Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Future of Global Climate Policy: Taking Stock of Our Climate Outlook (Part 1)

Significantly limiting humanity’s impact on the global climate is quite simply an enormous task. Unfortunately, thanks to budget austerity and federal gridlock, any hope of implementing sweeping U.S. climate/energy policy has been optimistically pushed back to 2013 or beyond (though some incremental improvement is possible). And even the most hopeful observers of the recent global climate negotiations in Durban find little real progress towards reducing emissions. Now more than ever, it is time to take a hard look at where we stand and figure out how to match our policies to our climate goals.

Amongst climate scientists and advocates of climate policy, a growing recognition is taking hold that the current trajectory of global emissions will almost certainly lead us to a world of dangerous climate change impacts. For some, this means coming to terms with the fact that holding total global warming to less than 2°C, a commonly adopted “line in the sand” drawn by many climate advocates, has become nigh-impossible.

As a number of scientific articles have shown, most recently by Kevin Anderson and Alice Bows in the Journal of the Royal Society, limiting the world to 2°C warming most likely requires peaking total global carbon emissions in the next 5-10 years followed by immediate reductions to near-zero by 2050 (see Anderson and Bows emission trajectory options here, via David Roberts, and by David Hone here).

It is now fairly obvious that the lack of global progress on decarbonization has likely pushed this timetable out of reach, prompting some recent soul searching amongst many climate advocates (the two of us included).

Is this realization a game changer for climate policy? Yes and no.

That 2°C constituted a clear threshold below which global warming would be “acceptable” and “safe” and above which it was “dangerous” was always a fairly arbitrary conceit. While climate science can effectively inform us about the range of possible consequences of a warming world, there is a large amount of irresolvable uncertainty inherent in climate forecasting. From the basic sensitivity of atmospheric temperature to CO2 on through to efforts to predict regional-scale impacts, a chain of “error bars” multiply to give us a fairly uncertain picture of our future warming world. And of course, what constitutes “dangerous” climate change was always a human value judgment, not a matter of precise science.

In the face of such inherent uncertainty, drawing “bright line” thresholds of “safe” versus “dangerous” warming has always been a fraught exercise, an effort to grasp for certainty in an uncertain world. Instead, we are now, as we have always been, left to act in spite of and indeed because of this inherent uncertainty.

We have long ago learned enough from climate science to know that global greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced as quickly as possible and that climate change presents a clear threat. Damaging climate impacts are likely already occurring even at today’s 0.8°C warming, and each degree of greater warming will intensify future impacts. Greenhouse gases must therefore be reduced as quickly as possible.

Hurtling towards a 2°C warmer world does little to change this fundamental calculus. After all, many climate advocates have variously selected 350 PPM or 1.5°C as their “bright line” goal (outcomes we’ve long since overshot), and yet the core calculus for these advocates is again the same: we must nonetheless still strive to reduce emissions as quickly as possible. And even those who see 2°C as a now-impossible goal must recognize that each 10th of a degree of eventual warming after that point matters a great deal. There is much that can still be done to reduce future climate impacts, and those efforts will depend far more on how quickly we can accelerate declines in the carbon intensity of the global economy than on what target we pick today for eventual warming. In any case, we must reduce emissions as quickly as possible.

At the same time, the widespread recognition that we are now firmly on a path towards “dangerous” warming should change one fundamental concept: while many climate advocates have operated under the assumption that we could hold future warming to “safe levels,” and thus must focus principally on “mitigating” climate change by driving emissions reductions, others have long argued that we must simultaneously begin to prepare for a warming world and significant impacts already in store. We must begin to “adapt” or build “resilience” to climate and weather extremes, the proposition goes, in order to minimize the damage wrought by future warming.

For a long time, those arguing for proactive adaptation were ignored or relegated to the sidelines of global climate discussions. In the worst cases, those arguing for adaptation efforts were treated as dangerous influences out to a fear that belief that the world could “adapt” to climate impacts could undermine the motives for mitigation. (In recent years, this attitude has thankfully begun to shift.)

Now, all climate advocates should be clear: dangerous warming is coming, if not already here today. No longer can climate adaptation and resilience be treated as secondary priorities. To do so would be morally reprehensible, equivalent to willfully neglecting preparations for a storm we all know is coming.

While climate science is most uncertain when it comes to the regional-scale impacts we care most about, we have a fair idea of the range of likely impacts in store for us now. The best estimates indicate that our current emissions trajectory poses a significant risk of eliminating many unique ecosystems including coral reefs, large swaths of forests, small island communities, and arctic habitat. Extreme weather events like floods, heat waves, droughts, and wildfires will become much more frequent and have greater regional impacts throughout the world. Agricultural yields may be strained. Specific populations, such as those less economically developed or in lower-lying regions will be at a very high risk of impact and hundreds of millions of people will potentially be adversely affected by events like coastal flooding, saltwater infiltration into agricultural lands, and sea level rise. Climate models also point to a more-likely-than-not probability that even greater impacts will result from feedback mechanisms such as permafrost and ice sheet melting beginning or accelerating, unleashing further warming.

In other words, our future holds a much different climate and world, as we’ve simply waited too long to mitigate away all potential impacts. One might call this an inconvenient truth. And it means we must proactively prepare for this warming world as best we can. It is time to build climate resilience.

So what does our current climate outlook look like? It means first, we must redouble efforts to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions (and other climate destabilizing forces) as quickly as possible, and second, we must proactively prepare for a warming world.

The key questions are thus: how do we cut emissions as quickly as possible? And how do we build resilience to a changing climate?

In a series of posts, we will take up each of these questions. We will first consider whether the “brutal logic” of our current climate trajectory demands voluntary economic contraction, at least in the rich nations, as Grist.org’s David Roberts contends. Second, we will argue that successfully accelerating energy innovation to reduce the costs of low-carbon energy technologies is the key to accelerating how quickly we can reduce CO2 emissions. The pace of innovation matters far more than efforts to boost public support for climate mitigation, we will contend, even though such efforts are also important. Third, we will present a case for a proactive climate resilience effort, an effort that must take its place amongst our core climate policy efforts. And finally, we will discuss strategies to reduce forces other than CO2 that are potent contributors to global warming, yet can be reduced quickly and with significant near-term benefits while buying the world time to reduce CO2 emissions.

Stay tuned…

View the original article here

Monday, January 30, 2012

What is Alternative Energy?

Alternative energy is sweeping the nation, and the world, as today's biggest environmental topic. Alternative energy topics no longer revolve around nuclear energy for electricity, but also include the use of products such as Ethanol in cars. It is important to learn what alternative energy is, how it works, and the different types to stay on top of environmental legislations and presidential campaign policy, and to make the best choices for your home and family.

Basic Definition

Alternative energy is the process of energy being formed from sources that do not harm the environment or deplete the Earth's natural resources. So, polluting and wasteful forms of energy producing, such as coal and nuclear, do not fit with the definition of what an alternative energy source is.

Renewable energy is a class of alternative energy that uses natural resources such as geothermal heat, tides, sunlight, and wind, which are naturally replenished through the earth and sun and never run out. About 13 percent of the world's energy comes from renewable energy. Renewable energy is what many call not very reliable because of its dependence on nature, but if one uses a combination of renewable energy sources, it can be every bit as reliable as traditional energy sources.

