Denmark fools with fuels


Our youth unoils us

The youths in Generation Zero have heard about Denmark’s tremulous venture into 100% nuclear- and fossil-fuel-free power generation and want it for New Zealand.

So who is Generation Zero? Their web site asserts they are “a youth-led organisation, founded with the central purpose of providing solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels. We can power our homes, our industries and our economy with clean safe energy. We can build more liveable cities with greater housing and transport choices to attract the best and brightest to New Zealand. We can move beyond fossil fuels and create a safer and healthier nation by doing so.”

Their motto is striking, if enigmatic: “a future that’s not shit.” Now, I know that might sound, to some, a despondent note (and perhaps sets our national goal a wee bit short), but it surely proclaims a young elite—intellectual and well-educated, not to mention professional in engaging across the generations.

However, they make it clear that evidence won’t be required—for to mobilise the citizens it’ll be enough to mumble the modern anti-establishment mantras: global warming, carbon pollution, fossil fuels—droning on, until of course they too have children who discover a voice and a new mantra. Well, every new generation finds a reason to reject its elders and every generation thinks it’s the first to have a reason. Me, too—been there, done that. We all have or we will.

These vegan masterminds haven’t noticed that they depend on carbon “pollution” to produce their imported organic quinoa, because carbon dioxide is plant food. But logic never stopped a righteous rebellion.

Oil unique among earth’s riches

Back to the story. Generation Zero (GZ) calls on New Zealand to follow Denmark’s lead and “phase out fossil fuels for all energy and transport needs by 2050.” Aiming only at energy and transport greatly dilutes the promised ‘independence’ from fossil fuels, but the truth is that complete eradication is impossible in a modern society.

Unique among the earth’s riches, oil’s diverse properties have spawned an amazing range of substances and goods we now depend on.

The Herald article can be challenged and refuted at numerous places, as Jamie Morton dredges up alarmist themes, parroting the GZ distortions without examination. For someone called a science reporter he’s a big disappointment.

Take the lead paragraph’s claim that Denmark is leading the move to a “fossil-free” society: the notion itself is a fabrication, but seeing the detail of Denmark’s extraordinary decision reveals the extent of the deceptions behind the impossible promises.

By the way, it’s easy to get people to pay attention: just tell them that some new thing is sweeping through a distant country, so name-dropping Denmark is an obvious warning sign. But what exactly has Denmark done in the alleged escape from fossil fuels? What is their aim? What does Denmark actually say? It’s an astonishing tale.

As announced in Scientific American in 2010, Denmark said it could become one of the first countries in the world to stop using oil, gas and coal by 2050. (I think they’re still intending to; I found references in each of the last three years that indeed they are.)

Let’s make electricity too expensive to buy

To achieve this praiseworthy feat requires much effort and sacrifice.

First, Denmark wants to boost wind production capacity sixfold (from 3000 megawatts to 18,500 megawatts). Installed capacity last year had increased to 4800 MW (which generated 11.1 TWh). Wind generation’s capacity factor seems to have been about 24% (that is, actual generation was 24% of installed capacity).

By comparison, New Zealand’s TOTAL installed capacity (hydro, geothermal, coal, gas and the rest) at the end of 2012 was 9800 MW (wind made up just 600 MW). This means that Denmark’s planned increase is an enormous undertaking. Their target is to add about 150% of our installed capacity, but to do it only with wind turbines. Which will run (probably) at only about 24% of capacity and require thermal or other backup generation. They’ve got 36 years left.

Denmark would also tax fossil fuels, starting at 5 Danish crowns (DKK) per gigajoule next year, rising to 50 DKK by 2030. A gigajoule is 278 kWh of electricity, which currently costs the householder about 69.5 €. The initial tax of 5 DKK equates to about 0.67 €, about 1% of current price. In 16 years it could be 50 DKK, or about 10% of the current price. I haven’t looked at petrol and diesel. Is the tax reasonable? Only if you get value for money.

But it will certainly make electricity more expensive, along with motoring, trucking, shipping, aviation, buses, trains and everything else using fossil fuels. Which is the whole point, of course—inducing some level of recession is a proven method of reducing emissions. Whether it will be enough remains to be seen.

The commission said replacing fossil fuels would reduce Denmark’s greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent of 1990 levels. Fantastic. Does it matter that we’re using a 24-year-old yardstick on that? Naa, make it all worthwhile, wouldn’t it? All that trouble and time and expense. Ooh, 75%, Mabel, just think!

The Danish Commission on Climate Change Policy describes DONG Energy, Denmark’s largest power utility, as “its biggest carbon dioxide polluter”. That’s not very nice. In calling carbon dioxide a pollutant, the commission echoes the brain-washed thinking of Generation Zero.

0.0045°C — an undetectable reward

Denmark was responsible in 2010 for about 0.15% of the world’s human emissions of CO2. Global temperatures by 2100 should rise by less than 3°C. If their emissions don’t change, the Danes are therefore likely to be responsible for up to about 3 × 0.0015 = 0.0045°C of that global temperature rise, which nobody will detect in the environment. For that undetectable reward, they will endure much.

They will reduce energy consumption in their homes, their offices, their vehicles and factories. The commission says households must “make do” with only half the energy they use today, and national energy consumption must be cut by 25 percent. They reckon the country uses over 40 percent more energy than it “needs”.

What fascists. The only person who knows how much energy I need to use—which, remember, I pay for—is myself (same for everyone). If you cannot supply me in some form with the energy I want to buy, you must build another power station. If you don’t, I’ll elect someone who will build it. The trouble is, they think every parcel of energy used does the earth some harm, but it’s not based on science.

Electric cars are no good but you must use them

The commission says that switching to electric cars would be a huge leap in energy efficiency, but because electric vehicles and especially batteries are still inadequate they’re not a replacement for gasoline and diesel vehicles. I’m not making this up: they’re telling citizens to switch to electric cars which won’t be any good. What mastery of the topic.

The committee says openly that some of the efficiency gains will have to be forced on citizens by the government. Really? Such a government is called, well, heavy-handed, isn’t it? At the very least.

They want to ban new oil furnaces from next year and property owners will be required to pay into an “energy savings account” an amount determined by the size of the building and its energy standard, with buildings receiving the top rating exempt. The money could be used later to help finance renovations.

Top-rated buildings exempt? So they don’t leak any thermal energy whatsoever? Rubbish. Makes me angry.

All this (and more) has the infinitesimal reward of reducing global warming by 0.0045°C. The people on this commission are eco-fascists and they are bullying the government into dictatorial moves towards a fantasy, an insecure and impractical energy policy that won’t deliver energy to where it’s needed (nobody really likes a dictator, you know).

Only wood is affordable but you must import it

They predict biomass will become hugely important. Biomass is a fancy new word that means plant material, like leaves. Or wood, for the extremely old-fashioned. They’re saying that burning wood to keep warm will become extremely important. That’s quite good thinking, because they must have noticed that taxing the bejeezers out of oil and gas means there will soon be nothing to stop people from freezing to death. They will probably use so much firewood that trees and bushes will disappear from the pleasant Danish countryside. Hang on: I just remembered they’re assigning more uses to biomass.

Biomass will be used to make biofuels for transportation and in power plants as a backup for wind turbines [the backup generation is part of the huge unstated cost of windmills]. Biomass and waste incineration could supply as little as 30 percent or as much as 70 percent of Denmark’s energy, depending on how prices develop.

Do they think that’s a mystery? What would you be prepared to pay for the biomass required to prevent your entire family from freezing solid in a bracing Danish winter? Would it be more than buying the petrol needed to visit your friendly local council to make your monthly “energy savings” payment? I bet it would be.

But there’s a serious problem. See, Denmark won’t be able to produce all the biomass it will need in 2050. Try to stay on your chair now—the picture gets wild.

To GZ: thanks, but this is not for New Zealand

“Even if most Danish farmland was converted to production of bio-fuels, it would be far from sufficient to meet the future energy demand in Denmark,” the report says. “An energy system based extensively on biomass would become dependent both on considerable imports and on trends in the price of biomass.”

I don’t think they even smiled as they said it, but this is Monty Python at their best. Did you, like me, once entertain fond thoughts that Denmark was inhabited by intelligent people? Well that’s no longer entirely true, for its leaders will price convenient, imported oil-based fuels out of the market and instead force people to import firewood. That’s flying backwards and it’s pricing backwards travel out of the market.

There is a quite breathtaking stupidity in planning for so much liquid and solid fuel that your farmland will be used to grow feedstock for ethanol plants, yet force timber imports and also import your food. It is insane. The commission (chaired by Miss Katherine Richardson) should be disbanded; its members should apologise for upsetting the nation and wander the land in sackcloth and ashes.

This parody of an energy supply plan, with its fake energy security, its caricature of public-spirited endeavour and its travesty of good organisation, is not for New Zealand. Thank you, but Kiwis deserve a lot better than this. Even if they wish to save the planet (and who doesn’t?), they won’t see the need to destroy themselves in the process.

How much will this cost?

They say “not much” so they don’t really know. The commission claims that phasing out coal, oil and gas “won’t cost that much in the long term,” but only if the process is begun soon. It’s strange they didn’t provide a reference for that fact, considering it’s the cornerstone of the whole plan. But don’t think about the money, there are so many other advantages!

They say increased demand for energy “will anyway make fossil fuels more expensive just as advances in technology will make renewable energy cheaper.” How wonderfully lucky. What wonderful luck this is that will lead to our happiness—and such magic it is that has revealed it to us! Your potion is strong, wizard, that grants you thinking of such powerful insight.

The commission makes a final, hopeful, evidence-free prediction. If Denmark does NOT take a long-term approach to eliminating fossil fuels, then, when the country finally does have to live up to an international target to reduce CO2 by 80 to 95 percent, apparently it will pay dearly for allowances and credits from other countries.

Those audacious emission reduction goals are only guesses intended to frighten the populace. Of course, the commission is not forecasting the future, it’s projecting its members’ unfounded beliefs onto the rest of the country.

If the youth following GZ do just a little research on this ill-conceived project, they’ll quickly drop it and find something useful to do instead. Because burning timber from abroad will always increase mankind’s emissions of CO2 and destroying one’s domestic ability to produce food is insanity.

The original bio-fuel

Denmark has a wonderful record in food self-sufficiency, with the farmers among its population of 5 million producing enough to feed 30 million. It would be a profound tragedy to destroy that hard-won enterprise and independence by forcing farms to grow only for the bio-fuel factories and especially aggravating because there’s no need to do it.

How ironic it is that, to distinguish the man-made oil from the fossil fuel, we call it bio-fuel. But the oil we pump from the earth is the original, authentic bio-fuel, which the earth tolerates very well. The CO2 from burning the oil feeds plants, and if you imagine that oil spills are somehow “removed” by special detergents or soaked up by hard-working volunteers or even that they eventually “evaporate”, you’re wrong. Spills disappear, but only because age-old bacteria have evolved that specialise in turning crude oil and all its constituents into proteins that move up the food chain. Thus we all eat it. Brilliant!

Speaking of food, if this “climate change policy” plan goes ahead, Denmark will be importing its food. Naturally, it will be able to buy food only from those sensible countries that haven’t sacrificed their farmland to oil palms, jatropha and algae ponds. GZ has surely heard of the local food movement and must applaud its advantages. So they ought loudly to be protesting the proposed denial of local food to the Danes.

