NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Dutch airliner is flying planes all the way from John F. Kennedy International Airport to Amsterdam, on a fuel mix that includes leftover oil from frying Cajun food in Louisiana.
The KLM flights from JFK are powered by a combination of 25 percent recycled cooking oil and 75 percent jet fuel.
After the first such flight on Friday, the new concept will be tested on 24 round-trip trans-Atlantic trips every Thursday for the next six months.
KLM executive Camiel Eurlings jokingly told the New York Post that “it smelled like fries” while the plane was being fueled.
The waste oil from frying up crawfish, cracklins and other Cajun specialties is refined at a plant near Baton Rouge, then trucked to JFK, the newspaper reported.
There is a similar operation powered by European food plants and restaurants, which supplies cooking oil for KLM flights headed the other way across the Atlantic Ocean.
While the demonstrators that have mobbed the streets of Amman for two weeks now are demanding the overthrown of King Abdullah — a criminal offense in Jordan — it’s not the demand for democracy that sparked their protests. Instead, thousands of Jordanians have been spurred to act by a more basic issue: the rising price of gas after the government withdrew its subsidies.
Jordanians are hardly alone in their anger. Governments across the world are attempting to wean their citizens off subsidized fossil fuels —a critical issue which environmentalists say is a big contributor to the output of carbon gases that contribute to global warming, and which have even more immediately burdened public finances the world over by an estimated total of $523 billion last year — a 30% increase over the previous year. “In a lot of emerging and developing countries you see fuel subsidies, where the government is picking up the tab,” says Helen Mountford, deputy director of the environmental directorate for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, in Paris, which represents the world’s biggest economies. “In many cases it has been put in place to help support the poor.”
For decades, the price paid at the gas pump for most of the world’s drivers has had little relationship to the true cost of fuel. Massive government subsidies have allowed millions of consumers to pay a token amount, in some places mere pennies per gallon. Jordanians, as it turns out, pay about $3.33 a gallon for gas, but in oil-rich Venezuela, the price for premium gas is just 9 cents a gallon, while in Saudi Arabia it is 61 cents, according to Bloomberg rankings. Such subsidies have long been a key prop in the political survival strategies of authoritarian governments, while even in more democratic countries fuel subsidies have become an untouchable entitlement.
But fuel subsidies are becoming increasingly untenable as governments face mounting budget deficits in a weakening global economy, amid oil prices that have remained above $100 a barrel since 2010. Jordan lifted subsidies in order to secure a $2 billion IMF loan in the face of a $3.2 billion shortfall in a budget that devotes $2.3 billion annually to subsidizing fuel and other basics.
Technology is always looking for ways to make it easier to be green. Now, researchers in New York state report creating a new long-lived catalyst that uses the energy in sunlight to generate hydrogen gas, a carbon-free fuel. With further improvements, the advance could lead to systems that use sunlight to split water molecules, generating a fuel that can power cars and trucks without emitting any greenhouse gases.
The idea of using sunlight to convert water into a fuel may sound fanciful. But plants do it: They capture photons of sunlight and use that energy to split water molecules into their constituents of hydrogen and oxygen ions. Pairs of hydrogen ions are then knitted together with a pair of electrons (swiped from the oxygen ions) to make hydrogen molecules (H2).
Researchers have actually mimicked this same reaction for many years, but the catalysts they use to do so have been either too expensive or too quick to break down. So the search has been on for cheaper, more rugged catalysts.
To do the job, researchers usually look for two key ingredients: a good light absorber and a good catalyst. The light absorber captures photons of sunlight and then harnesses the energy to generate the energetic electrons. Those energized electrons are then passed to the catalyst, which knits the hydrogen ions into H2.
Fuel supplies headed toward disaster zones in the U.S. Northeast on Saturday and a million customers regained electricity ahead of a coming cold snap that threatened to add to the misery of coastal communities devastated by superstorm Sandy.
The power restorations relit the skyline in lower Manhattan for the first time in nearly a week and allowed 80 percent of the New York City subway service to resume, but 2.5 million homes and businesses still lacked power, down from 3.5 million on Friday.
The power outages combined with a heating oil shortage meant some homes could go cold as wintry weather sets in. [ID:nL1E8M2DQD] Forecasters saw temperatures dipping into the upper 30s Fahrenheit (around 3 degrees Celsius) on Saturday night with similar low temperatures next week.
“There’s no heating oil around,” said Vincent Savino, the president of Statewide Oil and Heating, which usually supplies some 2,000 buildings across New York City. “I don’t know how much fuel we have left: maybe a day or two.”
The long, arduous recovery was taxing disaster victims and first responders strained by a week of emergency services.
Much more from Kate Sheppard at the link above.
1. States would oversee fossil fuel development on federal lands. Romney’s campaign has promised that as part of his plan to “dramatically increase domestic energy production,” states “will be empowered to control all forms of energy production on all lands within their borders, excluding only those that are specifically designated off-limits.” That could include some national parks.
2. Regulations would be weakened. Romney has pledged to “take a weed whacker” to federal environmental regulations. His plan lacks specifics, but calls for “streamlining” environmental review periods for energy development plans and “allowing state reviews to satisfy federal requirements.” (See numbers 3 and 6 for more.)
