Robert’s LEAF diary – week 6: How running cars on solar could truly upset the apple cart
Saving with Solar - TheChargingPoint.com
Robert works out how much his solar panels can save him, and how far he could drive the LEAF on electricity generated in the first four days
By Robert LLewellyn
Jun 3, 2011at 05:14PM
Under Robert’s LEAF diary, Star Columns
Last week some nice chaps from British Gas shoved 14 solar panels onto my roof, allowing me to charge the LEAF using sun power.
I’ve only recently found out that British Gas supplied electricity as well as gas, and I had no idea they supplied and installed solar panels. In many ways this doesn’t quite make sense. If you sell electricity why would you want to supply people with the equipment to make their own? It’s a mystery, but when you think about it, British Gas doesn’t ‘make’ electricity, they buy it from the power generators and sell it to us.
When you have your own micro generation unit like solar panels, in effect you become a power seller, able to sell back electricity to the national grid. The current rate, using the government’s feed in tariff, is 43.5 pence per unit of energy, known as a ‘kilowatt hour’. So I get paid when I don’t use the power generated off my office roof.
The local reaction has been intriguing. While my interest in electric cars has sometimes been seen as a middle class, over privileged media bubble pose, everyone is far more positive about the panels. As a nation we are a little bit behind with it all, though.
They’ve been fitting them in the rest of Europe, particularly Germany for years. Even archconservative Barons in Bavaria have them on the roof of their Schlosses. In fact they’ve got so many in Germany they have half of all the world’s entire stock of solar panels, which helps the country generate 20% of its power from renewables.
The UK hobbles along behind with something around 5%.
Robert Llewellyn's British Gas solar panels
The solar panels on Robert's roof
So, I’m a really late adopter globally, but of course here in the good old, coal powered, let’s-not-change-anything, don’t-put-up-a-wind-turbine-near-me United Kingdom, having solar panels is tantamount to a direct assault on the British way of life. “They don’t work in the UK, there’s not enough sun.” Blah de blah.
Well, I’ve had them all of four days and so far, even with a fairly dull, overcast cloudy four days I’ve generated 57 kilowatt hours of electricity.
Here’s the science bit… one kilowatt hour is 1,000 watts, or enough to run ten 100-watt light bulbs for one hour. So I could have run 520 bulbs for an hour for free. I don’t have any 100-watt bulbs so I’d have to buy 520 of them, wire them up and…
Or, to use the power slightly more sensibly, I can drive 210 miles in the Nissan LEAF. That’s 210 miles with zero carbon emissions and zero cost.
Yes, I can hear the hackles rising. Living in the over privileged media bubble I inhabit, I have completely ignored the costs of the solar panels, the car, the installation and everything else so my claim that the driving is ‘free’ is monstrous, offensive, insensitive, blinkered, ridiculous.
The total cost of the set up I now have is close to £36,000. That’s the car at £25,990, (after the government grant) and the solar panels at £10,000.
It’s a hell of a lot of money, but every time I walk around the streets of London I see dozens, nay, hundreds of cars stuck in traffic jams that easily cost that much, many of them a lot more.
It is expensive but it will get cheaper. And I believe the most important thing is that it is possible. Now. Today.
One of the interesting things I learned from the British Gas chaps is that only three years ago, the same set up I have would have cost nearer £15,000 and generated a lot less power. The panels are getting cheaper and more efficient all the time. They are being mass-produced at a prodigious rate; sadly not so many in this country, but globally it’s a booming industry.
So how important is it, on a global scale, to be able to drive a car where over half the electricity used to power it is generated without burning anything. Could it ever add up to even a moderate hill of beans?
I don’t know. I’ve got the feeling it could make a very big impact. It is, without question, disruptive technology. Implicit in that statement is the fact that not everything about disruptive technology is good. The internet batted seven kinds of excreta out of the music industry, some might say that’s a good thing but we do now have The X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.
If a lot of people start driving electric cars and generate a lot of the power themselves and don’t depend on the large power companies so much, and the government loses revenue from fossil fuel sales, and people aren’t happy about paying tax for fuel they generate themselves, it could all get very complicated. The apple cart could get well and truly upset.
For the time being though, in the summer, on long sunny days, I have to say I’m rather enjoying it.
Here's what BC has done: A revenue neutral Carbon Tax that even targets coal-
Source: BC Gov'mt
Ministry of Finance.
Myths and Facts About the Carbon Tax
Myth: The carbon tax is just a tax grab.
Fact: Every dollar raised by the carbon tax is returned to individuals and businesses through tax reductions. None of the carbon tax revenue is used to fund government spending.
