Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Image credit: emeraldmedia.co.uk


Another example of how the ‘climate industry’ is out of control. 25,000 attendees sounds more like a sports event.

The thousands who flocked to Germany for the United Nations climate summit will end up, rather ironically, emitting thousands of tons of the very greenhouse gases attendees want to regulate, writes Michael Bastasch at The Daily Caller.

The U.N. admits the “lion’s share of greenhouse gas emissions” associated with their latest climate summit, and up to 25,000 people are expected to attend the U.N. summit in Bonn, which kicked off Monday.

Most attendees will get to Bonn by aircraft, the U.N. said.

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Waiting for a recharge


One day the loss of fuel taxes will have to be addressed if electric cars are to become compulsory (after 2032 in Scotland, 2040 in England). Automatic pay-per-mile road tolls could be an option, probably still a long way off.

All electric vehicle (EV) charge points sold in the UK will have to be ‘smart’ and able to interact with the grid to help manage the increased demand for electricity expected to arrive alongside higher take-up, says Clean Energy News.

The Department for Transport yesterday published its intended Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, setting out broad stroke proposals for how the government will seek to increase the access and availability of charge points for electric cars.

The document also confirmed powers to make it compulsory for motorway services and large petrol retailers to install charge points for electric cars, as well as ensuring access to live data of the location and availability of charge points.

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Anyone who thought switching from diesel to a petrol vehicle would be a good idea might have to think again, if they ever intended to drive into UK city centres. And that’s just the start, if the Oxford plan sets the tone.

Oxford is to become the world’s first zero-emissions zone, as it looks to ban all non-electric vehicles from its city centre by 2020, says the IB Times.

The university town will become the first city in the UK to ban all polluting vehicles from its centre. All petrol and diesel vehicles, including cars, buses and vans, will be barred from six main streets in the centre as of 2020.

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Teslas in Norway [image credit: Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association)]


The electric subsidy party could be winding down for Norwegian car buyers if the government gets its way. It points out that ‘large electric cars wear out the roads just as much as normal cars’.

Norway plans to trim lavish tax breaks for Tesla and other electric cars that have given it the world’s highest rate of battery-vehicle ownership, the right-wing government proposed on Thursday [reports Reuters].

The draft 2018 budget would mainly affect large cars weighing more than two tons, it said. Norwegian media dubbed the changes a “Tesla Tax”, intended to cut down on sales of luxury models such as Tesla’s Model X sport utility vehicle.

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All talk and very little action it seems – so what are these ‘fully informed’ conservationists conserving? This Telegraph report gets funnier as it goes along.

Conservationists may preach about the importance of going green to save the planet, but most have a carbon footprint which is virtually no different to anyone else, a new study has shown.

Scientists as Cambridge University were keen to find out whether being fully informed about global warming, plastic in the ocean or the environmental impact of eating meat, triggers more ethical behaviour.

But when they examined the lifestyles of conservation scientists they discovered most still flew frequently – an average of nine flights a year – ate meat or fish approximately five times a week and rarely purchased carbon offsets for their own emissions.

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No certainties, but some bets are better than others in the mixed-up world of climate-related government policies.

The sage of Omaha knows a policy bubble when he sees it—and electric vehicles are a prime case, reports the GWPF.

A sucker is born every minute, and Warren Buffett just proved it. He agreed to spend an undisclosed sum of his shareholders’ money to buy a controlling stake in Pilot Flying J, the truck-stop chain that sells food, coffee and diesel fuel to truckers.

After all, aren’t truckers about to be replaced by robots, and diesel by battery power? The sucker in this scenario, we add, is anyone who believed such futuristic forecasts in the first place.

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What effect the extra demands of being used for energy storage might have on the long-term efficiency and life of the electric vehicle’s battery is not mentioned. They hope that more EVs on such schemes could reduce the need for new power generation, by allowing smarter management of existing resources.

Ovo, the UK electricity supplier, is to offer a ‘vehicle-to-grid’ service to buyers of the Nissan Leaf from next year, allowing electric car owners’ to drive for free by letting energy firms use their vehicle’s batteries, reports Power Engineering International.

