Extending information,resources and links on renewable energy and energy conservation for Canadian farmers, agri-business and those who support them in order to enhance their ability to make sound and successful business decisions.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Regenerative Braking - What's new that is old.

Regenerative is a braking system used in hybrids- but it's not new it was in use in trolly cars a century ago.
It takes energy normally wasted during braking and turns it into usable energy by reversing the motor and converting it to a generator during braking and coasting.
Why isn't this the norm in braking systems today?

Friday, June 11, 2010

2% Biofuels Mandate by 2011

I was reading an article in http://www.biofuels-news.com/ about the Canadian Trucking Alliance reaction to a 2% bio-diesel requirement for heavy trucks in 2011. Although some comments are valid, their attitude leaves something to be desired. Demonstrated in this comment made by their president: "The impetus for such a policy is really to create a new market for farmers."

This comment inspired me to take a little look at the efficiency of trucking versus other forms of freight transport. I found some numbers in Wikipedia from the US Transportation Energy book (for 2004) which gave a breakdown as follows:

Class 1 Rail 341 BTU/short ton mile
Domestic water borne 510 BTU/short ton mile
Heavy trucks 3357 BTU/short ton mile
Air freight (approx) 9600 BTU/short ton mile

Here lies the attitude problem - it is a real leap to embrace renewable fuels when conservation and efficiency have not been a priority.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Does Renewable Energy Erode our Assets?

I had a long conversation with a landscape architect friend reviewing her experiences with proposed wind projects. A sticking point to her is that most projects would erode the "visual heritage" of the area proposed and would be in stark contrast to natural areas and cultivated fields.
Consumers love the farm landscape and are willing to pay 10% more for the local experience as a result, according to one study. Does the idea of this beauty include wind turbines and solar panels - not so much is my bet.
What do you think? Will wind turbines and solars farms dampen enthusiam for farmscapes and erode consumer willingness to pay more to buy local?

Friday, June 4, 2010

Renewable Energy & Conservation the Perfect Couple

I firmly believe that conservation & renewable energy go hand in hand - with carbon sequestering on the side you have me (multi-tasking is a weak spot). I guess that is why I find biochar such an intriguing prospect. It is a potential renewable energy source, conserves and recycles nutrients (in some cases for hundreds of years) and has potential to sequester billions of tonnes of carbon annually.

Why haven't I heard of it before? Lots in the news about biofuels and turbines, hmmm.
Is multi-tasking still over-rated?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

More on biochar...

Here is a link that gives the basic FAQ's on biochar: www.re-char.com/the-basics/biochar/

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Just Heard about Biochar

Have you heard about biochar. I was catching up in the office last weekend and read an article about biochar. Biochar is charcoal used in the soil to increase crop yields. It also acts to capture and sequester carbon - some believe it's potential to be billions of tonnes annually.

What really caught my interest was it's potential to improve yields and reduce fertilizer requirements. When buried, biochar captures nutrients that are leached through plants and surrounding soil. It then releases the nutrients back for plant use. This process also saves energy through reduced fertilizer consumption. How much savings is under research.

I'm searching for links and will pass them on in future blogs.