Sunday, 30 September 2012

Tesla Motors Inc

has nveiled a solar-powered charging station on Monday that it said will make refueling electric vehicles on long trips about as fast as stopping for gas and a bathroom break in a conventional car.

CEO Elon Musk said at a news conference at the company's design studio that the company's roadside Supercharger has been installed at six highway rest stops in California.

The innovation is "the answer to the three major problems that are holding back electrical vehicles, or at least people think are holding back electrical vehicles," Musk said before a curtain was lifted from a giant model of one of the devices. "One is this question of being able to drive long distances conveniently."

The free stations are designed to fully charge Tesla's new Model S sedan in about an hour, and a half-hour-long charge can produce enough energy for a 150-mile trip, he said.

The first six, which were developed and deployed in secret, are in Barstow, Hawthorne, Lebec, Coalinga, Gilroy and Folsom. Tesla spokeswoman Christina Ra said they are open only to company employees, but would be available to the public in early October.

Musk said his Palo Alto-based company planned to have more stations running throughout California and in parts of Nevada and Oregon by the end of the year, and expected to blanket "almost the entire United States" within two years.

Tesla unveiled the Model S, its first mass-market vehicle, in June. The base model costs sells for $49,900 after a federal tax credit.

Along with persuading consumers that electric vehicles are practical, the charging stations were developed with an eye toward alleviating doubts about their environmental effects. Musk said the solar-powered stations in California would produce more clean energy than is needed to keep cars running.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Half of Chinese LED chip makers predicted to go bust

Half of all LED chipmaking companies in China will go bankrupt owing to a slump in global demand and cuts in subsidies to certain manufacturers, according to a piece of research by Reuters.

Analysts say oversupply and the economic downturn has depressed prices to below production levels, meaning large numbers of small companies have already closed their businesses. Under a new government resolution to reduce subsidies, these businesses may be left with no choice but to integrate or declare bankruptcy.

Over the past three years, the Chinese government has been instrumental in providing support to Chinese LED chip companies in the form of tax breaks and free land use. It has also provided $1.6 billion of funds to companies to purchase the MOCDV (metal organic chemical vapour deposition) tools, which are necessary to make LEDs.

Due to government support, global share of the market for packaged LED components rose from 2 per cent in 2010 to 6 per cent in 2011.

But the boom years are coming to an end, with many of China’s LED chipmakers operating their factories at 50 per cent capacity. Around half of the 700 or so factories that received government help have been left idle.

Friday, 28 September 2012

Don't get a shock during electrical safety week

its now the end of Electrical Safety Week (24th to 28th September) but that doesnt mean safety stops

dont forget the national Fire Kills initiative either...

shocking national statistics show that almost half of all accidental house fires in 2011/12 were caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment.

Prevention Team Manager Warren Ellison said: “A range of electrical items are in use every day and can easily become hazards if not looked after properly. From faulty fridges and driers, to old plugs and wiring. With the forecast of cold weather, there is also the danger that sockets could be overloaded with extra appliances like portable heaters and electric blankets.

"Last year, faulty or misused electrical products caused 197 accidental house fires in Northamptonshire.  This equates to 48% of all the house fires in the county.

We can all help to make our homes safer and reduce the number of these incidents, if we all  check the electrical equipment we  use everyday and ensure it is in good shape and is used properly”

What can you do to make your home safer?

You can help keep you and your loved ones safe from fire by following these simple steps:

  1. Don’t overload plug sockets, 1 plug to 1 socket is ideal If you have to use an adaptor ensure you do not exceed the amp limit
  2. Ensure the correct rated fuse is used in both plugs and electrical consumer units.
  3. Regularly check for loose, worn or frayed wires and replace appliances that show these signs
  4. Unplug appliances when they are not in use, this will reduce your energy bills too
  5. Keep appliances clean, ensuring filters on items such as tumble dryers and vacuum cleaners are unblocked
  6. Appliances should be in good working order, an intermittent fault means something needs replacing
  7. Unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use
Consider using an RCD – Residual Current Device - which works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and reduces the risk of electrical fires
If unsure on electrical safety consultant a qualified electrician
Find further electrical safety advice a safety advice and information at:

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lithium air batteries could give EVs the range expected of a fuelled car

Jezza of of Top Gear pushed a Nissan LEAF along a road just outside Lincoln after it ran out of charge, many viewers may not have been convinced that electric cars were the future. Indeed, range anxiety is cited as one of the major barriers between electric vehicles and their widespread public adoption. Where petrol powered cars may travel for up to 500 miles before they run out of fuel, electric vehicles generally only manage 100.

Yet in the early 1900s, electric vehicles were more common than their petrol powered counterparts – and so were steam powered versions, although these allegedly took 45minutes to start. By the 1930s, electric vehicles had all but disappeared as mass production made gasoline powered cars with longer range more widely available and affordable.

