Energy Bits 1980

The use of shredded paper as an oil blotter, fast-growing popular trees as a crop to produce butanol, and cheese whey to produce alcohol fuel are among the energy news bits covered in this article.

| March/April 1980

  • 062 energy bits - cheese whey - Fotolia
    Milbrew, Inc. of Juneau, Wisconsin found a way to turn cheese whey into alcohol fuel.   

  • 062 energy bits - cheese whey - Fotolia

STRANGE ENERGIES: Using electrodes attached to various surfaces of the human body, UCLA's Dr. Valerie Hunt has recorded spurts of radiation that are beyond the frequencies known to medical science. At the same time, "aura reader" Rosalyn Bruyere — who was isolated from the equipment booth — noted every change in energy levels that the machine recorded.

BIG OIL BLOTTERS: Waste paper, put through a shredder until it's reduced to a fine powder, is reported to be several times more effective than anything else yet devised to remove oil spills. The fiberized paper also gets more efficient each time it's squeezed out and reused, and — after a number of such applications — the "petroleum pulp" can be reprocessed into artificial fireplace logs.

MIGRANT POLLUTION: Some 32 industrial nations have pledged to make every effort to curb the export of air pollutants. However, environmental experts believe the "dirty air" problem will get worse in the coming decade ... as energy shortages increase the use of coal power. (Currently, four million tons of acid rain-causing sulfur dioxide blows into Canada from the U.S. every year.)

CAULK FOR CANCER: It's believed that 10% of all reported cases of lung cancer are caused by "indoor radon" ... which is produced when naturally occurring uranium — in soil, concrete, and brick — decays. Researchers are worried that homeowners who insulate too efficiently may increase their exposure to indoor radon . .. as well as to formaldehyde fumes from foam insulation, plus nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide from pilot lights on stoves, water heaters, etc.

SABOTAGE INFO FOR SALE: A number of government documents, all of which are available to the public, were written to help nuclear plant operators test their security barriers. However, a former NRC safeguard inspector says that a saboteur — using the information contained in the official papers — could break into such an installation, destroy vital equipment, and cause a radioactive release "in as little as 10 minutes."

FOR PEAT'S SAKE! The Soviet Union installed its first peat-fueled electric power station in 1914, and now has 76 peat fuel units. That country also has 228 million of the world's estimated 409 million acres of peat, but the U.S. ranks second with 52 million acres . .. the energy equivalent of 240 billion barrels of oil.


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