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Nanotech and Energy will also have a big impact in the area of energy efficiency, the low hanging fruit of energy paybacks. It will also cross sectors, including: Transportation, Residential, Commercial, and Industry … and has major players involved like DuPont, Samsung, and LG.

For good article, check out:

Nanotech and Energy by Ryan SaundersRyan Saunders, 22 Nov 2010 22:05

Wow, great summary Sabrina.

I want to fill in an important point Mr. Muston made about the carbon cycle though as well. If corn stover was left in the field to decompose naturally, the carbon would still be released into the atmosphere. It only makes sense to try and capture that energy, while still leaving enough stover to provide soil nutrition.

Mike Muston gave us a brief recap of his career, mostly in the agricultural industry and on the business or commercial side. The company he currently works for, Otoka Energy, is not developing new biofuels technology but is commercializing existing technology.
Mr Muston provided a general description of the process involved in setting up a biofuels plant. He explained that it takes anywhere from 4 to 6 years to design the plant, complete all the legal work, find funding from grants, get permits, and then actually build the plant. He stressed that in the biofuels industry, finding grants is extremely important because you need a significant amount of money in order to start being competitive.
While Mr Muston used to work for a biofuels company that made ethanol (from corn), Otoka Energy is looking to use other sources of Biomass such as forestry products, remains from orchards, vineyards, etc.
Mr Muston also addressed to food vs. fuel debate explaining that in the United states, farmers were actually being paid NOT to grow corn by the government in order to keep the price of corn high enough which indicates that there isn't a panic about fuel products taking over the land designated for food. Also, the remaining part of the corn for example, that is not used in biofuels can be fed to livestock so corn could serve a dual use. Mr Muston also explained that the food vs fuel debate was a marketing scheme, popularized by oil companies in the states in order to create an aversion to biofuels when oil prices were quite low. Another point that was brought up is the role of Carbon in the energy cycle. In biofuels, the plants take up some of the carbon from the atmosphere where as with other sources such as coal and oil, carbon is simply released.
Overall, Mr Muston stressed that setting up a plant in the biofuels industry is expensive and requires a lot negotiating with the government, however Alberta is a good place resource-wise for setting up a plant because our forestry sector is an underutilized industry.

by Sam_LiSam_Li, 15 Oct 2010 05:55
Koel ReedKoel Reed 09 May 2010 19:06
in discussion Categories / Ideas! » Pledges

Would this be a good place for updates regarding the pledge project?

Pledges by Koel ReedKoel Reed, 09 May 2010 19:06

'Doing Nuclear: the future of nuclear energy in Alberta' is the cover story for The PEG Feb 2010 edition

APPEGA talks Nuclear by April BoykoApril Boyko, 25 Feb 2010 02:45

Just released!

Funding awarded to

Researcher: Robert Fedosejevs, Electrical and Computer Engineering (with Ying Tsui)
Title: Fusion Energy-Fast ignition and target fabrication
Industry Partners: Applied Nanotools Inc., MPB Technologies Inc.
Award: $430,650 over three years

by April BoykoApril Boyko, 19 Feb 2010 17:07

It is possible to embed all kinds of things on a wiki page. Check out for several examples.

To display Google docs, we can use the iframe tag. It will look something like this:

[[iframe width="100%" height="500"]]

So we need to specify a link/URL (which I've truncated here with …), a width and a height. How do we get the URL, you ask? Just create a new Google doc (or open an existing one), click the "Share" button in the top-right corner, and then click "Get the link to share". You will see a popup window like the following:


You will want to check the first box so that anyone can view the document, and optionally check the second box if you also want anyone to be able to edit it (by anyone, I mean anyone who knows the link — i.e. anyone who visits the wiki). Finally, you need to copy the link, click "Save & Close", then paste the link into your wiki code.

The procedure is much the same for a Google spreadsheet, except that there is a little extra work if you would like to enable editing. Essentially, one cannot edit an embedded spreadsheet directly on a wiki page, but we can include an extra link that will open up the actual Google spreadsheet editor.

Here's an example that's taken directly from our volunteer-opportunities page:

[[iframe width="100%" height="560" frameborder="0"]]
>> This will open the spreadsheet in a new window.
>> Note that changes are saved automatically, so you don't need to click File, Save, or anything like that.

The second line in this block of code contains a link that the user can click in order to edit the spreadsheet. The link/URL is the same as the one in the iframe tag, except that we removed everything that appears after the first ampersand (&) sign, as it's not needed here. The last two lines just display some extra information to the user.

Here's the result:


This will open the spreadsheet in a new window.
Note that changes are saved automatically, so you don't need to click File, Save, or anything like that.

That's it! Please post any questions that you may have in this discussion forum thread.

April BoykoApril Boyko 21 Jan 2010 23:34
in discussion Categories / General discussion » Feedback

The Energy Club would love to hear what you think of our events!

