Have You Heard The News Around The Water Cooler?

March 19th, 2011

Everybody has heard the phrase “Guess what I heard at the water cooler” and it is associated as work place gossip. Usually when you think of a water cooler, you think of a work situation where employees can get a cool drink, but things have changed and so has the water cooler. Let’s talk about the evolution of water coolers, how they are different from the past and where they are being used.

Water coolers started out very simple, just a base with a spout to support a refillable water bottle which could be replaced when the water ran out. As time progressed, electricity was introduced and the simple water cooler now became much more popular. Now, compressors and heating elements could be added to give the thirsty person a very cold glass of water or even a cup of hot water for coffee or soup. More and more people saw the need to have a water cooler around for convenience. With that, companies sprang up to supply the demand, providing a service that not only supplied the customer with the water cooler, but also the water itself contained in reusable bottles that could be picked up and dropped off at the customers demand. This service really made hot and cold water coolers popular and made the companies that supplied it very rich.

Let’s look at some of the reasons why people like to use water coolers and what benefits they offer. First and foremost, people like convenience; they don’t want to do more then necessary. Another reason is they can get very hot or cold water instantly at the flip of a switch, rather then having to use ice cubes for cold water or heating some water on the stove for soup, coffee, etc. The benefits these water coolers provide are that the equipment is supplied by the company you have a contract with; any problems and they will fix it. Also, your water is brought right to your location upon request, when you need more water; all you have to do is call for service.

Now, let’s look the disadvantages of using this method of water cooler service.

A big problem is most companies that provide this service require that you sign a contract with them and sometimes you can be penalized for breaking the contract. Also, the payment is not a one time deal; you have to keep paying as long as you have a contract for the service, this can become very costly, especially for businesses using multiple units. Another hassle is having to change the old water bottle with a new one, they are heavy and easy to spill if you are not careful. Not to mention, you have to store all the empty bottles along with the supply of full bottles until the service man comes again. Plus, who knows if the water you are getting is really clean drinking water, you just have to hope that it is and take a chance.

Now let’s talk about a solution to your water cooler needs. There is a better way and that is a water cooler that is designed for today’s generation keeping their needs in mind. This type of water cooler is unique in many ways and the benefits are great. What I am talking about is Bottleless hot and cold water cooler that is plumbed directly into your cold water line. This allows you to have an endless supply of water, no heavy water bottles to change out; you won’t have to worry about ordering more water and no more clutter of empty bottles. The best aspect of this water cooler is the water filtration system. Not only do you have an endless supply of water, but you can know that the water you drink is filtered pure for good health. The water coolers come as a regular water filtration model or a reverse osmosis system, either one offers the best drinking water. Think of the advantage of owning the water cooler, no lengthy contracts, no more changing water bottles and the system pays for itself in no time. These bottle less water coolers also come in a portable model that can be connected to your water line or you can just pour water into the holding tank and move the unit anywhere you want. These water coolers are ideal for home use and perfect for business use. If you would like to learn more about these water coolers and what they can do for you, visit www.ronjuneshop.com .

Ron Loeffler

The Myths of Drinking Water Treatment Exposed- Discover the Truth Here

March 17th, 2011

What if I told you that the water that comes out of your tap is potentially harmful? Can’t be right you say, we have laws, standards and the water companies to look after us.  Well the truth is that our current drinking water treatment does not get rid of many harmful contaminants.


In fact, a recent study shows that there are over two thousand toxins present in our tap water.  Herbicides and pesticides are also present in many samples showing just how bad drinking water contamination has become.


 In the early 1900s, before the introduction chlorine, pesticides, herbicides and the tens of thousands of other chemicals that we are exposed to every day, the average American had a 1 in 50 chance of getting cancer, today one out of three people can expect to get cancer in their lifetime, despite our drinking water treatment.


We must realize that in these industrial times everything that goes down the drain, on the fields and waste from industry will eventually end up in the water we drink, resulting in drinking water contamination.


The water companies rely on chlorine to kill most of the bacteria, and yes this has proved effective in getting rid of cholera and other diseases, but it is itself a toxin!


They use it as it is the cheapest way; only a small percentage of the water we use is for drinking purposes, so it doesn’t make financial sense to make it totally pure for drinking water treatment purposes.


I could go on and on with more shocking facts about are water, but you get the picture. Just do a little research yourself and you will discover that this is just the tip of the iceberg.


Water is the source of great health to us and we should all drink more, but we have to take responsibility to protect ourselves and our children, who are even more susceptible to drinking water contamination. Remember there is no new water, our planet reuses the same water over and over.


As a result we must carry out our own drinking water treatment, if you like, in our homes. There are now many great options on the market today, whether it be a whole house or point of use system.


My only advice is to stay away from the reverse osmosis systems as they take out the essential minerals we need to stay healthy. Look for a good dual or twin filter system that can get rid of around 99% of all contaminants. The good ones tend to use an active carbon filter as well.


Make no mistake about it, these are very serious threats to our health and we need to take action fast to ensure that we don’t become the next victim of our poor drinking water treatment.


Why not visit my website to see which products I recommend for safe, cost-effective drinking water.


Ray Hamilton

What’s All the Fuss About Home Water Filters?

March 14th, 2011

What’s all the fuss about home water filters? Its seems every time you turn around someone is either talking or writing (like me) about the importance of installing one of these water purification systems in your home.

I write about this subject because I have always been a water drinking enthusiast. My picky taste buds have fueled my search for home water filters that deliver a refreshing, sweet-tasting drink of water. However, I never understood, until recently, how using one of these purification systems could have a tremendous impact on my health and well-being.

During my research I have learned that scientific experts have identified over 75,000 different toxic chemicals that have the potential for being present in our water supplies at any given moment. I know that sounds unbelievable, but just consider that the federal government requires water utilities to provide every customer with a detailed report that lists everything that is in their water.

