Monday, 28 February 2011

Wasting Away on Standby

Switching off your VCR, TV, and other household electronics doesn't really stop the power drain—it just places the devices on standby, ready to spring to life when you touch the remote. And the amount of electricity these devices devour while napping is staggering.

Alan Meier of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that VCRs and DVD players draw 93 percent of their total power usage while inactive. Answering machines and cordless phones are worse—98 percent of their overall electricity consumption occurs while they're idle.

When Meier combined that data with patterns of typical use, he found that roughly 6 percent of residential electricity powers electronics that are turned off. Only about 4 percent is consumed while the devices are on. Other devices, such as microwave ovens and garage-door openers, drive the percentage of idle-time electricity usage even higher.

While switched off, home electrical devices consumed 71 terawatt-hours in 1999.

Friday, 25 February 2011

easyJet to coat its planes with revolutionary aerodynamic paint to cut fuel bills

Budget airline easyJet is to make its aeroplanes 'slippier' in a bid to slash its fuel bills and allow cheaper ticket prices for passengers.

It is the UK's first commercial airline to apply a ultra-thin hi-tech coating - 100 times thinner than the average human hair - which smooths out microscopic 'hills and valleys' in the paint used on a  plane's fuselage.
The super-micro technology  means the jet becomes more aerodynamic and 'slippery' and can slide more efficiently through the air, cutting costly fuel bills and giving airline bosses more leeway to cut fares, they say

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Flying start: Flybrid develops flywheel hybrid cars

Super fly: Derived from F1, flywheel systems will offer energy-efficiency benefits for road-ready hybrids. Stuart Nathan reports
A swift look around the streets will tell you that we’re in the age of the hybrid vehicle. The Toyota Prius was the vanguard, but most of the major automotive manufacturers have at least one hybrid model either on sale or about to reach the market.
These hybrids are battery electric, but that isn’t the only type of hybrid around. Hybrids, strictly speaking, are systems using more than one form of energy storage and release, and another, inspired by Formula 1, is likely to be making its marketplace debut in the next couple of years.

Flywheel hybrids are now under test by many of the automotive majors. They are a form of regenerative braking, versions of which have been available - mainly on high-end models - for some years. But while most regenerative braking systems use the energy to charge batteries or capacitors -thereby converting it from mechanical energy into chemical energy - flywheels simply shift it into another object. It is kinetic energy when it goes in, it’s stored as kinetic energy and it’s recovered as kinetic energy to make the car go faster.

’This is the key to why flywheels are an attractive prospect,’ explained Doug Cross, technical director of Flybrid, a small UK developer of automotive flywheel systems. ’We don’t have to convert the energy into another form.’ There are always efficiency losses when you convert the energy, he said; for an electrical-based regenerative system, the batteries won’t store as much energy as the car lost when it braked.

For this reason, F1 started taking a close interest in flywheels when the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) opted to allow regenerative braking systems. The kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) used in the 2009 racing season combined flywheel and battery, and with the motor-sport industry eager to see commercial returns for its developments, the shift from racing to road-ready systems is a top priority.

For Cross and his colleagues, KERS was a mixed blessing. ’We used to be employed in the Renault team’s engine-development division, but when the FIA froze engine development, we were basically out of a job. We stayed for six months developing the KERS, but after that we found ourselves in the pub with our redundancy cheques wondering what to do next.’

What was next was to start Flybrid to take the technology further, which took the team from the bosom of a big corporate enterprise to the world of the SME. ’We are not the classic 12 men in a shed,’ Cross insisted. ’There are 14 of us - and it’s a very nice, high-tech shed.’

Flybrid’s system is based around a lightweight flywheel that operates at very high rotational speeds. Its F1 pedigree is apparent in the concern for low weight, but there is a complex trade-off at work here, as the mass of the flywheel is integral to the amount of energy it can store. The lighter the wheel, the faster it needs to spin to store energy.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

The Plug-In Car Grant will require compliance with 8 eligibility criteria: (technical)

Vehicle Type: New cars only. Excludes motorcycles, quadricycles and vans.
Carbon Dioxide tailpipe emissions: Less than 75g/km.
Range: EVs minimum 70 miles, PHEVs minimum electric range 10 miles.
Minimum top speed: 60mph.

Warranty: 3 year or 60,000 miles vehicle warranty, plus, a 3 year battery and electric drive train warranty with a consumer option for a 2 year battery warranty extension.
Battery performance: Either a minimum 5 year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard OR additional evidence of battery performance to illustrate reasonable performance after 3 years of use.

