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Wind energy over the oceans could power the world, geophysicists say.

Sorry to ruin the party, but a report from the Food Climate Research Network casts doubt on recent suggestions that pasture-raised cattle could sequester massive amounts of carbon in the soil.

By nibbling plants and stimulating new root growth, the old argument goes, cows can encourage deeper root networks, which suck up more carbon. Proponents of grass-fed meat have embraced these findings, saying that pasture-raised livestock could mitigate the impact of meat consumption on the environment.

The new report — cleverly titled “Grazed and Confused?” — acknowledges that pastured cattle can be carbon negative, but this depends on the right soil and weather conditions. In most places, according to the report, grazers produce much more greenhouse gas than they add to the ground. It is an “inconvenient truth,” the authors write, that most studies show grass-fed beef has a bigger carbon footprint than feedlot meat. “Increasing grass-fed ruminant numbers is, therefore, a self-defeating climate strategy,” the report concludes.

Fortunately, grass-fed beef is not the only solution being bandied about: Research shows that a small dose of seaweed in livestock feed could drastically reduce methane emissions. And if you really want to reduce your impact on the climate you could, you know, stop eating meat.

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Wind energy over the oceans could power the world, geophysicists say.

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Are enormous toilet plungers the key to cheap wind power?

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Are enormous toilet plungers the key to cheap wind power?

By on Jul 26, 2016 4:16 pmShare

The coolest new innovation in offshore wind energy right now is, essentially, a giant toilet plunger. Put enough of these plungers together and they could help power Detroit, Chicago and the other metropolises of the Midwest.

Lake Erie Energy Development and Fred Olsen Renewables, the European energy company, plan on building a wind installation with the help of these toilet plungers, aiming for six 50-foot high turbines in Lake Erie, seven miles off the coast of Cleveland.

Putting wind turbines in the Great Lakes instead of on Midwestern farmland makes plenty of sense. Compared to farmland, underwater land is cheap. There’s also more wind on the water, because there are no inconvenient trees or buildings in the way. The Great Lakes are freshwater, so mechanical parts won’t wear down as fast as they would in the ocean’s saltwater. And big cities surround the Great Lakes, which makes it easy to connect a new installation to a pre-existing power plant.

The toilet plunger method (more formally known as the “Mono Bucket”) is an example of how a technological game-changer can often be incredibly low tech. Imagine a bunch of giant plungers in a lake. When the plungers descend, the water trapped in the bottom is pushed out, creating a vacuum. The vacuum pulls the plunger down to the lake bed and anchors it. This provides a solid base for a wind turbine and takes much less time than the standard method of using pile drivers to push concrete-filled steel pipes into the ground. It’s also less environmentally destructive.

This “Icebreaker” project  — a nod to the ice floes that dot Lake Erie in the winter — is expected to generate 20 megawatts by the fall of 2018. But the potential for expanding this project is enormous. The Great Lakes have one-fifth of the country’s impressive but unused offshore wind energy, a mind-boggling 700 gigawatts, enough to power as many as 525 million households, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s nearly four times as much energy as U.S. households currently use.

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Are enormous toilet plungers the key to cheap wind power?

Posted in alo, Anchor, eco-friendly, FF, GE, LAI, ONA, solar, solar power, Uncategorized, wind energy, wind power | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Are enormous toilet plungers the key to cheap wind power?