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Please scroll down for lots of useful information. There are links to industry and environmental journals, relevant dates in the environmental and renewable energy calendar, current debates, a solar PV Feed-in Tariff calculator, green products websites, campaign groups and more. Some of this might be a bit outdated given time considerations and the fact that I don't get paid for doing this, but I do try and keep it as fresh and new as I can so it's still worth checking out.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Arguments against FCEVs (Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles)

I've just encountered this interesting article on Clean Technica which presents a number of arguments against Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs).

First, it seems that companies are using natural gas to source hydrogen. That obviously goes against the principle of providing a 'green' vehicle in the first place, and negates it. This is what Julian Cox says on the issue:

There are no such environmental benefits attributable to hydrogen either now or in any foreseeable future economic reality. On the contrary, hydrogen is a gross threat to efforts to tackle emissions as a result of public policies based on a false environmental premise and by grossly misleading advertising combined with incentives targeting consumers most at risk of deception by messaging citing the alleviation of environmental concerns as a value proposition.

The Ford Motor Company says this:

“Currently, the most state-of-the-art procedure is a distributed [on-site] natural gas steam reforming process. However, when FCVs are run on hydrogen reformed from natural gas using this process, they do not provide significant environmental benefits on a well-to-wheels basis (due to GHG emissions from the natural gas reformation process).”

And Tesla says this:

“Fuel Cell is so bullshit, it’s a load of rubbish. The only reason they do fuel cell is because…, they don’t really believe it, it’s something that they can…, it is like a marketing thing – but the reality is that if you took a fuel cell vehicle and you take the best case for a fuel cell vehicle in terms of the mass and volume required to go a particular range as well as the cost of the fuel cell system, and then you know, if you took the best case of that, it does not even equal the current state of the art of lithium ion batteries and so there is no way for it to become a workable technology.”

The alternative to obtaining hydrogen from natural gas is obtaining it from steam methane reforming:

Will hydrogen also become cleaner over time? No. EVs and FCVs are a fork in the road. One leads to renewables owing to direct compatibility and the other leads to natural gas. Natural gas is a cheap and abundant resource that comes out of the ground with energy potential for self-disassembly into hydrogen and CO2. Steam methane reforming is economically unassailable as a method of hydrogen production by clean but more complex methods.  

It seems to me there is enough evidence here to cast serious doubt on FCEVs, if not opting for complete rejection of them, at least those that use hydrogen sourced from gas.

But what do you think?  


Friday, 5 September 2014

Establishment Eco-Crimes

The Establishment’s greatest crime is to bring our planet to the brink of environmental disaster

Earlier this week The Guardian reported that two secret funders of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), former chancellor Nigel Lawson’s climate-sceptic think-tank, are also linked to the right-wing Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA). Neil Record is founder of a currency management company and an IEA trustee. Industrialist Lord Nigel Vinson is the life Vice-President. According to the Charity Commission, Vinson has given the GWPF £15,000. Record meanwhile refused to comment, stating that it was a private matter.

This isn’t much of a surprise, and in fact lays bare, again, the Establishment’s greatest crime – pushing our planet ever onwards to the brink of planetary disaster.

According to the article by Damien Carrington, the IEA has admitted accepting funding from fossil fuel companies and has also argued against climate change mitigation. It promotes climate change denial and has a history of attacking climate science. It’s stance on climate change is brazenly announced in the article by Robert L. Bradley Climate Alarmism Reconsidered which it featured on its website in 2004, in which Bradley states:

“Government intervention in the name of energy sustainability is the major threat to real energy sustainability and the provision of affordable, reliable energy to growing economies worldwide. Free-market structures and the wealth generated by markets help communities to best adapt to climate change.”

According to ExxonSecrets, the American Friends of the Institute for Economic Affairs has received $50,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998.

So, no surprise to find either that the IEA is in cahoots with other right-wing think tanks and lobby groups when it comes to attacking climate science. In July this year, the IEA featured on its website a short article written by Ryan Bourne who is the Head of Public Policy at the IEA but also the Head of Economic Research at the Centre for Policy Studies (CPS).

The article argued against silencing Lord Lawson stating that he had much to contribute with regard to an economic response to climate change and that we shouldn’t leave climate change to the scientists.

The IEA website has also hosted the arguments of economist Professor Colin Robinson, of the University of Surrey, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, worked for many years in the oil industry. There have been many others appearing on the site taking the same or a similar stance. You can read all about them on Denierlist. Professor Michael Beanstock, for example, has accused climate scientists of misusing statistics, describing the greenhouse effect as an illusion and arguing that climate change is really down to the sun.

Interestingly enough, according to George Monbiot, not once has the BBC challenged the IEA about its claim to be an independent organisation. Given that the media is among those institutions identified by Owen Jones as part of The Establishment, this, to my mind, supports his view that it is basically a racket, not just with regard to preserving privilege from the rich but also with regard to preventing and obstructing real action on climate change.

Additional notes:

Friday, 15 August 2014

How Denmark prioritised wind energy

This article on the Danish wind energy sector is fascinating. The Danes made a success of it with three simple steps: make wind energy a priority, subsidise it so the market can grow and finally help consumers to pay for it.

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Global onshore wind heading for install of 53GW per year (RENeweconomy)
Bloomberg New Energy Finance has estimated that the world will add an average of 50-53 gigawatts of new onshore wind energy capacity a year out to 2020.

How far away is grid parity for residential battery storage? (RENeweconomy)
It is now generally recognised that rooftop solar has reached “socket parity” – meaning it is comparable or cheaper than grid prices – in many countries over the last few years. The big question for consumers and utilities is when will socket parity arrive for solar and battery storage?

Citigroup says global solar prospects getting brighter
Leading investment bank Citigroup has painted an incredibly bright future for solar energy across the globe, arguing that its rapid expansion will be driven by “pure economics” and the growing need for diversity.

Energy & Environment Dates 2012

Solar PV Feed-in Tariff Calculator


This calculator is provided by Solar Guide, an online resource of professional solar PV and solar thermal installation companies.

Just one percent of land is all that is needed for solar to meet UK electricity demand

The Renewable Energy Centre

TheRenewableEnergyCentre - saving money, saving energy and saving the planet.

Camden County (USA) wastewater solar project

Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project

AREVA Solar Salt Storage

EMEC wave test site Orkney

New Vestas low wind turbine

Los Alamos smart grid demonstration project

Renewable energy in Germany