Category Archives: business service

Consultants on Alternative Energy

The alternative energy consultants tell us that the transition from the petroleum-driven economy and society will not be a smooth one, on the whole. The amount of new technologies and infrastructures that need to be developed and built is staggering—even as Germany achieves powering 10% of the entire nation through the use of wind turbines and solar arrays, even as corporation after corporation is springing up, helped by various governments’ tax breaks and rebate incentives, to drive forward the alternative energy mission. We have lain dormant on alternative energy on the grand scale for so long that we now have to scramble to play catch-up as access to cheap oil lurks ever closer to being a thing of the past.

Consultants on alternative energy also tell us that we need multilateral, international efforts in concert with one another in the direction of getting away from the heavy—almost total—dependence on fossil fuels. They are poised to become too expensive, burning them is polluting the atmosphere, and digging for them is disrupting the natural environment. We have about 30 years left of reasonably cheap oil and gas—and consultants say that within 20 years beyond that point, we had better be at least 90% independent of them. Unfortunately, at the present time the world is mostly not acting as if this is the case. The thirst for oil is growing, not slaking, and it is growing faster now than it did even in the 1970s.

One of the major problems of transition, the consultants point out, is that higher oil and gas prices stimulate the economy (This flies in the face of what many energy so-called “experts” and many members of the public believe, but the fact is that oil and gas are found and manufactured and transported by huge corporations who employ multitudes of staff workers and contractors; and from their huge profits their stocks remain lucrative on Wall Street.). Alternative, or “green” energy has to become more marketplace friendly, more profitable to investors and would-be employers. Wall Street does not like change; so there is resistance to this much-needed economic transition. It is because of this that many consultants are saying that we need an international, governments-backed initiative put into place; we are told that we cannot expect the new economy to spring forth overnight, all clean and polished and perfected, from the black ashes of the fossil fuel economy phoenix.

It is most imperative that the wealthy, big-production nations such as the US, Japan, Western Europe, and others be the ones to spearhead the effort to get off of the fossil fuel dependence. Smaller, poorer nations are very simply never going to achieve the level of energy production through coal and oil that these nations have—for by the time they would be ready to, the cheap access to the fossil fuels will be gone, and they will never be able to sustain their newly-risen civilizations at that time as we have been able to do. The time for transition from black to green is now.

Biofuels as Alternative Sources of Energy

Biofuels are produced by converting organic matter into fuel for powering our society. These biofuels are an alternative energy source to the fossil fuels that we currently depend upon. The biofuels umbrella includes under its aegis ethanol and derivatives of plants such as sugar cane, as well aS vegetable and corn oils. However, not all ethanol products are designed to be used as a kind of gasoline. The International Energy Agency (IEA) tells us that ethanol could comprise up to 10 percent of the world’s usable gasoline by 2025, and up to 30 percent by 2050. Today, the percentage figure is two percent.

However, we have a long way to go to refine and make economic and practical these biofuels that we are researching. A study by Oregon State University proves this. We have yet to develop biofuels that are as energy efficient as gasoline made from petroleum. Energy efficiency is the measure of how much usable energy for our needed purposes is derived from a certain amount of input energy. (Nothing that mankind has ever used has derived more energy from output than from what the needed input was. What has always been important is the conversion—the end-product energy is what is useful for our needs, while the input energy is just the effort it takes to produce the end-product.) The OSU study found corn-derived ethanol to be only 20% energy efficient (gasoline made from petroleum is 75% energy efficient). Biodiesel fuel was recorded at 69% energy efficiency. However, the study did turn up one positive: cellulose-derived ethanol was charted at 85% efficiency, which is even higher than that of the fantastically efficient nuclear energy.

Recently, oil futures have been down on the New York Stock Exchange, as analysts from several different countries are predicting a surge in biofuel availability which would offset the value of oil, dropping crude oil prices on the international market to $40 per barrel or thereabouts. The Chicago Stock Exchange has a grain futures market which is starting to “steal” investment activity away from the oil futures in NY, as investors are definitely expecting better profitability to start coming from biofuels. Indeed, it is predicted by a consensus of analysts that biofuels shall be supplying seven percent of the entire world’s transportation fuels by the year 2030. One certain energy markets analyst has said, growth in demand for diesel and gasoline may slow down dramatically, if the government subsidizes firms distributing biofuels and further pushes to promote the use of eco-friendly fuel.

