Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Typical electric car set-up


Critics of fuel power speak of the finite nature of oil and natural gas discoveries. A reminder here that resources are far from unlimited for EVs, in the short term at least. No sign of much appetite for switching to smaller cars either, with SUV demand rising fast.

The current production of a number of critical metals is insufficient for the large-scale transition to electric vehicles.

This is the conclusion of a report by environmental scientists Benjamin Sprecher and organisations Copper8 and Metabolic, reports TechXplore.

As a solution, they advocate more electric car-sharing, cars with a smaller battery and improved recycling.

Small country, big impact

The Dutch Climate Policy aims for 1.9 million electric cars in the Netherlands by 2030, compared to 171,000 at this moment—a growth of more than 1000 percent in less than 11 years.

But according to the report “Critical Metals Demand for Electric Vehicles’ – which looks at critical metals needed for this growth—it would be better to limit this growth, so that there will be a maximum of 1 million electric cars in 2030.

The authors assume a fair distribution: each country is entitled to a certain share of the global production of important critical metals, such as lithium and cobalt, in proportion to its population.

With the current plans for electric cars, the Netherlands would need up to 4 percent of the global annual production, while the Netherlands only has 0.2 percent of the world’s population—an ‘unfair distribution,” according to the report.

Less is more

“Let me start by saying that we are definitely not against the introduction of electric cars,” says Benjamin Sprecher, researcher at the Centre for Environmental Sciences Leiden.

The transition to electric transport is important,” says Benjamin Sprecher, a researcher at the Institute of Environmental Sciences. “However, we must be aware that this policy is not without consequences.”

He explains, for example, that a greater demand for critical metals—which are also needed for solar panels and wind turbines—can be disastrous to nature. “Increased demand inevitably leads to the construction of new mines. In order to prevent inconvenience to humans, these will be located in remote areas, at the expense of already scarce nature reserves. We must be aware of this and ensure more sustainable mining.”

But that’s not enough, says Sprecher. “We consume an awful lot, so much so that it is no longer enough for us to have just one Earth. In the case of electric cars too, it is important that we look at ways to reduce the number of cars. For example, shared cars and improved public transport.”

Other solutions, such as new technologies that are less dependent on critical metals or the use of smaller batteries, are less effective (see figure 2) but also easier to implement.

Finally, the report recommends the development of a stronger European critical metals recycling industry.

Full article here.

Credit: Railfuture


Well, 10% solar-powered – that’s the target. Of course solar has its variables, mainly weather conditions and hours of daylight. So is this ‘solution’ worth the bother and cost, or not? The era of batteries on train locomotives has also arrived – see ‘Adding a third dimension – battery power’ here.

How many times have we looked at clever innovation and wondered why on earth no one thought of doing it before?

Often the simplest of ideas seem to lead to the most elegant of engineering solutions, says RailEngineer.

The truth is, of course, that invention is only half of the story. Sometimes the right meeting of minds must happen before a bright idea can become a reality.

To the best of our knowledge, the direct supply of solar power to rail traction systems has never been done, anywhere in the world.

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Bristol’s urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK, says Wikipedia. Diesel owners don’t have long to get rid of their cars, convert them to another fuel or find another method of transport if they need to get into town to work, shop or anything else during the day, after March 2021 – unless the next government decides to step in and save them.

Under the plan, all privately-owned diesel vehicles will be banned from entering it every day between 7am and 3pm by March 2021
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Bristol is set to become the first city in the UK to ban diesel cars as part of its efforts to improve air quality, reports Energy Live News.

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The two Voyager space probes, launched in 1977, are still delivering tales of the unexpected.

The boundary region between the sun’s sphere of influence and the broader Milky Way galaxy is complicated indeed.

Humanity’s second taste of interstellar space may have raised more questions than it answered, writes Mike Wall @ Space.com.

NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft popped free of the heliosphere — the huge bubble of charged particles that the sun blows around itself — on Nov. 5, 2018, more than six years after the probe’s pioneering twin, Voyager 1, did the same.

The mission team has now had some time to take stock of Voyager 2’s exit, which occurred in the heliosphere’s southern hemisphere (as opposed to Voyager 1, which departed in the northern hemisphere).

In a series of five papers published online today (Nov. 4) in the journal Nature Astronomy, the researchers reported the measurements made by the probe as it entered interstellar space.

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At least they won’t need to make the bus trip from Rio to Santiago – if Spain is confirmed as the new venue. The best laid schemes of mice and men…and all that.

News of Santiago summit’s cancellation reportedly came as heavy blow but youngsters decide to push ahead with boat trip, reports Jonathan Watts for The Guardian.

