Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Biomass on the move [image credit: Drax]


Converting tree matter to wood pellets and transporting it thousands of miles are also energy-intensive processes. But non-solutions like part-time unpredictable wind turbines can never be an adequate alternative either.

Protestors claim biomass can be as bad as or worse for the environment than coal and say it shouldn’t be classed as renewable energy, reports Energy Live News.

Drax has been hit by a double environmental protest today at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in York and at Peel Port in Liverpool, where it receives its wooden biomass fuel pellets.

The owner of the formerly coal-fired Drax Power Station in Yorkshire, which now runs 70% on imported biomass, was targeted by environmentalists that believe its new fuel source can be as as bad as or worse for the environment than coal and say it shouldn’t be classed as renewable energy.

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Hydro power lines in Ontario


Once again the high cost of so-called ‘green’ policies turns out to be politically embarrassing, and attempts to hide the true facts seem to have made things much worse.

As Ontarians head to the polls in June, voters have to make sense of two competing versions of their province’s bottom line: The Auditor-General’s and the Kathleen Wynne government’s, reports Toronto’s Globe and Mail.

Matthew McClearn investigates how creative accounting in hydro revenue made their math so different.

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Keeping an open mind on climate matters is considered a thought crime in some quarters. Others think it’s just the rational approach.

CO2 is Life

NyeandBridenstine-2017-AP-640x480.jpgNASA’s new Administrator Jim Bridenstine is a climate change skeptic – and naturally the usual suspects are furious.

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California is investigating Tesla for workplace safety

Posted: April 20, 2018 by oldbrew in News

Tesla plant [image credit: Steve Jurvetson @ Wikipedia]


More negative publicity for the electric car maker. The report includes a response from Tesla, in which it says: ‘The injury rate at our Fremont factory is half what it was in the final years of the UAW plant operated by GM/Toyota immediately before us, and we care deeply about the safety and well-being of our people and strive to do better every day.’ Are electric car plants more dangerous than non-electric ones?

Days after reports of possible dangerous working conditions, Tesla is now under investigation by California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, as Futurism reports.

Well, people, it’s happening: California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is officially investigating Tesla, according to a statement.

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Credit: Coal India Limited


A big vote of no confidence in the Paris climate agreement, by the world’s second most populous country. Political reality comes first: coal is much cheaper than nuclear.

India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds, says The GWPF. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation.

The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set an ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two-thirds.

The decision has enormous implications for expanding use of coal for electrical power generation and for release of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and for adding to India’s dire air pollution problems in its major cities.

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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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Ex-drone, somewhere in Siberia


Testing in public – a risky business.

Russia wants to use drones to deliver mail in Siberia. If this first test is any indication, their technology isn’t quite there yet, reports Futurism.

Someday, in the future, our skies will be full of whirring machines delivering anything we could ever want or need, from medical supplies to pizzas to the latest item from our Amazon overlords.

That day is not today.

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Hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai [image credit: Nikkei Asian Review]


Climate targets are invoked to justify the cost and effort. Hydrogen cars are far more expensive than fuel-burners.

Zero emission vehicles to be used by taxi firms and police, says the DoT announcement.

Police cars and taxis will be among nearly 200 new hydrogen powered vehicles switching to zero emission miles, thanks to a multi-million pound government boost.

The zero emission vehicles are part of a project that has won £8.8 million in funding from the Department for Transport to improve access to hydrogen refuelling stations up and down the country and increase the number of hydrogen cars on our roads from this summer.

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Tibetan Plateau region


This is industrial scale geo-engineering. From one researcher: “Sometimes snow would start falling almost immediately after we ignited the chamber. It was like standing on the stage of a magic show,” he said.

China is testing cutting-edge defence technology to develop a powerful yet relatively low-cost weather modification system to bring substantially more rain to the Tibetan plateau, Asia’s biggest freshwater reserve, says the South China Morning Post.

The system, which involves an enormous network of fuel-burning chambers installed high up on the Tibetan mountains, could increase rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres a year – about 7 per cent of China’s total water consumption – according to researchers involved in the project.

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The notoriety of the next IPCC climate conference (COP24 in November) is already infecting the host country, which is a heavy user of its own coal for electricity generation. Maybe COP should read COPS? They clearly suspect trouble is likely.

Poland recently passed a bill that bans spontaneous protests and allows police surveillance at this year’s world climate summit, reports DW.com.

Civil society groups say Poland wants to silence environmental defenders.

There are still eight months to go until the international community meets for the UN climate talks in Poland’s Katowice, but the host is already causing controversy.

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Credit: Wikipedia


This only confirms in greater detail what has been fairly well-known for quite a long time anyway.
H/T The GWPF

For months, House Committees and a Special Counsel have been investigating Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, reports Inside Sources.

Even as these investigations continue to make headlines, interference in American energy markets, which was likely even more successful, has received relatively little attention.

According to new findings from the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology, Russian agents worked to manipulate specific groups inside the U.S. in order to “disrupt domestic energy markets, suppress research and development of fossil fuels, and stymie efforts to expand the use of natural gas.”

