Walking source of Biodiesel

By Amy Woolf

Biodiesel is no longer just made from plant resources. Scientists in Nevada have found a new way to make biodiesel out of chicken feather meal. This advancement could take some of the resource competition out of the biodiesel industry. Currently, most biodiesel is made from soy and vegetable oil, which is also a human food source. Chicken feather meal is not used as a human food source; it is used as a fertilizer and as a component of animal feed because of the high protein content.

With current amounts of chicken feather meal that is being created in the US, 153 million gallons of biodiesel could be synthesized annually. 593 million gallons could be created worldwide out of chicken feather meal. Also, in the process for synthesizing biodiesel out of feather meal only uses the fat content that can be extracted from the meal, and that turns the remainder of the chicken feather meal that is unused into a higher grade animal feed and a better fertilizer.

Chicken feather meal is made from processed chicken feathers, blood, and innards. All of these ingredients are a waste byproduct of the poultry industry. They are processed under pressure at high temperatures.

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A Human Powered Future? Maybe.

Dan Conant
What the chip would look like


With all sorts of alternative energy sources vying to prove themselves the cheapest and cleanest of them all, human generated energy has recently made a big stride due to a new piece of technology from Princeton.  However, before you begin to think of something similar to the Matrix with humans being plugged into a power grid, it is important to note that humans will not generate mass quantities of energy.  This is because the energy generated is by our muscles movement, not by the small but frequent electrical impulses that trigger muscle movement. 

Princeton University engineers created a chip composed of ceramic and rubber nanoribbons.  This allows the chip to be able to flex.  The idea behind the chip is that when a muscle moves, this chip attached to it will also flex and by doing so, create a small amount of energy.  The chip is also fairly efficient in terms of energy conversion, turning mechanical energy into electrical energy at an efficiency rate of 80%. 

This chip is very important to the many fields of medicine.  There are currently a number of medical devices such as implants that require a source of energy.  Currently batteries fill this role, but when they begin to run out of energy, the patient has to undergo another surgery to have another battery put in.  With this chip implanted, repeated operations would never have to happen again unless the chip became damaged or the pacemaker was having issues.  For someone with a pacemaker, this chip would be implanted near the lungs due to its proximity to the heart as well as the constant movement of a person’s lungs due to breathing would provide a consistent a steady source of energy for the pacemaker. 

This is not the first human powered energy converter to have been conceived, but it is arguably one of the best ones.  Due to the materials in the chip, the body should also accept the chip with no issues.  Furthermore, due to the simplicity of the chip and the materials not costing too much, chips like these should become affordable soon after their debut and mass production; certainly a relief for the many people out there with heart problems and wallet problems.

Information for this article was gathered from this link.

Wyoming Might Be The First State To Tax Wind Energy

Dan Conant

Quite contrary to nation wide trends of states supporting alternative energy growth and competition for development, Wyoming might become the first state in the nation to tax wind energy.  Supporters of this tax reference that the energy resource rich state (natural gas, coal, and uranium) already has taxes in all other areas of energy and that wind power should not be any different special.  If this bill passes, it will be interesting to see if other states follow suit, and how this might affect wind power growth nation wide. 

Like many states in these economic times, Wyoming is looking to find more income to battle deficits and to avoid debt.  Nationwide, many states are broadening their tax bases while re-budgeting for this upcoming year.  However, alternative energy sources are usually not pursued by states while imposing new taxes.  Because alternative energy is such a booming industry right now states often offer incentives to attract alternative energy investors because of the money, cleanliness, and other benefits associated with ‘green’ energy. 

The proposed tax would be 3$ per megawatt hour excise tax on commercial wind energy generation, which comes out to be about a five percent tax on the wind energy generated.  It is estimated that this tax would generate about 11.5 million dollars per year in income for the state and the counties that the wind turbines/farms would be in.  This bill is very important for Wyoming because it has the 12th highest potential for wind power generation in the nation.  Even some supporters of this bill are wary of how it should end up, because they understand that wind development could become non-existent in Wyoming if the state becomes too greedy with its proposed tax.  This is because wind turbines are very expensive, at roughly two million dollars a piece, the cost of creating a wind farm is pricey.  Because of the initial high start-up cost as well as the sales tax and property tax for the turbines and the land they would be located on, developers and investors could very easily be scared away from Wyoming as a whole.  This bill is certainly being watched carefully by various groups and organizations across the country, because the passing of a bill like this could produce big changes nationwide for alternative energy developments.

Information for this posting was gathered from this news article.