However, there could soon be up to 2billion of these fossil fuel powered cars on the road. The question is: can the world sustain this number of vehicles? People want more cars, but there's a strong possibility that conventionally power cars won't be sustainable. Although Clarkson might not be convinced about the future of electric vehicles, researchers from IBM certainly are.

IBM started the Battery 500 project in 2009 to explore the science of lithium air batteries, which hold the possibility of powering an electric car for 500 miles on a single charge. The project was developed out of the Almaden Institute, a forum that brings together thinkers from academia, government, industry, research labs and the media.

Lithium air technology was chosen because the lithium ion batteries used in today's electric vehicles do not have the energy density required to give the 500 mile range that is seen to be important. Batteries in electric cars have an energy density of roughly 15Whr/kg. The Battery 500 project is looking at ten times that – 150 to 200Whr/kg, which would provide the equivalent of a 'tank of petrol.'

"We knew that, amongst all the different battery technologies, it was the only one that could guarantee the energy density that we need to solve the problem; namely, to be able to drive a car for several hundred miles with a single charge," explained Dr Alessandro Curioni, manager of the computational sciences group at IBM Research in Zurich.

Lithium air batteries 'borrow' oxygen from the air as the vehicle is being driven, creating an 'air breathing' battery. As the main component is air, the battery would also be lighter as it would eliminate the heavy metal oxides currently used. The technology could potentially create a battery 87% lighter than a lithium ion battery, with much greater energy density, thereby solving all range and even weight issues.

During discharge, or when driving, oxygen molecules from the air react with lithium ions, forming lithium oxide on a lightweight cathode. The electric energy from this reaction powers the car. When charging, the reverse reaction takes place, with the previously borrowed oxygen returned to the atmosphere and the lithium going back to the anode. Essentially, it 'inhales' while driving and 'exhales' while being charged.

Since 2009, the researchers have made several major advances. Dr Curioni said the team originally aimed to understand the chemistry of the battery and to overcome the hurdles facing rechargability and reversibility, by looking at what was happening inside the cell while also using advanced simulation models to study the reaction at the cathode. "The two efforts together were able to do two things: to understand why all the previous implementations of this battery were not working; and to identify the major factor which was hampering this rechargability and reversibility."

According to Dr Curioni, it was generally thought for many years that the biggest hindrance was with the catalyst at the cathode. "Through these combined experimental and simulation activities, we saw that one of the major problems was the stability of the solvent used in this battery."

Previously, this battery technology generally used carbonates, but the team demonstrated that the widely used propylene carbonate – which is stable elsewhere – was not suitable for lithium air batteries. The team found that lithium peroxide caused degradation of the solvent, damaging it irreversibly and leading to the production of alkyl carbonates, which hindered the recharging process.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

free electric blanket tests

TRADING Standards officers are offering free electric blanket tests to the over 60s.

East Dunbartonshire council recently received funding from the Electrical Safety Council (ESC) and are keen to find blankets that may be faulty before winter sets in.

About 1000 house fires in the UK every year are caused by faulty electric blankets, resulting in 20 deaths and 250 injuries with older people being most at risk.

Officers will collect blankets from homes between September 24 to the 28, test them and return them from October 3. For those blankets that fail the testing, Argos vouchers will be provided to help with a replacement.

Home Safety

During Electrical Fire Safety Week (24th - 30th September 2012), the government's 'Fire Kills' campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of electrical fires.
Appliance misuse is the top cause of all fires in British homes and the number has increased by over a third since 2009. Millions of people are committing basic electric safety 'blunders' in the home without realising that they are exposing themselves to the risk of fire or electric shock. These include:

  1. using the microwave as an additional surface and blocking air vents
  2. leaving the tumble dryer running unattended or overnight
  3. blocking air vents by failing to clean behind the fridge/freezer
  4. overloading adaptor sockets
  5. leaving electrical appliances on while unattended, only to be alerted by a burning smell
With a considerable increase in the number of higher risk appliances in homes over the last few years, we believe that there is a clear link between the lack of understanding about electrical dangers and the surge in 'blunder fires'.

stay safe..  

Hampshire national parks get £1 million LED makeover

A £1 million proposal to reduce carbon emissions and light pollution in two national parks has been given the go-ahead by the local council.

The project will see 3,600 conventional streetlights switched to dimmable LED lamps, provided by Urbis and WRTL, in the South Downs and the New Forest National Parks.

It is claimed that the new lights will save an estimated £24,000 in energy bills each year, depending on the cost of electricity. The new system could also prevent 138 metric tonnes of carbon emissions.
Contractors SSE have been allocated responsibility of carrying out the upgrade.

A similar scheme installed in the Southampton town of Hedge End has proved successful in controlling light distribution onto the highway.

The LED scheme will aim to install lights on residential streets as opposed to main highways. Approximately 3,600 lanterns in residential areas will be replaced, leading to savings of an estimated 257,000kWhs per annum. 

Members of the public such as Graham Bryant, chairman of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, have welcomed the new initiative. Mr Bryant, also a member of Campaign for Dark Skies, said “LED lighting is better because it is more controllable. It can be directed to light the ground whereas conventional street lamps throw a lot of light into the sky, up to 30 per cent in some cases.”

