Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Death of the World's rivers

A United Nations report to be released this week will reveal thathalf of the world's 500 biggest rivers are seriously depleted.

The Nile and Indus are greatly reduced by the time they reach the sea; the Colorado and Yellow River rarely reach the ocean at all; the Jordan and Rio-Grade are dry for much of their length.

This week's UN report will officially warn the world's governments of an "alarming deterioration" in the planet's rivers,lakes and other freshwater systems, a "Disaster in the making" according to the report.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Hybrid-Air Car To Be Unveiled

The Scuderi Group will unveil its air-hybrid engine at the world congress of the Society of Automotive Engineers next month in Detroit.

The air-hybrid engine supplements its gasoline engine with compressed air. Compressed air is a very efficient way of storing energy and has been suggested for intermittent sources such as solar and wind. A French company announced last year that they would be unveiling a compressed air driven car this year, but so far, no word on that.

The Scuderi Group claims its engine achieves 60% fuel efficiency, almost double the standard gasoline engine, and cuts toxic emmissions by 80%. The company hopes to license the engine to interested companies to get it into production more quickly.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Dupont Moving Toward Bio-Chemicals

DuPont is forging ahead of other companies by actively researching bio-based raw materials. The company has allocated nearly 10 percent of its $1.3 billion research budget to extracting ingredients from carbohydrates — things that grow and can be infinitely replaced — rather than from hydrocarbons, which are mined or drilled and readily depleted.

DuPont already makes 10 percent of its products from nonpetrochemical substances, and expects to increase that to 25 percent by 2010. By then Dupont hopes to bring in $3 billion in revenue from bio-chemistry.

The new program can insulate DuPont from rising in gas and oil prices. It will play well with shareholders who worry about the harmful effect of extracting and burning oil. Bio-based products can also have advantages over petrochemical products. The corn-based propane diol, a product used in carpet fibers that DuPont will begin selling this spring, offers better dye absorption and stain resistance than the petrochemical version DuPont now sells.