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NASA, USask Tout Newly Developed Green Fuel (New Prod & Tech)
NASA,University of Saskatchewan
Date: 2020-04-27
The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reporting the developement and testing of a new technology which turns waste into "green" fuel for possible use on the International Space Station and in long term space missions.

Developed in a recent collaboration with researchers at the University of Saskatchewan (USask), the high-quality fuel gas mixture is made from crop and forestry residues, food waste, cattle manure, petroleum, and petrochemical waste.

Consisting of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and methane, the syngas can be used as a cheaper alternative to fossil fuels, green diesel and other applications. (Source: NASA, Gasworld, 24 April, 2020) Contact: NASA, www.nasa.gov; University of Saskatchewan, Sonil Nanda,Chemical and Biological Engineering Research Associate, Ajay Dalai, Canada Research Chair of Bio-Energy and Environmentally Friendly Chemical Processing, 306-966-4768, ajay.dalai@usask.ca, www.usask.ca

More Low-Carbon Energy News Syngas,  NASA,  Green Fuel,  University of Saskatchewan,  Ajay Dalai,  


NASA Touts RETScreen Expert for Energy Savings (ind. Report)
NASA
Date: 2020-04-22
In Washington, NASA is touting its Prediction of the Worldwide Energy Resources (POWER) project based at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, and supported by NASA's Earth Science Division, as a resource tool for siting renewable energy technology and improving the energy efficiency of buildings.

The program incorporates NASA satellite data into an desktop software program called RETScreen Expert. RETScreen , a clean energy management software program developed by the Canadian government in collaboration with several international partners, including NASA.

Most of the environmental parameters -- like temperature, humidity, and winds -- included in the RETScreen project is developed by NASA's Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO). Based at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., its computer model and data assimilation techniques enhance NASA Earth observations from more than 20 NASA satellites and missions.

However, the key data parameter, solar irradiance, provides a long-term record of daily averaged solar variability up to within about a week of real time. This solar variability replicates ground-based measurements very well and can be used to do things like monitor solar photovoltaic panel performance and place solar panels for optimal exposure to sunlight. Wind resources are also incorporated into the POWER models and have important uses for energy efficiency analysis, such as helping to better calculate heat losses from buildings. (Source: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, April, 2020) Contact: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Paul Stackhouse, project manager, (301) 286-2000, www.nasa.gov › goddard

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  Energy Efficiency,  


Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns (Int'l. Report Attached)
European Space Agency,Visual Capatlist
Date: 2020-03-23
"There's a high chance you're reading this while practicing social distancing, or while your corner of the world is under some type of advised or enforced lockdown. While these are necessary measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, such economic interruption is unprecedented in many ways resulting in some surprising side effects.

"Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions, a major air pollutant, are closely linked to factory output and vehicles operating on the road. As both industry and transport come to a halt during this pandemic, NO2 emissions can be a good indicator of global economic activity -- and the changes are visible from space. These images from the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), as well as satellite footage from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), show a drastic decline in NO₂ emissions over recent months, particularly across Italy and China."

Download the Emissions Impact of Coronavirus Lockdowns images HERE. (Source: European Space Agency, Visual Capitalist, 21 Mar., 2020) Contact: European Space Agency, +33 1 53 69 76 54, www.esa.int

More Low-Carbon Energy News European Space Agency,  Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  


NASA Space-based Quantification of per capita CO2 Emissions from Cities (Study Attached)
NASA
Date: 2020-03-09
"Urban areas are currently responsible for approximately 70 pct of the global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and rapid ongoing global urbanization is increasing the number and size of cities. Thus, understanding city-scale CO2 emissions and how they vary between cities with different urban densities is a critical task. While the relationship between CO2 emissions and population density has been explored widely in prior studies, their conclusions were sensitive to inconsistent definitions of urban boundaries and the reliance upon CO2 emission inventories that implicitly assumed population relationships.

The attached Space-based Quantification of per capita CO2 Emissions from Cities report provides the first independent estimates of direct per capita CO2 emissions (E pc) from space-borne atmospheric CO2 measurements from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) for a total 20 cities across multiple continents. The analysis accounts for the influence of meteorology on the satellite observations with an atmospheric model. The resultant upwind source region sampled by the satellite serves as an objective urban extent for aggregating emissions and population densities.

The study suggests that E pc declines as population densities increase, albeit the decrease in E pc is partially limited by the positive correlation between E pc and per capita gross domestic product.

Download the NASA Space-based Quantification of per capita CO2 Emissions from Cities study HERE. (Source: NASA, IOP, Environmental Research Letters, Open Access, Feb.,2020) Contact: NASA, www.nasa.gov/oco2; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., 818-354-0307, janelee@jpl.nasa.gov, www.jpl.nasa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  Carbon Emissions,  


Russian, S. African Towns Tagged World's Top SO2 Emitters (Int'l.)
NASA, Greenpeace India,Eskom
Date: 2019-08-21
Just issued US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellite data has identified the world's anthropogenic sulphur dioxide (SO2) emission "top hot spots -- Russia's Norilsk smelter complex inside the arctic circle and Kriel, a coal town in South Africa's eastern coal mining province. The NASA data was commissioned by Greenpeace India.