Kinds Of Alternatives

When people first really started talking about alternative forms of energy, they never could have realized how many would come about. What is alternative energy, today? Here is a short list of all the latest forms:

Hydro Power - Hydro power is formed by small water generators called micro-hydro turbines that are set into flowing water's stream.
Solar Power - Solar power is made by converting sunlight into electricity using cells made from silicon, which, when exposed to sunlight, creates and electric charge.
Wind Power - Wind power is created by a turbine on a tall tower using the wind to kinetically make electricity.
Ethanol - Ethanol is an alternative fuel to replace gasoline, made from ethyl alcohol, a common alcohol made from corn or wheat.
Biodiesel - Biodiesel is an alternative fuel for petroleum diesel and is produced from vegetable oils and animal fats.
Hydrogen - What this alternative energy is is the most abundant element in the universe and can be produced from fossil fuels, biomass, or by electrolyzing water.

As you can see, there are many alternative energy sources out there. What they can be used for is just about as limitless as traditional forms of energy.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Capture and storage of carbon

We are aware of the harmful effects of the carbon in our atmosphere. Climate change is the worst effect of these harmful emissions. The main question is how long will take to express its gravest consequences?.

For the moment, there is a significant growth in the production of renewable energy. But also keep moving forward in the construction of power plants and refineries.

At the moment the only possible remedy that occurs for the mitigation of energy based on fossil fuels is the system called capture and carbon storage (CSS, towards its acronym in English).

A system of capture and storage of carbon has the function of trapping carbon dioxide emitted from power plants and storing it underground. The benefit of this system is that the stored CO2 does not affect the atmosphere. Therefore, this method could be used long term to reduce global warming and its resulting climatic changes.

I.e. technology to capture carbon functions as a magnet that retains the element of the carbon of the emitted gases . In some ways, it could be said that this is something similar to the simple process of photosynthesis, in which the plants store carbon for growth taking what the CO2.

The carbon dioxide emitted by coal power plants or other industries becomes the first liquid carbon dioxide , to overlook a plant liquefaction. It then passes through pipes interned deep in the Earth's crust. This is then how he is achieved by reducing the percentage of content of CO2 in the air.

Of course, it is not all so simple or so perfect. There are some problems inherent in the capture and storage of carbon. In the first place cannot be guaranteed completely safe CO2 buried in the ground, there are environmental risks to take into account the possibility of leakage, contamination of groundwater or the triggering of earthquakes.

On the other hand, the cost behind this technology is very high. For example, an investment of $ 20 billion would be required to establish a central coal with a team to capture carbon. And the cost of the pipelines would be close to $1.7 million per kilometre.

Without a doubt the sequestration of carbon is a beneficial to reduce the content of CO2 in the atmosphere. Estimates show that about 3 billion tons of CO2 storage in the Earth's crust. Several sites have been found with capacity to accommodate a large number of gas without raising any risk - apparently.

There are some projects in Norway and Algeria are carried out. But this is not enough, we need some 3400 projects to contain the great pollution that currently causes the emission of carbon.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Paises Productores de Energia Eolica

En esta carrera por ofrecer una mayor cantidad de energía eléctrica a una población determinada, millones y millones de euros son invertidos para seguir profundizando y ampliando los denominados parques eólicos, con el emplazamiento de una gran cantidad de Turbinas Eólicas y siendo un ejemplo para otros países, por lo que a continuación desarrollaremos los cinco países que más producción de esta energía poseen.

Este país asiático es el mayor productor de Energía Eólica en el mundo, contando con una producción total de 45 GW de electricidad provenientes de sus 80 granjas eólicas distribuidas a lo largo del país, aunque se ha comunicado que comenzará a progresar hasta poder alcanzar la meta de los 100 GW para el 2015, y luego cumplir con toda la demanda del país para el año 2030, lo cual será sumamente ayudado por la distribución geográfica del país.

El segundo país productor de Energía Eólica en el mundo cuenta con una producción total de 43 GW de energía provenientes de su distribución de 101 Parques Eólicos, lo cual si bien es bastante, no alcanza prácticamente en nada para cubrir la demanda energética del país, ya que es uno de los países que más consume en el mundo.

Cuenta con uno de los mayores productores de turbinas eólicas del mundo, la firma GE Energy, además de contar con la granja eólica más grande del mundo, Roscoe Wind Farm, que cuenta con 627 turbinas eólicas emplazadas en su terreno, con una capacidad total de 781 MW y proveyendo electricidad a 260.000 hogares en Texas.

El último lugar del podio le corresponde a Alemania, con una capacidad de 28 GW de Energía, que permiten cubrir el 9% de la demanda energética del país, contando con el emplazamiento de unas 21607 turbinas eólicas, con planificación de seguir incrementándose con el correr del tiempo.

Cuenta además con la Turbina Eólica Más Grande del Mundo, bautizada bajo el nombre de Enercon E-126 y contando con un rotor de 126 metros de diámetro, la cual permite generar unos 7 MW de Energía Eléctrica.

La Energía Eólica cubre tan solo el 16% de la demanda eléctrica española, con una producción total de 21 GW y siendo la tercer fuente energética del país, con planificación de que siga incrementándose su utilización y que sea protagonista de la producción energética del país en no muchos años.

La mayoría de las turbinas eólicas han sido emplazadas en regiones montañosas, además de contar con una numerosa cantidad de industrias que exportan equipamiento para Granjas Eólicas.

El quinto lugar es ocupado por India, que tiene una producción de Energía Eólica que permite alcanzar los 14 GW de Energía, cubriendo tan solo el 1.6% de la demanda energética, contando con la granja más grande del continente, Muppandal, localizada en Tamil Naddu.

La mayoría de las Turbinas Eólicas son de propiedad privada, emplazadas y utilizadas por distintas compañías para uso personal, localizadas principalmente en zonas agricultoras y montañosas, debido a que por sus características geográficas, gran parte del país no es apto para este medio energético.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Residential Use of Fuel Cells on the Rise

The home of the future might see the end of power lines coming in from centralized electric utilities. Instead, imagine a combined heat and electric power system that employs a hydrogen fuel cell, generating all of the home’s electric power on the spot in a space not much bigger than what is now taken up by a water heater. The fuel cell uses hydrogen produced by a solar-powered electrolyzer compressor on and under the roof, making the home entirely energy self–sufficient and all of its power free except for maintenance costs.

Imagine no more electric bills and no more danger of lost power from a downed power line or system failure. All the power used in the home for everything from heating the bathwater to opening the garage door will be produced on the property itself.

The technology to make this happen exists today and is in use in commercial buildings and remote base stations. But according to a recent Business Wire article, the biggest growth projected in the industry over the next few years will come in the residential market. Stationary fuel cells are certainly a growing industry, with 9,000 units sold in 2010, an increase of 60% over 2009. And it’s expected that this figure will top 1.2 million units by 2017.

Despite this projected growth, the industry has a number of hurdles yet before the true growth potential can be realized. The technology needs to be standardized, economies of scale introduced to lower capital production costs, and the market visibility of fuel cell technology improved. Still, these are factors at play in all new, growing industries. The more difficult barriers involving developing workable technology have been overcome already.

If a solar-hydrogen fuel cell system for home power does become the norm, say in 20 or 30 years, it will radically improve energy efficiency and provide environmental benefits, but it will also do more than that. Just as the personal computer and the Internet have decentralized the information world, so a development that allows each residence to generate his own power efficiently will decentralize another crucial area of life.

The model of power generation that has held true ever since electricity was first marketed, in which big central power stations supply electricity over a vast distribution system to paying customers, will be replaced by self-sufficient homes beholden to no one. Overhead and underground power lines might become a thing of the past. The technology of the future may lend itself, paradoxically, to greater independence and decentralization, even as, in other ways, it ties the world more and more tightly together.

View the original article here

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rick Santorum Receives the Least Oil & Gas Money of All Remaining Republican Candidates

Rick Santorum

Everyone’s jumping up and down: who is Rick Santorum? Who is Rick Santorum?!

