Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Climate Change Review 1 of 4: Transport, Biofuels, Renewables and New Technology

Since i`m back in Scotland for a brief holiday i am also back on my own PC with all the advantages that brings, including a load of backed up RSS feeds! So i`ve been through all of these and i`m going to post an overview of some of my favourite climate change related posts of the past couple of months.

1. Transport
Hybrid technology is an improvement but an incremental one, SUV's are wastefull whatever sort of engine they have, they are to big, to heavy and to overspecified. Credible uses of hybrid technology include the haulage industry where you clearly cant be expected to scale down the vehicle size and where a 30% efficiency gain is definetly worth the effort. Another smart idea is the use of hybrid technology in trains, if you havent got lines to run the train off directly then this makes a lot of sense. There are many times during a train journey when ou need to remove energy (regenerative breaking can handle this) or simply power the onboard electronics (desil engines idling are hugely inneficient) there is definelt y a place for hybrid technology here. The length of train line in China is growing at an amazing pace, it is likely to overtake the USA inby 2025:

"From 2001 to 2005 it added 24,000 new kilometers—4,800
kilometers/year. That total length of new expressways in China roughly equals
the combined length of all expressways in Canada and Germany"

If you are interested in the continuing debate over electric or hydrogen cars then you may like to know about a new kind of ultra-capacitor that is showing some promise. In more mundane news a new collection of buses are being introduced to London to help clean up the air. This is wellcome news for cyclists such as myself! Amazingly enough a voluntary standards for reducing the emmissions of modern production cars in europe is failing, i`ve no idea how this could happen, dont tell me asking nicely dosent work?

Some Really Superb Articles from World Changing
Sustainable Transport Reviews: 1, 2, 3 Mobility Reviews: 1 , 2

2. Biofuels

Biofuels continue theire growth in the US as new policies are put forward in Ohio. In Russia a new biofuels production facility has been announced, it is due to supply a significant amount of the european biofuels market. A novel form of generation is being trialed in NY state for a supermarket! Again in NY state a biomass project is proposed to generate 31MW of power and run purely on waste from forestry projects, this is perticularly good as there are not even a fraction of the energy requirements that are required when using corn for biofuels. Both ideas are however far from perfect. If you are using biomass for energy it is most eficient to produce electricity and then use this aswell as the heat, this projects on the 30MW scale are perfectly suited to community heating schemes and rather than 40% efficeny expected of elextricity only energy efficiencies of 90% are achiveable. As Almuth pointed out in her recent guest post biofuels have a terrible potential to be damaging if not correctly regulated. The problem with soyabeans in tha Amazon is highlighted by groovy green. Glen Barry has recenty taken on this issue of biofuels and theire effect on the environment. Finally for biofuels, world changing informs us that a biofuel suitable for aviation has been developed. I cant believe that this could be anything but catastrophic given the huge areas required if this where going to be seriously contemplated.

3. Renewables/New Tech

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