Norilsk, 186 miles inside the Arctic Circle, is home to Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading nickel and palladium producer. The company is reportedly implementing a major effort to deal with environmental issues and to slash SO2 emissions by 75 pct from 2015 levels by 2023.

The South African town of Kriel is the site of state-owned power utility Eskom's 2,850 MW Kriel Power Station and two other nearby coal-fired plants, as well a Sasol owned coal-to-liquid plant. Eskom operates a fleet of aging coal-fired plants and is reportedly struggling to meet its emissions targets.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) South Africa is among the world's top 10 coal producers with an estimated 3.5 pct of the world's coal resources. (Source: NASA, Voice of America, 20 Aug., 2019) Contact: Greenpeace India, www.greenpeace.org/india/en; NASA, www.nasa.gov; Eskom, www.eskom.co.za

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  Greenpeace,  SO2,  Eskom,  Coal,  


EPA Admonished to Update Ethanol, GHG Emissions Science ( Ind. Report, Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
EPA,Ethanol
Date: 2019-06-26
In response to the Trump administration EPA's rejection of calls to update GHG calculations based on technological advancements in ethanol production, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators led by Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Dick Durbin (D. Ill.) -- both members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry -- issued the following statement urging the EPA to update an outdated environmental analysis on ethanol in order to "improve foreign sales opportunities."

"During the past five years, ethanol has been the fastest-growing agricultural export. As more nations adopt policies for lower-emission vehicle fuels, domestically produced ethanol can provide an immediate solution for their goals. We assert that there is little justification for EPA to maintain such an outdated calculation that otherwise could be easily corrected with existing, available analysis -- and straightforwardly address an unnecessary obstacle to international trade," the Senators wrote.

"Peer-reviewed science conducted by the USDA has affirmed that U.S. ethanol lowers greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 39-43 pct versus gasoline. EPA has rejected all calls to update these calculations, instead using nearly 10-year-old data, which ignores the technological advancements in ethanol production", the Senators said.

The Senators called for the EPA to adopt the scientific model Greenhouse Gas & Regulated Emissions & Energy Use in Transportation (GREET) developed by the DOE Argonne National Laboratory, after studying 100 fuel production pathways and 85 vehicle systems to measure the life-cycle carbon emissions of vehicle fuels. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide use the updated GREET model, including the FAA, NASA, Ford and GM, BP and others. EPA does not use the updated model. (Source: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa),Feedstuffs, 25 June, 2019) Contact: Office of Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), www.grassley.senate.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News EPA,  Chuck Grassley,  GHGs,  Ethanol,  


Permafrost Collapses 70 Yrs Early (Opinions, Editorial & Asides)
Climate Change
Date: 2019-06-24
"Climate scientists have been warning about the dangers of global warming for decades. Now, it's happening, in spades. It should be noted that America's politicians are guilty of ignoring warnings by their own scientists. Those warnings officially started 31 years ago when Dr. James Hansen, then head of NASA Institute for Space Studies, testified before the Senate[ in 1988: 'If the current pace of the buildup of these gases (GHG) continues, the effect is likely to be a warming of 3 to 9 degrees F from the year 2025 to 2050, according to these projections. This rise in temperature is not expected to be uniform around the globe but to be greater in the higher latitudes.'

"Global warming is prominent throughout the North. Ergo, climate news doesn't get much worse (well, actually, it could, and will) than the collapse of permafrost in the Canadian High Arctic's extreme coldest region (where): 'Observed maximum thaw depths at our sites are already exceeding those projected to occur by 2090. The aforementioned study, from 2003-2016, found permafrost melt up to 240 pct more than previous years. In geological terms, that's like winning the Indy 500, hands down. That permafrost had been frozen solid for 'thousands of years.' Accordingly, scientists predicted the permafrost 'wouldn't melt for another 70 years.' Yet, the landscape has already collapsed by up to three feet.

"Bottom line, the top 25 pct of the Northern Hemisphere, where permafrost is ubiquitous, is coming apart at the seams, and climate scientists are behind the eight ball while America's politicians deny the legitimacy of science and openly spit on the underlying thesis of anthropogenic global warming. In point of fact, Farquharson's '70-yr too early permafrost collapse' makes the onset of RGW look like a dead-ringer, but when?

"There's no getting around the fact that ecosystems are collapsing. The evidence is too palpable to ignore. It's serious; it's deadly, and it could be too late to do much to stop it, other than a last-ditch WWII Marshall Plan Worldwide Consortium dedicated to converting the world to renewable energy, and forcing removal of CO2 from the atmosphere, yet, those solutions take years and years of planning, setup, construction, and billions upon billions of funding. It's not happening.