The former Senator from Pennsylvania seemed all but invisible over the last year as a series of candidates stole the position of ‘person most likely to be the Republican nominee if it isn’t Mitt Romney.’ First Trump, then Bachmann, then Perry, then Cain, then Gingrich. All fell away after a few weeks in the spotlight, and now it’s Santorum — along with Ron Paul — who’s getting all the attention after he nearly beat Romney in the Iowa primary on Tuesday.

We’ll leave it up to The Washington Post, the BBC, et al to give you a primer on Santorum’s general take on things. One particular detail about Santorum caught our attention: he has received the least donations from oil & gas companies of any of the remaining Republican candidates.

That’s according to recent figures from the Federal Election Commission, as compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Santorum has received a measly $5,250 from oil & gas companies and their employees so far in this election cycle, it says. Newt Gingrich has received $18,650; Michelle Bachmann, who ended her campaign after coming sixth in Iowa, $37,290; and front-runner Mitt Romney $313,200. The champion, though? Rick Perry, with a whopping $750,408.

Of course, Santorum has received less donations overall, too, as he’s widely been seen as a minor candidate. But if we divide this figure by the candidates’ overall fundraising, we can see roughly what percentage of their funding comes from the oil & gas industry. The results are striking: Rick Perry has got 4.3% of funding from oil & gas; Romney, just under 1%. Rick Santorum? Just 0.4%.

(This extremely unscientific, as the overall fundraising figures are for only the first three quarters of 2011, while the oil & gas figures reach into November. But it’s enough to get the gist.)

You might think, given this massive disparity, that Rick Santorum might be considerably less of a shill for oil & gas interests than his rival candidates. Sadly, not so much. As Grist pointed out earlier this week, Santorum is a denier of the grade-A class:

Mitt Romney has expressed qualified concern about climate change over the years, and then vacillated about how much of it is human-caused and whether we should try to do anything about it.

No wobbling of that sort from Santorum — he’s an out-and-out denier. “There is no such thing as global warming,” he told a smiling Glenn Beckon Fox News in June 2011. That same month, he told Rush Limbaugh that climate change is a liberal conspiracy: “It’s just an excuse for more government control of your life and I’ve never been for any scheme or even accepted the junk science behind the whole narrative.”

The only difference, it seems, between Santorum and other oil-loving politicians is that Santorum’s dirty fuel of choice is coal.

Santorum made a point of announcing his presidential candidacy this spring near the coalfields where his grandfather worked — so that’s your first clue as to how he feels about the dirtiest of all fossil fuels. During his 16 years as a member of Congress and then senator from Pennsylvania, Santorum was a big coal booster – and he’s continued to play that role even after his defeat in a 2006 Senate race…

But Santorum’s an equal-opportunity fossil-fuel lover. “Drill everywhere” is his philosophy when it comes to oil, he told [Glenn] Beck.

Oh well. At least we can say in the case of Santorum that he’s a denier because he means it, not because he’s been paid to be.

View the original article here

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Good News Energy Storage Story

This week was a great week for energy storage.  Despite the bankruptcy of Beacon Power and the delisting of Ener1, which received inordinate attention from those looking for bad news stories in renewable energy, a game-changing regulatory decision in Washington and a record breaking storm on the East Coast signal a coming of age for energy storage technology.  It is important that the energy storage industry tell its good news stories and break the doom-and-gloom Solyndra Syndrome that has come to dominate the media and the political chattering class.

Last week, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its long anticipated Final Order No. 755 on frequency regulation compensation.  FERC determined that the current frequency regulation compensation practices of regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs), which do not account for the inherently greater amount of frequency regulation service provided by faster-ramping resources, are unjust, unreasonable and unduly discriminatory.  This decision, which rights a longstanding regulatory wrong, opens a profitable new market for energy storage technology.

Operators of wholesale electricity systems, such as RTOs and ISOs, must buy a certain amount of power each day in order to maintain the frequency of the electricity being wheeled over their systems.  Regulating frequency by adding electricity to transmission systems at specific times and at specific places is a complicated affair.  As a general rule, the faster and more accurately that current can be added, the more effectively it can rectify frequency problems on the grid.  Frequency problems undermine the stability of the grid and can in the extreme lead to system failures, such as blackouts.

RTOs and ISOs are obligated by federal law to purchase electricity fairly and without discrimination among vendors.  Prior to Order No. 755, most RTOs and ISOs interpreted this to mean that they had to pay the same amount of money per kilowatt for electricity used for frequency regulation purposes regardless of how quickly or accurately the vendor of that electricity was able to add it to the grid.  This practice effectively shut energy storage technologies, such as power-oriented advanced batteries, out of the frequency regulation market.  Although batteries can add electricity to the grid quickly and accurately, the per kilowatt cost of the electricity they sell is generally higher than the power produced by natural gas peaker generators, even though that power takes longer to be ramped up and placed on the grid.  Because energy storage providers could not be compensated for the quality of the power they provide relative to the power provided by natural gas generators, energy storage was effectively shut out of the frequency regulation market.

FERC Order No. 755 changes this.  Pursuant to the Order, RTOs and ISOs not only can consider the quality of frequency regulation service in setting the prices they pay for it, they must.  This change will put electricity vendors who use energy storage systems into the frequency regulation business, and into the money.

Many commentators have bemoaned the purportedly small size of the frequency regulation market.  In 2009, GTM Research estimated the size of that market at 7,137 MW in the United States and 37,828 MW worldwide.  Considering that the effective size of the frequency regulation market for energy storage providers has previously been -0- MW (except for some government-funded demonstration projects), the small market criticism rings hollow. 

Moreover, the need for frequency regulation service will rise as variable, renewable energy is added to the grid.  Each 100 MW of wind energy requires about 3-5 MW of additional frequency regulation.  Today thirty-two states and the District of Columbia have renewable portfolio standards.  Those standards will require the addition of huge amounts of renewable energy over the coming decade. The frequency regulation market will grow along with it. 

In addition to government mandates, normal market forces will encourage the addition of level-cost renewable energy to the grid and expand the size of the frequency regulation market.  The big (by volume) energy story of the next decade is likely to be the increasing use of natural gas for base load electricity generation.  This is good news for wind and solar energy.  While natural gas may have certain advantages as a fuel, its historic price has unquestionably been highly volatile.  There is little reason to expect that natural gas prices will be less volatile in the future and much to reason to fear the impact of that volatility on electricity prices as natural gas becomes a more significant portion of the base load fuel mix.  Utilities will hedge against that volatility by entering into long term supply contracts with renewable energy generators, whose fuel cost is always fixed (at $-0-).  The frequency regulation market will be a direct and substantial beneficiary.

The second good news story for the energy storage industry this week was, paradoxically, a very bad news story for many electricity consumers on the East Coast.  An early October Nor’easter last weekend knocked out power to about 3.8 million consumers.  Many of those consumers went without power for days.  And just about all of them are angry and looking for solutions.

Distributed energy storage (DES) is unquestionably one of the solutions.  DES describes the practice of placing energy storage devices, usually a battery, in the distribution portion of the grid out near the ultimate electricity consumer.  One of the many benefits of DES systems is that they can provide backup power for consumers.  When there is a fault in a transmission or distribution line, whether caused by a storm or some other disruption, a DES system can ensure that consumers will, for some predictable time, continue to have access to electric power.