Savings from the scheme will cover the £350-£400 annual cost of charging a Nissan Leaf, the electricity supplier told the Guardian.

The move could mean greater take-up of electric vehicles and help power grids manage the growth in green energy, according to its backers.

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Credit: carsdirect.com


Fast-charging high-capacity batteries sound ideal if they can get the idea to work at the real-world industrial scale – always a big ‘if’ of course.

Asphalt may hold the key to unlocking the high capacity of lithium metal batteries, reports R&D Magazine.

Rice University researchers have found that a small amount of asphalt may allow lithium metal batteries to charge 10-to-20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries.

The researchers developed anodes— comprising of porous carbon from asphalt— that showed stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles and a high-current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter, demonstrating the material’s promise for use in rapid charge and discharge devices that require high-power density.

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The ‘Wooden Wonder’ combat aircraft of the 1940s


The Wooden Wonder Mosquito showed it could work for an aircraft. Now Japanese researchers say ‘wood pulp could be as strong as steel, but 80% lighter’, reports BBC News.

Car parts of the future could be made out of a surprising material. Wood.

Researchers in Japan are working to create a strong material out of wood pulp that could replace steel parts in vehicles within a decade.

Work is also charging ahead in the country to develop plastics that can withstand high temperatures, to replace metal for parts near the engine.

These innovations are part of a wider industry push to make cars lighter.

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Dyson to make electric cars from 2020 

Posted: September 26, 2017 by oldbrew in innovation, News, Travel
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Electric car charging station [credit: Wikipedia]


It will have to be better than the last British attempt by an inventor, which was classed as a tricycle, but that should be easy enough. A radical design with a solid state battery are among the few clues available so far, but – like other Dyson products – ‘it won’t be cheap’.

Dyson, the engineering company best known for its vacuum cleaners and fans, plans to spend £2bn developing a “radical” electric car, says BBC News.

The battery-powered vehicle is due to be launched in 2020. Dyson says 400 staff have been working on the secret project for the past two years at its headquarters in Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

However, the car does not yet exist, with no prototype built, and a factory site is yet to be chosen.

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It looks as if a lot of car makers will have to raise prices of some models at least, to meet the cost of EU mega-fines tied to average CO2 emissions that are due to come into force in 2021. Phys.org reporting.

Big-name carmakers including Volkswagen and Fiat Chrysler face fines running into the billions for failure to meet tough new European carbon dioxide emissions limits slated for 2021, a study has found.

“Only four out of 11 carmakers are forecast to meet the EU 2021 CO2 emission target, with the rest facing significant fines,” researchers from British firm PA Consulting said in a statement Friday.

European Union nations agreed in 2014 that carmakers should limit CO2 emissions to 95 grammes per kilometre across their entire model range within seven years. The figure for 2015 stood at some 130 grammes per kilometre on average.

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Scotland’s new Queensferry Crossing road bridge [image credit: BBC]


‘New plans from the Scottish Government would allow the sale of hybrid and electric cars but not exclusively petrol or diesel ones’, reports Auto Express. But is it just political bluster, based on Scotland having left the UK?

Scotland has set out plans to phase out the sale of cars powered solely by petrol or diesel by 2032 – eight years ahead of the timescale proposed for the rest of the UK.

As under the plans south of the border, Scotland would allow the sale of petrol and diesel hybrids, however.

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The campaign to demonise diesel cars – above all other causes of city air pollution – rumbles on, as The Local reports. The conundrum being of course that Germany makes vast sums from sales of diesel cars, trucks, buses etc. As usual climate is wrongly conflated with air quality issues.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday pledged a billion euros to help German cities fight air pollution caused by dirty diesel cars, as a scandal strangling the automobile industry threatened to engulf politicians at the height of the election campaign.

Merkel said she was doubling financial aid to cities from a previously announced €500 million, in a bid to stave off the threat of an all-out ban against diesel vehicles.

The public health threat posed by nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions came to the fore after Germany’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to fitting millions of cars worldwide with illegal devices to cheat pollution tests.

