The latest comments

Germany wants to scrap EU recycling targets

Germany has always been quite ''creative'' in terms of what counts to their national recycling targets - circa 300 KTpa plastic into blast furnaces as a ''reducing agent'' for example. So they will need time to review how much a new measuring point in the recycling chain will impact upon that. Being knocked off the top of the EU league table by new accounting rules would not be an easy pill to swallow politically.

Businesses match governments with bold climate pledges during Climate Week NYC

I concur that investors and policymakers should be the forerunners in this drive. They complement one another and should relate in tandem. How they appreciate that depends on the level of sensitization they receive as well as the tenacity mural suasion.

Paris climate agreement poised to come into force

This is most exciting development. Getting the agreement coming into force should be matched with uncompromising political commitment to get the much desired result "to protect our common home" of homes. Along with that adaptation and mitigation efforts should not be relented so as to emiliorate the impact of the scourge caused by climate change.

Paris climate agreement poised to come into force

Where's all the wind? - Sustainabilty Musings from the Cesspool of Life

Richard, This is why I started my blog to have well informed discussions about various subjects without the usual "hot air" and "name calling" that occurs on other {un}social media. Thank you for your input in all this and I hope we can continue to discuss more things in the future. As I said I''m not convinced about Hydrogen as a fuel but I hope I live to be proven wrong on that front. I''m used to lab grade Hydrogen Generators that need deionised, distilled water along with fancy filters, driers and deioniser filters, all of which need chemicals and energy to produce. Perhaps industrial distillation of Hydrogen from water could be more efficient, time may tell. I agree we would have been better spending the Hinkley budget on building a few more Dinorwigs or converting standard hydro to pumped storage along with researching many other forms of storage but the decision has been made. We''ll have to agree to disagree on the waste of money wind turbines :-) When I check and see Coal producing the same amount as all those wind turbines (1.5GW as I type) I can''t help think the money could have been better spent. Zero Waste - yes you are right to say that the end product has zero waste but you can not discount the waste that occurs in the building and maintaining of "renewable" systems or the waste that comes from mining for the Rare Earth Elements that are needed for wind turbine magnets, for example. It is by this standard that I say there is no such thing as "zero" waste. That said one man''s waste is anothers raw material so perhaps there are ways to massively reduce waste in general. I agree Governments (not just in the UK) have wasted the opportunities but what do we expect from a 5 year lifespan? They are only interested in ensuring they get re-elected again so will do what they have to to achieve that end. That''s why I put my faith in industry to do the job without politicians. Billy Connolly said it best "politicians! don''t vote for them it only encourages them!" I, personally, dislike the term "renewable" preferring sustainable. We live on a finite planet so nothing is truly renewable, even the sun will stop shining one day. I believe we can live sustainably and maintain the technological standard of living we enjoy today without ending up in some kind of dystopian polluted hell. Where there is a will there is a way. People like us have the will, all that is needed is "the way" Cheers and a cold beer :-)

Where's all the wind? - Sustainabilty Musings from the Cesspool of Life

Keiron - Yes pumped storage potential is huge, stations like Cruachan and Dinorwic very impressive - you should visit, well worth it. Hydrogen - proper infrastructure will take care of the molecule size and yes it is explosive but again, the correct set up will allow its storage and use as a valuable fuel in the electricity production process. Batteries - yes they use elaborate materials but we have to try them and at city size - much impressive work going on here from the battery boys and girls - also with cars, range increasing. CCS - will prolong the life of our 600 year indigenous supply of coal and the CO2 captured can be used to produce fuels - Westminster should reverse its research decision here, the 1Bn could have yielded huge benefits in the future. Wind turbines - the money spent has not been wasted as you say, it has shown what could be and the electricity price from them is falling all the time, whilst the strike price for the Hinckley nonsense is currently a huge guess and will rise, Theresa, bless her, got it wrong! Zero waste renewables - yes they are - you are wrong - at the point of electricity production for wind turbines, solar power, pumped storage, tidal etc there is zero waste output from the electricity generating process. Obviously all power production processes will have waste generated in construction and de-commissioning but even here renewables leave nuclear and fossil fuel systems standing. Renewables in general - give them a chance - investment here will clean up this planet and we have the engineering brilliance in this country, France, China and, in particular, Germany to deliver the complete renewables package - the tragedy here is that successive British governments have totally wasted the opportunities given to them - we could, and most certainly should, have been there now - and we would have generated thousands of long term UK jobs in the process!

