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Air powered environmentally friendly car being produced

Compressed air powered car

Compressed air powered car

Sounds a little strange right – an air powered car – why isn’t this big news I wonder…

There’s a great company in France operated by a former Formula 1 engineer now producing cars running on compressed air.

They’re not great to look at, super fast, or I’m guessing really comfortable, but they’re in production, and it seems to me this company has a great business model – they’ve just sold a batch of vehicles to the airline KLM who are now operating them at Amsterdam airport.

Not only do they have a great product which I believe could have dramatic effect on the future of car manufacturing in the ‘carbon reducing’ age, but their business model is also quite extraordinary. They’re proposing what they call ‘micro production factories’ where it is envisaged that vehicles are manufactured and sold in the same location, with numerous locations globally, dramatically reducing transportation costs, and benefiting local economies more effectively.

Instead of carbon fuels driving the pistons, they are driven by compressed air, stored in a tank. This tank is replenished by an air compressor similar to one found on a garage forecourt for pumping up vehicle tires. This compressor could be powered by wind or solar meaning that this could in reality be a emission free car. This, combined with the more ecologically friendly manufactoring process means that this car could have a truly small carbon footprint.

Read more about the company behind this great development here

I for one don’t get why they’re not having investment thrown at them for development – Tata in India – who recently bought up Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford are one of their major investors – this kind of technology has to be where at least some of the smart money is going…?

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EU being more responsible about environmental standards

In an article from Reuters, Pete Harrison points out how responsible the European Union is being with changing items that must conform to existing environmental standards.

Until now standards were restricted to boilers, computers and televisions. Moving forward showers, taps, windows and home insulation will have to conform to the same standards.

The goal of the EU is to cut carbon dioxide emissions to below 1990 levels by the year 2020. One initiative for example aims to replace at least 30% of all windows with double glazing – this would save the amount of power generated by two to three nuclear power stations.

Read more of the article by Peter Harrison.

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Getting real about energy production & reduction

Here’s a great video from a Cambridge University Physicist David Mackay. He’s discussing practical ways of measuring domestic power consumption, ways of producing energy, and he debate about replacing traditional fossil fuels based methods of producing electricity with more sensible options…

Here’s how he measures domestic consumption… in light bulbs – even I can understand that…

If you leave a 40 watt standard light bulb on for a day, this is 1 unit of measurement – the ‘light bulb’… (In fact it roughly equates to 1kw hour / day)

  • You leave you cell phone charger in – this is just 1 / 100th of a lightbulb
  • Taking a hot bath equates to 5 light bulbs
  • Driving your car 30 miles – about 40 light bulbs (yikes!)

On average in the UK, each person consumes about 125 light bulbs in their typical day!

Reducing our home thermostat by 2 degrees F reduces this figure only by 10% – clearly we need some more radical solutions…

Currently the UK generates 90% of the energy requirements from fossil fuel based power stations with the government having given permission for 4 light bulbs per person for Wind Turbines. There’s nuclear power and all the environmental issues relating to this – it takes 2000 wind turbines to produce as much electricity as 1 nuclear power station!

The maths are clear – unless we dramatically – in a revolutionary way reduce our energy consumption, we’ll need to realize a 10 x increase in alternative forms of  energy in order to replace fossil fuels… where are the revolutionary policies – at home – in the government…?

Anyway, a great video, the guys behind it also have a great website…

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Wind Power Optimism

With projections of wind providing 20% of the energy needs by the year 2030, the United States is well on its way with 35% of the new capacity added from wind for 2007.

Currently, the USA is only generating 1.5% of the it’s energy needs from wind yet optimism about renewable energy runs high with with a trend that could support approximately half a million jobs, with more than 150,000 workers employed directly by the wind industry.

Wind power is the fastest growing electricity source today.  For more information go to:

http://cleantechnica.com/2008/09/04/us-wind-energy-generation-tops-20-gigawatts/

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Spain Powers 29-40% of Electricity from Wind!

Spain has set a record the week of March 7, 2009 by powering 29-40% of its electricity needs from wind energy.

Spain has positioned itself as the worlds third biggest producer of wind energy next to Germany (second) and the US (first).

For more info go to: http://www.theenergycollective.com/TheEnergyCollective/36111

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Geothermal Energy in the USA

Geothermal technology is growing fast in the US. Heating and AC contractors are busy getting educated on the products available and starting to offer this technology to consumers.

With the US Department of Energy announcing in March 2009 making $84 million available for geothermal energy projects over the next few years, this technology is becoming a popular clean way of providing energy from the earth for electricity, cooling and heating.

For more info go to:    http://www.emagazine.com/view/?4607

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