Monday October 21, 2019

Trump Administration Commits to Make Fossil Fuels Cleaner, Says Energy Secretary

Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming

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U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry, center, speaks as Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, left, and and Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon look on at an energy summit, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

The Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on coal and oil, U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said Thursday at an energy conference in Salt Lake City.

Perry previously said the administration wants to spend $500 million next year on fossil fuel research and development as demand plummets for coal and surges for natural gas.

“Instead of punishing fuels that produce emissions through regulation, we’re seeking to reduce those emissions by innovation,” Perry said at the conference. Fossil fuel emissions have been cited by scientists as a major source of global warming.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently said the world must change how it fuels factories, vehicles and homes to limit future global warming.

Perry said the Trump administration has proven it can make energy cleaner, but he provided no details involving coal and other fossil fuels, other than the closing of old, inefficient coal-burning power plants and exporting increasing volumes of natural gas, an alternative to coal.

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Protesters gather outside the Utah Governor’s Energy Summit at Grand America Hotel, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. VOA

Department of Energy spokesman Dirk Vande Beek didn’t immediately return an email and voicemail seeking more details about Perry’s claim.

Perry pointed to an overall drop in emissions as proof of progress.

Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 13 percent from 2005 to 2017, according to the most recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Lindsay Beebe of the Sierra Club in Utah said trying to make fossil fuels cleaner is misspent energy.

“I don’t know that it’s possible right now, but what is ready right now are renewables. Wind, solar and geothermal are commercially viable and at scale,” Beebe said.

The summit Thursday was briefly interrupted when 15 protesters took the stage to criticize the administration’s fixation on fossil fuels.

They said the misguided approach ignores climate change. Police then escorted them out.

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About 25 protesters are escorted by police after interrupting a energy summit where U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry spoke, May 30, 2019, in Salt Lake City. Perry says the Trump administration is committed to making fossil fuels cleaner rather than imposing “draconian” regulations on oil, gas and coal. VOA

After they left, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who sponsored the event, said he and other leaders appreciated the “youthful enthusiasm” but their call to immediately discard fossil fuels and shift entirely to renewable energy isn’t realistic.

“They would like us to quit by Friday and not take anything out of the ground,” Herbert said. “That obviously doesn’t work from a practical standpoint.”

ALSO READ: Chinese Scientists Discover CO2 More Efficient to Use in Fracking than Water

Americans burned a record amount of energy in 2018, with a 10% jump in consumption from booming natural gas helping lead the way, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said.

Fossil fuels in all accounted for 80% of Americans’ energy use. (VOA)

Next Story

Usage of Lithium-ion Batteries Revolutionizing the World

Lithium-ion Batteries have revolutionised Technology in the World

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Lithum-Ion Battery
A Lithium-Ion Battery for Samsung Mobile Phone. Wikimedia Commons

Be it smartphones, notebooks or electric cars, lithium-ion batteries have revolutionized our world, laying the foundation for a wireless, fossil fuel-free society, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said on Wednesday while awarding the 2019 Nobel prize in Chemistry to John Goodenough, Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino.

The Li-ion technology is currently the best performing technology for energy storage based on batteries. Li-ion batteries are used in small electronics (smartphones, laptops etc) and are also the best options for electric cars.

In the 1970s as the world stared at oil crisis, Whittingham from Binghamton University in the US, American professor and solid-state physicist Goodenough (currently at the University of Texas at Austin) and Japanese chemist Yoshino advanced the development in the field through the 1980s.

Since Lithium is the lightest metal, using lithium ions made batteries lighter.

The lithium-ion batteries were launched commercially by Sony and Asahi Kasei Corporation in 1991.

Today, the race is on among the stakeholders to find a battery that can let users enjoy time on their devices without worrying about the charge.

Researchers from the University of Alberta recently developed a new battery technology that could provide 10 times more charge capacity compared to the lithium-ion power packs.

This battery technology utilizes silicon nanoparticles as an electrode for the lithium-ion batteries. Silicon is abundant, and the substance only costs around a third of the price of high-purity graphite, which sells for more than $10,000 per metric ton.

Going forward, smartphones will sport graphene batteries that charge swiftly, and will mark a quantum leap from the fast charging technologies and the current default of lithium-ion batteries.

Technology Entrepreneur speaking
Elon Musk, a technology entrepreneur in the above picture. IANS

When it comes to electric cars, Elon Musk-run Tesla has achieved great deal of efficacy in this field and is now aiming to create a lithium-ion battery that can run a car or an electric truck for over 16 lakh kms.

Current Tesla cars can achieve about 8 lakh kms out of their batteries before they face any serious problem.

A new research paper from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada has claimed the Jeff Dahn-led team is close to creating a lithium-ion battery that can run a car for over 1 million (over 16 lakh) miles.

For more than a decade, Tesla engineers have been obsessed with making the world’s most efficient electric vehicles.

As a result, Tesla vehicles already travel farther on a single charge than any other production EV on the market.

Model S and Model X cars can achieve nearly 600 kms and 525 kms per charge on a 100 kWh battery pack.

Tesla’s choice of cylindrical cells sets it apart from other EV players. The company also uses a liquid-cooled thermal management system to manage battery temperatures whereas other automakers take a more economical air-cooling approach.

By adjusting the temperature of the battery pack, Tesla is able to ensure that cells are operating in their most efficient and optimal states, thereby maximizing battery longevity as well as performance.

It has been argued that lithium will be one of the main objects of geopolitical competition in a world running on renewable energy and dependent on batteries.

Current research areas for lithium-ion batteries include life extension, energy density, safety, cost reduction and charging speed, among others.

 ALSO READ: US: Infections from Three Sexually Transmitted Diseases Hit New Highs for Fifth Consecutive Year

Research has also been under way in the area of non-flammable electrolytes as a pathway to increased safety based on the flammability and volatility of the organic solvents used in the typical electrolyte. (IANS)