Denmark is nuclear powered

In comments on the Scientific American article, frgough observes that Denmark cannot be fossil fuel-free any time soon, simply because the plastics used in windmills come from oil. I would add that the windmill oil also comes from oil.

I haven’t even started on the rest of the silly Herald article. For example, some countries have declared solidarity with the 2°C ‘limit’ on the global temperature, but it originates in the minds of the activists, not in science. Science has no clue what controls the temperature, although it’s not CO2. And, while it’s true that the AR5 estimates the chances of temperature increasing by particular amounts by 2100, they’re all guesses, not facts. GZ treats all this as solid science without questioning it.

Finally, the idiotic Danish energy plan is only possible if they supplement their electricity production with purchases from abroad. But the countries around Denmark all use fossil or nuclear fuel to a large extent—they’re impossible to avoid.

It strikes me as cynical and I’ve not heard Denmark boasting about it, but trumpeting their goal of going nuclear-free doesn’t stop them from using a lot of nuclear power. At least 10 per cent of their annual usage comes directly from imported nuclear generation. Without it, their lights would be off. Though they closed all three of their own nuclear plants some years ago, Denmark certainly ain’t nuclear-free!

So is it to be fossil fools or fossil fuels in Denmark? And just who is fuelling who?

Views: 359

81 Thoughts on “Denmark fools with fuels

  1. Andy on 07/05/2014 at 2:26 pm said:

    Denmark’s neighbour, Norway, is almost 100% hydro powered in their electricity generation. Norway absorbs a lot of Denmark’s excess wind power at knock-down prices and presumably sells it back at a higher rate when Denmark’s wind fleet is idle

    NZ, on the other hand, has a completely autonomous grid. We are unable to load balance wind and solar with external grids.

    I think there is a pushback with onshore wind in Denmark as the public have had a gutsful, so they are focussing on offshore wind, one of the most expensive ways to generate electricity known to mankind. Apparently offshore wind makes nuclear look cheap

  2. Andy on 07/05/2014 at 2:40 pm said:

    It is worth also noting that Denmark has a healthy oil industry. The biggest company is Maerk who produce 85% of the oil and gas in Denmark

    Maersk Oil is an international oil and gas company with operated production of about 557,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from Denmark, the UK, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Brazil and Algeria. Exploration activities are on-going in Angola, Norway, the US Gulf of Mexico, Greenland, Iraqi Kurdistan and in the producing countries

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/05/2014 at 3:14 pm said:

      Didn’t know of Maersk Oil but it figures. Lots of Maersk shipping in this part of the world (Port of Tauranga) and fuel, lots of it, would be #1 cost.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on 07/05/2014 at 3:29 pm said:

    >”..calling carbon dioxide a pollutant”

    38,000 gigatonnes of CO2 stored in the ocean. 380 gigatonnes generated by human activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    Who “polluted” the ocean with carbon dioxide then? It obviously wasn’t us.

    • Good one. Deserves a post of its own.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 07/05/2014 at 6:53 pm said:

      >”380 gigatonnes generated by human activity since the beginning of the industrial revolution”

      This is wrong. 2000ish according to AR4:

    • The way I read that reference is 2000 Gt (1997 Gt) to 2012. I can’t get the 380 Gt (or is it carbon, not CO2?). But, whatever the mass, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is still only about 0.0004. AR5 (WG1, Chp 6, p 467) says CO2 was 278 ppm in 1750 and 390.5 ppm in 2011, a rise of 40%. But 40% of a minuscule amount is minuscule by definition. They don’t build a strong case for anxiety.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/05/2014 at 3:46 pm said:

      Yes, 1750 – 2012. And 380 – 400 Gt of carbon was right (I was in a hurry off to work), 2000+ Gt is carbon dioxide.

      Back to the ocean, I found World Ocean Review 2, 2013. The Ocean Chemistry section has this page:

      ‘The oceans – the largest CO2-reservoir’

      The ocean as a sink for anthropogenic CO2, Page 2

      From the beginning of industrialization to the year 1994, the oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon dioxide amounts to 118 ± 19 Gt C. The results indicate that anthropogenic CO2, which is taken up every­where across the ocean’s surface flows into the ocean’s interior from the atmosphere primarily in two regions [see map]. One of these is the subpolar North Atlantic, where the CO2 submerges with deep-water formation to the ocean depths. The other area of CO2 flux into the ocean is a belt between around 30 and 50 degrees of southern latitude. Here the surface water sinks because of the formation of water that spreads to intermediate depths in the ocean.


      The GLODAP data show that the world ­ocean has so far only absorbed around 40 per cent of the carbon dioxide discharged by humans into the atmosphere between 1800 and 1995. The maximum capacity of the world ocean of more than 80 per cent is therefore far from being achieved


      Only now are studies beginning to approach the possibility of looking at interannual varia­bility for this CO2 sink in especially well-covered regions. The North Atlantic is a first prominent example. Surprisingly, the data shows significant variations between individual years. Presumably, this is attributable to natural climate cycles such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, which have a considerable impact on the natural carbon cycle. Understanding such natural variability of the ocean is a pre­requisite for reliable projections of future development and change of the oceanic sink for CO2.

      # # #

      So in nominal figures, of the 400 GtC total cumulative human emissions about 150 GtC must have been taken up by the 38,000 GtC ocean reservoir (a nominal figure too obviously) by now. I don’t see that as being “pollution” of the ocean i.e. the term, inappropriate for the atmosphere as it is, certainly can’t be extended to the ocean too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/05/2014 at 6:11 pm said:

      Real air pollution:

      ‘WHO most polluted cities list sees New Delhi smog trump Beijing’

      An effort by the World Health Organization to measure pollution in cities around the world has found New Delhi admits to having the dirtiest air, while Beijing’s measurements, like its skies, are far from clear.

      The study of 1600 cities found air pollution had worsened since a smaller survey in 2011, especially in poorer countries, putting city-dwellers at higher risk of cancer, stroke and heart disease.

      Air pollution killed about 7 million people in 2012, making it the world’s single biggest environmental health risk, the WHO, a United Nations agency, said last month.


      At the cleaner end of the table, 32 cities reported a PM2.5 reading of less than 5. Three-quarters of those were Canadian, including Vancouver, one was Hafnarfjordur in Iceland and the other seven were American.

      Read more:

      Read more:

      >”the world’s single biggest environmental health risk”

    • Richard C (NZ) on 08/05/2014 at 6:41 pm said:

      Photo caption from the SMH article above:

      Smoke billows from a power station during sunset in New Delhi. Photo: Reuters×349.jpg

      US$80bn (and counting) of govt climate change cash could have gone a long way to extracting the particulates and noxious gasses from that flue smoke (part of ”the world’s single biggest environmental health risk”). And from all the other flues in poorer countries too.

  4. Andy on 07/05/2014 at 3:53 pm said:

    Maersk are drilling in Greenland (as I noted previously)

    The irony that the Danes are drilling for oil in the poster child country of climate change does not elude me

    • Me, too. I think oil should be drilled for because we need it. But mentioning Denmark’s naked exploitation of oil in, of all places, Greenland could quieten the pious tone of those who exhort us to “give it up, as the Danes have done.”

  5. Alexander K on 08/05/2014 at 1:22 pm said:

    What a truckload of totally unscientific and woefully ignorant BS. Whoever dreamed this up has no apparent knowledge of what is actually happening in Denmark, Europe or any other part of the known world. The whole article smacks of Gaia-worship and Green Paganism – nothing of the real world intrudes at all.
    I have a very old tape of Bill Cosby, the American comedian, in which he describes in hilarious detail the night he, as a small boy alone in his family’s apartment, destroyed the apartment but saved New York from a really terrifying still-beating giant chicken heart. The stuff from this lot of lunatics makes as much sense as the Cosby script. But Bill Cosby knew he was writing comedy.

  6. Simon on 08/05/2014 at 8:58 pm said:

    Denmark’s government is fascist because they recognise that there are considerable energy efficiencies in their economy? A bit extreme don’t you think?
    Electricity demand is decreasing in many developed countries because of these efficiencies. That slack will likely be taken up by electric and hybrid vehicles though. You really should take a modern electric/hybrid vehicle for a test drive, they are now very good. Far cheaper to run the petrol or diesel and a semi-decent range. It’s not just about CO2, there is also reduced carbon monoxide, particulates and sound emissions as well. Less asbestos left on the motorway too because the engine does the braking. Storing energy from slowing down, braking and even engine heat is a no-brainer. Look at Formula 1 cars this year, they use more than 30% less fuel for a loss of only about 2% in speed and will probably be no slower by next season.
    Winds of change, hopefully passing through a turbine 🙂

    • Extreme? Yes, but I don’t believe I said that, Simon.

      What do you mean there ARE efficiencies? Is that why their power prices are the world’s highest? You make some good points, and no doubt electric vehicles are improving and real pollution is being reduced. That’s great. But I’m criticising this government for intending to force its citizens to do what’s good to fight global warming. By definition that is dictatorial behaviour and usually condemned by the intelligent. Except if we’re ‘preventing’ global warming, when the gloves come off, as though decency is suspended. That’s what every tyrant does. I don’t care about Formula 1. If the changes the Danes want to see are the best for my pocket, they will arise from the free market. Trying to make them emerge through taxes just applies distortions and inequities.

      Import food and firewood? You can’t be serious, Simon!

    • Andy on 09/05/2014 at 8:11 am said:

      Yes I would love a Mitsubishi Outlander plug in hybrid if I could afford the $60k
      I would also love it if it was powered by wind. Why don’t we carpet our National Parks in wind turbines? It would be good for our clean green image and tourists would flock to our country to see the lovely windmills

      The UK is busily chopping down forest parks to make way for industrial wind farms why don’t we do the same?

      Maybe we could concrete over the Coromandel and turn it into a massive windfarm. This is where all the ecotards live, so I can’t see much objection. Apparently all the stories about killing birds and making people sick are just made up by Big Oil, so really there shouldn’t be much to stop us.

      Also, I hear that wind energy is really cheap. The stories about high costs are made up by Big Oil and Big Coal, so if we have thousands of lovely windmills our electricity will get cheaper, just like it didn’t in Denmark.and Germany, which have the highest electricity prices in Europe and also some of the highest CO2 emissions.

      We just need to believe it. No rationalization is required, just faith.
      Pray to the Blessed Birdchoppers in the sky

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 2:06 pm said:

      >”Denmark’s government is fascist because they recognise that there are considerable energy efficiencies in their economy?”

      Classic Simonism.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 3:56 pm said:

      >”You really should take a modern electric/hybrid vehicle for a test drive”

      Lexus RX 450h hybrid tops the SUV ranking but at stratospheric prices. Mazda CX-5 second gets the most test drives I suspect:

      ‘Top 12 Most Fuel-Efficient Crossovers and SUVs for 2013’

      Thing is, manufacturers have woken up to the long overdue improvements needed for just the conventional fleet e.g. Mazda’s Skyactiiv in the CX-5 and hence the performance:

      Body, chassis, weight, transmission, engines, all have been refined and the results are impressive. Not that it’s all new technology. I was driving an Opel motor many moons ago that had a 4-2-1 (extractor) exhaust system that Mazda have finally got around to implementing. And lock up torque converters aren’t exactly a new thing either.

