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Autonomously Automated Automobile

04/02/2010 4 comments

The Future of highway transport could be driven on current roads,
without changing any existing infrastructure!

What if this Change started inside each car instead…

It was Jean-Paul Sartre who said;  L’enfers c’est les Autres, or “Hell is Others”.
So it seems more than just a little bit ironic to use the name “Sartre” for an automobile-guidance system that requires you to join others in a convoy, or  “train”. So leaving aside the existential quandaries of grouping cars together, let’s just look at the practical implications.

Sartre is a guidance system that creates “trains” of cars. Once cars join this train, drivers cede control of their cars to a lead driver through a combination radio telemetry, remote controls, and GPS (called ‘telemetrics’) to enable this automated form of road travel. Perhaps the philosophical tie-in offered by the “Sartre” system is that by willingly choosing to give up some of our cherished egotism and autonomy, we can become more socially aware (safer?) on the road in the process.

At the very least, it might encourage nervous or downright bad drivers to just group themselves together, and free up some time/space for those who can more effectively navigate the mildly ordered chaos of our shared roadways.

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Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

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Carbon Capture: A Solution in Stasis?

25/01/2010 2 comments

– EVENT REPORT –


Spread the News!

Worldwide adoption of Carbon Capture and Storage solutions have been delayed by an announcement at the Copenhagen Conference

The link to this News Event is no longer available at COP15.dk but it has been cached at Google!

The primary thrust of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change was to implement an accord of limiting CO2 emissions worldwide, and thus necessitate various regulatory solutions which would have required industry to either reduce their emissions, or face stiff financial consequences. This is where Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) would have liked to step in with some immediate industrial-grade solutions, presumably while the rest of us continued to consider the enormous challenges of actually reducing and eliminating our reliance on carbon emitting fossil fuels as a Society. As mentioned previously however (COP15.dk is History), the committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had discussed the issue of CCS during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, but delayed any decisions on the subject until future summits. The committee contended that some countries had concerns over the long-term viability for the storage site, including liability for any seepage. Thus the larger challenges of capturing CO2 have seemingly become stuck behind a roadblocking question of legal liability in the ‘storage’ component of this much larger process.

Deja Vu

Proponents of Nuclear Energy will no doubt see a parallel in the bitter irony of yet another Green industry being hindered by the wasted energy and by-products of bureaucratic finagling and legal wrangling over questions of waste storage…Rather than getting on with the business of refining the existing (and already adequate) processes, while continuing to develop new and improved waste management solutions, and effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions IMMEDIATELY, rather delaying movement until later, once the technical details and legal liabilities of any unforeseen accidents have been ironed out to the Nth degree. Carbon Capture Left Out in the Cold

What did Copenhagen teach us about CCS

In it’s search for an accord, Copenhagen seemed like a direct precursor to establishing and implementing Carbon Cap/Trade/Tax solutions, that would place financial burdens on all CO2 emitters, and incent the development and application of CO2 capture technologies to reduce such burden. Although the COP15.dk site is now dead in the water, there are still “selected” pages made available by the Danish Government, which may cast light on what the Conference organizers wished to present as their lasting legacy from this historic conference, or at least demonstrate where the organizers left things on the rather important subject of CCS. A search for “Carbon Capture” yields only four (yes, 4!) results on this rather critical next step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click Here, if you’d like to consider what these meagre results say about the Future of CCS from the POV of those who selectively transplanted the entire the COP15.dk site less that a month after the Copenhagen Conference closed.

CCS…Does green Energy hurt the Carbon Market?

In a short blogpost at Envirogy (derived almost entirely from Spiegel Online), we can clearly see how Green (or low emisions Renewable) Energy sources have actually hurt the price of carbon at the European Climate Exchange (and thus the cost incentives for implementing CCS), and in fact the entire system can be proven to have not reduced European carbon emmisions by a single gram!

Sitting on the Border Fences

Meanwhile, in North America, the open markets for carbon at the Chicago Climate Exchange is still awaiting the kinds of regulatory and political pressures that will kick things into a higher gear, and properly comodify Carbon in the U.S. and thus at least make select financiers, investors, and other assorted Middlemen rich in the process, if not at least repeating the lessons already being learned in Europe.

