Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Fuel cell bus from Wrightbus


The obvious problem for the imagined ‘hydrogen economy’ is that there isn’t any natural source of hydrogen gas. The viability of using electricity generated only from renewables to convert water into industrial-scale hydrogen supplies is questionable, to put it mildly. Brace for the usual ‘green jobs’ claims having a tendency to be wildly over-optimistic.
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The first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell-electric double-decker bus has arrived in Aberdeen, reports Route One.

Aberdeen City Council (ACC) says the delivery, part of an £8.3m project funded by ACC, the Scottish Government and the European Union Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles across Europe (JIVE) project, underlines the city’s role as the ‘energy capital of Europe’ and its commitment to the transition of green energy in a net zero vision.

Hydrogen offers greater range and faster refuelling while maintaining the efficiency of battery-electric equivalents, the council says.

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The plan is to use abandoned coal mining shafts globally as power storage plants, and/or drill their own shafts if necessary. Costs are estimated to be lower than other existing energy storage options (see report for details).
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Gravity has been the center of wonderment for physicists, mathematicians and thinkers of all kinds for centuries, says TechXplore.

In the early 1600s, astronomer Galileo dropped balls from the Tower of Pisa and declared that gravitational acceleration is the same for all objects.

Decades later, Isaac Newton expanded on those thoughts and devised his theory of gravity, that all particles attract all other particles with a force directly proportional to the square of the distance between their centers.

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If the U.S or anywhere else thinks it needs to spend a fortune on energy innovation to meet ‘critical needs’, which may or may not deliver anything useful, what does that say about existing technologies like wind and solar power? This report suggests they’re at least 50% short of reaching the pie-in-the-sky targets of climate alarmist dreamers with existing (zero emission) technology, so they must now try to invent their way out of trouble with what they call ‘advanced energy’. Good luck with that, if they still intend to shun nuclear power. Will the climate notice anyway, whatever they end up doing?
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Research released today recommends that the U.S. federal government triple its annual investment in energy innovation over the next five years to speed clean energy transitions around the world and build advanced energy industries at home, says TechXplore.

The Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA released Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission, a detailed guide for federal policymakers to raise energy innovation as a core national priority.

Co-authored with scholars from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), Energizing America is the first in a series of volumes to kickstart a U.S. federal clean energy innovation policy agenda.

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As the report below points out: ‘until we see some output figures the claims are still hazy, and until we see some proof, they are of course just claims’.
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California company NDB says its nano-diamond batteries will absolutely upend the energy equation, acting like tiny nuclear generators, reports New Atlas.

They will blow any energy density comparison out of the water, lasting anywhere from a decade to 28,000 years without ever needing a charge.

They will offer higher power density than lithium-ion. They will be nigh-on indestructible and totally safe in an electric car crash.

And in some applications, like electric cars, they stand to be considerably cheaper than current lithium-ion packs despite their huge advantages.

The heart of each cell is a small piece of recycled nuclear waste.

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Admitting the problem is a start, but not installing the turbines in the first place is obviously the most effective solution. Reducing deaths and injuries would hardly be a triumph.
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Painting one blade of a wind turbine black could cut wind farms’ fatal bird strikes by up to 70%, reports BBC News.

Painting one blade of a wind turbine black could cut bird strikes at wind farms by up to 70%, a study suggests.

Birds colliding with the structures has long been considered to be one of the main negative impacts of onshore wind farms, the authors observed.

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E-truck test route [image credit: transport-online.de]


The bill for such a system would be massive and a lot of fuel duty revenue would be lost. What does it offer to anyone outside the haulage industry?
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Electrification of 7,500 km of the UK’s major road network would enable most lorries to be powered by overhead charging cables, resulting in dramatically reduced carbon emissions, a new report has found.

A team from the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (SRF) – bringing together heavy vehicle engineering expertise from the Department of Engineering and logistics expertise from Heriot-Watt University and the University of Westminster and a consortium of industry partners—has proposed that building a so-called ‘electric road system’ could be used to decarbonise 65% of UK lorry kilometers traveled by 2040, says TechXplore.

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BYD electric bus, London [image credit: China Daily]


What effect this could have on the life of the bus batteries remains to be seen, but it’s unlikely to be beneficial. The efficiency or otherwise of the power transfer process is also open to question.
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A north London bus garage is to become the world’s largest trial site for a new eco-friendly method of generating electricity, reports the Evening Standard.

Northumberland Park garage is to be transformed into a “virtual power station” – taking energy stored in the batteries of parked electric buses and feeding it back into the electricity network.

Putting energy back into the grid when demand is high and recharging buses when demand is low helps make the network more efficient by balancing the peaks and troughs.

The Government-funded Bus2Grid project will become operational in November and will run for three years.

