Power

Scotland Generates Double Its Electricity Needs From Wind!

The government of Scotland recently announced that in the first six months of 2019, it was able to generate enough electricity to power roughly 4.5 million homes using wind turbine technology. This is especially notable because there are only a little over 2 million homes in all of Scotland! This exciting news comes on the heels of an announcement from the Scottish government that their goal is to produce half of the country’s electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030. Scotland is also targeting an energy system that is completely carbon-free by 2050. Robin Parker, Climate and Energy Policy Manager for the World Wildlife Federation (WWF) Scotland was quoted as saying: “Up and down the country, we are all benefiting from cleaner energy and so is the climate. “These fig...

Staying Green in the Heat

Record temperatures have been recorded on the East Coast in recent days. In the Washington, D.C. area where I live, it is expected that this summer will see temperatures rivaling those in Death Valley! While it may be tempting to crank the A/C up to 11, a dramatic increase in the demand for extra power across the grid can result in brownouts or blackouts. These sharp increases can also be very environmentally damaging, as they also may lead to an increase in burning coal and/or fossil fuels. Luckily there are other ways to stay both cool and green when the temperature rises. Unplug and Leave the House Does your home feel more like an oven than a house? Why not get out and let someone else pay for electricity? Go to a nice cool coffee shop, mall, or movie theater. Before you head out, unplu...

Skyrocketing Demand For Lithium – The Impact On EVs

As we discussed last week, the increase in demand for Electric Vehicles is driving a sharp increase in demand for the materials found in the batteries of EVs.  Lithium and other precious metals are difficult to harvest, and the process often results in severe damage to local environments. The majority of the world’s lithium reserves are found in Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, and Australia.  This means that the future of transportation supply will depend on successful diplomatic relations with these countries, and that auto manufacturers will need to be able to maximize the use of finite global lithium supplies. Effective energy storage is absolutely vital to a low carbon future, and new methods for lithium extraction are desperately needed. Current Methods The majority of the world̵...

Supercharging for Sport

Tesla announced its one-of-a-kind, long distance, fast charging network in late 2012. Since then, the network has become so vast and far-reaching that it is nearly impossible for any one person to catch them all. Yet that hasn’t stopped some Tesla owners from trying; at least for all the chargers on their respective continent. While Tesla certainly envisioned the network becoming a complex web of inter-connected routes, they couldn’t have possibly foreseen the game it would become. As of today’s publication, there are 1,533 unique supercharger locations worldwide. There are 759 in North America, which includes the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Andy, who goes by the name Bighorn, has been to nearly all of them and is the current leader in this friendly competition. He...

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Cars: Where are They?

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) are an intriguing subject for anyone remotely interested in green technology. Several Asian car manufacturers including Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai have bet big on fuel cell technology, even shunning all-electric vehicles (EVs) in favor of FCVs. Despite this move, FCVs are lagging way behind EVs in total global sales. Total volume for sales of FCVs was a paltry 2,300 for 2018. Compare that with sales of over over 2 million for EVs and one begins to wonder if the big names in the Asian automotive world have bet on the wrong horse. Toyota’s Mirai, the most popular FCV moved a mere 1,700 units for 2018, a decrease of over 7% from 2017! Why aren’t FCVs selling and what are automakers doing about it? The Tech Fuel cell systems differ from traditiona...

PG&E Knew that their Power Lines were Dangerous…and did Nothing

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that California utility PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) knew that their power lines were outdated and dangerous and did nothing to repair them.  According to the Journal, “the company knew that 49 of the steel towers that carry the electrical line that failed needed to be replaced entirely.” Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) also showed that PG&E knew that its oldest towers had a life expectancy of around 65 years but were more than 100-years-old. This scathing report comes on the heels of a completed investigation by fire officials in California, who concluded that last year’s camp fire was conclusively caused by faulty power lines owned by PG&E. The horrific fire killed 85 people and des...

