Four African Teens Develop Eco-powered Energy Generator

Four talented African school girls have shocked visitors by creating a urine-powered generator at the fourth annual Maker Faire Africa in Lagos.  By using the commonlly resource that everyone has, these ingenious teenagers created a eco-generator that produces 6 hours of power for only one liter of pee.

All of this teenagers are very young.  Three of them are only fourteen-year-olds, they are Duro-Aina Adebola, Akindele Abiola, and Faleke Oluwatoyin.  The other girl is Fifteen-year-old Bello Eniola.

Here’s how it works:

  • Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which separates out nitrogen, water, and hydrogen.
  • The hydrogen is pushed into a water filter for purification, then it goes into the gas cylinder.
  • The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas.
  • This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator.
  • 1 Liter of urine can provide people 6 hours of electricity.

It became one of the more unexpected products at this event. however, it still have some problem of safety.  No matter how widely it can be sold, it is still a good experiment for these four girls.

References:

http://tech.sina.com.cn/d/2012-11-12/07407789586.shtml

http://thenextweb.com/shareables/2012/11/07/forget-apps-and-other-useless-startups-these-four-african-girls-have-created-a-pee-powered-generator/

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Worlds largest cargo plane comes from Boeing’s transportation needs. Potential for UPS, FexEX.

Photo Courtesy of Boeing Boeings new long awaited 787-passenger airliner is constructed in large sub sections around the United States, and the world utilizing a global supply chain. This creates a need for a new super-cargo aircraft having the ability to transport 787 sub assemblies. Boing decided to turn to their internal recourses to devise a transportation solution for the 787 project.

<(http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/dreamlifter_fact.html)>

Photo property of: Chang-Song Wang

Boeing’s solution? Modify their largest production passenger jet, the 747 into a cargo plane. Re-engineering the fuselage; enlarging, widening, and adding a hinged door on the rear of the aircraft. 747-400 passenger jets were modified with their partner Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corporation, in Taipei Taiwan. The “Dreamlifter” will travel at 647.02 mph, or Mach .85. This is significantly faster than the average commercial passenger jet traveling at an average speed of 450 mph. This process began in 2005; “Dreamlifters” were not put into service until 2007. Boeing just created the largest transport plane in the world.

Photo from Boeing Only 4 Dreamlifters are currently in service. This new aircraft opens a new opportunity for air cargo transporters such as UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Air cargo primarily is time-sensitive and extremely expensive to ship. If Boeing put the “Dreamlifter” into production these aircraft could offer carriers faster route times, utilizing larger containers, and grater cargo volume. This would lead to increased efficiency in the shipping network for air carriers while also allowing them to be more cost competitive.

The potential impact of the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate vehicle emissions

When S. 940 was proposed by Democratic senators in May 2011, it was under the banner of deficit reduction. The intention of the legislation is to divert $2 billion from the revenues of oil producers through more stringent taxation of their output. One may begin to debate within themselves about the rationality of this, and may do a little research on whether this has been proposed before, and in the course of this they might encounter a circumstance in 1980, during the energy crisis, when bill P.L. 96-223, known as the Windfall Profits Tax, was enacted by the 96th Congress, imposing a tax on the profits of domestically sourced oil.

The immediate effect was a reduction in domestic oil production of 4.8%, as producers attempted to maintain the balance between revenue and cost of goods sold by sourcing internationally. As the market adjusted to the imposed criteria, a shift occurred from the profitability of upstream operations to downstream, from extraction to refining. The combined turbulent effect of the legislation on the economy and national security interests resulted in its repeal in 1988. Considering our predecessors’ unsuccessful flirtation with carbon regulation policy, and the historically deleterious repercussions to economic activity and flaccid impact on deficit reduction of this legislation, it’s curious that it continues to be introduced some 25 years after it was decided to be counter-intuitive to combat economic decline by tinkering with the natural supply and demand equilibrium.

The newly elected administration’s commitment to a cap and trade agenda is rooted in its firm belief in the exigency of a climate crisis, but the real economic effect of cap and trade is a reduction in GDP by as much as $400 billion, and yet it has been proposed as an effective tool for incentivizing emissions reduction time and again. In the face of fervent governmental support for an aggressive regulatory environment, the transportation industry must prepare for the imminent introduction of new and old carbon regulations. As the industry is responsible for 60% of oil consumption in OECD countries and 13% of global emissions, the investment necessary to adjust to the new laws will be worth a pretty penny, taken ultimately from the consumer’s pocket. In this event where history seems bound to repeat itself, lower income families stand to be affected most significantly, as increasing energy prices gouge a larger percentage of their total income and force them ever closer to, or below, the poverty line.

http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/s940

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windfall_profits_tax

http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Minority.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=e582d5df-802a-23ad-4778-66ff017bad0d&Region_id=&Issue_id=

https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/CDP-Transport-Report.pdf

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/247697-obama-epa-actions-make-cap-and-trade-more-likely

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/245985-obama-finalizes-major-auto-mileage-mandate

Oil by Rail: On the Rise?

With all of the political heat and opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline, it may be time to explore other modes of transportation for “Texas Tea” in the US and Canada.