There are several nations which are seriously involved in the development of biofuels.

There is Brazil, which happens to be the world’s biggest producer of ethanols derived from sugars. It produces approximately three and a half billion gallons of ethanol per year.

The United States, while being the world’s greatest oil-guzzler, is already the second largest producer of biofuels behind Brazil.

The European Union’s biodiesel production capacity is now in excess of four million (British) tonnes. 80 percent of the EU’s biodiesel fuels are derived from rapeseed oil; soybean oil and a marginal quantity of palm oil comprise the other 20 percent.

Advertising for Free

Advertising for free seems like an impossible thing when heard. But there are several ways by which the cost of advertisement can be conserved, with the help of some imagination and creativity.

A business wanting to advertise, can write articles related to their field of expertise that can be submitted to media and publications having interest in that particular field. The advertising article can have information about the company and dealership opportunity. Due to the rise in Internet users and websites, new websites have sprung up which offer free services. Articles can be written for these websites and they can be broadcasted for free, which will be viewed by hundreds of people everyday.

Once the business has gained some recognition, within no time it will gain popularity also among the crowds. This popularity can lead to them being invited on radio and television talk shows and even to interviews. Such kind of opportunities shouldn’t be missed as they provide a chance for free promotion. If it is taking a long time to get a break, the producer can be addressed with a letter that can be followed up by a telephone call or in-person visit. During the visit, the nature of expertise can be discussed about the business, which will be of interest to the viewers of the particular channel. Once a businessperson gains the status of being public-friendly, more offers start pouring in.

Free bulletin board located in the neighborhood, like in grocery stores, libraries, and salons, are another good idea. Advertising circulars can be posted on such boards for free. Circulars for mass distribution can be handed out at the mall, shopping center, bus stops, particularly on weekends when there is a big rush. Students can be hired on part time basis for this purpose.

Promotional advertisement can be printed on the envelopes used by the business firms. Both the sender and the receiver can view this advertisement. Promotional offers can be sent to customers by postcards, which should be utilized to its full, leaving only place left for writing the address.

Some of the new mail order publications offer free first time and seasonal deductions for advertisers. Other publications offer pay per inquiry space. Inquiries can be made about stand-by space, which means that the publication holds the submission of advertisement until the space is not sold and in that case, thirty three percent saving can be achieved. Usually local newspapers provide these kinds of offers.

If the business is involved in ad sheet or catalog publishing, other publishers can be contacted for the purpose of bartering an advertising exchange. They can place advertisement in their publication, in return for placing their advertisement in the business’s publication.

Free offers can be provided to the customer. This can be done by emailing or printing newsletter about information regarding the area of interest of the targeted customers and can be made popular by using tag lines. Attach a free coupon with it, which the customers can use it for shopping, if a criterion is met like minimum purchase of $ 50. By this the response will be huge and most of them will purchase something or the other to avail the free offer. The basic ingredient for advertising for free is imagination and research. Opportunities should be searched and a strong working force should be applied to increase the sales.

Advertising on Television

Advertisements of products, organizations, and services are generally aired on television. This is be done by buying slots on the airtime from a particular television channel. Price depends on the popularity of the channel, time the commercial is being aired, number of viewers and length of the commercial. Placing a commercial on local channels is more affordable than on national channel where the cost is almost double.

When thinking of placing a commercial on television it is advised that you first understand what audience needs to be reached. Different audiences have different taste, which can be determined by their choice of television show like celebrity talk, cartoons, sports, reality, news, movies, soaps, prime time etc. Prime time is usually from 6 to 7 pm and is the most expensive slot. Following it is the news time at noon or 10-11 pm slots, which are proven to be the most effective time slots for the success of a commercial. More affordable is the 12-4 pm soap time. Always check out with the sales representative for the prices. When advertising on national level, check out an ad agency that usually works on commission basis. It’s highly recommended to negotiate during a re-run of the advertisement and stay away from paying the complete amount.