Some real-world figures for solar PV - Sustainabilty Musings from the Cesspool of Life

Keiron - Solar PV, ie photo-voltaic is using photons of light, it does not need bright sunlight, simply daylight and it will still generate, albeit at a lower output, so don''t be too influenced by your experiment or boat setup-admirable though they are. Large scale PV delivers large scale power as the companies installing it know all too well. Obviously it needs energy storage to cover the dark hours and projects here are showing great promise such as hydrogen storage (in properly sealed facilities to accommodate the molecule size), compressed air, liquid air, pumped storage top reservoir replenishment etc. Solar experts have shown that even in our climate solar PV (and solar water heating) can provide a valuable power source, especially when coupled to other renewable power generation. You should arrange a visit to one of the true solar farms, you will be impressed. Give renewables a chance, they are the future - nuclear fission, thankfully, is the past. Nuclear fusion, well that''s intriguing, still in its infancy and they have to solve the neutron burst but certainly worth research.

Where's all the wind? - Sustainabilty Musings from the Cesspool of Life

Richard, Yes there is a huge potential for pumped hydro through converting existing standard hydro power stations. I read somewhere that converting all the standard hydro stations around Loch Lomond to pumped storage hydro would provide a massive boost to the storage capacity while only raising and lowering the loch''s water level by +/- 2m. I think this should be a no brainer for pumped storage as it can be done with minimal impact to the physical and visual environment. Big problem with Hydrogen is storage of it. It leaks out of everything. I used to work with cylinders of the stuff and we had to constantly check for leaks and monitor the pressure to ensure we didn''t run out when we needed it the most. Oh that and it is extremely explosive. While yes it can be used as a short term fuel (I believe there is a fleet of small busses in one town that run on it) and as the prime source of energy from fuel cells I am not convinced that H2 will be a truly long term energy storage solution. I may be wrong. Batteries may be improving all the time, I know as you can buy a 1.5kilowatt LiFePO unit for 12v applications in boats but they need a very complex charge regime and cost an arm and leg, and these will play a part by helping to balance the demand/supply through smaller scale domestic storage but can we honestly call them sustainable if we have to dig up vast tracts of the planet to get the base chemicals for them?? I agree that CCS needs to be fully R&D''d as this does offer a major chance to reduce emissions while still maintaining a base load supply but what is wrong with planting thousands of trees? I also agree with you that we can power the country into the future in a clean and sustainable manner. I think we have wasted far too much money on wind turbines in the name of "being green" and these things need to be scaled back with the funding pushed into other areas that will provide a more stable power supply. Lastly I have to totally disagree with your comment about "zero waste renewables". Sorry absolutely no such thing as zero waste anything.

Last chance to register for free energy efficiency webinar

Hi Malcolm, Yes, this webinar will be available ''on-demand'' after it has aired live tomorrow afternoon. Keep an eye on the list here - www.edie.net/webinar. Thanks, Luke

Last chance to register for free energy efficiency webinar

I have a meeting all afternoon on 22 Sept. Is it possible to watch this webinar at another time?

Virgin unveils aviation 'game-changer' with alcohol-to-jet fuel

Better be quick before steel mills close down in the UK

Tackling water scarcity: The key barriers and enablers - The Procter & Gamble blog

This may seem ridiculous at first sight but it all makes sense to me. Millions of litres of drinking water are used to flush toilets and create sewage that has to be treated at great expense. Read the book ''Humanure second edition'' by Joseph C. Jenkins, available as a free read on the web. It gives a completely new understanding of the problems! Just enter ''Humanure 2nd edition'' as a search. A.E.(Ted) Dowdeswell. teddwell@aol.com

US clothing firm launches voting campaign to place environment back on the ballot

Sustainably-conscious? Can that be applied to any politician? (Sustainability-conscious, surely?)

Society needs a reboot - The BT Group blog

Couldn''t agree more, however schools seem ill-prepared to provide the support needed, and frankly often fail to capture children imagination, especially girls who are in smaller numbers going in to the CDIT sector. It doesn''t have to be so, but often state schools lack staff skills, time and resources, that why we set up www.techresorteb.com a local initiative for Eastbourne to address just this problem, however it''s totally scaleable,

Germany wants to scrap EU recycling targets

So this is a story about Germany wanting to suspend recycling targets whilst a new calculation method is tested. Not really about scrapping recycling targets at all?

Ed Davey: Irresponsible Tories betting the nation on gas and nuclear

Hi, Why do I think Nuclear is a bad choice or for that matter Gas a Fossil Fuel, because they create problems further in time. The objective of any person in a position to make decisions should be Clean Energy and with a mix of sustainable options. Personally I have arrived at HyPulJet.2.0 a concept for a Hydrogen and Oxygen Rotary Engine-generator. This will produce its own fuel on board the vehicle or on site in the case of an Off-grid house. There are people who simply do not want Clean energy to happen, they will not even enter into a discussion and industry and business will not even respond to even begin a discussion. I am confident that what I have arrived at after many years will work, the first element, Hydrogen and Oxygen in a Rotary Engine is already prototyped by Highland and Islands University in Scotland, some several months after I filed the UK Patent Application. The second phase of HyPulJet.2.0 which I cannot make public, is also in prototype form at a German University on a different scale and somewhat different approach, but never the less working. Will there be other innovation which is being ignored or even stifled, I am confident that there will be others if there is one, so yes if we are to save the atmosphere from further abuse, then clean energy should be the way forward for Politicians such as Ed Davey who ignored my letters over many months when in Office. (Many letters to Others also) The one thing which is missing, is a Search or Road Show for Clean and Sustainable Energy Innovation. It is perfectly clear that if decision makers surround themselves with people from the existing industries which are the cause of the problem, they are hardly likely to come up with an answer which will shut down their industry. Only way to stop GHG emissions is to STOP burning Fossil Fuels for energy.

