Pennsylvania environmental officials are offering $10 million worth of incentives to companies, government agencies and nonprofits for the purchase of cars or light trucks that run on natural gas or to convert lighter-weight vehicles that now use gasoline.
Strong growth in production from unconventional sources of gas and oil will have a major impact on global energy markets to 2030, redefining expectations for major economies and rebalancing global trade flows, according to BP’s latest Energy Outlook 2030. The transport sector illustrates a strengthening role for natural gas as a fuel for transportation.
The world has ample proved reserves of oil and natural gas to meet expected future demand growth. At the end of 2011, global proved reserves of oil were sufficient to meet 54 years of current (2011) production; for natural gas that figure is 64 years.
Of all sectors, transportation shows the weakest growth, with OECD transport demand projected to decline. The sector starts to show some diversification away from oil; gas accounts for 16% of transport energy demand growth, with another 13% coming from biofuels, and 2% from electricity. Oil will remain the dominant fuel in transport, although its share falls from 94% in 2011 to 89% in 2030. Nevertheless biofuels and natural gas both reach 5% share of transport by 2030. Gas (including gas-to-liquids) is the fastest growing alternative and likely to overtake biofuels in transport by 2030.
Energy consumption growth in transport slows to 1.2% p.a. (from 1.9% p.a. 1990-2010) primarily due to accelerating gains in fuel economy. Other factors include the impact of high oil prices on driving behaviour, vehicle saturation in the OECD, and non-OECD subsidy reduction.
The Outlook’s overall expectation for growth in global energy demand to 2030 is little changed from last year, with demand expected to be 36% higher in 2030 than 2011 and almost all the growth coming from emerging economies. However, expectations of the pattern of supply of this growth are shifting strongly, with unconventional sources – shale gas and tight oil together with heavy oil and biofuels – playing an increasingly important role and, in particular, transforming the energy balance of the US.
By 2030, energy use in the non-OECD economies is expected to be 61% higher than in 2011 whereas use in the OECD will have grown by only 6%, and actually to have fallen in per capita terms.
While the fuel mix is evolving, fossil fuels will continue to be dominant. Oil, gas and coal are expected to converge on market shares of around 26-28% each by 2030, and non-fossil fuels – nuclear, hydro and renewables – on a share of around 6-7% each.
Natural gas is expected to be the fastest growing of the fossil fuels – with demand rising at an average of 2% a year. Non-OECD countries will generate 76% of demand growth. Power generation and industry account for the largest increments to demand by sector. LNG production is expected to grow more than twice as fast as gas consumption, at an average of 4.3% a year and accounting for 27% of the growth in gas supply to 2030.
Shale gas supplies are expected to meet 37% of the growth in gas demand and account for 16% of world gas and 53% of US gas production by 2030. North American shale gas production growth is expected to slow after 2020 and production from other regions to increase, but in 2030 North America is still expected to account for 73% of world shale gas production.
While the rate of growth is moderating, carbon emissions are still expected to increase by 26% from 2011 to 2030. Most of the growth will come from non-OECD countries, so that by 2030 70% of CO2 emissions are expected to come from outside the OECD. However, per capita emissions in non-OECD regions will still be less than half those in the OECD.
BP assumes continued tightening in policies to address climate change, yet emissions remain well above the required path to stabilise the concentration of greenhouse gases at the level recommended by scientists (450 ppm).
The BP Energy Outlook 2030 is available online at www.bp.com/energyoutlook.
(This article primarily compiled using information from a BP press release)
Oil and gas usage in the transport sector has been revised up, largely reflecting the need to offset a drop in biofuel supplies resulting from more modest expectations of the penetration of next generation fuels.
Source : NGV Global
The English Channel separating the UK and France is home to some of the strongest tidal currents in the world, and the Ports of Normandy Authority (PNA) and local government authorities, as well as French energy and engineering giants Alstom, EDF Energies Nouvelles, and GDF Suez, want to tap into them.
