Electric cars likely to lead to more CO2 because of EU legal loopholes

Electric cars can play a role in cutting Europe’s carbon emissions but current EU legislation contains loopholes that are likely to lead to emissions and oil use going up, according to a new

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso called in September for transport to be ‘decarbonised’, highlighting the development of electric cars as a key aim.

Binding EU targets for car CO2 emissions agreed last December include ‘supercredits’ that enable carmakers to sell up to 3.5 gas-guzzling SUVs for every electric vehicle they sell and still reach their official EU target. Electric cars are also counted as ‘zero emissions’ despite the fact that the electricity they use can come from high-carbon fossil fuels such as coal.

The combined effect of these loopholes would be that carmakers who choose to market electric cars to meet EU targets, would have to do less to reduce emissions of conventional cars. The overall effect would be higher CO2 emissions and oil use.

Supercredits are also included in legislation proposed last month to improve the CO2 emissions of vans.

Transport & Environment is calling for current and future loopholes to be dropped and CO2 / fuel efficiency standards to be tightened further.

The report argues that industry and policymakers have relied in the past on distant ‘dream’ technologies to solve environmental problems rather than setting targets for CO2 emissions and fuel efficiency. Hydrogen, biofuels, and earlier interest in electric cars all came to nothing for different reasons but what they have in common is that they all distracted policymakers from forcing carmakers to improve fuel efficiency across the board.

Jos Dings, director of Transport & Environment said: “The game for policymakers is cutting emissions and reducing our dependence on oil, not promoting electric cars. The EU must not take its eye off the ball again, and get distracted by technological hype. For electric cars to be a success for the environment, and for the industry, pressure on fuel efficiency and CO2 emissions for all cars must be kept up. Promoting electric cars without maintaining pressure on fuel efficiency standards, will kill any chance of success.”

The report also examines the implications of electric cars for the power sector. It argues that the EU needs to think hard about how it will ensure that the extra demand for electricity is met through renewable electricity and not more dirty coal. It notes that every car will need to be fitted with ‘smart meter’ technology to measure how much electricity is being consumed, and where that electricity came from.

Download the report .

Source: Transport and Environment

KLM to make demonstration flight on bio-fuel

klm_csrKLM Royal Dutch Airlines will be the first airline in the world to make a demonstration flight on bio-kerosene with a select group of passengers. This will also be the first ever flight in Europe on bio-kerosene. On 23 November 2009, KLM will operate a flight using Boeing 747 equipment. One of the aircraft engines will be running on a fuel mixture made up of 50% sustainable bio-fuel and 50% traditional kerosene.

“This is an important step on the road to completely sustainable aviation,” said KLM President & CEO Peter Hartman. “KLM has joined forces with its partners to vigorously stimulate the further development of alternative fuels. In so doing, we need to rely on the input and support of all the relevant parties: the business community, government and society at large.’’

Along with Air France, KLM has for many years led the airline industry in the field of sustainable development. For example, Air France-KLM this year topped the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth consecutive time. The Dutch wing of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (Wereld Natuurfonds – WNF) also voted KLM its Business Partner of the year for 2009.

“In the decades ahead, the airline industry will be largely dependent on the availability of alternative fuels in its drive to lower CO2 emissions,” said KLM Managing Director Jan Ernst de Groot, who will present the plans on Wednesday afternoon at the 2009 National Innovation Relay at Valkenburg Airbase.

Is your dog less eco-friendly then a Land Cruiser?

In a new research, scientists have determined that pets can play a large part in increasing greenhouse gas emissions, with calculations indicating that a Land Cruiser’s eco-footprint being about 0.41 hectares, which is less than half that of a medium-sized dog.
According to a report in New Scientist, the research was done by Robert and Brenda Vale, two architects who specialise in sustainable living at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand.
As well as guzzling resources, cats and dogs devastate wildlife populations, spread disease and add to pollution.