Compare the prices of different networks and different programs before you place an ad. Another money saving trick is to buy a thirty seconds slot and air commercials of ten to fifteen seconds of length one after the other. This increases the possibility of target viewers seeing the commercial without the cost of re-runs. But this is risky as the pressure of conveying critical information in a short period of time increases. So the commercials should not be so short that the actual message couldn’t be delivered correctly to the audience. Usually a reminder commercial can be of a shorter duration.

Look out for the people who would like to buy a slot that has already been purchased. This can be very tricky as it will be more like a bid for which they will be ready to pay a larger amount sometimes even double because they badly need a slot. This usually happens during the holiday season, which comes in the last quarter of the year around New Years Eve, Thanksgiving holidays and Christmas holidays. Best time of the year to buy slots for commercial is the first and second quarter of the year. Price is usually negotiable during the first quarter as the sales representatives give discounts to advertisers who have spend a lot of money advertising during the holiday season and are trying to recover from it.

If planning to pay for advertising commercials for the whole year check out the discounts that are being offered for advertising round the year. Usually a five percent discount is offered when signing for a six-month time period and ten percent when signing for a twelve-month time period. But do keep in mind to check out exactly when the commercials are being aired because these discounts are usually offered to distract people from this point and the commercials are aired during odd hours and also not during the holiday season.

The very first commercial to go on air was of Bulova Watch Company on WNBC, United States of America on July 1, 1941. And ever since then there have been no stopping and now commercials sell anything that one can ever imagine.

Alternative Energy for the Home

The trend toward homes that are powered by alternative energy sources, ranging from wind turbines and solar collection cells to hydrogen fuel cells and biomass gases, is one that needs to continue into the 21st century and beyond. We have great need of becoming more energy independent, and not having to rely on the supplying of fossil fuels from unstable nations who are often hostile to us and our interests. But even beyond this factor, we as individuals need to get “off the grid” and also stop having to be so reliant on government-lobbying giant oil corporations who, while they are not really involved in any covert conspiracy, nevertheless have a stranglehold on people when it comes to heating their homes (and if not through oil, then heat usually supplied by grid-driven electricity, another stranglehold).

As Remi Wilkinson, Senior Analyst with Carbon Free, puts it, inevitably, the growth of distributed generation will lead to the restructuring of the retail electricity market and the generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure. The power providers may have to diversify their business to make up for revenues lost through household energy microgeneration. She is referring to the conclusions by a group of UK analysts, herself included among them, who call themselves Carbon Free. Carbon Free has been studying the ever-growing trend toward alternative energy-using homes in England and the West. This trend is being driven by ever-more government recommendation and sometimes backing of alternative energy research and development, the rising cost of oil and other fossil fuels, concern about environmental degradation, and desires to be energy independent. Carbon Free concludes that, assuming traditional energy prices remain at their current level or rise, microgeneration (meeting all of one’s home’s energy needs by installing alternative energy technology such as solar panels or wind turbines) will become to home energy supply what the Internet became to home communications and data gathering, and eventually this will have deep effects on the businesses of the existing energy supply companies.

Carbon Free’s analyses also show that energy companies themselves have jumped in on the game and seek to leverage microgeneration to their own advantage for opening up new markets for themselves. Carbon Free cites the example of electricity companies (in the UK) reporting that they are seriously researching and developing ideas for new geothermal energy facilities, as these companies see geothermal energy production as a highly profitable wave of the future. Another conclusion of Carbon Free is that solar energy hot water heating technology is an efficient technology for reducing home water heating costs in the long run, although it is initially quite expensive to install. However, solar power is not yet cost-effective for corporations, as they require too much in the way of specialized plumbing to implement solar energy hot water heating. Lastly, Carbon Free tells us that installing wind turbines is an efficient way of reducing home electricity costs, while also being more independent. However, again this is initially a very expensive thing to have installed, and companies would do well to begin slashing their prices on these devices or they could find themselves losing market share.