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Friday, August 29, 2014

66
votes
Europe will be Russia's hostage over gas supplies for at least another decade

The Telegraph -- Europe will remain heavily reliant on Russian gas for at least another decade, according to a leading rating agency.

Fitch said a lack of alternative sources meant policymakers would have no choice but to continue buying gas from Russia until at least the mid-2020s and "potentially much longer".

Europe already buys a quarter of its gas from Russia, and analysts expect consumption to increase by a third by 2030 as economies recover from the debt crisis and gas-fired electricity generation replaces old coal and nuclear power.

Major natural gas pipelines

Many of the main gas pipelines into Western Europe run through Ukraine (Source: Fitch)

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26 Aug 2014
Scottish Power blunders continue to pile u  (read more)

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1322 Comments

60
votes
Domestic crude begins to cut into Saudi U.S. sales volumes

Houston Chronical -- HOUSTON — Since about 2009 and until just recently, Saudi Arabia shipped discounted crude to the U.S. in growing volumes even as total U.S. waterborne imports fell. But while Saudi Arabia isn’t about to exit the U.S. market, cheaper domestic crude oils are beginning to displace Saudi imports.  (read more)

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878 Comments

57
votes
Researchers recommend eco-friendly solutions to recycle frack water

WaterWorld -- Scientists at Rice University have produced a detailed analysis of water produced by hydraulic fracturing (fracking) at three gas reservoirs in the states of Texas, Pennsylvania and New Mexico and have suggested that environmentally friendly remedies are needed to treat and reuse it. Rice chemist Andrew Barron, who led the study, suggested that more advanced recycling rather than disposal of produced water pumped back out of wells could calm fears of accidental spillage and save millions of gallons of fresh water a year.

The amount of water used by Texas drillers for fracking may only be 1.5 percent of that used by farming and municipalities, but it still amounts to as much as 5.6 million gallons per year for the Texas portion of the Haynesville formation and 2.8 million gallons for...  (read more)

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633 Comments

54
votes
Roadway safety a major concern over final summer holiday weekend

Deseret News -- While Labor Day weekend is considered the unofficial end of the summer vacation season, it also has the more notorious distinction of being the close of the period known as the “100 deadliest days” on Utah highways.

Last year, 85 people died on state roadways during the nearly four-month period from Memorial Day through Labor Day. This year, that number has already reached 91 fatalities, according to Utah Highway Patrol trooper Lawrence Hopper, with Labor Day still to come.

“It’s been a deadly summer,” Hopper lamented.

Data from the Utah Department of Public Safety shows at least 217 deaths occurred annually on state roadways from 2004 to 2013, including a high of 299 in 2007. Last year marked the second-lowest total — 220 deaths — in Utah since 1959.  (read more)

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55 Comments

47
votes
Tony Stewart returning to competition after fatal crash

The Fresno Bee -- CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Tony Stewart will return to Sprint Cup competition Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway, ending a three-race hiatus taken after he struck and killed a fellow driver during a dirt-track race.

The three-time NASCAR champion has not raced since his car hit Kevin Ward Jr. at an Aug. 9 sprint car event in upstate New York. Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen the next morning, then skipped races at Michigan and Bristol Motor Speedway.

Stewart, who was described by police as "visibly shaken" the night of Ward's death, has been in seclusion ever since. Stewart-Haas Racing executive vice president Brett Frood has said the emphasis was on giving Stewart time needed to get him "in a better place than he is."  (read more)

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674 Comments

Thursday, August 28, 2014

68
votes
Beating Our Enemies By Energy Independence

Forbes -- The largest obstacle remains the existing infrastructure. It simply cannot support the current level output in terms of transporting, distributing and storing more oil and natural gas, and as such, it must be upgraded.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1244 Comments

61
votes
Fuel tanks pulled out of downtown Fresno property so restaurant can go in

The Fresno Bee -- A downtown property got one step closer to redevelopment Wednesday with the removal of giant underground fuel tanks.

The property at 603 Broadway St., at the corner of Ventura Street, has been a service station for decades, and is currently the American & Foreign auto repair shop. But owner George Guzelian hopes to develop the property as something else, including possibly a fast-food restaurant.

