Archive for Transport
LMV’s film ‘Plastic Shores‘ managed to come in second place at the Green Up Film Festival in Brussels, Belgium. We were invited to attend when we premiered Plastic Shores at the United Nations Regional Information Centre in March and were more than happy to have the film entered. The Green Up Film Festival is an innovative new way of hosting a film festival as it allows all the films to be viewed online. Viewers then vote on the film or films they like and at the end of the three week period, the public choice award is given. This time around the award went to the Spanish film ‘LIRA, RÉSERVE DE VIE’ directed by Marcos Galleco Fernandez. It is a fantastic film on the first marine reserve created in Spain by local fishermen. In third was the humorous French film ‘VÉLOTOPIA‘ directed by Erik Fretel (trailer above).
www.nytimes.com 15th October 2012
Quoted from source:
‘Sometime in the next few months, a single-engine Cessna will fly from Sydney to London. Converted to be able to carry extra amounts of fuel, the small plane will take 10 days for its journey, making 10 or so stops along the way. What will make this journey special is not the route or the identity of the pilot — a 41-year-old British insurance industry executive who lives in Australia — but the fuel that the aircraft will be using: diesel processed from discarded plastic trash. “I’m not some larger-than-life character, I’m just a normal bloke,” the pilot, Jeremy Rowsell, said by phone. “It’s not about me — the story is the fuel.”
The fuel in question will come from Cynar, a British company that has developed a technology that makes diesel out of so-called end-of-life plastics — material that cannot be reused and would otherwise end up in landfills. Batches of the fuel will be prepositioned along the 17,000-kilometer, or 10,500-mile, route. “The idea is to fly the whole route on plastic fuel alone and to prove that this technology works,” Mr. Rowsell said. “I’m a kind of carrier pigeon, carrying a message.” The message of the project is twofold: to highlight the issue of plastic pollution and to publicize the possibility of using plastic trash as a valuable fuel resource. As Mr. Rowsell put it: “We have a whole bunch of waste kicking about. So instead of sending it to the landfill, let’s use it.”
We here at LMV are constantly on the look out for innovative ways to raise awareness for environmental issues. Recently, the activities of Isle of Wight based eco-clothing company Rapanui have been catching our attention. In August we wrote about their work with renowned weatherman Michael Fish MBE, who they persuaded to jump off a tower block in the name of climate change. Since then we have been in contact with Rapanui founder Rob Drake-Knight, who has alerted us to another PR stunt of theirs: the world’s first ‘catwalk on water’ (despite the name, it was not biblical in nature). The Rapanui team chose the energy-efficient hovercraft crossing between the Isle of Wight and Southsea (operated by Hovertravel) to show their new range of clothing (see pictures above and below) in the run up to London Fashion Week. Ever innovative, Rapanui did without the traditional models and instead employed the hovercraft staff to model the collection of casual wear made from Organic cotton in an ethically accredited, wind-powered factory. Rob said: “We were really excited to bring fashion week to the Island in such a quirky way, giving the commuters a taste of the catwalk in their seats as we crossed Solent.”
Rapanui were supported by Loretta Lale, the commercial and marketing manager of Hovertravel: “Rapanui are a great eco-friendly clothing brand based on the Isle of Wight. We are always keen to work with local businesses from the Island, especially ones that aim to make a genuine contribution to sustainability. We have a strong focus on sustainability at Hovertravel too; the Hovercraft is one of the most efficient ways to cross the water using less fuel per passenger.”