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There’s data, and then there’s interpretation of the data. But what the Northern Hemisphere weather has delivered is not what many CO2-fearing climate experts were expecting, despite some claims to the contrary.

Science Matters

Over land the northern hemisphere Globsnow snow-water-equivalent SWE product and over sea the OSI-SAF sea-ice concentration product. Credit: Image courtesy of Finnish Meteorological Institute

This just in from  Science Daily thanks to the Finnish Meteorological Institute: Exceptionally large amount of winter snow in Northern Hemisphere this year  March 14, 2018.

Excerpts below include both factual and speculative content (with my bolds.)

The new Arctic Now product shows with one picture the extent of the area in the Northern Hemisphere currently covered by ice and snow. This kind of information, which shows the accurate state of the Arctic, becomes increasingly important due to climate change.

In the Northern Hemisphere the maximum seasonal snow cover occurs in March. “This year has been a year with an exceptionally large amount of snow, when examining the entire Northern Hemisphere. The variation from one year to another has been somewhat great, and especially…

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Jupiter’s ‘Great Red Spot’ [image credit: NASA]


It seems to be turning into the not-so-great orange spot. Could this be a feature of climate change Jupiter-style?

Though once big enough to swallow three Earths with room to spare, Jupiter’s Great Red Spot has been shrinking for a century and a half, says Astronomy Now. Nobody is sure how long the storm will continue to contract or whether it will disappear altogether.

A new study suggests that it hasn’t all been downhill, though. The storm seems to have increased in area at least once along the way, and it’s growing taller as it gets smaller.

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Hambach surface mine, Germany [image credit: Wikipedia]


Looks like a case of protest gone mad over Europe’s largest surface coal mining operation.

The finance chief of an RWE renewable energy subsidiary was struck by unknown assailants as he crossed a park near Düsseldorf, reports DW.com. Police said they were investigating “in every direction”.
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A German energy executive has been badly injured in an acid attack, his company confirmed early Monday. Bernhard Günther, the CFO of energy giant RWE’s green subsidiary, Innogy, was struck as he crossed a park in Haan, a well-to-do suburb of Düsseldorf on Sunday.

“We are deeply shocked,” said Innogy chairman Uwe Tiggs. “Our thoughts are with Bernhard and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

Two unknown perpetrators poured acid over the 51-year-old’s face before fleeing the scene on foot, according to a statement Günter made to police.

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Giant berg mission thwarted by sea-ice

Posted: March 3, 2018 by oldbrew in News, sea ice, Travel
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Credit: coolantarctica.com


Not the first time something like this has happened, and probably not the last.

The UK-led expedition to the waters around the world’s biggest iceberg is forced to turn around, reports BBC News.
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Scientists have had to abandon their plan to investigate the waters around the world’s biggest iceberg.

The team, led by the British Antarctic Survey, was thwarted in its attempts to reach the massive block known as A-68 by thick sea-ice in the Weddell Sea.

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Credit: mygridgb.co.uk


No doubt the UK gas drilling companies will point out they have a way of tackling this kind of problem. As it’s cold almost everywhere in Europe at the moment, with high gas demand, nobody wants to bail Britain out. Some industrial users will get paid to cut their demand instead.

The UK’s gas system operator National Grid has issued a gas deficit warning for Thursday’s Gas Day starting at 0600 GMT as demand is set to significantly outstrip supply due to a number of outages, reports Platts.

UK gas demand is forecast at 396 million cu m on Thursday, while supply is now forecast at just 361 million cu m, leaving a deficit of 35 million cu m.

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The writing is on the wall for German diesel car makers after this ruling. If bans or other rules are imposed on diesels in German cities, sales are bound to take another hit – on top of the recent VW ‘dieselgate’ fiasco.

Germany’s top administrative court has ruled that it is legal for cities to ban diesel cars, reports DW.com.

The government opposes the bans, but is under pressure from the EU to do more to combat air pollution.

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on Tuesday that cities may be permitted to put driving bans in place for diesel vehicles.

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Image credit: meobserver.org


The VW diesel scandal has led to media-fuelled paranoia about diesel engines in general, so any result is possible from this court hearing. Diesel vehicles could be banned from central Stuttgart, where Mercedes-Benz makes thousands of them every week and is a key employer.

One of Germany’s top courts will decide Thursday whether some diesel vehicles can be banned from parts of cities like Stuttgart and Duesseldorf to reduce air pollution, a possible landmark judgement for the “car nation”, reports Phys.org.

Eyes have turned to the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig after years of failure by federal, state and local governments to slash harmful emissions.

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Image credit: BBC


That should ring everyone’s bell (sorry). Time for a phone-call-to-God joke.

Mobile providers are preparing to install antennas in church spires across the country, after ministers and bishops signed an agreement aimed at using the Church of England’s buildings to help obliterate blackspots, reports The Daily Telegraph.

A new “accord” between the Government and the Church sets out a joint plan to improve “connectivity” in rural areas by making use of spires and towers, following the successful use of the structures to improve access to high-speed broadband in two dioceses.

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