General Motors joins RE100 pledge to source 100% renewables

Surely a commitment with a 34 year timeline on an issue as dynamic and important as this can be no more than window-dressing? By 2050, the business may not even be making cars, even assuming it still exists.

10 things you probably didn't know about the record breaking year for renewables

Heartened to see the update on Costa Rica. On a different note, the statement from REN21 is a damning indictment: "For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels."

Virgin Media and Heineken USA revolutionise CSR reporting with gamification and 360-degree video

Tend to agree with Joshua Brown''s comment. For a giant corporation like Heineken it''s obvious that the public relations exercise matters just as much, if not more, than investment in greener technologies, cutting waste, focussing on efficiencies, etc. A cursory look at Heineken''s record in Africa, Asia and Latin America - where it derives most of its profits - suggests the spin is alive and well where it counts...in the industrialized West.

Where's all the wind? - Sustainabilty Musings from the Cesspool of Life

Keiron - You did mention pumped storage but you did not focus on its huge potential and there are other energy storage options such as hydrogen, compressed air, liquid air, etc, all making good progress. Batteries for large scale energy storage are also developing well and demand response will contribute massively to our electricity security, regardless of the stupid comments coming from the GMB union. Clean coal, including CCS, also needs deep study as we are sitting on 600 years supply of this material. Given time and the necessary funding we can, most certainly, power this country and indeed others with clean, zero waste renewables, energy storage, demand response and smart grids (possibly Europe wide) that will deliver for generations, not just the 60 year period that the Hinkley nonsensical and monumental mistake will provide. It is a major challenge and one which all true engineers relish - challenge is why many engineers entered the profession.

Hinkley Point: Green economy reacts as Government approves nuclear power deal

So, the darkest day in British power generation has dawned, the lunatics are running the asylum and we have gone back on old, outdated, highly dangerous technology to power this country, instead of looking forward and building renewables and energy storage facilities that will last generations and not the paltry 60 years of this ridiculous white elephant. As a Chartered Engineer of 40 years international experience I am deeply saddened by this latest act of stupidity from Westminster. Why did we not pool the brilliant engineers from UK, France and China and develop the renewables / energy storage approach. When Hinkley produces its first Watt in 20 years time, renewables will be generating clean, zero waste electricity at a fraction of its price, largely due to the brilliance of German power engineers!

Gym chain seals UK's largest water supplier switch

We made the recommendation to David LLoyd years ago!

From Blair to May: A complete timeline of Hinkley Point's approval

Olkiluoto and Flamanville still have not come on stream. Each of them is many years behind schedule and billions over budget. It seems therefore that it is unlikely that Hinkley will be on budget and on schedule. Clean-up, decommissioning and waste disposal of the present generation of nuclear is open-ended at present, with no agreement on what to do with the waste. Latest cost estimate for Sellafield clean-up is 70 billion and rising steadily each year. Nuclear cleanup took two thirds of last year''s DECC budget. No estimates have been given for clean-up of Hinkley, seemingly because nobody knows what it will cost or what they will do with the waste. Subsidies to solar, wind and biogas have been cut so badly as to bring new investment almost to a halt, although the costs of those renewables are falling fast. The justification for the renewable energy cuts, given to me by DECC Minister Amber Rudd, was that it would save hardworking households and businesses 5-6 per year on their energy bills. The 30 billion subsidies for Hinkley will put those costs and more back on the "hardworking household''s" energy bills. Expert opinion on cybercrime at Oxford University is that the risks involved in having the Chinese involved in construction are very high and difficult to guard against. Concentrating energy generation in enormous plants like Hinkley, meeting 7% of the UK energy demand, is an open invitation to terrorists. Expert opinion is that there are now other cheaper ways of generating this energy which were not available at the time when the plant was originally planned. Does this sound like a good investment?

From Blair to May: A complete timeline of Hinkley Point's approval

Hinkley C is said to cost some18 Bn GBP. Does this include the cost of final nuclear waste disposal once it''s up and running, or is that an additional cost to be borne by us later, or will the operator simply take it away as dispose of it in its home Country?

From Blair to May: A complete timeline of Hinkley Point's approval

Hinkley C is said to cost some18 Bn GBP. Does this include the cost of final nuclear waste disposal once it''s up and running, or is that an additional cost to be borne by us later, or will the operator simply take it away as dispose of it in its home Country?



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