To measure the ecological paw, claw and fin-prints of the family pet, the Vales analysed the ingredients of common brands of pet food.
They calculated, for example, that a medium-sized dog would consume 90 grams of meat and 156 grams of cereals daily in its recommended 300-gram portion of dried dog food.
At its pre-dried weight, that equates to 450 grams of fresh meat and 260 grams of cereal.
That means that over the course of a year, Fido wolfs down about 164 kilograms of meat and 95 kilograms of cereals.

It takes 43.3 square metres of land to generate 1 kilogram of chicken per year – far more for beef and lamb – and 13.4 square metres to generate a kilogram of cereals. So that gives him a footprint of 0.84 hectares.
For a big dog such as a German shepherd, the figure is 1.1 hectares.
Meanwhile, an SUV, driven a modest 10,000 kilometres a year, uses 55.1 gigajoules, which includes the energy required both to fuel and to build it.

The Vales used a 4.6-litre Toyota Land Cruiser in their comparison.
One hectare of land can produce approximately 135 gigajoules of energy per year, so the Land Cruiser’s eco-footprint is about 0.41 hectares – less than half that of a medium-sized dog.
Doing similar calculations for a variety of pets and their foods, the Vales found that cats have an eco-footprint of about 0.15 hectares (slightly less than a Volkswagen Golf), hamsters come in at 0.014 hectares apiece and canaries half that.
Even a goldfish requires 0.00034 hectares (3.4 square metres) of land to sustain it, giving it an ecological fin-print equal to two cellphones.

The Vales suggest that eco-friendly animal lovers should change the diet of their pet. Meat is the key, since its production is so energy-intensive.
They can almost halve the eco-pawprint of their dogs, simply by feeding it many of the same sort of savory foods that they eat, which are likely to be far less protein-rich than most dog foods, they added.

Europe wastes its resources: €5 billion thrown away every year

Europe throws away resources worth over 5 billion euros every year by landfilling or incinerating materials that could be recycled, Friends of the Earth Europe reported today. At the same time, Europe is importing ever-increasing quantities of materials from the rest of the world.

Dr Michael Warhurst of Friends of the Earth Europe’s Resources and Consumption campaign said: “It’s shocking that all these valuable resources are being literally thrown away across Europe, whilst at the same time Europe continues to buy in ever-increasing quantities of materials from the rest of the world. Europe needs to stop landfilling and incinerating recyclable materials, and we need new policies to create a resource efficient EU.”

The new report, ‘Gone to waste: the valuable resources that European countries bury and burn’, finds that countries across the European Union are landfilling or incinerating recyclable material which if recycled would save an estimated 148 million tonnes of CO2eq, equivalent to taking approximately 47 million cars off the road per year.

This research reveals that around half of all key recyclable materials generated in the EU, including paper, card, glass, plastics, aluminium and steel, are being sent to disposal and not to recycling. If recycled instead, these materials would have had a minimum potential monetary value of 5.25 billion euros.

Recycling, reusing and reducing these materials would have significant benefits for the climate.

This valuable resource could also provide the basis for the development of an expanded recycling and resource management industry, creating many more ‘green jobs’ in reprocessing, sorting and collecting of recyclables and realising the value of this so-called ‘waste’.

High value materials, such as aluminium cans, are ending up buried or destroyed in incinerators largely as a result of inadequate recycling systems. In order to address this waste, Friends of the Earth Europe wants to ban the landfill and incineration of recyclable materials, an approach that has worked well in the Belgium region of Flanders.

In addition, Friends of the Earth Europe is proposing that Europe should start to measure its resource use, and set targets to reduce this resource use. This objective is part of the ‘Spring Alliance’ manifesto, which is supported by environmental, social and development non-government organisations and by Trade Unions.

Researcher looking for nano environmental footprint

Edmonton-University of Alberta biological sciences professor Gregg Goss is on the front line of a new effort to monitor the effects of nanomaterials on the environment.

Goss will help lead a team of 19 researchers from across the country in a three-year study of the toxicity of nanomaterials in aquatic environments.

Nanomaterials are the microscopic bits of material that help strengthen products or make them more efficient. Silver nanoparticles, woven into sweat socks to kill bacteria, are a nanotechonology product on the market right now. But no one knows what effect those silver nanoparticles will have on the water system when they come out in the wash.