www.e360.yale.edu 11th July 2012
Quoted from source:
“The European Union has introduced strict new auto emissions standards that officials say would cut carbon dioxide emissions by a third by 2020. The new standard, which must be approved by all member states and the European Parliament, would require that new passenger cars emit no more than 95 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer driven, compared with 130 grams today, and 147 grams per kilometer for vans. Connie Hedegaard, the European commission’s climate chief, said the new standards would help European automakers compete with foreign manufacturers and cut fuel costs for consumers. According to EU estimates, the average driver would save about €340 in fuel during the first year, and between €2,900 and €3,800 during the lifetime of the vehicle. In addition, the EU predicts it would save about 160 million tons of imported oil. Greenpeace officials, however, called the plan too weak, saying that, among other loopholes, it allows manufacturers to continue producing heavy-emitting vehicles in return for building zero-emitting electric cars, regardless of how many electric vehicles are sold.”
e360.yale.edu 2nd November 2011
Quoted from source:
‘One of the Obama administration’s signature environmental proposals — requiring tough new fuel efficiency standards for cars — is under attack from a powerful lobby of car dealers. President Obama had forged an agreement with major U.S. automakers requiring that automobiles would get an average of 54 miles-per-gallon by 2025, nearly double the current efficiency standards. After taking billions in government bailout money, carmakers like General Motors and Chrysler were under intense pressure to agree to the new standards, which are currently being formulated. Now, however, thousands of U.S. automobile dealers are supporting Republican legislation that would upend that agreement and soften the fuel efficiency standards. The bill, introduced into the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, would block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from being involved in fuel efficiency decisions, leaving the matter up to the Department of Transportation, which has traditionally supported a more gradual jump in efficiency standards. The car dealers say the agreement between Obama and the automakers bullies consumers and dealers into accepting overly strict mileage standards that will significantly increase the costs of cars.’
e360.yale.edu 9th August 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing a new battery technology that they say would significantly reduce the size of electric car battery systems and potentially double the range of electric vehicles. The technology uses a type of semi-solid flow cell system, in which the battery electrodes take the form of tiny particles suspended in liquid electrolyte, a mixture nicknamed “Cambridge crude.” Two streams of that slurry-like compound — one positively charged, the other negatively charged — are then pumped through the system, causing the exchange of lithium ions across a permeable membrane that triggers an external current. Critically, while most standard battery systems consist largely of materials that provide structural support but no power, researchers say this system puts more of the materials to work. Lead researcher Yet-Ming Chiang says the power-per-unit potential will be 10 times greater than conventional designs. Also, drivers looking to recharge their batteries would have the option of replacing spent slurry or re-charging the slurry with an electric current.’
Top Gear may be one of the most popular programmes on the BBC but, it appears, this has not stopped it breaching the channel’s editorial guidelines on numerous occasions. According to the BBC’s guidelines, its programmes must be of ”the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences.” The most recent example of Top Gear’s breach of these guidelines was revealed by Nissan, whose new electric LEAF was being tested by the programme’s Jeremy Clarkson and James May. In the programme, the two drove the car to Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away from the Top Gear studio. The car unexpectedly ran out of battery and had to be pushed by the time it got to Lincoln. Fortunately for Nissan, the car had a monitoring device in it that transmits data on the state of the battery. This discovered that although Nissan delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged, the programme’s producers ran the battery down so that by the time Messrs Clarkson and May set off, the LEAF was only 40% charged. Furthermore, the car dashboard would’ve told the duo how far they could have travelled on that charge and so the ‘unexpectedness’ of the breakdown shouldn’t have been particularly significant. And on top of all this, in order to stage this ‘unexpected’ breakdown, the car was driven in ‘loops’ for 10 miles until it ran out of battery. When confronted by this revelation, Mr Clarkson said, ”That’s how TV works.” Top Gear is also being sued by electric sports car manufacturer Tesla, after the programme claimed, among other things, that the Tesla Roadster’s true range on a full-charge of battery was only 55 miles, rather than the 211 the company claimed.