So now that the problem has been officially recognized its easy to see where all the fuss comes from. But just how do water filters work and how do you know which systems are the best? Well, I’ve examined the more popular systems and have reached some clear conclusions about the home water filters that do the best job.

Reverse osmosis and distillation are popular systems that were developed for industry but then adapted for home use. The problem with these two systems is that they have major drawbacks when it comes to getting rid of a particular type of organic chemical toxins. These toxins include herbicides and pesticides. These two systems also have problems filtering out certain bacterial cysts. These two filtering processes are incompatible with the molecular size of these contaminants.

In order to be effective home water filters, r.o. and distillation need the addition of a carbon filter system to make up for their filtering deficiencies. These filters must be changed on a regular basis to avoid the build up dangerous chemical toxins.

Since these systems are expensive to begin with, it doesn’t make sense to add on an additional expense (and inconvenience) when there is a more affordable and effective alternative. But I’ll come to that in a moment..

These two filtration systems have another serious drawback that you should be aware of. Reverse osmosis and distillation strip important mineral content out of the water. The natural calcium, magnesium and potassium that is present in water is vital to your good health.

Medical experts have noted the dangers of drinking demineralized water. They caution that small children, whose bodies are still developing, are among the people who most need to be mineral water healthy.

So how do the best water filters work to get rid of most toxins while leaving minerals untouched? Well, this is where the effective alternative comes in. I have found that home water filters based on a new technology called multi-stage filtration comprehensively purify the water without removing minerals.

In addition to the health and safety benefits that multi-stage filtration provide, you can find a variety of water purification appliances designed to meet every household need. Multi-stage filtration comes in the form of affordable kitchen faucet, shower and whole home water filters. You will also find these appliances easy to install and maintain.

Make no mistake. When it comes to your health and well-being, the fuss about home water filters makes sense. I have more information that answers the question, “how do water filters work?” at my web site. I invite you to drop by and see what all the fuss is about.

Olivia Romero

Cutting your Spending

March 11th, 2011

Once you have a budget in place, you need to look at ways to cut your spending. Cutting the amount of money you are spending will help you to meet your financial goals. If you are in a tight situation when it comes to your money, cutting your spending can really relieve some of your stress as well.

Look at the basics. What isn’t necessary?

You may find that you don’t ever watch your satellite television except one night a week. You could cut back on that bill by having it turned off and renting a cheap movie for that night instead.

Go to the library instead of buying a book to read.

Eliminate your home line phone if you use your cellular all of the time. Many people only use their cell phones today. There isn’t a lot of need for land lines for most people.

Cut back on your coffee habit at the local coffee shop. Instead buy a coffee maker. Replace things you are paying for with better alternatives.

For example, we were renting a water softener and reverse osmosis system. We realized that if we could have bought five of these systems in the years we have rented it. And we’ve never needed the free servicing that comes with rental. So we simply bought our own and now have one less payment a month to make.

Look for ways to even start reducing your utility bills. Don’t turn the thermostat quite so high or low. Close your blinds and drapes to keep your home cooler in the summer. Make sure you are well insulated for the winter. Run full loads of laundry. Turn off some lights.

If you are really in a tight spot there are more things you can cut back on. Trade your car in for something more economical and cheaper. Consider refinancing your mortgage if rates are lower. Reduce your interest rates on your credit cards. Better yet, pay those cards off.

We were able to cut over a thousand dollars out of our budget spending by eliminating some unnecessary spending items and debt. We sold a motorcycle that was only ridden twice a month or less. We paid off all of our credit cards. We cut back on services we didn’t really use.

And you know what? Life is much better now. Because of our budget, we were forced to look at our spending. And now we have more money for the things we really want.

Martin Lukac

How Do Water Filters Work?

March 8th, 2011

How do home water filters work?  To fully understand the answer to: How do water filters work, we need to look at different types.  They all work differently.  Let us do two things: (1) Look at the different types of water filtration systems and very importantly (2) Determine which one is best for your home and family protection.
How Do Water Filters Work: Distillation

This is the oldest style of water purifier. Interestingly you will still find a few on the market.  Researchers believe that drinking distilled water is bad for your digestive system. This is because they remove the minerals from the water.  Your body needs minerals. I simply don’t like the taste.

The units are big and bulky, require major cleaning and only provide a small amount of H20 at any one time.  They are expensive.  They waste electricity, but here’s how they work.

There are two containers connected by a metallic tube typically copper.  You would put tap-water in the first container, which will be boiled to the point that all it will vaporize.  The vapor travels through the cooling tube and drips down into the collection tank at the other end.  Only things with a higher boiling point than water, like minerals, will be removed.

How Do Water Filters Work:  Reverse Osmosis (RO)

This is the most expensive style of home water filters.  They are unnecessary for publicly treated water.  They are sometimes recommended for cyst removal, but there are less expensive and better options today.

They work by forcing pressurized fluids through a porous membrane.  Anything larger than the pores will be removed.  Anything smaller, will pass through.  Neither reverse osmosis nor distillation will remove chemical contaminants.  They will however remove minerals.

How Do Water Filters Work:  GAC & Carbon Blocks

GAC or granular activated carbon is the most common alternative for home water puification filters.  They remove chlorine and some other chemicals, but the granules alone are not the best choice.  A dual stage device that includes both GAC and a multi-media carbon block will remove the widest range of chemicals, most everything that is found in publicly treated water.

The way they work is relatively simple.  As waters pass over or through the granules and the blocks, chemical contaminants are trapped on the surface of the carbon or other filtering media.  This improves the taste, smell and safety of what you are drinking.