Of course, DES systems are not a magic bullet solution to the problem of system reliability.  A 25 kWh battery buried in a neighborhood or installed in a basement will not provide unlimited power over a several day long outage to multiple households.  But the significance of this limitation is often exaggerated.  The greatest source of power outages in the United States is transient faults on distribution feeders and about 70 percent of those outages are restored within three hours.  And even in the case of longer, multi-day outages, DES systems can give consumers the option of conserving power and prolonging their access to it by directing it only to critical functions.  At worst, consumers would have time to plan for outages that are unavoidable.  After this past week, a good portion of the 3.8 million consumers affected by the East Coast storm will appreciate the value of this benefit and would probably demand it, if given the chance.

NAATBatt is trying to engage the electric utility industry in an effort to talk to consumers about DES.  This will be a difficult discussion for many utilities, as it focuses, in effect, on system failures, which no one wants to talk about.  But DES is an important technology that offers immediate, tangible benefits to electricity consumers and substantial additional benefits to the grid, a discussion of which is beyond the scope of this column.  Electricity consumers have a right to know about DES and to ask for it from their electric service providers.  This is another good news story for the energy storage industry and we must be proactive in telling it.

The commentators are, however, right about one thing:  When the DES market develops, it will make the frequency regulation market look small.

View the original article here

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stunning Origami Solarcell Lamps Are Made From Folded Photovoltaic Panels!

Korea-born, Eindhoven-based Joon & Jung‘s Origami Solarcell is a polygonal low-energy LED lamp that is completely powered by the sun’s energy. The pendant lights are made from a flexible photovoltaic material that is folded into a 3D lamp using origami techniques.

The flat-pack multi-faceted lights are still in the prototype stage, but we hope to see these innovative, energy-efficient designs hit store shelves in the near future.

View the original article here

Monday, January 23, 2012

Landscapes of the world

Its geological and geographical environment puts us in this area as belonging to one of the massifs of the Betic, belonging to Penibética systems, a range that runs from the southern province of Cadiz to Almeria, formed by a stacking of thrust sheets that overlap each other.

The robes and Filarbide-Nevado Alpujarride are that crop up in Sierra Nevada, thus presenting a sector with a vast wealth in metamorphic Paleozoic origin, consisting mainly during the Alpine orogeny in the Tertiary.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Biodegradable bags

One policy that is being taken into account in achieving a reduction in the space occupied by our waste is waste separation, a task that is fundamental to efficient recycling so we can give a new use of our waste In addition to using environmentally friendly materials that are more resistant to being degraded.

This replacement is occurring also in plastic bags, a trend we are seeing more in the markets and shops in particular, where they are replaced with biodegradable materials, concepts that may not be very clear, but delve below.
Biodegradable Plastic

Biodegradable is defined as any product or substance that can be decomposed into its chemical elements through the action of external agents, such as plants, animals, microorganisms and fungi under natural environmental conditions (usually used for energy production, new fabrics and even new organisms)

Biodegradable Plastic called as it is then manufactured using materials that meet this condition, renewable sources being used (remember that the common plastic comes from oil and other fossil fuels) that at the end of its useful life and are finally discarded when allowed to be degraded in a very short period of time.

With respect to Europe, legislation has been implemented European EN 13432 which shows the requirements and procedures that determine the biodegradability of this material, and ensure its suitability for composting that allows further processing into fertilizer for plants .

Raw Materials and Manufacturing

Plastic bags biodegradable organic raw materials coming from renewable sources, preferably being used potato starch, as it has a very broad wealth Starch, also present in wheat or corn, a natural polymer.

But you prefer the potatoes from because it is the greatest performance generated regarding crops per hectare, it requires high consumption of water, and has short life cycles and closed rapidly becoming fertilizer.

The production starts when subjected to the starch derived from microorganisms through a process of chemical transformation to derive the lactic acid molecule which is the basis for the development of a polymer of polylactic acid.

This polymerization gives rise to a biodegradable plastic sheet which can then be subjected to injection molding, extrusion and thermo-transformation may be malleable in the same way that plastics and other petroleum products with similar physical and chemical properties.

This allows not only a decrease in the use of nonrenewable resources such as petroleum products, but also contribute to the problem of waste with a strong policy and unaltered to our daily lives.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Parque Nacional de Sierra Nevada

Because of its isolation and altitude this massif has remained a haven for plants and others that may be considered endemic to the Mediterranean where it grows, and that is why it is considered as a reservoir of unique species in the region.

This detail is supported by a Ministry of Environment of Spain, where there has been detailed at least 66 plant species endemic to the region, and about 80 animal species are seen only in this place.

Traditional economic activities taking place in this area and surrounding are related to agriculture and livestock, mainly by the abundance of water that exists in the area, allowing crops including conducting an altitude of 2,000 meters (on the south side, for its weather conditions)

But obviously the importance attached to this region in recent times has been related to tourism, where the location of the ski resort of Granada has acquired very good recommendations, together with further warm temperatures and high sunshine hours. This detail is not unimportant, since it leads to this area to become home to a large number of winter sports.

In addition, of course, the appeal of visiting the natural resources of this area, which holds the following awards:

1986. Declared a Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO1989. Declared a Natural Park by the parliament of Andalucía1996. XXIV See the World Ski Championships Alpino1999. Declared a National Park for its botanical values, landscape and cultural

Has been framed in the list of national parks of the Ministry of Environment of Spain as a national park where the climate is a clear reference to the Mediterranean high mountain ecosystems, being a relative aridity and heat stroke due to strong influence of the Mediterranean area where it is located.

This results in a low onset of rains in summertime, while winter precipitation occur mostly as snow at an altitude over 2,000 meters.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

China Most Likely Country to Fund Renewables

A recent Bloomberg survey of key energy decision-makers concluded that China shows more government support than any other country for funding renewable energy. It also shows equally high support for transformational clean technologies, like smart grids and electric cars. With the right government backing, China could address its own energy security issues with technology to spare for export.

The graphs charting China’s economic growth and energy demand mirror one another: each resembles the left side of a mountain with no peak in sight. By the IEA’s reckoning, China’s electricity demand alone will nearly triple by 2035. On the surface, this may come across as resoundingly bad news to environmentalists. However, China’s industrial cloud has a strong green lining. And unlike the Olympics, China’s not just using green paint this time.

This year, Bloomberg Businessweek Research Services in partnership with ABB surveyed energy professionals, government officials and CFOs about the future of energy, the opportunities and the barriers. Among the results of this 2011 Energy Survey, China emerged as the strongest government supporter of clean energy technologies.

China’s renewable energy: Readers may remember that China’s wind power capacity surpassed the United States in 2010, and continues to grow. The National Development and Reform Commission estimates that China, the world leader in wind, could generate as much as 1 TW of wind energy by 2050. Similarly, this year China bumped its four-year targets for solar generation up by 50%, and the shear volume of solar panel production from the People’s Republic had US solar manufacturers suddenly in a panic.

Where will the greenbacks for China’s green energy growth come from? The Bloomberg survey shows that nearly 90% of Chinese energy decision-makers believe that the government should fund renewable energy growth. That makes China far and away the most enthusiastic about government support of renewables. By contrast, fewer than 40% of Americans surveyed think it’s the government’s role to fund clean energy. In the ongoing war of words between China and the US over climate change and energy security, those numbers speak volumes.

Smart grids: China will likely soon also be the world’s biggest smart grid market. Last year alone, it invested 3.7 billion US dollars in modernizing its electricity grid, and the so-called “12th Five-Year Plan” calls for wide installation of smart meters, IT software and other components of a smart grid over the next few years. The 2011 Energy Survey reflects the same strong government support of smart grids as for renewable energy. All of the decision-makers surveyed agreed that updating China’s is either somewhat important or very important. Moreover, as with renewable energy, over 90% believe that continued investment in China’s smart grid will come from the government.