The tanks -- three 3,000- to 4,000-gallon gasoline or diesel tanks and a 280-gallon oil tank -- were pulled out with excavators, paid for by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initiative to clean up sites with abandoned gas tanks.  (read more)

Submitted Yesterday By:
1176 Comments

58
votes
US green energy share hits record levels as solar power doubles

Business Green -- Renewables made up 14.3 per cent of US electricity generation in the first half of 2014, spurred by solar power more than doubling its output year on year.

The US Energy Information Administration's most recent Electric Power Monthly publication shows hydropower output was just outpaced by other renewables, as the sectors accounted for seven and 7.3 per cent of electricity generation, respectively.

Overall, total electricity from all renewables increased by 2.73 per cent year on year, despite small declines in geothermal power and hydropower, beating the 2.59 per cent net growth across all energy sources, the EIA figures show.  (read more)

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1125 Comments

55
votes
Are the world’s cars on the cusp of going solar?

CNBC -- Within a decade, declining prices of solar systems and batteries combined with the rise of electric vehicles may start sending internal combustion engines to the junk yard, analysts say.

"By 2020, shrinking battery and solar cost will make EVs (electric vehicles) in the mass segments the cheaper alternative over a car life cycle in most European markets," UBS analysts said in a note last week.

It expects Europe, particularly Germany, Italy and Spain, to lead the shift due to their high fuel and retail electricity costs, with a "conservative" estimate for around 10 percent of Europe's new car registrations to be electric vehicles by 2025.  (read more)

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82 Comments

46
votes
Fracking Taxes Help States Now, But What About The Future?

Forbes -- As bad as the federal budget picture looked during the Great Recession, the fiscal climate in the states was worse. The federal government used stimulus spending to prevent many states from having to make sharp cuts in services because of steep declines in sales, income, and corporate tax revenues. However, the state fiscal picture is looking much better.  (read more)

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20 Comments

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

66
votes
One of History’s Most Beautiful Cars May Also Be the Most Innovative

Wired -- Sixty years after its debut, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing remains one of the most beautiful cars ever made. Even when you paint it beige and cover its seats in shriek-inducing red and green plaid, it’s gorgeous. But more importantly—at least in the annals of automotive history—the car was packed with innovative tech like a slanted inline six-cylinder engine, fuel injection, a lightweight frame, and those glorious doors.

Like with many automotive inventions, the 300 SL’s groundbreaking features were born from racing. It all started with the 1952 W 194 series 300 SL, which took first and second place at the 24 Hours of Le Mans; first, second, and third at the 24 Hours of the Nürburgring; and first in the 1,900-mile Carrerra Panamericana race.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 27, 2014 By:
1426 Comments

62
votes
Texas lawmakers focus on oil boom

The Houston Chronicle -- AUSTIN — In a preview of priorities for the next legislative session, state lawmakers at a hearing on Tuesday examined the ways the oil boom is changing life in Texas.

Since the legislature last convened in 2013, budget officials have reported an unexpectedly large windfall from taxes on the petroleum industry, filling state coffers with a multi-billion dollar opportunity to address issues like the water shortage, transportation gridlock and troubled public schools. But industry practices have also wrecked roads, strained infrastructure, vexed police departments, drained water resources, polluted the air and set off knotty disputes among landowners, royalty claimants and oil companies.

Above all, the oil boom has emerged as a singular force driving the state’s great challenge of the 21st  (read more)

Submitted Aug 27, 2014 By:
1490 Comments

61
votes
Mister Car Wash sold to California equity firm

The Associated Press -- Tucson-based Mister Car Wash, one of the nation's biggest car-wash chains, has been acquired by a Los Angeles-based private equity firm.

The Arizona Daily Star reports (http://goo.gl/DY6tUe) the company says ONCAP, an investment fund of Toronto-based Onex Corp., sold the car-wash chain last week to Leonard Green & Partners LP for an undisclosed price.

Mister Car Wash's president and CEO John Lai says the deal will help Mister Car Wash capitalize on an acquisition strategy while strengthening its leadership position. He will remain the company's top executive.

Mister Car Wash now operates 134 car washes and 32 lube centers in 14 states.

