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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Burning Things Is Wasteful

Centre for Alternative Technology

Burning things wastes a lot of energy – even burning waste.

1. Plain Old Inefficiency

The systems and infrastructure for the generation and distribution of electricity in the United Kingdom is extremely poor, nigh on immorally wasteful. See the diagram above from the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report :-

http://www.zcb2030.org/

There are so many things that could be done to improve on that enormous loss of energy, and save on Carbon Dioxide Emissions at the same time.

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Fossil Fuels versus Corn Ethanol

So, digging up dirty old decaying fish causes massive coastland and marine pollution. Would bioethanol from corn be better ?

http://blogs.ft.com/energy-source/2010/06/14/is-bps-oil-spill-an-opportunity-for-the-ethanol-lobby/

Not really. First there’s the amount of land required to grow all that corn to burn in all those tanks (see diagram at top of page).

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Cleaning Up Black Carbon

Fighting haze and smog from transport and industry may give us some breathing space (literally and metaphorically), by holding back Global Warming for a while, allowing us the time to get some effective legislation on turning back rising Carbon Dioxide emissions.

http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dbailey/carbon_crossroads_california_c.html

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1938379,00.html

http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/blog/whatonearth/posts/post_1270497028672.html

http://www.physorg.com/news170006509.html

http://geoportal.icimod.org/Dashboard.aspx?did=14

http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/a-bolder-black-carbon-strategy-may-help-cut-climate-changes-gordian-knot/367450

Tesco Town : Electric Democracy

My, my, what a splendidly entertaining and lively Planning Committee meeting was held at the Walthamstow Town Hall yesterday evening.

The juggernaut of Tesco met the clamouring masses of the people of Hale End and Highams Park head on, and it wasn’t a walkover.

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Barack Obama’s Automobile Weakness

Barack Hussein Obama is not having a good 48 hours.

He utters a disablist gaffe on big time telly, then has Iran shut the door on him in a chiding huff when he proffers a hand of friendship.

But his biggest mistake of the last week is to throw money at the failing car industry.

Nobody’s buying cars. And the automobile manufacturers are not making many electric models, you know, the personal vehicles of choice for the Low Carbon future. So, what are the car companies going to do with the bailout ? Host cocktail parties ?

Five billion dollars. That’s a lot of good money being wasted.

What ? It will protect some jobs ? But what will the workers do if there are no cars to weld together ?

And Michelle cannot make up for this pointless splurge by planting a kitchen garden, really, noble and right though that is, to Dig for Victory.

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