      But the big paradigm shift is with engines e.g. Mazda above, but also Fords downsizing (turbo 1.6L etc) and the 3L V6 VM Motori diesel found in found in say, Jeep, is another state-of-the-art redesign that produces consumption little more than my 1.8L petrol runabout. VM Motori motor here:

      It’s taken that motor to convert the Yanks to diesel. and it will place well because the Department of Defense is pushing their armed forces to use a single fuel (JP-8, similar to diesel). Hybrids vs the new petrol/diesel paradigm aren’t looking that great now that the manufacturers are getting smarter.

      At the top end of heavy haul there’s been NIMT rail electrification for a while now and diesel-electric locos (hybrids) are ubiquitous. Shipping not so much:

      ‘How 16 ships create as much pollution as all the cars in the world’

      But I don’t see electric/hybrid’s making inroads into the NZ trucking sector for a while, especially the loggers that I commute amongst than run all day and all night i.e. it’s a horses-for-courses thing.

      >”Winds of change, hopefully passing through a turbine”

      Plenty of change yes, and much needed for city commuting. Electricity certainly has a role to play in reducing the pollution of cities like Delhi, Beijing, even Paris. But if you think wind will be powering city commuting, dream on. A nearby un-subsidized coal burner for base load fitted with modern scrubbers will do what remote, inefficient, subsidized (directly and by market distortion e.g. ETS tax) and unreliable wind will not. Plenty on that in the ‘Energy and Fuel’ and ‘Economics’ threads on this blog.

      City, and industrial pollution anywhere, is more a case of unfettered, least-cost, disposal of effluent. Years ago NZFT at Kinleith Mill were forced by public pressure to clean up water and air. Before that you couldn’t see the bottom of the Waikato River when standing on the Hamilton Traffic Bridge – now you can. Similar for the air. Notable that in the US, modern coal burners with pollution control will still be able to operate even after the EPA’s draconian regulations take effect i.e. it’s the old plants that are uneconomic to retrofit that will be shut down. India, China, and the other emergers will have to implement the same pollution control best practice eventually unless they’re just willing to just let the populace die off. Problem is, it was more economic to fit pollution control when new than to retrofit.

      BTW, Hydrogen on demand (HOD) has yet to arrive here even though it is being taken up in Europe:

      32% increase in gas mileage from a US Buick. Up to 60% seen elsewhere. 7.5l/100 km down to 6.5l/100 km, lowest consumption 4.5l/100 km outside city from a European company fleet car (ServuS Information & Communication Technologies).

      The internal combustion engine still has a long way to go yet.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 8:50 pm said:

      Jeep got much improved performance from the VM Motori engine (Italian design – 100% Fiat now, was 50/50 with GM) in the latest Grand Prairie model simply by changing from Euro emissions spec to US spec i.e. a motor has to breathe.

      The Euro Opel motor I mentioned above was similarly choked but by Australian emissions spec control gear (catalytic converter) that was overly restrictive for the size of the engine (1.9L) even though the exhaust was by extractor configuration and very efficient. Performance was vastly improved once the emissions control gear was bypassed. Doing that would be illegal elsewhere nowdays.

      Not that I’m advocating removal of emissions filtering, on the contrary. Just that some regulations just aren’t practical for optimum performance. And that CO2 emissions filtering and limiting is completely unnecessary regulation for any power plant.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 10:28 pm said:

      >”Look at Formula 1 cars this year”

      OK, from the Telegraph:

      F1 is grappling with sweeping changes to the regulations, which require the teams to conserve fuel more efficiently. Mateschitz [Red Bull] added that this was a new side to the sport he was not in favour of.

      The 69-year-old said: “Formula One should again be what it always has been: the ultimate discipline.

      “It is not there to set new records in fuel consumption or so you can talk at a whisper during a race and the greatest thrill is the squealing of the tyres.

      “I consider it equally absurd that we are going a second slower than last year and that the junior series, GP2, is almost as fast as F1 with a fraction of the budget.”

      Formula One engines:

      1987–1988. Following the turbo domination [1966–1986], forced induction was allowed for two seasons before its eventual ban. The FIA regulations limited boost pressure, to 4 bar in qualifying in 1987 for 1.5 L turbo; and allowed a bigger 3.5 L formula. These seasons were still dominated by turbocharged engines.


      2014. The FIA has announced the intention to change the 2.4-litre V8 engines [2006–2013] to 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines including energy recovery systems [19] and containing fuel flow restrictions, in order to make Formula One more environmentally aware and to attract more commercial partners for 2014. The engines would also be limited to 15,000 rpm.

      Of the current suppliers, only Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault will be producing engines to the new formula. Honda[20] is set to return in 2015 with their own engine, partnering McLaren who will use Mercedes power for the 2014 season.

      The new formula is set to reintroduce turbocharged engines, which last appeared in 1988, have their efficiency improved by turbo-compounding and introduce more energy recovery systems – with power to be harvested from the brakes and exhaust gases.[21] The original proposal for four-cylinder turbocharged engines was not welcomed by the racing teams, in particular Ferrari. Adrian Newey stated during the 2011 European Grand Prix that the change to a V6 enables teams to carry the engine as a stressed member, whereas an inline 4 would have required a space frame. A compromise was reached to adopt V6 turbocharged engines instead [21]

      # # #

      Turbo’s dominated years ago so they were banned in F1 (like rotary’s elsewhere). Now they’re back as 1.6 litre V6 turbo’s. And the latest petrol Ford Kuga in the showrooms and on the road is a 1.6 L turbo (F1, 1.5 L turbo 1966–1988). What goes around comes around in F1, this time with the addition of energy recovery and turbo-compounding i.e. 2014 performance is more about turbo’s and turbo-compounding than it is about energy recovery.

      >”Look at Formula 1 cars this year, they use more than 30% less fuel”

      Fuel flow restrictions and limited to 15,000 rpm.

      >”…for a loss of only about 2% in speed”

      Turbo technology mainly. But now F1 is only just faster than GP2 is at “a fraction of the budget”.

      Low cost regulations similar to F1 but applied to road transport which would require cars to conserve fuel more efficiently, could achieve F1-style fuel saving simply by fuel flow restrictions, engine rpm limiting, and speed governors as used by buses. Publicly unacceptable though because performance would be abysmal without compensating for the restrictions but that bumps up the cost as it has in F1. By comparison GP2 engines: V8 – 4 litre naturally aspirated – 612 HP @ 10.000 rpm.

      Reduced downforce is also a major factor:

      ‘How much slower were the 2014 [F1] cars in Australia?

      …in Melbourne the F1 cars were lapping almost six seconds slower than they had been just three years ago.”

      One respect in which the new cars are undoubtedly more impressive than the ones they replace is straight-line speed. The V6 turbos propelled the cars to higher top speeds in three of the four measuring points during the race.

      The higher top speeds but slower lap times point to a rise in power and a fall in downforce. That much was clear to see from how the drivers struggled to get the power down coming out of Melbourne’s slow corners

      ‘F1 not much faster than GP2′

      Jenson Button believes this year’s Formula One cars won’t be much faster than the ones used in the GP2 series.

      Under the new aerodynamic regulations, there is a large reduction in the amount of downforce the cars generate, which results in a loss of speed in most corners.

      Although most drivers were impressed with the cars’ torque during last week’s test session in Jerez, the lap times were significantly slower than the tests at the same track last year.

      The fastest time of the four-day test was set by McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen, who was almost six seconds slower than the fastest times in Jerez last winter, but some drivers were another four seconds slower than the Dane.

      Since the GP2 series wasn’t forced into the same technical changes, Button believes the cars competing in the support series will run their F1 counterparts close.

      “They will be a lot closer on certain circuits,” Button noted.

      “We’ll be quicker, but not that much quicker.

      “By the end of the year we might not be that far off (2013 pace), maybe a couple of seconds, which will be pretty good when we get a real handle on where we are.”

      Button noted that the new, harder Pirelli tyres might have a bearing on the relatively slow lap times at the Andalucian track.

      “We think they are half a second slower,” the 2009 World Champion added.

      “The cars are also heavier, about one to 1.2 seconds through weight, so that’s 1.6, 1.8 seconds already from those two changes.”

      Gosh. F1 cars have got heavier after the change from naturally aspirated 2.4-litre V8 to 1.6 litre V6 turbo engines including energy recovery systems – who woulda thunk?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 1:59 am said:

      F1/FIA seems to be (to me anyway) even more peculiar for what it hasn’t allowed than what it has e.g.

      2006–2013. Pre-cooling air before it enters the cylinders, injection of any substance other than air and fuel into the cylinders, variable-geometry intake and exhaust systems, and variable valve timing were forbidden. Each cylinder could have only one fuel injector and a single plug spark ignition.

      I understand the need to restrict costs and equalize to a degree but really? NZ’s Toyota Racing series uses the same VVT engine as my road going Corolla which can be either 100 or 140 kW configuration for example, 140 kW in TRC. VVT is everywhere now (twin spark in Alfa Romeo’s) and the TRC grid is packed with Internationals wanting the experience, some going on to F1 and Indy cars. Even the now ordinary-but-effective advancement works for them obviously, but not for F1 apparently.

      And what happened to F1 being, as Red Bull’s Mateschitz puts it, “the ultimate discipline”, and I would add, pinnacle of development for trickle down innovation? Just niche-market energy recovery systems (rail transport does that far better anyway) in order to make F1 “more environmentally aware”, but heavier as a result (along with turbo’s), isn’t all that progressive in terms of market wide relevance that I can see.

      I may have to eat my words if enviro’s start flocking to F1 and clamouring for Lexus RX 450h’s of course, but I’m guessing that’ll be the day.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 2:08 pm said:

      >”2006–2013. Pre-cooling air before it enters the cylinders……[etc]…….forbidden”

      Pressure charging was forbidden too. Makes me wonder if there was any trickle down from F1 over that era. Kinetic energy recovery (KERS) has been in F1 since 2009. But because not every road going F1 manufacturer in the mass market was gungho on KERS and left all that to racing teams, some have been wrong-footed i.e. it is not so much a made-for-market regulation or option, it is somewhat contrived e.g.

      ‘Energy recovery contributing to Renault F1 test issues, says Horner’

      Renault’s struggles to get on top of Formula 1’s energy recovery systems are contributing to its pre-season testing woes, according to Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.

      The French manufacturer has less experience of energy recovery systems in F1 as when KERS originally came into the sport in 2009 it was reliant on its works team to head up development of the unit.

      Red Bull, which developed its own KERS unit for its championship winning cars from 2011-13, has been working with Renault to help troubleshoot the problems.

      “We have been supporting them with our experience on the whole energy recovery side of the package,” Horner told AUTOSPORT when pressed on Red Bull’s role in working with Renault on the ERS.

      “That’s where we can contribute the most and that’s where the biggest issues are at the moment.

      “We have had a limited involvement, and are getting more and more involved.”

      Horner believes that former Renault team principal Flavio Briatore’s decision that his team (now Lotus) rather than the French manufacturer itself should develop KERS originally is at the heart of the struggles.

      While this was a logical move at the time, it was decided when such systems were less complex and could be bolted onto existing engines, meaning that Renault has less experience than it otherwise would in this area.

      “If you look at the situation at Renault, Flavio made the decision years ago that energy recovery and KERS would be dealt with by the race team, not the engine manufacturer.

      “Renault then sold the race team and we picked up KERS and developed our own system that we ran within the gearbox.

