The world’s first solar-powered train goes into service this weekend, with a 3 kilometer route in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Operated by the Byron Bay Railroad Company, the train is designed to be powered fully by solar panels and electric motors. The train was retrofit from a classic passenger train which used to have two diesel engines.  One engine was replaced by electric motors and batteries, and the other engine was kept for balance and as an emergency backup. It has a 77 kilowatt-hour battery which can provide a full day’s worth of trips back and forth, and will be charged both by solar panels on the roof of the train and a 30 kilowatt solar array at the station. The train will serve visitors to a beach resort. India has a solar power train except it is being pulled by a diesel locomotive and the solar panels only power comfort systems like air conditioning and lights.

The world’s first 200 miles per hour flying sports car says it will be ready in 2018. (See photo above) Samson Motors in the US state of Oregon announced the Switchblade is ready for launch in spring next year and some 240 people have already reserved a model. The two-seater vehicle has extendable wings and a retractable tail that fold out. It has a cruising altitude of 13,000 feet and will reach speeds of 200 mph in the air and 100 mph on the ground. The car is able to take off naturally if the wings are extended at around 80 mph. A full driving licence would be needed to operate the car on the roads and a private pilot’s licence is required to fly it. (For more on flying cars see here.)

As of January 1st, 2018 the US city of Cincinnati, Ohio will start on its way to be powered 100% by renewable energy. After signing a contract with Dynegy, nearly all the city’s municipal buildings will be powered by renewable energy. This energy will power police and fire stations, health clinics, recreations centers and most administrative buildings including city hall. The city expects to save more than $100,000 per year on energy costs.  Cincinnati is committed to building 25 megawatts of solar installations across the city as part of its effort to power the entire city with renewable energy by 2035. Installation of the new solar panels is expected to begin in 2019.

General Motors announced it is building a renewable energy generator to turn landfill gas to electricity and heat in the province of Ontario, Canada. The generator will be operating at the St. Catharines Propulsion facility which manufactures automobile engines and transmissions. The 6.4 megawatt co-generation plant will use renewable landfill gas as fuel to generate electricity and recover thermal energy to power and heat the operation. GM expects the renewable gas will lower electrical costs, improving the facility’s long-term competitiveness.

Biomass is projected to account for nearly 30% of Japan’s renewable electricity in 2030, and over 4% of the nation’s total electricity. Much of that will likely come from imported wood pellets. In addition to wood pellet demand from biomass, Japan could see a significant market for pellet cofiring at its coal-fired electric plants.

French energy company Total announced  the first cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) is leaving an Arctic facility in Russia, one of the largest gas drilling facilities in the world. The Yamal liquefied natural gas project in the Kara Sea is owned jointly by Russia’s Novatek, Total, and China National Petroleum Corp. The LNG project has the capacity to produce some 16.5 million tons of natural gas. Up to 16 ice-class carriers could be designated to ship LNG year-round to global consumers from the far north Kara Sea, Most shipments are expected to go to the Far East. LNG has taken on a strategic value as within the last few years the US has started shipping its own LNG to European countries that would normally depend on Russia for their gas supplies.

Nestlé Waters North America is buying more than 400 additional medium-duty beverage delivery trucks fueled by propane autogas. The company currently operates about 600 of these alternatively fueled trucks, which make up about 30% of its total North American truck fleet. The company produces and distributes numerous brands of bottled water across North America.

According to the US Department of Energy, the state of California has the most electric vehicle charging units of any state with more than 15,000 plugs. 10% of these units are fast chargers. As of 14 November 2017, there was a total of 47,886 level II and fast charging units in the US. For the number of EV charges by state see here.



with h/t Fred

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