Archive for the ‘innovation’ Category

Industrial Runcorn [image credit: Ineos]


We’re told Project Centurion ‘will be the largest water to hydrogen electrolyzer system in the world’. But as a percentage of the volume, how much hydrogen could safely be injected into the existing gas supply, and would it be worth the bother? This looks like the press release.

ITM Power announced funding from Innovate UK for a feasibility study to deploy a 100MW Power-to-Gas (P2G) energy storage project, “Project Centurion” at Runcorn, Cheshire, UK, reports Green Car Congress.

This project explores the electrolytic production, pipeline transmission, salt cavern storage and gas grid injection of green hydrogen at an industrial scale.

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Solar panel road [image credit: Wattway]


For several obvious reasons cited below, the conclusion should be that solar panels on road surfaces perform extremely poorly and are essentially an irrelevant waste of money. If the money has to be spent, putting the same amount of panels somewhere more suitable would be an easy improvement to make.
H/T Phys.org

Four years ago a viral campaign wooed the world with a promise of fighting climate change and jump-starting the economy by replacing tarmac on the world’s roads with solar panels, says Dylan Ryan at The Conversation.

The bold idea has undergone some road testing since then. The first results from preliminary studies have recently come out, and they’re a bit underwhelming.

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Image credit: Spaceflight now


Light as a power source is only a theory so far, but could have interesting implications if it can be shown to work. Or it could go nowhere…

Spacecraft and satellites could in future be launched into space without the need for fuel, thanks to a revolutionary new theory, says EurekAlert.

Dr Mike McCulloch, from the University of Plymouth, first put forward the idea of quantised inertia (QI) – through which he believes light can be converted into thrust – in 2007.

He has now received $1.3million from the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for a four-year study which aims to make the concept a reality.

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Soon your utility will help select your next car

Posted: September 10, 2018 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation, Travel
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That’s the plan anyway, as utilities want to recommend electric cars to their customers so as to sell more electricity and make more money. But there’s much more to it than that. Enter the ‘trusted energy advisor’.

For a long time utilities have been seeking better ways to engage with their customers, says PEI.

Jeff Hamel, director of energy and housing partnerships at Google, says that the Nest smart thermostat – which is part of the hardware product line that Google provides – is a good example of a simple way that utilities are partnering with their customers.

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porto-sunset_1

The annual climate conference series which started in Paris in 2015 will be continuing on this coming Friday and Saturday in Porto, Portugal. Scientists both professional and amateur will be presenting their work on ‘The Basic Science of a Changing Climate’,and discussing climate change and policy with attendees. The Abstracts volume is available here.

Stuart and I had intended to co-present our work on stellar-planetary system resonance, but owing to his family duties, I’ll be delivering the talk by myself. Through a tortuous set of bookings involving a couple of long coach rides, I’ve managed to work out an affordable travel itinerary. Due to starting the new job with Leave Means Leave, but not getting any pay until the middle of October, I’m in a tight spot. I try to call for help from talkshop readers as infrequently as possible, but right now I need it.

Nearly all of us who have been battling to counter the hype and spin of the mainstream ‘Climate! Crisis!’ narrative over the last decade have been doing so with no grants or support. We carry on because we have to defend the scientific method against databending, bad theory, propaganda and brainwashing in schools, universities, the media and via quangos and NGOs.

We also need to promote  viable alternative hypotheses for climate change, via our blogs, through the few journals which allow dissenting opinion, and at our annual conferences. Science benefits from fair consideration of a plurality of ideas and observations.

If you can help defray expenses, please use the paypal button on the top left of the Talkshop page and I’ll keep up the fight to have our voices heard on your behalf. Thank you for all your support over the years. Let’s keep going until sanity prevails.

Feeding scars of white coral skeleton [image credit: JSLUCAS75 @ Wikipedia]


‘An individual starfish can consume up to 6 square metres (65 sq ft) of living coral reef per year’ – Wikipedia. Over-population in some areas has damaged the local reef.

Robot drones are set to be tested underwater to protect the Great Barrier Reef from crown-of-thorns starfish, reports BT.com.

The autonomous RangerBot is able to spot the coral-eating starfish with 99.4% accuracy and kill them using a fatal injection.