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Radical nanowires: better than silicon...

In the journal Advanced Functional Materials, a research team reports they have synthesized nanowires made from vanadium oxide and lead.

And these nanowires perform a rare trick: when exposed to an applied voltage near room temperature, the wires transform from insulators that are resistant to carrying electricity to metals that more readily conduct electricity.

Each of these two states—insulator and metal—could stand for a 0 or 1 in the binary code that computers use to encode information, or for the “on” and “off” states that the machines use to make calculations.
The ability to electrically switch these nanomaterials between the on and off state repeatedly and at faster speeds makes them useful for computing,” says study co-author Sambandamurthy Ganapathy, an associate professor of physics at the University at Buffalo.

“Silicon computing technology is running up against some fundamental road blocks, including switching speeds,” adds Sarbajit Banerjee, another co-author and an associate professor of chemistry. “The voltage-induced phase transition in the material we created provides a way to make that switch at a higher speed.”

As with other nanomaterials, the health and environmental impacts of the nanowires would have to be investigated before their widespread use, especially since they contain lead, Banerjee cautioned.

Watford street light petition

Over 5,000 residents of Watford have signed a petition to encourage Hertfordshire County Council to turn the street lights back on, after the decision was made to turn the street lights off in the town at the end of 2011.

The council decided that the street lights were to be switched off from midnight to 6am in a move to reduce the town’s carbon footprint and save the taxpayer £1 million per year.

But locals say the change will affect crime levels and overall safety and increase the risk of road accidents, adding that it did not support the schedule of shift workers and people returning home late.

The petition calls for the consideration of other alternatives to the current street lighting system, such as PIR activated sensors or more energy efficient LED solutions.

Of the 7,510 street lights in Watford, 4,400 will be turned off in phases over the next two weeks. The areas that will remain lit include accident black spots and places with high crime figures.

Monday, 24 September 2012


UK windfarms generate record amount of power4.1GW total from wind turbines is enough to light and heat more than 3m British homes

A wind farm in Kent. The 4.1GW generated by Britain's wind turbines on Friday compares with Drax, the UK's largest coal and biomass-fired power station.

Britain's windfarms broke a new record on Friday by providing over four gigawatts of power to the National Grid – enough to light and heat more than 3m British homes.

It beats a previous high of 3.8GW set in May and comes as a further 4GW of wind turbines are being installed, half on land and half offshore.

Just before 10am, wind turbines were supplying 10.8% of the total amount of electricity going into the grid while an additional 2.2GW of "green" power was going directly into local electricity networks.

"This record high shows that wind energy is providing a reliable, secure supply of clean electricity to an ever-greater number of British homes and businesses," said Maria McCaffery, chief executive at the campaign group RenewableUK. "As our wind energy capacity increases, the need to import expensive fossil fuels starts to diminish. The transition to a low-carbon economy is well under way and harnessing this bountiful, free resource will help us to drive down energy bills for all users in the long term."

Critics will point out that the 4.1GW total compares with the UK's largest coal and biomass-fired power station, Drax in North Yorkshire, which produces almost that amount of power on its own.

from the Guardian

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Different ways of doing things!!!

In Romania, firefighters go through a two-day training exercise, the emphasis is on speed.
"Speed was their first imperative, as opposed to their safety or the casualty's injuries," he said.

To his horror, the firefighters were so rushed, they almost injured their casualties – and each other.
"They would just break windows without putting any protection in for the casualties or themselves," he said. "One of them put his knife in part of a car roof to cut it and on the other side was a paramedic."

Mr Marritt is a watch commander in Humberside Fire And Rescue Service.

He also assesses firefighters in rescue challenges – competitions where teams see who can deal with a casualty most successfully.

And in the Romanian region of Brasov, he assessed firefighters in how they handled casualties trapped in simulated car crashes.

"Generally, the British are deemed to be the best in the world in terms of firefighting," Mr Marritt said.
Although he could not fault the Romanians' enthusiasm, their techniques were a long way behind what he was used to.

"They had very little concept of safe systems of working in their team approach and how to work together," he said.

"During the English challenges, I've had to tap people on the shoulder – but in Romania I had to shout and put myself as a barrier because of some of the things they were doing."

Mr Marritt said in terms of training, the firefighters were some way off Western rescue service standards.
"Their training systems are 30 years behind ours," he said.

But these old-fashioned methods were matched with cutting-edge equipment.

"The tools they were using were better than ours," he said. "The EU has quite heavily invested in the rescue capabilities in Romania. "They've had a lot of funding – unfortunately, they've got the equipment but not the training to use it."

There were 17 teams of firefighters taking part in the exercises. And the vast majority still have a long way to go.

"The casualty care was basic at best," Mr Marritt said. "Two teams were pretty good – one was a training school and one was from Bucharest."

Professional rescue teams work around the concept of the golden hour.

This should be the time between a crash happening and casualties arriving in hospital.