Electrical Safety: Vehicles must comply with UN- ECE Reg100.00 (PHEVs will be required to show they have met the technical requirements of 01 series amendments to UN- ECE Reg 100); vehicle manufacturers will be required to identify risks associated with vehicle use and state mitigating actions.
Vehicle crash safety: European Commission whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) OR evidence that the car demonstrates appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Cautious About 'Flash In The Pan' Electric Vehicle Subsidy

A new survey together with an in-depth report on the hybrid and EV market has revealed that the £5,000 Plug In Car Grant is essential if businesses are to continue investing in low or zero emission vehicles.

As of last month (January), private and business buyers of EVs will be eligible for up to 25% off the cost of a plug-in car, limited to £5,000. However, the Government intends to review the £43m fund in 12 months time, spelling long-term uncertainty for firms looking to invest now.
A poll by Lex Autolease - the UK's largest provider of company vehicles - reveals that almost half of financial directors (47%) would not pursue their company's interest in electric vehicles, or plug-in hybrids, if the subsidy was removed.

Chris Chandler, principle consultant at Lex Autolease, says: "We've published the actual cost of ownership figures in a new guide, which clearly shows that the subsidy is vital to ensuring these vehicles are cost competitive. Without it, new EVs such as the Nissan Leaf can't compete with the likes of a diesel Golf or even the Toyota Prius on cost.
"Businesses are sending out a clear signal that their interest in electric vehicles could be seriously diminished without the subsidy. Particularly if future changes mean the numbers no longer stack up."
In contrast, business drivers say that one-off, up-front incentives are not a major turn on. Only 2% would be enticed by a discount or subsidy, whereas almost half (43%) said that low or zero company car tax would make them want to choose a plug-in hybrid or fully electric vehicle.

watch this space

Monday, 21 February 2011

Electric cars need a smarter grid

the environmental and economic benefits of these cars will be stunted if their cords don’t plug into a smarter electrical grid.
Car manufacturers are currently producing plug-in electric vehicles that are safe, affordable and fun to drive.

State and federal governments are encouraging consumer adoption of EVs through generous tax rebates.

the Obama administration has earmarked $400 million in grants to electrify the transportation sector. One goal is to get 20,000 charging stations up and running by the end of 2013.

as of yet, in the UK, you have to run and extention lead out of your garage :(

next stage is a smart electrical grid

Charging infrastructure is in early development. The novelty of a few electric cars can be absorbed by the current power system. But as more EVs appear, they could overburden the current power grid if they don’t charge at off-peak times. During peak periods – the time when most people are either getting ready for work or coming home and turning on their biggest appliances – utilities are forced to activate additional, more expensive “peaker plants” to meet demand spikes and deliver the power levels we’ve come to expect. Add in EV charging to peak periods, and it’s possible the existing grid won’t be able to handle the overwhelming demand.

With a smart grid and “time of use” pricing in place, plug-in owners will have incentive to charge car batteries during off-peak hours, when there is more power available and when power is cheaper. It’s more economical for EV drivers to recharge when the power is “on sale” during off-peak periods – as defined by “time-of-use” pricing models, which are enabled by regulation and powered by smart meters.

Smart grid-enabled electric vehicles/charging makes transportation a cleaner, smarter, more efficient part of the future energy equation.

If 10,000 petrol-powered passenger vehicles were switched to electric vehicles, more than 33,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions could be avoided annually, according to GE research.

Only then will we get the most out of an electrified transportation network.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Two atoms were walking down the street ...

Two atoms were walking down the street one day, when one of them exclaimed, "Oh no - I've lost an electron!" "Are you sure?" the other one asked. "Yes," replied the first one, "I'm positive."

Friday, 18 February 2011

How May we Help You?

Have you got any questions for us????

we know you have a choice,  and we want you to choose us!

we want to anticipate your needs, to solve problems before they start, to provide service that wows!

we want to provide great customer service

Thomas Edison's genius celebrated in Google doodle ... but spot the error

from previous Blogs you will see it was Sir Himprey Davy.....

Google doodle of Thomas Edison reminded me of a "well-I-never!" fact that could come in useful if it crops up at a pub quiz. Who invented the light bulb? It was Edison, right? That's the standard answer (admit it, that's what you thought). But it's not correct. It was Humprey Davy, though some attribute to Thomas Swann

The Wizard of Menlo Park was certainly one of the most productive and creative inventors in history. His entry on Wikipedia says that he had more than a thousand patents to his name in the US, UK, Germany and France and is "credited with numerous inventions that contributed to mass communication and, in particular, telecommunications. These included a stock ticker, a mechanical vote recorder, a battery for an electric car, electrical power, recorded music and motion pictures. His advanced work in these fields was an outgrowth of his early career as a telegraph operator."