“Everything winds up in the water eventually,” said Goss.

Goss explains that nanomaterials are very different from mainstream technology. “Today, if a company releases a chemical, we can go out there and measure it,” said Goss. “But with nanomaterials, once they’re released, we can’t measure it.”

To get out in front of the analysis of nanomaterials Goss says the research team will work with companies as they produce new products. “The problem with nanomaterials is that classic toxicity tests may not be appropriate,” he said. “We have to figure out what existing tests work, and develop some new tests.”

Goss expects government regulatory agencies will be adjusting their rules as the nanomaterials industry grows and he sees a role for his research group as communicators.

“We’d like to see a co-ordinated response where one set of toxicity tests can be shared by Canada, the United States, Europe and other producing nations.”

Goss shares the leadership role in the program with researcher Geoffrey Sunahara at the National Research Council’s biotechnology lab in Montreal. The $3.39 million program is funded by the U of A, NRC, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the National Institute for Nanotechnology and Environment Canada. Private sector companies involved include VIVE Nano, Golder Associates and HydroQual Laboratories.

Goss says it’s difficult to imagine what nanotechnology won’t be used for. He uses an old television commercial produced by a multinational chemical company to describe the future of nanomaterials. “Remember those BSAF ads that said, ‘We don’t make things. We make things better,'” said Goss. “That’s essentially what nanotechnology is going to do.”

Goss predicts many areas of daily life will benefit from nanomaterials, which includes more sustainable world travel. “It’s going to make stronger steel so commercial aircraft are lighter and fly further on less fuel.”

Fortunately Goss believes 99.9 per cent of nanomaterial products will be found to be completely benign. Finding the downside will be the challenge. “We’re set to identify problem nanomaterials and prevent them from getting out into the market. That’s our job.”

Go to the toilet before you fly

ana_airplaneANA is a Japanese airliner who aksed their passenger to go to the toilet before you fly. The idea is, that the passenger is a little bit lighter, so the airplane needs less kerosene. The unusual request from All Nippon Airways is part of a campaign to reduce greenhouse gas to emit.

 In the campaign they also have their attention to recycled paper and plastic bottles. “We make things lighter, so why not the people”, a spokesman said.

During the flight, they are not showing the usual television series or common movies, but educational programs about the environment. The campaign is a test of one month, which commenced in October (2009). If successful the campaign will continue.

 Ofcourse there is no reason for you, to do the same even if you fly by another company. 

Is your next gadget an AirPod?


MDI is a company founded by Guy NEGRE in 1991.  The aims of this company are to promote and develop ecological energies; conceive and produce non-pollutant vehicles and systems.

The have devoloped a car that use air as fuel. For less then two euro you can drive a 100 kilometers with a speed of 90 km/per hour. And the most important thing for us, that it’s 3 times less C02 emissions in comparison to classic engines.

The standard version is designed for the transport of persons. It has four seats (3 adults and one child) and has space for luggage. It is dedicated to multiple uses as in the private and public sectors. Airports, train stations and municipalities also need a cheap, non-polluting car with high mobility.

Isn’t that wunderfull, check there website  and see the car in action. I have no idea if you can buy that car, but I’m sure you like the concept.

How to Go Green

Let's ITER.

250px-Deuterium-tritium_fusion_svgITER is an experimental reactor which will reproduce the physical reaction – fusion – that occurs in the sun and stars. The project aims to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion as an energy source. The reactor is actually being constructed in Cardarache, France. This will lay the basis for a demonstration power plant, (called DEMO), the last step leading to the commercialisation of fusion power.
Europe is hosting ITER and is its largest investor. The European Union is going to contribute 45,46 % of the construction costs while the other six partners will contribute equally to the rest. The 7th Euratom Research Programme (2007 – 2011)  provides almost 2 billion Euros to fusion research.

What is Fusion for Energy (F4E)?
Fusion for Energy is the European Union’s organization responsible for providing Europe’s procurements and ‘in kind’ contribution to ITER. It will also support fusion R&D initiatives through the Broader Approach Agreement signed with Japan and prepare for the construction of demonstration fusion reactors. Fusion for Energy was set in April 2007 for a period of 35 years. Its offices are located in Barcelona, Spain.