It gives firefighters about 20 minutes to cut people out of cars – and in England, if someone is not in immediate danger, crews take their time to avoid making the situation worse.

Almost all Romanian teams freed casualties quickly.

But, in Mr Marritt's opinion, they were too quick.

"If a casualty is stable, you take time to get them out," he said. "If they're not stable, you take shortcuts."
But the trainer believes the firemen do the best job they can.

Communist rule ended in Romania in 1989 and the fire service is still recovering from decades of neglect before that.

"Because Romania is a former Communist country, they're still in the development phase," he said. "They're an up-and-coming country and they've done a really good job of putting the infrastructure in place.
"Now they're going through the phase of putting the training in place."

The country's fire service, unlike the British one, is a military organisation.

Although Mr Marritt admired its discipline, he worried important questions were not being asked.
"The downside was that nobody would challenge the officers," he said. "Their commanders would always get involved in all the activities but they would not monitor safety.

"Their generals tell them they have to get hands-on and nobody questions them."
The fire service also suffers from a lack of training buildings.

"Their national training centre was an old Soviet building with gun towers round it," Mr Marritt said.
"Because the country is a developing country, they've got a long, long way to go. But the whole country is on the way up."

Romanian firefighters earn 300 euros a month – around £240.

"To be fair, there's money in the country but a lot of poverty as well," the trainer said. "They're not on a particularly good wage for Romania."

He has no illusions about how far the firefighters he trained still have to go.

But Mr Marritt feels his exercise has helped to set them on the right road.

"It was quite a humbling experience," he said. "I actually feel as though we've set the foundations that need to be built on. It's going to be a ten or 15-year programme."

But he hopes slow and steady will win the race.

Supermarkets 350% pricier than online

A new survey claims there are savings of more than 350% online when compared to supermarket prices. A range of online products - from DVDs to electrical goods - were compared with prices bricks-and-mortar supermarkets and stores typically charge UK consumers. and Amazon came out strongly overall. But    Sainsbury's, Comet and Argos disappointed.

Supermarket rip-off?

For example, Blu-ray High School Musical 3: Senior Year cost £2.99 on website but    Sainsbury's charges £14 – more than 350% per cent higher. White goods are cheaper online too. A Hotpoint double electric cooker offered for £364 at website cost £500 at Argos, £136 pricier.
A Zanussi dishwasher cost £330 at a Comet store but the survey, conducted by TalkTalk and researchers at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, found the same model - a ZDF2020 - could be had for £237 at website

"In clothing," said the survey, "a Nike Golf Tech Swoosh cap can set you back £11.99 at one high street retailer but is a snip at just £5.30 online. In beauty and cosmetics a pack of Garnier Skin Naturals Simply Essential Facial Cleansing Wipes costs £2.99 at one well-known pharmacy but for just £1.80 online."

Not representative - Sainsbury's

However players like    Sainsbury's argue such surveys are a snap-shot, and not representative of their pricing across the board. "We sell a wide variety of entertainment products," said press spokesperson Tom Parker, "and are committed to offering our customers great value. We also ensure our customers get great deals on the big releases."

Parker said that the film Hop on DVD is £3 at Sainsbury's but £4.81 at Play. "Also The Vow DVD + Ultraviolet is £5 at Sainsbury's whereas it is £7.99 at Play," Parker said.

looks like a few more google searches!!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Electronics waste laws tightened

THE Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Directive imposes obligations on producers and distributors of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to take financial responsibility for the environmental impact of EEE placed on the market.

Recently, the EU has recast WEEE legislation over concerns recycling is not sufficient. Around one third of EEE is collected and treated, with much of the remainder ending up in landfills or sub-standard treatment sites outside the EU.

If WEEE is not treated safely it can pose environmental and health risks. Readers may recall Press coverage highlighting problems with EEE being exported to Africa, India and China and ending up in locations where no facilities exist for safe recycling. Local people, including young children, work to obtain metals of value while exposing themselves to hazardous substances present in much EEE. A key aim of the recast directive is to tighten the regulation of shipment and treatment of WEEE in non-EU countries so that the burden of proof is on exporters to demonstrate goods are being shipped for repair or reuse.

The most significant change is new recycling targets. From 2016, the minimum recycling collection rate will be 45% of the average amount of EEE placed on a member state’s market in the preceding three years. From 2019, this target rises to 65%.

At present, the UK only officially collects about 32%. However, industry is optimistic that the targets can be met as a great deal of WEEE falls outside the system – for example, large items ending up as scrap metal and other products which are re-used through informal second hand sales, such as those on eBay.

Osram turns Oktoberfest green with LED

LED producer Osram has updated one of Oktoberfest’s most historic sites, the Hippodrom, by replacing the tent’s incandescent bulbs with 550 energy-efficient LED lamps.

The Hippodrom, despite being one of Frankfurt’s smaller tents, is amongst the most popular in Oktoberfest – the world’s largest fair of any type. The tent, which celebrates its 110th anniversary this year, is frequented by many celebrities (and Boris Becker) throughout the event which runs from 22nd September to 7th October.

