Cal on September 19th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on September 19th, 2014

According to Gulf News a total of 118 biodiesel-powered buses will be in operation in Dubai by the end of this year as the Roads and Transport Authority expands its green fleet. The buses will be powered by biodiesel made from a mixture of cooking oil and diesel. Their internal lighting will be powered by solar energy.

Fox News reports self-driving cars in the US state of California now need a permit. Until this week computer driven cars did not need permission from the state to operate on state roads.  But this week that changed when the California Department of Motor Vehicles required self-driving cars to be registered.  The department also issued testing permits that let three companies dispatch 29 vehicles onto freeways and into neighborhoods – with a human behind the wheel in case the onboard equipment makes a bad decision.

In the next 2 years General Motors plans on introducing a hands free Cadillac reports Bloomberg. The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic. The vehicle will also feature vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety.

The Local Norway tells us we will be seeing ships on the high seas without humans. Researchers in that country believe that in a decade from now cargo ships will have the technology to sail the seas without the need of a captain or crew. It is believed that self operating vessels could be safer as human error causes more than 75% of today’s vessel accidents. Norwegian researchers are looking at integrating satellite communications and anti-collision technology to create ships that sail themselves. The major focus is on creating a system that is safe enough to satisfy the marine industry.

Product Design & Development gives us the history of the electric car.

Climate Spectator provides us with a global electric vehicle summary. The EV market share in world leader Norway nearly hit 15% of new vehicle sales in the first half of 2014, compared to 6% in 2013. The market share of EVs in the Netherlands, on the other hand, dropped from 5.6% in 2013 to 4.2% in 2014. In Sweden the EV market share tripled, surpassing France, Japan, and California, where sales were steady compared with the last year. EV sales grew modestly in other markets (Denmark, Austria, Germany, the UK, and China).  See chart below. The article discusses what is happening in individual countries.



The same source says 50,000 electric vehicles were sold across the European Union in 2013, or 0.4% of all car sales.  The most popular models purchased were Renault Zoe, Mitsubishi Outlander and Volvo V60. The European market represents 1/4 of global EV sales.

Carscoops says the US state of California has 40% of all EVs in that country. There are now 100,000 EVs in the state compared with 150,000 in the rest of the US. California has set a goal of 1.5 million EVs on its roads by 2025.

Meanwhile, the Detroit News says General Motors is ending its European version of the Chevy Volt. The auto firm’s money-losing European unit Opel is ending sales of the Opel Ampera because of disappointing sales results. Ampera sales topped 5,000 in 2012, but fell to just more than 3,184 in 2013 — down about 40% — and are down by two thirds this year to less than 400. In North America, GM’s Volt sales are also down. Volt sales are down 12.6% this year to 8,615 even though the company cut prices of its plug-in hybrid last year.

autobloggreen notes that China sold only 7,000 electric automobiles in 2013. If sales numbers for EV passenger automobiles continue in this manner, China’s 2015 goal of a half-million EV cars on its roads will be very difficult to achieve. China has been aggressive in promoting EV sales with both national and local government subsidies. A consumer in China can get a subsidy valued up to $19,500 toward the purchase of a brand-new electric vehicle.

BMW is launching its own fast charging system for its EVs in the US we learn from Green Car Reports. Priced at $6500 it can be used by EVs manufactured by BMW, General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Daimler, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche. Drivers in California will be able to use them for free in 2015 at all NRG eVgo Freedom Station sites equipped with DC Combo Fast Charging.

A consortium of French companies has developed mass electric car charging stations using old EV batteries we learn from Reuters. The Eco2charge group, which includes construction firm Bouygues  automaker Renault, electrical engineering group Alstom, and cable maker Nexans has developed a charging system that assembles old batteries from electric vehicles into a power storage bank that can soak up electricity at night and gradually charge vehicles during the day. The group plans to sell the system to office buildings, parking lots, college and university campuses and other sites where fleets of electric cars can park. For storage, Eco2charge will use end-of-life Renault electric vehicle lithium-ion batteries. Once the batteries have lost 20 to 25 percent of their charging capacity, they are no longer used in cars, but still have enough charging power for stationary power storage.