If you attended the Solar Alberta discussion panel on Jan 19th, please follow the link below to take a brief survey (ten questions)

Feedback by April BoykoApril Boyko, 21 Jan 2010 23:34

A related Story:

Engineering professors leading effort to bring nuclear fusion to Alberta

by April BoykoApril Boyko, 21 Jan 2010 03:02

I can't say as I have the numbers for livestock production either, but I do agree that biofuel serves more of a purpose than livestock because it can be used for purposes that you have mentioned.

Cereal grains are only one of many possible feedstocks to produce biofuel, so I suppose it would be important to look at the advantages and disadvantages of each. This is something I hope my professor will discuss in his presentation (I can give him some guidelines, but I wanted to gauge some discussion on the board first, which has not really happened unfortunately).

Biofuel from Cereal Grains:

1. Byproduct is still usable as livestock feed
2. Technology is available and affordable for production at a reasonable energy in/energy out (vast improvements have been made in recent years, so the argument that says it uses more energy that you get out is no longer valid AND only further improvements should be made)
3. A higher value product (fuel) is made from a low value product (starch)
4. There is a vast overproduction of these grains in North America, so this puts a good use to the excess grain - exports are somewhat limited by the storage capacity of the grain

1. It will always be more expensive then fuel made from sugarcane, putting it at an economical disadvantage for export; however, Brazil uses the vast majority of its own production
2. Potential increases in the food value - I say potential because many other factors such as drought played a major role in the spike of food prices around 2007. Since then prices have returned to near historical levels.
3. Ethanol made from cereal grains is not desirable due to the harshness on engine parts, such as gaskets; however, butanol a longer chain alcohol with more energy and more desirable characteristics is being researched as a future possibility

Biofuel from Algae

1. Only microbe that uses inorganic carbon (CO2) as a feedstock to make fuel - this has a plethora advantages
2. Can be grown on arid land or even buildings
3. Lipids have long carbon chains, meaning more high energy bonds and therefore a better fuel

1. Not entirely sure where the challenges lie (extraction? refining? growth rate?) Maybe someone else knows.

Re: Food vs. Fuel by Koel ReedKoel Reed, 06 Jan 2010 18:14

You might be interested in this Canadian fusion initiative Ryan.

To me, it depends. If the biofuels are being used in some way to meet basic needs (e.g., to heat heat homes, or as a fuel to grow or deliver food), then I don't see a problem. We also have to consider how much grain is used for livestock production — I don't have any numbers in front of me but I believe it's a staggering amount (as are the GHG emissions that result). So, I think we need to take a long hard look at the issues surrounding meat consumption before we cry foul on the biofuels front. (I'm not a vegetarian, by the way.)

Re: Food vs. Fuel by Ken DwyerKen Dwyer, 21 Dec 2009 16:18

I have a lot of my own opinions about this topic, but I am interested in hearing other peoples ideas. How do you feel about biofuels using cereal grains (corn, wheat, etc.) as its feedstock to create fuel?

Food vs. Fuel by Koel ReedKoel Reed, 16 Dec 2009 20:18
One word: bioplastics by Brad ParkBrad Park, 17 Nov 2009 22:01

OK, these instructions may look dauntingly long, but this is really a simple process. I'm being verbose here, but after you follow the steps just once you will likely remember how to upload files from now on.

  1. Go to the page on the wiki to which you would like to add an image or poster.
  2. Click the "Files" button near the bottom-right of the page. Some things will appear below the buttons.
  3. Click the "Upload a file from your computer" link. Even more things will appear below.
  4. To the right of "Select a file on your computer", click the "Browse" button.
  5. A popup window will appear. Find the file on your computer and double-click on it. The window should go away and the path to your file should now appear in the text box next to "Select a file on your computer". You can optionally change the name of the file and add a description, but these are not required.
  6. Click the "Upload" button and wait a little while as the file is transferred to the wikidot server.
  7. Once that is done, your file should be listed at the bottom of the page. If you don't see it, try clicking the "Files" button again to make the list appear.

Now we know that the file is on the wiki, but it won't appear on any page(s) until we add a link to it. First, we'll show how to link to a generic file type, such as a pdf for a poster. See below for the case where the file is an image to be displayed.

  1. First, make a note of the name of your file. Let's say it is myposter.pdf, for example.
  2. Click "Edit" to edit the page as you normally would.
  3. In the editor, find the place where you would like the link to appear, and add a tag like the following:

[[file myposter.pdf | Click here to see the poster]]

Note: The part after the "|" can be whatever text you want to appear in the link.

For instance, if you were adding this to the standard table that appears at the top of an event page, the code for the new table row would be:

||~ **Poster** || [[file myposter.pdf | PDF]] ||

Alternatively, if the file you uploaded is an image, say myimage.jpg, you can display the image with the following code:

[[image myimage.jpg]]

Hope that helps.

Re: Uploading Posters by Ken DwyerKen Dwyer, 15 Nov 2009 01:39

Hi Ken,

How do I upload a poster to the wiki for an event?

Uploading Posters by April BoykoApril Boyko, 12 Nov 2009 11:35

Coal doesn't kill people… people kill people

This topic and the night's events took the front page on a recent edition of The Gateway:

Gateway Article by Ryan SaundersRyan Saunders, 27 Oct 2009 18:20
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