It is claimed that the refitting should save around 1.2 tons in CO2 emissions, by reducing the individual wattage of each lamp from 25 watts to 5 watts. For those concerned about the potential loss of the tent’s cozy atmosphere, Osram have provided warm-white LED lamps which should create a welcoming ambient light. 

Friday, 21 September 2012

safe battery technology

German research into safe battery technology for electric vehicles

Over the next three years, 15 partners from German science and the automotive and supply industry will research how the safety of lithium ion batteries can be further improved for electric and hybrid vehicles.
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Infineon heads business and research collaboration

A focal part of the research will be new materials, test methods and semiconductor sensors for use in lithium ion batteries. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this research work in order to further develop Germany’s top position as a center for industry, science and technology, and to accelerate the shift to more climate-friendly and cost-effective mobility.

The German government has also elected SafeBatt as one of nine “lighthouse projects” of Germany’s National Electric Mobility Platform (NPE). SafeBatt stands for “active and passive measures for intrinsically safe lithium ion batteries”.

Quality and safety are top priorities for the German automotive industry and are what distinguish Germany in the global marketplace. Quality and safety aspects are also to be ensured in the area of lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles. The SafeBatt project will play an important role in this respect.

The SafeBatt partners will investigate among other things how the cell chemistry can be optimized to increase the (intrinsic) safety of lithium ion battery cells; in particular that of the cathode material and the electrolytes.

In addition, research will be done into totally new semiconductor sensors made of material never previously used in this area, such as graphene, in order to record the relevant safety parameters of the battery cell. This includes for example chemical processes, the increase in pressure and the temperature cycles inside the cell.

Another objective of the research is a “digital battery pass”, which continuously records, evaluates and stores safety-related battery parameters during the battery’s operational life. The SafeBatt team also wants to develop new safety models for battery cells, which ascertain the correct operating status of the battery and at the same time take into consideration all possible extreme situations.

Such extreme situations include for instance the complete discharge of the battery in low temperatures or an excessive rise in operating temperature at the height of the summer, for example when the battery temperature control fails. In addition, SafeBatt experts want to optimize and standardize the test procedure for the product approval of batteries, since the test procedure used at the moment does not cover all conceivable extreme situations.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Princes Gate, High Wycombe Grand Union

GUHG to start flagship development

Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) has announced it is starting work on a multi-million pound flagship development which will become home to adults with learning disabilities.

The Princes Gate development in High Wycombe, which is expected to take around a year to build, will provide new homes for 14 people, with on-site support.

MacIntyre Housing Association, a subsidiary of GUHG, is working in partnership with Buckinghamshire County Council on Project Abode to replace the older, outdated and often unsuitable accommodation that these adults have previously been living in.

The total amount that this scheme is expected to cost is just under £3 million.

Phil Mitchinson, the Group’s Director of Corporate Development, said: “We are so pleased to see work get underway for the development of Princes Gate. It’s been a long time coming but we’re delighted to be able to start the work now.”

Aileen Evans, Managing Director of MacIntyre, added: “The site will provide vital homes for extraordinary members of the community who have long since needed updated accommodation. We can’t wait to get started.”

GUHG is working with contractor Bramall Construction, part of Keepmoat Ltd, on the site that is to be newly named Grove Gardens.

Another twist in Elec car debate - equality

UP MP's asy electric car money benefiting 'handful of motorists'

A network of more than 1,600 public charging points has been set up
Government spending of £11m to encourage people to drive electric cars has benefited only a "handful of motorists", MPs have said.

They also warned the scheme was being used to subsidise second cars for more affluent households.
In a report, the Transport Select Committee questioned whether this represented a good use of public money.

The government offers grants of up to £5,000 towards the cost of plug-in cars in a bid to reduce carbon emissions.

And a network of more than 1,600 public charging points has been set up across the country to encourage drivers to switch.

Chair of the cross-party committee, Louise Ellman MP said: "The government must do more to show that its plug-in vehicle strategy is a good use of public money.

"Carbon emissions from transport must be reduced if the UK is to meet its climate change targets, but public money must be targeted on effective policies.

"So far, Department for Transport expenditure on plug-in cars - some £11m - has benefited just a handful of motorists.

"We were warned of the risk that the government is subsidising second cars for affluent households; currently plug-in cars are mostly being purchased as second cars for town driving."

The committee said it was unclear whether the government scheme, which was part of the coalition agreement, actually encouraged demand for plug-in cars.

The government had said it expects there to be tens of thousands of these cars on Britain's roads by 2015, with the number reaching six figures by 2020.

But the committee found that following the introduction of the grants in January 2011 only 1,052 eligible cars had been registered - up from 111 in 2010.

Ms Ellman said: "Ministers should not sit back and hope that the Government's policy on plug-in cars will reduce transport carbon emissions.

