Links: Saturday, 20120130

Seawater Greenhouse – “Seawater is evaporated at the front of the greenhouse to create cool humid conditions inside. A proportion of the evaporated seawater is then condensed as fresh water that can be used to irrigate the crops. Excess freshwater created in the Seawater Greenhouse can be used to irrigate additional crops grown outside the greenhouse.

The air going into the greenhouse is first cooled and humidified by seawater, which trickles over the first evaporator. This provides good climate conditions for the crops. As the air leaves the growing area, it passes through the second evaporator over which seawater is flowing. This seawater has been heated by the sun in a network of pipes above the growing area, making the air much hotter and more humid. It then meets a series of vertical pipes through which cool seawater passes. When the hot humid air meets the cool surfaces, fresh water will condense as droplets that run down to the base where they can be collected.

The cool and humid conditions in the greenhouse enable crops to grow with very little water. When crops are not stressed by excessive transpiration, both the yield and the quality are higher.
The simplicity of the process imitates the hydrological cycle where seawater heated by the sun evaporates, cools down to form clouds, and returns to the earth as rain, fog or dew.”

High-Powered Plasma Turns Garbage Into Gas – “There is, in fact, value in trash—if you can unlock it. That’s what this facility in northern Oregon is designed to do. Run by a startup called S4 Energy Solutions, it’s the first commercial plant in the US to use plasma gasification to convert municipal household garbage into gas products like hydrogen and carbon monoxide, which can in turn be burned as fuel or sold to industry for other applications. (Hydrogen, for example, is used to make ammonia and fertilizers.)

Here’s how it works: The household waste delivered into this hangar will get shredded, then travel via conveyer to the top of a large tank. From there it falls into a furnace that’s heated to 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit and mixes with oxygen and steam. The resulting chemical reaction vaporizes 75 to 85 percent of the waste, transforming it into a blend of gases known as syngas (so called because they can be used to create synthetic natural gas). The syngas is piped out of the system and segregated. The remaining substances, still chemically intact, descend into a second vessel that’s roughly the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

This cauldron makes the one above sound lukewarm by comparison. Inside, two electrodes aimed toward the middle of the vessel create an electric arc that, at 18,000 degrees, is almost as hot as lightning. This intense, sustained energy becomes so hot that it transforms materials into their constituent atomic elements. The reactions take place at more than 2,700 degrees, which means this isn’t incineration—this is emission-free molecular deconstruction. (The small amount of waste material that survives falls to the bottom of the chamber, where it’s trapped in molten glass that later hardens into inert blocks.)

The seemingly sci-fi transformation occurs because the trash is blasted apart by plasma—the forgotten-stepsister state of matter. Plasma is like gas in that you can’t grip or pour it. But because extreme heat ionizes some atoms (adding or subtracting electrons), causing conductivity, it behaves in ways that are distinct from gas.”

Here is a more detailed explanation from S4 Energy Solutions: “The S4 solution will provide for a disposal site, in which waste is received and sorted, increasing recycling of the materials in the process. The waste is then prepared to size for the gasification feed system. Upon entering the Stage 1 downdraft gasifier, the waste is heated in a downdraft gasification chamber, processing in an efficient and clean manner a considerable amount of waste.

The Stage 2 gasification chamber is the plasma enhanced melter chamber (PEM™), in which the system uses heating from electrically conducting gas (a plasma) to convert waste feeds to valuable products. PEM™ systems are highly effective in processing a wide variety of waste streams, including hazardous, medical, radioactive, industrial, municipal and tire wastes. The PEM™ system transforms the wastes into syngas, a valuable commercial product.

After leaving the PEM™ system, the syngas is cleaned to an ultra pure quality, which can be converted to multiple products. Because the PEM operates at very high temperatures, in an oxygen depleted environment, NOx, SOx, PM and VOCs are greatly reduced, and further reduced in the syngas clean up phase; resulting in clean syngas which can be transformed into energy products (ultra-clean power generation or transportation fuels production, using the syngas) and industrial materials (chemicals from the syngas; roofing tiles, insulating panels, sand-blasting media and other construction-related products from the glass; and recoverable metals). The PEM™ system is environmentally attractive based on its minimal environmental impact, and ability to provide near-total destruction of organic materials (providing large volume and weight reduction).

Finally, the resultant product (chemical, fuel, gas, or energy) can be sold back into the community/customer site from which it was derived. This provides environmentally clean, high value products, for the community from which initiated.”

Gold Bonds – “The government should set a rule that, to buy a gold bond, one does not bid dollars. One bids paper bonds! So to buy a 100-ounce gold bond, then one could bid for example $160,000 worth of paper bonds (assuming the price of gold is $1600 per ounce). The government retires the paper bond and in exchange replaces it with a newly-issued gold bond”

Changes in US currency over the past 80 years.

Wikirating – “Wikirating is an online community credit rating platform. It aims to be an independent and transparent source of credit rating information, issued, reviewed and corrected by a worldwide community of individuals and experts.”

Obama Puppetmaster Warren Buffett Biggest Winner From Keystone Pipeline Rejection – “As it turns out, it is not just natural resources and aquifer purity that Obama had in mind when sealing the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline. No – it appears there were far more relevant numerial metrics that determined Obama’s decisions. Such as the bottom line number of Buffett’s Burlington Northern, which according to Bloomberg, is among U.S. and Canadian railroads that stand to benefit from the Obama administration’s decision to reject TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL oil pipeline permit.”

How US environmental extremist influence Canadian industry:
O Canada our only hope
The Girl Who Played with Tax Data: And uncovered the foreign funding of Canadian green groups
Vivian Krause’s blog

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