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Tiros 1 instruments [credit: NOAA]


These are extracts from an ESA article. In 1954 British science-fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke wrote to Wexler promoting satellite ideas. In 1960 after years of work and lobbying the first weather satellite was launched.

Wexler was a man of vision, ready to face danger and to give his all to collecting useful data.

He was the first scientist to deliberately fly into a hurricane and also participated in polar expeditions.

His was the mind behind the very first meteorology satellite and even before it reached orbit, he was already dreaming of a global network of satellites to watch the weather worldwide.
. . .
[He] gained a PhD in meteorology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1939.

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Credit: greencarcongress.com


That’s the claim, but hydrogen still needs an energy source for its manufacture, so any sustainability depends on what that source is. And looking a bit closer, the report says: “If the extracted hydrogen gas is ultimately used as fuel, for example in a fuel cell of a car, the hydrogen reacts back to water with oxygen gas from the atmosphere.” So what happens when a hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicle trails water from its ‘exhaust’ on to a road in sub-zero temperatures? An icy, or more icy, surface seems likely to be the undesirable result.

The research group led by Leiden chemist Marc Koper has discovered a catalyst that minimizes the production of chlorine gas during salt water electrolysis, reports Phys.org.

The invention can enable the direct production of hydrogen from seawater.

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Baidu’s self-driving mini bus on show in Shanghai.


The march of the robots gets wheels.

One of China’s biggest technology companies has declared it has begun mass production of a self-driving bus, reports BBC News.

Baidu made the announcement after building its 100th Apolong vehicle at its factory in the country’s south-eastern Fujian province.

It said the vehicles would initially be put to commercial use within Chinese cities but added it was also targeting foreign markets.

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Permian shale, Texas [image credit: fulcrium.com]


Not a bad idea from someone who admitted “I was just trying to keep my job”.
H/T The GWPF

Two decades ago, an engineer tried a new way to get gas out of the ground. Energy markets and global politics would never be the same, writes Russell Gold @ The Wall Street Journal.

DISH, Texas – Twenty years ago this month, a well was drilled here that changed the world.

Nothing at the time suggested the unassuming well in this rural town north of Fort Worth would hobble OPEC, the powerful oil cartel that had governed prices of the world’s most important commodity for more than a generation. Or that it would help turn the U.S. into a global energy exporter, or shuffle the geopolitical deck.

But it did all of that – and more.

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Avinor’s electric plane [image credit: inhabitat.com]


It’s tiny, hard to get into and battery weight is still a major problem, but the latest ‘green’ toy has got off the ground. However, Norway is also one of the world’s leading oil and gas exporters. Crude oil and natural gas accounted for 40% of the country’s total export value in 2015.

OSLO (Reuters) — Norway tested a two-seater electric plane on Monday and predicted a start to passenger flights by 2025 if new aviation technologies match a green shift that has made Norwegians the world’s top buyers of electric cars.

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London’s ‘Gherkin’ [image credit: BBC]


The idea here is that a new type of triple-glazed window would be of identical width and similar weight to an equivalent double-glazed one, thus minimizing compatibility issues.

About $20 billion worth of energy leaks out of windows in the United States each winter—and that’s with double-paned insulating windows installed on a majority of buildings, says TechXplore.

The Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) is now working with manufacturers to bring to market a “super window” that is at least twice as insulating as 99 percent of the windows for sale today and will be ready to achieve mass-market status.

The “thin triple” super window design doubles the thermal performance of current Energy Star-rated double-glazed windows and is seven times more insulating than a single-glazed window.

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Gencell A5 unit [image credit: Gencell]


Diesel generators are big business in many rural areas with limited electrical power supplies and other players are looking for a slice of the action, claiming various advantages including immunity from fuel theft, as PEI reports.

A new fuel cell solution for primary power applications, launched this week, could compete on price for the first time with diesel gensets, its maker GenCell Energy says.

The Israeli firm said its hydrogen-fuelled A5 unit is designed to provide 24/7 power for off-grid and poor-grid sites and will initially be aimed at the telecom tower market.

It claims a typical telecom provider could save up to $250m across 1000 towers over ten years compared to the cost of diesel generators.