e360.yale.edu 19th July 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The shipping industry has become the first global business sector to agree to mandatory carbon dioxide emissions reductions. At a meeting of the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization, member countries agreed to set CO2 emissions standards on new ships beginning in 2019, with the goal of improving energy efficiency by 30 percent by 2024. The member countries also agreed to more modest efficiency improvements and emissions reductions in the world’s 60,000 existing ships. Of the world’s top 10 shipping nations, only China voted against the agreement. Brazil, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Chile also opposed the accord, and it remains to be seen if these countries will adhere to the majority decision. The agreement allows developing nations to apply for a waiver from the rules until 2019, and the Clean Shipping Coalition warned that the agreement could result in most new ships registering with countries that get a waiver. Overall, however, environmental advocates said the agreement was a positive step that could reduce CO2 emissions from shipping by 50 million tons by 2020. Shipping accounts for about 3 percent of human CO2 emissions.’
www.telegraph.co.uk 30th June 2011
Plans to raise the speed limit on UK motorways from 70 mph to 80 mph have been criticised by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC). According to the Committee, led by Lord Adair Turner, the increase would increase the amount of CO2 emitted by motorway traffic as well as cost the economy £150 million because of growing taxes on pollution levels. Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, is contemplating the speed increase as it may be in the interest of businesses to do so. The CCC however claim it is eco-driving that will save the money. Limits on driving speeds could save 5 million tonnes of carbon annually amounting to about £1 billion of savings over 10 years (carbon is currently valued at £30 a tonne). Eco-driving has currently not taken off though as only 10,000 drivers were trained for it in 2010, compared to the 350,000 needed annually to reach carbon reduction targets. The UK is already behind on its EU promise to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% by the year 2025. In 2010, emissions rose by 3% when they should be declining by that amount every year.
The Times 23rd May 2011
The stereotype of footballers in Europe may all be baby Bentleys and mock-Tudor houses, but Gary Neville of Manchester United FC is trying to break the mould. Although he freely admits, he fitted into the extravagant lifestyle lived by most of his colleagues, he packed it in 5 years ago to live in a more sustainable way. He has now helped organise the first ever football match powered by renewable energy. Due to played tomorrow at Old Trafford, the match will be a testimonial to Gary Neville and will see his team of 1992 reunited to play Juventus. Every bit of power used, from the flood lights to the hot water for tea will be power by wind energy. All proceeds to the game will then go towards Mr Neville’s organisation Sustainability in Sport, the green equivalent to Kick it Out, which combatted racism in football. “Sport is an incredible thin, it crosses boundaries and can engage with people at every level, much as the environment does.” Said Mr Neville. “I want to connect the two, and make the issue of the environment and renewable energy more trendy and accessible.” The footballer, who retired in February after a one-club career that saw him win 8 Premier League titles and the European cup, is also making his life more sustainable outside sport. He is about to build what has been rather cruelly called a ‘Teletubbies’ palace, a zero-carbon eco-home in the shape of a flower embedded within a hill (pictured). He also sources his food locally and drives a Toyota Prius.
www.nationalgeographic.com 20th May 2011
The high prices of oil around the world may benefit the adoption of more renewable fuels for transport. New tests by the US Department of Defence have shown that Hydrotreated Renewable Jet (HRJ) fuel, which is kerosene derived from natural sources such as plants or animal fat, is a viable alternative to normal fossil fuels. ASTM International, the standard-setting body of the aviation, is now poised to vote on the certification of HRJ. Successful tests by the US Airforce have seen jets fly at supersonic speeds using a 50:50 composite of renewable and petroleum based fuels. The civil unrest in the Middle East and Northern Africa has helped bump up oil prices, but aviation fuel is harder hit than some other types. During such shortages, refineries cut production of aviation fuel in favour or more profitable products such as diesel. Also, the tsunami and earthquake in Japan caused outages across three refineries further reducing the amount of aviation fuel on the market. The result is a 50% increase in prices over last year (a 30% increase from the beginning of 2011 alone). As fuel takes up the largest expenditure for an airline, the inevitable knock-on effect is falling profits or even losses. Although other biofuels have been put forward to replace regular petroleum fuels, none have succeeded as they either rely on fossil fuels to power the production process or are too energy intensive. HRJ is different however as it relies upon hydrogen to turn natural materials into fuel. The diversity of the feedstock is also hugely beneficial.
