Thursday, August 06, 2009


For now, just links as I happen across, or get told about them:

NOTE - New info/links as stumbled across subsequently indicated by NEW


Indy - Letters - Real facts about the Severn Barrage - Actually a pithy breakdown, though subject to confirmation factually

Indy - Greener power to the people: the real energy alternative?

What still astounds, and depresses me is that even now, with all that we face and all that is in place and/or being proposed, from government to major media I still have no clear idea what the facts are to make objective choices.

From nuclear to wind to micro, I really have no idea what will work, what won't and, crucially, what the actual numbers are, from ROI to enviROI.

Sadly it all still seems shaped by agenda, lobby-pressure, targets and, often, the green-tinted view that if it is' eco' it must be good no matter what.

Guardian - - How power from the people could cut CO2 emissions - with government help

Guardian - Hutton tells power grid to clear barriers to wind

Guardian - A renewed effort on green energy

Times - Why going green will still cost the earth - My favourite headline! Not, however, reading the rest.

Times - Homes that produce their own energy

Without the Hot Air - Summary of an academic study linked in a blog I frequent. Pro or con, as always, read, and treat with one eyebrow cocked.

Times - How China’s thirst for oil can save the planet - some more alt eng at the end

Telegraph - Latest microgeneration technology for houses - some excellent links to the various options mentioned below

Times - Expert fears over green energy targets

A worthy share from a forum I frequent:

10 Steps in 10 Years to 100 Percent Renewable Power

original article here

BBC - Britain 'faces power cuts threat' - As stated, it is reporting a report from an interst group. Does anyone do 'objective' any more?

Guardian - Shell dumps wind, solar and hydro power in favour of biofuels - Rather significant, IMHO

Indy - Green energy targets will not be met without government aid - That's what money from whom, again? Nothing to do with some players more keen on dosh than targets (neither looking like serving my kids' futures in terms I fancy, mind) pulling out as the business models don't add up, I hope.

Microgeneration Certification Scheme - - -
renewable energy foundation -

Algae - - - -
Newsnight - All of a sudden... algae is everywhere
Gaurdian - UK announces world's largest algal biofuel project
Newsnight - I share a moment
What is it about entities that end in 'Trust' that seem to inspire anything but in those who are exposed to their vision?Sadly, we share a similar view of quangos, and especially those appointed by, funded via and hence beholden to those who created them.Vast empires of persons, pay, perks and pensions, whose first aim is to secure budgets and then blow them on comms exercises mainly aimed at self-justification and/or securing more funding than actually applying much to any..DOING, as such. I anticipate a major round of announcements in this regard soon, as part of looking like something might happen to make my kids' future better, but not really getting round to anything tangible. Doubtless ably shared in PR support by a quick trip to a snowy place in a helicopter by all the usual suspects and their crews from you know who to tell 'us' what awaits if 'we' don't sort ourselves out. Trust me.
Yours in hoping we share the right rocket when the world really catches cold... (see Hitchhikers Guide)
Indy - Oil giant Exxon sees the future – and it is green algae - Doesn't make it right of course, but in matters green, when you are trying to track the future, it is often worth following the money. And it is interesting where multi-billion oil companies are going into, and avoiding/getting out of. Oddly, there is often a slight disconnect with political directions. I wonder why?


Guardian - Woodchips with everything. It's the Atkins plan of the low-carbon world - I have seen this referred to a lot. Time to get up to speed. So view this as but one view I quote. The comments will help.

Gaurdian - James Lovelock on Biochar: let the Earth remove CO2 for us - As night follows day...

Biofuel - via blog - hey, it's good news, at least in one area... I hope!
Indy - Can biofuel help prevent global warming, or will it only make matters worse?
Bear in mind it's 'a' discussion from 'a' paper. In fact I'm thinking this deserves it's own category as it really isn't alt. energy and is definitely a hot topic.
Guardian - Burning biofuels may be worse than coal and oil, say experts - Glad I didn't (well, couldn't afford) the SAAB Biodiesel! I'd be keyed everywhere. Goes well with the one below, though:)
Guardian - UK biofuels really do help the planet - Letter from the NFU. That's of the UK. hence I am unsure if the headline is accurate.
Indy - Shell starts algae biodiesel research site in Hawaii
Times - Shell joins search for green fuel with plan to make diesel from algae


It 'may' be

But what still comes out the pipe when it's combusted?

