Solar Sales, Oil Alternatives, and Other Energy News

This installment of an ongoing energy news feature includes stories about the effect a proposed tax credit has had on solar equipment sales and a symposium of chemical engineers in Toronto to discuss oil alternatives.

| November/December 1978

The following energy news stories were drawn from multiple sources

Solar Sales Delayed

President Carter's proposal that tax credits be given to people who use solar energy systems has backfired. Many people now plan to wait until Congress acts on the measure to buy their solar equipment, and, as a result of this "hesitation" in the market, nearly 30% of all American solar energy firms have gone out of business since the Presidential plan was announced last April.

Oil Alternatives Symposium

The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry sponsored a gathering of 750 scientists and engineers in Toronto recently. All of this brainpower was assembled to discuss potential chemical substitutes for fossil petroleum. Although the meeting covered such possibilities as diesel fuel distilled from coconuts and the direct hydrogenation of poplar wood, no one solution met with unanimous group approval. The assembled "experts" did agree, however, that the chemical industry need not perish with the world's oil supply.

Marijuana Power

The Eugene, Oregon Water and Electric Board recently burned nearly six tons of "high grade" marijuana in its downtown generating .plant. Oregon utility officials aren't yet ready to commit themselves to confiscated grass as a fuel source, though. "Despite this material's excellent burning qualities," says one spokesman, "it is doubtful that federal drug enforcement can meet our needs."

Independent Energy Systems

Independent Energy Systems, INC. is a firm that sells direct-drive, slow-speed, wind-driven electrical systems and components from their own modern solar- and wood-heated, wind-powered factory. The company can completely convert your home or farm to wind power, handling everything from site evaluation to delivery.

Sewage Methane

Raw sewage is a gas, or will be anyway, once Western States Explorations, Inc. completes the methane production plant that the firm is constructing in the Baltimore area. The installation should be able to process 50,000 pounds of raw sewage a month into 1 million cubic feet of methane.

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