The company announced in May it was buying all six Albuquerque locations of Octopus Car Wash, a chain made popular in the hit TV series "Breaking Bad."  (read more)

Submitted Aug 27, 2014 By:
755 Comments

60
votes
Cheaper, Cleaner, and Safer: How Hydrogen Could Replace Oil

Wall St. Cheat Sheet -- Scientists have been taking cues from nature for years, but few breakthroughs are potentially this important. In an effort to seek out clean, renewable energy sources, a team from the Australian National University has successfully duplicated one of the more crucial steps in photosynthesis — the process in which plants actively turn sunlight into energy — which could ultimately open the door to harnessing the process for energy cultivation.

If scientists are able to successfully take the photosynthesis process and apply it to industrial biological systems sunlight could be used to manufacture hydrogen, which could then be used as fuel. Hydrogen is already used as a fuel in many instances and if applied on a large scale, it could serve as a replacement for petroleum products — all the...  (read more)

Submitted Aug 27, 2014 By:
131 Comments

59
votes
Used car batteries can now be turned into solar cells

GMA -- Soon, used car batteries may find new life as solar cells, thanks to the work of researchers at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology.

The MIT said the researchers, after 18 months of testing, found the experimental solar cells are as efficient as many commercial silicon cells.

More importantly, the development may symbolize how hazardous waste could still be turned into renewable energy, the IEEE Spectrum reported.

In their paper, the researchers described a way to make perovskite solar cells using lead from recycled car batteries, in a low-temperature, simple process.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 27, 2014 By:
57 Comments

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

68
votes
Grain Piles Up, Waiting for a Ride, as Trains Move North Dakota Oil

New York Times -- The furious pace of energy exploration in North Dakota is creating a crisis for farmers whose grain shipments have been held up by a vast new movement of oil by rail, leading to millions of dollars in agricultural losses and slower production for breakfast cereal giants like General Mills.

The backlog is only going to get worse, farmers said, as they prepared this week for what is expected to be a record crop of wheat and soybeans.

“If we can’t get this stuff out soon, a lot of it is simply going to go on the ground and rot,” said Bill Hejl, who grows soybeans, wheat and sugar beets in the town of Casselton.

...About 60% of that oil travels by train from the Bakken oil fields in the western part of the state to faraway oil refiners. There are few pipelines to ship it.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 26, 2014 By:
460 Comments

66
votes
Diablo Canyon nuclear plant should be closed for quake testing, expert says

The Associated Press -- LOS ANGELES >> A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California’s last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility’s twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from any one of several nearby earthquake faults.

Michael Peck, who for five years was Diablo Canyon’s lead on-site inspector, says in a 42-page, confidential report that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not applying the safety rules it set out for the plant’s operation.

The document, which was obtained and verified by The Associated Press, does not say the plant itself is unsafe. Instead, according to Peck’s analysis, no one knows whether the facility’s key equipment can withstand strong shaking from those faults — the potential for which was realized decades after the f  (read more)

Submitted Aug 26, 2014 By:
1445 Comments

64
votes
Why there’s no such thing as a car ‘accident’

Driving -- When it comes to describing the behaviour of the drivers on our roads, we have a language problem. When you are speeding and hit something, you didn’t have an accident, you caused a collision. When you blow off a stop sign and T-bone someone else, you didn’t have an accident, you caused a crash. When you get behind the wheel drunk and drive into a tree, you did not have an accident; you got drunk and drove into a tree.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 26, 2014 By:
1550 Comments

59
votes
The Credit Card That’ll Replace All Your Plastic Is Finally Here (Kind Of)

Wired -- When Coin released the first video of its über credit card, the response was enormous.

After 40 minutes, even though it was still just a prototype, 1,000 people had evidently forked over $50 for the super-slim electronic device that stores multiple credit card numbers and lets you use any of them with the mere push of a button. That took the company past its $50,000 pre-order goal. Just a few hours later, it had received a massive 20,000 orders for the device, which slides through checkout-counter card readers much like any other piece of plastic. Within two weeks, more than six million people had viewed the launch video that sent Coin viral. Apparently, there’s an awful lot of pent up frustration over the supposed problem of a wallet stuffed with too many credit cards.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 26, 2014 By:
1148 Comments

48
votes
Elon Musk May Use 'Wonder Material' Graphene To Push Tesla Performance To The Next Level

Business Insider -- Tesla’s critically acclaimed all-electric Model S sedan can travel roughly 265 miles on a single charge, according to the EPA, but CEO Elon Musk last month said “it will be possible to have a 500-mile range car,” adding “in fact, we could do it quite soon.”