PNA announced plans to invest €60 million (US$78 million) to expand and outfit the ports of Cherbourg and Caen-Ouistreham so as to facilitate development of marine tidal power generation systems and renewable marine energy industry facilities, according to a PNA press release.
Photo credit: Voith Hydro
Tapping into the Power of Tides
France ranks second in Europe, following the UK, in terms of assessed marine energy potential. Raz Blanchard and the Passage du Fromveur are the two areas of French marine territories with the greatest potential. Taken together they represent 80% of France’s total prospective tidal power generation capacity, with the Raz Blanchard in the English Channel alone accounting for half. Installing marine turbines in Raz Blanchard, along with grid interconnections, would also provide clean and renewable electricity to homes and businesses on the UK Channel Island of Alderney.
Photo credit: PNA
Recognizing the potential tidal and marine energy resources of Normandy and Brittany, PNA and local authorities of Basse-Normandie also see the potential to realize a healthy, sustainable future for the region’s residents and economy based on clean renewable marine energy; tidal power in particular.
“There is no doubt that the French government and the Alderney authorities face many challenges in the implementation of their plan to harness ocean currents in order to produce energy,” PNA states in its press release.
“PNA, however, is confident that the port of Cherbourg can establish itself as a major hub in MRE (marine renewable energy), also in the wake of its recent successes in securing contracts regarding wind-power development. The diversification and growth of the local (and regional) economy in this field have started, and expansion plans currently pursued by PNA will underpin these developments in a positive manner well into 2013-2016.”
Realizing this vision requires expanding the port of Cherbourg by 35 hectares (~86.5 acres) according to PNA, which is ready to invest €60 million to extend the port on reclaimed land into Cherbourg’s outer harbor. Project work is slated to occur between 2014 and 2016.
Looking to inform and gain the support of local residents in Basse-Normandie, PNA held public consultations between October 19 and November 19. The large majority of participants expressed support for PNA’s plan according to the port authority, particularly with regard to the employment and economic development that is envisaged.
PNA is incorporating public feedback into its harbor expansion and MRE plans with the intention of releasing an updated and improved version to the public this spring.
Tidal & Marine Energy: The Basis for Sustainable Socioeconomic Development?
The potential energy contained in Normandy and Brittany’s tidal currents and offshore winds have attracted the attention of France’s largest energy and engineering concerns.
GDF Suez last June announced that its subsidiary, Eole Generation, would conduct two tidal power project feasibility studies: one in lower Normandy’s Raz Blanchard and a second in the Passage du Fromveur off Brittany’s Finisterre coast.
Eole’s feasibility study at Raz Blanchard entails installing a pilot 3 to 12-megawatt (MW) tidal power plant consisting of 3 to 6 Voith Hydro HyTide tidal power turbines. If that proves successful, management will look to install as many as 100 marine turbines on site.
Eole has partnered with tidal power engineering specialist Sabella in order to carry out its feasibility study in the Passage du Fromveur. The agreement provides Eole with access to Sabella’s research on the site, as well as on its prototype D10 marine turbine.
GDF Suez management has made renewable energy a focal point of the company’s business strategy. GDF group companies own and operate nearly 10,000 MW of installed capacity in France. Nearly 50% of that comes from renewable energy sources, according to management.
There’s also enormous tidal and marine renewable energy potential across the Channel. In a recently released report the UK Crown Estate estimates that the island nation’s total tidal power capacity totals some 153GW.
“While the science of wave and tidal resource assessment is still emerging, and future work will clarify the resources that are practically available, it is clear that wave and tidal energy could contribute substantially to the UK’s electricity needs,” Rob Hastings, director of the Crown Estate’s energy and infrastructure portfolio commented.
A foldable electric car, produced by the company Hiroko, will begin test use this year as part of a carsharing network in Berlin.
Hiroko has come to an agreement with the operator of the German railway network, Deutche Bahn, to begin testing their new EVs within a car-sharing network associated with their rail network. As a rep from Deutche Bahn has said, Hiroko is an “ideal partner to complement its extensive railway network.” If everything goes well, the program will expand to a much larger scale.
