Monday, March 10, 2008

Is Green Energy Killing Us?

Today as I was cruising the internet, I came across this unsettling story about Green Energy production that is killing areas of China.

A Dark Side Of Solar Power

The growth of the solar power industry is poisoning land in China, according to the Washington Post.

In the rush to make polysilicon cheaply for use in solar panels, a Chinese company reportedly is dumping toxic waste into the ground, killing wildlife and endangering human health.

The newspaper describes green fields in the nation's eastern central Henan Province that have turned snow-white from the powdery waste of silicon tetrachloride, four tons of which result from every ton of polysilicon created. Toxic hydrogen chloride gas and acids waft from the waste.

To blame is Chinese polysilicon maker Luoyang Zhonggui High-Technology, which supplies to rising solar power star Suntech Power Holdings, according to the Washington Post.

To read more about this problem, follow the link:
I have had reservations about some other versions of so called Green Energy, especially BioFuels and Ethanol. Both of these products, as of right now, rely way to much on "new crops" to make fuel. Much like using new trees for paper making instead of using 100% recycled paper or some mix of new and recycled.

Using land to grow fuel instead of food seems short sighted and morally wrong to me. Cutting down diverse forest, such as the Amazon to grow a select plant for fuel or to raise cattle, also comes across as short sighted and morally wrong.

Besides the stupidity of growing fuel on land that could and should be used to grow food, we also have this potential problem. Since they would be growing fuel instead of food, why bother trying to grow it organically? Why bother with doing things environmentally correct and sound? I feel they will, if they have not already done so, start using as many chemicals as possible to try and get the highest yield at the lowest cost with no regard to the environment or our safety. Thus polluting the ground, the water and the air all for the profit of making fuel.

I believe that all commercially made biodiesel should ONLY be used for big rigs and other types of vehicles that typically use diesel as their fuel. If we increase the demand for consumer biodiesel, then we will be unwittingly increasing the negative environmental impacts causes by the production of these fuels.

The only viable alternative fuels that I believe should be used for cars and light trucks, is hydrogen and electricity. Yes, these all need to be produced by something, but we have a wide array of choices in ways to produce these if we choose to make it happen. Such as, Solar (made cleanly), Geothermal (done with little environmental impact), Wind (with careful placement to diminish visual and noise pollution), Wave and Tide energy (new and looking promising) and many others.

As much as I hate nuclear plants, I could see very very limited use of them (maybe by using the plants that exist) to help produce the hydrogen needed for cars and trucks (fuel cells, etc).

Geothermal is the one energy source that I believe has the biggest potential to make the biggest positive impact, in the shortest amount of time and at the lowest cost.

When it comes to Solar Cell production, I believe that this company is far ahead and looking in the right direction.

NanoSolar -