant redesign, plant redevelopment—there’s not an issue here of my credibility to operate,” he said.
Water currents can power the world
Michigan—The system, conceived by scientists at the University of Michigan, is called Vivace, or "vortex-induced vibrations for aquatic clean energy". Currents can power the world, say scientists Existing technologies require an average current of five or six knots to operate efficiently, while most of the earth's currents are slower than three knots. The technology can generate electricity in water flowing at a rate of less than one knot - about one mile an hour - meaning it could operate on most waterways and sea beds around the globe (even drainage networks). Systems could be sited on river beds or suspended in the ocean. The scientists behind the technology, which has been developed in research funded by the US government, say that generating power in this way would potentially cost only around 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour.
The Boardman Valley Preservation Society Seeks to Save Dams | NEW WEBSITE
Traverse City—Boardman River advocates are seeking community support to preserve and protect hydroelectric dams and ponds. These dams are currently targeted for removal by the County. Traverse City Light & Power indicates that they need to generate more local renewable energy. The dams could be back up and running at within months, if the community supports a plan to restore them to operation. Dams are a source of carbon-free source of power. In contrast, if the same amount of energy were generated in a coal- or biomass-fired electric plant, it would produce thousands of tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Building hydropower systems keeps money in the local economy because they produce power where it's being consumed, they both deliver electricity more efficiently and help stabilize the grid.
Dam restoration important to area
Traverse City—Our firm has invested more than $100,000 in actual cash and expenses to see these renewable hydroelectric resources returned to productive service, and notwithstanding that significant stake in the process, we have been blocked and criticized for intervening in their dam removal process. The removal process will require at least three to five years and cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Our firm, on the other hand, offered to pay all costs required to restore hydroelectric power production and divide the net revenue with the community. Restoring electric power generation at the three dams will be insurance to this community when an energy crisis occurs. Remember, these dams are the only reliable and continuous renewable energy source in our area.
VIVACE (Vortex Induced Vibrations Aquatic Clean Energy)
Michigan—A novel approach to extract energy from flowing water currents. It is unlike any other ocean energy or low-head hydropower concept. VIVACE is based on the extensively studied phenomenon of Vortex Induced Vibrations (VIV), which was first observed 500 years ago by Leonardo DaVinci in the form of “Aeolian Tones.” For decades, engineers have been trying to prevent VIV from damaging offshore equipment and structures. By maximizing and exploiting VIV rather than spoiling and preventing it, VIVACE takes this ‘problem’ and transforms it into a valuable resource for mankind.
Biologically Inspired Power Systems
The inherently simple bioWAVE™ and bioSTREAM™ devices are designed to supply utility-scale grid-connected renewable energy using efficient modular systems. These systems will reside beneath the ocean surface, out of view, and in harmony with the living creatures that inspired their design.
Small Scale Hydro
In the US, the small hydroelectirc market has been widely overlooked, predominately due to the negative stigma associated with all hydroelectirc activity. This perception is a result of the consequences that have arisen from the mature large hydroelectirc market. For this reason, many sites remain available for development and many existing facilities are available for acquisition, which can then be aggregated to achieve economies of scale.
The Pitter Patter of Raindrops Can Produce Power
Here's something residents of cloudy northern Europe should appreciate: a way of using rain to generate power. Jean-Jacques Chaillout and colleagues at the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) in Grenoble, France, have shown that piezoelectric materials, which generate voltage in response to mechanical force, can be made to produce useful amounts of electrical power when hit by falling rain.