Meanwhile, carbon that has been trapped in and under permafrost over eons readies to escape to turbo-charge an already over-saturated turbo-charged climate. It's literally happening right now. The waiting room is already full. Farquharson's study proves it, and Alaska's permafrost carbon emissions that compete with U.S. commercial CO2 emissions prove it, as sled dogs wade through it." (Source: Dissident Voice, Robert Hunziker, 21 June, 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


NASA, SpaceX Report Green Propellant Infusion Mission (Ind. Report)
NASA,SpaceX
Date: 2019-06-12
NASA is reporting development of a cost-effective, non-toxic fuel that will be used in a future Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM) launch of Elon Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Falcon Heavy spacecraft.

The safe to handle green fuel, which features a mixture of hydroxyl ammonium nitrate and an oxidizer, was developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory in California. The new fuel also delivers almost 50 pct better performance than hydrazine, allowing a spacecraft to travel for a longer period of time even with minimal fuel onboard.

According to Sacramento-headquartered Aeorojet Rocketdyne, the company that developed the propulsion system for the GPIM, the company will focus on building similar systems that can cater the new green fuel. (Source: NASA, International Business Times, 11 June, 2019) Contact: Aeorojet Rocketdyne, Fred Wilson, www.rocket.com; NASA, (818) 354-4321, www.jpl.nasa.gov, www.nasa.gov; SpaceX, www.spacex.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Aeorojet Rocketdyne,  NASA,  


Forest "Glow" Reveals CO2 Storage Capacity (Ind. Report)
University of Utah
Date: 2019-06-06
Researchers from the University of Utah report they’ve found a way to monitor the total amount of Gross Primary Production (GPP), the chemical energy produced by the process of photosynthesis which can be tracked by satellites in evergreen forests to measure seasonal changes that impact leaf growth and color.

Forests can store large amounts of carbon and so monitoring photosynthesis is an accurate way to track global carbon levels and measure how much CO2 is being stored. For evergreen trees which remain green all year round, it’s challenging to measure photosynthesis and carbon uptake. In the new study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found a way to use solar-induced fluorescence (SIF) emitted by evergreen trees to monitor seasonal changes in photosynthesis and GPP. SIF occurs when chlorophyll levels return from a dormant state, and a photon is emitted which produces a faint “glow” not visible to the naked eye. Satellites can now detect SIF glow, and the researchers used scanning spectrometers to measure SIF in an evergreen forest in Colorado. The team found that fluorescence was a reliable indicator of seasonal chlorophyll changes matching the same patterns found in deciduous forests. Having a way to monitor GPP in both evergreen and deciduous forests will help researchers understand how climate change is impacting forests over a large scale.

“Ultimately, measuring the small fluorescent glow from plants will allow us to see exactly timing and magnitude of carbon uptake from the terrestrial biosphere. This will help us understand how forests are responding to climate change and suggest how they might respond to future climate change,” said Troy Magney, research scientist of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a lead author of the study. (Source: University of Utah, earth.com, May, 2019)

More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2 Storage,  Carbon Storage,  Carbon Emissions,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2 Storage,  Carbon Storage,  Carbon Emissions,  

More Low-Carbon Energy News CO2 Storage,  Carbon Storage,  Carbon Emissions,  


Neste Touts Estonian Biodiesel Sales, MY Renewable Jet Fuel (Int'l)
Neste
Date: 2019-05-08
In the capital city of Tallinn, Estonian public broadcaster ERR and other media are reporting Helsinki-headquartered renewable diesel fuel producer Neste will begin offering its palm oil biodiesel to Estonian motorists in July, subject to Estonian Environment Ministry approval.

In other Neste news, the effectiveness of Neste MY Renewable Jet Fuel in reducing black carbon emissions has been recognized in a competition organized by the Climate Leadership Coalition, the Bioenergy Association of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the Finnish Environment Institute, and the Central Association of Chimney Sweeps. According to NASA, renewable fuel has the potential to cut particulate emissions by up to 70 pct from aircraft engines. (Source: Neste, Baltic News Network, May, 2019) Contact: Neste, +358 10 458 4128, www.neste.com; Bioenergy Association of Finland, www.bioenergia.fi/English

More Low-Carbon Energy News Neste,  Renewable Diesel,  Alternative Fuel,  Biodiesel,  


NASA Planning Space Station CO2 Monitoring Observatory (Int'l)
NASA
Date: 2019-04-15
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is reporting the upcoming launch of its Orbiting Carbon Observatory-3 (OCO-3) later this year. this year. The OCO-3 system will be mounted on the International Space Station, which circles Earth from 52 degrees north to 52 degrees south latitudes.