Graphene, for those who don’t know, is a carbon-based “super material” that’s roughly 200 times stronger than steel but nearly transparent when laid out in sheets. First isolated in 2003, graphene is as an excellent conductor of heat and energy, and certainly an ideal material for batteries.

It may take years before Tesla can create graphene-based batteries on a large scale, but if it ever happens, electric car critics would suddenly have little to gripe about.
 (read more)

Submitted Aug 26, 2014 By:
36 Comments

Monday, August 25, 2014

71
votes
Pot and driving just a really bad idea

Driving -- Marijuana is a hot topic in British Columbia and across North America these days, especially since the Canadian government recently changed the rules on who can produce and distribute the controversial plant and some U.S. states have decriminalized it.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 25, 2014 By:
235 Comments

70
votes
Oil and gas companies use 40-plus toxic chemicals near California homes, schools and hospitals

Natural News -- (NaturalNews) The quest to unearth new sources of oil and natural gas in Southern California's dense urban core has resulted in the spreading of more than 40 different toxic chemicals near hospitals, residential areas and schools.

Data collected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District has revealed that a process known as "acidization," which involves injecting chemicals and other materials into the ground to create passageways for oil and gas to escape, is generating heavy pollution in many sensitive areas.Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/045674_toxic_chemicals_oil_companies_California.html#ixzz3BNCwWlIi
 (read more)

Submitted Aug 25, 2014 By:
1480 Comments

69
votes
Methane is discovered seeping from seafloor off East Coast

BOSTON GLOBE -- Scientists have discovered methane gas bubbling from the seafloor in an unexpected place: off the East Coast of the United States where the continental shelf meets the deeper Atlantic Ocean.

The methane is emanating from at least 570 locations called seeps, from near Cape Hatteras, N.C. to the Georges Bank southeast of Nantucket.

In a paper published online Sunday in the journal Nature Geoscience, the scientists, including Adam Skarke of Mississippi State University and Carolyn Ruppel of the US Geological Survey, reported evidence that the seepage had been going on for at least 1,000 years.

They said the depths of the seeps suggested that in most cases the gas did not reach the atmosphere but rather dissolved in the ocean, where it could affect the acidity of the water at least locally.  (read more)

Submitted Aug 25, 2014 By:
792 Comments

66
votes
Feds aren’t protecting pipelines from cartels, Texas regulator says

The Houston Chronicle -- Federal authorities have failed to protect pipeline rights-of-way from becoming pathways for illegal immigration and cartel activity that endangers pipeline inspectors, oilfield workers and ranchers, a top state regulator charged Friday.

Texas Railroad Commissioner David Porter sent a letter Friday to U.S. Customs and Border Protection following recent reports that pipeline easements have become a corridor of choice for smugglers and their clients.

Porter conducted an internal inquiry after hearing from pipeline inspectors who expressed worry about their safety in the field, Porter spokeswoman Mary Bell said in an interview with Fuel Fix.

She said she isn’t aware of any staff threatened by smugglers, but that inspectors report being been warned by law enforcement about particularly dan  (read more)

Submitted Aug 25, 2014 By:
1499 Comments

62
votes
Flares in Eagle Ford Shale wasting natural gas

SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS -- Oil and gas companies rushing to drill in the Eagle Ford Shale since 2009 have burned and wasted billions of cubic feet of natural gas — enough to meet the needs for an entire year of every San Antonio-area household that relies on the fossil fuel.

Faced with a pipeline shortage in rural South Texas, companies bleed off the gas into flares that release air pollutants and greenhouse gases in amounts that collectively rival the output of a half-dozen oil refineries.

Not even the state's top regulators at the Railroad Commission of Texas who oversee the oil and gas industry know how much gas is going to waste and polluting the air in the Eagle Ford Shale.

"Nobody wants to flare," said Barry Smitherman, chairman of the Railroad Commission's three-member elected board. "When you do that...  (read more)

Submitted Aug 25, 2014 By:
36 Comments