      “Now, on the new powertrain, energy recovery has gone back to being the responsibility of the engine supplier, which is where it should sit but they have had a steeper learning curve than perhaps Mercedes or Ferrari who have a few years of experience.”

      Hmmm………”when such systems were less complex” – that was then. Now – “struggles” and “woes”. Just what the economy market needs: complexity, struggles, and woes. And excessive cost. And added weight. But it’s all a “radical leap” according to Renault blurb:



      ‘‘The next generation of F1 cars will be powered by a turbocharged 1.6-litre V6 internal combustion engine of around 600 bhp plus around 160 bhp of electrical propulsion from the energy recovery system, meaning the term ‘engine’ will no longer fully describe a car’s source of propulsive power. It is more relevant to refer to the complete system as a ‘Power Unit.’’ Rob White, Deputy Managing Director (technical)

      Note “TURBOCHARGED” and “DIRECT INJECTION” above because……………


      The synergies cover numerous areas, including technology:

      • Downsizing and turbocharging. Renault stood out as the pioneer in this field when it started to race in F1 back in 1977. Today, all the powerplants which form the brand’s Energy range are turbocharged with a view to reconciling the performance and fuel efficiency of its current smaller and lighter engines. Similarly, the Renault Energy F1 2014 is a V6 turbo.

      • Direct fuel injection also stems from the two-way dialogue between Viry and Rueil in their respective bids to optimise energy efficiency, a parameter with which both activities centres are permanently obsessed as they seek to minimise fuel consumption. The latter has been cut by 40 percent in the case of the Renault Energy F1 2014 and is down 25 percent in the case of Renault’s Energy production engines.

      [OK, downsizing and turbocharging from 1970s racing, direct fuel injection invented 1902 and first used in aircraft (see below), 2 main factors of the minimised/optimized fuel consumption above – but where’s the “radical leap”?]

      Gasoline direct injection

      [Oh, here’s the “radical leap”, but how relevant to road going is it?]

      The F1 cars for 2014 may be categorised as a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), which combines a conventional internal combustion engine with an electric propulsion system, rather than a full electric vehicle (EV). Like road-going HEVs, the battery in the F1 cars is relatively small sized. The relevant technical regulations mean that if the battery discharged the maximum permitted energy around the lap, the battery would go flat just after a couple of laps. In order to maintain “state of charge” (SOC) of the battery, electrical energy management will be just as important as fuel management.


      ‘‘Choosing the best split between the fuel-injected engine and electric motor to get the power out of the Power Unit will come down to where operation of these components is most efficient. But again, SOC management presents a constraint to the usage of the electric propulsion. And the optimum solution will vary vastly from circuit to circuit, dependent on factors including percentage of wide open throttle, cornering speeds and aerodynamic configuration of the car.

      # # #

      So, in road going terms, HEV comes into it’s own when driving style includes: wide open throttle, severe cornering speeds, and hard-on braking – all continually. And your car has changeable aerodynamic configuration. And you have a team of technicians on standby to optimize the energy management system for each particular trip you take: to the supermarket; over the hills to the beach; in the Auckland traffic jam; along the dead flat straights to Granma’s; towing the trailer to the dump; picking the kids up from school. it just makes sense.

      In the road going world, HEV is a superfluous add-on for those with oodles of surplus cash,, adds to gross weight, get’s used now and then in sub-optimal conditions, but elevates eco-cred magnificently. But the economics work for 90.000 miles a year taxis though, especially in the US with subsidies:

      Federal Tax Credits for Hybrids, Federal tax credit up to $3,400!

      Ford Hybrids Prove Durability By Racking Up Most Taxi Miles [i.e. way ahead of F1 experience]

      There’s just that little problem of depreciated value (the real cost of owning a car):

      Used High-Mileage Hybrids – 2009 Escape ex-taxi Hybrid for as little as US$5,000:

      New Escape Hybrid price in US – US$22,610 – US$28,610

      80% depreciation in 5 years.

      Ford hybrid offered in NZ? Nope. But you can get hold of a 1.5 L turbo injected petrol engine “EcoSport” urban SUV (just like F1 but sans energy recovery, electricity, complexity, struggles, woes. cost. weight, etc):

      In other words, F1 HEV is completely irrelevant to Ford NZ.

  7. Andy on 09/05/2014 at 11:27 am said:

    Here is an interesting article about Norway’s plans to get 50,000 electric cars on the road

    Apparently, the incentives are large – no taxes on purchase, no road tolls, free use of bus lanes, etc.

    The incentives amount to USD8000 per year per car subsidies.

    I saw one on my recent trip there – a Tesla

    As the article points out, the country is not well suited to EVs
    Oslo has a really good electric tram system anyway.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 4:02 pm said:

      >”The incentives amount to USD8000 per year per car subsidies”

      And the talk is of sustainability – yeah right.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 11:29 pm said:

      >”Using that $8,000 figure, Holtsmark goes on to calculate that, in terms of its EV policies, Norway is paying $13,500 per ton of CO2 reduction. A ton of CO2 on the European permit market costs $5.”

      So, as renewable policies go, it’s about right then?

      I see in one of the photos, snow on the cars parked at the charging station. See:

      ‘The Cold Truth: Icy Temps Can Slash An Electric Car’s Range By More Than Half’

      […] The AAA tested three different EVs under controlled circumstances to gauge their performance in stop-and-go-traffic according to cold, moderate and hot climactic conditions. While the test found the three models averaged a range of 105 miles at an ambient temperature of 75 degrees, this plummeted to just 43 miles when the thermometer dipped to 20 degrees. Scorching temperatures likewise adversely affected the tested vehicles, though a bit more moderately, limiting the average range to 69 miles on a charge at 95 degrees.

      This probably isn’t breaking news to EV owners living north of the Mason-Dixon line, but it does help quantify what’s been a well-publicized bugaboo, namely that cold temperatures negatively affect a battery’s performance and can even hamper its ability to accept a charge under extreme conditions. Frigid temperatures also limit so-called regenerative braking, which recovers energy that would otherwise be lost during decelerating or stopping and sends it back to the battery.

      And this is despite the fact that all EVs include provisions to help heat (and/or cool) the battery; usually this is via liquid or forced-air heating and/or cooling, though the Nissan Leaf uses an electric heater to keep the battery warm when the car is tethered to the power grid.

      But the biggest draw on an EV battery in cold weather, again no surprise here, is the cabin heater. While gasoline engines tend to generate large amounts of heat that can be harvested to warm a car’s interior, an EV must rely on an electric-powered heater to keep a driver’s toes toasty. One solution would be to wear a heavier coat and gloves while driving and keep the climate control switched off, though that’s a sacrifice we’re willing to guess few EV drivers would be willing to make.


      >” an EV must rely on an electric-powered heater to keep a driver’s toes toasty”

      And to drive AC. No surprise then that even for petrol power one of the changes Honda CR-V’s “Eco” button makes is to climate control. In other words. A vehicle’s output isn’t just for motive power, drivers and passengers demand some of it too unless they’re particularly heat/cold tolerant.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 10:52 am said:

      >”The incentives amount to USD8000 per year per car subsidies”


      ‘End of oil boom threatens Norway’s welfare model’

      (Reuters) – Norway’s energy boom is tailing off years ahead of expectations, exposing an economy unprepared for life after oil and threatening the long-term viability of the world’s most generous welfare model.

      High spending within the sector has pushed up wages and other costs to unsustainable levels, not just for the oil and gas industry but for all sectors, and that is now acting as a drag on further energy investment. Norwegian firms outside oil have struggled to pick up the slack in what has been, for at least a decade, almost a single-track economy.

    • Andy on 10/05/2014 at 11:39 am said:

      It does get very cold in Oslo, I lived there many years ago
      Metal studded tyres are compulsory in the winter months. Many cars are plugged in to heaters during the night to prevent the engine block cracking when they go to start it.

      Electric cars would be useful only in the greater Oslo area, which is a bit like Auckland in terms of sprawl. Not much use when you get into the hinterland which is remote and mountainous.

      Oslo is served by a really excellent electric tram system (called colloquially The Trikk)

      You can get to most places by tram, including the beach,hills, ski areas, both cross country and downhill.

      When I was there, I had a fairly active outdoor lifestyle using public transport only

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 2:49 pm said:

      >”Electric cars would be useful only in the greater Oslo area”

      Yes, there’s definitely a place for urban EV’s – but not by regulation and subsidy and not en masse for the sake of it, screwing up electricity distribution networks. Once the manufacturers (not necessarily conventional auto manufacturers either – could be someone in established EV like golf carts or mobility scooters getting into the auto market) strike the right design configuration for the urban application there’ll be market uptake.

      All that comes to mind and an “urban electric vehicle” search for what I’m thinking off is the likes of the Innova Dash:

      The Innova Dash is a new urban electric vehicle (UEV), a variation on European microcar technology. It’s 100 percent electric, and with its 35-mph speed, estimated 100-mile range and less than 25¢-a-day cost, it’s a perfect, head-turning car for errands around town (the average American drives less than 30 miles per day).

      Designed in Italy, the Dash will be assembled and marketed in America. And the sticker price of the Dash will be as amazing as the car itself: in the [US] $9,995–$13,000 range — depending on the options.

      # # #

      >”perfect, …….for errands around town”

      Yes, but depending on the town of course. Mixing it with trucks, buses, SUV’s etc could be a bit unnerving in one of those.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 2:58 pm said:

      Basically, the Innova Dash is the step from mobility scooters on the footpath to mobility scooters on the road.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 3:12 pm said:

      I worked as an energy and corporate researcher for an electricity retailer for a while. Spent time on the job with one of the advisers who did similar work in Townsville years (decades) ago for which he had the use of an EV even back then.

      He said it was ideal for getting around town and the port area especially.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 3:23 pm said:

      ‘Electric Milk Trucks Still Working in Jolly Old England’

      First invented for milk runs in 1889, now “a totally ‘green’ machine”, apparently.

  8. Andy on 09/05/2014 at 12:35 pm said:

    Here is quite a good video by Thorium advocate Gordon McDowell on climate change activists and their changing attitudes to nuclear power.

    A good one for Gen Zero to watch

  9. John Robertson on 09/05/2014 at 1:00 pm said:

    I’m thinking a small reserve on Chatam or Solander Islands, where these zeros can live the dream, is called for.
    As a test one could justify giving these dreamers the chance to demonstrate the workability of their ideas.
    Of course as reality TV it could even turn a profit.
    I lean toward Chatam as the demise of the Moriori never did get enough coverage in school history lessons.
    If the cultists truly tried living a “carbon free” existence, they would vanish. But taken at just their word, clean energy only, sustainable living…I suspect long pig would soon be part of their menu.

    • Heh, heh. Reality TV just might do it, yes. Actually, even if they made a profit from their farming or fishing or timber, or whatever, they would have had to have worked as hard as our forbears did, without benefit of modern labour-saving devices, and I don’t think they’d be up to it! They’d be too soft.

  10. Andy on 09/05/2014 at 3:02 pm said:

    I noted on Gen Zero website that they had 12 youths (the 12 disciples?) at Cancun

    These guys will go far in public service
    – talk endless drivel
    – fly to exotic destinations to discuss how to cut back on fossil fuel usage.
    – come up with completely unachievable goals

  11. Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 4:55 pm said:

    Aside re EV’s. In Tga/MtM here, mobility scooters are the transport of necessity and convenience by many of the retired (similarly, electric forklifts are a necessity in all the coolstores and packhouses).

