START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Dec 17, 2008

Are corn husks better than corn for producing energy? Ethanol is the alternative fuel that could finally wean the U.S. from its expensive oil habit and in turn prevent the millions of tons of carbon emissions that go with it. The Department of Energy has doubled its 2005 commitment to funding research into biofuels—any non-petroleum fuel source, including corn, soybean, switchgrass, municipal waste and (ick) used cooking oil. Already, half of the nearly 11 billion bushels of corn produced each year is turned into ethanol, and most new cars are capable of running on E10 (10% ethanol and 90% gas).

Yet the eco-friendly fuel is beginning to look less chummy of late. Some of the 114 ethanol plants in the U.S. use natural gas and, yes, even coal to run the processors. And ethanol has to be trucked. Existing gas pipelines can't carry it because it corrodes iron. Then there are the economics. Producers depend on federal subsidies, and increasing demand for corn as fuel means the kernels keep getting pricier.

That's why researchers are prospecting for more alternatives, preferably ones that don't rely on food crops or a 51 cents-per-gallon tax break. Municipal waste, wood pulp and leftover grain and corn husks are all quite attractive; they can produce something called cellulosic ethanol, which contains more energy than corn. But they don't give up their bounty easily, so for now they're more expensive than corn-based ethanol to produce. Undeterred, researchers at several cellulosic-ethanol plants are developing innovative enzyme concoctions and heating methods to make the process more economic. Nothing like haste to make something out of waste


Visibility: Everyone
Tags:
Posted: Dec 17, 2008 9:56pm
Dec 15, 2008

Analysis reveals that the difference between the speed of small and large birds is not as great as expected; they suggest that this surprising result is likely to be the result of disadvantages associated with very slow speeds among smaller birds and with very fast speeds for larger birds. They also show that the evolutionary history of the species helps explain much of the variation in flight speed: species of the same group tend to fly at similar characteristic speeds. For example, birds of prey and herons had slow flight speeds, on average, given their mass and wing loading, whereas the average speed for songbirds and shorebirds was faster than would be predicted.

This study suggests that there are different functional adaptations affecting flight differently among different types of bird, and that there exists a diversity of cruising flight characteristics among birds that remain to be explored and understood.

Visibility: Everyone
Tags:
Posted: Dec 15, 2008 5:28am
Dec 15, 2008
Increasing pressures from climate change will reach a tipping point in less than a decade triggering a significant decline in the health of the planet's coral reef ecosystems according to the findings in an international report.

Coral reefs continue to be threatened from direct human activities of pollution and over-fishing, but now the threat of climate change is being recognized as the major threat to the future of reefs around the world. One fifth of the Earth's coral reefs have disappeared since 1950, and a NOAA authored report issued in July states that more that that nearly half of U.S. coral reef ecosystems are considered to be in "poor" or "fair" condition.

"Unless the world gets serious about reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next few years, it is likely there will be massive bleaching and deaths of corals around the world," notes the report's lead editor and global coral authority Clive Wilkinson who coordinates the Global Coral Monitoring Network in Australia. "This will have significant impacts on the lives of the people in developing countries who are dependent on reefs for food, for tourism, and for protecting the land they live on."

Visibility: Everyone
Tags:
Posted: Dec 15, 2008 5:20am

 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

Author

Spidey Goku
, 1
Goa, India
Shares by Type:
All (3) | Blog (3)
Spidey's Tags:
nature
SHARES FROM SPIDEY'S NETWORK
Nov
3
(0 comments  |  discussions )
\\n\\r\\n1 cup whole wheat flour1/4 cup soy flour1 tablespoon catnip1 egg1/3 cup cat milk2 tablespoons wheat germ1/3 cup powdered milk1 tablespoon molasses\\r\\n2 tablespoons butter or oil\\r\\nPreheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.\\r\\nIn a large bowl, mix flour, c...
Sep
19
by Gary G.
(0 comments  |  discussions )
In 2002 the General Assembly of the United Nations officially declared September 21 as the permanent date for the International Day of Peace. This Wednesday folks all over the world will participate in many different activities that focus on world pe...
Jul
7
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.2 Corinthians 3:17
Jul
6
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippian...
Jul
5
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Praise to God for a Living HopePraise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.1 Peter 1:3
Jul
4
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.Mark 12:30
Jul
3
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.Psalm 42:5
Jul
2
(0 comments  |  discussions )
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.2 Corinthians 4:18
Jul
1
(0 comments  |  discussions )
Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.Isaiah 40:1
Jun
30
(0 comments  |  0 discussions )
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.Deuteronomy 31:8