www.yahoo.com 30th March 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Top Gear’ is in hot water again, with the headline-grabbing show now being sued by supercar company Tesla for defamation. Back in 2008 ‘Top Gear’ broadcast a race between the petrol-powered Lotus Elise S and the electric Tesla Roadster. During the test Jeremy Clarkson said the Tesla ran out of power after 55 miles, compared to the 211 miles claimed by the manufacturer. The episode featured footage of the Roadster having to be pushed back into the garage, with Clarkson telling viewers: “It’s just a shame that in the real world it doesn’t seem to work.” Tesla complained about the show at the time, with the BBC admitting some of the footage was shot to show what could happen. Tesla was placated… until this week. The Californian company said that they had to act, as the episode is still being repeated, available on DVD and streaming on Netflix in the US. They said: “[The show] intentionally and/or recklessly, grossly misled potential purchasers of the Roadsters… Its reputation has been severely damaged.” A Tesla spokesman told the Daily Mail: “The BBC’s conduct has given us no choice but to sue them and clear up their lies.” Tesla Motors Inc issued a writ at the High Court claiming defamation and malicious falsehood. They said the Roadster had been certified under a European Union regulation for measuring electric vehicle range at 211 miles. Top Gear’s allegations that the brakes had also broken were false, they claimed.’
www.guardian.co.uk 10th December 2010
The first of seven hydrogen fuel-cell buses has been launched on a popular tourist route in London that takes in the sites of the Tower of London and Covent Garden. The rest will follow by mid-2011. The buses are the result of successful trials carried out in the city from 2003 to 2007. The buses only waste product is water, which drips from the tail-pipe, and they can go for 18 hours without need for refueling. Their arrival has also seen the opening of the UK’s largest hydrogen refueling station in Leyton, East London. The buses were designed by the same consortium of businesses that introduced 39 hydrogen buses to Vancouver, Canada, in 2009. London has now joined Madrid (the first city in the world to operate a regular hydrogen bus service), Hamburg, Reykjavik, and Perth as cities using the transport technology, which merges hydrogen with oxygen to generate power. It is estimated that around 4,300 deaths are caused in London by poor air quality every year, costing around £2bn a year.
www.latimes.com 10th December 2010
The US government’s hopes of creating a nationwide railway network have been dented following Ohio and Wisconsin’s attempts to spend state funding on the project elsewhere. The Republican governors of the two states turned down the $1.2 billion dollars to develop a high-speed railway system and instead asked the government whether the money could be spent on other proposals. Their request was denied by US Secretary of Transport Ray LaHood and the funds have been promised to remaining 11 states which still plan to go ahead with the project. California received the largest portion of this distribution bringing the total pledged for its bullet train network to $5.5 billion (of which $3.18 billion is from the national government). Work on the line is expected to begin in 2012 with the California state rail board approving the construction of the first segment between Corcoran and Borden. Trains should be able to travel up to 220mph along a 520 mile route when completed. Some observers have suggested that government funds may not make it to California though as a growing body of politicians, all Republicans, want to rein back government spending to tackle the $1.3 trillion federal deficit.
The LMV team found this on the freshly squeezed round up….looks like a clever, and feasible, idea.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th December 2010
The latest round of talks at the UN Climate summit in Cancun has centred around the 1 gigaton of CO2 emitted by the shipping industry. Shipping emissions are currently exempt from national carbon accounts leading to uncertainty about how they can be reduced. The Carbon War Room, which was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson, has proposed a solution, which has so far the backing of Papua New Guinea alone. The idea dictates that ships be charged different fees for docking depending on how much greenhouse gas they admit. To help the process along, the Carbon War Room has published an online tool grading 60,000 vessels on their emissions, complied mostly from data of the International Maritime Organisation. The effects of the tool are two fold. Not only will companies be allowed to see the emissions of their carrier ships, thereby being able to choose a less polluting ship, but also governments will be able to use it if they decide to introduce the carbon tariffs at ports. The Carbon War Room, a non-profit organisation created to encourage business to take a leading role in the fight against climate change, has claimed that the shipping industry could reduce its emissions by 30% by improving efficiency alone.