Since the carbon tax was introduced on July 1, 2008, some $848 million has been collected. However, the corresponding tax cuts have returned over $1,042 million to British Columbians. That is $194 million more in British Columbian pockets thanks to the revenue neutral tax on carbon emissions.
Myth: Industry/business are exempt from the carbon tax.
Fact: Industry is not exempt from the carbon tax. Industry is required to pay the carbon tax on the purchase and use of fossil fuels the same as everyone else and they also pay tax at the same rate. For example, the oil and gas industry will pay the carbon tax on all combustion of fossil fuels, estimated at 85 per cent of their total emissions, including flaring, and the cement industry will pay the tax based on the coal and tires they burn in the production of cement.
Myth: Many emissions are not taxed.
Fact: The carbon tax has the broadest base possible given current technological, measurement and data limitations and applies to virtually all emissions from fossil fuel combustion in British Columbia captured in Environment Canada’s National Inventory Report.
The carbon tax applies to all emissions from burning fossil fuels, which accounts for an estimated 77 per cent of total emissions in British Columbia.
Of the 23 per cent of emissions that are not from burning fossil fuels:
* 10 per cent are from non-energy agricultural uses (e.g. emissions from enteric fermentation, manure management, and agricultural soils) and waste (landfills);
* 9 per cent are from fugitive emissions which cannot currently be accurately measured; and
* Only 4 per cent are non-combustion industrial process emissions.
The Province will look at options to extend the carbon tax to emissions beyond those generated by the burning of fossil fuels, and integrate the carbon tax with other climate action initiates such as cap-and-trade.
Myth: The carbon tax unfairly impacts low-income British Columbians.
Fact: Most low-income individuals and families are better off under the revenue neutral carbon tax than they were before. A major component of the personal and business income tax cuts provided as part of the revenue neutral carbon tax is the ongoing low income climate action tax credit designed to help protect low income individuals and families. The credit is paid quarterly along with the federal GST credit and BC HST Credit.
The credit as of July 1, 2010 provides an annual maximum of $105 for each adult and $31.50 for each child ($105 for the first child in a single parent family). The maximum credit is reduced by 2 per cent of net income in excess of $30,600 for single individuals ($35,700 for families) The maximum tax credit amounts increases by 10 per cent July 1, 2011 to $115.50 per adult and $34.50 per child. The reduction thresholds are indexed to provincial inflation.
Myth: Government said that the carbon tax is revenue neutral for every individual.
Fact: Government said it would return every dollar collected from the carbon tax to taxpayers through tax cuts. The tax cuts for individuals and families for the years 2009/10 to 2012/13 fiscal years consist of:
* The first two personal income tax bracket rates were reduced by 5 per cent effective January 1, 2008;
* Low Income Climate Action tax credit paid quarterly along with the federal GST credit and BC HST Credit with a maximum annual benefit of $105 per adult and $31.50 per child ($105 for the first child in a single parent family) as of July 1, 2009. The credit will increase by 10 per cent on July 1, 2011;
* A Northern and Rural Homeowner benefit of up to $200 starting in the 2011 taxation year.
Revenue neutrality is intended to apply to the total carbon tax revenues collected rather than on a sector by sector or individual basis. If everyone was given back the exact amount of carbon tax they paid there would be no incentive to use less fossil fuel and reduce emissions. Some individuals, businesses, or sectors will pay more than they receive through recycling measures and some will pay less, but the carbon tax as a whole is revenue neutral. All carbon tax revenue is returned to taxpayers through tax cuts.
Myth: Government gets more tax revenue when gas prices rise.
Fact: The carbon tax, like the other B.C. fuel taxes on gasoline and diesel, is levied on a per volume basis and is not related to the selling price of the fuel. The government collects the same amount of carbon tax per litre at any price. For example, if someone bought 100 litres of gasoline they would pay $4.45 in carbon tax when the tax is at $20 per tonne of CO 2e. This is the case whether the gas costs 50 cents per litre or $2.00 per litre. In fact, to the extent that higher prices lead to lower consumption, the B.C. government will get less tax revenue.
Myth: The carbon tax applies to goods other than fuel (e.g. vehicles).
Fact: The carbon tax is only applied to the purchase and use of fossil fuels in B.C. Therefore, it is applied to gasoline or diesel used in a motor vehicle but does not apply to the vehicle itself.
Myth: People are being double taxed because local governments have to pay the tax and because they do not get income tax reductions taxpayers will have to pay again.