    My personal favourites however, are the guys that trailer their golf carts to the golf course – to play golf.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 6:39 pm said:

      >”electric forklifts are a necessity in all the coolstores and packhouses”

      But again, the outside under canopy heavy lift loadouts are by diesel and lessor powered LPG. As forklifts go though, hard to beat this Wagner “Lumberjack” beast loading/off loading logs at MtM:

      From article:

      Grabs a truckload at a time and stacks it in less than a minute. Could probably be done with wind power (on a windy day) from some far off wind farm source with an e. motor/winch/gantry set up if there was a half hour or so to spare for each load. But given MtM has hydro just up the road, and it hasn’t been tried with that, then it’s probably not a starter.

      Incidentally, clicked on some advertising that caught my eye in the above article:

      “balancing environmental challenges with economic demands” – I didn’t know ports could be “green” but there ya go.

      Links to :

      The 5th Gas Fuelled Ships Conference

      The 36th Motorship Propulsion & Emissions Conference

      And in News, just for Simon:

      ‘NES receives order for battery hybrid propulsion plant for PSV’, 06 May 2014

      Norwegian Electric Systems (NES) has announced an order for its Quadro energy storage technology (Quest) for installation in a PSV [Platform Supply Vessel] to be built by Havyard for Fafnir Offshore.

      The Quest technology is based on NES’s Quadro Drive diesel-electric propulsion system, but with the addition of a battery pack. This will be Fafnir’s second vessel with an NES drive system, and the first with the Quest system. The system is to be installed in Havyard hull no 126, a HD833 WE ICE platform supply vessel, scheduled to be delivered in July 2015 from Havyard’s Leirvik shipyard.

      The ship is designed to operate as efficiently as possible in heavy sea, with the Quest system making it possible to run the system most of the time with just one diesel genset, with the batteries supplying additional power when needed. I normal running, spare power from the gensets will charge the battery pack.

      NES has monitored fuel and power demand for various ship types, and from this has calculated the average level of power use and any subsequent boost power required from the battery. Whereas a diesel electric system can give fuel savings of 15%-50% over a mechanical drive system, depending on mode of operation, the Quest system is claimed to add up to and extra 15% fuel saving, as well as lower emissions, lower maintenance requirements and improved redundancy.


      Probably in demand for high diesel requirement off-shore wind farm supply work too.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 09/05/2014 at 7:58 pm said:

      Stating-the-obvious-irony. The hybrid propulsion has been developed specifically for oil & gas extraction work. Application to off-shore wind farms would be an oil & gas spinoff benefit.

  12. Alexander K on 09/05/2014 at 4:58 pm said:

    I spent my childhood in a low-carbon household, as we all did six+ decades ago. I won’t be boring and repeat all I have written before on this subject, but I definitely don’t wanna go back to living like that.. No way, Hose, as they say!. I would miss my all-electric and very comfortable lifestyle way too much.
    No doubt, if one uses the correct rose-tinted spectacles, the pioneering era seems incredibly romantic – I didn’t live in the pioneering era, just the WWII austerity era plus the one that immediately followed. I had great fun growing up, with far more freedom to roam than kids currently have, but anyone who yearns for hard yakka hasn’t done much of it.

  13. Andy on 10/05/2014 at 11:01 am said:

    I see on the Gen Zero Facebook page that their application to the IRD for tax exemption as a charity has been declined.

    As it should. I can’t see how a blantantly political lobby group can call itself a charity. Greenpeace NZ also had its charitable status revoked a while back.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 3:39 pm said:

    ‘The 10 Largest Dump Trucks’

    These massive “Off-Highway” mining dump trucks boast diesel engines that weigh as much as 25,000 pounds, have as many as 12 turbochargers, and make more than 10,000 lb-ft of torque. The trucks stand more than two stories tall, ride on 63-inch tires, and are stopped with the assistance of multiple-disc, oil-cooled brakes. Most of these trucks use hybrid diesel-electric drive systems to maximize efficiency and power delivery.

    Read more:

    HEV is a “radical leap” according to Renault Sport F1. Tell that to the mining industry.

  15. Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 4:33 pm said:

    I find all this corporate greenwashing (F1 now, but go out to the track car parks) just one big pile of horse manure. Classic example:

    ‘British Petroleum “Greenwashing” Backfired’

    A consumer survey in 2007 found BP had the most environmentally friendly image of any major oil company. The company reported that between 2000 and 2007 brand awareness catapulted from an invisible 4 percent to 67 percent and sales spiked skyward.

    The Gulf disaster has wiped out years of ad spending for BP and has also put the spotlight on what a sham the green campaign was.

    Greenwash: BP and the myth of a world ‘Beyond Petroleum’

    ‘Greenwashing: The Corporate Exaggeration of Environmental Consciousness’

    An example of the greenwasher par excellence is energy multinational British Petroleum (BP). In 2000, BP won a Gold Medal from the American Marketing Association for adopting the tagline “beyond petroleum” and a Helios sunburst logo, pledging $8 billion to alternative energy, and promising to cut emissions to 10% below 1990 levels by 2010.

    Unbeknownst at the time, these promises did not discuss the practical consequences of the company’s 50,000 natural gas rigs and oil wells. Moreover, BP’s latest figures indicate it produces 4 million barrels of oil daily, 24% more than when its “beyond petroleum” campaign started……….

    Now I see, of all things, sea-port and F1 greenwashing. Is there anything nowdays that ISN’T “green”?

    • Andy on 10/05/2014 at 4:59 pm said:

      Heathrow airport was full off BP green washing during the Olympics. Remember too that Christchurch airport is ” carbon neutral” .

      Not the planes bit, the other stuff, like the coffee and biscuits.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 10/05/2014 at 7:33 pm said:

      >”Not the planes bit, the other stuff, like the coffee and biscuits”

      And green burial only for the staff/ex-staff when they expire permanently” I hope they’ve factored this into their neutrality.

      Why be buried green?

      Smaller carbon footprint
      Local green burial uses considerably less energy than either conventional burial or cremation. The embodied energy–the energy to mine, log, manufacture, package, and distribute–all the resources sent underground in a conventional burial are roughly equivalent to driving 300 miles in a 15mpg SUV. The energy to cremate a body is even greater, equivalent to driving that same SUV for 450 miles.

      Cremation or Burial
      Cremation calculation Burial calculation
      Carbon in the casket 44/12 x 25kg = 91.6 kg 16/12 x 25 kg x 21 = 700kg
      Carbon in the human body 44/12 x 13.5kg = 49.5 kg 16/12 x 13.5 kg x 21 378kg
      Total 141.1kg 1078kg
      Total TCO2e 0.14 1.08

      See more at:

      Are staff “green endings” an employment contract item I wonder? A must for the serious corporate greenwash surely.

      [Counterintuitive. There I was thinking cremation was the un-greenest ending]

  16. Gary on 10/05/2014 at 8:21 pm said:

    The Eco enthusiasm, will only last as long as it has the backing of the citizens. If for instance they have no power for heating etc, or life style is curtailed, they will do one of 2 things, move to another country or vote a government in who will end the nonsense.
    That’s the beauty of democracy, in the end the citizens decide what future they want.
    So to the zealots out there who want to try it, just remember in democracy you have to get it past your fellow citizen. If he/she does not like it because they know there are more important issues for a country to deal with, then bad luck its not going to happen. Go find another worthy cause, like solving poverty and corruption in Africa.

  17. Richard C (NZ) on 11/05/2014 at 2:58 pm said:

    Formula 1’s Kinetic Energy Recovery System [F1 2009 – 2013, except 2010]

    Max Mosley and the International Automobile Federation decided 18 months before the 2009 season that all teams must develop a Kinetic Energy Recovery System, or KERS, for use in the 2009 season. It was part of the effort to make Formula 1 more environmentally clean and relevant…………

    KERS Ceases to be Compulsory

    At first some of the teams were not happy about the expense required to develop the technology. But then several teams began to develop KERS and decided it was worth the effort. However, when the economic downturn hit the sport in the winter of 2008/2009, the FIA decided that KERS would no longer be compulsory. It cost so much to research and create that teams were given a break in order to reduce costs. But the unforeseen consequence of that hit immediately in the first races of the season: The teams that had spent more time developing KERS than the aerodynamics of the car, ended up paying. KERS cars were slower than the so-called double diffuser cars, that had a special rear airflow design. So in the first races, no KERS cars won.

    The KERS Idea and its Drawbacks

    KERS was intended not only to help the environmental image of the sport, but also to help in overtaking and therefore to create a better, more exciting racing spectacle.

    Under braking the KERS system takes in and stores the dissipated energy either in batteries or in a flywheel and the driver re-injects the energy into the drivetrain by pressing a button on his steering wheel. The rules stipulate that cars may have a maximum of 80 extra horsepower — about 10 percent more than that produced by the engine — for 6.5 seconds per lap. Drivers may use a single power burst, or multiple short bursts. The batteries are lithium ion. Only the Williams team uses the flywheel system.

    But because KERS was not made compulsory for all cars, it raised unforeseen problems. Teams that chose to use KERS ultimately had slower cars than those that did not use it. The main problem is that the devices weigh 45 to 65 pounds and a car must weigh a minimum of 605 kilograms, including driver. Because use of ballast helps in the car’s racing setup, lighter drivers have an advantage, and some heavier ones are running overweight.

    At BMW Sauber Robert Kubica, for instance, was unable to use ballast at all to make his car easier to drive, while his much shorter and lighter teammate, Nick Heidfeld, could use ballast placed in strategic parts of the car to help the set up and have a car that was easier to drive. So Heidfeld began the season with much better results. But it also meant the KERS cars were slower cars in general up and down the grid when compared to their non-KERS equipped opponents. But KERS did help some drivers overtake and did help with more interesting race as a result. Moreover, it also helped give its drivers a great advantage at race starts – to the tune of a full one or two spots on the grid by the time the cars arrived at the first corner.

    The Danger of KERS

    The other problem with the system is that it stores electricity and has been known to give shocks to mechanics and other people who touch the car. And as it was in an early stage of development as the season began, it was also unreliable for many teams. The Ferrari team suffered KERS breakdowns on race weekends in what became its worst season start in decades when it failed to score any points in the first three races.

    KERS Not so Environmentally Friendly

    In the end, the environmental effectiveness of the devices was not that great either, however. On a single lap it would only save about 0.021 liters of fuel, or about 1.47 liters over the race distance. And when that is compared to the amount of fuel burned in a whole Formula 1 race season, it is very little. In fact, as it turns out there is less fuel burned over a whole F1 season than in a single flight of an airliner flying from Paris to New York….

    The case for Kers

    Kers – which cost between $25-40m – was an extra expense at a time when the sport was trying to cut costs amid a global economic crisis.

    The equipment also added around 30kg of extra weight to the car and taller drivers, such as former BMW and Renault racer Robert Kubica, embarked on drastic diets so they would not be compromised.

    After a testing trial season which saw many teams opt not to use Kers at all, it was abandoned in 2010 – only to return the following year.

    “In F1 it is never the cost alone but the ratio between cost and benefit that is considered,” explains Gianluca Pisanello.