"Far more work is required to ensure that this programme is a good use of public funds."
In future, the government should set targets for the number of electric cars they expect to see on the roads and establish a national registry of vehicle charge points, the committee said.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Pug Vans

Peugeot is unveiling an electric version of its Partner small van at this month’s Hannover Commercial Vehicle Show.

With this vehicle Peugeot says businesses will be able to more effectively serve the increasing numbers of low-emissions zones appearing in cities.

The Electric is based on the normal Partner, but with an electric drivetrain fitted under the bonnet.
Two high-energy lithium-ion battery packs with a capacity of 22.5kW/h are installed under the van on either side of the rear axle, which the designers say preserves both the Partner’s road handling and useable load space.

The electric motor is of 49kW, equating to 67bhp, and offers a 148lbft torque figure, instantly available from first acceleration.

A single-speed gear reduction unit is fitted, producing a constant acceleration with no gear shifts, and carried out with the lack of sound that is a characteristic of electric vehicles.

There are two battery charging modes – a normal charge (up to 16A) in six to nine hours and a fast charge (up to 125A) to 80 per cent battery capacity in only 30 minutes.

The normal charging flap is located on the right hand front wing of the vehicle, while the fast charge socket takes the place of the fuel filler flap on the left hand rear wing.

Peugeot quotes a range of 105 miles on the European cycle (NEDC), which is highly competitive with rival electric vehicles.

Other features include an energy consumption/recovery indicator on the dash, helping the driver adopt an economical driving style. A gauge also shows the amount of energy used by the heating and air conditioning systems while the trip computer displays the remaining range.

The electric heating system is designed to rapidly warm the cabin and has an ‘eco mode’ that maintains ventilation without using excessive electrical power, improving the range.

Further help comes from a kinetic energy recovery system that works during deceleration and braking.
The Partner Electric will be offered in the same two load lengths as its traditionally-propelled sister and is likely to be available in the UK in early 2013.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Here comes the sun!!

another informative arcical from the Guardian...

Solar cells have been around since the 19th century – but it is only in the last 10 years that solar power has become commercially feasible for all

We've known how to turn sunlight into electricity for a long time. The photovoltaic (PV) effect – the creation of electric current in a material when it is exposed to light – was first observed way back in 1839 by French physicist AE Bequerel.

In 1888, Russian Aleksandr Stoletov created the first solar cell to reliably generate electricity through the PV effect. By 1900, several scientists held patents for solar cells. But progress from there was slow. In the 50s, modern solar cells were introduced, but they were only used for specialist applications such as satellites.

The huge impact of the oil crisis in the early 70s – when many oil-producing nations united to reduce supply and push up prices – awoke a new fascination with renewable energies. By 1979, the US president Jimmy Carter had famously put solar panels on the White House (and equally famously, Ronald Reagan took them off again).

Solar PV development, like other areas of renewable energy, slowed during the 80s as oil prices fell. All the same, by 1999, total worldwide installed PV power had passed 1,000MW, enough for about 750,000 homes. And in the 21st century, as we seriously begin to grapple with the problem of decarbonising our energy supplies, researchers have concentrated on how to build cheap PV panels for the mass market. Progress has been huge.

Politicians have done their part by offering incentives, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger's 2006 million solar roofs initiative when he was California governor. In Germany, the government put a feed-in tariff in place to boost the solar industry, and in May this year the country created a new world record, with PV supplying a third of the country's peak electrical needs. China plays an ever larger role in solar power, with two of the world's three largest PV companies. By 2016, some believe that China could have over 35,000MW installed domestically.

Meanwhile, immense solar PV farms are being constructed: Gujurat Solar Park in India, for example, has a combined capacity of 689MW, while in Arizona the Agua Caliente Solar Project has a capacity of 200MW.

The implications are enormous. Over the last decade, the cost of PV has dropped, meaning we can really begin to contemplate a decarbonised future and embrace the most limitless energy source of them all until the sun explodes and wipes us all out.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

as good as it gets

Electric-car technology is improving rapidly, he said, while internal-combustion engines are as good as they're ever going to get.

Lutz, developer of the Chevy Volt, was in town for a conference at Seattle Center on Friday called "Beyond Oil" an event that showcases green and high-tech transportation advances. Sponsored by local think-tank Cascadia Center, the city of Seattle, VIA Motors and others, the conference drew transportation execs, state officials and electric-car enthusiasts.

They showed off or peered inside an assortment of energy-efficient vehicles on display everything from plug-in Nissan Leafs to an aerodynamic Viking X car built by students at Western Washington University, and something called a Firefly, for use by parking enforcers and security patrols.

For now, electric cars remain a niche market, with price being a huge factor typically $35,000 to $40,000 for a basic passenger car.

Lutz guessed that unless electric cars can be priced as cheaply as gasoline-powered cars, only about 5 percent of the public will pay extra for green cars.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

What did the Nuclear Physicist have for lunch?

A: Fission Chips.

ha ha, we always have Fission Friday :)

Nintendo Wii U games console to be released in November

Nintendo said it would launch its Wii U games console on 18 November in the US, 30 November in Europe, and 8 December in Japan.