Best Green Educational Project (Promoting Sustainable Development Issues), Sponsored by Birds Eye Igloo:
Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC – Let’s Grow (UK)
Best Green Product Innovation, Sponsored by Microsoft Corporation:
Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Corp. – SolidWorks Sustainability (USA)
Best Green Third/ Charity Sector Campaign Award, Sponsored by HotelREZ:
International Advertising Association – “Hopenhagen” (Global – USA)
Best Green Advertising Award (Print & Outdoor):
China Environmental Protection Foundation – “Green Pedestrian Crossing” (China)
Best CSR Report Award:
Kingfisher plc – “Future Homes CR Report” (UK)
Best Green Direct Response Award (Direct Mail /Drtv / Dr Radio Etc):
Arjowiggins Graphic – “What One Tree Means To Me” (UK)
Best Green Event Award (Shows / Exhibitions):
National Trust – “A Plant in Time – A Touring Exhibition” (UK)
Best Green Internal Communications Awards:
Anglian Water Services Limited – “Biodiversity Field Guide & Intranet” (UK)
Best Green International Campaign Awards, Sponsored by Hayes & Jarvis:
Convention on Biological Diversity – “The International Year of Biodiversity” (UK)
Best Green Mixed Media Award (Integrated):
Toyota Sweden AB – “Toyota Glass of Water” (Sweden)
Best Green Moving Image Award (Audio-Visual / TV Spot / Short Film / Animation), Sponsored by Green.tv:
Scottish Government – “Greener Travel & Transport” (UK)
Best Green Packaging Awards:
Planet People – “iQ: The Smarter Cleaner” (USA)
Best Green PR Campaign Awards:
RecycleBank – “Waste not, want not” (UK)
Best Green Public Sector Campaign Awards, Sponsored by Yell:
Forum for the Future – “Farming Futures – practical action on climate change” (UK)
Best Green Use of Online Media Award (Banners / Social Media Campaigns / Websites):
Ecomodo – “The marketplace of good returns” (UK)
Best Green Use of Mobile Apps and Technologies:
River Cottage – “Landshare” (UK)
www.nationalgeographic.com 19th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘When the Navy F/A-18 jet called the Green Hornet takes off over the Chesapeake Bay on Earth Day, it will aim to break a barrier that has proven far more durable than the speed of sound. The twin-engine tactical aircraft is prepared on April 22 to make a supersonic flight on biofuel—its tanks filled 50 percent with oil refined from the crushed seeds of the flowering Camelina sativa plant. The test flight at the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Maryland will be a milestone in the Navy’s efforts to reduce its reliance on petroleum, and perhaps, in the elusive search for an alternative fuel for aviation. The event is meant to showcase the Pentagon’s efforts to increase use of renewable energy, not only as a climate change initiative but to protect the military from energy price fluctuations and dependence on foreign oil. When President Obama announced his offshore drilling and energy security plan last month at Andrews Air Force Base, he used the Green Hornet as a backdrop. As naval aviation’s biggest fuel consumer, the F/A-18 Super Hornet is a fitting test aircraft. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has set a that half of naval energy consumption will come from alternative sources by 2020. A “Great Green Fleet,” to sail by 2016, will include nuclear ships, as well as surface combatants with hybrid electric power systems using biofuel and biofuel-powered aircraft. But for now, the Navy is seeking only to certify its first blend of biofuel and petroleum, by showing it can be used for the Super Hornet’s full range of flight operations. That includes demonstrating that the alternative fuel can deliver the power needed to fly faster than the speed of sound (343 meters per second).’