How Do Water Filters Work:  Ion Exchange

This is a technological advancement, but still relatively inexpensive.  Ion exchange traps metallic ions, such as lead and copper, in a resin bed by creating a kind of static electricity.  But, don’t worry, it doesn’t require electricity to operate and it’s very safe.  The methodology is just very complicated and that’s the easiest way to explain it.

This stage can further improve the taste, but only removes metallic ions.  Other steps are needed to remove other contaminants.

The Best Choice for Your Home

The best home water purification systems combine a carbon and multi-media block with a submicron porous structure to remove cysts.  They also include ion exchange and GAC. 

For more information see the the author box below if you need a recommendation for the best product brand that I found.

Larry L. Taylor

Discover the Disturbing Truth About Drinking Water Stations

March 4th, 2011

Let’s face it, if your office or workplace has drinking water stations it must be totally safe, right? Well, maybe not actually.


 Many of these systems contain contaminated drinking water as they are sometimes hooked right up the buildings plumbing supply. And it is very unusual to have a high quality, state of the art system; they usually just have basic filters for chlorine.


The dangers of our drinking water stations and tap water are very serious. It is now known that there are over 2000 toxins in our water than can lead to cancer. In another test, 27 out of 29 cities water was found to contain 2 or more pesticides.


In today’s advanced world, with its many and dangerous chemicals, it is more urgent than ever that we protect ourselves against contaminated drinking water.


You also have to include chlorine in that as it is a toxic substance itself, even though it is used to “clean” our water. The level of chlorine has been found to be higher than that permitted for swimming pools! I’m not joking here, unfortunately.


One step is to ask the person responsible for your drinking water stations to provide you with the exact details of its filtering system, if it has any. If you are not satisfied, I would bring in my own water, no question.


It is a shame when we all know the amazing healing power of water, and are encouraged to drink more and more, that the quality is deteriorating.


The best alternative to drinking water stations, and to avoid contaminated drinking water, is to get a good quality home filtration system. Then you can have peace of mind and bottle your own water, without spending a fortune on buying it in the store.


 Bottled water, in most instances, has been found to be just as potentially harmful as tap water, and has little or no regulation. In addition, here in the US, we throw away around 60,000,000 plastic bottles a day! Believe it, we don’t want to add to that figure.


Good quality systems normally employ a multi stage process, using activated carbon block or granular carbon filters, unlike those drinking water stations.  Avoid reverse osmosis systems however, as they take out vital minerals that we need to stay healthy.


Today’s home drinking water filters come in a range of whole house systems, point of use and even shower filters, just choose the one that most fits your needs.


Believe me, once you get one, you’ll realize just how good water can taste and have the peace of mind knowing that it’s also safe and pure.

Ray Hamilton

Drugs in Tap Water-a Present Threat

March 1st, 2011

Associated Press has found, in their recent investigation, drugs in tap water supplies of many major cities.  Prescription drugs such as estrogen, sex hormones, radiation or chemotherapy prescriptions, painkillers, mood stabilizers, heart medicine, antibiotics and other drugs in tap water are a present threat.

Bottled water companies are not regulated, as long as it is bottled water, it can even come from a tap, as bottled water, is just that-bottled water. That means there are probably drugs in tap water, used by these companies, and sold to you, when you are assuming they would be safe or filtered. In fact, a new brand, NY Tap prides itself on just that, but New York’s water supply contained heart medicine, antibiotics, estrogen, tranquilizers and mood stabilizers.

The EPA admits that there are no treatment plants for removing drugs in tap water, as it would be too costly. Although, studies have shown evolutionary changes in fish and wildlife over the past several years, no actions have been taken to remove drugs in tap water, as the public water suppliers are recycling sewage treatment water into tap water to conserve water.

Reclaimed water presently sits in a settling pool, where settlement of many things in the water, go to the bottom. Drug molecules and chemicals from such things as shampoo, soap and cleaning products may not break down or may sometimes counteract each other. There is no assurance of drugs in tap water being removed now or anytime in the near future.  

Reverse osmosis and household filtration systems can remove drugs in tap water, and there are many affordable systems available. There are filtration systems that attach to your kitchen faucet, filters that attach to drinking bottles, where you can make your own bottled water. These are safe methods, to assure the removal of drugs in tap water. 

Many public water supplies add chlorine for purification, which can make some chemicals or drugs more toxic. You may think that the government, EPA and other agencies are looking out for this danger, but the fact is- the Safety Water Act, designed for the public’s safety, only tests for nitroglycerin and that is because it can be made into explosives. They do not test for any other drugs in tap water.

With a 12% increase in drug sales in the United States over the past 5 years, and an aging population, the problem is going to get worse. Now is the time for your own home water treatment options for removal of drugs in tap water. Some people are opting for whole house treatment options, as taking warm showers opens your pores and allows for chemical and drug absorptions. These systems can use reverse osmosis or other means to remove drugs in tap water.

Now is the time to take matters into our own hands, and it is an affordable, easy thing to give us peace of mind, by removing drugs in tap water, at our kitchen sink faucet, through use of a home water filtration system.


Rest Assured With Your Own Tap Water Filter

February 26th, 2011

Tap Water has become dangerous today — this is the result of the numerous studies done by governmental and press agencies recently because of drugs in major cities public water supplies. Drugs present include radiation or chemotherapy prescriptions, sex hormones, painkillers, antibiotics and others. The best defense is to install your own tap Water Purifier or tap Water Filter system.

