Earthtoys in Action
The Earthtoys December emagazine is now up! In this edition, you’ll find articles on green building education, Hydrogen Powered Micro Trigeneration Technology, hydrogen hybrid vehicles, and how to build a fall water garden. Additionally, there are some articles on energy conservation with strategies for how you can monitor your personal energy use to see just how much power you use (and lose!) in your home.
Earthtoys is an organization that gives a voice to those working in the alternative energy industry. They have an excellent Alternative Energy Directory featuring hundreds of earth-friendly companies throughout the world.
I’m a fan of the Earth Toys monthly e-magazine that often promotes unusual eco-friendly companies that you wouldn’t normally hear about.
In their June 2005 newsletter Earth Toys promoted Fieldstone Energy, a company devoted to creating energy from ocean waves and rivers without damaging the environment. Using ocean waves as energy is a cheap alternative source of energy I hadn’t heard much about before.
Their idea is that we tap into the potential energy of rivers without damming their main channel. This involves diverting water from the river into a small alternative channel and through an impoundment area. As the water flows through the impoundment area, it lifts a weighted buoyant device which then moves a type of piston, converting potential energy into kinetic energy.
The article also claims that ocean waves produce a huge amount of uptapped energy. By placing a weighted buoyant device situated over a cylinder in the ocean, the movement of the ways produces energy. The ideas presented in the article are simple and seem to have a good chance of producing large quantities of energy. The Earth Toys article on Fieldstone is still up in their archives and is worth checking out.
I agree that we need to continue to look for creative ways to deal with the inevitable upcoming/ongoing shortage of non-renewable resources, and it’s reassuring that there are people out there doing just that.
This Wired Magazine article makes an effective argument about how higher oil prices might be good for us in the long run, because it makes alternative energy sources more cost effective in comparison and gives a big incentive for people and companies to create or discover new ways of creating energy.
Sustained crude prices above $60 would make feasible technologies that today seem too expensive or entirely speculative. It’s hard to see demand for oil surviving long at such a cost. But given a push now, some nascent technologies – hydrogen, most obviously, but also hydrocarbons locked away in methane hydrates – could become viable at the end of a long road. Technology breakthroughs are the key here: For instance, Shell has found a better way to extract oil from shale, reviving a long-abandoned resource. And some seemingly distant options are right under our noses; consider the plug-in version of the hybrid car.
The cost of developing entirely new energy supplies is daunting, but the money is available – and we’re not talking about the $14.5 billion porkfest served up by Washington’s recent energy bill. The global oil industry will rake in three quarters of a trillion dollars this year. And when that kind of money is up for grabs, investors are never far away.
But it’s not just energy producers and their shareholders who should be smiling about today’s high prices. Conservation your thing? Savor the long faces worn these days by Hummer salespeople. Eager for energy independence? There won’t be any wars for oil in Colorado shale country. Praying for reductions in atmospheric carbon? Synthetic diesel made from natural gas would be a step in the right direction.