Read more on the US military’s attempts to move away from fossil fuels in LMV’s published editorial ‘The Army of the Sun: the US Military’s Move Away from Fossil Fuels’.
www.boston.com 12th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘It is the latest incarnation of a British icon: a lightweight, fuel-efficient double-decker bus expected to hit the streets of London in 2012. Mayor Boris Johnson spent yesterday morning unveiling a life-size model of the new bus — one that conserves the curves and asymmetry of the original. Double-decker buses have been a feature of capital life since the 19th century, when the horse-drawn variety were praised by elder statesman William Gladstone as the “way to see London.’’ The best-known model remains the curvy red Routemaster, which was retired from general service in 2005 after half a century. Its replacements — boxy, modern double-deckers and giant articulated single-decker buses — kept the traditional color, but largely failed to gain Londoners’ affection. The new model, due to enter service in 2012, brings back the round edges and charm of the much-missed Routemaster. Johnson — posing for pictures with a life-size model of the new bus at a transport museum — said that being inside the new bus brought “a sense of nostalgia.’’ The model unveiled yesterday is immobile — prototypes are not due for another year — and the bus’s look may still change. The new vehicle is being designed and built by Wrights Group Ltd. of Northern Ireland and Heatherwick Studio of London, whose recent projects include the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai 2010 Expo.
e360.yale.edu 29th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The Chinese auto industry will make development and production of electric and hybrid vehicles its top priority over the next five years, according to its latest Five-year Plan. By 2015, China aims to sell 1 million “new-energy” automobiles, according to a report in People’s Daily. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has already announced that the government will invest more than 100 billion yuan ($14.5 billion) over the next decade to make China the world leader in green car production. Meanwhile, in the UK, where a government subsidy next year will shave £5,000 ($7,960) off the cost of new electric cars, a company predicts that the next generation of green cars could be charged wirelessly with the same technology that charges electric toothbrushes. The company, HaloIPT, this week demonstrated how electric cars can be charged wirelessly by parking over a transmitter pad, and predicted that one day vehicles might be able to re-charge by using roads outfitted with electrical systems that charge cars as they travel.’
e360.yale.edu 25th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘Mazda will introduce a subcompact gas-powered vehicle in Japan next year that gets 70.5 miles per gallon, a model automakers say shows that combustion-powered cars can deliver fuel efficiency similar to hybrid vehicles. With a more efficient engine and transmission, and a frame and suspension system produced with lighter, high-tensile steel, the new Demio (called the Mazda 2 outside of Japan) is 30 percent more fuel efficient than similar models now produced by Mazda. Models produced for the U.S. market will have a lower fuel economy rating because of different manufacturing requirements, but the vehicle will still use the same amount of fuel as a Toyota Prius, without the added costs of an electric motor and accompanying battery. The Demio represents a new class of gas-powered vehicles that automakers say can cut fuel consumption globally even more quickly than hybrids or electric vehicles since changes to the engines tend to be less expensive and can be implemented rapidly. Ford recently announced innovations that will improve the fuel economy of its Focus model by 17 percent, to about 40 miles per gallon.’
www.economist.com 7th October 2010
Quoted from source:
‘DESIGNED especially for city and suburban motoring, this handsome automobile is smooth, quiet and easy to drive, and being powered by electricity it can be charged up at home. Tempting? The sales pitch is not for one of the new electric cars from General Motors, Nissan or Renault, but for a 1905 Victoria Phaeton from Studebaker of South Bend, Indiana…’
Read more on the Economist’s discussion on electric cars here.