There will be two versions - a basic edition and a deluxe set, which has more storage and associated kit.
Nintendo's stock has fallen 29% since March.

Investors fear casual gamers will instead opt for tablet computers while hardcore players will wait for a new PlayStation or Xbox.

In the US the cheaper model, which features 8GB of storage, will sell for $300 (£186). It does not include an infrared sensor bar or nunchuck controller. Customers who did not buy these along with the original edition of the Wii will have to purchase them separately.

The premium edition costs $350 (£217), has 32GB of storage, a sensor bar and the firm's new Nintendo Land game.

Nintendo said the prices would vary from country to country in Europe, but did not provide details for the UK at this time.

Both versions include a touchscreen GamePad, but users wanting a second controller face an extra cost - the figure given for Japan was 13,400 yen ($173; £107).

The device features a touchscreen offering players to ability to carry out in-game tasks, such as checking their inventory or setting an explosive, while the main action continues on their television. Gamers can also continue to play a title using the device when they do not have access to their main screen.

Nintendo has claimed it would help "revolutionise" gaming.

However, the gadget has been criticised for lacking multitouch - the ability to recognise different fingers on a hand.

The Wii U can be controlled by a new touchscreen game pad that can also run games on its own It also faces a challenge from both Sony and Microsoft who have introduced similar facilities for their existing consoles: the PlayStation 3 can be controlled by the firm's Vita handheld, while the Xbox 360 can be connected to existing tablet computers via software called SmartGlass.

Nintendo's president, Satoru Iwata, highlighted the fact that the Wii U would launch alongside New Super Mario Bros U - the first time a title in the series's release date had coincided with a new console in 16 years.

One games journalist said the relatively low price of the equipment could help its chances.
"We were all expecting a price point around the £250 mark so it's good that they've gone for this - it will help," Keza MacDonald, UK games editor at IGN, told the BBC.

"Most people expect that the new Xbox and PlayStation will be released at the end of next year and will cost more - so some people may prefer to save up.

"But many of the consumers that Nintendo is targeting may not be actually be the same audience as for those Microsoft and Sony's machines - so the issue is whether it can convince the casual, family gamers who bought the original Wii, to upgrade."

US and Canadian owners will also be given access to a new service called TVii allowing them to watch movies and television shows via Amazon Video, Hulu and other products. There was no mention made of plans to launch this in Europe.

roll on the end of November...

Friday, 14 September 2012


Business iPad users beware. Your halcyon days of loading whatever the heck you want onto your tablet may be coming to an end.

Apple is set to introduce a couple of new features that will give corporate IT new ways to lock down the iOS 6 operating system, which powers the iPad and the iPhone, according to Zenprise, a mobile device management company that was briefed on the features by Apple.

When Apple releases iOS 6 next Wednesday, it will include “several powerful enterprise features that enhance the ease with which CIOs & IT departments can put mobile to work,” Zenprise said in a blog post.

For Fruit Ninja, Skype, or Angry Birds lovers, the most important feature may be something called App Lock. It lets corporate IT lock down the iPhone or iPad so that it runs just one predetermined application and new software cannot be installed by the user.

That will pave the way for a new generation of iPads that will work more like cash registers than tablets. “For example, if a retailer wants to use iPads to enhance the customer in-store experience, the iOS 6 app lock-out feature makes it so that the only app on the device will be the one for the job at hand,” Zenprise said in an e-mail message.

Apple didn’t respond to messages seeking comment for this story, so we don’t know if the company is already using the software to lock down iPads at One Infinite Loop.

Apple has a bit of a twisted relationship with corporate customers. Clearly, the company likes the fact that lots and lots of people are buying iPads and bringing them to work. During the iPhone 5 launch Wednesday, Tim Cook demoed custom apps written by companies like GE Capital, the Mayo Clinic, and Ducati, while bragging that 94 percent of the Fortune 500 are using, or at least testing out, iPads.

But first and foremost, Apple considers itself a consumer product company. Under Steve Jobs, the appeal to corporate types was definitely considered uncool.

But Tim Cook — who spent more than a decade at IBM before he signed on at Apple in the late 1990s — seems to be a bit more business-friendly, says Van Baker, an analyst with the Gartner research firm.

Under the radar, Apple runs programs to make its hardware more appealing to corporate users. Last year, we profiled Apple’s stealth efforts to sell iPads to hospitals. And in July, the company’s security team made its first-ever public appearance at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, where a manager named Dallas De Atley bored the audience with a dry technical presentation on the security of iOS.

In March, Apple quietly slipped out new configuration management software that lets corporate types set up their own custom software builds for the iPhone or iPad and then configure 30 machines at a time.
Corporate types love that stuff, and Apple knows it, Baker says. “They realize that an awful lot of these devices are going into the enterprise and if they can at least be somewhat accommodating to the enterprise — if they can give them enough controls — that’s going to pave the way toward installing a heck of a lot of devices,” he says.

hundreds of miles between charges

If you believe Bob Lutz, one of the car industry's best-known executives, come midcentury we'll all be driving around in lightweight electric cars that can go hundreds of miles between charges. let hope, for the sake of the planet...

