Bruce Dorminey's Comments

January 24, 2014

Prickly Pear Cactus: Nuisance or Bioenergy Opportunity?

Thanks for all the detailed comments here. I am glad to see the enthusiasm for this multifaceted feedstock which in my view is still underutilized and underappreciated as a source of bioenergy.

July 22, 2013

Are Beer and Cigarettes the New Bioenergy?

In response to Stephen Nally, not sure what you mean by another press release however I can assure you that this story consists of 100 percent original reporting. You have the right to be skeptical about the topic, but I applaud any effort to grow tobacco for something useful. I grew up in tobacco country and it would be nice to see the crop grown as a renewable energy source rather than a source of someone's lung or throat cancer.

June 15, 2013

From the Sea to the Pump: Is Kelp a Viable Biofuel?

Thanks for your comment, but as I made clear very early on in the article, the kelp proposed for use as biomass for energy conversion would indeed be cultivated kelp. To my knowledge, no one is proposing the use of wild kelp for energy conversion which leaves existing wild kelp populations unperturbed. Therefore, kelp farming for energy should have a negligible effect on the environment.

May 18, 2013

Are Run-of-River Hydroelectric Systems Ready to Ride US Currents?

Hi Dennis: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. One detail that wasn't mentioned in my article is that in Alaska at least the salmon appear to swim upstream to spawn avoiding the core current; thus, they tend to veer toward the river's outer edges. If this proves to be the case, this would lend credibility to the notion that adult salmon going upriver to spawn would avoid any potential Hanford Reach hydrokinetic turbines altogether. I was also told that very small fish, perhaps such salmon's immediate offspring, would be able to swim downstream right through these slowly rotating hydrokinetic turbines without harm. I agree with you that environmental concerns need to be of utmost importance, however. Regards, Bruce

October 24, 2012

The Pine Beetle Problem: Making Renewable Energy Lemonade from Biomass Lemons

Thanks for your comment above. Resende answers his own phone in his office at UW and am sure he would be pleased that you would seek his counsel. He might even be interested in hearing about your pine beetle experiences. A cursory Google search will easily cough up his office coordinates. Best of luck, Bruce

August 21, 2012

Flying on Woody Biomass and Camelina: Consortium Seeks Biofuel Answers

Re: David Carl comment above. Thank you for posting; the story has now been updated.

May 03, 2012

Scouring the Tropics for Thermal Energy

Tim Fuhr, Lockheed Martin's Director of Ocean Energy, responded to my request for comment after this story posted.
He writes:

Lockheed Martin is testing critical OTEC technologies at facilities in several locations. We've made some major advancements in both heat exchangers and in the cold water pipe so that they are ready for a large-scale, commercial application. In addition, we have developed an efficient plant design developed around these key technologies.

We have our condenser and evaporator heat exchangers, the parts of the OTEC power plant that evaporate a liquid to drive a turbine-generator and then condenses it back to a liquid, under test at the National Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority (NELHA). The Lockheed Martin heat exchangers that have been tested are of a similar design as the ones needed to support a 5 to 10 megawatt pilot OTEC plant. The land-based facility does not produce power, but rather provides similar conditions to those that our sea-based design would experience, and we have been very pleased with how our technology has performed.

We believe OTEC is poised to become a leader in reliable, secure and clean energy generation. Lockheed Martin has been focusing on advancing the critical enabling technologies that will make OTEC a real, commercially available power source. Lockheed Martin has developed the design for a sea-based, multi-megawatt OTEC pilot plant, which would use the real technologies that could directly scale up to support a 100 megawatt plant. Putting this system in the water is the next step needed for the path to real OTEC commercialization.

May 04, 2012

Scouring the Tropics for Thermal Energy

I would caution against prematurely dismissing the idea of ammonia or hydrogen-producing equatorial OTEC plants far from land. Environmental concerns will be addressed on a step by step, case by case basis and as yet haven't been deemed to be insurmountable. Wind and solar advocates are forgetting that both also come with some inherent environmental issues not the least of which is sheer aesthetics. Do we really want to see the Sahara or Nevada's rather pristine high desert turned into one large PV array or wind farm? My larger point is that all these renewable energy sources have merit and should continue to be explored and developed. We can't afford to dismiss any of them out of hand.

April 06, 2012

Biogas Technology: "Cow Power" Catching On in US

Scott, up top, thanks for pointing this out. A correction has been made. Regards, Bruce

April 17, 2012

Biogas Technology: "Cow Power" Catching On in US

David, thanks for your comment above. Offhand, I can't confirm exactly how AgSTAR collects their statistics; you may be correct about the silage issue. That said, this article did not deal with the issue of biogas from solid human waste. From my understanding, there are totally different challenges to reaping the benefits of biogas from solid human waste than biogas generated solely from Ag waste.

March 26, 2012

From Garbage to Gas to Energy

Hi Steve, thanks for your comments. I'm not sure about Colorado, but it looks like Waste Management, Inc. of Houston, has one of the largest operations in constructing and managing these LFGTE sites.

Bruce Dorminey

Bruce Dorminey

Bruce Dorminey is an award-winning science journalist who is a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and a former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper. However, he...

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