“Hiroko consists of a Basque consortium of auto suppliers and engineers from MIT. The company, whose name loosely means ‘from the city’ in Basque, has about an $87 million budget and has built about 20 vehicles for testing purposes, the New York Times reported in August. The Fold is the first of three versions that will be put out by Hiroko. There are also plans for the Alai (convertible) and Laga (truck).”
“The car is about eight feet long, about a foot shorter than Daimler’s Smart Fortwo, in regular form, and can be folded to a length of about five feet. The car’s four wheels can also rotate at a 60-degree angle.”
SOURCE: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1xROm)
Solar power installations are well worth the investment, even in snowy climates, according to new research from Michigan Technological University. The albedo effect caused by white snow cover actually helps to increase solar panel efficiency (counter to what many of us might have thought).
While a layer of snowfall temporarily covers the panel and stops production, the panels don’t remain covered for long, even in the most snow-heavy regions.
“Sometimes snow actually helps solar cells,” says Michigan Tech’s Joshua Pearce. Referring to the albedo effect, which is caused by white colors reflecting sunlight. “It can make a panel generate more electricity in the same way that it gives skiers sunburn on sunny winter days.”
For the new research, scientists from St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University, along with a group of 20 industry partners, investigated the effects of snow on the Open Solar Outdoors Test Field.
“They created a computer model to predict how much power generation would decline in various amounts of snow cover and on different types of solar modules mounted at different angles, from flat to steeply pitched. Then they validated their model with data from many of Ontario’s huge commercial solar farms.”
“In most cases power losses are minimal, even in snowy Canada,” Pearce said. As part of the research, though, they also created a model that is designed to help the most efficient photovoltaic systems, even in extremely snowy areas.
Pearce and R. W. Andrews have authored a paper based on the preliminary study, “Prediction of Energy Effects on Photovoltaic Systems Due to Snowfall Events,” published in proceedings of the 2012 38th IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference.
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1r4oK)
The study released Wednesday said those jobs would be created by a new industrial base needed to manufacture, build, operate and maintain the towering wind turbines, and an additional 40,000 jobs would be needed to serve the supply chain. The job growth would be realized over a 10-year build out of the offshore industry.
The study was conducted for the Atlantic Wind Connection and released during the American Wind Energy Association’s annual conference in Virginia Beach. It continues through Thursday.
The study’s economic projections are based on the development of 7,000 megawatts of wind power, or enough to power more than 2 million homes in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Besides the 110,000 jobs created directly by the industry and the supply chain, the study estimates that 50,000 jobs would be created by the effect of added economic activity — restaurants and groceries, for instance.
Large-scale wind development off the Atlantic coast would also have a combined economic impact for the states of $19 billion and increase local, state and federal government revenues by $4.6 billion, the study by information and analytics company IHS Inc. concluded.
Mitchell said the findings represent the “tip of the iceberg” of an industry that could have the potential of generating 330 gigawatts of electricity, exceeding the region’s current energy use. He cited a University of Delaware study that examined wind potential from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
The study, of course, examines the potential for an industry that has little presence in the in the U.S.
No commercial wind power is produced in waters off the U.S., although a project off Cape Cod, Mass., could begin producing electricity in 2014. In Virginia, the industry is just beginning to stir with eight energy producers expressing interest in developing ocean bottom 25 miles off Virginia Beach. The state is seeking to survey the ocean bottom and collect surface data to move the industry forward.
Wind power advocates have said Virginia is uniquely positioned to nurture the industry because of the relatively shallow waters offshore and strong winds. It also has the coastal infrastructure — a shipbuilding industry and a deepwater port — to allow for building and delivering turbines.
Source: Washington Post
Shedding more light on the path to soften our environmental footprint, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) recently shared a key way for us to use less resources. A new report from the Department of Energy and UK–based N14 Energy Limited found that LEDs are leading the way into the future.
