Summer 2013 Trip

The Denmark Energy Study Tour is happening again from May 10 to 19, 2013! Find out more about this trip on USM Office of International Program website or Professor Gramlich’s website.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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I’ll be honest…

I’ll be honest, when we went to DRU in Riso I was blown away. The discussion on Biomass, specifically Bioethanol was part of what blew me away. The idea of extracting nutrients and biogas from animal manure is pure sustainability. 90% of the energy in the biogas is extracted and useable to produce both heat and power and the nutrients are used as fertilizer. The next step for us, however, is to get this idea to travel distances. Right now this sustainable process only work close to the Biomass facilities as the cost to transport outweighs the benefit from the process. This is definitely something we can work on.

Bioethanol was what change my view on so many things. I was blown away be the uses of feedstock and its huge sustainability potential. I was disgusted by the graph he showed us, A Flow-Chart for Products from Petroleum-based Feedstocks.

Way to many items are made from non-renewable resources, Petroleum and Natural gas. Textiles, Safe Food Supply, Transportation, Housing, Recreation, Communications, and Health and Hygiene. Besides food we eat, I don’t see anything missing from this list from our daily lives. Luckily he showed us this next graph. Analogous Model of a Bio-based Product Flow-chart for Biomass Feedstocks.

I was still disgusted, why are we using Petroleum when we can be using biomass feedstocks. I am hopeful however since this concept is in strong development. I think the best thing we can do is educate, educate about the possibilities of bio-based products over petroleum based products.

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An American in Denmark (Bonnie’s blog)

Hey everyone, check out my blog at

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Nicole Boucher’s blog entries (nbee1)

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Why is there no national law in the USA to mandate recycling?

States like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have “passed laws that establish deposits or refund values on beverage containers while other jurisdictions rely on recycling goals or landfill bans of recyclable materials.” But I ask why there is no national law that mandates recycling.

Unfortunately, some believe that “recycling still costs more than landfilling in most locales.” On the flip side, many cities have found ways to make recycling cost-effective by both reducing the frequency of curbside pickups, automating sorting and processing, and finding larger, more lucrative markets for the recyclables; as a result, dozens of U.S. cities are “diverting upwards of 30% of their solid waste streams to recycling.”

So, all is needed is a nation-wide effort to mobilize and implement such solutions; if more communities share ideas and efforts, the system will tend to become more economical, and the world will benefit more.


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The greatest roadblock for smart grids is not cost

“The greatest roadblock to developing smart grids in the US is not high up-front investment, good news when 65 million electric vehicles could be on the road by 2025.” Based on a survey of over 500 qualified industry participants, the top-3 issues are aging infrastructure, reliability and environment.

Moreover, according to the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP), one of the biggest issues associated with Smart Grids is understanding and accepting their concept. This survey determined that:
– 95% of the respondents said that the consumer does not understand the meaning of the term Smart Grid
– Over 75% of the surveyed respondents said Smart Grid technology can be used to significantly lower electricity consumption and electric bills

So even though we can see opinions vary on this subject, the truth probably lies somewhere in between these and others. And since knowledge has been known to be the key to most solutions, we should begin to use education to help educate the public.


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