www.nytimes.com 25th September 2010
People have begun to move into Abu Dhabi’s brand new city constructed to be the world’s first zero carbon settlement. The project was announced back in 2007 but seemed to be largely dismissed by Western powers as just another addition to the United Arab Emirates’ tradition of flamboyant spending. However, the first section of ‘Masdar’, as the city is called, has been completed and local residents have begun to move in. The 3 1/2 acre section includes a sustainability-orientated research institute. The British company Foster and Partners have been charged with the city’s completion and, at first glances, they are on track for success. The finished product should be an almost perfect square of a mile each side raised on a platform 23 foot off the ground to capture desert breezes for ventilation. Beneath Masdar, a warren like tunnel system will be built with electric cars taking residents to wherever they need to be. Norman Foster, the chief architect on the project, meticulously studied the history of Islamic architecture as possible in an attempt to free his brainchild from the trappings of the inefficiency and ugliness of many modern arab developments. His studies took him to the mudbrick apartment towers in Yemen to the ancient citadel of Aleppo. Just by using ancient methods of ventilation, Mr. Foster and his team believe that they can reduce heat at street level by up to 70 degrees, which, as a result, would reduce energy usage by 50% and less air-conditioning would be needed. 90% of Masdar’s electricity is to be solar with the remaining generated by waste incineration.
www.guardian.co.uk 17th September 2010
Shipping companies around the world have have begun to adopt ‘slow steaming’ in an attempt to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. The world’s largest shipping company, Maersk, has reduced gas emissions and fuel usage by 30% alone saving £65 million in fuel. Most companies have reduced their average speed from 25 knots to 20 but many have opted to go as low as 14-17 knots making their vessels slower than cargo ships of the 19th century, such as the Cutty Sark. The decision to lower ship speeds has resulted mainly from the recession and growing fears about the state of the oil industry. Prior to the economic dip of 2007, the Emma Maersk, one of the largest cargo ships in the world, would produce up to 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day which is more than the 30 lowest polluting countries in the world. Other organisations have taken different measures to combat CO2 emissions. The Arc Royal of the British Navy and the passenger liner Queen Mary 2 have coated their hulls in an ‘anti-fouling’ paint that prevents barnacles from attaching themselves. The maintenance of a stream-lined hull can cut a ship’s emissions by 9%. Other methods include fitted kite-like ‘skysails’ and forcing compressed air out of the hull so a vessel rides on a cushion of bubbles.
www.guardian.co.uk 16th September 2010
The main award of the Progressive Insurance Automotive X prize has gone to vehicle that uses a regular combustion engine. The Edison 2 Very light car no. 98 burns a combination of ethanol (85%) and gasoline (15%) and won $5 million for its use of lightweight materials and its ‘superior’ aerodynamics. The main purpose of the competition is to create a car than can obtain fuel efficiency of 100 miles to the gallon. In total $10 million worth of prizes are distributed. The choice by Edison’s designers to stick with a combustion engine, rather than an electric one, was made purely because of weight. The Edison 2 weighs 376kg, about half a Smart car. With air-conditioning and a heater, a top speed of 100mph, and a recyclable and cheap bodywork, the car should be reasonably priced if it ever reaches the market place. One racer placed the figure of $20,000 on it. Another car designer, Team X-Tracer from Switzerland, picked up a $2.5 million award for creating a car with the highest ever fuel efficiency: 197 mpg (a Prius can manage 51 mpg).
Sources: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment 7th September 2010
The Royal Mail has been secretly testing zero-emission delivery vans in the Outer Hebrides. On the Isle of Lewis, the Post Office has been using Hydrogen powered Ford Transits. They fill up in one of the UK’s few hydrogen refuelling stations in Stornoway and have been converted at a total cost of £100,000. The tests could be in response to the severe criticism the Royal Mail faced in 2004 after it scrapped its sorting trains in favour of national flights and long-distance lorries. If the project is a success then the Hydrogen van could replace all of the 35,000 postal vans in the country. However, although the project may go down well in the Northwest Scottish Isles where an alternative energy source is needed to replace expensive diesel and petrol, there are few hydrogen refuelling stations in the rest of the country. Also, the Hydrogen vans’ range is 85 to 135 miles compared to 300 of conventional vehicles. Other van companies are believed to be awaiting the results of the experiment with interest.