Well, yes and no. The agave plant produces less fuel per hectare than sugar cane, but needs less water and has other claimed advantages. But the current low oil price is making all biofuel options look even more expensive than before, plus they are all land-hungry.
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The agave plant used to make tequila could be established in semi-arid Australia as an environmentally friendly solution to Australia’s transport fuel shortage, a team of researchers at the University of Sydney, University of Exeter and University of Adelaide has found.

The efficient, low-water process could also help produce ethanol for hand sanitiser, which is in high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, notes TechXplore.

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More pie in the sky from the green lobby. No sign here of how the hydrogen would be produced in sufficient quantities to replace all the world’s fuels. A bunch of wind turbines and solar installations would barely begin to do it, given they’re already fully occupied with ever-increasing electricity demand. If ‘infrastructure investment in storage might cost around $637 billion by 2050’, who would be willing to pay such eye-watering sums?
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Carbon-free hydrogen production could significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions in power generation and manufacturing, but it will require a mammoth and long-term financial commitment to become cost competitive, says Power Engineering.

This is according to a new report by BloombergNEF. The research wing of media giant Bloomberg is focused on next-generation energy technologies which also reduce carbon emissions.

Hydrogen can be a zero-carbon substitute for fossil fuels. Companies such as Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS), GE, Siemens and Ansaldo Energia already are working on programs to blend hydrogen into their turbine fuel mixes.

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An end to this?


The researchers also imagine devices that would wirelessly power implants in a patient’s body without any surgery to change batteries.

Any device that sends out a Wi-Fi signal also emits terahertz waves —electromagnetic waves with a frequency somewhere between microwaves and infrared light, says Technology.org.

These high-frequency radiation waves, known as “T-rays,” are also produced by almost anything that registers a temperature, including our own bodies and the inanimate objects around us.

Terahertz waves are pervasive in our daily lives, and if harnessed, their concentrated power could potentially serve as an alternate energy source. Imagine, for instance, a cellphone add-on that passively soaks up ambient T-rays and uses their energy to charge your phone.

However, to date, terahertz waves are wasted energy, as there has been no practical way to capture and convert them into any usable form.

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One for the ‘planet on fire’ crowd to ponder, as the long solar minimum continues.
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Cold temperatures and a strong polar vortex allowed chemicals to gnaw away at the protective ozone layer in the north, says The GWPF.

A vast ozone hole — likely the biggest on record in the north — has opened in the skies above the Arctic. It rivals the better-known Antarctic ozone hole that forms in the southern hemisphere each year.

Record-low ozone levels currently stretch across much of the central Arctic, covering an area about three times the size of Greenland (see ‘Arctic opening’).

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When Pi is not 3.14 – by PBS America

Posted: March 28, 2020 by oldbrew in Maths

A simple practical demo here…

Wikipedia explains: The arc length of the cycloid.

[Credit: Zorgit @ Wikipedia]

Taxicab geometry – Wikipedia


Mixed messages ahead. Can anyone explain the apparent discrepancies?

The UK Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has issued a warning: large areas of England will face significant risk of drought due to climate change, and water companies need to find billions of extra liters per day by 2050 to keep up, reports New Atlas.

But days earlier we had this from the Met Office Press Office:
Climate change to bring heavier rainfall events.

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Some say it could be a remnant of the Great Comet of 1843.
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Spaceweather.com

March 24, 2020: No one knows how big the icy core of Comet ATLAS (C/2019 Y4) might be–possibly no wider than a few kilometers. One thing’s for sure, though, the comet’s atmosphere is huge. New images from amateur astronomers around the world show that ATLAS’s gaseous envelope has ballooned in diameter to ~720,000 km–about half as wide as the sun.

cometatlas_inset

“Comet ATLAS’s coma (atmosphere) is approximately 15 arcminutes in diameter,” reports Michael Jäger of Weißenkirchen, Austria, who took the picture, above, on March 18th. “Its newly-formed tail is about the same size.”

Other astronomers are getting similar results. 15 arcminutes = a quarter of a degree. Given Comet ATLAS’s distance of 1.1 AU on March 18th, that angle corresponds to a physical size of 720,000 km.

On the scale of big things in the solar system, Comet ATLAS falls somewhere between the sun (1,392,000 km  diameter) and Jupiter…

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H/T The GWPF

Less money available to waste on absurd and costly schemes for climate obsessives? What a shame – not. A harsh new reality has arrived.
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Much remains uncertain as the effects of the Coronavirus ravage economies, says Dave Keating @ Forbes.

But what seems clear is that any assumptions made about transitioning to the green economy have now been rendered obsolete.

