1st Commercial-Scale Tidal Power Turbine; Ethanol DeathWatch Map; Flying Cars?; Electric Planes
"The world’s first commercial-scale tidal turbine, developed by British tidal energy company, Marine Current Turbines, has delivered electricity onto the grid for the first time. In principle, SeaGen works much like an “underwater windmill” with the rotors driven by the power of the tidal currents rather than the wind. Conservative estimates suggest there is at least five gigawatts of power in tidal flows in Britain, but there could be as much as 15GW.
The tidal current turbine, known as SeaGen, has briefly generated 150kW of power onto the grid as part of its commissioning work, ahead of it achieving full capacity a few weeks from now. SeaGen’s power is being intentionally constrained to 300kW during the commissioning phase, but once fully operational, it will generate 1.2MW of clean, renewable energy to the equivalent of 1000 homes."
Rest of the story is here:
Taken from The Big Picture:
Ethanol DeathWatch Map
"With the price of Oil down $18 over the past week -- off 12% from the $147 high -- perhaps its time to pull out the BioFuels/Ethanol DeathWatch Map.
Its a terrific Google Maps Mashup (via GigaOm) that shows the various biofuel plants that are having "hiccups."Earth2Tech Maps: Biofuels Deathwatch
"Biofuel plants have been put on hold faster than your phone company’s tech support line. With corn and soy prices hitting record high prices and an ethanol glut flooding the market, ethanol’s profit margin per gallon has dropped to a meager 25 cents from $2. That’s causing numerous ethanol and biodiesel plants to get put on hold or downright canceled. Hundreds of millions of gallons of production capacity and hundreds of millions of dollars in biofuel investments are now hanging in limbo, as investors hope prices will level out.
That’s not to say that ethanol is dead in the water. There’s a variety of positive reports coming out on the future of the industry — there’s reports that see a meaningful future for ethanol , as well reports saying ethanol could be deliver a better-than-expected energy return. Add in a healthy merger and acquisition market and biofuels will play a role in the future of weaning the U.S. off oil.
They’re just having some serious growing pains. Below we’ve mapped out specific biofuel plant hiccups complete with annotations. It’s a work in progress and we’ll be adding more plants as news comes in and please add any extra information in the comments."
Berkshire Hathaway Charlie Munger on Ethanol
When asked by a shareholder about ethanol, Charlie Munger made the following statement: Wheat and Corn Fields
"Running cars on corn is about the stupidest thing I ever heard of. Our government is under tremendous political pressure [to keep pushing and supporting corn ethanol] even though it makes no sense." He goes on to state an unpopular view in Nebraska, "More energy is used producing ethanol than it creates and that's without considering the damage to the topsoil producing fuel when we could be producing food." Munger further states that it's silly to drive up the price of food in order to provide an uneconomic fuel, as well as a dumb government policy.
I have to say that it takes some guts to be against anything that drives up the price of corn. Brave Mr. Munger, very brave.
Mr. Buffett said, "Well Charlie, we'll be sneaking you out of Omaha tonight."
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