Edison was busy doing all his prolific inventing when he came across the work of the English scientist and inventor Joseph Swan. In the 1840s, as a follow up to Day's work, Swan had started experimenting with heating things up until they glowed, thinking this might be a reliable way to produce light for illumination. It took decades of work before he finally got his patent for a carbon filament incandescent lamp, which worked by heating up the carbon until it was white hot. The glowing filament did not catch fire because it was enclosed in a partial vacuum and there wasn't enough oxygen to allow ignition.
Swan demonstrated his electric light bulb in 1879, but it wasn't very efficient. Enter Thomas Alva

Edison's marketing machine.
Edison had been working on copies of Swan's bulb, trying to improve its efficiency. He patented an electric light bulb (a copy of Swan's design) in America and began marketing and selling and getting the product into offices and homes. Swan may have invented the light bulb, but Edison can rightly lay claim to making it popular.

Subsequently – and here's where the historical error starts – Edison began telling people that he was the inventor of the light bulb. Swan did not seem too concerned, however, and just agreed to keep the rights to the invention in Britain, while Edison kept the American market.

The two eventually merged their businesses into the Edison and Swan United Company. So everyone was happy, though history got slightly rewritten in the confusion. Perhaps it's time Google dedicated a doodle to Humphry Davy.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

BMW - Active E electric car

All manufacturere now have to consider future power sources, German auto company BMW has been very diverse in realizing alternatives to petrol internal combustion engines.
BMW is introducing the ActiveE electric vehicle with some big plans.

Built on the basis of the BMW 1 Series, the BMW ActiveE concept transplants out the petrol engine components with electric hardware. a synchronous electric motor producing to equivalent of 168 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque, the BMW ActiveE electric vehicle powertrain is configured for 50:50 weight distribution. Utilizing power stored in a lithium-ion battery pack, a liquid-cooling system insuring the electrical storage supply is kept at the best operating temperature. Through special voltage considerations, the BMW ActiveE is said to take 5 hours to charge the lithium-ion battery.

The BMW ActiveE concept is actually the second approach to an electric vehicle built on the BMW 1
Driving habits of the BMW ActiveE is unique compared to other electric cars as lifting off the accelerator allows coasting with no power being drawn from the electric motor. In Eco Pro mode, the BMW ActiveE again favours efficiency with adjusting the climate control to less power.

More than a 2011 Geneva Motor Show concept vehicle, 1,000 street-going examples of the BMW ActiveE electric vehicle will be evaluated in the United States, Europe and China starting later this year.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

T8 fluorescent Saver Calculator (for businesses)



The new T8 families of lamps are ideal for meeting sophisticated lighting requirements. Thanks to their extremely long lives they have extended relamping cycles and therefore make a positive contribution to the environment.
  • Life of up to 90,000 hours
  • Available in different wattages: 18, 36 and 58 W
  • Available in Warm White, Cool White and Cool Daylight colors
  • Plus all the benefits of LUMILUX: high luminous flux, high luminous efficacy, very good lumen maintenance and excellent color rendering
See for yourself on our cost/benefit calculator. Find out which lamps from the T8 family are right for you based on your individual specifications and requirements

link to calculator -
courtest of your friendly neighbourhood -

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

John Lewis price match guarantee won't apply on many electrical items.

John Lewis has come under fire after it was revealed its price match guarantee won't apply on many electrical items.
The department store, famous for its 'Never Knowingly Undersold' policy, promises to refund customers who find an item in a rival store for less

But in September it quietly began enforcing a rule which states it will only match a price where the other company offers the same, or better, warranty. John Lewis claims to offer unbeatable warranties on most electricals.

In one reported example, a customer who paid £279 for a washing machine in John Lewis was denied a £60 refund when he saw the same product at Argos for £219 because John Lewis offered a two-year warranty compared to Argos's one year.

The Never Knowingly Undersold policy does not apply to items sold by stores that are online-only. John Lewis will only match prices where an online firm also has a physical presence.

What John Lewis says
A John Lewis spokesman says: "Our policy has not changed. Never Knowingly Undersold is our commitment not just to price, but also to quality and service.

"It is for this reason free guarantees and delivery charges are also taken into account.
"We found inconsistencies in some shops when our staff were considering an item for price match, with the like-for-like premise not always clear.

