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MetroLinx Maps a Sustainable Air Rail Link

06/01/2011 Leave a comment

For anybody who hasn’t been following all the Big Moves being mapped out by the Ontario Governments public transit planning arm called Metrolinx, the projected Air Rail Link (ARL) is a bold initiative to finally connect Toronto’s Union Station with Pearson International Airport via a dedicated express train…All in time for the 2015 Pan American Games.

The objective behind the Air Rail Link is to ensure reliable travel times between the downtown core and the countries largest airport, while taking millions of car trips off the GTA’s already congested roadways in the process. The big challenge is to lay groundwork for a rail system that will be ‘Futureproof”, while still assuring that it can be up and running inside of the incredibly tight timeline for a project of this size.

Beyond the obvious need for re-establishing political unity and effective cost-controls at a time of enormous bureaucratic upheave in Toronto’s transit landscape (Thanks again, Rob Ford) the next biggest requirements for this project are the logistical challenges of assuring not just an environmentally responsible solution, but also a beneficial one that will set standards for clean transit systems for many decades to come…So what stands in the way of this progress?

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A Diesel Powered Future?

19/05/2010 1 comment

Spread the News!

Diesel Power was a revolution that still inspires new innovations even today.
Bridging the gap for Industry and Transportation as they seek out a sustainable Future.
Check the Green History of Diesel!

Rudolf Diesel's first Engine, 1897 - deutsches-museum.deUpon operating his first successful engine design back in 1897  Rudolph Diesel changed the world in ways that most people still don’t fully appreciate today. Especially now, as we begin the long process of moving out of the petroleum-powered era, we should pause to take lessons from visionaries like Tesla and Diesel, and consider how they harnessed natural forces and physical phenomena to revolutionize existing technologies, and enabled enormous leaps into the Future by allowing others to build upon the solid foundations that they laid. The venerable diesel engine was an innovation of the internal combustion engine that continues to be improved upon even today, with the new methods and materials that are offered by modern science.

Many of us associate diesel power with loud smelly trucks and buses, so it might come as a great surprise that Diesel technology is actually still being improved upon after all this time. In fact, in just the past few years we’re seeing a level of improvement to efficiency and emissions that are actually positioning diesel as a sustainable interim solution for our transportation needs…While other options continue to be researched for that quantum leap in technology that will slingshot both Industry and Society towards the next century. So If you’re ready to see how diesel power still holds a few tricks up it’s sleeve, then let’s start exploring, by looking at railway locomotives as our prime motivator!

BTW: If you’re curious about Rudolf Diesel’s sense of environmental and social responsibility, as it was well over a century ago…Just pop-open another window by clicking HERE for further insights.

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Hemp Diesel

17/05/2010 4 comments

A century ago, Diesel Power and Hemp Products
could have combined to side-track (eliminate?)
our dependencies on Oil and Forestry…
…Things could still come full circle!

CLICK HERE
to learn how Diesel can clean up it’s act,
and kick the big-oil habit!

In 1893, German inventor Rudolf Diesel published a paper entitled “The Theory and Construction of a Rational Heat Engine” which described a motor in which air is compressed by a piston to a very high pressure, causing a temperature spike where injected fuel is auto-ignited and efficiently burned in the expanding compression during the down-stroke. This basic concept results in a simple, safe, cool, highly efficient engine that could run on locally produced vegetable oils – and therefore level the playing field for those who otherwise couldn’t compete with the large steam-powered Industries and Shippers of the day.

Unfortunately, in the early 20th century big-banks and financiers were already exerting their powerful will, in support of their oil and forestry interests, and thus assuring the dominance of emerging petro-chemical industries. So instead of seeing how Diesel’s vision would have played out, we’ve had to wait until the combined and destructive effects of a Financial, Energy, and Environmental crisis, here the 21st century, could obviate the ideals and benefits that Rudolf Diesel had envisioned for Society, well over a century ago; when he built his first engines to be run on the same types of bio-fuels that we now have available today, and which could have cut coal and oil out of the picture from the very start.

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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.

CLICK for MORE

Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

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