Fact: All of the revenue from the carbon tax, whether from individuals, businesses, or local governments is returned to British Columbians through personal and business tax cuts.
Local governments and School Districts that commit to carbon neutrality by 2012 can access the Climate Action Revenue Incentive, a grant that offsets the carbon tax local governments and school districts pay.
Those municipalities that move soonest to reduce their fossil fuel consumption create the greatest benefits for their residents. In addition to the tax cuts funded by the carbon tax, municipalities have the opportunity to pass the carbon tax and fuel savings back to their local ratepayers.
Myth: The carbon tax is just another gas tax. It does not actually tax carbon dioxide emissions.
Fact: The carbon tax is a tax on carbon dioxide equivalent (CO 2e) emissions generated from the burning of all fossil fuels in B.C. including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, fuel oil, propane and coal. It is not just a “gas tax.”
Environment Canada determines emission factors (EFs) that measure the CO2e emitted from combusting each type of fossil fuel. The EFs are reported in Environment Canada’s “National Inventory Report, Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks.” The B.C. carbon tax rates for different fossil fuels are determined by the amount of CO 2e emitted when the fuels are combusted.
Myth: When gas prices rise by so much, there is no need for a carbon tax.
Fact: The historical volatility of gas prices, rising and then falling, has blunted the price signal for consumers and resulted in less conservation than required to meet government’s targets. The purpose of the carbon tax is to ensure that a consistent long term price signal is provided to consumers so that they continue to make the choices required to reduce their fossil fuel use and emissions.
Myth: Many people have no alternatives and no way to reduce their emissions.
Fact: Business and individuals can choose to reduce their carbon tax by reducing usage, increasing efficiency, changing fuels, adopting new technology or any combination of these approaches. We can all begin to make the small changes towards a cleaner future that fit into our own individual circumstances, such as choosing energy efficient lights, lowering the temperature on the thermostat at night, or keeping our cars tuned-up. Simply driving 10 km less per week will more than offset the cost of the carbon tax for most British Columbians.
Myth: The carbon tax will not have any effect on people’s behaviour.
Fact: The tax is based on the assumption that consumers respond to price signals. The purpose of the tax is to send a price signal to reduce the use of fossil fuels and thereby emissions. Several studies show that consumers generally respond to higher gasoline prices by reducing consumption either by purchasing more fuel efficient vehicles or by driving less.
Based on new car sales data for British Columbia since 2001, it is evident that the increase in gasoline prices has caused many consumers to buy more fuel efficient vehicles. The market share of subcompact and compact passenger car sales has increased steadily while the market share of larger cars, SUVs, pickups and minivans has declined.
Myth: The carbon tax will adversely affect the economy.
Fact: By returning all of the carbon tax revenues to the people of British Columbia through tax cuts, we will keep our economy strong. In a recent affirmation of B.C.’s triple-A credit rating, Moody’s recognized that B.C.’s revenue-neutral carbon tax will allow us to continue the trend of personal and business tax cuts. Moody’s has told investors that the tax reductions made possible by the carbon tax help keep B.C. competitive with other jurisdictions and encourage investment.
Myth: The carbon tax will have virtually no impact on reducing B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Fact: British Columbia’s carbon tax is one of the broadest and most comprehensive in the world. The fossil fuels included in the tax base account for about 75 per cent of British Columbia’s current GHG emissions. At current rates the carbon tax itself will initially have a small impact on emissions. However, this was intentional. The tax rates were deliberately set low to begin with and scheduled to rise slowly over time to send the correct price signal while giving consumers and businesses time to reduce their fossil fuel use. It is important to look at the whole range of initiatives government is introducing to meet its targets rather than just the tax.[/QUOTE]
"The squeezing out of Canada’s middle class has major implications for our collective prosperity. Middle-class incomes drive economic growth, pay for public services, support healthy families, and build communities. Society cannot subsist on crumbs left over by the rich. Workers cannot accept the logic that relentless cuts and constant sacrifice will bring better days ahead."
Indeed the poor are least able to better their lot- not having the cash to insulate, buy efficient cars etc.
On the surface, BC's carbon tax was giving more to the poor, though now it's morphing- and business is loving it. Will that translate to more, better paying jobs?
Globally the poor, per capita, have a miniscule environmental impact.
The middle class has seen it's standard of living fall for a long time, pumps the treadmill harder and still falls behind.
"Green" technologies need to be available to more than just the wealthy- In some cases- like mine, biomass (firewood space, water heat and cooking) was the only option for economic reasons-
If I had the tens of thousands of dollars to connect to the grid- or thousands to go LPG/Diesel, would I? NFW!
