Sydney, Australia


Sounds promising, but can these batteries make the leap from hearing aids to machinery in general? Developments – if any – awaited.

Zinc-air batteries are an enticing prospect thanks to their high energy density and the fact they’re made with some of the most common materials on Earth, says New Atlas.

Unfortunately, those advantages are countered by how difficult it is to recharge these cells. Now, a team at the University of Sydney has created new catalysts out of abundant elements that could see rechargeable zinc-air batteries vying with lithium-ion batteries in mobile devices.

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Diesel car engine


Diesels are in need of some good news after all the recent negative press. The researchers believe their findings are of ‘major environmental importance’.

Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust, as Phys.org reports.

The research focuses on a type of catalyst called zeolites, workhorses in petroleum and chemical refineries and in emission-control systems for diesel engines.

New catalyst designs are needed to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, because current technologies only work well at relatively high temperatures.

“The key challenge in reducing emissions is that they can occur over a very broad range of operating conditions, and especially exhaust temperatures,” said Rajamani Gounder, the Larry and Virginia Faith Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in Purdue University’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is related to reducing NOx at low exhaust temperatures, for example during cold start or in congested urban driving.”

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Credit: siemens.com


Could be expensive, but similar systems have already been installed in Sweden and California. No overtaking?

The German state of Hesse is to build a 10km-long highway with overhead power lines that trucks can connect to at speed with a pantograph, reports Power Engineering International.

Siemens Mobility are to develop the line to supply electricity to hybrid trucks, which will then be able to operate twice as efficiently as they would when running on petrol or diesel.

The company said that a 40-tonne truck running for 100,000km on an eHighway would realise €20,000 in reduced fuel costs.

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Ben Somervell points out the flaws in the call for a ‘second referendum’ on EU membership.

Ben Somervell's Brexit Blog

Here is the hyperlink to an article entitled “Miliband’s second referendum idea’s bananas” which I have just written for the “Comment Central” website. I have reproduced below the text of the article:

Former Foreign Secretary and former Labour leadership candidate, David Miliband, stated this week that he supports a second EU referendum and that he is trying to persuade MPs to fight for such a vote. Such a proposal is deeply flawed and does not wash with voters. This was shown in the fact that the Liberal Democrats’ (the only party to propose such a vote) vote share fell from 7.9 per cent in the 2015 General Election to just 7.4 per cent in the 2017 General Election. The party failed even to garner the support of the 22 per cent of voters who still think, despite the Brexit vote, that we should remain members of the EU and their…

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Credit: Solar Squared


Leaving aside questions like cost, effectiveness and ease of replacement, the idea is that ‘the electricity generated will then be available to power the building, be stored or used to charge electric vehicles’.

Buildings could soon be able to convert the sun’s energy into electricity without the need for solar panels, thanks to innovative new technology, reports Phys.org.

Renewable Energy experts from the University of Exeter are developing a pioneering new technique that could accelerate the widespread introduction of net-zero energy buildings through the latest Building Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV).

These products, similar to the solar tile created by Tesla, can become a part of a building’s architecture to generate electricity.

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puffinFrom the Evening Express

The Scottish Government gave consent to four major wind farms in the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Tay in 2014, but the RSPB launched a judicial review.

The charity initially won a court victory but it was later overturned, clearing the development and prompting the RSPB to seek a further appeal.

Scotland’s Court of Session last month refused the application for the case to be sent to the Supreme Court, but the RSPB has now applied directly to the UK’s highest court.

The charity said it recognises the role renewable energy has in reducing emissions but the current project could lead to major declines in the population of gannets, puffins and kittiwakes.

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As stopthesethings sums it up: ‘Third World outcomes with First World costs’. But will other renewables-mad governments take any notice?

STOP THESE THINGS

Diesel-fuelled jet engines: what promises to power
SA this summer and next summer and ..

If South Australia were a novel, it would find itself a place amongst the classic tragic comedies.

For a while the bromance between its vapid Premier, Jay Weatherill and Californian carpetbagger, Elon Musk might’ve earned a place in the ‘rom/com’ category, as well.

However, now that Jay Weatherill is determined to keep the lights on this Summer and beyond using diesel fuelled jet engines – instead of powering SA with sunshine and breezes captured and stored lovingly in Musk’s mega-batteries – that romance is clearly at an end.