The OCO-3 is designed to accurately measure the altering carbon cycle on Earth and how it will affect all its living inhabitants. The OCO-3 measurements can reduce the uncertainty of the natural fluxes of the global carbon budget, mainly due to anthropogenic emissions. The instrument can make nearly precise measurements at different times of the day due to its position in space. Scientists also aim to know how CO2 concentrations change throughout the day in various areas of the Earth.

The OCO-3's high-resolution spectrometers can also detect solar-induced fluorescence, a type of radiation emitted by plants. Plants only produce SIF during photosynthesis season, which is also the only time they absorb CO2.

The OCO-3 cost less than $100 million to construct and was developed by the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL)in California. The OCO-3 is expected to launch prior to April 25 and is expected to continue for three years. (Source: JPL NASA, Tech Times, April 2019) Contact: NASA, (818) 354-4321, www.jpl.nasa.gov, www.nasa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  CO2,  NASA JPL,  


€1Mn Prize Offered for Coal Power Plant Replacement Idea (Int'l)
Coal,Helsinki,Climate Change
Date: 2019-04-05
In Finland, Helsinki mayor Jan Vapaavuori is reporting the launch of the €1 million Helsinki Challenge Competition aimed at heating the capital city without burning coal and tackling climate change. The mayor tweeted: "Helsinki Challenge: A million euros to the person who can develop a solution to replace coal burning in the heating of Helsinki in the most sustainable way possible, using the least biomass."

The Finnish capital has pledged to stop using coal for heating by the year 2029, as Finnish law prohibits using coal for the production of electricity and heat after this date. "The city feels it is sensible that an unsustainable fuel like coal is not replaced with another questionable fuel like biomass or nuclear", according to the mayor.

According to Helsinki city-owned power utility HELEN, half of its energy is currently produced with coal, but it plans to close its coal-fired Hanasaari power plant by the end of 2024. The utility has constructed 114 MW of alternative energy production in the form of a new wood pellet-fired heating plant in Salmisaari, and has also installed several solar facilities. (Source: City of Helsinki, yle, 4 April, 2019)Contact: City of Helsinki, Mayor's Office,www.hel.fi/helsinki/en/administration/administration/.../mayors/mayor; HELEN, +358 9 6171, www.helen.fi/en

More Low-Carbon Energy News Helsinki,  Coal,  Climate Change,  


Renovare Touts Biogas-to-Biofuel Breakthrough (Ind. Report)
Renovare Fuels
Date: 2019-02-20
In the UK, London-headquartered Renovare Fuels is touting a new technology that cost effectively converts biogas into a high-grade liquid fuel that can be used as a direct replacement for fossil fuels. The technology is presently being showcased for the first time at Alliance Dairies in Florida.

"By using a specially developed Fischer-Tropsch synthesis catalyst and advanced process engineering techniques, Renovare Fuels' technology can efficiently turn biogas into middle distillate fuel. The feedstock is sourced locally to the site and classified as a waste product, so the production cycle is objectively carbon neutral," according to the company. The abundance of waste products means that the production of the biodiesel promises a low-cost sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. Renovare Fuels believes that the fuel could be priced at under 50 UK pence per litre in a quantity that could reshape the energy sector. Renovare Fuels' technology, which was developed at the University of South Florida in conjunction with NASA and the US DOE, was proved successful in converting biogas into usable diesel during a trial at a US landfill in 2017, according to the company. (Source: Renovare, EngineerLive, 19 Feb., 2019) Contact: Renovare Fuels, Devin Walker, CTO, +44 (0) 20 3874 8111, Fax +44 (0) 20 3874 8110, www.renovare-fuels.co.uk

More Low-Carbon Energy News Biodiesel,  Renovare Fuels,  Renewable Diesel,  Landfill Gas,  Fischer-Tropsch,  


Pacific Bioenergy, Skeena Ink Wood Pellet Off-Take Deal (Ind. Report)
Skeena Sawmills, Pacific BioEnergy
Date: 2019-02-08
Following up on our 30th July, 2018 coverage, Terrance, British Columbia, privately owned and funded Skeena BioEnergy/Skeena Sawmills Ltd. and Pacific BioEnergy Corp. (PacBio) are reporting a long term off-take agreement for 100 pct of the woody biomass pellets produced at Skeena Sawmills' new, $20 million pellet plant, in support of PacBio's long term supply agreements with power producers in Japan.