Appropriate technologies need to be accessible-
Many do the grease thing to save money.
I believe electric vehicles have been suppressed as they are hard to profit from or tax.
Long ago I heard a radio program about the rise of the CEO. It claimed the average wage spread in the booming 1950's from entry level worker to company president was a factor of 6.
One breadwinning spouse was adequate, the other could rear the offspring and such.
Were times actually better then? I suspect yes.
The subtle enslavement of the majority leaves them less able to exercise long term thinking- with the credit cards racked up- Spend X now for ten year payback? Mortgage to pay.
Ostentatious wealth trappings: multiple monster homes, private jets, yachts and the like consume huge resources to build, fuel and maintain.
Avarice is definitely a terrible sin with far reaching fallout.
Noun: Extreme greed for wealth or material gain. More »
Dictionary.com - Answers.com - Merriam-Webster - The Free DictionaryThis message has been edited. Last edited by: SUB,
Gulf 'Dead Zone' This Year Predicted To Be Largest In History
By CAIN BURDEAU 06/14/11
NEW ORLEANS -- Scientists predict this year's "dead zone" of low-oxygen water in the northern Gulf of Mexico will be the largest in history – about the size of Lake Erie – because of more runoff from the flooded Mississippi River valley.
Each year when the nutrient-rich freshwater from the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers pours into the Gulf, it spawns massive algae blooms. In turn, the algae consume the oxygen in the Gulf, creating the low oxygen conditions. Fish, shrimp and many other species must escape the dead zone or face dying.
Federal and university scientists predict this year's zone will be between 8,500 square miles and about 9,400 square miles. The actual size of the dead zone will be measured over the summer.
The largest recorded dead zone was found in 2002 when 8,400 square miles of the Gulf was found to lacking sufficient oxygen for most marine life.
The forecasts on the size of the hypoxic zone are usually close to the mark, although hurricanes have chopped them up in the past.
Eugene Turner, an oceanographer at Louisiana State University, said the dead zone has continued to get larger since it was first noticed and measured in the 1970s. He said the dead zone is getting worse with time.
The biggest contributor is the amount of fertilizer – and the nitrates and phosphates in them – that wind up in the Mississippi River each spring and get flushed out to the Gulf.
"The nitrogen is fertilizing the waters offshore," Turner said. He said little progress has been made in recent years to reduce the nutrient load into the Gulf.
The federal government and states in the Mississippi valley are attempting to reduce runoff from farms, lawns and cities, but those efforts have not curbed the problem.
This year, for instance, the U.S. Geological Survey said the nitrogen load that reached the Gulf was 35 percent higher than the average amount flushed into the Gulf each May over the past 32 years. The Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers dumped nearly twice as much water than normal in May, officials said.
"As usual, the size of the low oxygen offshore is driven by both the freshwater and nitrogen levels in the Mississippi, so this year we have had floods and we have had more nitrate coming into the system," said Nancy Rabalais, the executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Rabalais is a lead researcher into the dead zone.
She expected the dead zone to extend more to the west toward Texas and farther offshore than in past years.
Scientists said the large dead zone will complicate the Gulf's recovery from last year's massive oil spill. After the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded on April 20, 2010, an out-of-control well owned by BP PLC. spewed about 206 million gallons of oil – 19 times more than the Exxon Valdez spilled.
"This is an additional stressor," Rabalais said. "It's our chronic stressor."
U.S. gas is artificially cheap: What we don’t pay for at the pump 7
by Sarah Terry-Cobo
17 Jun 2011 1:22 PM
What's the true price of gasoline? This animated feature from the Center for Investigative Reporting explores the "external costs" of gasoline use in the U.S. -- including pollution and the health problems caused by it. "The Price of Gas" video was reported by me, produced by Carrie Ching and Sarah Terry-Cobo, and illustrated by Arthur Jones:
California has some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Consequently, it has some of the strictest rules for gasoline, meaning it burns cleaner than it does in many other states. But cleaner fuels are more expensive.
Clean air requirements, combined with supply and refining constraints, make the price of California gas consistently among the highest in the nation. Turmoil in the Middle East is another factor that pushes up the global price of crude oil. Even though the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas in California fluctuates around $4, some experts argue that $4 a gallon is much less than the real cost.
The Climate DeskCompared with other industrialized countries, the U.S. has it cheap. The Economist notes that American consumers pay about half of what Europeans pay, which is up to about $8.50 per gallon (or $2.25 per liter). The media website Good has a nifty chart showing the disparity in prices across the Atlantic, and PBS' NewsHour explains the effect Middle East turmoil has on the retail price of gas. While politicians on both sides of the aisle bicker about why gas is expensive, Sen. Jeff Bingaman, (D-N.M.), is one who explains the real reasons, and as David Roberts notes, he is lonely in doing so.