Chile’s decision to withdraw as host of the Cop 25 UN climate conference has prompted tears and frustration from a group of school-strike activists sailing across the Atlantic to attend the talks.

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Global EV sales in September 2019 drop down 8%

Posted: November 1, 2019 by oldbrew in News, Travel
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Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


Sales of expensive electric vehicles predictably misfire as short-term subsidies inevitably slip. No signs of mass take-up despite endless climate hype.

Global sales are lower than a year ago because China lost incentives, while the U.S. is trying to overcome high Model 3 sales in 2018, reports Inside EVs.

The global plug-in passenger car sales were affected in September by a decrease in sales in China and in the U.S. Only the European market brings significant growth among the three biggest markets.

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Somewhere has got about a month to arrange to receive 30,000 unexpected climate tourists – or whatever the absurdly bloated figure is. Sounds unlikely, so postponement beckons.

Chile has pulled out of hosting two major international summits, including a UN climate change conference, as anti-government protests continue, reports BBC News.

President Sebastián Piñera said the decision “caused him a lot of pain” but his government needed “to prioritise re-establishing public order”.

The COP25 climate summit was scheduled for December, while the Apec trade summit was due next month.

The UN said it was now “exploring alternative hosting options”.

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Close Encounter with a Gigantic Jet

Posted: October 27, 2019 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Travel
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One jet meets another 😎

Spaceweather.com

Oct. 25, 2019: When you see lightning, run! So NOAA advises in lightning safety brochures. On Oct. 15th, however, pilot Chris Holmes had no place to go when lightning started to crackle in thunderstorms around his aircraft. Like it or not, he was in position for a close encounter … with a Gigantic Jet.

“I was flying 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Mexico near the Yucatan Peninsula when a super cell started pulsing with light,” he says. “It wasn’t just ordinary lightning, though. The cell was also creating lots of sprites and jets. They were leaping up from the thunderhead.”

At a distance of only 35 miles, he video-recorded a towering Gigantic Jet:

gj_crop

“It was the most amazing thing I’ve seen in my aviation career,” he says.

Sometimes called “Earth’s tallest lightning,” Gigantic Jets were discovered in 2001-2002 shooting out of thunderstorms near Taiwan and Puerto Rico. Since then…

View original post 222 more words

Another hybrid ferry


Anyone fancy a hybrid-electric cruise after reading this?

Norwegian authorities are warning shipowners and operators about the dangers associated with lithium-ion battery systems after a fire and subsequent gas explosion on board a diesel-electric ferry in Norway.

The small fire was reported October 10 in the battery room of the Norled passenger ferry MF Ytterøyningen, reports gcaptain.com.

The ferry returned to harbor under its own power where passengers and crew were evacuated to land.

Overnight, however, a serious gas explosion rocked the battery room causing significant damage.

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Boeing 737 MAX 8 landing [image credit: Acefitt @ Wikipedia]


What is or isn’t genuinely ‘climate-friendly’ is a separate issue, but public perceptions are obviously important to competitive airlines and the plane makers they buy from.

We need to know if safety considerations at Boeing took a back seat to producing a climate-friendly plane, says Miranda Devine @ The New York Post (via The GWPF).

When Swedish eco-pessimist Greta Thunberg came to New York to shout, “How dare you!” last month, she maintained her climate purity by traveling on a carbon-neutral, solar-powered yacht.

Now that she’s in Canada, the teen doomsayer hasn’t explained how she’ll travel 4,000 miles home to Sweden without flying. She’s given up airplanes because she believes their greenhouse emissions drive cataclysmic climate change.

Air travel, which accounts for 2 percent of global emissions, has become the great bogeyman for climate alarmists, sparking a backlash against airlines.

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Smoke from a California wildfire [image credit: BBC]


Drastic loss of mobility. Recharging directly from solar panels is not an option either.

Tesla’s Elon Musk promises battery and solar solutions for the many EV owners who can’t charge their cars, reports Yahoo News.
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From Car and Driver

— Nearly a million Californians are now without power as the electric company deliberately shut it off this week, fearing high winds would spark wildfire.

— The affected area in Northern California surrounds Fremont, home of Tesla, and a great many electric-car owners who can’t charge their vehicles as usual.

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More promotion of the mythical virtues of a ‘low-carbon’ lifestyle, which is somehow supposed to be ‘environmentally friendly’. Of course in the real world the natural environment depends on carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, but who wants to hear that in these days of climate fearmongering?

The Irish airline has released a series of adverts flaunting its green credentials, but it’s still the EU’s tenth-biggest polluter.

The solution? Reducing demand, suggests Wired.

