Thursday, December 20, 2007

Mid-size coffee serving at Starbucks

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Grande It’s Thursday

We are not talking about the Rio Grande but the mid-size coffee serving at Starbucks. Yes Starbucks has Short, Tall, Grande and Venti sizes for their coffee and lattes.

The Grande is a 16 oz size

The quicksilver link helps you speak Starbuck Jargon. I was recently in the local Starbuck when I overheard the patron in front of me ask for a 140 degree latte. Being a thermo expert I of course had to ask the Barista what this meant. The barista replied that the milk in the 140 degree is warmed less than the normal 160 degrees. Of course my mind started doing mental arithmetic as to how much energy Starbucks could save if all patrons became green and asked for the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped. Yes there are over 15,000 Starbucks stores and Starbucks has yearly revenues of nearly ten billion dollars. They must sell something like 3 billion grande equivalent drinks a year. Twenty degrees difference on a drink that weighs a pound using a specific heat of 1.0 means 60 billion BTUs could be saved. Each of the Starbuck espresso machines is power by electricity. There are 3412 BTUs in a kilowatt hour. The added warmth of the drinks therefore equals 19.096 million kilowatt hours. The average heat rate of a coal fired power plant, the most common form of power plant in the world is about 10,000 BTU per kilowatt hour. This means about 1.25 pounds of coal needs to be burned to generate a kilowatt hour, so the 19 million kilowatt hours required 23.870 million pounds of coal. Coal is about 50% carbon the rest is ash and moisture with a little hydrogen. Therefore 11,935,000 pounds of carbon are emitted each year to increase the temperature of the grande cups of Strabucks from 140 degrees to 160 degrees. This is almost 6,000 tons of carbon. Expressed as carbon dioxide we have to multiply the amount of carbon by 3.67 and we have that Strabucks is emitting and additional 21,881 tons a year of carbon dioxide simple because the average patron did not request the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped option. This is about the same amount of carbon dioxide that 4,000 cars emit in a year. Of course just driving to starbucks to get the 140 degree grande non fat latte with one splendla and no foam single cupped drink causes an untold amount of carbon emissions

There is much debate about whether electricity can be generated from coal without the CO2 emissions. It is beginning to feel like Christmas and if you believe in Santa you will believe this nonsense of coal gasification and CO2 sequestration

Now that Vietnam is embracing a market economy and people have more money there to spend on Starbucks they are also buying lots of motorcycles and having lots of crashes. It was reported this week that Vietnam has instituted a Helmet Law for motorcyclists Amazingly the number of motorcycles in Vietnam has increased form 500,000 in 1990 to over 22 million currently. With this type of statistic perhaps we can all understand how the earth is headed toward a very warm perhaps 140 degree future in places like Death Valley.

Good news from Washington is that president Bush will sign into law the new higher efficiency standards To celebrate this momentous event the eggnog will only be heated to 140 degrees.

This is the last TT for this year as I will be on vacation through January 7 sipping my morning soy latte from Starbucks which I must confess will be only heated to 140 degrees because soy milk actually “burns” if it is heated any higher. Wishing you all seasons greeting and a happy, healthy, and energy efficient 2008

The word of the day is tocsin or ringing the bell for the purpose of alarm. Well I have been a pretty ardent bell ringer that we are simply adding toxins to the environment. With this let’s all sing Jingle Bells and do better next year

Word of the DayThursday December 20, 2007
Today's Word
Yesterday's Word Previous Words Subscribe for Free Help
tocsin \TOCK-sin\, noun:1. An alarm bell, or the ringing of a bell for the purpose of alarm.2. A warning.
Some of the allegations put round are so frenzied, however, that some caution should be exercised before the tocsin is rung too loudly.-- "New President of the NUS",
Times (London), April 10, 1969
The first atomic bomb fell and its radioactive cloud became a tocsin for mankind.-- Herbert Mitgang, "The Bomb as Horror and Warning",
New York Times, August 1, 1990
But Mr. Beckett is wise in choosing the form of the myth in which to sound his tocsin on the condition of human society.-- Brooks Atkinson, "Beckett's 'Endgame'",
New York Times, January 29, 1958
Tocsin derives from Medieval French touquesain, from Old Proven├žal tocasenh, from tocar, "to touch, to strike, to ring a bell" + senh, "church bell," ultimately from Latin signum, "sign, signal."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Government Interest in Thermo