There are 41 million Americans who are drinking tap water that was found to contain drugs. Many of them don’t even know it. That was just from the sampling taken in the studies. Groundwater and well sources could be contaminated as more livestock steroids and pesticides are used in farming operations. Shampoos, soap and cleaning products are washing down into all the drains and many leftover prescriptions get flushed down the toilets.
Studies have shown evolutionary changes in fish and wildlife over the past several years; yet, no actions have been taken to remove drugs in the public water supplies (recycling sewage treatment water.) With the antibiotics in the public water supplies, it is feared that new strains of bacteria will become super viruses that are immune to the present antibiotics. By installing a home water filtration system or tap water filter or purifier, you can make sure your family is safe from contaminants.
You may think bottled water is safe but think again. Ask the people in New York. In fact, a new brand of bottled water prides itself on the novelty of being tap water from the large city. But New York’s water supply contained antibiotics, heart medicine, estrogen, tranquilizers and mood stabilizers. Bottled water is not regulated and may come from taps. There is no guarantee those taps have a tap water filter or any kind of tap water purifier when bottled water is made.
There are no treatment plants for removing drugs from public water supplies that are recycling sewage treatment water. Home water filtration systems like a reverse osmosis system or tap water purifier are a safe way to remove the drugs from their home drinking water, according to the EPA. There is no way to purify drugs in the public water supplies at this time, as it would be too costly.
There are tap water filter systems that attach to your faucet, tap water purifier filters that attach to drinking bottles, where you can make your own bottled water.  These are safe methods for removal of drugs in tap water. People are installing whole-house water filtration systems that purify water for showers and hand and clothing washing.
In conclusion, the only way your drinking water will be safe from drugs, chemicals and contaminants is by installing your own tap water filter or tap water purifier. They are very affordable and there is expert help available to consult you on your needs.


Renewable Energy

February 23rd, 2011

Renewable energy


Renewable energy sources worldwide at the end of 2006.

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat — which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning.Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% (15% of global electricity generaiton), followed by solar hot water /heating, which contributed 1.3%. Modern technologies, such as geothermal energy, wind power, solar power and ocean energy together provided some 0.8% of final energy consumption.

Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices, peak oil and increasing government support are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization.European Union leaders reached an agreement in principle in March 2007 that 20 percent of their nations’ energy should be produced from renewable fuels by 2020, as part of its drive to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, blamed in part for global warming. Investment capital flowing into renewable energy climbed from $80 billion in 2005 to a record $100 billion in 2006.

In responce to the G8’s call on the IEA for “guidance on how to achieve a clean, clever and competitive energy future”, the IEA reported that the replacement of current technology with renewable energy could help reduce CO2 emmisions by 50% by 2050, which they claim is of crucial importance because current policies are not sustainable.

Wind power is growing at the rate of 30 percent annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of over 100 GW, and is widely used in several European countries and the United States. The manufacturing output of the photovoltaics industry reached more than 2,000 MW in 2006, and photovoltaic (PV) power stations are particularly popular in Germany. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world’s largest geothermal power installation is The Gevsers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18 percent of the country’s automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA.

While there are many large-scale renewable energy projects and production, renewable technologies are also suited to small off-grid applications, sometimes in rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. Kenya has the world’s highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small (20–100 watt) solar power systems sold per year.

Some renewable energy technologies are criticised for being intermittent or unsightly, yet the market is growing for many forms of renewable energy.

Main renewable energy technologies

Three energy sources

The majority of renewable energy technologies are directly or indirectly powered by the sun. The Earth-Atmosphere system is in equilibrium such that heat radiation into space is equal to incoming solar radiation, the resulting level of energy within the Earth-Atmosphere system can roughly be described as the Earth’s “climate.” The hydrosphere (water) absorbs a major fraction of the incoming radiation. Most radiation is absorbed at low latitudes around the equator, but this energy is dissipated around the globe in the form of winds and ocean currents. Wave motion may play a role in the process of transferring mechanical energy between the atmosphere and the ocean through wind stress. Solar energy is also responsible for the distribution of precipitation which is tapped by hydroelectric projects, and for the growth of plants used to create biofuels.

Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, as the International Energy Agency explains:

“Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, wind, ocean, hydropower, biomass, geothermal resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources.”

Each of these sources has unique characteristics which influence how and where they are used.

Wind power

 Vestas V80 wind turbines

Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5–3 MW have become the most common for commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed, so as wind speed increases, power output increases dramatically. Areas where winds are stronger and more constant, such as offshore and high altitude sites, are preferred locations for wind farms.

Since wind speed is not constant, a wind farm’s annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year. The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor. Typical capacity factors are 20-40%, with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites. For example, a 1 megawatt turbine with a capacity factor of 35% will not produce 8,760 megawatt-hours in a year, but only 0.35×24x365 = 3,066 MWh, averaging to 0.35 MW. Online data is available for some locations and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output.

Globally, the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand. This could require large amounts of land to be used for wind turbines, particularly in areas of higher wind resources. Offshore resources experience mean wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land, so offshore resources could contribute substantially more energy. This number could also increase with higher altitude ground-based or airborne wind turbines.

Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation, such as carbon dioxdie and methane.

Water power

Energy in water (in the form of kinetic energy, temperature differences or salinity gradients) can be harnessed and used. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a slow flowing stream of water, or moderate sea swell, can yield considerable amounts of energy.


One of 3 PELAMIS P-750 Ocean Wave Power engines in the harbour of Peniche/ Portugal.

There are many forms of water energy:

·         Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for large-scale hydroelectric dams. Examples are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Akosombo Dam in Ghana.

·         Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. They are often used in water rich areas as a Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS). There are many of these installations around the world, including several delivering around 50 kW in the Solomon Islands.

·         Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam.

·         Ocean energy  describes all the technologies to harness energy from the ocean and the sea:

o   Marine current power. Similar to tidal stream power, uses the kinetic energy of marine currents

o   Ocean thermal energy  conversion (OTEC) uses the temperature difference between the warmer surface of the ocean and the colder lower recesses. To this end, it employs a cyclic heat engine. OTEC has not been field-tested on a large scale.

o   Tidal power captures energy from the tides. Two different principles for generating energy from the tides are used at the moment:

o   Tidal motion in the vertical direction — Tides come in, raise water levels in a basin, and tides roll out. Around low tide, the water in the basin is discharged through a turbine, exploiting the stored potential energy.

o   Tidal motion in the horizontal direction — Or tidal stream power. Using tidal stream generators, like wind turbines but then in a tidal stream. Due to the high density of water, about eight-hundred times the density of air, tidal currents can have a lot of kinetic energy. Several commercial prototypes have been build, and more are in development.