ASA - SAAB - Interesting insight into the issues. Note the number of complainants. I will be interested if the latest Prius TVC gets though unscathed. Some fairly hefty claims in there, including one that seems to say it actively scrubs CO2 from the air. Bearing in mind 5-25% of a cars' carbon impact is at manufacture, which seems to be ignored in this ad, I look forward to the supporting evidence.

Telegraph - Airline industry could be flying on biofuels in five years - Another when one kinda needs to divorce the local smartness of the technology from the bigger picture of its' consequences. In amongst an already 'could'-heavy piece, I stumble here: '..depending on the availability of sufficient crops to produce it.' Might one add ' the expense of food supplies?'. Not sure "The feedstocks are very expensive but as we build the market, more people will grow energy crops." really addresses that dilemma.

Guardian - US car manufacturers plough a lonely furrow on biofuels - Haven't seen much on this topic lately. Perhaps this suggests why?


Junkk - Heard of making a pig's ear of things?

Ecologist - NEW - Biogas: is your council about to waste your waste? - Why, in the name of all that is backstreet brown enveloped, are our councils cutting daft deals that are tied down for 25 years!!!?


Times - Wind puts sun in the shade for investors - Actually it's about a few things, but I simply noted this at the end: '..the company should benefit from a move by certain utilities towards the burning of biomass, such as wood, as they strive to reduce carbon emissions.
UK company Drax, for example, recently announced plans to build a facility in a power plant in the north of England, reportedly capable of handling around 1.5m tons of biomass per year. Webber said it was likely that it would import wood from North America for fuel.'

CHP - Combined Heat & Power (involves combos of various others, especially the two above)

EPA - Catalog of CHP Technologies - US-based, but v. useful! Why do I get the feeling that, for all the froth and bother from the EU, an awful lot of US-based stuff is just getting on with it... and getting streets ahead.

Energy from Waste

Telegraph - Why are we not using waste as fuel to generate heat and power? -
Telegraph - Waste produces waste - I should have known (well, remembered) this, but was stuck by this in the author's letter: '...burning does not decrease the mass of waste; it actually increases it. The illusion of disposal is maintained because a large proportion is “aerosolled” into the air as highly reactive and toxic gases and dust. The remaining ash goes to landfill'
This reply in rebuttal to his letter/claim is also worth noting. Complex, eh?

Feed in Tariff

Newsnight - Actually in the post threads. I join to ponder whether being FiT for purpose might lead to a good enviROI.


Telegraph - Nuclear fusion energy project could lead to limitless clean electricity


Guardian - Geo-engineers, too, have a vital role in saving the planet
The Register - 'Sunshade' global-cooling plan would ruin solar power
BBC - Setback for climate technical fix - See comment from Dave

GRID - NEW Sub-category - without the means of distribution being sorted, all else is academic

Indy - NEW - The undersea secret that's bringing more power to the people - the claim is that it is boring. I find it anything but.

Heat Pumps

Indy - The latest craze in hi-tech heating sounds great – but the figures simply don't add up - Another possible enviROI poor option? Or......

ADDENDUM - Note feedback in comments section!


Times - Britain's rivers called on to provide renewable energy

Laser Fusion

Indy - Lasers point way to clean energy

Liquified Natural Gas

ASA - Insights via, of all things, a ruling on an Exxon ad. Guardian


Marketing Week - BG to launch range of home energy generation products - It is to be hoped that the ROI and enviROIs of these will be properly spelled out and understood before rushing in.

Indy - Donnachadh McCarthy: The Home Ecologist - An odd situation, at best

BERR - Quality mark gives consumers confidence in going green - If they say so. Actually, I have been asking for such a thing for ages. Hope this will prove valuable.

Ocean Thermal

New Scientist - Plumbing the oceans could bring limitless clean energy - Interesting, with that 'could', but I still caution that there is no such thing as a free lunch


gizmag - World's first commercial scale tidal energy generator nears completion -
Wave Energy Today - if you need to know about the subject 'in depth' (sorry) - Issues raised surrounding the Severn Barrage



BBC - Cash cuts see green grants halved
- an action says a lot more than most green spin.