In the article “Analysis: Crude-by-rail carves out long-term North American niche” by Nicole Mordant, the use of American and Canadian railways is explored.  Railroads are a great way to move many commodities across the continent, oil included.

Since 2007, oil shipments in the US have grown from around 11,000 barrels to over 300,000 barrels per day.  This growing trend, combined with the continued rise in inter-modal transportation should be great for the rail industry.

While transporting oil via rail can be four times as expensive as using pipelines, once the high fixed costs and political barriers that the implementing pipelines and carry are factored in, utilizing already-existing railroads sounds like an option worth pursuing.

Rail was the main choice of oil transportation before pipelines were around, and it appears that the industry may be heading back in the direction of its past.

Source:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/04/us-railways-oil-northamerica-idUSBRE8A30AX20121104

Truck Driver Shortage In The US

TRUCKERS FOR HIRE!

Truck driving positions are becoming harder and harder to fill in the United States. Even with the unemployment rate at record highs. According to Russ Bynum of the Associated Press U.S. companies are expected to create more than 115,000 truck driver jobs per year through 2016.

This shortage is adding increased pressures on companies two fold. First, new trucking regulation passed in 2010 is making it harder for individuals to obtain a CDL License required to drive tractor-trailers. These restrictions include, drug testing and disqualification from certain traffic citations. Many individuals who are unemployed or have a desire for a trucking career become disqualified under this regulation.

The second pressure being put upon employers is hour restrictions. Drivers cannot work more than 70 hours per week and no more than 11 hours per shift. Drivers must have a 10-hour period of brake in between. <http://www.palitigationblog.com/2012/01/articles/labor-and-employment-litigatio/new-hours-restrictions-for-truck-drivers-to-take-effect-in-july-of-2013/&gt;

Most young career seekers are not interested in trucking. It’s an undesirable industry. Drivers are required to work long hours being away from family, friends, or general life for an extended period of time.

These pressures and a recovering economy are driving up wages for qualified drivers. This increased expense will inevitably be passed down to the consumer. <http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/A-Shortage-in-Truck-Drivers-Could-Drive-Up-Prices-for-Consumer–177034581.html&gt;

Hurricane Sandy and the Affects on Global Transportation

Potential weather disasters can create a serious impact on many forms of transportation.  They can create delays, damage goods, or in extreme cases, completely shut down transportation modes. The recent Hurricane Sandy is no exception to this rule.

Hurricane Sandy Affecting Airline Passenger Travel

Hurricane Sandy is wreaking havoc across the Northeast Coast. As of Monday afternoon, airlines have canceled more than 12,600 flights to and from the Northeast United States. This surpasses Hurricane Irene in August 2011, which had roughly 10,000 canceled flights.  Simon Calder, travel editor of the UK’s The Independent newspaper predicts that airlines take a combined lose of roughly $10 million everyday airlines are shut down. When taking into consideration the losses that Amtrak, hotels, and other businesses that benefit from business traveling take, the total combined losses is much higher. Due to the flight cancelations, many people traveling internationally are stranded and won’t be able to fly out until flights resume, which could take as late until this weekend.

Hurricane Sandy affecting other modes of transportation

Hurricane Sandy is also affecting seaport, trucking, and railway transportation.  Seaports across Virginia to Boston have been closed by the Hurricane. Trucking companies are being ordered to stay out of the storm. Some of the largest railway contractors around the East Coast have also been shut down. This is during the middle of the freight-transport industry’s peak. Logistic companies are now working to reroute freight-transport to other distribution. However, many goods may already be damaged.

Only time will tell until everything is back in running. Weather disasters are a constant concern and with improved planning the impact can be minimized.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/10/29/travel/hurricane-sandy-flight-cancellations/index.html

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204840504578086833916411390.html

Driver Shortages & Increased Regulations Lead LTL Shippers to Consolidate

In an article published last week on the Logistics Management web page reporters are stating that LTL shippers may be faced to further consolidate sooner rather than later due to the looming threat of a driver shortage and the increasing federal regulations that are being put into place. The LTL industry operates in a situation where rates have stabilized leading to increased competition amongst industry players. Profits are in turn measured as cents on the dollar leading to a much lower profit margin percentage. This industry characteristic has left many just barely operating for profit with many others constantly on the edge of a loss. Interviewed was Steve O’Kane president of A. Duie Pyle who stated that the fit will survive will the rest will begin to fade our of the competitive landscape. He suggests that the best enabler in creating efficiencies to be successful in operating in such a low margin environment would be the utilization of technology systems.

O’Kane states that one of the biggest issues effecting the industry is the shortage of truck drivers due to an aging work force and the lack of new truck drivers coming into the industry. In addition to this shortage the government has put a program in place called CSA, Compliance, Safety and Accountability, which scores a driver/carrier and keeps record of their incidents and violations from the code (see video below for program overview). However, a major criticism is that not all have scores making comparison a difficult task. Pyle prides their workforce as a competitive advantage that should help shield them from major harm cased by the shortage.

 

For Further Reading Please Visit the Following:

http://csa.fmcsa.dot.gov/default.aspx

http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/ltls_facing_growing_threat_of_labor_shortages_increased_regulation_that_cou/

http://www.natera.org