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Electric storage heating has been around for decades, but this is a bit different, storing power rather than heat. After a predicted 10,000 recharge cycles performance may degrade. The researchers say: ‘Our supercapacitor technology adds value to a “dirt-cheap” construction material and demonstrates a scalable process affording energy storage for powering embedded microdevices in architectural applications that utilize fired brick.’
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Helping turn ordinary bricks into energy-storing ones is PEDOT — poly polystyrene sulfonate — a polymer that stores and conducts electricity, says MEA WorldWide.

The walls of your home are capable of storing electricity, like batteries. It would need two materials: the humble red bricks and plastic, according to scientists who turned ordinary bricks into “smart” ones in their new study.

It opens up the possibility of plugging gadgets directly into American homes.

In fact, bricks are known for absorbing and storing the sun’s heat. And because buildings can take up large amounts of space, researchers from Washington University in St Louis wondered if it can also store electricity. So they began testing the feasibility of the idea.

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Nikola Tesla in the lab with a few million volts of electricity overhead.
[image credit: Wikipedia]


Sounds interesting, but of course experiments don’t always go according to plan – as Tesla well knew.
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A New Zealand-based startup has developed a method of safely and wirelessly transmitting electric power across long distances without the use of copper wire, and is working on implementing it with the country’s second-largest power distributor, reports New Atlas.

The dream of wireless power transmission is far from new; everyone’s favorite electrical genius Nikola Tesla once proved he could power light bulbs from more than two miles away with a 140-foot Tesla coil in the 1890s – never mind that in doing so he burned out the dynamo at the local powerplant and plunged the entire town of Colorado Springs into blackout.

Tesla’s dream was to place enormous towers all over the world that could transmit power wirelessly to any point on the globe, powering homes, businesses, industries and even giant electric ships on the ocean.

Investor J.P. Morgan famously killed the idea with a single question: “where can I put the meter?”

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VW ID.3 [image credit: Alexander Migl @ Wikipedia]


The car is about the same size as VW’s Golf model but weighs 200 kilograms more due to the battery, which has an 8 year guarantee. What is guaranteed is not clear. List prices for most versions are well in excess of 30,000 euros, but subsidies are on offer. Don’t all rush at once…
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Volkswagen ID.3 latest news

Even before the Volkswagen ID.3 goes on sale, it has managed to pick up an award – from carwow!

The ID.3 collected the Most Wanted award at the 2019 carwow Car of the Year awards, says Green Car Congress.

This award is given to the brand that has the most-read news story here on carwow – and the ID.3 scooped that accolade by some margin.

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Windy Standard wind farm, Scotland [credit: RWE.com]


H/T Chaeremon

We’re supposed to believe that spending £25 million is going to somehow make UK power supplies cheaper. No explanation of where the energy for the flywheel is going to come from. Maybe more trees will have to be burnt, as wind can’t be relied on? Don’t even think about a catastrophic failure of the flywheel itself.

A giant flywheel in the north-east of Scotland could soon help prevent power outages across Britain by mimicking the effect of a power plant but without using fossil fuels, reports FR24News.

The pioneering project near Keith in Moray, which would cost around £25 million, will not produce electricity or produce carbon emissions – but it could help keep the lights on by stabilizing the grid’s electrical frequency.

Norwegian energy company Statkraft hopes that starting next winter, the new flywheel, designed by a division of General Electric, will be able to mimic the rotating turbines of a traditional power plant, which have helped balance the network frequency at around 50 hertz for decades.

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Well, there’s your problem. The climate alarmists need tech toys that don’t exist, and insist that ‘clean’ energy can change the weather.
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Without a major acceleration in clean energy innovation, countries and companies worldwide will be unable to fulfil their pledges to bring their carbon emissions down to net-zero in the coming decades, said the IEA in a new report.

The report assesses the ways in which clean energy innovation can be significantly accelerated to achieve net-zero emissions while enhancing energy security in a timeframe compatible with international climate and sustainable energy goals, says Trade Arabia.

The Special Report on Clean Energy Innovation is the first publication in the IEA’s revamped Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) series and includes a comprehensive new tool analysing the market readiness of more than 400 clean energy technologies.

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This article ‘in association with the European Commission’ in effect tells us they are running out of ideas on how to progress their obsession with reducing the quantity of the minor trace gas carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere. They forget the main player by far in ‘greenhouse gases’ is known to be water vapour, so focus on CO2 is next to pointless anyway, even if current climate theory was credible.
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The Commission is launching today the first call for proposals under the Innovation Fund, one of the world’s largest programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, financed by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU’s Emissions Trading System.

The Innovation Fund will finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage, reports The European Sting.

It will provide a boost to the green recovery by creating local future-proof jobs, paving the way to climate neutrality and reinforcing European technological leadership on a global scale.