Electric vehicles: With a smart grid with vehicle to grid technology in place, electric vehicles (EVs) also become a convenient way to store and provide energy to the grid. China’s planning to have one million EVs on the road by 2014. To support these electric cars, it’s building 400 electric vehicle charging stations by 2016. According to the 2011 Energy Survey, over 80% of Chinese decision-makers believe that the Chinese government should support the EV infrastructure, a full ten percent more than the next leading country and a great deal more than the USA, where fewer than 40% agree with government support for EVs. To this tune, the Chinese government is investing 100 billion Yuan (15 bn USD) in alternative fuel vehicles over the next ten years.

The 2011 Energy Survey is still open for participation for members of the public to give their input on the future of energy and compare their views with those of energy market decision-makers. Take the survey. You can also view a detailed list of the survey’s conclusions and watch related videos. For a summary of the conclusions, see this infographic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Congress Clean Energy Champions Introduce Key Clean Energy Legislation

Two important pieces of legislation have been introduced in the House and Senate that would provide long-term certainty to the clean energy industry by extending tax credits for wind, geothermal, hydro and biomass facilities.

Yesterday in the House, Washington Republican Dave Reichert and Oregon Democrat Earl Blumenauer introduced a piece of legislation that would extend the production tax credit (PTC) for a suite of renewable energy technologies through 2016. The PTC provides a credit of 2.2 cents for every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated by a qualifying facility. The PTC for wind is set to expire at the end of 2012, and the PTC for geothermal, hydro and bioenergy would expire the following year.

Because projects take years to plan and develop, the prospect of an expiration frequently causes a “boom-bust” cycle. In the lead-up to the expiration date, there’s a frenzy of activity to take advantage of the credit. Then project levels fall drastically the following year. This is happening today in the wind industry as companies anticipate the end of the Treasury Grant Program this year, and the potential lapsing of the PTC next year.

In a statement after the bill was introduced, Karl Gawell, executive director of the Geothermal Energy Association, explained that companies in the geothermal sector are seeing a similar problem.

“Extending federal tax incentives through 2016 is vital for the future of the US geothermal industry. We are already seeing a slow-down in projects unable or unlikely to meet the current deadline. This legislation would stem this downturn and sustain growth in the US geothermal industry.”

The PTC primarily benefits large-scale facilities. A bill introduced in the Senate would also extend incentives to community-scale wind facilities, potentially spreading the financial benefit of project development to a broader range of people.

Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken and Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester introduced the Community Wind Act, which would expand a small wind Investment Tax Credit to projects up to 20 MW. Currently, that that tax credit is only available for facilities up to 100 kW. The ITC offers investors a 30% credit based upon capital costs.

Because of the complexities of the PTC, it can be difficult for smaller community projects to arrange project financing. This piece of legislation is designed to make financing models simpler and bring in more capital to the sector.

These are two promising developments. If Congress is serious about creating conditions for businesses in the U.S. to grow, these simple pieces of support would help leverage thousands of new clean energy projects and billions in private financing.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Americans Want Renewable Energy. What's Stopping Them?

Everyone loves renewable energy – even Grover Norquist, who writes in an otherwise completely inaccurate opinion piece that:

Opposition to renewable energy mandates should not be misinterpreted as an aversion to renewable energy. In fact, renewable sources could play a significant role in the future.

I totally agree Grover! And in fact, nine in ten Americans—including 85 percent of Republicans and 89 percent of independents—say developing renewable energy should be a priority for the President and Congress.

And what’s not to love? Renewable energy serves core American values like economic prosperity, self-sufficiency, independence and security.

The renewable energy industry is growing rapidly, with some sectors like solar and wind creating jobs at triple the rate of the overall economy. While most industries were cutting jobs during the recession, employers in the broader clean economy added 500,000 jobs between 2003 and 2010. Electric and hybrid vehicle technology is driving a resurrection of the U.S. auto industry in places like Michigan and Kentucky. Renewable energy is providing new markets for old industries, like fiberglass boat makers in Florida that now also make wind turbine blades. There are renewable energy projects in every state and new renewable energy jobs are being created every day.

Meanwhile, renewable energy reduces pollution, protects public health, and builds a cleaner future. Instead of forcing American children to continue to suffer from asthma attacks, and other health and developmental issues as a consequence of breathing dirty air from fossil fuels that contains mercury, lead and other toxics, we can move to a future where renewable energy makes our air and water cleaner and safer for us and for our children.

Then of course, there’s the fact that renewable energy is homegrown energy that we own and won’t run out. Producing clean and reliable renewable energy right here in our country helps make us more independent and more in control of our energy future.

So what’s the problem? Well, unfortunately for Norquist, fossil fuel companies and their entrenched special interests in government, you can’t just say you love renewables, then block our progress on renewable energy and take our country in a direction Americans don’t want to go.

In his opinion piece, Norquist tries to tie the policies that support the growth of renewable energy like wind and solar, which the vast majority of Americans want, to inaccurate, fossil-fuel industry funded studies and misleading statistics about the cost of power, or high unemployment. The four linked articles in the previous sentence do an excellent job addressing these inaccuracies. To synthesize them, he confuses correlation with causation between standards and energy prices, he misrepresents data on state energy prices, he ignores the myriad of reasons why the energy sector isn’t a free market and therefore requires policies that level the playing field for renewables and he misses the incredible growth story of the renewable sector.

Norquist even tries to claim that Americans aren’t interested in policies for renewable energy, despite that fact that two-thirds of the public say it is important for federal funds to be invested in renewable energy, especially to boost the economy and 72 percent of Americans support Renewable Portfolio Standards, exactly the policies he is questioning!

Unfortunately, as much as Norquist and his polluter allies would like to proclaim otherwise, Federal funding has always helped drive our greatest and most complex innovations—from railroads and highway systems to space travel. These transformations were partnerships between the private sector and government. Without effective government, they would have never occurred, and neither will the transition to renewable energy in America.

Policies like the renewable electricity standard are critical tools that can level the playing field so that renewable energy companies have a fair chance to compete against entrenched fossil fuel technologies. In fact, a renewable standard is probably the most market friendly of all options – requiring renewable energy technologies to compete on price and allowing utilities to select the cheapest options available.

More importantly, if we don’t lead on renewable energy, other countries will. China has stated plants to invest $1.7 TRILLION in renewable energy and other strategic technology sectors over the next five years. Are we going to stand on the sidelines, or are we going to compete?

America has a choice. We can allow fossil fuel companies, entrenched special interests, and their supporters in government to block our progress on renewable energy and take our country in a direction Americans don’t want to go. Or we can move forward with building a future that secures America’s leadership in homegrown renewable energy, drives economic growth and jobs, and provides a cleaner, healthier life for us and our children.

Which choice would you prefer?

Monday, January 16, 2012

America and Germany Getting Their Clean Energy Just Desserts

Germany is the unquestioned world leader in renewable energy. By mid-2011, the European nation generated over 20 percent of its electricity from wind and solar power alone, and had created over 400,000 jobs in the industry.

The sweet German success is no accident, however, and the following pie chart illustrates the results of a carefully crafted recipe for renewable energy.

As the chart illustrates, more than half of Germany’s enormous renewable energy generation is in the hands of “ordinary people,” according to the German Renewable Energy Agency. This outcome is more than golden in color, but has been a gold-clad economic opportunity for the German people, who have used the opportunity to become renewable energy producers and improve their economic security in a time of world economic crisis.

The policy recipe behind this golden success is called a feed-in tariff and its basis premise is that anyone can become a renewable energy producer. Under a feed-in tariff, electric grid operators are required to buy all renewable electricity under a long-term contract, and to offer a price for the renewable electricity that provides a modest return on investment. The feed-in tariff is responsible for two-thirds of the world’s wind power capacity, and nearly 90 percent of the world’s solar power.