What is fusion?
When the nuclei of light atoms come together at very high temperatures, they fuse and they release enormous amounts of energy- this is the power source for our sun and stars. To produce fusion on earth, one must heat gas to around 100 million degrees Celsius in a “cage” made by strong magnetic fields which prevent gas from escaping. The development of fusion science and technology has been the basis of the European fusion program.
Further background information on the DTP2 facility:
The Divertor System is one of the most important internal components of the ITER machine. It is the only component that is allowed to contact the hot plasma and its primary function is to remove the “helium ash” and thus control the plasma purity.
The main element of the DTP2 facility is the full scale ITER Divertor mock-up, a large structure that replicates the
geometry of the lower part of ITER’s vessel and one radial port. The facility aims to test and demonstrate all the remote handling operations of the ITER divertor, providing the necessary input to the final specifications.
The DTP2 facility also offers an exclusive insight of the Cassette Multi-functional Mover (CMM) prototype running on a 20 metres long structure and weighting 65 tonnes, which will be required to transport the ITER divertor cassettes, weighting 10 tonnes, along rails until they reach ITER’s plasma chamber.
The detailed design and manufacture of the CMM prototype was carried out by the Spanish company Telstar (Tecnologia Mecanica S.L.). VTT Systems Engineering and Tampere University of Technology, both members of the Finnish fusion association Tekes, have constructed the mock-up facility to replicate a section of the ITER Divertor region. The structure comprises elements manufactured by companies in Finland (TP-Konepajat Oy) and Luxembourg (Gradel S.A.).
Scientists from Tampere University of Technology have been developing and testing the software necessary to control
the CMM while it was still being designed and constructed in Spain. This was achieved by linking the control hardware,
supplied by Procon Systems S.A., Spain, to a virtual model of the CMM.
The DTP2 operator control system is equipped with the latest virtual techniques generated through cameras and
graphical computer models that replicate the process of ITER’s remote handling system.

Mercedes-Benz Cars is developing an exciting super sports car

15_mercedes_benz_sls_amg_electric_drivesWhen you read the headline, you may not directly associate that with environment friendly news, but it is. The new Mercedes will have only four electric motors which are positioned near the wheels. That will substantially reduce the unsprung masses compared to wheel-hub motors. One transmission per axle transmits the power. This intelligent all-wheel-drive system allows dynamically optimised power transmission without any losses by means of Torque
Vectoring – in other words the specifically targeted acceleration of individual wheels. In its first pilot phase, the SLS AMG with electric drive incorporates a liquid-cooled high-voltage lithium-ion battery of modular design with an energy content of 48 kWh and a capacity of 40 Ah. The 400-volt battery is charged by means of targeted recuperation during braking whilst the car is being driven.

The purely electric drive system was factored into the equation as early as the concept phase when the new swing-wing model was being developed by Mercedes-Benz and AMG. It is ideally packaged for the integration of the high-performance, zero-emission technology: by way of example, the four electric motors and the two transmissions can be positioned near the wheels and very low down in the vehicle. The same applies to the modular high-current battery, whose modules are located in front of the firewall, in the centre tunnel and behind the seats. Advantages of this solution include the vehicle’s low centre of gravity and the balanced weight distribution – ideal conditions for optimum handling, which the electrically powered SLS AMG shares with its petrol-driven sister model.

The installation of the drive components required no changes whatsoever to the swing-wing model’s aluminium spaceframe body. And there were just as few constraints when it came to maintaining the excellent level of passive safety and high degree of long-distance comfort that are hallmarks of Mercedes cars.

The electrically powered SLS AMG sees Mercedes-Benz and AMGcontinuing to pursue their aim of minimising the amount of time it takes to bring about the electrification of the car. Their strategic involvement in Deutsche Accumotive GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between Daimler AG and Evonik Industries AG, will provide the battery technology required in future. Daimler has the leading role in this joint venture for the development and production of batteries and battery systems for automotive applications.