How Far Have We Come?

by Ali Siddiqui

An article by Chris Mooney for The Washington Post attempts to determine whether the United States of America really is changing the way it uses energy. The conclusion of the article was that America has changed. Mooney gains most of his evidence for America’s change from the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook prepared by the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and published by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Continue reading

Biofuel a Viable Future?

by Ali Siddiqui

An article by Justin Gillis for The New York Times discusses a new report published by World Resources Institute, a global research organization based in Washington, that suggests that biofuels are not the direction policy makers should be heading when considering alternative energy. Biofuels are fuels created by plant matter. Timothy D. Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton and primary author of this report, was quoted in this article to have said that they were an “inefficient way to convert sunlight to fuel”. Continue reading

Climate-Smart Agriculture and Biophysical Consequences in the Midwest

by Ali Siddiqui

Climate-smart agricultural techniques are agronomical practices that help alleviate the consequences that climate change has on agriculture. Agronomical practices are related to soil management and production of field crops. Currently, in the Midwestern US different climate-smart techniques have been advocated in order to increase crop production. These include utilizing different crop cultivars in order to reap the benefits of earlier planting dates and a longer growing season and no-till agriculture in order to reduce soil emissions and maintain soil moisture. Bagley, Miller, and Bernacchi (2015) using observational data and an agroecosystem model that uses future temperature and CO2 concentrations determine the effectiveness of climate-smart techniques and their biophysical impacts. Continue reading

Jatropha curcas the sustainable biofuel?

by Ali Siddiqui

Biofuels are a controversial energy source; however, there has been strong interest in these biofuels by both developing and industrialized countries. Some countries have even financially incentivized the production of these crops. A promising crop called Jatropha curcas has recently been viewed as a sustainable option for biodiesel production. This inedible plant has typically been used for soap production, medicinal purposes, and even as way to demarcate property boundaries as a living fence. Its high resistance to droughts and pests, inability to be eaten by cattle, short gestation period, and versatility of products are qualities that have been cited by many researchers as advantages for small farming communities, who might be able to use Jatropha to increase their employment, increase revenue, and increase energy self-reliance. Continue reading

Chinese Energy Security

by Ali Siddiqui

According to Yao and Chang (2015), China’s energy security has not improved over 30 years of reform. The authors aimed to understand why in a qualitative fashion, finding a critical component is China’s macroeconomic reform. By analyzing China’s energy security in this fashion, these researchers hope to broaden the perspective on the way developing economies in transition conduct research on their energy security. Continue reading

AltaRock’s Enhanced Geothermal Systems

by Ali Siddiqui

In Bloomberg magazine, there was just an exciting article by Adam Aston, Pete Engardio, and Joel Makower (Executive Editor, Greenbiz.com) that provided a list of 25 companies to watch in the energy technology sector. Their list is interesting because its selection criteria made sure to include companies that were actually selling their newly innovative products in the market, were not publicly listed, often unheard of, and had large sums of financial backing from high profile venture capitalists or companies. Within this list was one particularly fascinating company named AltaRock Energy, Inc. founded and headquartered in Seattle, Washington, whose new approach to extracting geothermal energy may change the landscape of the energy sector. Continue reading