In over our heads in polluted San Joaquin Valley air – nothing complicated about it

This is not complicated. California’s 27,000-square-mile San Joaquin Valley, which is better than 250 miles long by approximately 80 miles wide, is a hotbed of air pollution activity. That air here is frequently polluted is troubling. It is also unhealthful. Coming from a variety of sources – mobile and stationary alike, it’s both all-enveloping and persistent, … Read more

CATS: Piezo-electric transducers – one more renewable resource

Number 12 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. I don’t consider myself to be an inventor or designer, but in the late 1980s I came up with what I thought was a feasible idea: make use of piezo-electric devices to generate electricity. The specific application I was going for was in the railroad realm whereby … Read more

NASA aircraft trolling polluted San Joaquin Valley skies for analysis purposes

In the skies above California’s San Joaquin Valley between roughly Bakersfield in the south and Fresno, located right smack-dab in the Valley’s middle, aerial-air-quality surveillance, via National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) aircraft, is in progress. Incidentally, I see this as a good thing. According to a NASA press release, the aerial (in the air) … Read more

Streetcar redux: Trolleys relieving congestion, saving energy and fighting pollution

In America, highways – known also as freeways, toll-ways, parkways and turnpikes – rule. Fact is, this country is crisscrossed by no less than four-million-lane-miles of road. It was no accident that America plunked down that many lane-miles in so short a time, either. Good, bad or indifferent, credit for this goes to the Interstate Highway Act, passed during the … Read more

The renewables challenge: Fifty percent reliance by 2050?

PBS’ America Revealed series presenter Yul Kwon, in 2012 remarking on Thomas Edison in “ELECTRIC NATION,” in no uncertain terms, said: “In 1931, Thomas Edison confided to his friend Henry Ford. ‘We are like tenant farmers, chopping down the fence around our house for fuel, when we should be using nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy: … Read more

CATS: Bidirectional ceiling fans – what goes around, comes around

Number 11 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. Record-breaking temperatures abound all around. On Jan. 21, 2013, for example, Los Angeles recorded a record-setting high temperature of 81 degrees. That this occurred in the middle of winter especially, isn’t cool. What is, or rather, what helps cool things off (or down), are fans. And with … Read more

With renewables, what’s not to like?

Estimates are America has nearly 250 million vehicles, the bulk of which are fossil-fuel-driven. That’s a lot of cars, buses, motorcycles, trucks, etc. To keep not only these vehicles on the go, but the bevy of stationary internal-combustion-engine-powered motorized machines, too, takes fuel – and lots of it. While it’s no surprise the fuel available for … Read more

Cleaning up transportation-sourced air pollution a difficult (and dirty) job

A quick assessment of all of my prior blogposts reveals 31 out of 64 deal with air quality or air pollution issues as it relates to transportation. That’s nearly half. If you’re wondering why such a high concentration, what I can tell you is the majority of the world’s air pollution is transportation sourced. As it … Read more

CATS: Diesel-electric versus pure electric train operations – pros and cons

Number 10 in the Clean Air Technologies Series. When it comes to powering a locomotive, electricity wins hands down, or does it? Before going any farther, a brief review of 20th century U.S. transportation history is in order. I was born in the age of the diesel loco. Steam as locomotive propulsion power, although reaching a zenith right around … Read more

Green-waste disposal gone green

In California, it used to be that open-field-burning of on-the-farm waste was acceptable. Entire orchards or orchard prunings – the pruned limbs and what-not – assembled into piles, could be burned. The practice in state continued for years, but only on what had come to be termed “permissive burn days.” By 2010, those days were … Read more