·         Wave power  uses the energy in waves. Wave power machines usually take the form of floating or neutrally buoyant structures which move relative to one another or to a fixed point. Wave power has now reached commercialization.

·         Saline gradient power,  or osmotic power, is the energy retrieved from the difference in the salt concentration between seawater and river water. Reverse electrodialysis (RED), and Pressure retarded osmosis (PRO) is in research and testing phase.

·         Deep lake water cooling,  although not technically an energy generation method, can save a lot of energy in summer. It uses submerged pipes as a heat sink for climate control systems. Lake-bottom water is a year-round local constant of about 4 °C.

Solar energy use


Monocrystalline solar cell

In this context, “solar energy” refers to energy that is collected from sunlight. Solar energy can be applied in many ways, including to:

•           Generate electricity by heating trapped air which rotates turbines in a Solar updraft tower.

•           Generate electricity in geosynchronous orbit using solar power satellites.

•           Generate electricity using photovoltaic solar cells.

•           Generate electricity using concentrated solar power.

•           Generate hydrogen using photoelectrochemical cells.

•           Heat and cool air through use of solar chimneys.

•           Heat buildings, directly, through passive solar building design.

•           Heat foodstuffs, through solar ovens.

•           Heat water or air for domestic hot water and space heating needs using solar-thermal panels.

•           Solar air conditioning


Plants use photosynthesis to grow and produce biomass. Also known as biomatter, biomass can be used directly as fuel or to produce liquid biofuel. Agriculturally produced biomass fuels, such as biodiesel, ethanol and bagasse (often a by-product of sugar cane cultivation) can be burned in internal combustion engines or boilers. Typically biofuel is burned to release its stored chemical energy. Research into more efficient methods of converting biofuels and other fuels into electricity utilizing fuel cells is an area of very active work.

Liquid biofuel


Information on pump, California.

Liquid biofuel is usually either a bioalcohol such as ethanol fuel or a bio-oil such as biodiesel and straight vegetable oil. Biodiesel can be used in modern diesel vehicles with little or no modification to the engine and can be made from waste and virgin vegetable and animal oil and fats (lipids). Virgin vegetable oils can be used in modified diesel engines. In fact the Diesel engine was originally designed to run on vegetable oil rather than fossil fuel. A major benefit of biodiesel is lower emissions. The use of biodiesel reduces emission of carbon monoxide and other hydrocarbons by 20 to 40%.

In some areas corn, cornstalks, sugarbeets, sugar cane, and switchgrasses are grown specifically to produce ethanol (also known as grain alcohol) a liquid which can be used in internal combustion engines and fuel cells. Ethanol is being phased into the current energy infrastructure. E85 is a fuel composed of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that is sold to consumers. Biobutanol is being developed as an alternative to bioethanol. There is growing international criticism about biofuels from food crops with respect to issues such as food security, environmental impacts (deforestation) and energy balance.

Solid biomass


Sugar cane  residue can be used as a biofuel

Solid biomass is mostly commonly usually used directly as a combustible fuel, producing 10-20 MJ/kg of heat.

Its forms and sources include wood fuel,  the biogenic portion of municipal solid waste, or the unused portion of field crops. Field crops may or may not be grown intentionally as an energy crop,  and the remaining plant byproduct used as a fuel. Most types of biomass contain energy. Even cow manure still contains two-thirds of the original energy consumed by the cow. Energy harvesting via a bioreactor is a cost-effective solution to the waste disposal issues faced by the dairy farmer, and can produce enough biogas to run a farm.

With current technology, it is not ideally suited for use as a transportation fuel. Most transportation vehicles require power sources with high power density, such as that provided by internal combustion engines. These engines generally require clean burning fuels, which are generally in liquid form, and to a lesser extent, compressed gaseous phase. Liquids are more portable because they have high energy density, and they can be pumped, which makes handling easier. This is why most transportation fuels are liquids.

Non-transportation applications can usually tolerate the low power-density of external combustion engines, that can run directly on less-expensive solid biomass fuel, for combined heat and power. One type of biomass is wood, which has been used for millennia in varying quantities, and more recently is finding increased use. Two billion people currently cook every day, and heat their homes in the winter by burning biomass, which is a major contributor to man-made climate change global warming. The black soot that is being carried from Asia to polar ice caps is causing them to melt faster in the summer. In the 19th century, wood-fired steam engines were common, contributing significantly to industrial revolution unhealthy air pollution. Coal is a form of biomass that has been compressed over millennia to produce a non-renewable, highly-polluting fossil fuel.

Wood and its byproducts can now be converted through process such as gasification into biofuels such as woodgas, biogas,  methanol or ethanol fuel; although further development may be required to make these methods affordable and practical. Sugar cane residue, wheat chaff, com cobs and other plant matter can be, and are, burned quite successfully. The net carbon dioxide emissions that are added to the atmosphere by this process are only from the fossil fuel that was consumed to plant, fertilize, harvest and transport the biomass.

Processes to harvest biomass from short-rotation poplars and willows, and perennial grasses such as switchgrass, phalaris, and miscanthus, require less frequent cultivation and less nitrogen than from typical annual crops. Pelletizing miscanthus and burning it to generate electricity is being studied and may be economically viable.


Biogas can easily be produced from current waste streams, such as: paper production, sugar production, sewage, animal waste and so forth. These various waste streams have to be slurried together and allowed to naturally ferment, producing methane gas. This can be done by converting current sewage plants into biogas plants. When a biogas plant has extracted all the methane it can, the remains are sometimes better suitable as fertilizer than the original biomass.