    [F1 team budgets – $60-70m. GP2 team budgets – $3m]

    A racing revolution? Understanding 2014’s [F1] technical regulations

    Rule change: Introduction of new power unit consisting of a 1.6-litre V6 turbo engine and two Energy Recovery Systems (ERS)
    Implications: The 2.4-litre normally-aspirated V8 engines of 2013 produced around 750bhp, with an additional 80bhp available for around six seconds per lap from KERS. The 2014 V6s put out around 600bhp. However, the two ERS systems (ERS-K and ERS-H) will give drivers an additional 160bhp or so for approximately 33 seconds per lap.

    Unlike in 2013, the driver no longer has to push a button to active ERS – the power is simply delivered to the rear wheels via the throttle pedal (with a little help from the car’s electronics). Therefore, whilst you could still lap relatively competitively without KERS in 2013, an ERS problem in 2014 will be much more debilitating to performance.

    Rule change: Minimum weight increased by 48kg
    Implications: The minimum weight of car and driver has been increased by 48kg from 2013, up from 642kg to 690kg to compensate for the increased weight of the new power unit and associated systems. However, concerns were raised last year that the new regulations haven’t increased the minimum weight enough. It’s been argued by many that, in a sport where every gram has a performance effect, taller (and therefore heavier) drivers will be at a significant disadvantage to their smaller rivals. One thing is certain: you can expect F1 drivers to be leaner than ever in 2014.

    In respect to 2009 – 2013 regultions:

    KERS in F1, a ruleset for innovation [Part 1]

    KERS in F1, what does it offer? [Part 2]

    KERS in F1, the early alternatives [Part 3]

    KERS in F1, the electrical solution [Part 4]

    From Part 1:

    What we will discuss here is why KERS was an initial failure to the spectators of the sport and why the technology has failed to deliver the promised 2-4 tenth of a second per lap that the simulations were expecting to deliver……….

    Considering that KERS can only deliver a total of 400kJ of energy at a maximum rate of 60kW the minimal time that KERS can be used per lap is 6.67 seconds.

    From Part 2:

    At a time of 1.22 seconds [from grid start by assumptions] we can calculate that the KERS car will be only 2.2 meters ahead of the non KERS powered car. At these speeds the time difference is only .052 seconds; with nearly 20% of the total KERS energy used up for the lap as can be seen the difference is less than a car length. At a time of 2 seconds, the gap will open up to 4.53 meters, and a time differential of .087 seconds.

    This almost seems barely worth the vast amounts of time and money that is invested into the technology.

    Considering that using KERS in one continuous 6.67 second period would only lead to a gap of only 21.85 meters, and a time differential of .28 seconds. It must be noted that in this analysis considering that KERS was deployed at 9,000 rpm, and at 75km/h in first gear, the cars have travelled an additional 392 meters (Non KERS) and 413.9 meters for the KERS car, with final speeds of 280 and 295Km/h respectively. One thing that we are not considering here is the ‘tow’ that the non KERS would be able to take advantage of by drafting the KERS powered car, so this .28 second gap, is a mathematical straight line maximum advantage, and explains why we have not seen these gaps in racing to date. We have also been assuming that the tyres are ideal and that they will hold under these immense torque values. We only need to look at the Circuit of the America’s in Texas where cars we’re still spinning the wheels in 3rd gear during practice sessions.


    As we can see from the curves above, the advantage of KERS with respect to the ability to get the car into higher gears is obvious. Providing that KERS can be used indefinitely a car can reach can reach a top speed of 320Km/h at 18,000 in as little as 11 seconds after passing 9000 rpm, as opposed to 25.55 seconds in the non KERS powered car, and the additional torque provides more capability for acceleration however as discussed earlier the cars are limited to a maximum engine speed. As such any use once the car has redlined, will only allow the car to overcome additional drag and then engage the soft limiter.

    Such use would in fact allow KERS cars, to run more aerodynamic grip through the corners, potentially leading to greater benefit, however by saving the KERS power for use at top speed, the cars will undoubtedly suffer under acceleration nullifying the use of the device out of slower corners, where its low end torque can be used most effectively. Evidence of this has been proven by the courtesy we all enjoy, being able to listen to Race Engineers telling their drivers to use KERS out of slow corners where the benefit is the largest. As such KERS will allow and does allow the cars to set lower lap times.

    # # #


    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/05/2014 at 3:42 pm said:

      >”400kJ of energy at a maximum rate of 60kW the minimal time that KERS can be used per lap is 6.67 seconds

      >”On a single lap it would only save about 0.021 liters of fuel, or about 1.47 liters over the race distance”

      >”there is less fuel burned over a whole F1 season than in a single flight of an airliner flying from Paris to New York….”

      >”…the effort to make Formula 1 more environmentally clean and relevant….”

      >”“In F1 it is never the cost alone but the ratio between cost and benefit that is considered,”

      Meanwhile, In the real world of freight:


      A case study of the energy recovery potential for a Class 1 railroad operating on
      an 81-mile route over a major mountain pass in North America was conducted. The route
      analyzed has two characteristics that make it a good candidate for studying energy
      recovery potential and possible pollution prevention benefits. First, there is an extended
      down grade longer than 25 miles, and second, it has heavy traffic with about 80 trains a
      day traversing it. Both of these factors enhance the likelihood that investment in energy
      recovery technology will be economically viable.

      It was found that the total dynamic brake energy potential was over 900 kilowatthours
      per train. Assuming a 30% efficiency in the energy recovery system, as much as
      20 gallons of diesel fuel could be saved per train. This equates to 680 gallons of fuel per
      day if all eligible trains made use of the technology, and a corresponding reduction in
      emissions. Larger amounts could be achieved if more energy recovery vehicles were
      used, up to an estimated maximum of 60% efficiency.

      Nevertheless, fuel savings do not provide sufficient economic incentive to warrant implementation of dynamic brake energy recovery at current fuel prices.

      Even when the environmental benefits are accounted for [includes the social cost that can be attributed to pollution], a likely return on investment is about five years, which is greater than is typically acceptable for railroad capital investment projects.

      Page 25:

      “The amount of energy reduction required to slow a moving train is large. A 5,000-
      ton train reducing its speed from 30 mph to 25 mph requires that 124,640 kJ (34.6 kWh)
      of energy be dissipated through the dynamic brake, the air brakes, or a combination of the

      Page 73:

      “….each train has the potential to recover an average of 549 kWh (Table 4.1) and each locomotive the potential to recover 182 kWh.”

      Page 77:

      “From the analysis of energy recovery, an average of 275 kWh of usable energy
      could be recovered per train. For 34 trains per day (Table 3.3), the annual energy benefit
      would be 3,400 MWh, which converts to a savings of 256,000 gallons of fuel per year.”

      # # #

      If energy recovery economics are a bit iffy for 5,000-ton trains then I think we can be reasonably sure of the same for 0.69-tonne FI cars (and for 1 – 2 tonne road going cars) i.e. F1/FIA HEV regulations are greenwash BS.


    • Richard C (NZ) on 11/05/2014 at 4:51 pm said:

      Just to be clear. Delivery of recovered energy is in units of kilowatt seconds (kWs) for F1 vs kilowatt hours (kWh) in the railroad comparison. That’s a difference factor of 3600 times.

  18. Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 3:18 pm said:

    ‘Pike Research forecasts hybrids and plug-ins to grow to 4% of European market in 2020’

    Pike Research forecasts that electric vehicles—conventional hybrids (HEVs), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) and battery-electrics (BEVs)—will grow from 0.7% of the market in Europe in 2012 to 4% in 2020. While that is still a small portion of the market, it represents more than 827,000 vehicles per year, Pike notes. The biggest growth is expected in BEVs followed by PHEVs, with HEVs lagging behind.

    F1/FIA has aligned with the “lagging behind” category in a less than stellar 0.7% => 4% market share “green car” growth sector in Europe according to above. Brilliant positioning? Or daft?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 5:08 pm said:

      At least in 2009 – 2012 going hybrid was optional in F1 and everyone could see head-to-head competing technologies because a lot of teams opted out of HEV.

      But now HEV is compulsory-by-greenwash in F1, and very expensive too. A whole bunch of other power and economy developments are excluded by regulation (e.g. “injection of any substance other than air and fuel into the cylinders”) so no-one ever sees how the one “green” FIA mandated option stacks up against them.

      Meanwhile in the road going new car market, 99% of new car buyers in Europe (see poll above) are opting out of HEV’s because it’s still optional but doesn’t measure up for them (although watch out – govt’s regulate too).

      And, for example, franchises are springing up selling at low cost what FIA has regulated out (injection of hydrogen – HOD) for retrofitting to the existing 99% conventional fleet which produces HEV-like economy (better in many cases) and power gains vs HEV torque gains. You can’t (sensibly) retrofit horrendously expensive HEV to the 99% conventional fleet but you can retrofit cheap HOD. And HOD retrofitters in little garages are way ahead of mega-budget new car designers toying with all the alternatives including hydrogen fuel cells – why?

      So where does FIA position? With low cost high gain options applicable to both new (eventually) and the 99% conventional fleet already on the roads and what the market opts for? Of course not. They’re pitching at the margin of the cashed up 99% new car-only buyers teetering on a decision to join the 1% by splashing out on whizzo digital graphics on the dash and feelings of technological and environmental superiority, and wow, look at the fuel “economy”. Never mind the real economics unless they’re in the taxi business (or railroading).

      In other words, don’t look to the FIA for the automotive lead because they’re bogged down in greenwash.

    • Andy on 12/05/2014 at 5:58 pm said:

      From just over a year ago

      “Energy: electric cars kaput”

      Nicht gut!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 6:11 pm said:

      >”[Guys] in little garages are way ahead of mega-budget new car designers”

      Not unheard of of course. Both John Britten and Roger Freeth beat motorcycle manufacturer racing teams at their own game, Britten upsetting many design paradigms at the time – in his garage. Freeth just did it cheaper, smarter (astrophysics PhD) – and faster.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 6:27 pm said:

      >”Brilliant positioning? Or daft?”

      Possibly brilliant – the UN is in on the act: ‘Hybrid Electric Vehicles Report – UNEP’

      You go with the flow don’t you, but which flow?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 6:38 pm said:


      Closer to the real world, therefore, is Ralf Speth, chief executive of Jaguar Land Rover. He says that electric cars will never be a mass-market solution to climate change and should not get government subsidies.

      “The batteries are too expensive”, he says, “the customer must be very rich, and can only use [them] in mega-cities [where there are charging points]”. He asks: “Should we do it only for the rich?” In his view, it would be better to wait until the technology improves and there is a greater benefit to the environment.

      # # #

      But, govt’s know best, don’t they?

  19. Richard C (NZ) on 12/05/2014 at 7:01 pm said:

    Generation Zero.

    ‘Cancun COP16 attendees fall for the old “dihydrogen monoxide” petition……’

    Major pollutant emitted by hydrogen tech.

  20. Alexander K on 13/05/2014 at 8:41 am said:

    A friend owned a business he had built up over many years. In preparation for his retirement, he employed a well-qualified manager. Said manager decided to buy a well-known brand of 2nd-hand hybrid to transport firm’s sales staff, which was fine until the thing needed a new battery.
    My friend hit the roof when he discovered the cost of new battery, dumped hybrid and manager as both being unaffordable and sold the business.
    Electric vehicles seem to me to be a very expensive way to rearrange the deck chairs while making nil gains or savings and also signing up for a whole heap of inconvenience.
    A Brit journalist drove an electric Mini from London to Edinborough a couple of years ago. The journey took significantly longer than a coach-and-four did a century earlier!

