A new study demonstrates how high hydrocarbons could be formed from methane deep within the Earth, aside from the compression and heating of ancient animal remains over the eons. Fused-methane oil would be far less common than your typical petroleum, of course, but the study shows abiogenic hydrocarbons could conceivably occur in some of the planet’s high-pressure and high-temperature zones.
A Japanese inventor has figured out a way to convert plastic grocery bags, bottles and caps back into the petroleum from whence they came, providing a ready fuel source for individual homes that also diverts waste from landfills.
“One beaten man is worth two unbeaten men.” This is not the reasoning Prime Minister Vladimir Putin gave to explain why Russia is green-lighting a dicey project to drill for undersea oil in the forbidding Arctic Ocean. It’s the justification he gave for Russia’s choice of partner in the projects: BP.
How NASA repaired the seven-million-pound antenna it uses to track deep-space probes
By Arnie CooperPosted 01.03.2011 at 10:05 am 2 Comments
Since 1966, the 41,000-square-foot Mars Antenna at the Goldstone Observatory in the Mojave Desert has been communicating with robotic rovers on other planets and with deep-space probes. Its large dish makes it one of the best for sorting the faint radio signals from NASA’s most distant probe, Voyager 1—10 billion miles away—from naturally occurring ones such as pulsars. But ever since it was built, an oil leak has plagued its operation.
As if it further needed to drive home its eco-friendly, anti-oil message, the Chevy Volt will soon boast a body made partially of recycled equipment originally used in the Gulf oil leak cleanup efforts. Specifically, GM will use recycled plastic from oil booms, which are sort of floating containment walls meant to keep oil in one place.
Greenpeace is known for its controversial "actions." Take, for example, their action late last month against oil giant Chevron, in which two activists dangled from the anchor chain of a drill ship to keep it from reaching its destination off the Shetland Islands. Perhaps lesser known is the organization's support of independent scientific research, like its current campaign to investigate the marine impact of the BP oil spill—which occurred six months ago today—and the use of toxic dispersant to clean it up.
By Dan Bracaglia Posted 09.14.2010 at 2:11 pm 1 Comment
It’s hard to believe, given the tragic scenario, that anyone could find beauty in such an ugly catastrophe as the Gulf oil spill, but Canadian photographer Edward Burtynysky was able to do just that in his newly released aerial images of the disaster.
Remember how we told you last week about the problem of variables when studying the Gulf oil spill? Here's another one: according to a new study, a heretofore unseen species of bacteria is eating the oil, and eating it efficiently. Thanks to these cold-loving, oil-munching bugs, the huge oil plume we learned about last week is probably gone, according to Terry Hazen, a microbial ecologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and principal investigator at the Energy Biosciences Institute.
"In the last three weeks, we haven't been able to detect the deepwater plume anywhere we've gone," he said in an interview. "It appears to have been completely biodegraded and diluted out. Like the surface (oil), we can no longer find it."
Oceanographers announced today the discovery of a wispy oil plume at least 22 miles long and 1.2 miles wide floating beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a sign that plenty of the oil from BP's Deepwater Horizon leak remains in the environment. It's the first conclusive proof that a deep-sea plume from the leak exists, which at least partially explains what happened to the oil in the three months since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded. It also casts doubt on the federal government's statement earlier this month that most of the oil has dispersed or disappeared.
But the new study is merely a rough snapshot of what is happening in the depths. Wide disagreement persists among scientists who study the Gulf and oil spills, and they say it could take generations to fully understand the leak's scope. The best minds in marine science and geology can't say yet how bad it will be.
By Katie PeekPosted 08.02.2010 at 12:34 pm 0 Comments
Ocean waves affect an oil spill in two ways. They help carry the oil from its source to land—in this case, from the Deepwater Horizon drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico to Orange Beach on the Alabama shore—and they also churn the oil slicks into smaller globules that wash up on beaches and stick to sunbathers' feet.