Green Thursday – TGIT - Thank Government It’s Thursday

Yeah today with tongue in cheek we thank our Government for their new found interest in Thermo. Today the Senate will not take up a vote on the energy bill as it stands with added taxes on oil companies. The end to the filibuster was one vote short

The thermodynamic genii will take up the vote minus the added taxes provision. Hopefully the part on increased efficiency in energy use will remain intact.

While Congress was debating our energy future a global meeting was held in Bali and the US remained the sole holdout on the Kyoto Protocol

I had suggested the Gangrene Award for politicians and celebrities who pretend to be green while spewing more than average amounts of carbon dioxide. Steve Malloy of Junk Science must be a reader of TT. He blogged about the Greenest Hypocrites of 2007. He listed old Alfalfa as his numero uno pick. His number ten pick is the California Hypocritenator,2933,315721,00.html

Enough about cold hearted politicians who pretend photosynthesis was intended to propel 800 million vehicles that weigh on average 3,000 pounds. Talking about cold Oklahoma got nailed with an ice storm of epic proportions. Can you see the truck that is hidden in the ice covered tree in the photo below?

For precipitation to occur as ice a warm front actually has to traverse over and above a cold front and then thermo takes over and it rains water in a solid form.,2933,316271,00.html

I am glad to inform the TT readership that Smell Oil is getting into the Algae to BioDiesel game. I hove opined that algae to BioDiesel is a far better thermodynamic and social idea than using corn to produce BioEthanol. A lot of the research is being performed in Hawaii so I may just have to take a trip out there to investigate. I am asking TT readers to donate their frequent flier miles so I don’t use my personal Lear JET and increase my carbon Bigfootprint. The US DOE reports as follows:

Shell and HR Biopetroleum to Grow Algae for Biofuels
A researcher examines algae cultures at the Natural Energy Laboratory Hawaii Authority. See a larger version of this photo.Credit: Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc announced yesterday that it will work with HR Biopetroleum to build a pilot facility for growing algae as a source of biofuels. The facility will cultivate algae in seawater ponds, then harvest the algae and extract oil from them for conversion into fuels such as biodiesel. Construction of the facility will begin immediately on a parcel of land leased from the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), which is located on the shore of the Hawaiian island of Kona. The NELHA site is ideal for the project because it pipes in a constant supply of clean, fresh ocean water. NELHA was originally built to support a DOE project for ocean thermal energy conversion, and it continues to employ the project's seawater supply pipes to support a variety of research projects and commercial enterprises, including facilities that currently grow and harvest algae for pharmaceuticals and nutritional supplements. Shell and HR Biopetroleum have formed a joint venture company, called Cellana, to develop the biofuels project.
Algae grow rapidly and can have a high percentage of lipids, or oils. They can double their mass several times a day and produce at least 15 times more oil per acre than alternatives such as rapeseed, palms, soybeans, or jatropha. Moreover, algae-growing facilities can be built on coastal land unsuitable for conventional agriculture. The Cellana facility will grow only non-genetically modified, marine microalgae species in open-air ponds using proprietary technology. It will also use bottled carbon dioxide to test the algae's ability to capture carbon. To support the facility, academic research programs at the University of Hawaii, the University of Southern Mississippi, and Canada's Dalhousie University will screen natural microalgae species to find the strains that produce the highest yields and the most oil. See the
Shell press release and the NELHA Web site.
Shell isn't the only oil company that's exploring the potential of algae. In late October, Chevron Corporation and DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced that they had entered into a collaborative research and development agreement to produce biofuels from algae. Under the agreement, Chevron and NREL scientists will collaborate to identify and develop algae strains that can be economically harvested and processed into transportation fuels such as jet fuel. See the
NREL press release.