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Cal on September 17th, 2014

Earth's Energy

Cal on September 16th, 2014

Something Different

Cal on September 16th, 2014

Natural gas accounts for two-thirds of all petroleum reserves discovered over the last decade, according to data from consulting firm IHS. Many of the largest finds are located far from the markets that can use this fuel. The Mozambique project, which has run up about $1 billion in costs for Anadarko thus far, is among the most extreme efforts to convert such huge discoveries into marketable energy.

Natural gas production from the US state of Ohio’s Utica Shale rose 500% in the past year. The Utica was producing close to 1 billion cubic feet per day at the end of the second quarter, up from 165.6 million cf/d at the same point in 2013.

Recent data revealed Chinese crude oil imports are up 17% over last year.

Nigeria says eight billion dollars in revenue were lost in “industrial-scale”crude oil theft last year—the highest level in five years—and multinational oil firms have started reducing their on-shore presence in this West African nation, selling off fields as a result of the theft.

In South Sudan, China began deploying 700 soldiers to a United Nations peacekeeping force to help guard the country’s embattled crude oil fields and protect Chinese workers, installations, and the flow of oil from this African country.

Russian crude oil production, a major source of government revenue, may decline slightly next year, after having risen steadily since 2009, the Energy Ministry said this week.  Oil production has been in decline this year, mostly due to the depletion of West Siberia’s oilfields and uncertainty over the government’s taxation policy.

Russian oil company Gazprom Neft said it produced its 1 millionth barrel of crude oil from the Arctic Prirazlomnoye field. Neft is the first Russian company to extract crude oil from the Russian Arctic shelf. The company expects 2.2 million barrels worth of production from Prirazlomnoye during the first full year of development. An oil tanker with 1 million barrels worth of storage capacity is set to leave the field for Europe in the next week.

Canada’s crude oil exports have averaged about 2.78 million barrels per day this year. Exports to the USA are up about 27% compared with the same time last year. Canada is the largest oil exporter to the US.

With Canadian oil sands production continuing to rise, there’s a growing concern over the possibility of a standoff between the grain and oil industries over access to rail transportation  and locomotives to carry these commodities to market.

The US state of California, the nation’s largest gasoline market, has cut its oil-by-rail imports from Canada by 86% this year while purchasing more crude oil and railed in from North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

Norway’s state-owned Statoil ASA says a pilot project that captures flare natural gas in the US state of North Dakota is expanding to power six drilling rigs and a hydraulic fracturing fleet. Statoil said expansion is expected to provide environmental, cost-saving, and logistics solutions for the company’s Bakken shale gas operations. The company anticipates commercial expansion will increase its flare gas capture to 3-5 million cubic feet per day by year end.

After Russia’s Gazprom cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine in June and Europe has been unable to fill the gap, Ukraine will have to cut its energy use sharply or risk running dry, which could lead to more civilian deaths when the weather turns cold, and could further batter the country’s economy.

Panama’s president says the major expansion of the Panama Canal will be completed in time to open for business in the beginning of 2016. The $5.25 billion project aims to reduce congestion and expand capacity. The new channel will be able to accommodate ships with twice the cargo capability of vessels that traverse the existing canal, which will enable the largest crude oil vessels to traverse the canal.

In Japan one of the biggest hurdles to building new electric power plants is finding a place that’s safe from earthquakes and tsunamis. That place may turn out to be 30 miles at sea. A Norwegian builder of offshore oil-drilling vessels is proposing a $1.5 billion natural gas-fired power plant that will float on a cylindrical platform bigger than a soccer field moored off the Japanese coast. Already, plans are being made to dot the coast off Fukushima with some of the largest floating wind turbines in the world.

The International Renewable Energy Agency reports photovoltaic (PV) solar panel prices have dropped 80% since 2008. The same source says nearly 100 countries have installed wind capacity and onshore wind power costs have also fallen 18% since 2009. The agency says renewables now account for 58% of all new electric power capacity additions worldwide.

The Australian Clean Energy Council reported over 15,000 businesses in that country have installed solar power. The range of businesses using solar extend from dairy farmers through to wineries, supermarkets and offices.



with h/t Tom Whipple



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Cal on September 15th, 2014

Bach Double Violin Concerto in D minor – 2nd movement (Largo)

Cal on September 14th, 2014

Earth's Energy

Cal on September 13th, 2014

Something Different