3. Coal companies would get to do pretty much whatever they want. Romney has accused the Obama administration of waging a “war on coal,” and has pledged to reverse many of the administration’s regulations. As president, he would likely approve the most extreme anti-environmental bills offered in Congress—like the “Stop the War on Coal Act,” passed in September. The bill was a grab-bag for coal interests, taking away the EPA’s ability to regulate mountaintop-removal coal mining, greenhouse gas emissions, coal ash disposal, mercury and air toxins.”I like coal,” Romney said at the Oct. 3 debate. “I’m going to make sure we’re going to be able to burn clean coal.” However, he has offered few specifics on what he would do to make coal “clean” as president.
(Reuters) - Drivers and homeowners scrambled to secure fuel for their cars and generators in the U.S. Northeast on Wednesday as storm-hit gasoline stations started to run dry.
More than half of all gasoline service stations in the New York City area and New Jersey were shut because of depleted fuel supplies and power outages, frustrating attempts to restore normal life, industry officials said.
Reports of long lines, dark stations and empty tanks circulated across the region. Some station owners were unable to pump fuel due to a lack of power, while others quickly ran their tanks dry because of increased demand and logistical problems in delivering fresh supplies.
The lack of working gasoline stations is likely to compound travel problems in the region, with the New York City subway system down until at least Thursday and overland rail and bus services severely disrupted.
Homeowners and businesses relying on back-up generators during the power cuts, including many Wall Street banks in lower Manhattan, may also run short of fuel.
“I don’t have any lights and need this gasoline for my generator,” said Abdul Rahim Anwar at a Getty service station in Gowanus, Brooklyn, as he put two full jerry cans into his trunk.
Tempers flared as a queue of at least 30 cars spilled down the street, with drivers blaring horns, shouting and getting out of their cars. Pump attendant Nadim Amid said the station had already run out of regular gasoline and only had a tiny amount of super unleaded and diesel left.
One driver, a doctor who asked not to be named, said she had driven all the way across New York City from New Jersey, where half of all businesses and homes are still without power. More than 80 percent of filling stations in the state were unable to sell gasoline as of Wednesday morning, said Sal Risalvato, head of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience, Automotive Association.
“It’s going to be an ugly few days until we can see both power and supplies restored,” Risalvato said.
Gas prices are going to go up to $10/gallon.
The protoplanet Vesta, a large space rock in the solar system’s asteroid belt, is covered with a surprising amount of hydrogen, and bits of Vesta may have rained down on Earth in the form of meteorites, NASA’s Dawn probe has revealed.
Dawn spent more than a year orbiting Vesta, a behemoth 330-mile-wide (530 kilometers) asteroid that circles the sun between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Earlier this month, on Sept. 5, Dawn took its leave of Vesta to begin trekking to the even-larger space rock Ceres, which is categorized as a dwarf planet.
Meanwhile, though, scientists are still poring over the treasure trove of data on Vesta gathered by the probe, and two new studies are reported today (Sept. 20) in the journal Science. In one, researchers report the findings of Dawn’s Gamma Ray and Neutron Detector (GRAND), which mapped the elemental composition of Vesta’s surface.
Winter continues to wallop Alaska with some weather and some challenges that even the seen-it-all locals seem to be amazed about.
In Cordova, about 150 miles southeast of Anchorage, “dozens of National Guard troops have arrived to help … dig out from massive snows that have collapsed roofs, trapped some people in homes, and triggered avalanches,” The Associated Press reports.
Guard officials tell the AP there’s been about 18 feet of snow in Cordova so far this season. The National Weather Service warns that another storm is headed Cordova’s way on Tuesday.
But already, “there’s nowhere to go with the snow because it’s piled up so high,” Wendy Rainney, who owns the Orca Adventure Lodge in Cordova, tells the AP.
Diplomats on Monday confirmed a report that Iran has begun uranium enrichment at an underground bunker and said the news is particularly worrying because the site is being used to make material that can be upgraded more quickly for use in a nuclear weapon than the nation’s main enriched stockpile.
The diplomats said that centrifuges at the Fordo site near Iran’s holy city of Qom are churning out uranium enriched to 20 percent. That level is higher than the 3.5 percent being made at Iran’s main enrichment plant and can be turned into fissile warhead material faster and with less work.
The move was expected, with Tehran announcing months ago that it would use the Fordo facility for 20 percent production. Iran began to further enrich a small part of its uranium stockpile to nearly 20 percent as of February 2010 at a less-protected experimental site, saying it needs the higher grade material to produce fuel for a Tehran reactor that makes medical radioisotopes for cancer patients.
A Russian tanker carrying fuel for an iced-in Alaska city that without a delivery could run out of crucial supplies before winter’s end encountered ice early Friday in the eastern Bering Sea.
The ice was not a surprise. The 370-foot tanker Renda will have to go through more than 300 miles of sea ice to get to Nome, a city of about 3,500 people on the western Alaska coastline that did not get its last pre-winter fuel delivery because of a massive storm.
If the delivery of diesel fuel and unleaded gasoline is not made, the city likely will run short of fuel supplies before another barge delivery can be made in spring.
If the mission is successful, it will be the first time petroleum products have been delivered by sea to a Western Alaska community in winter