The Zombie-Proofed House
Above you can see the zombie-proof house with all shutters fully closed. In this setting, the only access into the house is via a drawbridge, which must be lowered for entry.
First published at Al Fin, the Next Level
An assorted mix of posts, some original, some favourites previously published in other Al Fin blogs.
In the United States, Accelergy is working on demonstration facilities in Pennsylvania, Montana, and North Dakota. Accelergy's process can be tuned to utilize a wide range of feedstocks, and the company is currently exploring the use of both coal and natural gas in the U.S, along with biomass.
The company is also targeting its efforts in China since the country already has a small number of synthetic fuels plants where coal is converted to a liquid, he said. China is also the world's largest producer and consumer of coal. _Energy.AOL.com
Consider these facts about CBTL [Coal Biomass to Liquids]:
Abundant Supply: There is more than 250 billion tons of recoverable U.S. coal reserves – equivalent to an estimated 800 billion barrels of oil, compared to Saudi Arabia’s proven reserves of 260 billion barrels. (Source: National Mining Association)
Environmental Benefits: Combining the Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) and Biomass-to-Liquids (BTL) processes, Accelergy removes 20% of the CO₂ emissions associated with standard refining methods, resulting in cleaner fuels that reduce nitrogen oxide and particulate emissions and enabling use of higher efficiency engines.
Reliable Sources: Coal currently provides more than half of the nation’s electricity and is the largest single source of overall domestic energy production at more than 31% of the total, according to the National Mining Association. Additionally, our feedstocks can be grown domestically an land deemed unsuitable for food crop cultivation. _Accelergy
• Direct liquefaction processes add hydrogen to the hydrogen deficient organic structure of the coal, breaking it down only as far as is necessary to produce distillable liquids.
• Coal dissolution is accomplished under high temperature (~400 0 C) and pressure (~1500-3000 psi) with hydrogen and a coal-derived solvent.
• The coal fragments are further hydrocracked to produce a synthetic crude oil.
• This synthetic crude must then undergo refinery upgrading and hydrotreating to produce acceptable transportation fuels. _Direct Liquefaction of Coal PDF
Labels: peak oil
If the seasteading movement goes forward as planned, Thiel won't be one of its early citizens. For one thing, he's not overly fond of boats, although maybe, as Friedman says, "he just needs to be on a large enough structure." Thiel characterizes his interest as "theoretical." But whether Thiel himself heads offshore or not, there's a whole lot of passion underlying that theoretical interest. Thiel put forth his views on the subject in a 2009 essay for the Cato Institute, in which he flatly declared, "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible." He went on: "The great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms," with the critical question being "how to escape not via politics but beyond it. Because there are no truly free places left in our world, I suspect that the mode for escape must involve some sort of new and hitherto untried process that leads us to some undiscovered country."
Until a libertarian colony can be established in outer space—Thiel is bullish on that idea, too, though he thinks the technology needs at least a half-century to develop—seasteading will have to suffice. "[It's] not just possible, or desirable," he said in an address at the 2009 Seasteading Institute Conference, "but actually necessary." _Details
Primus’s process is based on a proprietary variant of the ExxonMobil Methanol-to-Gasoline process, simplified to produce standard gasoline without need for separation or further treatment, the company says. The Primus process consists of three main steps:
Primus says that its gasoline is cost-competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies, utilizing carbon-efficient and high fuel-yielding non-agricultural biomass that does not compete with foodstocks.
- Gasification of biomass (feedstock flexible) to produce a syngas;
- CO2 separation and scrubbing of the syngas;
- catalytic liquid fuel synthesis using a four-stage catalytic system (the MTG variant).
A February 2011 report from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) conclude that gasoline produced via the methanol-to-gasoline (MTG) route (earlier post) using syngas from a 2,000 dry metric tonne/day (2,205 US ton/day) biomass-fed facility could have a plant gate price (PGP) of $1.95/gallon US ($0.52/liter). _GCC
In the MTG process, dimethylether (DME), the dehydrated derivative of methanol, is reacted over a ZSM-5 zeolite catalyst, on which the chain growth of molecules is sterically hindered, thus allowing only production of gasoline and lighter material. The gasoline product from the MTG process has more than 51 compounds, similar to straight-run gasoline in a petroleum refinery.
This mixture is then separated using a process similar to that used in a gasoline refinery. The design utilized in the NREL model utilizes five distillation columns to separate the remaining gas, LPG, light gasoline, and heavy gasoline. The remaining gas is sent to the fuel combustor. The light gasoline continues without further treatment. The heavy gasoline could proceed through a durene isomerizer in order to eliminate the presence of the 1,2,4,5-tetramethylbenzenes by converting them to 1,2,3,5-tetramethylbenzenes. This stream would then be merged with the light gasoline. The two product streams are LPG and gasoline. _GCC
Project Utopia has more in common with an oil rig than it does with a yacht, and in the word's of the consultancy, "breaks the traditional naval architectural mould which the market has come to expect and offers a truly unique outlook free from any conventional design constraints."