Alternatively biogas can be produced via advanced waste processing systems such as mechanical biological treatment. These systems recover the recyclable elements of household waste and process the biodegradable fraction in anaerobic digesters.

Renewable natural gas is a biogas which has been upgraded to a quality similar to natural gas. By upgrading the quality to that of natural gas, it becomes possible to distribute the gas to the mass market via gas grid.

Geothermal energy


Krafla Geothermal Station in northeast Iceland

Geothermal energy is energy obtained by tapping the heat of the earth itself, usually from kilometers deep into the Earth’s crust. It is expensive to build a power station but operating costs are low resulting in low energy costs for suitable sites. Ultimately, this energy derives from heat in the Earth’s core. The government of Iceland states: “It should be stressed that the geothermal resource is not strictly renewable in the same sense as the hydro resource.” It estimates that Iceland’s geothermal energy could provide 1700 MW for over 100 years, compared to the current production of 140 MW. Radioactive elements in the earth’s crust continuously decay, replenishing the heat. The International Energy Agency classifies geothermal power as renewable.

Three types of power plants are used to generate power from geothermal energy: dry steam, flash, and binary. Dry steam plants take steam out of fractures in the ground and use it to directly drive a turbine that spins a generator. Flash plants take hot water, usually at temperatures over 200 °C, out of the ground, and allows it to boil as it rises to the surface then separates the steam phase in steam/water separators and then runs the steam through a turbine. In binary plants, the hot water flows through heat exchangers, boiling an organic fluid that spins the turbine. The condensed steam and remaining geothermal fluid from all three types of plants are injected back into the hot rock to pick up more heat.

The geothermal energy from the core of the Earth is closer to the surface in some areas than in others. Where hot underground steam or water can be tapped and brought to the surface it may be used to generate electricity. Such geothermal power sources exist in certain geologically unstable parts of the world such as Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, United States, the Philippines and Italy. The two most prominent areas for this in the United States are in the Yellowstone basin and in northern California. Iceland produced 170 MW geothermal power and heated 86% of all houses in the year 2000 through geothermal energy. Some 8000 MW of capacity is operational in total.

There is also the potential to generate geothermal energy from hot dry rocks. Holes at least 3 km deep are drilled into the earth. Some of these holes pump water into the earth, while other holes pump hot water out. The heat resource consists of hot underground radiogenic granite rocks, which heat up when there is enough sediment between the rock and the earths surface. Several companies in Australia are exploring this technology.

Renewable energy commercialization


Source                         2001 energy costs                              Potential future energy cost


Wind                           4–8 ¢/kWh                                                      3–10 ¢/kWh

Solar photovoltaic       25–160 ¢/kWh                                                            5–25 ¢/kWh

Solar thermal               12–34 ¢/kWh                                                  4–20 ¢/kWh

Large hydropower      2–10 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

Small hydropower       2–12 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

Geothermal                 2–10 ¢/kWh                                                    1–8 ¢/kWh

Biomass                       3–12 ¢/kWh                                                    4–10 ¢/kWh

Coal (comparison)       4 ¢/kWh         


Geothermal Heat         0.5–5 ¢/kWh                                                   0.5–5 ¢/kWh

Biomass — heat          1–6 ¢/kWh                                                      1–5 ¢/kWh

Low Temp Solar Heat 2–25 ¢/kWh                                                    2–10 ¢/kWh

All costs are in 2001 US$-cent per kilowatt-hour.

New generation of solar thermal plants

The 11 megawatt PS10 solar power tower in Spain produces electricity from the sun using 624 large movable mirrors called heliostats.

Aerial view of one of the SEGS plants.

Since 2004 there has been renewed interest in solar thermal power stations and two plants were completed during 2006/2007: the 64 MW Nevada Solar One and the 11 MW PS10 solar power tower in Spain. Three 50 MW trough plants were under construction in Spain at the end of 2007 with 10 additional 50 MW plants planned. In the United States, utilities in California and Florida have announced plans (or contracted for) at least eight new projects totaling more than 2,000 MW.

In developing countries, three world bank projects for integrated CSP/combined-cycle gas-turbine power plants in Egypt, Mexico, and Morocco were approved during 2006/2007.

There are several solar thermal power plant in the Mojave Desert which supply power to the electricity grid. Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) is the name given to nine solar power plants in the Mojave Desert which were built in the 1980s. These plants have a combined capacity of 354 MW making them the largest solar power installation in the world.

World’s largest photovoltaic power plants

Several large photovoltaic power plants have been completed in Spain in 2008: the Parque Fotovoltaico Olmedilla de Alarcon (60 MW), Parque Solar Merida/Don Alvaro (30 MW), Planta solar Fuente Alamo (26 MW), Planta fotovoltaica de Lucainena de las Torres (23.2 MW), Parque Fotovoltaico Abertura Solar (23.1 MW), Parque Solar Hoya de Los Vincentes (23 MW), the Solarpark Calveron (21 MW), and the Planta Solar La Magascona (20 MW).

First Solar 40 MW PV Array installed by JUWI Group in Waldpolenz, Germany

Waldpolenz Solar Park, which will be the world’s largest thin-flim photovoltaic (PV) power system, is being built at a former military air base to the east of Leipzig in Germany. The power plant will be a 40-megawatt solar power system using state-of-the-art thin film technology, and should be finished by the end of 2009. 550,000 First Solar thin-film modules will be used, which will supply 40,000 MWh of electricity per year.

Topaz Solar Farm is a proposed 550 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built northwest of California Valley in the USA at a cost of over $1 billion. Built on 9.5 square miles (25 km2) of ranchland, the project would utilize thin-film PV panels designed and manufactured by OptiSolar in Hayward and Sacramento. The project would deliver approximately 1,100 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually of renewable energy. The project is expected to begin construction in 2010, begin power delivery in 2011, and be fully operational by 2013.

