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Monday, 20 April 2015

Friday, 17 April 2015

EMEC acquires integrated hydrogen system for tidal energy storage

The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, has acquired an electrolyser to convert power generated at its tidal test site to hydrogen fuel.

Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) are a better alternative to conventional vehicles says Japanese engineer

Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of Toyota's hydrogen fuel-cell car Mirai, said that battery-powered EVs don’t have a practical future as a long-range alternative to conventional cars, even with fast-charging. Mr Tanaka said that fast-charging would guzzle so much energy at once that it would defeat the purpose of the EV as an ecologically sound form of transportation.

“If you were to charge a car in 12 minutes for a range of 500 km (310 miles), for example, you're probably using up electricity required to power 1,000 houses” Tanaka said. “That totally goes against the need to stabilise electricity use on the grid.”

Cars like the Nissan Leaf require lengthy charging, which reduces their attractiveness for customers planning to drive for long distances frequently. The Leaf requires about eight hours for a full charge, using a 200-volt outlet and giving a listed driving range of around 84 miles in the US.

“Toyota isn’t denying the benefits of EVs” Tanaka added, “But we think the best way to use them is to charge them at night (to avoid peak power consumption hours), and use them for short distances during the day.”

Toyota believes the most promising zero-emission alternative to conventional cars are hydrogen fuel-call vehicles (FCVs) as they have a similar driving range and refuelling time. However, FCVs require massive investment and government subsidies for fuelling stations. According to Tanaka, hydrogen could be extracted from many different sources and has the advantage of being portable and more easily stored than electricity. The southern Japanese city of Fukuoka last month completed a fuelling station that uses hydrogen made from sewage. This could power around 70 Mirai FCVs per day. 

Source: Reuters

Wind energy in the US saved more than 68 billion gallons of water in 2014

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind energy has avoided the consumption of over 68 billion gallons of water in the US in 2014, in addition to many other benefits and savings.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Jeremy Leggett: The coal, oil and gas industries are in DEEP trouble

Jeremy Leggett says fossil fuels are in DEEP trouble and that clean energy can expect them to play dirty as they go down

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The No Growth Imperative

Here is another one for my reading list, suggested by a friend on Facebook. According to the blurb on Amazon:

"More than two decades of mounting evidence confirms that the existing scale of the human enterprise has surpassed global ecological limits to growth. Based on such limits, The No-Growth Imperative discounts current efforts to maintain growth through eco-efficiency initiatives and smart-growth programs, and argues that growth is inherently unsustainable and that the true nature of the challenge confronting us now is one of replacing the current growth imperative with a no-growth imperative.

Gabor Zovanyi asserts that anything less than stopping growth would merely slow today’s dramatic degradation and destruction of ecosystems and their critical life-support services. Zovanyi makes the case that local communities must take action to stop their unsustainable demographic, economic, and urban increases, as an essential prerequisite to the realization of sustainable states.
The book presents rationales and legally defensible strategies for stopping growth in local jurisdictions, and portrays the viability of no-growth communities by outlining their likely economic, social, political, and physical features. It will serve as a resource for those interested in shifting the focus of planning from growth accommodation to the creation of stable, sustainable communities. While conceding the challenges associated with transforming communities into no-growth entities, Zovanyi concludes by presenting evidence that suggests that prospects for realizing states of no growth are greater than might be assumed."

The Sixth Extinction

An interesting book on climate change reviewed by Umair Muhammed of Climate and Capitalism. See review here.

The Power of the Vortex: An Interview with David Suriol of Vortex Bladeless

Vortex Bladeless is an early startup that designs, manufactures and commercialises multi-patented bladeless wind turbines. It is based on a new concept of harnessing wind energy that is competitive in conventional wind farms but is also suitable for distributed energy mixing with solar panels. In the future it may also be become suitable for offshore deployment. The project claims it is able to reduce manufacturing costs by 53 percent compared to conventional multi-blade wind power generators, as it removes the most expensive components associated with the blades, nacelle and tower. This means that Vortex also has much lower maintenance costs, as there are no moving parts that require periodic lubrication or replacement.

Additionally, there are no components that could, even theoretically, pose a risk to bird life or emit noise disturbance, and for this reason several environmental groups, including the SEO Birdlife Association are actively supporting the project. The project has received funding from oil and gas company Repsol and has also managed to raise funds of over 1 million Euros from private and public funds in Europe.

Renewable Energy Magazine talked to David Suriol about this new technology to find out more.

You can read the full interview article here.

Energy & Environment Dates 2012