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Sun, Sand, and Glass September 18, 2012

Posted by Jason in Management.
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What will be the next technological revolution?

It’s hard to identify particular divisions of human technology until well after the fact – the Bronze Age, the Industrial Revolution, the Information Age.  Until we can see what comes “next” we don’t have a boundary across which we can observe distinct advances.

Nonetheless, we’re always interested in what the ‘next big thing’ will be.  I’ve told my kids that they will be seeing new energy sources and manufacturing techniques – the former driven by our need to shift away from carbon- and combustion-based energy, and the latter taking advantage of recent developments in what is commonly called ‘3-D printing’.

Of course, we can’t know what we’ll have in 30 or 50 years’ time, but here is a taste of a technology that blends the two potential revolutions into one: solar-powered manufacturing using desert sand.  Short of using the ocean as a future fresh water source, this technology just may be one of the ways that developing countries can compete with the rest of the world.  Take a look at this video and see for yourself.  Also visit the Markus Kayser’s website for more info.

P.S. – this video is in desperate need of a soundtrack.  Whether or not you understand German, I found this one goes quite nicely.

Small-Scale Wind Power November 17, 2011

Posted by Jason in Writing.
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As with so many locations around the world, Montana’s wind attracts energy producers and investors eager to prove the feasibility of large “wind farms” and provide a sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. With most of the eastern plains seeing average wind speeds from 14 to 20 mph, there is great potential for success. Ironically however, some of the highest winds, such as those often found in Montana, (more…)

Ethanol Scam May 17, 2009

Posted by Jason in Daily PM.
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A short while back, I wrote an article on biodiesel, published in the Green Directory here in Montana.  Following is the intro and a link to the original piece:

With President Obama’s emphasis on energy independence, sustainability, and environmental protection, we have heard more and more about production and use of biodiesel fuels. Especially in Montana, with our agricultural history, you may wonder what the effects of the biodiesel economy will be on farmers, local industries, and everyday consumers. Is biodiesel really all it is promised to be? pub.date: 2009-02-20  More…

In that article, I alluded to some of ethanol’s drawbacks and made a general comparison of ethanol to biodiesel.  While the piece was intentionally non-technical, I found some additional information that really drives home the point that ethanol is not the path to energy righteousness.  Please follow this link to read Ed Wallace’s excellent BusinessWeek article about the real-life, everyday effects of ethanol on your vehicle.