Germany continued to make the news over its decision to close down its nuclear power plants this decade.  The Local-Germany reported that Germany may need to import electricity from Austria this winter as it closes 8 of its plants. “Exporting power to Germany would push Austria’s natural gas-run generators to the limit and increase the alpine nation’s carbon dioxide emissions.”  E.ON, one of Germany’s largest energy producers, announced that it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide from its 79,000 workforce as it is forced to close its nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, the German chemical and drug company, Bayer, threatened to pull up stakes from Germany over concerns about rising electricity costs from the decision to abandon nuclear energy.

The London Telegraph told us that one-third of British consumers fear they will have no spare cash once they have to pay for higher heating, electricity, and petrol prices.

Scotland announced its goal of obtaining 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2025 and to begin exporting green energy. Currently the country obtains most of its electricity from nuclear, coal, natural gas and hydro.  The plan is to substitute the fossil fuels with on-shore and off-shore wind and tidal power.

A couple of weeks ago we told you that Formula 1 was planning on requiring drivers to operate only in electric mode in the pit lanes starting in 2014.  Well there seems to be a recoil.  Autobloggreen reported that there is blowback from some of the teams as well as F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone.  The teams are concerned that the silent electric motors will create a safety hazard for those working on cars coming in for pit stops while Ecclestone says the crowds come to hear the roar of the engines in the pit lanes.  So don’t be surprised if this electrifying  idea is shorted.

Speaking of electric vehicles, GM Inside News gave us the lowdown on what it is like to own a Chevrolet Volt.

In one of the more unusual stories of the week we found out that NASA wants gas stations in space.  NASA has awarded contracts to four companies with plans to study how to store and transfer fuel in space. The projects will focus on identifying gaps in current technology necessary for space fuel depots and will investigate innovative ways to pursue building the depots. “Storing cryogenic propellants such as liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen in space for long periods of time with minimal boil-off is critical for deep space human exploration,” according to a NASA statement. NASA is embarking on a program to send humans to an asteroid by 2025, and to Mars by the mid 2030s.  For these missions, and eventual colonies in space, spaceships will likely need to refuel either in orbit or on the surface of another planet or moon.

Autobloggreen reported that there will be enough lithium on our planet to power all those electric vehicles for the remainder of the century. Researchers at the University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company have looked at the availability of global lithium supplies and projected electric vehicle demand and concluded there will be sufficient supply to meet demand. “Even with a rapid and widespread adoption of electric vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries, lithium resources are sufficient to support demand until at least the end of this century.”

Two Canadian waste to energy projects were announced this week.  In High River, Alberta the large beef producer Cargill Beef said it is going to produce half of its electricity requirements from rendered material, trash and compost.  This is the first project of its kind in North America.  The project expects to be in operation by May 2012.   The Province of Ontario approved plans by York and Durham to construct a garbage incinerator as part of their joint waste to energy plant.   Starting in 2014 the 140,000 tons of garbage will produce enough electricity for 10,000 homes.

Stockton on Tees, UK approved a gasification waste to energy plant that will convert pre-processed household and commercial waste into electricity for 50,000 homes in the northeast of England.  The plant will produce 49 MW of electricity and process 300,000 tonnes of  waste per year.  The plant hopes to be operating by 2014.

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