Sunday, July 31, 2005

Climate Restorative

Individuals and business can reduce emissions causing climate change in a variety of ways:
  • Reduce own emissions, e.g. by purchasing efficient equipment or a different mode of travel
  • Reducing other's emissions, e.g. by sponsoring/promoting efficient equipment, renewable technology or developing a new energy technology
  • Offsetting remaining emissions through purchasing carbon or green power certificates (it largely depends on the design & strength of the legislative framework for green power or carbon trading whether this really reduces emissions or just increases costs).
Using above mechanisms, one can achieve 'climate neutrality', i.e. to have no net emissions from activities. For an organisation that provide certification for businesses in this area, visit the Climate Neutral Network.
One step beyond is to go 'Climate Restorative', a term recently coined in the climate context, but not yet used frequently. For example, at a recent education conference in North Carolina, Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) were distributed freely, as well as sold at wholesale price to offset emissions resulting from the conference. Travel of participants added 18 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere, but each CFL distribution saves approximately 250 kg CO2 over its lifetime. In this case, the CFL distribution more than offset emissions, making the conference 'climate restorative' (see >> - page 2)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Nuclear Fusion tutorial

After almost a decade of debate, finally the decision has been made to construct the next generation of ITER in Cadarache, France. The project will cost between 10 and 13 billion $, and is  funded by Japan, the United States, South Korea, Russia, China, and the European Union.
While the time for a commercial reactor is far ahead, when successful, 1 kg of deuterium in a fusion reactor provides the same energy output as a 1 MW wind turbine (a 100 ton construction) over 20 years. With 5 tons of deuterium, all electricity needs for a city of 1 million could be met for 20 years.
A short but good tutorial on the subject can be found on Utilipoint >>

Friday, July 29, 2005

Climate Pact

A new Pact on Climate Change was announced yesterday to complement the Kyoto Protocol. The pact developed behind the scenes over the past year involves US, Australia (2 economies who have refused to sign the Kyoto protocol because it would damage their economies) and major emitters such as China, India, Japan and South Korea. China and India have signed previously the Kyoto Protocol, but do not have any binding obligations under it. The Pact calls for voluntary measures and emphasizes strategic technology development.
View story >>

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Variability of Renewables

In this new report bmost recent experience with managing intermittent renewables in today’s electricity grids is described in Variability of Wind Power and Other Renewables – Management Options and Strategies. This study identifies the promising technology options, as well as the regulatory, grid management and site planning approaches for addressing intermittency. It points to solutions-oriented approaches to the challenges, drawing on the experience of several countries. Key cost variables and optimum market options are outlined.
Download report >>

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Energy Technology Bottlenecks

Indicators are needed to monitor the status of research and technological development, related research and industrial evolution and to define realistic targets or objectives. They are useful tools for policy drivers, decision-makers, programme managers, potential investors, bankers, end-users, etc. The preliminary set of indicators presented here, based on the present state of the art, characterise the major bottlenecks to be overcome or the main challenges to be addressed in energy research.
Download >>

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Offshore Wind

This new report from IEA checklists current issues in the emerging offshore wind industry. Destined for policy makers and business players, it highlights know-how gained in recent commercial projects and identifies the most important challenges facing the industry today. Case-study insight is provided on regulatory and policy practices. Areas for offshore-specific R&D are pinpointed.
Download >>

Monday, July 25, 2005

Windsor Hydro

Windsor Castle received full planning permission to build a hydro-power station on the Thames River. The 200 kW station would cost 1 million pound, and provide a 3rd of Windsor Castle's electricity needs.
Running 8,000 hours per year, this station would save 800 tonnes of CO2 emissions (European baseline), or 16,000 tonnes over a 20 year lifetime, or a cost of more than 60 GBP/tonne CO2 saved (not including maintenance and operating costs).
At a tariff of 6 pence, the station saves 96,000 GBP per year, i.e. pays itself back in 10.4 years.
Read the story >>

Microgeneration in UK

As part of its Low Carbon Buildings Programme, UK Department of Trade and Industry is holding a consultation for developing a strategy on the promotion of microgeneration in Britain.
Microgeneration means producing heat and/or electricity near to the point of use. Microgeneration technologies are heat pumps, fuel cells, micro-CHP, micro-hydro, micro-wind, bio-energy and solar thermal and photovoltaic technologies.
More information >>

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Climate neutrality

In a speech 'Sustainability - what more should companies do?', delivered June 16 at the Conference Board's Business & Sustainability Conference, Randall. M. Overbey, President, Alcoa Primary Metals Development presented Alcoa's sustainability model.
A new element in this Global Sustainability Model is the principle where emissions in metal production are offset against reduced emissions resulting from the increased use of Al in the transport sector. This effect makes Al-production climate neutral by 2017.
For more information >>

Friday, July 22, 2005

Ecological footprinting

With a population of 6 billion, earth has about 2 hectares of land available per person. For a population of 9 billion, this figure will be reduced to less than 1.5.
Ecological footprinting converts a person's current impacts through nourishment, shelter, transport and the acquisition of goods & services to a single indicator, i.e. ecological footprint.
Best Foot Forward offers a simple tool for calculating personal ecological footprint, and annual carbon dioxide emissions. It is worrying that even doing many of the right things, such as reducing percentage of diet based on meat, reducing car use, buying an ultra-efficient car, investing in an efficient home and reducing/recycling waste, we're still using up 1.7 planets. And we would still be producing 6.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person per year, i.e. about 45% less than current emissions, whereas France & UK, a.o. aim for a 60-80% reduction of emissions.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

IEEA Newsletter

The European Commission's Intelligent Energy Executive Agency (IEEA) launches its quarterly newsletter with news on projects in the Intelligent Energy - Europe programme >>

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

5000 km on a litre fuel

A new record was set last month, when ETZ Zurich's PAC-Car II achieved 5385 km on a litre of fuel >>
This is 7 times less energy compared to what would be required for riding a bike over the same distance, although looking at some of the pictures, the bicycle may be the more comfortable vehicle.

G8 outcome on climate

Among the many media stories, it's difficult to find the real outcome of the G8 summit on Climite Change, Clean Energy and Sustainable Development. So here it is >>
For more information >>