    • Andy on 13/05/2014 at 10:46 am said:

      When I were a nipper in London we had electric “milk floats”. These inspired the famous Benny Hill song “Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in the West”

      (featuring two ton Ted from Teddington)

  21. Alexander K on 13/05/2014 at 2:55 pm said:

    Andy, When I left London to come home to NZ a couple of years ago, the local milkmen were still using the vintage electric milk floats.

  22. Richard C (NZ) on 13/05/2014 at 3:31 pm said:

    ‘Will the NYC Taxi of Tomorrow Be the Taxi of Yesterday?’

    Posted April 3, 2012 in Curbing Pollution, Moving Beyond Oil, Solving Global Warming

    Nearly seven years ago, the first hybrid yellow taxis rolled onto the streets of New York City as part of an effort to improve fuel economy and reduce emissions. Today, about 5,000 of these cleaner, greener taxis—nearly 40 percent of the total fleet—are in operation, working to cut air pollution, lower noise levels, and lessen our dependence on fossil fuels. The city’s hybrid taxi program was one of the first of its kind, and has served as a model of urban sustainability for other cities around the country.

    But these cleaner cars could soon become obsolete when — and if — New York City’s new “Taxi of Tomorrow” hits the streets. Last spring, Mayor Bloomberg announced that the Nissan NV200 was the winner of the City’s Taxi of Tomorrow competition. And today in New York City, Nissan is scheduled to officially unveil the NV200 Taxi prototype, which is slated to become the new standard.

    The initial NV200 vehicle design, despite safety and other enhancements, is a conventional, non-hybrid vehicle. Thus, based on air emissions and fuel efficiency, it is unquestionably a step backwards environmentally compared to the hybrids already on the road.

    But all hope is not lost………..

    ‘OK, NYC Taxis Can Be Hybrids After All, City Says’

    Jun 24, 2013

    Politics in New York City are a tough, bruising game.

    Pit a billionaire Mayor with a desire to make the city work better and cut carbon emissions against the entrenched interests of taxi owners, and you get an ongoing battle.

    The latest skirmish is a concession by the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission over the sticky issue of whether future cabs should be hybrids.

    On Thursday, the TLC said taxi medallion owners can choose to buy hybrid cabs instead of the Nissan “Taxi of Tomorrow”.

    It complies with a May court ruling that required taxi operators to be given the option of continuing to use hybrids–as required by its own law.

    The administrative decision came in response to a lawsuit by taxi owners slamming the Taxi of Tomorrow because it’s not offered as a hybrid.


    The TLC will let taxi owners continue to use their growing fleets of hybrid taxis until Nissan adds a hybrid option to the extended-wheelbase Taxi of Tomorrow version of its NV200 small commercial van.

    Love for hybrids ironic

    The taxi owners’ eager embrace of hybrids is ironic to New York City taxi passengers who recall owners fighting tooth and nail against the city’s attempt to license hybrid taxis and boost the then-dismal average gas mileage of the cab fleet several years ago.

    The taxi industry took the city administration to court over its gas-mileage rules for taxis, and won.

    Back in July 2010, a court struck down NYC’s ability to mandate minimum gas-mileage levels for medallion cabs, saying only the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can regulate fuel efficiency.

    But last year, the Ford Crown Victoria full-size sedan–beloved of taxi owners for its simple mechanical layout, supposed durabilty, and unchanging design–finally went out of production.

    Regular hybrids cheaper

    Now taxi owners want to use production hybrids, rather than the purpose-built Taxi of Tomorrow, because they’re cheaper to buy.

    Not as cheap as the Crown Vic was, sadly for them–but that was then and this is now.

    It’s not about gas mileage, though. Taxi owners simply don’t care.

    They have no incentive to use cars that get better gas mileage, because they don’t pay for the gasoline–the fleet drivers who lease the cabs do.

    Every fleet driver has to fuel his own cab. Those drivers love the hybrids, which can return 25 to 30 mpg in hard city use–against the 10 to 12 mpg achieved in Crown Vics.

    The taxi owners are battling to keep hybrids because they’re cheaper to buy than the custom-built Taxi of Tomorrow.

    In any event, NYC taxis that are production hybrid models will continue to ply their trade on the city’s streets for several years.

    Hybrids only a stepping-stone

    Will Nissan announce a hybrid powertrain for its Taxi of Tomorrow, which will start deliveries with a 2.0-liter gasoline engine? Almost surely.

    But hybrid taxis aren’t where the big win comes.

    That would be the electric version of the taxi, recharged perhaps once daily via DC quick charging.

    Those won’t show up in New York City for several years, but the powertrain is already being tested in a small fleet of Nissan Leaf taxis to be tested in the city this year.

    In other words, tomorrow’s Taxi of Tomorrow might well be all-electric (perhaps by 2018 or so).

    Which would make hybrids look positively old-fashioned.

    Meanwhile, long-suffering NYC taxi passengers look forward to the arrival of cabs that offer legroom, at least some outward visibility, and things like power points for their devices when the first Taxis of Tomorrow hit the roads in October.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/05/2014 at 3:43 pm said:

      In comments under the Switchboard article above (top):

      MPGomatic — Apr 7 2012 09:37 PM

      What about CNG powered cabs? Their tailpipes are cleaner than any gasoline powered hybrid and they use only domestic fuel. They have greater range at a lower cost when compared to electrics. CNG can come from lots of Eco-friendly places (to avoid the inevitable fracking objection). There are super cool MV-1 taxis in the lower floor of the NY Auto Show right now … I’ve also seen CNG powered Ford Transit Connect taxis.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/05/2014 at 4:14 pm said:

      ‘San Francisco Is The ‘Greenest Taxi City in America’ ‘

      February 10, 2012

      This week, San Francisco celebrated becoming the “Greenest Taxi City in America,” having met mandates it enacted in 2008 to slash fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent – a target based on 1990 levels intended to be met this year.

      At a gathering attended by California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee, among others, former city Taxi Commission President Paul Gillespie noted the city’s level of commitment.

      “Cutting global carbon dioxide emissions is one of the most crucial issues of our time,” Gillespie said, “and the San Francisco taxi experience has shown that taking aggressive, collaborative action at the local level can be both profitable and effective.”

      Officials observed that when goals were set, people had said they did not know they could be accomplished – but met them, they have.

      Since 2008, San Francisco taxis are said to have consumed 2.9 million fewer gallons annually, while spewing 35,000 fewer tons of greenhouse gas per year.

      According to Ford, these levels were reached in part with Ford-brand vehicles, of which 67 percent of San Francisco’s taxi fleet is comprised.

      A portion of San Francisco’s fleet relies on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied propane gas (LPG), but a number of taxis are the imported-from-Europe Transit Connect which is fueled by regular gasoline or natural gas.

      Ford noted that CNG-powered versions “are available and soon will hit the streets of San Francisco,” and the standard gasoline Transit Connect uses a 2.0-liter I-4 engine that gets 22 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway – an estimated 30-percent improvement in fuel economy compared with traditional Crown Victorias, for example.

      The new Euro vans have thus relegated the once-ubiquitous Crown Vic to the endangered species list, and Ford says even cleaner CNG-powered Transit Connects are on their way and already in use in other regions, including Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas and St. Louis.

      As are other automakers, Ford is touting where possible the advantages of natural gas which has previously been in use in other taxis including Crown Victorias.

      The gasoline-powered Transit Connects get decent mileage, the company says, but CNG versions put out fewer emissions and save money because the energy equivalent of a gallon of CNG costs roughly half that of a gallon of regular gasoline.

      Ford also took the opportunity to pitch its improving hybrid technology. The outgoing Escape Hybrid is being replaced by the incoming CNG Transit Connect, it said, but also available is the new Fusion Hybrid, which Ford says should deliver 6 more miles per gallon than the existing Fusion Hybrid.

      These announcements come also as Ford, like many other automakers, hedges its green car
      The “all of the above” approach is in fact a shakeout process and in lockstep with not just city policymakers, but also those at the state and federal levels hoping to wean from petroleum dependence.

      The message is essentially that there’s more than one way to skin a cat – CNG, LPG, hybrid, all-electric, mild hybrid, diesel – and, one could infer, may the best technology win.

      Do you have an opinion on which technology makes best sense for such regional fleets?

      ‘Uber Drops Prices On Hybrid Rides in S.F., Fares Now Equal To Taxis’

      Jun 12, 2013

      Uber has dropped prices on their uberX hybrid car rides to further undercut the local taxi industry by matching their fares.

      Although cab fares in San Francisco are among the country’s highest at $3.50 just for a flag drop and $0.55 for every fifth of a mile after that, Uber’s service — which has been viewed as premium service until now — is suddenly in line with the fares you’ll get when hailing a cab off the street. As opposed to the black towncars or SUVs Uber has become known for, the uberX fleet consists of hybrid sedans,………….

      # # #

      >”“Cutting global carbon dioxide emissions is one of the most crucial issues of our time,”

      What if, say, it isn’t?

      >”San Francisco [cab fares] are among the country’s highest”

      But they’re greenest.

      >”….there’s more than one way to skin a cat – CNG, LPG, hybrid, all-electric, mild hybrid, diesel – and, one could infer, may the best technology win”

      It will, on a sensible head-to-head level playing field. But “green”, sustainable”, “renewable”, and “policy relevant” (UN hybrid report) playing fields rarely are.

  23. Richard C (NZ) on 14/05/2014 at 3:18 pm said:

    ‘Seeing Future in Fuel Cells, Toyota Ends Tesla Deal’

    MAY 12, 2014

    Toyota said in an emailed statement that it was “re-evaluating” its RAV4 electric vehicle, and that Tesla’s supply agreement for the model would “conclude this year.” Toyota said that its contract had called for Tesla to supply 2,500 battery-electric powertrains for the RAV4.

    The Japanese automaker said its focus this year would instead be on its four-door sedan powered by hydrogen fuel cells, which it plans to introduce in California next year. The automaker will also focus on developing hydrogen refueling stations to support fuel-cell technology, it said.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on 14/05/2014 at 3:54 pm said:

    ‘Kiwi out to beat rising petrol prices’


    The days of running his car on the smell of an oily rag are over for Vincent Lowe, now that he can do it on the water from a dishcloth instead.

    Mr Lowe, 76, recently bought a hydrogen-on-demand system from the United States, which partly powers his car on a mixture of distilled water and potassium hydroxide, a compound normally used to make soap.

    All he has to do is keep feeding the mixture into an apparatus connected to his engine, which converts it into hydrogen gas, making his car less reliant on fuel.

    “I’m over the moon with it,” he said. “I’m stoked to have found something like this that actually works.”

    He was confident enough in the system’s abilities to invite The Dominion Post along for a test drive between his home in Paraparaumu and Otaki yesterday.

    According to, the average fuel consumption of his 2005 Toyota Corolla GL hatchback is 8.1 litres per 100km.

    Yesterday, he got that down to 7.3 litres, while running the air conditioning and without any obvious sacrifice in power.

    And he is confident he can get the petrol consumption down much further once the system has been running longer.

    He has had the unit installed for only about a week, but once it has been running for about 1500km, enough hydrogen should have built up in the fuel cell to bring his fuel consumption down to between 3 and 6 litres per 100km.

    His son, Dean, had been running a bigger version of the system in his 4.1-litre Ford Falcon for the past 6 to 8 months and it had improved his fuel efficiency by about 30 per cent, Mr Lowe said.