Smart Planet - Top five UK renewable electricity technologies - via a tip kindly provided by Ian of Wave Energy News

Telegraph - UK lags behind on eco energy

Times - Going green: how much does it cost and is it worthwhile? - Not very extensive, but a little more to the gristmill




BBC - Wind turbines

BBC - Wind turbine expansion plans due - has a sidebar video on arguments pro-con

Times - Giant offshore wind farms to supply half of UK power - 'to infinity... and beyond!'

BERR - Link to windspeed calculations, and other info

Times - Country out-performs towns in household wind turbine trials - Courtesy of Dave from Solarventi. Actually I am sure I had something on this recently. Now, where the heck would it be posted? Wind category, probably.

Junkk - Bogey Men

BBC - RSPB calls for more UK wind farms - Well, at least shredded seagulls are off the menu. I always thought this was a silly objection.

Daily Mail - Brussels demands thousands more wind turbines across the UK - targets vs. enviROI. Can't quite get my head around the EU setting rules for countries with different systems and climate.

ASA - You want to see how complex this can be? Check out this!


Anonymous said...

Lasers do indeed point the way to clean energy. Watch for the new international HiPER Laser project, which is about to arrive on the energy research map. Laser fusion is showing signs of making huge steps forward in the next 3 to 5 years, and it has a few advantages, including no CO2 product and only very small quantities of low-level radioactive waste. Another advantage is that the essential element for the fuel comes from sea water. A cubic kilometer of sea water contains roughly the energy equivalent of the whole world's oil reserves ! ... But don't think fusion is a quick fix for global warming and cheap energy. Controlling fusion is going to be a huge challenge for mankind, and the cost and complexity means that single nations alone cannot hope to do it. The world's scientists (and increasingly their governments too) have woken up and are quietly uniting to tackle this problem, and they know it will take years (and probably decades) to crack it. It is absolutley certain that we need to do all we can with renewables and to stop the mindless rush of some nations to develop fossil burning energy production, but the fact is that renewables aren't going to account for the required energy production on the timescale dictated by the looming environmental crisis. For that we need a combination of renewables and fission (new reactors). Nobody wants radioactive waste around when it has a half life measured in hundreds of thousands of years, but it is the only technology capable of meeting our needs without making CO2. When fusion is mastered (and there are a lot of people astarting to work on it now) we can bid farewell to fission for good. But not yet !!!

Peter said...

Thank you for the input! Just as we like it. Nice 'n factual with the realities clearly outlined.

I wish I was as optimistic on the ability of diverse leaderships to cooperate to the necessary degree!

Dave said...

Regarding the new item on Ground Source Heat Pumps. There are some GSHPs around which are definitely not overtly efficient, but there ARE others available with a COP (Coefficient Of Performance)which IS 1:4 (and some air source heat pumps are supposedly even better than this) meaning the you recover 4KWs of energy for each 1KW used in running the unit. i.e. They can heat a property for around 25% of the energy consumption of a conventional heating system.

Yes, they CAN be very expensive, but a lot of the cost is in excavation or drilling (even more so!). I know of one builder who installs good performance systems (where there is sufficient ground area available) for around £7500, nowhere near the £15K figure quoted.

Questioning the enviROI of good performance kit like these simply because they use electric power would be the same as questioning the enviROI of low wattage LED light bulbs. In my view, anything that reduces overall power consumption has to be a good thing.

Peter said...

Which is why I value this format and the input of such as your goodself.

Were it that major media such as the Indy applied the same standards.

The author is now a very well known (if not respected) 'eco-guru' in the media wolrd, if perhaps more for his more extreme lifestyle advocacy.

Time for another 'mission of discovery', perhaps?

Cloe_F said...

Hi Junkkmale/Peter,

I see you've been mighty busy since leaving the NN blog behind... Interesting stuff, by the way. I wish others did more pulling together of info like this than just their constant preaching.


Peter said...

Hi chlo_f!

I was a bit nervous when I saw a 'handle' recognised from elsewhere, so thanks for the nice words.

I haven't actually 'left' NN behind totally. I still lurk, but as I rather feared the quantity and quality of most postings hardly make it worth bothering much longer. I know I... we were once sort of 'part', but it also now smacks too much of a very niche club, and I am not really into that.

