NewEnergyNews-Butterfield Archive

WALL STREET JOURNAL'S Environmental Capital quotes NewEnergyNews:

  • 06/05/2007
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    WALL STREET JOURNAL selects NewEnergyNews as one of the "Blogs We Are Reading" --

  • 05/14/2007
  • 04/16/2007
  • 03/28/2007
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      Anne B. Butterfield of DAILY CAMERA, a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews


    • My Novels: OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades & OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades by Mark S. Friedman
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The American Decades, the second volume of Herman K. Trabish’s retelling of oil’s history in fiction, picks up where the first book in the series, OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction, left off. The new book is an engrossing, informative and entertaining tale of the Roaring 20s, World War II and the Cold War. You don’t have to know anything about the first historical fiction’s adventures set between the Civil War, when oil became a major commodity, and World War I, when it became a vital commodity, to enjoy this new chronicle of the U.S. emergence as a world superpower and a world oil power.
    • As the new book opens, Lefash, a minor character in the first book, witnesses the role Big Oil played in designing the post-Great War world at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919. Unjustly implicated in a murder perpetrated by Big Oil agents, LeFash takes the name Livingstone and flees to the U.S. to clear himself. Livingstone’s quest leads him through Babe Ruth’s New York City and Al Capone’s Chicago into oil boom Oklahoma. Stymied by oil and circumstance, Livingstone marries, has a son and eventually, surprisingly, resolves his grievances with the murderer and with oil.
    • In the new novel’s second episode the oil-and-auto-industry dynasty from the first book re-emerges in the charismatic person of Victoria Wade Bridger, “the woman everybody loved.” Victoria meets Saudi dynasty founder Ibn Saud, spies for the State Department in the Vichy embassy in Washington, D.C., and – for profound and moving personal reasons – accepts a mission into the heart of Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. Underlying all Victoria’s travels is the struggle between the allies and axis for control of the crucial oil resources that drove World War II.
    • As the Cold War begins, the novel’s third episode recounts the historic 1951 moment when Britain’s MI-6 handed off its operations in Iran to the CIA, marking the end to Britain’s dark manipulations and the beginning of the same work by the CIA. But in Trabish’s telling, the covert overthrow of Mossadeq in favor of the ill-fated Shah becomes a compelling romance and a melodramatic homage to the iconic “Casablanca” of Bogart and Bergman.
    • Monty Livingstone, veteran of an oil field youth, European WWII combat and a star-crossed post-war Berlin affair with a Russian female soldier, comes to 1951 Iran working for a U.S. oil company. He re-encounters his lost Russian love, now a Soviet agent helping prop up Mossadeq and extend Mother Russia’s Iranian oil ambitions. The reunited lovers are caught in a web of political, religious and Cold War forces until oil and power merge to restore the Shah to his future fate. The romance ends satisfyingly, America and the Soviet Union are the only forces left on the world stage and ambiguity is resolved with the answer so many of Trabish’s characters ultimately turn to: Oil.
    • Commenting on a recent National Petroleum Council report calling for government subsidies of the fossil fuels industries, a distinguished scholar said, “It appears that the whole report buys these dubious arguments that the consumer of energy is somehow stupid about energy…” Trabish’s great and important accomplishment is that you cannot read his emotionally engaging and informative tall tales and remain that stupid energy consumer. With our world rushing headlong toward Peak Oil and epic climate change, the OIL IN THEIR BLOOD series is a timely service as well as a consummate literary performance.
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • Review of OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, The Story of Our Addiction by Mark S. Friedman
    • "...ours is a culture of energy illiterates." (Paul Roberts, THE END OF OIL)
    • OIL IN THEIR BLOOD, a superb new historical fiction by Herman K. Trabish, addresses our energy illiteracy by putting the development of our addiction into a story about real people, giving readers a chance to think about how our addiction happened. Trabish's style is fine, straightforward storytelling and he tells his stories through his characters.
    • The book is the answer an oil family's matriarch gives to an interviewer who asks her to pass judgment on the industry. Like history itself, it is easier to tell stories about the oil industry than to judge it. She and Trabish let readers come to their own conclusions.
    • She begins by telling the story of her parents in post-Civil War western Pennsylvania, when oil became big business. This part of the story is like a John Ford western and its characters are classic American melodramatic heroes, heroines and villains.
    • In Part II, the matriarch tells the tragic story of the second generation and reveals how she came to be part of the tales. We see oil become an international commodity, traded on Wall Street and sought from London to Baku to Mesopotamia to Borneo. A baseball subplot compares the growth of the oil business to the growth of baseball, a fascinating reflection of our current president's personal career.
    • There is an unforgettable image near the center of the story: International oil entrepreneurs talk on a Baku street. This is Trabish at his best, portraying good men doing bad and bad men doing good, all laying plans for wealth and power in the muddy, oily alley of a tiny ancient town in the middle of everywhere. Because Part I was about triumphant American heroes, the tragedy here is entirely unexpected, despite Trabish's repeated allusions to other stories (Casey At The Bat, Hamlet) that do not end well.
    • In the final section, World War I looms. Baseball takes a back seat to early auto racing and oil-fueled modernity explodes. Love struggles with lust. A cavalry troop collides with an army truck. Here, Trabish has more than tragedy in mind. His lonely, confused young protagonist moves through the horrible destruction of the Romanian oilfields only to suffer worse and worse horrors, until--unexpectedly--he finds something, something a reviewer cannot reveal. Finally, the question of oil must be settled, so the oil industry comes back into the story in a way that is beyond good and bad, beyond melodrama and tragedy.
    • Along the way, Trabish gives readers a greater awareness of oil and how we became addicted to it. Awareness, Paul Roberts said in THE END OF OIL, "...may be the first tentative step toward building a more sustainable energy economy. Or it may simply mean that when our energy system does begin to fail, and we begin to lose everything that energy once supplied, we won't be so surprised."
    • Oil history journal articles by Dr. Trabish: Oil Stories and Histories
    • My Photo
      Location: Agua Dulce, CA