    He first heard of the hydrogen fuel cell idea from an electrical engineer friend 40 years ago. The pair tried to build one, but could not make it work.

    By the time Mr Lowe had paid for shipping and installation, the total cost of the system was about $1100, he said.

    For every 3.7 litres of water the system consumes, it requires a tablespoon of potassium hydroxide, which sells for about $22.50 for 500 grams.

    “I’m not sure how long it will take, but if I keep driving enough then it will pay for itself.”

    The only drawback is that his failing eyesight means he can no longer do the driving himself, and has to rely on wife Shirley, 77.

    “So for me this is just a bit of fun,” he said. “But I thought I’d share it with the world because there’s plenty of people out there who like saving money.”

    # # #

    One wonders why the car manufacturers haven’t integrated an HOD system into at least some of their new car offerings so they could “share it with the world” of “people out there who like saving money” too?

    Maybe it’s no fun for them.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/05/2014 at 4:47 pm said:

      Vincent Lowe’s Corolla must be an automatic because manuals of the 2001 – 2006 era, one of which I own, should achieve less than 8 l/100 anyway unless you’re using the VVT at all (i.e. stepping on it a bit).

      2001 – 2006 Corolla’s, like Mr Lowe’s and mine, are/were lightweight with the best power-to-weight ratio around (bettered only by something like a sub-1000 kg Lotus sp0rts car) so it’s an ideal test bed for HOD to start with (as would Mazda’s CX-5 Skyactiv be because of all the development refinements including weight).

      But Toyota porked up the next model (2007) by about 260 kg. That’s the equivalent of carrying around 3 hefty adult passengers everywhere you go in an early 2000s model. Needless to say the thing then needed a 2 L motor rather the the previous 1.8 just to lug itself around and fuel economy suffered accordingly. I have to admit though that pre-2007 was perhaps a little too light.

      I think Toyota may have rectified the situation with their latest model by I don’t think they’ve been able to capture the early 2000s Corolla characteristics and they’ve lost the people that were drawn to that including me. I’m loathe to part with mine because it’s just a great zippy runabout that can also be driven frugally by careful avoidance of opening the VVT taps. But there’s much better options around now in terms of build, comfort, safety, etc although I don’t think I’ll find what I’ve got again in terms of performance. Maybe the new 1.6 turbo’s are the answer but I haven’t driven any yet.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/05/2014 at 6:58 pm said:

      Depreciation being the major cost of running a car, ex-demo and ex-lease deals have a strong case to my mind and pocket. I came by my Corolla when a Te Puke dealer got hold of a batch of one year old ex-leases with less than 20k on the clock. So basically, I got a new car at over 33% discount.

      I heard from the dealer later that the Toyota NZ lease employee got a big slap for letting them go too cheap.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/05/2014 at 10:00 pm said:

      Before the Corolla I had a Daihatsu Charade 993cc 3 cyl shopping basket for years. That was a fun little car that went like the clappers on so little fuel Id sometimes forget to fill up because it was such a rare event. I could park anywhere, it owed me nothing (much, see below), and with the back seat down I could fit a sports bike in the back without detaching the front wheel (to the surprise of onlookers)

      The only failure was a broken camshaft drive belt that crunched valve gear and cracked the camshaft. No problem though getting a entire replacement head complete with camshaft and valve gear cheap from the wreckers.

      A bit disappointing for a motorcycle guy used to bomb-proof chain driven cams but I heard at the time of a brand new Mitzi Diamanti DOHC 3.5 L V6, I think it was, suffering a similar fate. I note the new base model 2 L Honda CR-V is still a simple SOHC with chain driven camshaft. Some of the older re-badged Mazda-Nissan Jap imports are chain driven too. There are probably others in the new car market I’m not aware of.

      Message: scrimping on components can save weight, but that benefit can cost you in the long run.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/05/2014 at 8:42 pm said:

      >”I think Toyota may have rectified the situation with their latest model [11th Generation]”

      It has – sort of. I haven’t been paying attention obviously

      11th Generation is still porked up but lighter than the 10th:

      Kerb weight – Manual – 1250kg-1255kg
      Kerb weight – CVT – 1270kg- 1275kg

      Petrol, 1.8L, 4 cylinder, in-line, 16 valve Double Over-head Cam (DOHC)[?] with Dual Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i), Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and Acoustic Control Induction System (ACIS)[?] .

      Maximum power – 103kW at 6400rpm
      Maximum torque – 173Nm at 4000rpm

      Fuel economy – Manual 7.1L/100km. CVT 6.6L/100km

      [US gets “Eco” grade model, 5.88 l/100km – see below – why not NZ?]

      9th Gen (2000 – 2006) was 1060kg Manual, 190kg lighter than the latest 11th Gen. The 11th Gen engine is back to 1.8 L same as 9th Gen but with a little more power. The similarity ends there. Fuel efficiency is much improved compared to 9th Gen even with the extra weight and power.

      There’s been a number of developments (e.g. “intelligent” VVT) to achieve the gains for 2014+ 11th Gen and it’s now a “green car” apparently, getting a write up in Green Car Congress (“Energy, technologies, issues and policies for sustainable mobility”) where the gains are explained:

      ‘New 2014 Toyota Corolla brings Valvematic, new CVT to North America; up to >40 mpg highway’,

      7 June 2013

      Toyota unveiled the 2014 Toyota Corolla—the 11th generation of the car. With nearly 40 million units sold, the Toyota Corolla is the world’s best-selling car nameplate; this year marks its 47th year on the market.

      The 2014 Corolla is available in four distinct grades: L, LE, S, and the new LE Eco grade. The LE Eco grade is differentiated by a more efficient 140-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic technology; improved aerodynamics; and low rolling resistance tires. The Corolla Eco-badged models will achieve an estimated highway fuel economy rating of more than 40 mpg (5.88 l/100km) due to to the new Valvematic engine combined with a newly developed Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT).

      The 2014 Corolla offers two 1.8-liter, all-aluminum four-cylinder engines. The base 1.8-liter unit with VVT-i is available on the L, LE, and S grades and is rated at 132 hp (98 kW). The Corolla’s new LE Eco trim level is equipped with a 1.8-liter engine with Valvematic—a further development of VVT-i—a valve train technology which appears for the first time in North America with Corolla.

      Valvematic offers a broader range of continuously variable valve timing (lift and phasing) to provide optimal intake valve (not on exhaust side) operation relative to engine demands. Valvematic offers more than a five-percent improvement in fuel economy and engine output (140 hp / 104 kW).

      The 2014 Corolla also offers improved fuel economy due to its advanced Continuously Variable Transmission. This CVTi-S (i for intelligent, S for shift), which will be available on the LE, S, and LE Eco Corolla models, features several enhancements to improve its efficiency and driving performance with discrete shift points that help create a sensation more similar to a traditional hydraulic automatic transmission.

      [Long discussion of CVTi-S follows]

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/05/2014 at 9:01 pm said:

      >”US gets “Eco” grade model, 5.88 l/100km – see below – why not NZ?”

      Ah, 5.88 l/100km highway, not combined. Probably just different model naming in NZ, US “Eco” might just equate to GL and maybe GLX in NZ so that the combined figure of CVT 6.6L/100km includes 5.88 l/100km highway or something.

      But what fuel economy could a variant of this vehicle achieve with HOD integrated into the design and sold new rather than retrofitted?

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/05/2014 at 1:08 am said:

      Some interesting city car developments too. Here\s a comparison

      Toyota ha the Prius-c hybrid at $31,280+orc for the base model (probably Simon’s choice). Blurb:

      Prius c’s hybrid drive chain helps save you money in town, while providing the instant power you need out on the open road. This is a direct result of its responsive, 1.5L, 4 cylinder, In-line, 16 valve Double Overhead Cam (DOHC)[?] petrol engine, with Variable Valve Timing-intelligent (VVT-i)

      Maximum power – Petrol engine – 54kW at 4800rpm
      Maximum torque – Petrol engine – 111Nm at 4000rpm
      Combined system output (petrol engine and battery) – 73.6kW
      [Torque: 111Nm petrol engine | 169Nm electric motor]
      Fuel consumption – 3.9L/100km (combined)
      Kerb weight – 1120-1140kg

      That’s the blurb but in reality 0 – 60 in 7 seconds, 60 – 100 in 9 seconds (i.e. electric torque benefit lost in this range), 0 – 100 in a bit less than 12 seconds (and struggles on hills) from OZ road tests. NZ AutoTrader review here:

      Peugeot has the 208 with conventional Daihatsu-sourced 1.2 L 3 cyl engine (also 1 L 3 cyl and 1.6 L 4 cyl):

      Price: Peugeot 208 Active 1.2-litre 5-dr $23,990 (manual only). [+orc]
      Output: Max 60kW at 5750rpm, 118Nm at 2750rpm, 175kmh, 0-100kmh 12.2 seconds,
      Fuel consumption – 4.5L/100km (combined),
      Kerb weight – 1090kg,

      Hot: Great looker; gorgeous chassis; willing, characterful three-cylinder motor; classy, practical high quality cabin.

      Not: No automatic triple; no base three-door (which is the prettiest), no diesels on the horizon.

      Verdict: A fun car with real verve and panache. Not that quick, but who cares and it’s great value

      $7000 extra for the hybrid buys you 0.6 L/100km better combined fuel economy (more in urban-only) and good off-the-line torque but not much else. But that $7000 will buy you 72,350 km in the 208 at $2.15 per litre.

  25. Andy on 15/05/2014 at 12:50 pm said:

    Dunedin City Council have decided to divest themselves of their fossil fuel assets on the grounds that the industry is unethical.
    Apparently they lump together the oil and gas industry with the tobacco, arms and pornography industries.

    Paradoxically, the council own the airport.

  26. Richard C (NZ) on 15/05/2014 at 9:08 pm said:

    ‘Climate FactCheck: Exactly How Much Did The Democrats’ ‘Cash-for-Clunkers’ Reduce Global Warming?’

    The Democrats’ 2009 plan to stop global warming, and stimulate the economy at the same time, turned out to be a major flop on all fronts.

    This article [hotlink] provides a synopsis of the failed “clunkers” economic stimulation; this PDF [hotlink’ provides a detailed 41-pages of analysis.

    Regarding the impact on global warming, we need to turn to the math to assess the infamous “clunker” program.

    First, from Wikipedia we know there are an estimated 270 million U.S. passenger vehicles as of the end of 2013.

    Next, from the EPA we know the average U.S. vehicle emits some 4.75 metric tonnes of CO2 per year.

    Using these two factoids, we can do the multiplication and determine that a year’s worth of auto CO2 emissions would weigh-in at approximately 1,282,500,000 tonnes.

    That’s a lot (1.3 billion tonnes ‘a lot’). But would it affect global warming if the U.S. were to ban all passenger vehicle driving for a year and elimanate all those tonnes in one fell swoop?

    The simple ‘C3’ estimating tool [hotlink] provides the answer to that. Observe the global warming impact that has a green square drawn around it in the above image [see graphic in post] – the temperature impact is zero.


    What would happen to global warming if the Democrats ran the ‘ClunkerCare’ program each of the next 20 years and never allowed a single replacement of the junked, CO2 belching jalopies with newer, more efficient cars?

    Again, the ‘C3’ estimating tool provides the answers, which are the resulting numbers with a cyan circle around them on the above image. Whoo-wee…it’s zero impact again, even after 20 years of ClunkerCare.

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