The new plant is slated to begin production in Q1 2019. (Source: Pacific BioEnergy Corp., Biomass Mag., 6 Feb., 2019) Contact: Pacific BioEnergy, John Stirling, Pres., 604.602.1099, 604.602.1089 - fax, info@pacificbioenergy.ca, www.pacificbioenergy.ca; Skeena BioEnergy, Roger Keery, VP, Rick Harris, VP Sales & Marketing, www.skeenasawmills.com/bioenergy

More Low-Carbon Energy News Skeena Sawmills,  Pacific BioEnergy,  Wood Pellet,  Woody Biomas,  


UCI, NASA Notes Antarctica Ice Lose Acceleration (Ind. Report)
University of California, Irvine
Date: 2019-01-18
A new report by NASA and the University of California, Irvine has found that Antarctica is losing six times more ice mass annually now than 40 years ago. The research team were able to determine that between 1979 and 1990, Antarctica shed an average of 40 gigatonnes of ice mass annually. From 2009 to 2017, about 252 gigatonnes per year were lost.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Access the Four Decades of Antarctic Ice Sheet Mass Balance from 1979 - 2017 report HERE. (Source: University of California Irvine, Climate Action, Jan., 2019) Contact: University of California, Irvine, Eric Rignot, Chair of Earth System Science, Report Lead Author, (949)824-3739, erignot@uci.edu, www.ess.uci.edu/people/erignot

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  University of California Irvine ,  Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


Brookfield,Coillte Partnering on Irish Wind Farm (Int'l)
Brookfield Renewable
Date: 2019-01-07
Montreal-headquartered Canadian green energy developer Brookfield Renewable reports it plans to partner with Irish state-controlled forestry and land management firm Coillte to develop a 27-turbine wind energy generation and storage project at Bottlehill and Glannasack, north of Cork city, in County Cork, Ireland.

The 180-MW project, to be known as the Coom Green Energy Park, has been granted regulatory approval. (Source: Times of London, 6 Jan., 2019) Coillte, www.coillte.ie; Brookfield Renewable Partners, (888) 327-2722, enquiries@brookfieldrenewable.com, https://renewableops.brookfield.com

More Low-Carbon Energy News Brookfield Renewable,  Wind,  Energy STorage,  


Trump Dumps on National Climate Assessment (Ind. Report)
Climate Change,Carbon Emissions
Date: 2018-11-05
During a recent nationally televised interview on the National Climate Assessment report released by his administration, President Donald Trump's poignant Presidential comments included:

"(He) didn't read it."

"Is there climate change? Yeah. Will it go back like this, I mean will it change back? Probably."

"Well, I think we've (human activity) contributed, we certainly contribute, I mean, there's certain pollutants that go up and there's certain things that happen."

The report from NASA to the Environmental Protection Agency is the most comprehensive and up-to-date assessment published by the entire federal government. It concludes that "there is no convincing alternative explanation" for the global warming we've observed, other than human causes. The report concludes that only steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions can alter the upward trajectory of air and ocean temperatures and their related impacts.

Access the National Climate Assessment Climate Science Special Report at https://science2017.globalchange.gov. (Source: Axios, Various Other Media, Nov., 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Donald Trump,  


NASA Foresees Clobal Climate Cooling Trend (Ind. Report)
NASA Langley Research Center
Date: 2018-10-03
NASA is reporting that the sun is entering one of the deepest Solar Minima of the Space Age and and the Earth's atmosphere is responding in kind.

According to Martin Mlynczak of NASA's Langley Research Center, "We see a cooling trend. High above Earth's surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record's Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry or SABER instrument, which is onboard NASA's Thermosphere Ionosphere Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics (TIMED) satellite. SABER monitors infrared radiation from carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitric oxide (NO), two substances that play a vital role in the energy output of our thermosphere, the very top level of our atmosphere.

During Solar Maximum the Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI) number is very high. At times of Solar Minimum, as now, TCI is low. "SABER is currently measuring 33 billion Watts of infrared power -- ten times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle," Mlynczak notes.

The new NASA findings are in line with studies released by UC-San Diego and Northumbria University in Great Britain last year, both of which predict a Grand Solar Minimum in coming decades due to low sunspot activity. (Source: NASA, New American, 1 Oct., 2018) Contact: NASA HQ, (202) 358-0001, Langley Research Center, Martin Mlynczak, marty@rigel.larc.nasa.gov, www.airbornescience.nasa.gov, www.nasa.gov/langley

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  NASA Langley Research Center,  Climate Change,  


Helen Switching to Climate Neutral Renewables (Int'l Report)
City of Helsinki
Date: 2018-09-19
Finland's capitol city of Helsinki reports its fully owned energy company, Helen Ltd, a producer of district heating, power, and district cooling, is converting its largely coal and natural gas energy production processes to climate-neutral renewable energy production and thereby minimize its carbon emissions by 2035 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

In the near term, Helen will utilize biomass-based energy production. The utility will also close its largely coal-fired Hanasaari power plant and develop modifications for new plants. Longer term solutions will entail energy recycling, increased utilization of locally produced renewable energy, energy storage and other initiatives.