“The light-emitting diode lamp is a rapidly evolving technology that, while already energy-efficient, will become even more so in just a few short years,” said Marc Ledbetter, who manages PNNL’s solid-state lighting testing, analysis, and deployment efforts.
“Our comprehensive analysis indicates technological advancements in the near future will help people who use these lamps to keep shrinking their environmental footprints.”
This is the first public report to examine the environmental impact of LED manufacturing in depth. Various impacts were considered when evaluating environmental footprints, including the potential to increase global warming; use land formerly available to wildlife; generate waste; and pollute water, soil, and air.
The report examined the complete life cycles of three kinds of light bulbs: light-emitting diodes (also called LEDs), compact fluorescents (or CFLs), and traditional incandescent light bulbs.
Less Footprint, More Resources
As consumers, if we choose to use energy-efficient lighting, it is another way to keep shrinking our environmental footprints. At the moment, LEDs & CFLs are quite comparable on that front.
“Regardless of whether consumers use LEDs or CFLs, this analysis shows we could reduce the environmental impact of lighting by three to 10 times if we choose more efficient bulbs instead of incandescents,” Ledbetter said.
LED Light bulb closeup — people who use these lamps shrink their environmental footprints.
This report, completed for the Solid-State Lighting Program of DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, is the first public report to examine the environmental impact of LED manufacturing in depth.
Leave Your Incandescents Behind
Along with all the concerns regarding lights and resources, this study shows that the difference between those two bulbs’ overall environmental performance is largely determined by the energy and resources needed to make them. But both are worlds better than incandescents.
“By using more energy to create light, incandescent bulbs also use more of the natural resources needed to generate the electricity that powers them,” Ledbetter said.
This and other DOE reports on solid-state lighting are available online.
Source: Heather E. Dillon and Michael J. Scholand, “Life-Cycle Assessment of Energy and Environmental Impacts of LED Lighting Products, Part 2: LED Manufacturing and Performance,” June 2012.
Images: Philips AmbientLED by John Loo; LED Lightbulb closeup by matt512
Clean Technica (http://s.tt/1n10e)
It’s intended to take the hassle out of electric vehicle charging, and, according to its designers, Qualcomm, is a simple but effective alternative to cumbersome plug-in charging stations. Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) is designed to eliminate unsightly charging stations and unnecessary cables, and with just about everything else we use today incorporating wireless technology, it seems like the next logical step for the plight of the eco-friendly car. Here we look at how plausible the innovative idea is before it goes on trial in London in November.
How would it work?
Wireless charging makes use of an electromagnetic field which transfers energy between two objects. The idea is that drivers will be able to park up at a charging station and have their vehicle recharged without even leaving their seat. Those who struggle to remember the basics of parallel parking from their driving lessons need not worry, as perfect pad and vehicle alignment won’t be necessary.
The technology, named Qualcomm Halo, will incorporate smaller batteries than are currently used at charging stations, but Qualcomm explains that drivers will be able to charge their car little and often, with increasing convenience. As these spaces will remain reserved for electric vehicle owners, there will hopefully be an increase in those converting from fuel cars.
The London experiment
The main vehicle test will be carried out using a specially adapted Delta Motorsport E4 Coupe. The Formula 1 car designer was required to add the pad to the vehicle in order to connect it to the road unit, as well as a touch screen interface to let the driver know when he or she is aligned with the charging pad.
Throughout the trial, charging pads stationed at Qualcomm’s West London office and at minicab company Addison Lee, will be put into practice. The initiative, supported by Prime Minister David Cameron is designed to demonstrate how WEVC can work in busy cities, such as London.
Time, or rather the lack of it, is everything in the city, so the option of quick, easy, and readily available charging is particularly appealing. With many making short but frequent trips, presumably the need for more charging pads will grow, as, hopefully, will the market for eco-friendly vehicles. As an added incentive, drivers of electric cars can expect to avoid the daily cost of London’s congestion charge.
So, is it plausible?
