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Wednesday, 26 October 2016

More efficient water splitting advances renewable energy conversion finds WSU scientists

Washington State University researchers have found a way to more efficiently create hydrogen from water – an important key in making renewable energy production and storage viable.

SolarWindow Technologies passes critical milestone for electricity-generating windows

SolarWindow Technologies, Inc. has announced that its SolarWindows coatings have successfully performed under test conditions designed to simulate the high pressure and temperatures of the ‘autoclave’ manufacturing system.

Mahindra makes entry into mass-market electric hatchback segment with new e20Plus

Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra Electric, part of the Mahindra Group, has announced the launch of its new electric CitySmart car, the e20Plus.

G20 governments must stop all forms of fossil fuel subsidies says ODI paper

A paper published by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) highlights how building just a third of the planned coal-fired power plants would take the world past 2 degrees C of warming, pushing hundreds of millions into extreme poverty. destruction

Flying is one of the causes of increasingly ferocious climate change. I invite you to stop. 

This isn't really going to boost my popularity, but it has to be said.

Worldwide air travel is likely to double over the next two decades. 2016 is likely to beat 2015 as the warmest year on record.

If you fly, you are, yourself, part of that equation. If you post pictures on Facebook of places you've visited far away, and you flew to get there, you are therefore helping to destroy the places you profess to love, including the place you probably value most of all - your own home. We can blame the government, justifiably, but in the end you are partly to blame. And, given, that I've flown six times in the 50 years I've been alive, so am I. Which is why I won't be flying again. How you feel about this is of course up to you, but denial is not an option. Flying is one of the major causes of increasingly ferocious climate change. I invite you to stop.

The Tories have now displayed their planet-trashing tendencies yet again, as if we should really be surprised. They are not all bad, a handful of them, such as John Selwyn Gummer and, a Tory until yesterday, Zac Goldsmith, take the Earth's current environmental emergency seriously. However, most of them simply don't seem to care. The Third Runway at Heathrow falls into a pattern - an attempt to devastate the UK in the 1990's with a major programme of road building, slashing subsidies for renewable energy generation while promoting North Sea oil, nuclear and fracking, a significant amount of climate change denial within the party itself, and now approval of the third runway. The lesson is clear, as it always has been. You can't a trust a Tory to protect the planet.

In the UK, aviation is the fastest-growing contributor to climate change. According to the World Development Movement, if the third runway is built it will emit as much CO2 as the whole of Kenya. In 2009, according to figures from the Department for Transport, Heathrow generated half of all the country's aviation emissions. If a third runway is built, it will generate half the UK's overall emissions. If the UK is to meet its target of an 80 percent cut in CO2 by 2050, there must be no expansion at Heathrow, since the expansion of UK aviation will seriously undermine this target.

What about the business case for the runway proposed by those in favour of the runway? It's actually a nonsense. Most people who fly from London airports don't mind which airport they use. London has six airports in total, with seven runways. Paris has eight runways. Amsterdam has six. Frankfurt 5 and Madrid 4. Therefore comparing Heathrow in isolation with any of those cities is ludicrous.

"The second reason is that the climate impact of aeroplanes is not confined to the carbon they produce. They release several different kinds of gases and particles. Some of them cool the planet, others warm it. In the upper tropo-sphere, where most large planes fly, hot, wet air from the jet engine exhaust mixes with cold air. As the moisture condenses, it can form "contrails", which in turn appear to give rise to cirrus clouds - those high wispy formations of ice crystals sometimes known as "horsetails". While they reflect some of the sun's heat back into the space, they also trap heat in the atmosphere, especially at night; the heat trapping seems to be the stronger effect. The overall impact, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is a warming effect 2.7 times that of the carbon dioxide alone."
- George Monbiot, 2006

The construction of a third runway would lock the UK into a path of high carbon dioxide emissions. For that reason alone, it must be stopped.

I invite you to be part of that attempt to stop the construction of the third runaway. Stop flying or reduce the amount of flying you do, restrict your flying to essential flying only, try and offset your emissions by cutting your carbon footprint in other areas of your life or by contributing to a tree planting charity every time you fly, protest, do direct action if you want to. But whatever you do, do something.

And start doing it now.

This blog post may also be seen on my website, here.

Monday, 24 October 2016

Envision Solar receives order from New York State for EV ARC

 Envision Solar International, Inc., a manufacturer of EV charging equipment has announced that New York State has issued a purchase order for the Company’s EV ARC product.

No Time For Oil At All Actually...

Professor of Petroleum Engineering, Babs Oyeneyin from Robert Gordon University has stated that North Sea Oil could have a long bright future. Not if we want to protect the planet it won't.