The City of Helsinki is aiming to source 15 pct of its power demand from rooftop solar and geothermal energy. (Source: City of Helsinki, Sept., 2018) Contact: City of Helsinki, Helen Ltd, 09 617 8080, www.helen.fi/en

More Low-Carbon Energy News City of Helsinki ,  Helen Ltd,  Renewable Energy,  


"We're Launching Our Own Damn Satellite", says Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown (Opinions, Editorials & Asides)
Climate Change, Carbon Emissions
Date: 2018-09-19
In his closing remarks at the recently concluded Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California Governor Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.(D) announced that his state is teaming up with San Francisco-based Earth imaging company Planet Labs (Planet) to develop and eventually launch a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and help the world dramatically reduce these destructive emissions.

"With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we're launching our own damn satellite. This groundbreaking initiative will help governments, businesses and landowners pinpoint -- and stop -- destructive emissions with unprecedented precision, on a scale that's never been done before," the Governor proclaimed.

Planet, which was founded by ex-NASA scientists in 2010, has in the last two years launched more than 150 Earth-imaging satellites, manufactured in San Francisco, helping customers in agriculture, government, mapping, NGOs and in other markets to make better decisions. The company's aerospace and data processing infrastructure, innovative technology and engineering and scientific expertise will be utilized to develop and operate the new satellite, with the possibility of launching additional satellites in the future as part of this initiative.

The State of California, through the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is developing and refining the technology needed to make this initiative possible. Planet will manage the mission operations and collaborate with the State and others on funding this groundbreaking effort. The State and Planet will make the collected environmentally-related satellite data available to the public and will work in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and others with complementary projects. the new Climate Data Partnership will serve as a common platform for reporting climate variables and the earth's atmosphere.

Initial project funding has been provided by Dee and Richard Lawrence and OIF, as well as The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust. (Source: Office of Gov. Governor Edmund G. Brown, 17 Sept., 2018) Contact: Governor Edmund G. Brown, Phone: (916) 445-2841, Fax: (916) 558-3160; Plant Labs, Robbie Schingler, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer,

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Gov. Jerry Brown,  


Arctic Carbon Cycle Speeding Up, NASA Study Finds (Ind. Report)
Carbon Emissions
Date: 2018-08-08
A study from researchers at the NASA JPL in Pasadena, California has found that carbon in Alaska's North Slope spends about 13 pct less time locked in frozen soil than it did 40 years ago. According to the report, warming temperatures are exposing the arctic frozen soil carbon to microbial decomposition which is in turn releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at an increasing rate, possibly due to the region's rapid warming and climate change.

The finding indicates that the carbon cycle in this region is speeding up and releasing carbon at a pace more associated with a North American boreal forest. As the temperature increases, the amount of time carbon stored in the Arctic soil also decreases. Consequently, the balance between these two dynamics will determine whether Arctic ecosystems will ultimately remove or add atmospheric carbon dioxide in the future climate," the latter being the study's most likely conclusion. (Source: NASA JPL, 14U News, 4 Aug., 2018) Contact: NASA JPL, Anthony Bloom, of NASA JPL, www.jpl.nasa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Emissions,  Climate Change,  Global Warming,  


Skenna Bioenergy Launching BC Wood Pellet Plant (Ind. Report)
Skeena BioEnergy
Date: 2018-07-30
In Terrance, British Columbia, privately owned and funded Skeena BioEnergy reports construction is underway on a new $20 million woody biomass pellet plant next to Skeena Sawmills in Britsh Columbia. Construction, which started in June, is expected to be completed by December 2018 for commissioning in January 2019.

The Skeena BioEnergy plant design is based on using 100 pct of the Skeena Sawmills waste -- planer shavings, sawdust, hog fuel and bark -- as feedstock to produce approximately 75,000 tonnes of pellets a year.

Skeena Sawmills and Skeena BioEnergy are owned by Roc Holdings, which was launched in 2012. Skeena Sawmills was purchased from West Fraser Timber the same year and began operation under its new private ownership in 2013. (Source: Skeena Bioenergy, Various Media, Canadian Biomass, July 27, 2018) Contact: Skeena BioEnergy, Roger Keery, VP, www.skeenasawmills.com/bioenergy

More Low-Carbon Energy News Skeena BioEnergy,  Woody Biomass,  Wood Pellet,  


Scholars Lauded for Sounding Climate Change Alarm (Int'l)
Mopntreal Protocol
Date: 2018-06-18
In Taipei, Taiwan, the Tang Prize reports Dr. James E. Hansen, former Director of the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Council of Pontifical Academy of Sciences are co-recipients of the 2018 Tang Prize in Sustainable Development for their pioneering work on climate change and its impact on the sustainability of the earth. Their works lay the scientific foundation for international actions as the Paris Climate Agreement and the new global development-Agenda 2030.

In 1988, then Director of NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, he famously announced in televised testimony before the US Congress that "global warming is here," as the observed temperature record exhibited an anomalous rise above the statistical noise of natural fluctuations. Dr. Hansen's testimony "was an important turning point in the history of global climate change."