In short, yes. Technology is ever advancing, and Qualcomm Halo not only recognizes this, but also promotes the needed reduction of fuel emissions.
It’s not, however, alone in its wireless charging quest, with a similar trial already underway in Germany. Concept vehicles have also emerged from both Rolls-Royce, Delphi, and Infiniti/Nissan that include wireless charging technology. Google, Hertz, and Plugless Power are also testing out wireless charging technology. And researchers in Tokyo have created an electric roadway demo that wirelessly charges EVs.
Although wireless charging is designed, first and foremost, for city driving, it remains to be seen if it could ever work outside of the city. The fact that motorists may well require a car for both urban and rural driving, therefore, poses a problem.
Eco-friendly driving constantly comes up against questions of how practical it is, and Qualcomm’s idea is no exception. Certainly, the short-term vision has a lot of promise, but the long-term success of WEVC remains to be seen.
This guest post was written by an eco-friendly driver and blogger, Isabelle Guarella, on behalf of PassSmart.com.
A Cambridge University engineer is urging the wind power industry to look at the designs for offshore wind turbines in an effort to increase their efficiency and decrease the amount of energy required to produce and install the massive towers at sea.
Jim Platts of the Institute for Manufacturing at the University of Cambridge believes that the wind power sector could achieve much higher payback ratios if turbines were installed using guyed towers rather than the heavy free-standing towers currently in use.
“The development of the wind turbine industry, and the way in which it works with the civil engineers who make the heavy supporting towers and foundations, which are not visible out at sea once the turbines are installed, mean that we have ignored something which is almost embarrassingly obvious in our race to meet the targets set for renewable energy production,” said Platts.
“We urgently need to reduce the high levels of energy embedded in offshore wind turbines which make them both ineffective in energy payback and costly in financial terms. We can do this fairly easily if we invest in more innovative methods for making and installing the towers and foundations that support them.”
The effectiveness of a wind turbine is determined by one key figure: it’s harvesting ratio.
This ratio is a measure of the energy it provides compared to the amount of energy required to manufacture the tower.
Wind turbines comprise three main elements: the blades that harness the wind energy; the gearbox and generator mechanisms that produce the electricity; the tower that supports these moving parts; and the foundations that hold the tower in place. The tower is conventionally made of steel and the foundation in steel and concrete.
A turbine used on land will see two-thirds of the total energy invested to produce the tower embeeded in the moving parts, with the final third invested into the tower structure. Onshore turbines usually achieve a harvesting ratio of 40:1.
However, when you situate a turbine offshore, with the need for heavier towers and massive foundations, the harvesting ratio drops to 15:1. “When you look at offshore wind turbines you see a series of slim structures – what you don’t see are the far heavier supporting structures below the surface that they slot into,” said Platts.
“Steel is prone to corrosion and to fatigue,” Platts added. “This begs the question: could we do better with other materials. The answer is yes, we can use composites for towers just as we do for blades. They are lighter, stronger, corrosion free and more resilient than steel.”
A preliminary study conducted by the University Institute for Manufacturing suggests that guyed towers could offer significant advantages that conventional heavy towers lack. The use of steel cables fixed to the sea bed by screw anchors could result in significantly slimmer towers and less weighty foundations.
The study found that with the resulting reduction in steel and concrete, the harvesting ratio would increase to 25:1.
“The use of guyed towers is just the first step for the industry to take. The second step would be to make towers in composite materials which are less energy intensive to make than steel which relies on smelting and concrete that also depends on a chemical reduction process in manufacturing cement. Composites also have a longer life than steel as they stand up to fatigue much better. Using these new materials could increase the harvesting ratio still further to 32:1 and extend the lifetime of a turbine installation from the present 20 years to up to 60 years,” said Platts.
“The Finnish wind turbine manufacturer Mervento has shown the way with a guyed turbine designed for use in the Baltic. Other producers – such as those making turbines for sites in the North Sea – need to take heed and invest in research into designs that take a similar approach to making the industry far more energy efficient and sustainable.”