Friday, January 18, 2013

What The Frack - Part 2

As we always point out on CogDis, there is more there is always more - which leads us to write a sequel to What the Frack? which dealt with the industries attack on the documentary GASLAND!  

Now there is a movie(which I recommend) out called Promised Land w/ Matt Damon.   Just like clockwork, the industry is on the attack!  

Before Gus Van Sant’s latest film Promised Land even premiered, the energy industry was up in arms, gearing up to counter the film's apparent anti-fracking stance with a barrage of “community” responses (read: thinly veiled corporate PR). James Schamus, chief executive of Focus Features the distributor of the film, expressed shock about the attacks on Promised Land: “We’ve been surprised at the emergence of what looks like a concerted campaign targeting the film even before anyone’s seen it.” cover for the movie "promised land"With blogs, astroturf websites, Facebook pages, internet ads, and theater ad buys in advance of the movie, the industry is working hard to spin the conversation in a more fracking-friendly direction.

The film chronicles the story of a gas industry salesman, played by Matt Damon, and his attempt to convince the residents of a rural Pennsylvania town to agree to fracking development. The questions raised by actors in the film mirror the debates taking place in communities across the country. What type of chemicals are used in fracking? What is the effect of fracking on air and water? While the industry may make a few struggling families rich, what is the cost for the community as a whole?

These battles hold special interest in Wisconsin, because the mining bill is the first bill the republicans want to pass.      As Representative Katrina Shankland(D-Stevens Point) says:

 I'm really disappointed in the legislators who persistently and falsely sell the mining bill to the public as a jobs bill.

If the mining bill passes, it will be held up in court for years.

Of the 700 jobs that would be created after 5-7 years of waiting and implementing the legislation, not many jobs would be for Wisconsin workers. Ask any expert on the matter and they'll tell you we don't do that kind of work right now, and don't have that training available.

This isn't a jobs bill. This is a bill to deregulate one industry (iron mining) to open the floodgates to do the same for many others.

Think about why that is. Don't let yourself be swept away by the rhetoric. We are better than this. Wisconsin is better than this.

There is a reason WI has only added about 30,000 jobs since Scott Walker was voted into office, they are not serious about adding jobs, they just want to reward their donors and rig the system.    So know, in these next few weeks when the republicans are discussing all of the mining jobs they are creating, They are being less than honest! 

Next movie for the industry to attack is Fractured Land!


  1. Jeff, thanks very much. This is another side of the Koch brothers and other carbon kings owning Gov. Walker.

    Methane = natural gas.

    "Waste Management to tap landfill methane: Garbage hauler to spend $400 million to turn greenhouse gas into power"

    ".....In an announcement Wednesday, Waste Management said it will begin building landfill gas-to-energy facilities in Texas, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Wisconsin.....The Houston-based company sells the power to retail power providers, municipal utilities and other users."

    1. Wisconsin dairy herds are an outstanding source of methane/natural gas.

      Hilarides Dairy has a 9,000 Jersey cows and they make a lot of bio methane/natural gas. They use it to generate electricity and run vehicles on CNG (compressed natural gas).

  2. Since May 2012, the City of Milwaukee has been selling CNG which it buys from frackers and other sources outside of Wisconsin.

    biomethane/natural gas is CH4. Regardless of where you get it, you have to refine it. For biomethane, that means removing the hydrogen sulphide (that's what stinks), the carbon dioxide and the water vapor. To use it commercially it has to be at or above 95% CH4.

    1. Here's a url to a more technical explanation of various refining methods.

      Although I like the decentralized concept in the youtube below, "Methane Biodigester How To," it fails to adequately explain to homeowners the dangers of working with methane, as well as the refining process.

      IMHO, hospitals and nursing homes would be other "low-hanging-fruit," when it comes to biomethane.

      As you know unburned methane, released directly into the atmosphere, is a lot more damaging green house gas than carbon. So there's an affirmative value to capturing methane.

