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On Is a Chinese Shale Revolution in the Offing?

No salt water in the vicinity of the drilling site?

March 10, 2015    View Comment    

On Advanced Energy Technology of the Week: Modular Nuclear Energy

The PRISM's core is cooled by liquid sodium, so you won't be pumping *water* into the reactor vessel.

January 27, 2015    View Comment    

On Was 2014 Really the Warmest Year?

While the headline says, "2014 was Warmest Year on Record", on p.5 I see NASA claiming that there's a 38% chance that 2014 was the warmest year. Which sounds like they think there's a 62% chance that it wasn't. NOAA puts it closer to 50-50.

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/briefings/201501.pdf

January 22, 2015    View Comment    

On Can an Advanced Nuclear Reactor Design Ever Be Approved in the US?

Is, in fact, a liquid. Materials can dissolve into a solvent at much lower temperatures than they would need to melt on their own. E.g. sodium chloride has a melting temp of 800 °C, but of course will dissolve into water below 0 °C.

January 15, 2015    View Comment    

On Can an Advanced Nuclear Reactor Design Ever Be Approved in the US?

Separating protactinium from thorium is quite hard, as I understand it. The easy processing route is to let the Pa-233 decay to U-233, and then separate all the uranium from the thorium, but then the U-232 comes along with the U-233. Which is good, from the proliferation aspect, and irrelevant from any other.  So anyone proposing to do the processing at the Pa stage should be looked at with a fishy eye.

January 13, 2015    View Comment    

On Denmark Outstrips Germany as the 'Energiewende' Model Country

“[e]ven though emission levels are still relatively high, [Denmark] sets an example in how industrialised countries can not only promise, but also implement effective climate protection policies.”

So relatively high emissions is the result of effective policies? They're being given too much credit for thinking good thoughts.

January 13, 2015    View Comment    

On Torrefaction via Radio Waves

Well the usual proposed uses of biochar are as a soil amendment and/or for carbon sequestration, so its energy content isn't a feature.

November 26, 2014    View Comment    

On Torrefaction via Radio Waves

What about pushing biomass all the way to biochar?

November 26, 2014    View Comment    

On Clinton (well, Gore) Went to Kyoto. Obama Went to Beijing

"If you refer back to the New York Times graph above, growth of emissions from China until 2030 is literally off the chart. The graph stops at 8 billion metric tons roughly now."

How far up does the line go, anyway? The NYT article I saw that graph in suggested 10-12 billion tons. www.nytimes.com/2014/11/13/world/asia/climate-change-china-xi-jinping-obama-apec.html

November 20, 2014    View Comment    

On Abandoned Solar Energy Project Highlights Pitfalls of Tax Uncertainty

"Pitfalls of Tax Uncertainty"

The law is what it is, and isn't expected to change. Where's the uncertainty? 

October 23, 2014    View Comment    

On Saudi Arabia Still Calling the Shots

If shale oil is a big part of US production and its breakeven price is ~$80/bbl, then that is the floor price. If falling demand drops the price below that level then production will also fall -- and pretty quickly, since individual shale wells don't last long and must be replaced with newly-drilled wells.

October 18, 2014    View Comment    

On Comparing Apples with Oranges

Also, remember that a lot of the nuclear down time is for refueling, which is scheduled far in advance, and done in the spring and fall, when demand is slack.

October 14, 2014    View Comment