The feed-in tariff is Germany’s complete energy policy recipe because it’s an incentive for generating renewable energy, but also has a democratizing effect – broadening the source and ownership of energy production. Crucially, the feed-in tariff builds a political constituency for more renewable energy production in a way that America’s half-baked energy policy does not.

The following chart illustrates a recent study of support for more nearby wind power in two German towns, each with a local wind farm. The difference is ownership, with one adjacent wind farm absentee owned and the other locally owned; and the difference is a massive shift in public support for more wind power. (I’ve generalized this to renewable energy).

The political importance of democratizing participation in the energy system can be boiled down to a simple example: a residential solar installation may add 3-5 kilowatts of new renewable energy to the grid, but more importantly it adds two new solar voters to the rolls. It may be marginally less cost-effective to allow a broad base of residential solar installations under their clean energy policy, for example, but the Germans have realized that the political payoff far outweighs the fractions of a cent added to electricity bills.

In practical terms, it explains why Germans are ahead of their targets for renewable energy production and can consider replacing their entire nuclear power industry with clean power while the United States lags behind, mired in a debate about extending the federal cash grant program and with an energy market balkanized by 50 distinct state policies.

The success of Germany’s renewable energy policy, in contrast to America’s, is a case of just desserts. Germany’s policy expands the energy pie and also divides it more evenly among its citizens, resulting in a groundswell of public support for more renewable energy.

American energy policy is half-baked, and its energy future is less appetizing.

The dominate energy policy in the U.S. is federal tax credits, policies that prevents vast swaths of America from being energy producers simply because they lack sufficient tax liability and forcing public institutions like cities and schools into awkward public-private partnerships to access them. The use of the tax code leaves the renewable energy industry heavily reliant on large financial institutions to help them sop up the credits, siphoning off scarce dollars to pad Wall Street accounts and effectively capping the growth of the industry. Marshal Salant, managing director of Citigroup Global Markets Inc., said in a recent interview: “There’s more demand for tax equity to finance renewable energy projects than we will ever have in the way of supply.” And Wall Street banks don’t love clean energy, only money. Unlike citizen energy producers, the banks won’t provide crucial political support when renewable energy policy is before the Congress.

Critics that contrast a feed-in tariff with other energy policy options like tax incentives, REC markets, or renewable portfolio standards miss the point. The latter are ingredients in a clean energy future, but the former is a complete recipe for the political, economic, and financial future of the renewable energy industry. Without a similar comprehensive approach in the United States, our energy future may not be so sweet.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Take Action: Tell Congress to Continue Critical Clean Energy Policies

Solar power, wind power, and even geothermal power have boomed in recent years in the U.S., making the country a leader in these fields. They’ve partly boomed due to dropping costs, more efficient technologies, and more energy-conscious people and businesses. However, a huge part of their growth has been due to a couple of government policies — the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

These are set to expire, unfortunately, but a couple of Congressmen, Representative Reichert (R-WA-08) and Representative Blumenauer (D-OR-03), introduced a bill to extend the renewable energy production tax credit on November 2. You can encourage your Representative to support this bill in seconds on this wind power action page. Please do so now!

Now, if you try to make the argument that clean energy shouldn’t be living on subsidies, fine, but that would mean that fossil fuels and nuclear power shouldn’t be living on subsidies either (they get trillions of dollars in subsidies every decade and don’t have to worry about those subsidies expiring like the clean energy industry does). Also, I think it’s important to note that subsidies are often used to get a new or young industry that provides important societal benefits going, and fossil fuel and nuclear industries received a ton more subsidies in their early development than wind and solar. Who’s is getting the short end of the stick when it comes to government subsidies?

A coalition of 24 governors from both the Republican and Democratic party and from each region of the country have gotten behind an extension of the PTC and ITC. I’m sure that number will grow. But Congress has to hear your voice, as well. (The governors are actually calling for much more than this, if you’re interested in reading more about their call to action.)

Now, if you think these subsidies aren’t doing anything, don’t worry, I’ve got an answer for that, too.

Compared to the previous year, when the PTC has expired and not been immediately renewed, wind energy installations have fallen up to 93% compared to the previous year! The PTC lowers the cost of wind by 90%. Wind power has grown a ton in the U.S. in the last few years and we now have the second-most installed wind power in the world (only behind China — note the image above). Last year, we also had the second-most newly installed wind power (only behind China). We have enough wind power installed to power approximately 10 million homes now! And we have 400 U.S. manufacturing facilities for wind across the U.S. creating thousands of jobs. I could go on and on, but I hope you get the point.

The solar energy situation is similar:

The U.S. solar industry now employs over 100,000 people (more than the coal industry).The U.S. solar industry is the fastest-growing industry in the country (creating jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the U.S. economy).There are over 5,000 solar companies across the U.S., some in every state.Solar PV installations have grown 69% over the last year (40 times faster than the U.S. economy as a whole).The U.S. solar energy industry is a net exporter, by $2 billion (and is even a net exporter to China).

I could go on and on, but the important point today is that these federal policies are important to solar continued rapid growth. Solar Energy Industry Association president Rhone Resch said last month: “an extension of the 1603 program even for just one year will support 37,000 additional jobs and deploy 2,000 additional megawatts of solar capacity. Let me repeat that – 37,000 new jobs next year.”

Clean energy is widely supported by the public, but without pressure on our Congress people, I think you and I both now that most of them will pay more attention to the lobbyists and their political donors (largely the big, rich fossil fuel industry).

So, take action today!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Tesla completed an invention in his mind before building -- worked every time

The progressive development of man is vitally dependent on invention. It is the most important product of his creative brain. Its ultimate purpose is the complete mastery of mind over the material world, the harnessing of the forces of nature to human needs.

This is the difficult task of the inventor who is often misunderstood and unrewarded. But he finds ample compensation in the pleasing exercises of his powers and in the knowledge of being one of that exceptionally privileged class without whom the race would have long ago perished in the bitter struggle against pitiless elements.

Speaking for myself, I have already had more than my full measure of this exquisite enjoyment; so much, that for many years my life was little short of continuous rapture. I am credited with being one of the hardest workers and perhaps I am, if thought is the equivalent of labour, for I have devoted to it almost all of my waking hours. But if work is interpreted to be a definite performance in a specified time according to a rigid rule, then I may be the worst of idlers.

Every effort under compulsion demands a sacrifice of life-energy. I never paid such a price. On the contrary, I have thrived on my thoughts.

In attempting to give a connected and faithful account of my activities in this story of my life, I must dwell, however reluctantly, on the impressions of my youth and the circumstances and events which have been instrumental in determining my career. Our first endeavors are purely instinctive prompting of an imagination vivid and undisciplined. As we grow older reason asserts itself and we become more and more systematic and designing. But those early impulses, though not immediately productive, are of the greatest moment and may shape our very destinies. Indeed, I feel now that had I understood and cultivated instead of suppressing them, I would have added substantial value to my bequest to the world.

But not until I had attained manhood did I realize that I was an inventor. This was due to a number of causes. In the first place I had a brother who was gifted to an extraordinary degree; one of those rare phenomena of mentality which biological investigation has failed to explain. His premature death left my earth parents disconsolate. (I will explain my remark about my "earth parents" later.)