...Yacht Island Design's Project Utopia measures some 330 ft (100 m) in length and breadth, spans 11 decks and has the equivalent floorspace of a present-day cruise liner - indeed, and I'm sure this will be a draw-card to any aspiring wealthy megalomaniacs, there is enough space to create an entire micro-nation.
First and foremost, the island's design is stable, being based on a four legged platform and designed for minimum motion in the most extreme sea conditions. Each leg supports a fully azimuthing thruster and with four such units, the design can redeploy between desired locations at slow speed. _Gizmag
The MTOsport needs roughly the length of a football field to take off, climbs at 13 feet per second and can hit 115 mph. It’ll hover at a relatively low speed, allowing it to mimic a helicopter circling an area under observation.
...the unpowered rotor makes the aircraft safer than a helicopter because you’re already in auto-rotation. In a helicopter, the pilot has to nose the craft down and hope autorotation starts before the chopper hits the ground. If we lost power now we’d simply glide down.
...The big advantage is, of course, cost. A modern police helicopter ready for service can run anywhere from $1.5 million to $4 million. They’re also expensive to operate, averaging around $1,000 per hour with a two-pilot crew.
The Auto-Gyro MTOsport loaded up with radios and painted costs about $75,000 and about $50 an hour to operate, due in part to the fact that it burns regular pump gas. That’s roughly the cost of buying and operating two top-of-the-line squad cars.
...Tomball can’t justify the cost of a helicopter program, so it has to rely upon Houston or Harris County when it needs one. Coordinating the flight and lining everything up can take an hour or more, if a chopper is available at all. But an officer on standby can have the MTOsport airborne in about 10 minutes, including the pre-flight check. That can make a big difference in a metropolitan county with about 4.1 million people.
“By putting a trained pilot and a trained tactical flight officer in this aircraft up over the city of Tomball and the surrounding area, we’re able to essentially deploy the equivalent of 20 police officers,” Haulk says. _Wired
Labels: adventure toys
... a team of British academics will next month formally announce the first step towards creating an artificial volcano by going ahead with the world's first major "geo-engineering" field-test in the next few months. The ultimate aim is to mimic the cooling effect that volcanoes have when they inject particles into the stratosphere that bounce some of the Sun's energy back into space, so preventing it from warming the Earth and mitigating the effects of man-made climate change.There are quite a few other types of crystals and compounds which could be sprayed into the stratosphere besides sea salt crystals or pure water. But to go far beyond those simple compounds, the experimenters would likely have to jump a large number of environmental hurdles.
Before the full-sized system can be deployed, the research team will test a scaled-down version of the balloon-and-hose design. Backed by a £1.6m government grant and the Royal Society, the team will send a balloon to a height of 1km over an undisclosed location. It will pump nothing more than water into the air, but it will allow climate scientists and engineers to gauge the engineering feasibility of the plan. Ultimately, they aim to test the impact of sulphates and other aerosol particles if they are sprayed directly into the stratosphere.
If the technical problems posed by controlling a massive balloon at more than twice the cruising height of a commercial airliner are resolved, then the team from Cambridge, Oxford, Reading and Bristol universities expect to move to full-scale solar radiation tests.
The principal investigator, Matthew Watson, a former UK government scientific adviser on emergencies and now a Bristol University lecturer, says the experiment is inspired by volcanoes and the way they can affect the climate after eruptions.
"We will test pure water only, in sufficient quantity to test the engineering. Much more research is required," he said, in answer the question of what effect a planetary-scale deployment of the technology could have.
Other leaders of the government-funded Stratospheric particle injection for climate engineering (Spice) project have investigated using missiles, planes, tall chimneys and other ways to send thousands of tonnes of particles into the air but have concluded that a simple balloon and hosepipe system is the cheapest. The research is paid for by the government-funded Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
"The whole weight of this thing is going to be a few hundred tonnes. That's the weight of several double-decker buses. So imagine how big a helium balloon do you need to hold several double-decker buses – a big balloon. We're looking at a balloon which is possibly 100-200m in diameter. It's about the same size as Wembley stadium," said the Oxford engineering lecturer Hugh Hunt in an interview earlier this year.
"This hose would be just like a garden hose, 20km long and we pump stuff up the pipe. The nice thing about it is that we can really have a knob, if you like, which we can control to adjust the rate at which we inject these particles."
While the October experiment is expected to have no impact on the atmosphere, it could also be used to try out "low-level cloud whitening", a geo-engineering proposal backed financially by Microsoft chairman and philanthropist Bill Gates.
In this case, fine sea salt crystals would be pumped up and sprayed into the air to increase the number of droplets and the reflectivity in clouds. Together, many droplets are expected to diffuse sunlight and make a cloud whiter. _Guardian