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Surface Catalyzed Oxidative Oligomerization of 17β-Estradiol by Fe3+-Saturated Montmorillonite

December 30th, 2014

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504815t

Gazprom buys South Stream shares from partners

December 30th, 2014

OAO Gazprom has purchased shares in South Stream Transport BV from Italy’s Eni SPA 20%, Germany’s Wintershall AG 15%, and France’s EDF Energy 15%. Financial terms weren’t disclosed beyond reimbursement of “cash invested.”

Petrobras declares commerciality of Iara area

December 30th, 2014

Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) has submitted declarations of commerciality for three separate oil and gas accumulations in the Iara evaluation area on Block BM-S-11, 300 km offshore Brazil in 2,200 m of water in the Santos basin presalt.

MARKET WATCH: NYMEX crude oil futures fall again, down 50% since June

December 30th, 2014

Crude oil prices on the New York market settled down by more than a $1/bbl on Dec. 29, reaching the lowest value since May 1, 2009, and analysts expected price volatility would continue pending the Dec. 31 scheduled release of the US weekly government crude oil and product inventory.

CNPC lets contract for grassroots refinery

December 30th, 2014

Yunnan Petrochemical Co. Ltd., jointly owned in part by PetroChina Co. Ltd.—the publicly listed arm of state-owned China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC)—has let contracts to a subsidiary of Yokogawa Electric Corp. to provide control systems for a 200,000-b/d grassroots refinery in Yunnan Province in far southwestern China.

Coal continues to overshadow the Energiewende

December 30th, 2014

New data released by the Fraunhofer Institute provides food for thought for both sides arguing about the success or failure of Germany’s Energiewende.

The Institute released the latest data on Germany's electricity mix this month and it features 250 charts that illustrate every relevant yearly, monthly and daily statistic on the country's energy production for 2014.

The bald facts are that while net installed solar and wind energy capacity has grown considerably in line with the country’s renewable energy ambitions, they still lag behind biomass, coal and nuclear power in monthly generation totals.
Fraunnhofer Institute
Brown and hard coal are still by far the most relied upon sources of power generation, although coal and nuclear baseload generation decreased in 2014 in order to accommodate more wind and solar on the grid.

Despite apparent coal dominance, the industry’s traditional profitability continues to be eroded with hard coal plants experiencing ‘radical variation in utilization rates’ according to greentech media, ‘contributing to the strong decline in revenue among power-plant operators.’

Optimists will look to statistics like that and the performance of renewables on individual days to present the green argument. On June 6th the country saw 212 gigawatt-hours of solar production -- around 18 per cent of total generation that day, while on December 12, wind hit a new record of 562 gigawatt-hours -- producing around one-third of total electricity that day.

However such achievements appear moot in the absence of a credible storage technology.

Despite the aggression of Germany’s policy it looks likely to be several decades with hard won-incremental improvements before renewables can gain parity. Right now, to paraphrase China’s Communist leader Zhou Enlai, when asked of the significance of the French Revolution, it’s too early to say if the German energy transition is a success.
Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Communist Party leader
Meanwhile a criticism often thrown at global policy makers regarding the coal sector is that it’s hypocritical to complain about subsidies to renewables when coal benefits as much on that front, and more.

However as pointed out in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) report “Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications” released last year, coal represents just 1.25 per cent of fossil fuel subsidies globally.

The report found that coal took just $6bn in subsidies that year, compared to $112bn for gas and $212bn for oil.

The renewables lobby could contest that the $6bn might be better spent on developing the storage technology it sorely lacks right now to accelerate a successful move away from the fossil fuels, on which we continue to rely.

Environmental Photoinactivation of Extracellular Phosphatases and the Effects of Dissolved Organic Matter

December 30th, 2014

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504211x

Heteroagglomeration of Oxide Nanoparticles with Algal Cells: Effects of Particle Type, Ionic Strength and pH

December 30th, 2014

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504730k

Urinary Excretion of Phthalate Metabolites in School Children of China: Implication for Cumulative Risk Assessment of Phthalate Exposure

December 29th, 2014

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504455a

Prevalence of Antibiotic Resistance Genes and Bacterial Pathogens in Long-Term Manured Greenhouse Soils As Revealed by Metagenomic Survey

December 29th, 2014

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Environmental Science & Technology
DOI: 10.1021/es504157v
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