According to Herald Scotland this week, Professor of Petroleum Engineering, Babs Oyeneyin from Robert Gordon University has stated that North Sea Oil could have a long bright future, while also expressing support for fracking in the meantime. Professor Oyeneyin is due to give a lecture in Aberdeen this week on the subject and commented that while clean energy is a welcome addition to the global energy mix, the oil and gas supply should be maintained in order to resolve the energy gap.

"We have explored less than 20 per cent of the world's hydrocarbon deposits, and the recovery factor is only 40 per cent" said Oyeneyin, clearly supportive of attempts to exploit as many of the world's remaining oil reserves as possible. "There is still around 60 per cent left just in and around the oil and gas fields that we have to exploit, never mind elsewhere."

However, there are a few major problems with this analysis, although you can hardly expect a petroleum engineering expert to say anything else.

For a start, North Sea Oil is in terminal decline. As Euan Mearns pointed out in 2013, UK oil production peaked in 1999 and has since declined at an annual rate of between 5 and 10 percent, accelerating to 17.9 percent in 2011. This rate of decline has continued to grow unabated, despite record high investment. Capital expenditure on new field developments and old field refurbishments grew from £2.5 million in 2008 to a projected £14 billion in 2013.  Purely then, in terms of finding new reliable sources of oil, the North Sea is a dead duck, or will become so before much longer.

By far the greater problem though is climate change, which is on the point of becoming an unprecedented climate catastrophe, if not already so. 2016 has, predictably, been the warmest year on record, and we should really start to worry about this.

What we should NOT do is carrying on exploiting new sources of fossil fuels as if everything was normal, because it isn't.

But the oil industry clearly, and unsurprisingly, is not listening to this message and is carrying on trying to exploit and refurbish existing and ageing oil fields, and searching for new ones, as if there was no climate emergency at all. This is explained quite clearly by Naomi Klein in her book This Changes Everything, in which she points out that oil companies have to keep on extracting in order to recoup their initial investments. Bill McKibben is even more explicit: We have to keep 80 percent of the fossil fuels we know about, underground. If those resources are burned, we will overwhelm the planet's physical systems. It's that simple.

Except that it's not, because the oil industry just isn't listening.

"Using the industry’s own figures, it shows that burning the oil, gas and coal in the fields and mines that are already either in production or being developed is likely to take the global temperature rise beyond 2°" said British author and Guardian columnist George Monbiot recently. "And even if all coal mining were to be shut down today, the oil and gas lined up so far would take it past 1.5°. The notion that we can open any new reserves, whether by fracking for gas, drilling for oil or digging for coal, without scuppering the Paris commitments is simply untenable."

So, Professor Babs Oyeneyin from Robert Gordon University, you're wrong. We shouldn't give North Sea Oil any future at all, or shale gas either for that matter. We should shut it all down as soon as possible, and redirect and retrain those employed in the fossil fuel industry to build a 100 percent global renewable energy system instead.

Of course, you're free to say what you want, but the fact is that if we want a habitable planet for future generations, then people have to start resisting and confronting your dangerous nonsense.

Before it's too late.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Friday, 14 October 2016

More vigorous policies needed to achieve climate targets says new IEA report

Economies have needed less energy to grow in recent years, especially in China and other developing countries, but more vigorous policies are needed to achieve climate targets, says new IEA report.

Climeon and Aligned Energy announce breakthrough in green energy for data centres

A four-year collaboration between Climeon and Aligned Energy has developed a fully-integrated green platform that can power their data centres with 100 percent clean electricity using low temperature waste heat. 

Monday, 10 October 2016

Smarter Solar: An interview with Alison Finch, Huawei Solar UK

Huawei Solar UK recently secured market leading status in terms of inverter shipments and was present at Solar Energy UK last week (4th to 6th October 2016). REM talked to Alison Finch, Chief Marketing Officer at Huawei Solar UK to find out what the company is doing and where it’s going.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Cautious Optimism: An interview with Bruce Davis of Abundance Investments

Ethical investment company Abundance Investments was present at the UK Conservative Party conference in Birmingham this week when Greg Clark, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, gave a speech celebrating the UK’s position as a leader in low carbon technologies.

In response, Abundance Investments co-founder and joint MD Bruce Davis commented that Mr Clark is “right to see the Green Economy as pivotal to the UK’s future” given that “over the last decade, renewables have grown to now generate more than 25 percent of the UK’s annual electricity, and efficiency is improving increasingly rapidly.”

REM decided to talk to Mr Davis and find out more about Abundance Investments and how the company views the UK clean energy sector at present.

Renewables not to blame for South Australian blackout says Clean Energy Council

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said it would not have mattered whether South Australia was running on coal, gas, nuclear or renewable energy when severe weather struck last week.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Energy & Environment Dates 2012