South Australia generating electricity from rubbish and diesel powered jets, if they could only burn government regulations instead
Jo Nova Blog
Jo Nova
9 August 2017

A little update on our favourite green state.

SA tries to fix a Big-Government mess with a Bigger Government: Man-made regulations created…

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LA street [image credit: theatlantic.com]


Whether this is anything more than a gimmick remains to be seen. It’s described as an experiment ‘to reduce the heat island effect’.

Can a splash of gray pavement paint help combat global warming?

In Los Angeles, where summer temperatures regularly surpass 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), workers are coating streets in special gray treatments in a bid to do just that, as Phys.org reports.

The City of Angels, home to four million people, is the first major city to test the technology. Normal black asphalt absorbs 80 to 95 percent of sunlight, while the gray “cool pavement” reflects it—dramatically lowering ground temperature and reducing urban street heat, advocates of the method say.

During a demonstration of the technique, Jeff Luzar—sales director at GuardTop, which markets the product—showed how applying the paint could drop street temperatures by about 12 degrees Fahrenheit after just one coat.

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Credit: Automotive News Europe


European auto makers look like riding out the current panic over diesel engine health risks, fighting off a clamour for action by politicians and environmentalists, and despite some worrying projections by investment bankers, as Forbes reports.

New “mild-hybrid” technology will quickly fill the gap left by diesel’s precipitate decline, while a softening attitude from the European Union (E.U.) suggests city bans of this now derided technology might not be as ubiquitous as feared.

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Met Office tiptoeing round the truth

Posted: August 12, 2017 by oldbrew in alarmism, media, MET office
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Credit: NOAA


Air time for climate change sceptic Lord Lawson, critical questioning of Al Gore and the stonewalling Met Office – is the BBC’s support for climate alarmism weakening?

Met Office can’t bear to give facts on hurricanes writes Andrew Montford in the GWPF Newsletter.

It’s normal when somebody like Nigel Lawson appears on the BBC, for the corporation to follow up by giving somebody from the green side of the equation a chance for an unchallenged response. I think this is something to do with the unique way it’s funded. 

Today was no exception, with yesterday’s exchanges between Lawson and Al Gore being given a going over by Roger Harrabin and Peter Stott from the Met Office.

Harrabin had been tasked with looking at the claims about the relative levels of subsidy for fossil fuels and renewables, and this was not too bad.

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Credit: inhabitat.com


Another green dream has crumbled in the face of inconvenient reality, defeated by biology, as Yahoo News reports. Research shows it is neither commercially nor environmentally sustainable, unless the equivalent of three Belgiums and a mountain of fertilizer can be found.

Modern biofuels have been touted as a greener alternative to petrol and diesel since the early 1900s. It seems like a good idea on paper, and they do work – but their use and production doesn’t come without problems.

The first generation of biofuels – mainly ethanol made from plant crops – and second generation, derived from plant and animal waste streams, both had environmentalists and others concerned about the competition for land and nutrients between biofuels production and food production.

It was with a lot of hope, and hype, that production of the third generation of biofuels was started. Unlike their predecessors, these biofuels are derived from algae, and so in theory the food vs fuel dilemma of crop-based biofuels would be solved.

Fossil fuel oil and gas originated from ancient algae in large measure, so the concept here is to replicate the essence of the creation of fossil fuels, albeit accelerated and optimised with modern chemical engineering. It was claimed that using algae would be much more efficient than creating biofuels from terrestrial plants and that the technology would make use of poor quality land not able to grow other crops.

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21st Century Scottish landscape


John Constable and Matt Ridley at Capx deliver the lowdown on how Scotland gets UK taxpayers to pay for its windfarms, even when there’s no wind – or too much wind.

Imagine a sausage factory – the luckiest, most profitable sausage factory in the world. Its machines crank out their sausages, and lorries carry them to supermarkets. So far, so normal.

But this particular factory makes as many sausages as the management and staff choose. If they feel like taking the day off, the lorries and shelves stay empty. If they want to go a bit wild, they sometimes make so many sausages that there aren’t enough lorries to take them away. Or they carry on cranking out sausages even if the shelves are already full.