Even though reducing toxic chemicals in gasoline might make it more expensive, the EPA argues that clean air provides long-term cost benefits. A recent study of the Clean Air Act showed "the public health and environmental benefits ... exceed their costs by a margin of four to one."
From 1990 to 2010, these regulations have prevented "23,000 Americans from dying prematurely, [and] averted over 1,700,000 incidences of asthma attacks and aggravation of chronic asthma." In the same two decades, it also prevented more than 4.1 million lost workdays due to pollution-related illnesses.
California is among the leaders in the U.S. in implementing clean-air regulations to limit pollution from carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Its ambitious Global Warming Solutions Act aims to reduce greenhouse-gas pollution to 1990 levels by the year 2020 -- goals similar to the United Nations' Kyoto Protocol. And the state's Air Resources Board will introduce the nation's second pollution-trading system, known as cap-and-trade, for greenhouse gases on Jan. 1, 2012 (unless it can't work out a lawsuit by October, as previously reported by California Watch). Under that system, if a company does not meet its pollution limits, it can buy a carbon offset, a promise to reduce pollution elsewhere.
But the market isn't the only method the board is using to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gases. In fact, the board estimates only one-fifth of the reductions will come from cap-and-trade. The other four-fifths will come from increased energy-efficiency standards, improved recycling and composting programs, the highest standard for fuel efficiency in cars, and the state's low-carbon fuel standard.
The cost of clean air programs may be high, but so is the cost of pollution. A 2008 study commissioned by CSU Fullerton's Institute for Economic and Environmental Studies notes that the cost of air pollution for the greater Los Angeles region adds up to more than $1,250 per person per year.
For the Central Valley, where one-third of the nation's produce originates, the cost is more than $1,600 per person per year. These costs include treatment for respiratory illnesses like asthma, which are disproportionately borne by children younger than 5, the elderly, and minority populations. Other costs include lost workdays, missed school days, and premature deaths.
But health effects are just some of the financial impacts of burning fossil fuels -- gasoline and diesel fuel, in particular. Harmful air pollution can affect food and fiber crops. The U.S. Global Change Research Program noted in a 2009 report on climate change that greenhouse gases can reduce crop yields for "soybeans, wheat, oats, green beans, peppers, and some types of cotton."
And the cost of oil spills? Some early estimates put the price of cleaning up the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico at up to $20 billion. Every year, states spend more than $600 million to clean up leaking underground gasoline storage tanks.
In the last three decades, businesses, states, and the EPA have cleaned up 401,874 leaking underground gasoline storage tanks, with an estimated 93,123 more sites awaiting cleanup, according to an EPA representative. In 2010, the agency set aside $66.2 million in a fund for states to use for cleanup activities. The agency spends about $2 million to $3 million each year for cleanup on tribal land.
Although $4 a gallon may seem expensive, there are many social and environmental costs that Americans don't pay for at the pump. While these costs are hidden, the cost to society is high.
80% renewable energy by 2050 is well within our means- if we want......
European aerospace giant EADS on Sunday unveiled its "Zero Emission Hypersonic Transportation" (Zehst) rocket plane it hopes will be able to fly from Paris to Tokyo in 2.5 hours by around 2050.
"I imagine the plane of the future to look like Zehst," EADS' chief technical officer Jean Botti said as the project was announced at Le Bourget airport the day before the start of the Paris International Air Show.
The low-pollution plane to carry between 50 and 100 passengers will take off using normal engines powered by biofuel made from seaweed before switching on its rocket engines at altitude.
The rocket engines, powered by hydrogen and oxygen whose only exhaust is water vapour, propel the plane to a cruising altitude of 32 kilometres (20 miles), compared to today's passenger jets which fly at around 10,000 metres.
"You don't pollute, you're in the stratosphere," Botti said.
To land, the pilot cuts the engines and glides down to Earth before reigniting the regular engines before landing.
EADS hopes to have a prototype built by 2020 and for the plane to eventually enter service around 2050.
The project is being developed in collaboration with Japan and uses technology that is already available.
A four-metre model of the plane, which looks similar to the now defunct Concorde supersonic jet, will be on show at Bourget for the biannual aerospace showcase which begins on Monday and opens to the general public on Friday.
