the blog of TECNOPOLIS.EU

an italian forum about Science & Technology (english version coming soon)

Thursday, August 31, 2006

coal: USA critical source ?

"Coal keeps US economy burning?" that is an interesting article from BBC.

Summary: coal is playing a major role in substaining US economy. It is cheap
(cheaper than Gas and Oil) , based on consolidated technolgy and is used to generate 52% of America's electricity.

Energy operators complain that "supplies are not meeting demand, leaving them low on reserves and Americans potentially exposed to power shortages."

getting the coal to its destination is a massive logistical challenge.

And coal is (at least to date) not clean..

Source [
Rob Cameron - BBC News]

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

coal directly into electricity?

Prof. George M. Whitesides from University of Harvard (
developed a prototype coal fuel cell using a solution of sub-bituminous coal (SBC) partially oxidized by Fe-III.
At 100 deg C, the maximum current density in the cell was 5 A/L and the power density was 0.6 W/L. The cell operated without loss of performance for 1000 hours.

It seems to be a great step forward in reducing the work-temperature for already existent MCFC (Molten Carbonate Fuel Cell) from 600C to 100C. (the main problem connected with high T is corrosion -

More technical details here ( a preprint article) :

I didn't manage to understand whether CO2 is also produced from the electrochemical process.
Someone can help?

See you!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Oil Peak Handbook

Oil peak is going to be reached soon? a good question! If you firmly believe it, you should have a look at this..

From "" (where you can finda lot of detailed info about "oil peak")

What you can do to look after yourself

It does not harm to begin preparing now by limiting the impact the oil decline can have on your life. The key things recommended are

(1) Clear your debts.

(2) Make sure you are multi-skilled to have a chance of employment when the economy starts to buckle.

(3) Have emergency rations on hand in case of a sudden oil shock disrupting oil supplies (remember the fuel protests of 2000?) and also in case of things like Bird Flu – you do not know what could happen.

(4) Begin living as ‘green’ a life as you can as that is basically the low-carbon society we’ll be moving towards. Change your electricity supplier to ecotricity, juice or another green electricity provider. Remember the 3 'Rs' - Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. In that order.

(5) If necessary begin to change your expectations – we cannot expect a lifestyle as affluent in 2025 as in 2005.

(6) If you are in your 20s or maybe your 30s it might be worth considering cancelling your pension plan.

(7) Begin forming strong social bonds with friends and family. Oil has allowed us to become a very atomised society – reliance on friends and family will be increasingly important in the years ahead.

(8) If you can, hook your house up with electricity micro-generation, insulate your house and learn gardening!

(9) If you have not had children you will need to weigh up the gamble on whether it will be a benefit or a burden to you.

(10) ENJOY YOURSELF! The party is almost over but it isn’t yet. We live in one of the most exciting times in human history, I suggest you enjoy it!

Peak Oil & You: