Renewable Gas #1 : What to do about Cars ?

Image Credit : PGO Automobiles

The European Commission, ooh, way back, decided that Biofuels were just what was needed to start the de-carbonisation of transportation. The original plan looked rather yellow and green – farm after farm of oilseed rape – what the Americans term “canola”. Suddenly schoolchildrens’ crayon renditions of the landscape were not as primary in colour as the actual fields.

The first target was for 5.75% of all transport fuel to be biologically sourced – from plants. What the European legislation didn’t figure was that some very dodgy dealers would take the long haul to Indonesia and Malaysia and start selling up the idea of marketing palm oil to Europe to make BioDiesel to meet the Biofuels Directive obligation. So goodbye rainforest and goodbye orangutans out in Asia. And goodbye good carbon intentions – replacing the rainforest with oil palms created net carbon emissions – so Biofuels failed to take the carbon out of motoring.

Some very bad ideas have followed on after. Several companies are still struggling with the idea that algae could turn out, could, I emphasise, be the thing that starts a genuine BioOil market. We’ll see – but most of the designs need an input of carbon dioxide – which would probably come from a fossil fuel-burning power station – so not very renewable, then.

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Climate Union

I’m in the Climate Union. Are you ?

Finally, I have to admit that I have an personal stake in the outcomes of Climate Change and Energy policy.

I have to confess to a utilitarian, yet enlightened, self-interest.

And so say all of us.

In the future, I want there to be jobs. New jobs, for young and old, for me. Productive, worthwhile employment, green jobs that don’t permanently wreck the atmosphere for future generations.

When I get sick, unabled or old, I want there to be social services. Not run on a shoestring budget owing to Carbon Taxes or Carbon Trading, but Low Carbon hospitals with well-motivated, sufficient staff; and decent, affordable sheltered housing and residential homes for the vulnerable.

I want cheap, Zero Carbon Energy; as access to Energy is an essential public good, even a human right, for those who live towards the Poles. I don’t want to be made poor by a badly managed transition out of Fossil Fuels, or expensive Carbon Capture projects that the State pays for, because Electricity generation companies want to burn dirty Coal. I don’t want to have to pay double for my power, just because new Nuclear Power stations cost so much to build.

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British Winter : Power Struggle

Yesterday’s news : there’s nothing to worry about with Natural Gas supplies :-

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/energy-uk-has-enough-gas-for-another-65-days-1860135.html

“Energy: UK has enough gas for another 65 days : By Sarah Arnott : Thursday, 7 January 2010 : …The National Grid insisted that the unprecedented consumption levels will not leave Britain short. “We are absolutely not going to run out of gas,” said a spokesman. “The UK is well supplied.” The shadow Energy Secretary Greg Clark stoked energy security fears on Tuesday by claiming that Britain had only eight days of gas left in storage. But the National Grid dismissed the calculation as a “meaningless number” because it ignored both the amount of gas imported and that nearly half of UK demand is met by North Sea production.”

Today’s news : factories are getting rationed :-

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/jan/07/gas-rationing-national-grid-factories

“1970s-style rationing as National Grid cuts off gas to factories : Exclusive: Severe weather and creaking power infrastructure lead to first tangible sign that fears over energy shortages are translating into supply disruption : Terry Macalister, energy editor, guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 January 2010…”

This sorry tale happens every time a real Winter comes around… Who to believe ? What to do ?

Well, if the National Grid was obliged by regulation to produce BioMethane from a tie-up with the Waste Water Treatment companies and the Farms, then we could be producing our own gas from yesterday’s curries, pig slurry, straw, hospital waste, and old hens…

Toilet Power Trumps Nuclear

Image Credit : NowPublic

I still don’t know what all the fuss is about Nuclear Power, when the BioMethane from all the toilets, farm slurry, hospital and food waste in the country could trounce the amount of power available from atoms by 2020.

Without all that nasty radioactive leftover, massive expensive building projects, social tension, election nightmare and increasing security issues.

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Some People Never Change

So I’m talking to some people and someone says that people don’t care about the fact they’re wasting Energy, that people just don’t think.

Even though they know about Global Warming and the risks of dangerous Climate Change, and they know about the connection between burning Fossil Fuels and Global Warming, they just don’t care about how much Energy they’re using.

And I know this is heresy to say so, but I said that people shouldn’t have to think about Energy, that they shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about using Energy. I said that the Energy that is provided to them should be Carbon-free and responsibility-free. People shouldn’t be forced to act against their nature. Energy is effectively free at the moment. It’s way cheap, even cheaper than food for a lot of people. So people use it. People love using Energy.

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Poepen is Gezond : The Rise of Poo Power

Sustainable Energy comes from doing what comes naturally. Wind, waves, sunlight. And pooping.

With some fairly minor adaptations to all sewage treatment plants, and a little AD – Anaerobic Digestion – we could hook up our off-gassing into the National Grid, and reduce our Fossil Gas use, big-time.

Watch this technology for meteoric rise. Cheap, cheerful, but slightly pongy. But they do BioGas in China and India all the time, and 2.4 billion Chinidians can’t be wrong.

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Eleven Practical Ideas to Combat Climate Change

Very little of what follows is original thought. But after much reflection, I feel these ideas are worthy of attention, and so I have expanded them for your consideration.

1. Contraction & Convergence Video Conferencing

Yet another international meeting on Energy Efficiency, Climate Change, Renewable Energy. Yet another brace of airline tickets for big speakers, engineers, policy-makers and scientists (and reporters) to fly in and confer.

In order to demonstrate the Contraction & Convergence framework in action, the delegates at all these meetings and conferences should reduce their carbon emissions to be in line with the lowest emitter of them all. Everyone will contract their carbon emissions, and everyone will get in line. Equal rights to pollute. The Principle of Equity.

There is enough cable and wire laid under all the world’s oceans and through the world’s rivers and soils to hold every single meeting by videoconferencing. And so it should be done.

No more flying for people of green persuasions. Follow Aubrey Meyer of the Global Commons Institute and the UNFCCC papers for development of Contraction & Convergence.

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