[…] The EU’s Green Deal, with its target to completely decarbonize by 2050 proposed earlier this month, has not taken the massive economic and social disruption of Coronavirus into account.

Assumptions made just a few weeks ago will now have to be completely revised. There is particular urgency to revise the EU’s medium-term goal of reducing emissions by 40% by 2030, adopted in 2014.

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Variation in solar activity during a recent sunspot cycle [credit: Wikipedia]


This seems worth another airing in the face of today’s insistent, but evidence-light, claims from climate obsessives that the world’s present and future weather is going to be largely determined by human activities.

If the energy from the sun varies by only 0.1 percent during the 11-year solar cycle, could such a small variation drive major changes in weather patterns on Earth? – asks Universe Today.

Yes, say researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) who used more than a century of weather observations and three powerful computer models in their study.

They found subtle connections between solar cycle, the stratosphere, and the tropical Pacific Ocean that work in sync to generate periodic weather patterns that affect much of the globe.

Scientists say this will help in predicting the intensity of certain climate phenomena, such as the Indian monsoon and tropical Pacific rainfall, years in advance.

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The most optimistic estimate of the advocates is 14% of total US energy supply from (manufactured) hydrogen by 2050. But why would it be worth the cost and effort, even if it could be done? Claims it would ‘strengthen the economy’ seem hard to justify, as hydrogen production is more expensive than that of fuels in use now.

A coalition of major oil & gas, power, automotive, fuel cell, and hydrogen companies have developed and released the full new report, a “Road Map to a US Hydrogen Economy”, reports Green Car Congress.

The Road Map stresses the versatility of hydrogen as an enabler of the renewable energy system; an energy vector that can be transported and stored; and a fuel for the transportation sector, heating of buildings and providing heat and feedstock to industry.

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Making electricity unreliable and expensive when it used not be — sounds idiotic, but seems to be the norm with climate-obsessed governments these days.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

I recently got an intriguing email from Professor Guus Berkhout, president of the Climate Intelligence Foundation or CLINTEL. It contained this striking paragraph and the last sentence really got me thinking:

“The past 150 years show that affordable and reliable energy is the key to prosperity. The past 150 years also show that more CO2 is beneficial for nature, greening the Earth and increasing the yields of crops. Why do governments ignore these hard facts? Why do they do the opposite and lower the quality of life by forcing high-cost, dubious low-carbon energy technologies upon their citizens? The zero-emission act is a crime against humanity.” (Emphasis added.)

So I looked into the law on crimes against humanity and Professor Berkhout may have a strong case. At its simplest, a crime against humanity is a government policy that systematically and knowingly harms a specific group…

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Typical electric car set-up


The battle of the chargers is underway. Too much home charging could overload the local electricity network, but nobody wants to sit around in public areas every day or two waiting for a more expensive power-up. At present this is of little interest to much of the population anyway, judging by the very low sales of EVs.

“Less-than-ideal” electric vehicle (EV) chargers were backed in last week’s Budget, which ring fenced £500M over five years to implement rapid charging hubs in public places, says New Civil Engineer.

Instead, policymakers should shift their focus away from costly public rapid chargers to investing in the scaled deployment of smaller, slower chargers on residential streets, says the report.

‘Electric Vehicles: Moving from early adopters to mainstream buyers’, by EV infrastructure company Connected Kerb, says that many potential EV buyers have no access to the convenience of chargers at home or nearby, and this is hindering EV take-up.

The report found that 67% of current EV drivers would not have bought an EV if they did not have access to overnight charging.

Connected Kerb chief executive Chris Pateman-Jones said: “That is a massive red flag when you look at the existing infrastructure deployment strategies.

“Rapid chargers are more expensive and less convenient – inconvenience deters uptake. Focus must be redirected to on-street residential and workplace charging that reflects existing charging behaviours and incentivises more people to transition to EVs.”

Existing charging behaviours indicate that 80% of charging is done at home, with 64% of this being overnight.

“This is where drivers want to charge,” Pateman Jones said. “They use costly public chargers only when their preferred option is not available. They do not think like petrol vehicle owners, going to a fixed location to ‘fill it up’.”

Full article here.


A senior academic reckons the 20 year design life of wind turbines is too short – “we should be doing better” – and means they don’t even qualify as infrastructure, and that offshore wind power is “ferociously costly and has a big carbon footprint”. He didn’t mention the intermittency and weather dependence, as they’re not fixable by humans.
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True carbon costs of offshore wind are not being declared in order to make the solution seem more environmentally acceptable than it actually is, according to a leading academic.