      *Doctor with my hands *Author of the "OIL IN THEIR BLOOD" series with my head *Student of New Energy with my heart






      Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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    • NewEnergyNews


      Boulder Start-up to Profit on Atmospheric CO2 in Manufacturing

      Boulder Start-up to Profit on Atmospheric CO2 in Manufacturing
      Anne B. Butterfield, November 9, 2009 (Huffington Post)

      Everyone loves chemistry; it's the difference between Pero and real coffee, Morton's and sea salt. It's the magic between Tracy and Hepburn.

      But on the larger scale, we take chemistry for granted and it's killing us. The earth has an insidious chemical change going on through the vast majority of its surface area where the oceans meet, belly to belly, with the sky. Our skies, now laden with unusually high and accelerating levels of carbon dioxide, are tainting our oceans with carbonic acid in a process called acidification. It's a reaction we learned about in high school chemistry class, so there's no real debate about it. And some forms of sea life are already beginning to falter.

      In the Monaco Declaration, marine scientists revealed that in as little as four decades our oceans may be too acidic to support the formation of shells, or even the plankton and corals on which our oceans' food webs rely.

      Our problem with burning fossil fuels really is the carbon dioxide, not just the climate havoc it creates, and this harm cannot be mitigated by much ballyhooed notions of geo-engineering.

      Now, aren't you ready for a little good news?

      How about a plan to reduce atmospheric CO2 at industrial scale in a safe and economically attractive scheme? At New Sky Energy, a new start-up here in Boulder, a Fairview High graduate named Deane Little has developed a technology for converting waste salt (from agricultural runoff or flue gas desulfurization), processing it with water electrolysis to yield oxygen, hydrogen, a strong acid and a strong base. That last one is the key -- the base naturally attracts CO2 out of the air and traps it in crystals which can be used as high-value filler for countless common products like glass, plastics, dry wall, bricks, asphalt and concrete. Those crystals can make products which are up to 40 percent stored CO2.

      NewSky's CO2 collection comes with the production of four marketable products. The sale of the oxygen, acid and base (and its CO2 compounds) can subsidize the production of the hydrogen to one-third of the price point goal set by the Department of Energy, according to Little.

      And hydrogen is the Holy Grail of a clean energy economy, that liquid energy storage device able to power cars and motors without emitting pollution.

      All the New Sky plan needs for perfection is clean electricity to power its reactor. Fortunately, as many grid operators will glumly tell you when discussing DOE's plan for 20 percent wind by 2030, there are times when there is too much wind power for the grid to happily accept. That is when operators do something called "curtailment" of the turbines, and that is when New Sky's technology can and should run.

      Wouldn't we like to have the problem of excess carbon-free power on the grid to clean up brackish waste water, recycle batteries, sequester CO2 and store energy?

      It's a virtuous cycle, one that Little says "seizes on a missed opportunity that's been sitting right in front of us." And it has come just as our atmospheric level of CO2 has gone well past the level of 350 parts per million that can safeguard healthy climate and oceans.

      Policy makers should be considering CO2-reduction technologies like New Sky's (and like Natural Terrestrial Sequestration another Boulder brand of atmospheric CO2 reduction that your humble scribe has covered). Both beat the scheme known as carbon capture and storage, or CCS, as touted by the coal industry.

      The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for American Progress are pressuring the Obama Administration to push money into CCS, the abstruse plan to draw CO2 out of smokestacks, pressurize it into a liquid and inject it into stone formations over a mile underground, a process that requires up to one-third extra coal-fired energy and leaves communities vulnerable to explosions, earthquakes and leaks of CO2 which can produce fouled waters and asphyxiate humans and animals.

      Oh, and CCS is really expensive, too, and most CCS proposals have been shelved for that reason. Nonetheless there is a proposal for a new 750 megawatt coal plant in Linden, New Jersey, with a plan to pipe its CO2 70 miles offshore to be injected into the seabed.
      If it leaks, it leaks into the ocean, acidifying it, perhaps catastrophically, at astonishing cost to rate and tax payers.

      Because underwater leaks of CO2 are likely to go undetected, a CCS installation near any ocean is the apex of stupidity.

      Carbon dioxide should be stored as a solid not a liquid. Now that is better living through chemistry.

      New Sky's technology does not lessen our need to decommission coal plants as soon as possible. It just gives us a hope to get our atmospheric CO2 levels which are now at 390 parts per million back below 350ppm as Dr. James Hansen has strongly urged.

      New Sky Energy has been named as a finalist for the Rocky Mountain Clean Tech Open. We wish them well and hope they'll be up against many other terrific problem solving ideas. We need all we can get.