Sean poised for finish and place in history books

first_imgLinkedin Print Advertisement WhatsApp NewsLocal NewsSean poised for finish and place in history booksBy admin – April 29, 2010 718 Facebookcenter_img Twitter Previous articleGardai won’t be corrupted – NoonanNext articleSpain plays host to repeat of ‘05 and ‘06 as Munster battle Biarritz admin Email SPEAKING to the Limerick Post and with just 180 miles to the finish of his epic solo rowing voyage across the Atlantic, Limerick’s Sean McGowan is poised to be the first Irish man to complete the mammoth task of rowing the ocean.Emotional, but still able to draw on the huge support that has followed him, Sean told this journalist just what it was like as land and the finish line loomed. Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up “It has been much harder than I thought, my body is wrecked and mentally I am reaching the end. I’ve been away from my family for too long but I have come so far, I have to keep going. Big waves crash over the boat in my face constantly and it is like a washing machine here at times.”The “highlight” of each day comes when his wife, Lorraine, sends messages of support to his satellite phone from those that know and even those that don’t know Sean. “Lorraine would type out the messages and send them by text to the sat phone and when I was feeling low I could read them in the morning and the evening. People I don’t even know were sending messages and my brothers have been great keeping the campaign going to raise money for  the charity. That has kept me going.” Battling a swirling current that has kept him perched on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, Sean notes the milestones that he must reach in order to make history. “The magic number is 59 degrees 26 minutes and when I hit that I will have crossed the Atlantic Ocean and after that it’s like threading a needle to the finish line as i have a tricky route in to follow. I am aiming to be finished by Monday but this Thursday I’m hoping to cross that magic line and make history.|. But his finish is not without danger and Sean is only too well aware of that. “Two boats have already had to be rescued after running aground on reefs. I’m still in the middle of the ocean and can see nothing but water. I’m not there yet.”With over 115 days rowing at sea, Sean will have one day to ready his boat to be shipped home when he finishes in English Harbour in Antigua. “Tuesday and Wednesday, all going well, I will get the boat ready to ship home and then I hope to land in Shannon next Friday. I will miss my daughter’s confirmation, but Lorraine will be there to support her. This has been so hard for them and I really can’t wait to get home to them”.Earlier this week, Mayor Kevin Kiely told  a meeting of the city council that everyone in the city is rooting for Sean McGowan and that he will be inviting him into City Hall to a special reception when he returns to Limerick.Click the tracking image on the right to follow the final stages of Sean’s epic journey and click his profile picture on top to send messages of support to his facebook page. last_img read more

Just use less

first_imgThe easiest way to reduce U.S. consumption of greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels may not involve changing the way it is generated, but rather simply using less of it, an energy expert said.Maxine Savitz, vice president of the National Academy of Engineering, former deputy assistant secretary for conservation in the U.S. Department of Energy, and a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, said the energy efficiency gained through new technologies in buildings, cars, and industry could reduce energy use as much as 30 percent by 2030.Savitz, who spoke at the Science Center as part of the Harvard University Center for the Environment’s (HUCE) Future of Energy lecture series on Nov. 17, presented the results of reports by the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering that assessed technology’s potential to transform the nation’s energy production, distribution, and use.The reports conclude, Savitz said, that the United States needs a concerted and sustained energy approach, but that potential efficiencies from technology in buildings, transportation, and industry could cut energy consumption 15 percent by 2020 and 30 percent by 2030. The savings from heating, cooling, lighting, and other building systems alone could counterbalance the projected growth in energy consumption through 2030, meaning that no new power plants would be needed. In addition, Savitz said, those estimates were calculated assuming that people continue their everyday behavior. Savings from conservation-related behavior change — such as walking to work instead of driving, turning the thermostat down, and wearing heavier clothes at home — were not included in those calculations and could potentially add significantly to energy savings.“Deploying existing energy-efficient technology is the nearest term and lowest-cost option,” Savitz said.Savitz, a retired general manager of technology partnerships for Honeywell Inc., also lamented the country’s shift away from energy efficiency during the 1980s. In response to a question by HUCE Director Daniel Schrag, Savitz said that if the nation had maintained the savings momentum gained in the late 1970s, it would be far ahead on conserving energy now.Savitz said the last couple of years have been exciting for those involved in energy conservation and efficiency, with public interest at levels not seen since the 1970s. The question, she said, is how long such interest will continue. Savitz said that any U.S. energy solutions will require a portfolio of changes across many fields, not just energy efficiency.Savitz was part of the team that drafted the report on the potential for energy efficiency through technology, released earlier this year. Other subcommittees looked at power generation from renewable energy sources and at the potential for using coal and biomass to create liquid transportation fuels.There are several promising options for new electricity supplies, Savitz said, including nuclear power plants that utilize novel technology, coal plants with carbon capture and sequestration technology, and increased use of wind power. Renewables provide just 8 or 9 percent of the nation’s energy, with most of that from hydropower. The United States could draw 20 percent of its power from wind, she said, but that would require a major investment, including building 100,000 turbines at a cost of $100 billion for capital improvements.There are few immediate alternatives to using gasoline for liquid transportation, Savitz said. Fuel use is projected to reach about 15 million barrels a day by 2035, and just 2.5 million barrels can reasonably be expected to come from clean biofuels or liquid-coal technology.“We’re going to be using petroleum fuels for a long time in the transportation sector,” Savitz said.The United States has proven in the past that it can increase energy efficiency, Savitz said. Consumption rose continuously until the 1970s, when it leveled off, before beginning to grow again, increasing 40 percent in the decades since. Now, 40 percent of the nation’s energy goes to light, heat, cool, and otherwise run buildings. Transportation uses another 28 percent, while industry uses 33 percent.Though the U.S. economy has become more energy-efficient in recent years, it still uses about twice as much energy per dollar of gross domestic product as European economies, Savitz said. Greater energy efficiency is possible for a host of building systems and appliances, in both residential and industrial settings. Savitz cited possible improvements in everything from television sets to heating and cooling systems to windows to clothes washers to lighting, for which new light-emitting diode bulbs are poised to reduce energy consumption even from that of compact fluorescent light bulbs.Savitz used the example of the refrigerator to illustrate the potential for savings from energy efficiency. Refrigerators in 1947 averaged eight cubic feet and used 400 kilowatt hours of electricity. Refrigerators grew in both size and energy consumption through the 1970s, when their energy use began to decline. That dip continues, and now, although they’re much larger at roughly 22 cubic feet, they use only slightly more energy than they did more than half a century ago.Though there is great promise of savings from energy efficiency, there are barriers to adopting these technologies too, Savitz said, including lack of information, problems with capital availability, regulatory policies, ownership status, and the uncertain psychological factors involved in making people embrace change.That last issue has gotten the least attention, Savitz said, but is a significant variable. You only have to consider why consumers suddenly changed driving and car-buying habits when gas prices topped $4 a gallon to understand how significant and difficult to predict it can be.“How do people make decisions? Why at $4 do people drive less, but at $3 they don’t?” Savitz asked.last_img read more