"In September, when we applied Never Knowingly Undersold to the online retail space it seemed appropriate to clarify our position."

bit naughty eh - moving the goalposts

Monday, 14 February 2011

A consumer panel to help tackle energy-related debts and disputes is to be launched this year.

Its aim will be to put pressure on energy firms to help vulnerable customers who cannot afford their bills, to resolve disagreements between suppliers and households and to ensure bills are clearer.

Consumer Focus has already committed to being part of the Fuel Forum and British Gas has indicated it's keen to be involved, while others are likely to join. The panel is expected to form later this year.
A conference, held last month, brought together the regulator Ofgem; consumer groups Consumer Focus and Citizens Advice; the Energy Ombudsman; and suppliers EDF and British Gas to kick-start the initiative.

The forum is the idea of charitable trust Zacchaeus 2000 (Z2K) which helps vulnerable debtors.
Z2K chief executive Joanna Kennedy says: "Energy companies and consumers have been adversaries for far too long.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Poundland pays out £20,000 for fire safety breaches

National retail chain Poundland Ltd has been told to pay around £20,000 in fines and costs for serious fire safety contraventions at one of its stores.

The breaches found were so severe that the outlet, on Commercial Road, Portsmouth, was evacuated immediately until they were fixed, a spokesperson for Hampshire Fire and Rescue has said

Investigators visiting the property in November 2008 found that there had been a failure to provide adequate training to a temporary store manager and that fire exits were not kept clear of storage.
The case finally went to Portsmouth Magistrates Court last Friday (4 February).
It took around two years to complete due to “interviews and discussions” taking place with the store manager and the responsible person, the spokesman said.

“This was a complex one as we had to deal with the individual store manager and his solicitor as well as the responsible person,” they said.

There were four breaches of Fire Safety Order made in total, each costing Poundland £3,250.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Who invented electricity

Nobody - Electricity was not invented.

it occurs naturally in our world. People, however, have invented ways to measure it and to control it for our use.

it was not until after that experiement that he had curly hair 
Benjamin Franklin started working with electricity in 1740's. He believed that lightning was a flow of electricity taking place in nature. He performed his famous kite experiment in 1752 which proved that electricity and lightning were the same thing.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Zap to the brain 'helps solve puzzles' - "transcranial direct current stimulation" (follow up)

Zapping the brain with an electrical current can help people solve difficult problems

Increasing activity of the right anterior temporal lobe can increase insight and inspiration
Researchers in Australia found that volunteers who received electrical stimulation of the brain's anterior temporal lobes were three times more likely to be able to figure out an unfamiliar puzzle than those who did not get a zap.

Richard Chi and Allan Snyder, from the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney said the current can provide people with a flash of inspiration under pressure.

They explained that people often find it difficult to be creative because they continue to adopt practices that have been successful before.

However, they believed that an electrical current can stimulate parts of the brain that help us solve problems and encouraging us to be more creative.

The scientists said that the use of "transcranial direct current stimulation" alters the activity of populations of brain cells, manipulating competition between the right and left sides of the brain.
They explained that inhibiting the activity of the left anterior temporal lobe can lead to thinking that is influenced less by preconceptions. Increasing activity of the right anterior temporal lobe can increase insight and inspiration.

The findings were published in the journal Plos One.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Wee - Clampdown on illegal electrical disposal

An Environment Agency crackdown on illegal electrical waste processing should serve as a warning to businesses across the UK, say recycling experts.

In a case this month the owner of Kent scrap metal haulier Scrapco Metal Recycling was ordered to pay £26,600 after pleading guilty to illegally accepting and processing electrical and metal waste.

In the prosecution brought by the Environment Agency, Ricky Hunn was fined £20,000 under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 for processing the waste without an environmental permit.

The case follows an earlier investigation by the Agency which saw four companies and 11 individuals charged over the alleged illegal export of electrical waste.

Simon Walsh, co founder of ShP Limited which recycles electricals on behalf of businesses across the UK, said: “If electrical equipment isn’t disposed of properly, the hazardous substances they contain such as mercury and lead, can have disastrous consequences for the environment. It’s only right the Environment Agency is cracking down on businesses that ignore the rules. If you’re a business with old electricals, make sure you give them to reputable recycling firms.

“If you hand goods over to firms that don’t recycle in line with the WEEE Directive, you could be liable for thousands of pounds in fines. This case shows the Environment Agency is taking the Directive very seriously and businesses in all sectors must sit up and listen.”

The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive) was introduced into UK law in January 2007. It aims to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and encourage everyone to reuse, recycle and recover it.

Scrapco was also fined £3,000 under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for failing to provide a written description of the waste and ordered to pay costs of £3,600.