And here’s the really amazing thing: even when the lorries can’t cope or there is no demand for sausages, the factory gets paid.

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ravan_cubesat

In order to measure Earth’s radiation balance, accurate measurements of both incoming and outgoing radiation have to be made. NASA has been testing a new prototype satellite to measure outgoing radiation from Earth. Up until now, the error on this measurement is estimated to be around +/- 5Wm^2, which means any ‘global warming’ signal is lost in the error margin. This has meant scientists have had to rely on models for estimates.

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Credit: wisegeek.com


Long-term natural climate variation just won’t go away, as this report at phys.org shows.

A great deal of evidence relating to ancient climate variation is preserved in proxy data such as tree rings, lake sediments, ice cores, stalagmites, corals and historical documents, and these sources have great significance in evaluating 20th century climate warming in the context of the last two millennia.

Prof. Quansheng Ge and his group from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, collected a large number of proxies and reconstructed a 2000-year temperature series in China with a 10-year resolution, enabling them to quantitatively reveal the characteristics of temperature change in China over a common era.

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Why we need to leave the single market

Posted: August 8, 2017 by tallbloke in Analysis, Brexit, opinion

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Ben Somervell lays out a full and well supported case for leaving the single market on #Brexit

Ben Somervell's Brexit Blog

In this article, I will use the terms “single market”, “internal market”, “European Economic Area” and “EEA” interchangeably as they are all effectively synonyms. (The following article is a full significantly extended, revised and updated version of a much shorter article which I wrote for the “Comment Central” website which was, in turn an extended version of a 952-word article here which I wrote for the “Student Voices” website in July).

I originally thought that Theresa May’s Lancaster House speech in January (transcript here), her letter to the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon (here) and the Government’s Brexit White Paper (here) had once and for all nipped the idea of continued single market membership after Brexit in the bud. However, since the Conservatives lost their parliamentary majority in the General Election this year, it…

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hitchensFrom part of Peter Hitchens Mail on Sunday Blog

I feel sorry for British Gas, attacked for raising the price of electricity. I still find it confusing a gas company sells electricity, but the facts are quite simple.

British Gas and the other power companies are raising charges because we have a mad Government. Under New Labour’s unhinged Climate Change Act, backed by the Tories and virtually unopposed in Parliament, we are steering straight into an iceberg.

Perfectly good coal-fired power stations all over the country are being shut down and blown up so they can’t be reopened, because of crazed Green regulations.

In some cases, they are being converted to burning wood chips imported from the USA. If this did any good (which is, er, unproven) it would be immediately cancelled out by the huge number of new coal-fired power stations recently built in India and China.

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Goldman Sachs, the merchant bank, calls cobalt ‘the new gasoline’ but there are no signs of new wealth in the DRC, where the children haul the rocks brought up from tunnels dug by hand.

Adult miners dig up to 600ft below the surface using basic tools, without protective clothing or modern machinery. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse.

Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death.

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lomborgBjorn Lomborg eviscerates a bad stats propaganda piece masquerading as a scientific ‘study’ in the Lancet. The FakeNews BBC uncritically regurgitates the story:

Based on a pathetically wrong study which is timed just right for great coverage.

The study specifically excludes any adaptation and assumes a laughably small number of cold deaths. Both dramatically push up damages and push down benefits.

Excluding adaptation leads to dramatic exaggeration of impacts. The study assumes that *no one* will make any adjustments over the next 83 years to accommodate higher temperatures, like cooler buildings, more greenery, more light surfaces and more air conditioning. Even the commentators on the paper are forced to point out that this is unrealistic: “People are known to adapt and become less vulnerable than previously to extreme weather conditions because of advances in medical technology, air conditioning, and thermal insulation in houses.”

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This is the same ‘deal’ of which the founder of climate alarm James Hansen said: “It’s a fraud really, a fake”. Of course the BBC ignores that and tells the British public how terrible this US pullout is, in their not-so-humble opinion.

The Trump administration has issued its first written notification that the US intends to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, reports BBC News.

But in the notice to the United Nations the US state department said Washington would remain in the talks process.

President Donald Trump drew international condemnation in June when he first announced the US intention to withdraw. He said the deal “punished” the US and would cost millions of American jobs.

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