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Image credit: Highview Power


Is this just another way of making renewable energy even more expensive, or what? The claim is that this “is a great step forward in the creation of a truly decentralized energy system in the UK allowing end-users to balance the national electricity network at times of peak demand”. Cranking up the boilers at the power station is going out of fashion along with the power stations themselves, but the price is high due to subsidies, and security of electricity supply is uncertain.

The world’s first grid-scale liquid air energy storage plant officially launched today, reports PEI.

The 5MW/15MWh plant near Manchester in England will become the first operational demonstration of liquid air energy storage (LAES) technology at grid-scale.

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The new shale tech that terrifies OPEC

Posted: June 3, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, shale oil
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Credit: mining.com


Trying to write off shale drilling as a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad isn’t working out too well, it seems. The WSJ investigates.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger says The Wall Street Journal @ the GWPF.

Two years ago, it looked like Saudi Arabia was winning its fight against the U.S. shale oil industry by furiously pumping crude to drive down prices.

Some drillers went bust and many more flirted with bankruptcy while oil drilling in places like West Texas and North Dakota collapsed.

The Saudi effort backfired.

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Of course this may sound ‘far out’, but let’s have a look at the short video from VoA News anyway.

In today’s energy-hungry world, scientists are constantly revisiting every renewable resource looking for ways to increase efficiency.

One researcher in the Netherlands believes even gravity can be harnessed to produce free electricity on a scale sufficient to power small appliances.

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Can CNG trucks go the distance?

Posted: May 3, 2018 by oldbrew in Emissions, innovation, News, Travel
Tags: ,

CNG truck [image credit: Waitrose]


The idea here is that high pressure carbon-fibre fuel tanks should help to demolish the ‘range anxiety’ of truck operators who need to cover big distances daily, by giving a range of upto 500 miles. America already has some, but these are the first in Europe. Lifetime costs should be lower than regular trucks, but the report doesn’t say where the ‘renewable biomethane‘ fuel is coming from.

Delivery trucking is a dirty business, but the companies that rely on it are working to clean things up – and compressed natural gas is emerging as a useful alternative to our reliance on diesel power.

In the UK, Scania has created a fleet of biomethane fueled trucks for Waitrose, which is looking to reap the rewards with lower running costs and less emissions, reports New Atlas.

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The VW emissions scandal sent the reputation and sales of the diesel car generally into a nosedive, but one German firm has new ideas that aim to reverse its fading fortunes.

Robert Bosch GmbH said its engineers have developed a new diesel-exhaust system that cuts emissions significantly below legal limits taking effect in 2020, reports TechXplore.

Bosch is positioning the diesel technology as a solution to the NOx problem.

In turn, anyone who says there is no future in diesel will find no solace in the words of Bosch Chief Executive Volkmar Denner: “There’s a future for diesel. Soon, emissions will no longer be an issue.”

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The original technology was demonstrated in an Atlantic crossing that took place in 1926, but Norsepower says it has created various new improvements for which several patents have been granted.

Last year (reports New Atlas) we detailed how Norsepower had rediscovered an engineering innovation, which sees large cylinders installed atop big ships to harness wind for propulsion.

Now a passenger ship has been treated to the Rotor Sail Solution and has set sail on wind-assisted trips between Finland and Sweden.

The M/S Viking Grace – which has 880 cabins and can accommodate 2,800 passengers and around 500 cars – went into service in 2013, when it was reported to be the first ship of its size to be fueled by Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

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Sweden installs section of electrified road

Posted: April 13, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, News, Travel
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Slot cars [image credit: Thomas Mielke @ Wikipedia]


Forget solar panels on the road surface – this is a different idea. Power is picked up by vehicles on the move, similar to slot cars. The report says: ‘They have also taken measures to ensure the rail is functional during inclement weather.’ Trialling in Sweden should put that to the test.

A team making up the eRoadArlanda project has announced that they have electrified a section of road near Stockholm, which will be tested by a battery-powered test truck.

The team is part of an initiative set up by the Swedish government’s Transport Administration to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, reports TechXplore.

The Swedish government has been funding projects aimed at developing a fossil-free road transport system for many years. In this new effort, the focus was on implementing a road technology that could be used by currently available vehicles. The result is what some have called a human-sized slot car system.

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