Archive for category Environment

Oil Sands Debate with Elizabeth May

“Is Oil Sands Development Ultimately Irreconcilable with the Environmental Agenda?” was the question posed by Calgary Enterprise Forum. The discussion was held at Calgary Petroleum Club featuring Elizabeth May, Deborah Yedlin (Calgary Herald columnist) and Murray Smith (Energy Minister 2001-2005).

Despite the plethora of oil patch executives, Calgary Greens and red wine, no fisticuffs took place.

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Thorium Remix 2009

Update: Further trimmed video’s length to 16 minutes! That’s as brief as I can possibly make it.

Kirk Sorensen’s Google Tech Talk “Energy from Thorium” made a big impression on me. But when I recommended it to others, the typical response was “it’s 82 minutes long”. So I shortened it. In fact, I combined 3 Google Tech Talks on Thorium into first a single 25 minute summary (below), and now a 16 minute summary (above).

If you are care about climate change, energy independence or nuclear fission byproducts (some take thousands of years to decay), then please check this out. The liquid-fluoride thorium reactor (LFTR) is a fascinating concept, and watching a remix may be the fastest way to get up to speed. Prefer reading copy? Chemical & Engineering News just posted an excellent Thorium overview.

197 minutes of Google Tech Talks were reviewed and compressed to make this video. The video quality is what it is because it is all second generation YouTube content. Should anyone knowledgeable about LFTR pay a visit to Calgary (or Edmonton), I’ll be happy to record a lecture on the subject, and provide a sharper summary video.

Canada’s oil sands may represent the most likely scenario for LFTR adoption in Canada. Regardless of the energy source used to extract oil from bitumen, Alberta will be responsible for emitting a lot of CO2 as oil sands development continues. That appears politically inevitable. The resource is in the ground, we’re going to dig it up. Hopefully it will proceed as slowly as possible (as the bitumen will only increase in value over time), and as efficiently as possible.

LFTR R&D might be only considered “Oil Sands R&D” in the short term. But if it enables Canada to expand our CANDU reactor line to include liquid-fluoride thorium reactors, we wouldn’t just have better energy options at home, but more reactor options for export.

With that in mind, I created a MP3 audio-only version (6 MB), and an iPhone/iPod friendly MPEG-4 version (115 MB).

Those alternate formats are the 25 minute version, not 16 minute version. If you want to take a stab at creating a still shorter version (I think a video needs to be under 8 minutes to go viral), a high quality MPEG-4 version of the 16 minute remix is right here (89 MB). Giv’er.

2011-10-21 Update:

THORIUM REMIX 2011 is now complete. This is my recommended video resource for learning about the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (a type of Thorium Molten Salt Reactor). It begins with a brief summary comparing LFTR to Pressurized Water Reactors (PWR).

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Calgary’s Low Carbon Future – The Summit

I haven’t had too many opportunities to stream live video since WireCast days at Cambrian House, so Calgary’s Carbon Summit was to be a live test of my new configuration:

  • Dual core MacBook
  • Wireless microphones feeding both the live stream, and HDV capture
  • 3G iPhone with tethering capabilities (and my strong desire to max out ROGERS 6 GB data plan)

UStream.TV had broadcast flawlessly from my house the night before. What could go wrong? Well apparently SAIT’s WiFi was blocking ports to which the UStream responded by crashing the browser. Any browser.

Fortunately I had a ROGERS 6 GB data plan, an iPhone 3G, and a deep burning desire to use up as much bandwidth as possible. Do you know how HARD it is to eat up 6 GB with an iPhone? Finding a reasonably priced ROGERS data plan is IMPOSSIBLE, so I took SAIT’s blocked ports as a blessing in disguise. 753,100 KB later, and UStream.TV had rebroadcast the summit.

I’ve since had a chance to upload HDV coverage of the event to YouTube, and also to Internet Archive. The most viewer-friendly copy can be found at entitled “Calgary’s Low Carbon Future”, it is cut down from 101 to 56 minutes and follows the narrative woven by Skid Crease.

The summit adds value to other City of Calgary initiatives including the development of a Community Greenhouse Gas Plan, The City Manager’s Office Sustainable Development Strategy and the World Energy Cities Partnership. This is an opportunity to develop a multi-stakeholder developed and ratified action plan to address future energy challenges.

Bios for keynote speakers can be found here. Rob Macintosh’s presentation is also available as an isolated YouTube video, and downloadable MPEG-4 from Internet Archive.

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