High Plains Ranch  is a proposed 250 MW solar photovoltaic power plant which is to be built by Sun Power in the Carrizo Plain, northwest of California Valley.

However, when it comes to renewable energy systems and PV, it is not just large systems that matter. Building-Integrated Photovoltaics or “onsite” PV systems have the advantage of being matched to end use energy needs in terms of scale. So the energy is supplied close to where it is needed.

Environmental and social considerations

While most renewable energy sources do not produce pollution directly, the materials, industrial processes, and construction equipment used to create them may generate waste and pollution. Some renewable energy systems actually create environmental problems. For instance, older wind turbines can be hazardous to flying birds.

Land area required

Another environmental issue, particularly with biomass and biofuels, is the large amount of land required to harvest energy, which otherwise could be used for other purposes or left as undeveloped land. However, it should be pointed out that these fuels may reduce the need for harvesting non-renewable energy sources, such as vast strip-mined areas and slag mountains for coal, safety zones around nuclear plants, and hundreds of square miles being strip-mined for oil sands. These responses, however, do not account for the extremely high biodiversity and endemism of land used for ethanol crops, particularly sugar cane.

In the U.S., crops grown for biofuels are the most land- and water-intensive of the renewable energy sources. In 2005, about 12% of the nation’s corn crop (covering 11 million acres (45,000 km²) of farmland) was used to produce four billion gallons of ethanol—which equates to about 2% of annual U.S. gasoline consumption. For biofuels to make a much larger contribution to the energy economy, the industry will have to accelerate the development of new feedstocks, agricultural practices, and technologies that are more land and water efficient. Already, the efficiency of biofuels production has increased significantly and there are new methods to boost biofuel production.

Hydroelectric dams

The major advantage of hydroelectric systems is the elimination of the cost of fuel. Other advantages include longer life than fuel-fired generation, low operating costs, and the provision of facilities for water sports. Operation of pumped-storage plants improves the daily load factor of the generation system. Overall, hydroelectric power can be far less expensive than electricity generated from fossil fuels or nuclear energy, and areas with abundant hydroelectric power attract industry.

However, there are several major disadvantages of hydroelectric systems. These include: dislocation of people living where the reservoirs are planned, release of significant amounts of carbon dioxide at construction and flooding of the reservoir, disruption of aquatic ecosystems and birdlife, adverse impacts on the river environment, potential risks of sabotage and terrorism, and in rare cases catastrophic failure of the dam wall.

Hydroelectric power is now more difficult to site in developed nations because most major sites within these nations are either already being exploited or may be unavailable for other reasons such as environmental considerations.

Wind farms

Wind power  is one of the most environmentally friendly sources of renewable energy

A wind farm, when installed on agricultural land, has one of the lowest environmental impacts of all energy sources:

•           It occupies less land area per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity generated than any other energy conversion system, apart from rooftop solar energy, and is compatible with grazing and crops.

•           It generates the energy used in its construction in just 3 months of operation, yet its operational lifetime is 20–25 years.

•           Greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution produced by its construction are tiny and declining. There are no emissions or pollution produced by its operation.

•           In substituting for base-load coal power, wind power produces a net decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, and a net increase in biodiversity.

•           Modern wind turbines are almost silent and rotate so slowly (in terms of revolutions per minute) that they are rarely a hazard to birds.

Studies of birds and offshore wind farms in Europe have found that there are very few bird collisions. Several offshore wind sites in Europe have been in areas heavily used by seabirds. Improvements in wind turbine design, including a much slower rate of rotation of the blades and a smooth tower base instead of perchable lattice towers, have helped reduce bird mortality at wind farms around the world. However older smaller wind turbines may be hazardous to flying birds. Birds are severely impacted by fossil fuel energy; examples include birds dying from exposure to oil spills, habitat loss from acid rain and mountaintop removal coal mining, and mercury poisoning.

Other issues


Renewable energy sources are generally sustainable in the sense that they cannot “run out” as well as in the sense that their environmental and social impacts are generally more benign than those of fossil. However, both biomass and geothermal energy require wise management if they are to be used in a sustainable manner. For all of the other renewables, almost any realistic rate of use would be unlikely to approach their rate of replenishment by nature.


If renewable and distribution generation were to become widespread, electric power transmission and electricity distribution systems might no longer be the main distributors of electrical energy but would operate to balance the electricity needs of local communities. Those with surplus energy would sell to areas needing “top ups”. That is, network operation would require a shift from ‘passive management’ — where generators are hooked up and the system is operated to get electricity ‘downstream’ to the consumer — to ‘active management’, wherein generators are spread across a network and inputs and outputs need to be constantly monitored to ensure proper balancing occurs within the system. Some governments and regulators are moving to address this, though much remains to be done. One potential solution is the increased use of active management of electricity transmission and distribution networks. This will require significant changes in the way that such networks are operated.

However, on a smaller scale, use of renewable energy produced on site reduces burdens on electricity distribution systems. Current systems, while rarely economically efficient, have shown that an average household with an appropriately-sized solar panel array and energy storage system needs electricity from outside sources for only a few hours per week. By matching electricity supply to end-use needs, advocates of renewable energy and the soft energy path believe electricity systems will become smaller and easier to manage, rather than the opposite.

Controversy over nuclear power as a renewable energy source

In 1983, physicist Bernard Cohen proposed that uranium is effectively inexhaustible, and could therefore be considered a renewable source of energy. He claims that fast breeder reactors, fueled by uranium extracted from seawater, could supply energy at least as long as the sun’s expected remaining lifespan of five billion years. Nuclear energy has also been referred to as “renewable” by the politicians George W. Bush, Charlie Crist,  and David Sainsbury.