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This is from a press release via Green Car Congress. The maker ‘estimates that its technology would be able to achieve a carbon emissions reduction of 25% for this vessel’.
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Norsepower Oy Ltd., the leading global provider of auxiliary wind propulsion systems, and SEA-CARGO, leading logistics provider in the North Sea market, announced an agreement to install two of Norsepower’s largest Rotor Sails (earlier post) on board the SC Connector, a sidedoor Ro-Ro.

The agreement aso marks the installation of the world’s first tiltable Rotor Sail, showcasing the innovative design adaptations that can be made for individual vessel requirements.

The SC Connector, a 12,251 gross tonne (GT) Ro-Ro cargo vessel operates in the North Sea, which allows for some of the most favorable wind conditions for Rotor Sails.

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Austria’s Pyramidenkogel: ‘at a height of 100 metres it is the tallest wooden observation tower in the world’ says Wikipedia [image credit: Rollroboter @ Wikipedia]


Another case of jumping on the climate bandwagon to promote a product? The term used is ‘mass timber’, or engineered wood. Sweden has already built the first wooden wind turbine tower, made of modular laminated wood.
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Architects and engineers are working on ways to swap steel and glass for strong, sustainable wood-based materials, says Discover Magazine.

When the empire state building was completed in 1931, the 102-story skyscraper ranked as the tallest in the world, a beacon of American progress as well as a lightning rod for Midtown Manhattan.

And the material that made it possible was steel — or so people believed until 2015, when Canadian architect Michael Green showed that an identical structure could be fabricated out of timber.

Green was not proposing replacing the 20th-century icon. His plans are far more radical. Green wants the global construction industry to replace steel and concrete with high-tech plywood.

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The focus here is on heavy duty engines. Of course they have to claim that carbon dioxide, vital to plants and vegetation, is a ‘pollutant’ but this is from the crazy side of today’s climate-obsessed world.
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Southwest Research Institute engineers have developed the next generation of clean diesel engine technology to reduce hazardous nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon dioxide emissions while minimizing fuel consumption, says Green Car Congress.

Working with regulatory agencies, vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, SwRI combined engine modifications with integrated aftertreatment technology and control strategies to reach near-zero emissions levels (0.02 g/hp-hr NOx emissions).

SwRI developed the technology for the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The work is described in a pair of SAE Technical Papers.

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Promotional video:

Regardless of questionable greenhouse climate theories, who wouldn’t want lower fuel consumption rates for their vehicle? ‘Up to 30%’ better economy is mentioned.
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A technology developed by researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could pave the way for increased fuel economy and lower greenhouse gas emissions as part of an octane-on-demand fuel-delivery system, reports Phys.org.

Designed to work with a car’s existing fuel, the onboard separation technology is the first to use chemistry—not a physical membrane—to separate ethanol-blended gasoline into high- and low-octane fuel components.

An octane-on-demand system can then meter out the appropriate fuel mixture to the engine depending on the power required: lower octane for idling, higher octane for accelerating.

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Coal mine shaft and winding tower [image credit: Andy Dingley @ Wikipedia]


Like pumped hydro or any gravity-based system it uses more power than it stores. Euan Mearns and Roger Andrews did an interesting analysis on this idea in 2018, comparing it to batteries and hydro. One issue is finding enough suitable disused mine shafts that aren’t flooded. At least heavy weights don’t degrade over time, unlike batteries.
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The pilot project aims to demonstrate the firm’s technology, which works by using excess electricity to lift 12,000 tonnes of weights in a deep shaft and releasing them at a later time to generate energy, says Energy Live News.

The trial aims to assess the response speed of energy generation once the weights are released.

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Assessing integrated solar roofs for EVs

Posted: May 15, 2020 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel
Tags: ,

Lightyear One prototype


A novel range extender, or just another way to make costly EVs even more expensive? Insurance costs could be eye-watering too.

High-tech mobility innovator Lightyear and Royal DSM will jointly scale the commercialization of Lightyear’s unique solar-powered roof for the electric vehicle market, reports Green Car Congress.

With this solution, both companies aim to accelerate the global adoption of a broad range of Electric Vehicles (EVs).

Specifically, the partnership aims to integrate solar-powered roofs in a variety of electric vehicles, including cars, vans and buses, thus enabling users to charge their vehicle directly with clean energy.

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Great Barrier Reef, Australia [image credit: BBC]


Research continues, but what other ‘futuristic’ climate-related plans might they want to conjure up if this trial is deemed a success?
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An ambitious “cloud brightening” experiment has been carried out over Australia’s Great Barrier Reef in an early-stage trial that scientists hope could become a futuristic way to protect coral from global warming, says Phys.org.

In an attempt to cool waters around the reef by making clouds reflect more sunlight, researchers said they used a boat-mounted fan similar to a snow cannon to shoot salt crystals into the air.

Results from the trial were “really, really encouraging”, the project’s lead scientist Daniel Harrison from Southern Cross University said on Friday.

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