Cambridge University senior teaching associate Jim Platts is a former partner at Gifford [now Ramboll] and has focused his academic career on manufacturing issues.

He told New Civil Engineer: “The concept of offshore wind is being sold as being environmentally friendly but the reality is that it is ferociously costly and has a big carbon footprint.”

Platts believes that the energy companies developing offshore wind farms are hiding full details about their carbon footprints and is calling on the sector to be more transparent about them.

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That’s easy – there is no plan. Plenty of bluster, arm-waving and rash promises though. But the realities of engineering, economics, logistics and so on can’t be wished away.
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Berkeley, CA, Takoma Park, MD and other cities; California, Connecticut, New York, Virginia and other states; Germany, England and other countries; the European Union – all plan to banish oil, natural gas and coal within 10, 20 or 30 years, writes Paul Driessen @ Eurasia Review.

A number of US states have joined Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatives and proudly say We Are Still In … the Paris climate treaty, no matter what President Trump says or does.

Forget the headlines and models, and look at hurricane, tornado, sea level and other historic records. There is no crisis, no unprecedented warming or weather events, certainly nothing that proves humans have replaced the powerful natural forces that have always driven climate changes and weather events.

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Credit: geologycafe.com [click on image to enlarge]


That’s the idea anyway. They expect warmer weather to lead to drier conditions upto 2025. Perhaps a bit odd on the face of it, as the steamy tropics have rainforests whereas icy Antarctica is the driest continent on Earth.
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A new decade-long weather forecast made by Germany’s Meteorological Service (DWD) is supposed to improve the country’s climate change adaptation capabilities, says Clean Energy Wire.

“Our new forecast for the next ten years fills the gap between existing climate forecasts for the next months and long-term climate projections until the end of the century,” said DWD climatology head Tobias Fuchs.

The forecast project, supported by Germany’s research ministry, could be used by policymakers, business leaders and others to adapt their investment decisions to climate change, he added.

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Try not to weep. It will no doubt take place eventually, and hundreds of fuel-thirsty jets will descend on Scotland – or somewhere else – to discuss one more time how not to burn fuel in order to ‘save the world’, or something.

International climate talks scheduled for Glasgow in November have been thrown into doubt as the global clampdown on travel intensifies because of the coronavirus pandemic, reports the Financial Times (via The GWPF).

Government officials said it was increasingly likely that the annual UN gathering would be postponed given the fast-changing situation.

“Nothing is definite yet but from my vantage point I would bet on it being cancelled pretty soon,” said one Whitehall official.

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Not much chance of that in the absurdly climate-obsessed EU, but maybe a popular view in his home country given the massive costs and lack of worthwhile benefits of said ‘deal’.

Will COVID-19 be a reason to accelerate or slow Europe’s energy transition? The battle lines are already being drawn, says green Tech Media.

The Czech Republic’s prime minister, Andrej Babiš, has said the European Union should abandon its Green Deal and focus on fighting the spread of the coronavirus in an early sign of policy battles ahead.

Announced in December, Europe’s Green New Deal seeks to invest €1 trillion ($1.1 trillion) on the road to making the EU economy net-zero carbon by 2050.

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UN Should Change Course On Climate

Posted: March 16, 2020 by oldbrew in climate, IPCC, opinion

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Many national economies are going to be under a lot of strain during and after the Coronavirus epidemic. Pouring fortunes into the bottomless climate money pit looks highly unlikely any time soon.

PA Pundits - International

By David Wojick, Ph.D. ~

The UN’s climate action machinery is on the verge to collapse, beginning this November in Glasgow, Scotland. This time the annual climate summit, called COP 26, is most likely to end in complete disarray, even more than COP 25 did last year in Madrid, Spain.

The failure of COP 25 was widely noted with sadness, but Madrid was a minor COP, with little of substance on the table. In contrast COP 26 is hugely important. When it fails, the UN has to rethink its entire approach to climate action.

One of the six principles stated in CLINTEL’s World Climate Declaration captures the situation very succinctly. It says “Climate policy must respect scientific and economic realities.” If it does not, such a policy must fail. See https://clintel.org/world-climate-declaration/.

The scientific reality is that, as CLINTEL emphasizes, there is no climate emergency. The radicals insist that there…

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For decades we’ve been told that net cloud radiative forcing is positive. This means that the the amount by which clouds cool the surface, by reflecting solar radiation back to space, is outweighed by the amount that clouds warm the surface, by re-radiating surface emitted IR back towards the ground. So cloud increase equals warmer surface See e.g IPCC AR5 on the subject:

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