Meanwhile in the Oilpatch

Even though Copenhagen squashed any immediate hopes for Carbon Cap/Trade pricing, and delayed it’s pronouncements on teh future of CCS, searching the transplanted COP15.dk site yields a link to shipping giant Maersk’s role in bringing CO2 to oilfields in the North Atlantic, and there are examples all over the world where CO2 is pumped down into older oilwells to force out remaining oil, and maximize yield.  In fact contrary to popular belief, CO2 has already been getting stored in large quantities within used up gasfields, with the only concerns so far being in small amounts of CO2 re-escaping via carbonated water in the formations, and the possible formation of carbonic acid within any porous water areas. The fixation in carbonate minerals is playing only a minor role, so the search to chemically ‘fix’ CO2 into a more neutral and stable state will continue.

TBC…This is a work in progress

Please feel free to add to this Report Stub via the Comments Section below

Worldwide adoption of Carbon Capture and Storage solutions have been delayed by an announcement at the Copenhagen Conferenc

IR: EPA Kicks Tires on Airliners and Automobiles?

14/12/2009 Leave a comment

– IMPACT REPORT –


Spread the News!
The following potential points of Impact have been derived from :

Where’s the EPA Going with Airliners and Automobiles?

See: below for RELAYABLE remarks and info

So what will the immediate effects of this event be upon air and ground transport as we know it?

What does this mean for the Automobile, Aereonautic, and Airline industries?

Is this the kickstart they they need to start participating in building the Future? Or will the EPA simply try to entrench itself in a political imbroglio, that some right-wingers are already threatening to tie up in endless litigation?

The jury is still out on just how ecologically friendly electric cars really are, once you factor everything in like the increased production of rare and heavy metals for batteries, and the added GHG’s produced to generate that electricity needed to recharge. Surely there is no ‘electric alternative’ out there for the airline industry, which presumably has nothing but the purchase of dubious carbon credits to fall back on in order to stabilize itself in whatever turbulence will be generated from this event in a very rapidly changing climate for business and travel.

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Climate Change: Gaming the Odds

07/12/2009 1 comment

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Take a spin...

Go ahead...Take a spin...but only ONE spin

Much like the frog who will happily sit in a steadily warming pot until he boils to death, a recent survey from the Pew Research Center, finds that 3/4 of Americans think that Climate Change is an important issue, but don’t perceive it as an immediate threat. This Washington D.C based think tank tasks itself with gathering data and providing correlative info behind the issues, trends that shape attitudes in the United States and thus affect the rest of world. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, it turns out that Climate Change has ranked at the very bottom of a list of 20 issues that included Terrorism and the Economy.

The Environment rated abit better in this same 2009 report, at 16 out of 20, but also saw a 15 point decline from 2008.

Of course it stands to reason that building a better future requires a solid foundation, and it’s understandable why Americans would want to get their own household affairs in order before trying to reinvent the wheels of their economy and social fabric. But before a greater vision of the future can even begin to be shared, let alone put into motion, it seems that there are basic credibility issues to be ironed out on the subject of Climate Change.

Americans seem rather divided on the whole issue of Global warming with only 49% believing that it is the result of man-made factors and activities.

36% say warming is occurring “mostly because of natural changes in the atmosphere.” About one-in-ten (11%) say “there is no solid evidence that the earth is getting warmer.” There’s also a strong correlation between the results and respondents political ideology, with only 21% of conservative Republicans saying the earth is warming due to human activity, compared with the nearly three-quarters (74%) of liberal Democrats who see humans as a root cause of Climate Change.

Is this a cognitive disconnect caused by a partisan political outlook? Or are there other more deeply rooted Sociological or even Psychological issues at play here? Could there be a tendency for humans to cower in denial at the prospect of issues that they feel powerless to change? Or are we just incapable of grasping the big picture long enough to see alternate possibilities, and deeper causes ?

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Carbon Credits: The House Always Wins

07/12/2009 1 comment

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…Unless of course the “House” gets shut down on charges of corruption, fraud, bribery, price fixing and graft. At which point the rest of the story just recedes into fading history.

Nobody gives much thought to Enron anymore these days…

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A New Mission…

26/11/2009 Leave a comment

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