Monday, 7 February 2011

Power groups fined over connection deadlines

Three power network companies have been fined a total of £1m for missing deadlines for connecting homes and businesses to the electricity system.

Ofgem, the energy industry regulator, imposed a £500,000 penalty on Scottish Hydro Electric Power Distribution, while Central Networks must pay £400,000 and Electricity North West £100,000.

All three companies have accepted Ofgem’s penalty, otherwise the fines would have been higher. The punishment is at the lower end of the scale available to the regulator. Last month, National Grid was fined £8m for exaggerating the progress it was making with replacing old gas mains. The company had referred itself to Ofgem and accepted the penalty.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

UK behind Germany in developing green opportunities

A Carbon Trust investigation reveals that three times as many top UK decision makers believe Germany is better prepared than Britain to take advantage of the £3.2 trillion global environmental market.

CEO of the Carbon Trust, Tom Delay described the consequences of inaction as _“too horrific to consider”.

He said the country could see “anaemic growth, a jobless recovery and the risk of a return to the economics of boom and bust”.
“We cannot afford to carry on as we did before,” Delay said.

The Carbon Trust survey of decision makers in top UK businesses found that while 92% believe green growth represents an opportunity for their business, only a third are actually investing money in the research and development of green products and services.

Of those surveyed, 34% believe Germany is best prepared to benefit from green growth, whereas the UK is lagging far behind - with only one in eight citing the UK as the most prepared nation.

The Carbon Trust research suggests that “leadership” is vital to any company seeking to take advantage of growth in the green economy. A third said that having a “sustainable” business plan can actually increase profits.

According to the Trust, the environmental and low carbon market is worth over £112bn a year in the UK and employs over 900,000 people. It is forecast to grow by 25% over the next four years.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

How safe is the wiring in your home?

In less time than you may think, the electrics in
your home can become damaged or worn through
general wear and tear. It’s important to get them
inspected and tested to check they’re still safe to

You should get checks done at least every ten
years. If the electrics in your property have been
checked before, a notice will usually be fixed on or
near the fuse board recommending the next
inspection date.

This might all sound dull but government statistics
show unsafe electrical installations cause more
than 750 serious accidents and 12,500 fires in
homes each year.

If you are moving home, you need to know about
the electrics in your new property. Be extra
cautious if the property is old as it runs a higher
risk of having faulty wiring. Don’t put your life or
your investment at risk; get an electrical survey on
your new home before you sign on the dotted line.
According to the Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors (RICS), property surveys that do look at
electrics only include a visual inspection of the
electrics that are on show. RICS advise clients to be
very cautious if the electrics look suspicious
because of the potentially high costs of putting
things right. You can’t see what’s behind the walls
so it’s best to get a trained electrical engineer to
inspect and test it.

An electrical survey, also known as a Periodic
Inspection, looks for possible electric shock risks
and fire hazards. The electrician will carry out tests
on wiring and fixed electrical equipment, identify
any faulty electrical work and highlight if safety
measures (such as bonding) are present in the
bathroom. After the inspection, you will be given
an electrical survey report (Periodic Inspection
Report). The report identifies the overall condition
of all the electrics, stating whether it is satisfactory
for continued use and any work which might need
to be done.

any questions?????????

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Householder - Electrical Hazards

Electrical Hazards

Electrical hazards are invisible but deadly, causing fires and electrical shocks. These hazards are easily preventable if you use an NICEIC-registered contractor to install, inspect and maintain your electrics.
Government figures estimate that each year there are around:
10 fatal and 2,000 non-fatal electric shock accidents in the home
19 fatal and 880 non-fatal shock accidents in the workplace
There are also about 12,500 electrical fires in homes across the UK each year. Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather than the electrical installation itself, a properly installed and well-maintained electrical system could save lives.

Cables, switches, socket-outlets and other equipment deteriorate with prolonged use, so they all need to be checked and necessary replacements or repairs made in good time.
Whilst it is relatively easy to make an electrical circuit work – it is far more tricky to make the circuit work safely.  To avoid the dangers that electricity can create it is essential that electrical work is carried out only by those with the correct knowledge, skill and experience in the type of electrical work to be undertaken.

The Electrical Safety Council published the results of their National Consumer Survey and found that:
  • 42% of those surveyed stated they had never had their electrics checked
  • 32% of DIYers stated they had experienced one or more electric shocks while carrying out DIY 
  • 59% of people do not use qualified electricians when carrying out electrical work 
  • 48% of those surveyed did not know that their electrics should be checked at least every 10 years
stay safe