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The Sunday Times
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From The Sunday Times
November 29, 2009
KLM biofuel flight fuels hopes for green airlines
Airlines have high hopes for a new range of biofuels
At Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport last Monday a gaggle of aviation executives, politicians and journalists trooped aboard a KLM jumbo jet for a flight to nowhere.
The trip was uneventful — the plane and its 40 occupants circled above Holland for a couple of hours before landing where it took off. However, in a small way, it was historic. It was the first flight by a biofuel-powered airliner to carry passengers.
In fact, the plane was only partly powered by biofuel. One of its four engines ran on a 50:50 blend of biofuel and normal aviation fuel. The biofuel was made from camelina, an inedible green shrub.
Despite the limited experiments to date — Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and a clutch of other carriers have run test flights without passengers — airline executives are thrilled with biofuels.
* British Airways flies toward biofuel planes
Their industry is a target for politicians and environmentalists in the crusade against carbon dioxide emissions and the prospect of a fuel that will allow the industry to grow while reducing its emissions is enticing. “In the decades ahead, the airline industry will be largely dependent on the availability of alternative fuels in its drive to lower emissions,” said Jan Ernst de Groot, KLM’s managing director.
The bright new era of biofuels is still some way off, however, and some experts doubt whether it will ever arrive. The technical challenge of making a biofuel that can replace aviation fuel has largely been cracked, but the new product has yet to be certified for commercial use, and large quantities are unlikely to be available even in the medium term.
Without significant changes to aircraft engines and other systems, biofuels will have to be used in a blend with conventional fuels — probably a 50:50 mix, as with last week’s flight.
Much of the research has been funded by the Pentagon. America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency began work in 2006 to reduce the “military’s reliance on oil to power its aircraft, ground vehicles and non-nuclear ships”.
The agency gave research contracts to several private groups, including one $7m (£4m) award to UOP, a division of Honeywell, the technology group. UOP has provided the fuel for most of the test flights to date, including the Air New Zealand and KLM trials.
It has exceeded expectations. “The initial results show a technical performance that is better than traditional kerosene,” said Bill Glover, head of environmental strategy at Boeing, the aircraft maker.
UOP was already well advanced with production of biodiesel for cars, lorries and other vehicles. It then applied existing refining techniques to make a fuel able to satisfy the stringent demands of aviation — in particular on flashpoints and freezing temperatures.
“The technology is already used in other types of refining,” said Jennifer Holmgren, director of renewable energy and chemicals at UOP. “The trick is in getting high yields from the vegetable feedstock.”
The UOP process can use a number of vegetable oils, but interest is focused on camelina and the equally inedible jatropha, which can be grown on marginal land not being used for food crops.
Depending on the amount of fertiliser needed, the whole biofuel cycle — growing, refining, transportation and use in aircraft — should produce 60% to 80% less carbon dioxide than conventional fuel.
Holmgren said she expected the fuel to be approved for commercial use by the end of next year. UOP is talking to a number of potential licencees about building refineries, the first of which could be open in two-and-a-half years, she said.
Industry groups have set an initial target to produce 600m gallons a year by 2015. This would still be only a fraction of the total needed. The world’s airlines now burn some 85 billion gallons of aviation fuel every year.
Even using the most optimistic estimates of yield, making that much biofuel from camelina or jatropha would need an acreage about three times the size of the UK.
The big hope for the future is algae. Boeing thinks yields from algae could be measured in thousands of gallons an acre, rather than the 150-200 possible from plants. Airline executives say the likely strong demand will result in biofuels being made from a number of different feedstocks.
Appetite will be accelerated by the introduction of carbon trading schemes, under which airlines will have to pay for emissions.
European airlines will be part of a scheme from 2012, and there are moves to create a global trading system. Jonathan Counsell, head of environment at British Airways, said: “When airlines have to start paying for their carbon there will be a real economic incentive to use the fuels.”
Air New Zealand plans to obtain 10% of its fuel from alternative sources by 2013. Rob Fyfe, chief executive, said his airline wanted biofuels to pass three basic tests: the right price, no displacement of food crops or water resources, and direct substitution for conventional aviation fuel.
“We have no interest in biofuels unless we can prove to ourselves that they reduce carbon dioxide emissions across the whole life of the product,” he said. “We want to show that we are the world’s most environmentally-sustainable airline. That fits exactly with the clean, green New Zealand message.”
BA said it has no plans for test flights but is working with Rolls-Royce on an extended ground test on a range of biofuels that should generate valuable data to help with the fuel’s certification for commercial use.
The hemp plant may have a role to play in cutting the carbon dioxide emitted by the building industry. Its fibre is being used as an additive in construction blocks.