Of the European Union’s ten biggest carbon dioxide (CO2) emitters, nine of them are coal-fired power plants. The tenth is Ryanair, the low-cost Irish airline which released 9.9 megatonnes of greenhouse gases in 2018 – a 6.9 per cent increase from 2017.

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UN may run out of money by end of the month

Posted: October 11, 2019 by oldbrew in climate, News, Travel


Have they already paid in full for the COP 25 climate conference in Santiago in December? If not, the Chileans should be getting nervous as this report says: ‘To cut costs, Guterres mentioned postponing conferences and meetings.’

The United Nations is running a deficit of $230 million, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Monday, and may run out of money by the end of October, reports France24.

In a letter intended for the 37,000 employees at the UN secretariat and obtained by AFP, Guterres said unspecified “additional stop-gap measures” would have to be taken to ensure salaries and entitlements are paid.

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Another cold shower of reality for misguided climate zealots.

Thirty-seven globally prominent scientists representing the International Journal of Engine Research have published an open-access editorial addressing the future of the Internal Combustion Engine, and stressing the importance for continued development of more efficient and even lower-emitting technologies.

The article provides an assessment of the state of power generation in the world today, and provides analyses of productive directions for the future, says Green Car Congress.

The editorial addresses important issues in the current politically charged discussions of global warming and climate-change alarm.

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Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]


The advice is to act soon, before too many EV owners get used to the idea that their road journeys should always be much cheaper than those made in fuel-burners.

Britain should move to a system of road pricing to combat congestion and compensate for the £28bn loss of revenue from fuel duty as the country makes the transition to electric vehicles, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said.

The thinktank said the government’s pledge that the UK would reach zero net emissions by 2050 meant the tax take from petrol and diesel would shrink to nothing over the coming decades and a new way to raise money from drivers was needed, reports edie.net.

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It’s the old ‘do as we say, not as we do’ routine again. What about those supposedly naughty emissions? Hollow laughs all round.

Move comes despite pledges to do more to cut emissions, says Politico.
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The European Union is planning to spend millions of euros more on private jet flights for its top officials — just as it is proclaiming its green credentials and pledging to step up the fight against climate change.

The bloc has raised the amount that can be spent under a five-year contract for “air taxi” flights by more than €3.5 million, according to a document published this month in the EU’s tenders database.

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Arctic sea ice [image credit: cbc.ca]


This time researchers plan to get stuck on purpose, unlike several earlier notoriously over-ambitious climate-themed ship fiascos in the supposedly ‘vanishing’ polar sea ice in recent years, like this one. With such a massive budget this time, what could possibly go wrong? (That’s rhetorical of course.)

It’s being described as the biggest Arctic science expedition of all time, says BBC News.

The German Research Vessel Polarstern is about to head for the far north where it intends to drift in the sea-ice for an entire year.

Hundreds of scientists will visit the ship in that time to use it as a base from which to study the climate.

The MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) project is expected to cost about €130m (£120m/$150m).

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Los Angeles, CA


California was effectively acting as the national lawmaker by forcing carmakers to adopt its standards – or lose the right to sell new models in the most populous US state. It was enjoying the power of the role, until…

The White House has stripped California of its right to set its own vehicle emissions standards and banned other states from setting similar rules, reports BBC News.

The waiver allowed the state – America’s most populous – to set stricter standards than the federal government.

President Trump says the move will cut car prices and the impact on emissions will be minimal.

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Electric SUV concept car [image credit: motorauthority.com]


Marketing meets climate alarmism in the guise of sport. Don’t mention the ‘carbon emissions’ of all the travel and transport between venues.

Williams development driver Jamie Chadwick is named as one of four women to drive in Extreme E, which kicks off in Greenland in 2021, reports BBC Sport.

Extreme E – Formula E’s sister series – aims to highlight climate change in five remote locations as 12 cars go head-to-head in electric SUVs.

“Racing in incredible locations, raising awareness for climate change… what’s not to love,” said Chadwick.

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Whitelee wind farm, Scotland [image credit: Bjmullan / Wikipedia]


Another two week edition of the fantasy waffle-fest beckons, as imaginary solutions to imaginary man-made problems are chewed over by about thirty thousand climate botherers aka delegates. Most of them will arrive from all parts of the world in fuel-guzzling jets – just like they do every year, wherever the venue is. It’s the make-work scheme that never ends. Who’s paying?

A major United Nations climate change summit will take place in Glasgow, reports BBC News.

The UK has won the bid to host the 26th Conference of the Parties, known as COP26, following a partnership with Italy.

Up to 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC) at the end of next year.

It is designed to produce an international response to the climate emergency.

The UK will host the main COP summit while Italy will host preparatory events and a significant youth event, as part of the agreement.

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