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Wednesday, 30 April 2014 14:30

There are some who shine bright

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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And now for some good news...


Enter KARIBU Solar Power, a project by 25-year-old Adam Camenzuli, from Ontario and four other gifted, giving, young university graduates. More than half of the African population lives outside of the power grid. They rely on dangerous kerosene to provide a dim light for their dwellings.
It pollutes, poisons and sometimes burns its users.
Solar lamps are available, but unaffordable at $20 each, if paid for up front. As examples, the countries of Kenya, Zambia, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana have monthly incomes between $90 and $154, U.S.
The altruism of these young grads helped them to form a non-profit company for extending the use of a new solar lamp. It consists of a solar panel, rechargeable battery, mobile phone charger and LED light. Using a franchise business model for rent to own through local small businesses that re-charge the batteries is their  key to success.
For about the same price, the solar solution is five times brighter, lasts slightly longer and is safe and pollution free. Every re-charge payment goes partially toward paying for the users’ own solar panel charger. The grads are giving much of their own time and money to the project. Several other donors are pitching in. All profits from the program will go toward its expansion. 
The U.S. government is investing in a company to bring to final development a mini nuclear light water reactor. About a third the size of a conventional reactor, with a nuclear cored steam turbine, it can provide 180 megawatts of power for up to four years. Its smaller size makes it easier and cheaper to produce and an ideal unit for isolated sites. It should be priced at about $900 million per unit.
A California company called Makani has recently been purchased by Google. It has created a tethered, airborne wind turbine. Flying kite-like, at 250 to 600 metres, in a circle it has access to stronger, more consistent winds than conventional, ground-anchored turbines. It can also be used off shore. Google has given $15 million to develop a larger model producing an estimated 600 kilowatts of power.
A major breakthrough for easier, cleaner, cheaper processing of natural gas into useable chemicals and fuels could literally surpass our oil-based world economy in the near future. Fracking and horizontal drilling will allow the United States to outpace Russia as the number one gas producer in the world.
Roy Periana, from the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, explained that methane, propane and ethane can all be produced from natural gas. Converting them at present into gasoline, diesel, alcohol and plastic is a plethora of cost, pollution and inefficient, deleterious processes. A cleaner, cheaper more secure world would evolve reducing many of the transgressions Russia and the Middle East players  present in the existing market.
The new conversion process, set to become commercialized in about three years, uses far fewer steps and is completed at 200 degrees C. vs. 900. It uses much less expensive ordinary metals like lead and thallium vs. platinum, gold, rhodium and palladium. 
Each of these developments are but a tiny few of thousands happening throughout the world. They all lend credence to my observation that mankind’s perseverance and emendation will quiet many concerns surrounding the cost from pollution.
Why not also mention a quieting of the cornucopia of derision about exigencies surrounding the depletion of non-renewable resources or accessing resources yet to be harvested for our needs?

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