Oxford-based Lime Technology, maker of a range of sustainable building products, including thermally efficient wall materials, has created the Hemcrete brand.
The company grows its own hemp in Suffolk.
More information at limetechnology.co.uk
You are here: News & Analysis › Rising Oil Prices Drive Green Initiatives
Rising Oil Prices Drive Green Initiatives
More CEOs are Reducing Their Fuel Costs Through Communication Technologies
CFOs across the US plan to implement policies to reduce their reliance on oil in the future as prices continue to soar, it has been found. The survey, conducted by Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook survey, found that 53 percent of the 499 US based CFOs interviewed, were increasing their use of communications via technological advances such as teleconferencing which enables them to cut fuel consumption by holding conferences remotely.
Related: Oiling the Wheels: When Oil Prices Bite
Related: Oil Prices Drop Below US$100 a Barrel…Can Consumers Breathe A Sigh of Relief?
“We're seeing more companies embrace 'green' initiatives and position themselves to become less reliant on oil in the future" said John Graham, professor of finance at Duke's Fuqua School of Business and director of the survey.
This comes following the findings that the rise in fuel is having a significant impact on many companies, according to four out of five CFOs, with 48% saying that they were were cutting travel costs. Another initiative that has become a viable alternative, is the use of telepresence, where compression technology advances are enabling high quality video feeds, and opening up the market of telepresence, not just exclusively to the largest companies. These alternative communication methods are increasing in popularity in favour of traditional face-to-face conferencing, in light of recent fuel hikes and have recently been adapted by companies such as Verizon and Tata, so that Verizon customers can can have sessions with Tata customers, and vice versa.
CFOs have found themselves in positions whereby they need to remain vigilant and strategic in their financial business practices, and need to move forward in adapting to change such as finding ways around ever increasing fuel costs.
The CFO Summit, held in Scottsdale, AZ, 29th-31st August 2011, brings together CFOs who are currently investing in innovative solutions that will positively impact their financial practices, with solution providers that can present these alternatives. For more information, go to cfosummitus.com.
Hey i have some homeowner tips for reducing pollution.Just check it out this:
OTTAWA - A new study says the richest 20 per cent of Canadian households spew almost twice — 1.8 times — the greenhouse-gas emissions of the country's lowest income-earners.
The study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives finds household carbon footprints increase with income and concludes that reduction policies must reflect that inequality.
The report's author, economist Marc Lee, says the rich can reduce emissions — taking steps like cutting air travel and investing in home energy efficiency — more easily than low-income families, without affecting basic needs.
The report says the top one per cent of households had emissions three times the average and almost six times those of households in the bottom 10 per cent.
The study also finds the top one per cent of income-earners were responsible for almost double the greenhouse-gas emissions of the next four per cent of households.
Lee says climate policies have to be fair to be effective, and he contends high-income Canadians should bear the greater burden of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.
Really quite simple. First, we level the playing field- then redefine what is cool. Those monster cars and homes are, in fact, silly toys.
Listen Up, Boomers: The Backlash Has Begun
The small things you do every day can help reduce air pollution and hence improve the protection of the environment as well as human health. Driving less can have enormous benefits for the environment, while walking and bicycling can also improve your health.
Prevent harper preventing proper labeling!!
OTTAWA - A British media report says the U.K. government has been giving secret support at the very highest levels to Ottawa's campaign against European penalties on its oilsands fuel, prompting environmentalists to call Britain Canada's "partner in crime."
The Guardian newspaper says energy giants Shell and BP, which both have major oilsands projects in Alberta, have been lobbying the government of Prime Minister David Cameron to back Canada's fight against the European proposal.
According to documents released under freedom of information laws, at least 15 high-level meetings and frequent communications have taken place since September between Ottawa and London.
The European proposal is to designate transport fuel from tar sands as resulting in 22 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than that from conventional fuels, officially labelling Alberta's oilsands fuel as dirtier.
Ahead of the European vote to approve the fuel quality regulations on Friday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague offered support to the Harper government, sending an "immediate action" cable in September to the U.K. embassies in Canada asking "to communicate our position and seek Canadian views on what might be acceptable."
The Guardian says the U.K. and Canada's shared opposition to the European plan puts the U.K. in a minority among EU countries and will be deeply embarrassing as a new round of global negotiations on tackling climate change begins in Durban, South Africa on Monday.
The Guardian report is based on documents obtained by the Co-operative _ a U.K. mutual business group that targets tar sands as part of its climate change campaigning.