In 1975, Indian-born Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan, Victor C. Alderson Professor in Applied Ocean Sciences, UC San Diego, noted the significant greenhouse effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and halocarbons, particularly chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) used as refridgerants and in manufacturing. This was a significant indication that showed how gases not only CO2 but such as CFCs that deplete the ozone layer could have ramifications for climate. This finding was also at the core of future negotiations for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer that followed in 1987. The Montreal Protocol benefits both the ozone layer and the climate system. Its effectiveness is much greater than the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Tang Prize, founded in 2012 by Dr. Samuel Yin, chairman of Ruentex Group, seeks to be an inspiring force for people working in all corners of the world. (Source: Source: Tang Prize Foundation, PR, 17 June, 2018) Contact: Tang Prize Foundation, Scarlett Tu, thetangmedia@tang-prize.org, www.tang-prize.org

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  GHGs,  Montral Accord,  Paris Climate Agreement,  


Trump Dumps NASA Carbon Monitoring System (Ind. Report)
Carbon Monitoring System,NASA
Date: 2018-05-11
The Trump Administration has pulled the plug on the NASA administered Carbon Monitoring System (CMS) which tracked the flow of Earth's carbon -- an important aspect of the climate change fight. The Trump Administration's decision to end the CMS is inline with previous policy on climate change.

Since 2010, the CMS has used its paltry $10 million per year budget to focus on forests and the carbon that they contain. One such project, in collaboration with NASA and the US Forestry Service, created an aircraft-based laser imaging device to quantify forest carbon stocks. The CMS also supported other countries in their efforts to preserve and study their forest stocks, particularly in tropical locations. (Source: ScienceAlert, Inhabitat, 10 May, 2018)

More Low-Carbon Energy News Carbon Monitoring System,  NASA,  Carbon Emissions,  Trump,  


Cutting Carbon Emissions Sooner Could Save 153 Mn Lives (Int'l)
Duke University
Date: 2018-03-23
In Durham, North Carolina, a new NASA-funded Duke University-led study contends that many as 153 million premature deaths linked to air pollution could be avoided worldwide this century if governments speed up their timetable for reducing fossil fuel emissions and agree to reduce carbon emissions and limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C in the near future rather than postponing the biggest emissions cuts, as some governments have proposed.

According to the study, premature deaths would drop in cities on every inhabited continent with the greatest gains in saved lives occurring in Asia and Africa. Kolkata and Delhi, India, lead the list of cities benefitting from accelerated emissions cuts with up to 4.4 million projected saved lives and up to 4 million projected saved lives, respectively. Thirteen other Asian or African cities could each avoid more than 1 million premature deaths and around 80 additional cities could each avoid at least 100,000 deaths.

The new projections underscore the shortcomings of taking the lowest-cost approach to emissions reductions, which permits emissions of carbon dioxide and associated air pollutants to remain higher in the short-term in hopes they can be offset by negative emissions in the far distant future, said Drew Shindell, Nicholas Professor of Earth Sciences at Duke's Nicholas School of the Environment.

"The lowest-cost approach only looks at how much it will cost to transform the energy sector. It ignores the human cost of more than 150 million lost lives, or the fact that slashing emissions in the near term will reduce long-term climate risk and avoid the need to rely on future carbon dioxide removal. That's a very risky strategy, like buying something on credit and assuming you'll someday have a big enough income to pay it all back," Shindell said. (Source: Duke University, 19 Mar., 2018) Contact: Duke University, Tim Lucas, (919) 613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu; Drew Shindell , (919) 681-8467, drew.shindell@duke.edu, www.duke.edu

More Low-Carbon Energy News Climate Change,  Duke University,  


NASA Warns of Arctic Permafrost Carbon Release (Ind. Report)
NASA,NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Date: 2018-03-07
A new study from the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has found that Arctic permafrost -- formerly thought to be at least temporarily shielded from global warming by its extreme environment -- will thaw enough to become a permanent source of carbon to the atmosphere in this century, with the peak transition occurring in 40 to 60 years. According to the study, by the year 2300, total carbon emissions from this region will be 10 times higher than all human-produced fossil fuel emissions in 2016.

The study, led by scientist Nicholas Parazoo, used data on soil temperatures in Alaska and Siberia from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, with a numerical model from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, that calculates changes in carbon emissions as plants grow and permafrost thaws in response to climate change. (Source: NASA, India Blooms News Service , 6 Mar., 2018) Contact: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Nicholas Parazoo, (818) 354-4321, www.jpl.nasa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory ,  CO2,  Carbon Dioxide,  Carbon Emissions,  Permafrost,  NASA,  


Aviation Biofuel Emissions, Contrail Studied (Int'l Report)
Max Planck Institute ,NASA,German Aerospace Center
Date: 2018-02-19
A joint project between the German Aerospace Center (DLR), Max Planck Institute for Chemistry, Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) and the US National Aeronatics and Space Administration (NASA) is aiming to determine the effects alternative aviation fuels have on the formation of contrails and whether aircraft emissions are reduced by using biofuels.