We owned a horse which had been presented to us by a dear friend. It was a magnificent animal of Arabian breed, possessed of almost human intelligence, and was cared for and petted by the whole family, having on one occasion saved my dear father's life under remarkable circumstances. My father had been called one winter night to perform an urgent duty and while crossing the mountains, infested by wolves, the horse became frightened and ran away, throwing him violently to the ground. It arrived home bleeding and exhausted, but after the alarm was sounded, immediately dashed off again, returning to the spot, and before the searching party were far on the way they were met by my father, who had recovered consciousness and remounted, not realizing that he had been lying in the snow for several hours. This horse was responsible for my brother's injuries from which he died. I witnessed the tragic scene and although so many years have elapsed since, my visual impression of it has lost none of its force. The recollection of his attainments made every effort of mine seem dull in comparison. Anything I did that was creditable merely caused my parents to feel their loss more keenly. So I grew up with little confidence in myself.

But I was far from being considered a stupid boy, if I am to judge from an incident of which I have still a strong remembrance. One day the Aldermen were passing through a street where I was playing with other boys. The oldest of these venerable gentlemen, a wealthy citizen, paused to give a silver piece to each of us. Coming to me, he suddenly stopped and commanded, "Look in my eyes." I met his gaze, my hand outstretched to receive the much valued coin, when to my dismay, he said, "No, not much; you can get nothing from me. You are too smart."

They used to tell a funny story about me. I had two old aunts with wrinkled faces, one of them having two teeth protruding like the tusks of an elephant, which she buried in my cheek every time she kissed me. Nothing would scare me more then the prospects of being by these affectionate, unattractive relatives. It happened that while being carried in my mother's arms, they asked who was the prettier of the two. After examining their faces intently, I answered thoughtfully, pointing to one of them, "This here is not as ugly as the other."

Then again, I was intended from my very birth, for the clerical profession and this thought constantly oppressed me. I longed to be an engineer, but my father was inflexible. He was the son of an officer [grandfather] who served in the army of the Great Napoleon and in common with his brother, professor of mathematics in a prominent institution, had received a military education; but, singularly enough, later embraced the clergy in which vocation he achieved eminence. He was a very erudite man, a veritable natural philosopher, poet and writer and his sermons were said to be as eloquent as those of Abraham a-Sancta-Clara. He had a prodigious memory and frequently recited at length from works in several languages. He often remarked playfully that if some of the classics were lost he could restore them. His style of writing was much admired. He penned sentences short and terse and full of wit and satire. The humorous remarks he made were always peculiar and characteristic.

Just to illustrate, I may mention one or two instances. Among the help, there was a cross-eyed man called Mane, employed to do work around the farm. He was chopping wood one day. As he swung the axe, my father, who stood nearby and felt very uncomfortable, cautioned him, "For God's sake, Mane, do not strike at what you are looking but at what you intend to hit."

On another occasion he was taking out for a drive, a friend who carelessly permitted his costly fur coat to rub on the carriage wheel. My father reminded him of it saying, "Pull in your coat; you are ruining my tire." He had the odd habit of talking to himself and would often carry on an animated conversation and indulge in heated argument, changing the tone of his voice. A casual listener might have sworn that several people were in the room.

Although I must trace to my mother's influence whatever inventiveness I possess, the training he gave me must have been helpful. It comprised all sorts of exercises - as, guessing one another's thoughts, discovering the defects of some form of expression, repeating long sentences or performing mental calculations. These daily lessons were intended to strengthen memory and reason, and especially to develop the critical sense, and were undoubtedly very beneficial.

My mother descended from one of the oldest families in the country and a line of inventors. Both her father and grandfather originated numerous implements for household, agricultural and other uses. She was a truly great woman, of rare skill, courage and fortitude, who had braved the storms of life and passed through many a trying experience. When she was sixteen, a virulent pestilence swept the country. Her father was called away to administer the last sacraments to the dying and during his absence she went alone to the assistance of a neighboring family who were stricken by the dread disease. She bathed, clothed and laid out the bodies, decorating them with flowers according to the custom of the country and when her father returned he found everything ready for a Christian burial.

My mother was an inventor of the first order and would, I believe, have achieved great things had she not been so remote from modern life and its multi fold opportunities. She invented and constructed all kinds of tools and devices and wove the finest designs from thread which was spun by her. She even planted seeds, raised the plants and separated the fibbers herself. She worked indefatigably, from break of day till late at night, and most of the wearing apparel and furnishings of the home were the product of her hands. When she was past sixty, her fingers were still nimble enough to tie three knots in an eyelash.

There was another and still more important reason for my late awakening. In my boyhood I suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images, often accompanied by strong flashes of light, which marred the sight of real objects and interfered with my thoughts and action. They were pictures of things and scenes which I had really seen, never of those imagined. When a word was spoken to me the image of the object it designated would present itself vividly to my vision and sometimes I was quite unable to distinguish weather what I saw was tangible or not.

This caused me great discomfort and anxiety. None of the students of psychology or physiology whom I have consulted, could ever explain satisfactorily these phenomenon. They seem to have been unique although I was probably predisposed as I know that my brother experienced a similar trouble. The theory I have formulated is that the images were the result of a reflex action from the brain on the retina under great excitation. They certainly were not hallucinations such as are produced in diseased and anguished minds, for in other respects I was normal and composed.

To give an idea of my distress, suppose that I had witnessed a funeral or some such nerve-wracking spectacle. The, inevitably, in the stillness of night, a vivid picture of the scene would thrust itself before my eyes and persist despite all my efforts to banish it. [Future technology anticipated...] If my explanation is correct, it should be possible to project on a screen the image of any object one conceives and make it visible. Such an advance would revolutionize all human relations. I am convinced that this wonder can and will be accomplished in time to come. I may add that I have devoted much thought to the solution of the problem.

I have managed to reflect such a picture, which I have seen in my mind, to the mind of another person, in another room.

To free myself of these tormenting appearances, I tried to concentrate my mind on something else I had seen, and in this way I would often obtain temporary relief; but in order to get it I had to conjure continuously new images. It was not long before I found that I had exhausted all of those at my command; my 'reel' had run out as it were, because I had seen little of the world -- only objects in my home and the immediate surroundings. As I performed these mental operations for the second or third time, in order to chase the appearances from my vision, the remedy gradually lost all its force.

[Mental Teleportation]
Then I instinctively commenced to make excursions beyond the limits of the small world of which I had knowledge, and I saw new scenes. These were at first very blurred and indistinct, and would flit away when I tried to concentrate my attention upon them. They gained in strength and distinctness and finally assumed the concreteness of real things. I soon discovered that my best comfort was attained if I simply went on in my vision further and further, getting new impressions all the time, and so I began to travel; of course, in my mind. Every night, (and sometimes during the day), when alone, I would start on my journeys -- see new places, cities and countries; live there, meet people and make friendships and acquaintances and, however unbelievable, it is a fact that they were just as dear to me as those in actual life, and not a bit less intense in their manifestations.

This I did constantly until I was about seventeen, when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then I observed to my delight that I could visualize with the greatest facility. I needed no models, drawings or experiments. I could picture them all as real in my mind. Thus I have been led unconsciously to evolve what I consider a new method of materializing inventive concepts and ideas, which is radically opposite to the purely experimental and is in my opinion ever so much more expeditious and efficient.

[Inferiority of traditional inventive path]
The moment one constructs a device to carry into practice a crude idea, he finds himself unavoidably engrossed with the details of the apparatus. As he goes on improving and reconstructing, his force of concentration diminishes and he loses sight of the great underlying principle. Results may be obtained, but always at the sacrifice of quality.