GE Natural Gas Plant to Close 20 Years Early

General Electric has announced that it will close one of its massive natural gas power plants in California by the end of the year. The decision was made despite the fact that the plant has roughly 20 years of remaining useful life and could conceivably operate safely during that time. Deeming the plant too “uneconomical to support further,” GE has stated that it would like to focus more on renewable energies such as wind and solar. GE noted that the plant has been operating below capacity for several years now, and that the technologies currently being used at the plant are outdated. Located in Sun Valley, CA, the Inland Empire Energy Center first began production in 2003 for a cost of roughly $500 million.  The 800MW natural gas-fired plant sits on 46 acres in Riverside Count...

Destructive Mining: The Downside of Electric Vehicle Technology

Electric vehicle owners tend to also be rightfully concerned about our environment and how the negative effects of climate change are ravaging our planet. Many of us think of ourselves as climate warriors, fighting on the front lines of a war to change the way our fellow humans think of consumption and how damaging the over-consumption of fossil fuels can be for all of us. We imagine a world where oil companies no longer practice fracking or drill for oil around our coastlines and vehicles no longer require gasoline to power them. As altruistic as our motives may be, we must also recognize the damage that can be done due to our choices in transportation. One of the biggest issues with electric vehicle manufacturing is securing enough of the precious metals needed to manufacture the battery...

VW Says “Carbon Neutral” is the Only Way Forward

In the aftermath of VW’s multi-billion dollar diesel emissions cheating scandal that saw several executives face criminal charges and jail time, VW has been trying to reinvent itself as a clean, electric carmaker. It’s been making big moves, too. In addition to developing an entire family of VW and Audi electrics, it’s put big money aside to secure its battery supplies until at least 2023. Even with all that, the company still seems to have a credibility issue– and, as such, it’s released an official statement about its stance on global warming. Really. VW’s screed reads almost like a kid’s “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” theme, and VW’s execs really, really, really want you to know that they spent their summer vacation learnin...

Amnesty International: We Need Ethical EV Batteries

With both major auto and motorcycle manufacturers pushing hard to gain market share in the emerging electric future, sources of the raw materials needed to make advanced EV batteries are getting harder to come by. That’s especially true as manufacturers work to keep costs down– and those needs have led many companies to third world/emerging markets. As such, organizations like Amnesty International began to look into how companies’ policies are impacting those regions … and they didn’t like what they found. Amnesty International documented serious human rights violations linked to the extraction of the minerals used in lithium-ion batteries, particularly in the DRC. A 2016 investigation found children working in hand-dug cobalt mines. Children who were being e...

Maersk Sets Net Zero Emissions Target for 2050

Member nations of the UN body charged with regulating ocean shipping announced, earlier this year, a new strategy to curb the industry’s massive impact on climate change. The UN asked for major shippers to commit to cutting their harmful carbon emissions 50% by the year 2050, by which time most of the ships currently in service will be scrapped. The Danish shipping giant, Maersk, is doing them one better: Maersk has committed to being fully carbon-neutral by 2050. The result of Maersk’s commitment could be huge, considering that shipping is traditionally responsible for about 800 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s according to Dan Rutherford, the marine and aviation program director of the International Council on Clean Transportation. “If you...

EICMA 2018: Honda Trail Bikes Get Fuel Injection

EICMA is known for its concept bike reveals and new product launches, and Honda didn’t disappoint, revealing a raft of new or updated products for 2019. We already covered the sporty new 2019 Honda CB650R, but now we’re shifting gears and playing a round of, “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need- roads” with Honda’s CRF line of trail bikes. All of which are getting electronic fuel injection for 2019! They’re two of the basic tenets of Gas 2. “The best way to appreciate nature is to get out in it,” and, “Two wheels are better than four.” Honda’s small-displacement trail bikes deliver nearly triple-digit fuel economy and, thanks to that fancy new fuel injection, they’ll do so with lower emissions than ever ...