In their joint effort, the scientists performed eight test flights at varying altitudes to compare traditional aviation fuels against biofuels. In each test, a DLR Airbus A320 was fueled with a different blend of kerosene and Camelina-based biofuel. NASA's DC-8 flying laboratory followed a few kilometres behind an measured the pollutants in the Airbus' exhaust plume. Among the instruments on the flying laboratory were the ERc Instrument for Chemical composition of Aerosols (ERICA), from the Max Planck Institute and JGU Mainz.

NASA and DLR have been researching whether aviation biofuels are more eco-friendly for some time. According to a statement from the University of Mainz, previous studies have shown that 50 pct and 70 pct less soot particles form from a 50 pct biofuel mixture with 50 pct normal kerosene. "At altitudes of eight kilometres, soot particles and water vapour form ice crystals at -50 degrees C, which can be seen in the sky as contrails. Among other things, the ice crystals prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere into space, meaning that every contrail creates its own small greenhouse effect." (Source: German Aerospace Center, NASA, Various Media, Biofuels Int'l, 15 Feb., 2018)Contact: NASA, www.nasa.gov; Max Planck Institute, www.mpg.de/institutes; German Aerospace Center, www.dlr.de/rd/en

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  Aviation Biofuel,  Max Planck Institute,  


Methane Increase Linked to Oil, Gas Industry, says NASA (Ind. Report)
NASA
Date: 2018-01-26
According to a just released study led by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the oil and gas industry is primarily responsible for the increase in historically underestimated methane emissions. The increase, which equals around 25 teragrams (25 trillion grams) per year since 2006, underscores the need to transition to renewable energy sources in order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change, the report says.

The study research teams produced estimates for two known sources: emissions from the oil and gas industry; and microbial production in wet tropical environments like marshes and rice paddies. However, the sum of the estimated emissions from these and other sources is greater than the observed increase. The researchers explored the role of fires since the area burned by fires each year decreased by about 12 pct between the early 2000s and the period of 2007 to 2014, according to NASA data. The research is published in the journal Nature Communications. (Source: IISD, NASA, 23, Jan., 2018) Contact: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Susan Strahan, Atmospheric Scientist, (301) 286-8981, www.nasa.gov/goddard

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA,  Methane,  


NASA Study says Antarctic Ozone Hole Recovering (Ind. Report)
NASAGoddard Space Flight Center
Date: 2018-01-08
A new study conducted by NASA reports the first direct evidence that an international effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) has led to the recovery of the Antarctic ozone hole. The study used satellite observations to demonstrate the decline in atmospheric chlorine that resulted from the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, enacted in 1989, led to "about 20 pct less ozone depletion during the Antarctic winter than there was in 2005 -- the first year that measurements of chlorine and ozone during the Antarctic winter were made."

While CFCs and other ozone-depleting substances were phased out by the mid-1990s, the study notes that the Antarctic ozone hole -- first discovered in 1985 -- "is healing slowly" because the man-made substances that caused the hole in the first place "have 50 - 100 year lifetimes." Accordingly, researchers believe that it could be several decades before the ozone hole is eliminated altogether. (Source: NASA Goddard, Common Dreams, Jan., 2018) Contact: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Susan Strahan, Atmospheric Scientist, (301) 286-8981, www.nasa.gov/goddard

More Low-Carbon Energy News Montreal Protocol,  NASA,  Ozone,  GHG,  Climate Change,  


Tropical Forests Becoming Carbon Sources, Not Sinks (Ind. Report)
NASA JPL
Date: 2017-10-04
A recent NASA study that combined ground and satellite measurements has concluded that tropical forests seem to be a net source of heat-trapping carbon emissions, rather than a carbon sink.

The study bolsters a growing consensus that tropical forests are drying out or being cleared, burned and logged so fast that they now emit more carbon than they sequester. Whereas earlier estimates based on measurements of atmospheric carbon flows suggested that tropical forests might be carbon neutral or even a net sink, more-recent studies -- including ones based on data from NASA's Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 satellite -- agree broadly with this recent paper, according to David Schimel, an ecologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. Schimel suspects that human activities such as starting fires and natural factors including droughts have severly hindered tropical forests' carbon storage capability.

The study estimates that the world's tropical forests release approximately 425 million tpy of carbon -- equivalent to roughly 5 pct of the globe's annual fossil-fuel emissions and about five times more than estimated in 2011. (Source: NASA JPL, Nature, 29 Sept., 2017) Contact: NASA JPL, David Schimel, (818) 354-4321, www.jpl.nasa.gov

More Low-Carbon Energy News NASA JPL,  Carbon Emissions,  Carbon Sink,  

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