Product Design and Development wrote about the latest in nuclear fusion. University of Tennessee researchers, who are part of the ITER project, successfully tested their technology which will insulate and stabilize the central solenoid – the backbone to the international thermonuclear reactor. The experimental fusion reactor is currently under construction in Cardache, France and expects to be operational by 2020.  It’s goal is to produce 10 times the amount of energy that it uses. The researchers discovered the right materials and processes for inserting these materials into a mock-up of the central solenoid. Now this technology will be sent to General Atomics in San Diego which will build the central solenoid and ship it to France.

The Huffington Post discussed India’s dreams of building thorium nuclear reactors to replace fission. Along with its space program, this project reveals the efforts the government of India is making to become a technological power later this century. “If the rest of the world believes India to be a sleeping elephant that is finally rising, then this tale reveals just how much more there will be to see when the elephant is fully awake.”

New Energy and Fuel reported on the first 100 watt LED lightbulb coming from Hitachi.

From Platt’s we learned that Norway’s Statoil expects a 40% increase in global energy demand by 2040. Fossil fuels will meet most of his demand but there will also be a rapid increase from nuclear and renewable energy. Energy efficiency will also play a large role.

Bloomberg told us that Russia’s Gasprom is the biggest loser from the global shale gas revolution. With North America and China awash in shale gas, Gazprom is losing export markets with shipments down 14% so far this year. “Russia, with about $13 trillion of gas deposits, has the most at stake in the energy revolution that’s blasting shale from Pennsylvania to China in rocks impossible to drill just a decade ago. While Gazprom remains the gas biggest producer, the export monopoly is set for its toughest market since the Soviet Union’s fall in 1991…It hits production growth prospects, pricing power and revenues.” Shale production allowed the U.S. to overtake Russia as the largest gas-producing nation in 2009 and it expects to become a gas exporter as early as 2015. Gazprom’s pricing power in the European market is also at risk as large shale gas deposits have been found in Poland, Ukraine, France and the UK. While Russia is expected to maintain its role as the “Saudi Arabia of gas,” the country will increasingly have to compete with the U.S for world markets. OILPRICE adds to this story with China Turns to Natural Gas to Fuel their Economic Growth.

OILPRICE reported on a massive shale oil find in Western Russia in Siberia. The Bazhenov in Western Siberia covers 2.3 million square kilometers or 570 million acres, which is the size of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico combined; an area 80 times bigger than the Bakken shale gas reserves in the northern midwest US. A couple of test wells have been drilled in the region which operated at 400 barrels per day; the same as an average Bakken well. ExxonMobil and Statoil have agreed to start joint venture operations in the region with the Russian, state-owned Rosneft. By 2020 the Bazhenov could be producing one million bpd.

MyPerfectAutomobile commented on the rise of natural gas as a transportation fuel in North America.  “The market for natural gas is set to take off, like a rocket, in both the private and public sector, as supplies reach historic levels, and prices are lower than they have been in almost 20 years.” Some think it could become the dominant alternative vehicle fuel for the next several decades. When compared to other fuels like ethanol and electricity, natural gas comes out ahead because of its incredibly low cost and massive abundance. A video explains why natural gas has suddenly come into prominence in the alternative fuel community. To keep up on the natural gas transportation revolution read our weekly Natural Gas Vehicle News.

Robert Rapier at Consumer Energy Report asked: How Much Oil is Left in the World? This is the first of a series of articles (with graphs) he is posting to answer this question. In this post we learn that despite the growth in crude oil production over the years, crude oil reserves continue to grow, mostly from OPEC, Canada’s oil sands and Venezuela’s heavy oil reserves. Rapier adds that there are serious questions about Venezuela’s ability to develop this reserves. In his next post Rapier will analyze global oil production trends. Rapier is using the latest 2012 BP Statistical Review of World Energy as his data source.

The Globe and Mail had an article about Coal: The rising star of global energy production. “Coal has had a good run in the past five years… and has emerged as the fastest growing of all fossil fuel.” BP’s 2012 annual statistical review reports that global coal production increased 6% last year, twice the rate of increase in global natural gas production. Coal now accounts for 30% of global energy consumption – the highest percentage since 1969. It is one of the cheapest primary sources of energy in the world and “its reserves are, for all practical purposes, inexhaustible.” The US alone has coal reserves almost as large as all OPEC oil reserves. In a related story USA TODAY told how US coal consumption by electric utilities is declining as they switch over to cheaper and cleaner natural gas. Utilities are forecast to burn 796 million tons of coal this year, a 14% decline from last year and the fewest tons since 1992. Here the Globe post notes that declining US coal consumption opens up export opportunities for US coal companies to supply energy hungry Asian economies that need the coal to produce electricity.

Fox News said that Cuba wants to increase its use of alternative energy by 12% over this decade. Currently only 3.8% of the country’s energy is obtained from renewable sources. The new energy is expected to come from forest biomass and sugar cane, as well as solar, wind and hydro power.

OILPRICE let us know which European countries are on track to meet their 2020 renewable energy targets. The post includes a chart of all 27 European Union countries comparing their 2010 actual renewable production with their announced 2020 goal. Note that the actual data is prior to the March 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan which lead Germany to abandon its nuclear power plans. In addition the on-going European economic crisis has led some countries to cut back sharply on their renewable energy subsidies.  It will not be until we see the 2013 data that we will have a clearer picture of each country’s ability to meet its 2020 target as some countries could regress.





with h/t Fred


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