    2. Another side to this is fuel cells which do not burn the biomethane, but instead generate electricity through a chemical reaction. That technology isn't here yet, but it's much more carbon negative.

      Germany is way ahead of us. They're using the same science, but using biomethane as a storage from solar. Wind would work just as well.

      "World's largest power-to-gas plant for methane production goes into operation"

      "The Centre for Solar Research Baden-W├╝rttemberg (ZSW) has inaugurated a research facility to convert solar power to methane. The methane is then added to the natural gas grid.
      The project uses solar power to electrolyse water in a pressurised alkaline electrolyser, producing hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gas then undergoes methanation, and with the facility able to produce up to 300 cubic meters of renewable methane per day, it is the largest of its type in the world.
      Commenting on the opening, Dr. Michael Specht, head of ZSW-Renewable fuels added: "Our research system works dynamically and intermittently. Unlike the first system it can respond flexibly to the rapidly changing supply of electricity from wind and solar power and to sudden interruptions. This is a condition of future energy systems with a high share of renewable electricity."
      Future plans are to further optimise the system, along with partners Fraunhofer IWES and SolarFuel, and to potentially scale it up to 1 to 20 megawatts."

  3. All this is very close to what President George W. Bush proposed wrt hydrogen cars. Can biomethane be an intermediate step to a more carbon-negative hydrogen economy? Smarter folks than I will have to comment.

    Another issue for Wisconsin is biomass/wood. Getting ethanol from corn/yellow dent 20 is not a clean process. Research into getting energy from biomass is important for Wisconsin.

  4. All the major car makers have invested in hydrogen "Toyota to start selling hydrogen fuel cell car"

    "Green" is the new chic and the affluent will pay extra to be perceived as more "green."

    Endbridge is a pipeline company currently trading above $44/share on the NYSE. Readers may recall them spilling a lot of oil in Michigan and Wisconsin. They claim they're injecting hydrogen into their natural gas pipeline assets.

    Although not mentioned below, the technical hurdles from embrittlement and corrosion of the pipeline are not insignificant.

    “....But the way Enbridge describes this collaboration, it has little interest in fuel cells. Instead, it wants to generate hydrogen and inject it into its natural gas pipeline assets, “proportionally increasing the renewable energy content in natural gas pipelines.” In other words — the way I read it from the press release — it wants to reduce the carbon intensity of the natural gas in its pipelines by mixing it with hydrogen. That cleaner natural gas will then be burned in natural gas-fired plants, people’s home furnaces, etc…...

    We already have a huge storage and transport system that is all bought and paid for and can be used for hydrogen,” says Daryl Wilson, CEO of Hydrogenics. “It is the natural gas pipeline system.” Hydrogenics is pioneering what it calls “power-to-gas” – the idea of feeding excess electrical power as hydrogen into the natural gas grid. The company recently announced a deal with Enbridge, owner of the world’s largest liquid pipeline and a company that also has significant investments in photovoltaics, to jointly develop utility-scale energy storage in North America. Wilson admits that “power-to-gas” is just one of the many ways in which hydrogen can be used. “We live in a world where energy has traditionally been separated into different industries – we use gasoline for transport, natural gas for fuel and electricity for power. Hydrogen has the potential to be used for all these applications and so brings a new economic flexibility,” says Wilson. “Of all the energy storage solutions available, hydrogen is the only one that will be able to cope with demand. If Germany continues of its path of implementing renewable energy, it may need to store up to a month’s worth of energy. You can’t do that with batteries!....”

  5. I work in Oconomowoc and we smell methane leaking through the pipes all the time... wonder what that's about. It's been happening more frequently too.

  6. Call We Energies.

    Methane is odorless. What you're probably smelling is natural gas.

    Refiners insert an odor into natural gas as a safety precaution. My guess is that's what you're smelling.

  7. John thanks for all of the links, etc....very informative!