My method is different. I do not rush into actual work. When I get an idea, I start at once building it up in my imagination. I change the construction, make improvements and operate the device in my mind. It is absolutely immaterial to me whether I run my turbine in thought or test it in my shop. I even note if it is out of balance. There is no difference whatever; the results are the same. In this way I am able to rapidly develop and perfect a conception without touching anything. When I have gone so far as to embody in the invention every possible improvement I can think of and see no fault anywhere, I put into concrete form this final product of my brain. Invariably my device works as I conceived that it should, and the experiment comes out exactly as I planned it.

In twenty years there has not been a single exception. Why should it be otherwise?

Engineering, electrical and mechanical, is positive in results. There is scarcely a subject that cannot be examined beforehand, from the available theoretical and practical data. The carrying out into practice of a crude idea as is being generally done, is, I hold, nothing but a waste of energy, money, and time.

My early affliction had, however, another compensation. The incessant mental exertion developed my powers of observation and enabled me to discover a truth of great importance. I had noted that the appearance of images was always preceded by actual vision of scenes under peculiar and generally very exceptional conditions, and I was impelled on each occasion to locate the original impulse. After a while this effort grew to be almost automatic and I gained great facility in connecting cause and effect. Soon I became aware, to my surprise, that every thought I conceived was suggested by an external impression. Not only this but all my actions were prompted in a similar way. In the course of time it became perfectly evident to me that I was merely an automation endowed with power of movement responding to the stimuli of the sense organs and thinking and acting accordingly.

The practical result of this was the art of teleautomatics which has been so far carried out only in an imperfect manner. Its latent possibilities will, however be eventually shown.

I have been years planning self-controlled automata and believe that mechanisms can be produced which will act as if possessed of reason, to a limited degree, and will create a revolution in many commercial and industrial departments. I was about twelve years of age when I first succeeded in banishing an image from my vision by willful effort, but I never had any control over the flashes of light to which I have referred. They were, perhaps, my strangest and [most] inexplicable experience. They usually occurred when I found myself in a dangerous or distressing situations or when I was greatly exhilarated. In some instances I have seen all the air around me filled with tongues of living flame. Their intensity, instead of diminishing, increased with time and seemingly attained a maximum when I was about twenty-five years old.

While in Paris in 1883, a prominent French manufacturer sent me an invitation to a shooting expedition which I accepted. I had been long confined to the factory and the fresh air had a wonderfully invigorating effect on me. On my return to the city that night, I felt a positive sensation that my brain had caught fire. I was a light as though a small sun was located in it and I passed the whole night applying cold compressions to my tortured head. Finally the flashes diminished in frequency and force but it took more than three weeks before they wholly subsided. When a second invitation was extended to me, my answer was an emphatic NO!

These luminous phenomena still manifest themselves from time to time, as when a new idea opening up possibilities strikes me, but they are no longer exciting, being of relatively small intensity. When I close my eyes I invariably observe first, a background of very dark and uniform blue, not unlike the sky on a clear but starless night. In a few seconds this field becomes animated with innumerable scintillating flakes of green, arranged in several layers and advancing towards me. Then there appears, to the right, a beautiful pattern of two systems of parallel and closely spaced lines, at right angles to one another, in all sorts of colors with yellow, green, and gold predominating. Immediately thereafter, the lines grow brighter and the whole is thickly sprinkled with dots of twinkling light. This picture moves slowly across the field of vision and in about ten seconds vanishes on the left, leaving behind a ground of rather unpleasant and inert grey until the second phase is reached.

Every time, before falling asleep, images of persons or objects flit before my view. When I see them I know I am about to lose consciousness. If they are absent and refuse to come, it means a sleepless night. To what an extent imagination played in my early life, I may illustrate by another odd experience.

Like most children, I was fond of jumping and developed an intense desire to support myself in the air. Occasionally a strong wind richly charged with oxygen blew from the mountains, rendering my body light as cork and then I would leap and float in space for a long time. It was a delightful sensation and my disappointment was keen when later I undeceived myself.

During that period I contracted many strange likes, dislikes and habits, some of which I can trace to external impressions while others are unaccountable. I had a violent aversion against the earing of women, but other ornaments, as bracelets, pleased me more or less according to design. The sight of a pearl would almost give me a fit, but I was fascinated with the glitter of crystals or objects with sharp edges and plane surfaces. I would not touch the hair of other people except, perhaps at the point of a revolver. I would get a fever by looking at a peach and if a piece of camphor was anywhere in the house it caused me the keenest discomfort. Even now I am not insensible to some of these upsetting impulses. When I drop little squares of paper in a dish filled with liquid, I always sense a peculiar and awful taste in my mouth. I counted the steps in my walks and calculated the cubical contents of soup plates, coffee cups and pieces of food, otherwise my meal was unenjoyable.

All repeated acts or operations I performed had to be divisible by three and if I missed I felt impelled to do it all over again, even if it took hours.

Up to the age of eight years, my character was weak and vacillating. I had neither courage or strength to form a firm resolve. My feelings came in waves and surges and variated unceasingly between extremes. My wishes were of consuming force and like the heads of the hydra, they multiplied. I was oppressed by thoughts of pain in life and death and religious fear. I was swayed by superstitious belief and lived in constant dread of the spirit of evil, of ghosts and ogres and other unholy monsters of the dark. Then all at once, there came a tremendous change which altered the course of my whole existence.

Of all things I liked books best. My father had a large library and whenever I could manage I tried to satisfy my passion for reading. He did not permit it and would fly in a rage when he caught me in the act. He hid the candles when he found that I was reading in secret. He did not want me to spoil my eyes. But I obtained tallow, made the wicking and cast the sticks into tin forms, and every night I would bush the keyhole and the cracks and read, often till dawn, when all others slept and my mother started on her arduous daily tasks .

On one occasion I came across a novel entitled 'Aoafi,' (the son of Aba), a Serbian translation of a well known Hungarian writer, Josika. This work somehow awakened my dormant powers of will and I began to practice self-control. At first my resolutions faded like snow in April, but in a little while I conquered my weakness and felt a pleasure I never knew before -- that of doing as I willed.

In the course of time this vigorous mental exercise became second to nature. At the outset my wishes had to be subdued but gradually desire and will grew to be identical.

After years of such discipline I gained so complete a mastery over myself that I toyed with passions which have meant destruction to some of the strongest men.

At a certain age I contracted a mania for gambling which greatly worried my parents. To sit down to a game of cards was for me the quintessence of pleasure. My father led an exemplary life and could not excuse the senseless waste of my time and money in which I indulged. I had a strong resolve, but my philosophy was bad. I would say to him, 'I can stop whenever I please, but it it worth while to give up that which I would purchase with the joys of paradise?' On frequent occasions he gave vent to his anger and contempt, but my mother was different. She understood the character of men and knew that one's salvation could only be brought about through his own efforts.

One afternoon, I remember, when I had lost all my money and was craving for a game, she came to me with a roll of bills and said, 'Go and enjoy yourself. The sooner you lose all we possess, the better it will be. I know that you will get over it.'

She was right. I conquered my passion then and there and only regretted that it had not been a hundred times as strong. I not only vanquished but tore it from my heart so as not to leave even a trace of desire. Ever since that time I have been as indifferent to any form of gambling as to picking teeth.

During another period I smoked excessively, threatening to ruin my health. Then my will asserted itself and I not only stopped but destroyed all inclination.

Long ago I suffered from heart trouble until I discovered that it was due to the innocent cup of coffee I consumed every morning. I discontinued at once, though I confess it was not an easy task.

In this way I checked and bridled other habits and passions, and have not only preserved my life but derived an immense amount of satisfaction from what most men would consider privation and sacrifice.

After finishing the studies at the Polytechnic Institute and University, I had a complete nervous breakdown and while the malady lasted I observed many phenomena, strange and unbelievable...

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