Inclusion under the “renewable energy” classification could render nuclear power projects eligible for development aid under various jurisdictions. However, it has not been established that nuclear energy is inexhaustible, and issues such as peak uranium and uranium depletion are ongoing debates. No legislative body has yet included nuclear energy under any legal definition of “renewable energy sources” for provision of development support. Similarly, statutory and scientific definitions of renewable energies usually exclude nuclear energy. Commonly sourced definitions of renewable energy sources often omit or explicitly exclude nuclear energy sources as examples.Nuclear fission is not regarded as renewable by the U.S. DOE on the website “What is Energy?”

There are also environmental concerns over nuclear power, including the dangerous environmental hazards of nuclear waste and concerns that development of new plants cannot happen quickly enough to reduce CO2 emissions, such that nuclear energy is neither efficient nor effective in cutting CO2 emissions.


There are many energy sources today that are extremely limited in supply. Some of these sources include oil, natural gas, and coal. It is a matter of time before they will be exhausted.

Estimates are that they can only meet our energy demands for another fifty to seventy years. So in an effort to find alternative forms of energy, the world has turned to renewable energy sources as the solution. There are many advantages and disadvantages to this.

Renewable energy sources consist of solar, hydro, wind, geothermal, ocean and biomass. The most common advantage of each is that they are renewable and cannot be depleted. They are a clean energy, as they don’t pollute the air, and they don’t contribute to global warming or greenhouse effects. Since their sources are natural the cost of operations is reduced and they also require less maintenance on their plants. A common disadvantage to all is that it is difficult to produce the large quantities of electricity their counterpart the fossil fuels are able to. Since they are also new technologies, the cost of initiating them is high.

Solar energy makes use of the sun’s energy. It is advantageous because the systems can fit into existing buildings and it does not affect land use. But since the area of the collectors is large, more materials are required. Solar radiation is also controlled by geography. And it is limited to daytime hours and non-cloudy days.

Wind energy uses the power of the wind to produce electricity. Although it is the largest job producer, it is reliant on strong winds. Wind turbines are large and, although you can use the area under them for farming, many consider them unattractive looking. They are also very noisy to operate. In addition, they threaten the wild bird population.

Hydroelectric energy uses water to produce power. This is the most reliable of all the renewable energy sources. On the down side, it affects ecology and causes downstream problems. The decay of vegetation along the riverbed can cause the buildup of methane. Methane is a contributing gas to greenhouse effect. Dams can also alter the natural river flow and affect wildlife. Colder, oxygen poor water can be released into the river, killing fish. And the release of water from the dam can cause flooding.

Geothermal energy uses steam from the Earth’s ground to generate power. It uses smaller land areas than other power plants. They can run 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Disadvantages are that it is very site specific and, along with the heat from the Earth, it can also bring up toxic chemicals when obtaining the steam. Drilling geothermal reservoirs and finding them can be an expensive task.

Biomass electricity is produced through the energies from wood, agricultural and municipal waste. It helps save on landfill waste but transportation can be expensive and ecological diversity of land may be affected. In addition, its process needs to be made simpler.

Ocean energy is a clean and abundant energy form. It does, however, have high costs. Ocean thermal energy also requires close to a forty degree Fahrenheit difference in water temperature year round. In addition, construction and laying pipes can cause damage to the ecosystem.

There are many advantages to the use of renewable energy sources. There are also some disadvantages. The fact is energy demands will continue to increase. Through research and development, as well as, new technologies, the hope is many of the disadvantages of renewable sources of energy can be eliminated and we can successfully incorporate it into our power supplies.



Pure Water Filters – Luxury or Necessity?

February 20th, 2011

Don’t you just hate it when you’re sitting around with a group of people and they’re bragging about the latest “must have” high tech gadget or home appliance they’ve just purchased? Pure water filters are one of those appliances that seem to be steadily gaining in popularity. But is a pure water filter a luxury or a necessity? The answer to that question will probably depend on whom you ask. There are those people who are very particular about the taste and smell of their water. To them, pure water filters are a necessity. Some people think that water doesn’t have a taste and they are perfectly happy with tap water. To them, a pure water filter is a luxury that they may or may not be interested in purchasing. Then there is the growing group of people who are concerned about the danger posed by the increasing levels of toxic contaminants that experts are telling us are in our water. Since 1999, the federal government has required water utilities to send each customer a detailed report listing everything that is in their water. Additionally, the EPA maintains a database where consumers can look up their own water utility’s “Annual Water Quality Report.” Unfortunately, these reports don’t tell the whole story. Results are based upon standards that don’t take into consideration the entire list of 75,000 toxic chemicals used in our society, their potential effects when they combine or how these chemicals effect small children. People who understand this believe that pure water filters are a necessity. I happen to fall in two groups…the group that likes their water to taste good and the group that doesn’t want to be harmed by drinking toxic chemicals. So for me, a pure water filter is a necessity. And I have to make a confession. I made my purchasing decision on the water purifier that would give me the best tasting water. But I’m happy knowing that the unit I purchased also guarantees that I’m not drinking harmful toxins. AND my pure water filter keeps healthful minerals intact. I get these results because my home purification system is based upon multi-stage filtration technology. Multi-stage filtration has been developed to specifically address the need for clean, healthy water that tastes great. Other technologies, like reverse osmosis and distillation fall short of addressing all three of these important needs. Multi-stage filtration technology makes it possible for pure water filters to be comprehensive, versatile, affordable, and easy to maintain. Truth be told, it doesn’t matter if you believe a pure water filter is a luxury or necessity. If you believe its a luxury, then you deserve to treat yourself to the best water money can buy. If you believe its a necessity, then you have some wonderfully effective pure water filters to choose from. You simply can’t go wrong when buying a pure water filter for your home.

Olivia Romero