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Cassini probe at Saturn
[credit: NASA]


NASA’s Cassini space probe is still sending back useful data before it ends its 20 year mission by diving into the unexplored Saturnian atmosphere.

The spectacular rings of Saturn may be relatively young, perhaps just 100 million years or so old, says BBC News.

This is the early interpretation of data gathered by the Cassini spacecraft on its final orbits of the giant world. If confirmed, it means we are looking at Saturn at a very special time in the age of the Solar System.

Cassini is scheduled to make only two more close-in passes before driving itself to destruction in Saturn’s atmosphere on 15 September. The probe is being disposed of in this way because it will soon run out of fuel.

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But still, global climate models will say: Does Not Compute!

No coffins needed on this occasion fortunately.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t AC Osborn

The Mail reports on yet another Arctic expedition that has come perilously close to real grief:

image

Three British rowers attempting a record 1,200-mile voyage across the raging seas of the Arctic Ocean are stranded on a remote volcanic island after being battered by fierce storms.

The trio, part of a six-man crew, were forced to land on the tiny island of Jan Mayen, just 340 miles from their destination on Iceland.

The Polar Row team, including British double Olympic gold medallist Alex Gregory, had endured freezing temperatures and almost constant soaking in their fibreglass boat, which has neither an outboard motor nor sails.

Nightmare: The Polar Row team (pictured) had endured freezing temperatures and almost constant soaking in their fibreglass boat, which has neither an outboard motor nor sails

Nightmare: The Polar Row team (pictured) had endured freezing temperatures and almost constant soaking in their fibreglass boat, which has neither an outboard motor nor sails

Having landed on the island, the three Britons and another rower refused to continue because…

View original post 325 more words

Brew or battery charge?


Another potential snag for electric car owners in a hurry, as Auto Express reports.

Electric vehicle owners may not be able to rapidly charge their car at home at the same time as boiling a kettle, National Grid has warned.

The grid operator said that using a fast charger, which can be installed at home to reduce charging times, is likely to trip a house’s main fuse if used simultaneously with other ‘high demand’ items such as kettles, ovens and immersion heaters.

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Diesel car engine


Diesels are in need of some good news after all the recent negative press. The researchers believe their findings are of ‘major environmental importance’.

Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust, as Phys.org reports.

The research focuses on a type of catalyst called zeolites, workhorses in petroleum and chemical refineries and in emission-control systems for diesel engines.

New catalyst designs are needed to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, because current technologies only work well at relatively high temperatures.

“The key challenge in reducing emissions is that they can occur over a very broad range of operating conditions, and especially exhaust temperatures,” said Rajamani Gounder, the Larry and Virginia Faith Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in Purdue University’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is related to reducing NOx at low exhaust temperatures, for example during cold start or in congested urban driving.”

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Credit: siemens.com


Could be expensive, but similar systems have already been installed in Sweden and California. No overtaking?

The German state of Hesse is to build a 10km-long highway with overhead power lines that trucks can connect to at speed with a pantograph, reports Power Engineering International.

Siemens Mobility are to develop the line to supply electricity to hybrid trucks, which will then be able to operate twice as efficiently as they would when running on petrol or diesel.

The company said that a 40-tonne truck running for 100,000km on an eHighway would realise €20,000 in reduced fuel costs.

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Credit: Automotive News Europe


European auto makers look like riding out the current panic over diesel engine health risks, fighting off a clamour for action by politicians and environmentalists, and despite some worrying projections by investment bankers, as Forbes reports.

New “mild-hybrid” technology will quickly fill the gap left by diesel’s precipitate decline, while a softening attitude from the European Union (E.U.) suggests city bans of this now derided technology might not be as ubiquitous as feared.

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Even electric cars can’t cut the mustard in polluted cities, according to this BBC report at least.

Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, according to a leading government adviser. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air.

Electric cars produce particulates from their tyres and brakes which are linked to serious health problems. Prof Kelly said that London should lead the way in promoting non-polluting transport policies.

Just last week the government unveiled its strategy for tackling illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The key element was a promise to end the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

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