The word of the day is cacophony. This is the sound of the phonies in Congress disagreeing on how much to tax the poor oil companies. Interestingly the opposite of cacophony is euphony I guess the European Union (EU) had something to do with this definition

cacophony \kuh-KAH-fuh-nee\, noun:1. Harsh or discordant sound; dissonance.2. The use of harsh or discordant sounds in literary composition.
New York was then a cacophony of sounds -- a dozen accents ricocheting off surrounding buildings as immigrant mothers called their children home for supper, noon whistles blowing, vendors hawking their wares on the streets, children shouting, horses whinnying, and people yelling.-- Herbert G. Goldman,
Banjo Eyes
The mammoth central station towered over the platforms, and with the cacophony from whooshing steam, shrill whistles, shouts and the heaving of hand and horse carts, not only was it the biggest, noisiest, most confusing experience any of them had ever encountered, but the city was almost unimaginable.-- Christopher Ogden, Legacy: A Biography of Moses and Walter Annenberg
Cacophony comes from Greek kakophonia, from kakophonos, from kakos, "bad" + phone, "sound." The adjective form is cacophonous. The opposite of cacophony is euphony.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Anniversary of the invention of the first transistor

Green Thursday TGIT – Thank Gates It’s Thursday

This is not about Billy the Billionaire but about gates that allow electrons to flow. It is the sixtieth anniversary of the invention of the first transistor . A transistor is a gate that allows electrons to flow or can stop electrons from flowing depending whether the gate is open or closed;jsessionid=AJUDVGU2Q0WAGQSNDLPSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=204300928

The boys at Bell Labs came up with the transistor in 1947. This solid state device replaced the vacuum tube old Tommy Edison had invented back in the 19th century.

Eighteen years after the first working transistor Gordon Moore wrote a paper that became Moore’s Law in which he postulated that going forward from 1965 every two years manufacturers of solid state integrated circuits would be able to double the number of transistors in their devices. This has held true for the past 42 years and now we have memory and logic chips with over five hundred million transistors in each chip

With all these transistors on a single device the big hurdle to overcome is the dissipation of the heat generated within the circuit and therefore Thermo is again the subject of much research.

Intel intends to produce a tri-gate or three dimensional based chip that will use less energy and therefore dissipate less heat. Intel is claiming they can obey Moore’s Law for at least another decade

I am happy to report American motorists are getting smarter and the Smart car should sell well when it is introduced to the USA next year

Everything is slimming down in the USA. We are now eating smaller plates of food. Glad to see bottled water is non longer on the top twenty hot items.

Talking about smarts a five year chimp had better short term memory that a team of college kids in Japan. Perhaps we should all have a chimp as a pet so we can find our keys to our smart car

All this touching of screens reminds me of the new technology termed “energy harvesting” . Light switch that are wireless that get to emit a radio frequency signal by merely pressing on the switch are coming to market. Theses switches do not need batteries and are not wired into the wall. Just the pressure of touching them charges them to send a radio signal to the light in a room to turn on or off. A new 57 story skyscraper in Madrid spain will be equipped with the energy harvesting light switches. This will allow walls to be moved without have to deal with relocating wiring.;jsessionid=QGXC1ZWBKI13WQSNDLRSKH0CJUNN2JVN?articleID=204600613

The word of the day is deracinate or to uproot. We will soon deracinate the humble light switch

Word of the DayThursday December 6, 2007
Today's Word
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deracinate \dee-RAS-uh-nayt\, transitive verb:1. To pluck up by the roots; to uproot.2. To displace from one's native or accustomed environment.
In the People's Republic, communism's utilitarian bent first poisoned the culinary arts and then, in the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s, tried to deracinate what were regarded as the insidious strains of China's former culture.-- Benjamin and Christina Schwarz, "Going All Out for Chinese",
The Atlantic, January 1999
He was a Jew who was never given a chance to belong anywhere, a deracinated intellectual.-- David Cesarani,
Arthur Koestler: The Homeless Mind
Deracinate comes from Middle French desraciner, from des-, "from" (from Latin de-) + racine, "root" (from Late Latin radicina, from Latin radix, radic-). The noun form is deracination.