I am into information, helpful links and challenging sloppy reporting/editorial, especially with invited guests who often are not put on the spot as much as Mr. Paxman's famous manner has suggested in the past.

Sad, but no great loss. I am guessing not too many even scope much more. Though I may be wrong. I know the editorial did/does, but they only pop up when it suits or one gets too close to an open sore.

Plus, as I know I kept banging on about too much, the blasted thing is still is glitchy as all heck. Just lately I have tried a few and... nothing! No sign it ever happened. No pending/being moderated line, just... back to the original page.

I always pop what I write up (if it's 'eco' here, or more political on sister blog 'El Burro Hotay'), but really it's more an exercise in venting if you can't provoke Peter Barron to get snitty.

Glad you find the info useful (I see this, and specifically the Wind category being 'lively' in time to come). Just keeping myself abreast of what's what and I realised that it couldn't hurt to post what I come across in an ordered manner for others to share as I make my journey to find our more and try and figure out what might be the truth in amongts all the spin and agenda.

And the Blogger admin system is so much easier (why, with all their ££££, can the BBC not have a siet that matches it for ease and functionality?)than my ancient site content management system, so I have been doing most stuff here for a year or more. One day I must post cross-links to keep the site looking active.

Cloe_F said...

Goodness! Junkkmale!

I didn't expect my post to be published, let alone a response! Ta v much.. I just saw your latest NN post, which reminded me to do some more 'eco-link-clicking'.

The 'disappearing posts' (i.e. those that leave no trace at all, not those that get censored) are due to the fact that the BBC blog changed from text to html format: if you use characters such as the ampersand and try to submit your comment, the blog thinks your talking code at it. Your post thus disappears to lala-land, all you get is a tag in your browser address bar stating something along the lines of 'The comment contains invalid xml'...

However, if you stick to ordinary letters and numerals it should post fine, unless of course you want to start using html codes for certain characters.

Anyway.. more links to follow, stories to read, opinions to contemplate, click, click, click... :)


Peter said...

Dear cloe_f,

It would be a poor show indeed not to share any comment made by someone who cares enough to take the time and effort to post!

Especially if they are as we like 'em here... polite, well-argued and... especially... with useful info!

Now I know why my posts to NN disappeared without trace. Ta very much. Odd (well..) that their mega-buck revamp did not allow for this, or at least some advice on this gets posted. Especially as a few have asked on the site, only to be totally ignored, of course. Our licence fee at work.

I still lurk on NN and do get seduced into posting on occasion. I think a new 'crew' of about half a dozen is now established, and they are happy enough circling the wagons put up.

Sad. The thing really has gone to pot.

I tried to stir it up a bit as that politics show clip astounded me, not just for the inability of the salary levels to be justified, but also the performance of a government minister showing just how the people do not matter any more as far as the establishment is concerned. It really is a cosy club.

FYI, I have moved 'non-enviro' topics to a sister blog, 'El Burro Hotay'... link on RHS

Dave said...

Re: The BBC bit on the apparent failure of the iron filings experiment in the southern ocean (Under Geo-Engineering).

So the iron filings successfully caused a phytoplankton bloom. But, the phytoplankton were rapidly eaten up by voracious copepods, which were themselves then eaten by larger amphipods.

Now, please will someone correct me if I'm wrong here. I know that the CO2 sequestered by the phytoplankton was supposed to go to the bottom of the ocean as they died, but as all the CO2 that they took on board has been reused (digested!) higher up the food chain, and will either be sequestered to the ocean floor sediments as dead exoskeletons (the amphipods and copepods) or as their faeces, surely this is going to tie up the carbon in the ocean sediments just as well?

Hasn't the carbon sequestered by the phytoplankton actually gone into the food chain to be locked up elsewhere? Or am I missing something blindingly obvious here?

Peter said...

Dave, works for me!

This is too important not to be shared.

I will move this to a full-blown posting, but sadly this little blog is not...yet...that widely read.

So I'll keep my eye out and see where else I can flag your brainwave.

The only thing I could think of by way of devil's advocacy was lifespans of the various players in the food chain, but as you have outlined it it doesn't seem an issue.