"It is very disappointing that the U.K. government is supporting Canada's efforts and we hope it has a rethink and puts tackling climate change ahead of Canada's trade interests when it comes to vote on the European commission's commonsense proposal," Colin Baines, toxic fuels campaign manager at the Co-operative told the Guardian.
Bill McKibben, a U.S. environmentalist who was arrested in August protesting against TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, said the U.K. seems to have emerged as "Canada's partner in crime."
"This will be among the biggest single environmental decisions the Cameron government makes," he said.
We are doing it.
AFP – Sat, 26 Nov, 2011
Canada has scooped a top prize for environmental protection awarded by the Austrian foundation Energy Globe for a community project that uses solar-powered heating to warm local houses.
The Energy Globe World Award for Sustainability was handed to the Drake Landing Solar Community project in Alberta, west Canada, in a ceremony late Friday in Wels, Austria.
In the Canadian town of Okotoks, where temperatures drop well below freezing in winter, residents have devised a huge communal heat storage system.
Solar energy is collected in underground tubes during the summer and then used to heat 52 local homes in the winter.
This solar power currently meets 80 percent of the community's energy needs and the project is on track to meet a target of 90 percent in 2012.
Projects in more than 50 countries competed for awards from Energy Globe, which supports around 1,000 projects in some 100 countries.
The Water prize went to a Nicaraguan charity that has used solar energy to pump and filter drinking water in rural communities since 2004.
In the Air category, judges honoured the Swiss supermarket chain Migros for the energy conservation policy it has had in place for the last 30 years and a project in the Swedish port of Gothenburg where an onshore power supply is provided using energy from wind turbines.
The Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia, won the Earth award for a "passive energy" scheme that uses solar power to heat even the coldest Siberian living room.
04/10/2011 - Governments and taxpayers spent about half a trillion US dollars last year supporting the production and consumption of fossil fuels. Removing inefficient subsidies would raise national revenues and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, according to OECD and IEA analyses.
-Seems only direct subsidies considered there.
The entire issue of government subsidies to energy companies, energy company tax revenue, and energy company profits should be examined objectively, exposed to public scrutiny and revised as necessary.
VIENNA (Reuters) - Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public health service make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey which put Baghdad firmly in last place.
German and Swiss cities also performed especially well in the quality of living rankings, with Zurich, Munich, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Geneva and Bern in the top 10.
The Austrian capital, with its ornate buildings, public parks and extensive bicycle network recently reduced the cost of its annual public transport ticket to 1 euro a day.
Serious crime is rare and the city of around 1.7 million inhabitants regularly tops global quality of life surveys.
But Mercer warned that top-ranking European cities could not take their position for granted in the survey, which assessed more than 200 cities.
"They are not immune to any decrease of living standards should this (economic) turmoil persist," Mercer's senior researcher Slagin Parakatil said on the company's website.
Mercer, which also ranked cities according to personal safety, gave Athens a poor score because of clashes between demonstrators and police and political instability.
"In 2011 Athens is ranked in Europe among the lowest in the personal safety ranking," Parakatil said.
Oslo also fell to 24th place in the separate safety survey because of Anders Breivik's mass killings in July. It would usually be in the top 15, Mercer said.
Baghdad's political turmoil, poor security enforcement and attacks on local people and foreigners made it the worst place to live in 2011, both in terms of life quality and safety, Mercer said.
Political and economic unrest in Africa and the Middle East also pushed down scores in those regions.
"Many countries such as Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen have seen their quality of living levels drop considerably," Parakatil said.
"Political and economic reconstruction in these countries, combined with funding to serve basic human needs, will undoubtedly boost the region."
He said that while the outlook is uncertain for most of the world because of economic and political turmoil, cities in Asia-Pacific look set to benefit thanks to political stability and solid growth.
Auckland, Sydney, Wellington, Melbourne and Perth made it into the top 20 for quality of life in 2011 while Singapore was the highest-ranking Asian city in 25th place.
Top 10 in Mercer Quality of Living survey
1 Vienna Austria
2 Zurich Switzerland
3 Auckland New Zealand
4 Munich Germany
5 Duesseldorf Germany
5 Vancouver Canada
7 Frankfurt Germany
8 Geneva Switzerland
9 Bern Switzerland
9 Copenhagen Denmark http://www.mercer.com/qualityoflivingpr#city-rankings
(Reporting by Sylvia Westall)
Solar PV now available for less than $2 Cdn/watt- Windfarms, tidal, biomass etc. It is happening- Would go quicker if we redirected the 420 Billion USD (2010) to renewables-
-Of course the entrenched vested interests don't want us to break free, yet//
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