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Campaigner targets wasteful street lighting in Sheffield

A lorry driver in Sheffield has started an on line campaign against street lights left burning throughout the day.

Sheffield resident Sylwester Zwierzynski captured photos of street lights left on throughout the town, of which he claims there are hundreds. He explained to the Sheffield Star, “We are always hearing stories about council cuts. But there are hundreds of lights around the city burning night and day.”

His website, geared at the polish community in Sheffield, now plays host to a campaign calling on the authorities to resolve the problem.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet member for finance, explained to the Star, “When lights are on 24 hours a day, it is often to test the circuit if there is a fault, and the electricity supplier picks up the bill rather than the council.”

He admitted, “There is an issue in terms of pollution but street lights are being replaced around the city under the £2 billion Streets Ahead project, which will see LED street lights installed using 60 per cent less electricity.”

I personally was driving down the M1 last week, all the streetlights was on at midday..

sort it out!

Tesla talk

Tesla is drawing plans to produce a smaller crossover SUV that will compete against the BMW X3, as well as a new sports car to succeed the discontinued Tesla Roadster, according to founder Elon Musk.

The new designs, planned for 2016, will bring to five the total number of models produced by the Silicon Valley electric car maker. They will join the current Model S sedan, the already announced Model X crossover, and a planned entry-level sedan that Musk says will launch in 2015 at a price tag of around $30,000.

Musk shared few details about the new models, but said they were needed to reach the economy of scale necessary to turn a profit from Tesla’s new vehicle architecture. He tells Wired that the small crossover and the sports car are planned for launch at the same time — after the unnamed entry-level sedan. “We’ll do the X3 equivalent [crossover] and then a Roadster follow-up in parallel,” says Musk.

Musk wouldn’t say whether the small crossover will feature the innovative, dual-hinged gull-wing doors of the Model

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Nikola Tesla: The patron saint of geeks?

loved this story from the BBC

Fans have rallied to buy the lab of inventor and electricity pioneer Nikola Tesla to turn it into a museum. But why do so few people appreciate the importance of Tesla's work?

Lots of people don't know who Nikola Tesla was. Some people think he was a she

He's less famous than Einstein. He's less famous than Leonardo. He's arguably less famous than Stephen Hawking.

Most gallingly for his fans, he's considerably less famous than his arch-rival Thomas Edison.
But his work helped deliver the power for the device on which you are reading this. His invention of the induction motor that would work with alternating current (AC) was a milestone in modern electrical systems.

Mark Twain, whom he later befriended, described his invention as "the most valuable patent since the telephone".

 Nikola Tesla was increasingly eccentric in his later years

Tesla was on the winning side in the War of the Currents - the battle between George Westinghouse and Thomas Edison to establish whether AC or direct current (DC) would be used for electricity transmission. But as far as posterity goes, time has not been kind to Tesla.

Born in what is now Croatia to Serbian parents, he moved to New York in 1884 and developed radio controlled vehicles, wireless energy and the first hydro-electric plant at Niagara Falls. But he was an eccentric. He believed celibacy spurred on the brain, thought he had communicated with extraterrestrials, and fell in love with a pigeon.

Over recent decades he has drifted into relative obscurity, while Edison is lauded as one of the world's greatest inventors.

But his memory is kept alive by legions of "geeks" and science historians. A Tesla museum on the site of his former laboratory is being planned after a crowdfunding project orchestrated by The Oatmeal cartoon site. It raised more than its target of $850,000 - which will be matched by the New York state authorities - in the first week. The total is now well over $1m.

Quirky fan tributes to Tesla have sprung up online.
 David Bowie played Nikola Tesla in 2006 film The Prestige
A possible biopic starring Christian Bale and directed by Mike Newell is doing the rounds of the Hollywood rumour mill.

Continue reading the main story AC/DCDC (direct current) electricity - current flowing in only one direction. Batteries and solar cells supply DC electricity AC (alternating current) electricity - current which constantly changes direction. Mains electricity is an AC supply AC is typically converted into DC at the point of the device being poweredA string of different people were involved in pioneering ACGalileo Ferraris is thought to have independently invented the induction motorDC and AC electricity (GCSE Bitesize)Watch Jim al-Khalili demonstrate Tesla's coil and pass electricity across his body

The crowdfunding idea was the brainchild of Matthew Inman, the cartoonist behind The Oatmeal. Inman heard of the museum appeal and decided to help. Tesla is a hero, he argues who "drop-kicked humanity into a second industrial revolution".

His triumph was his work on systems for AC.

Edison's DC worked well for lighting but could not be used to transmit electricity for long distances.
AC was backed by the Westinghouse Corporation. Its voltage could be stepped up and down easily so it could be transported over long distances at high voltage, using a lower current and therefore losing less energy in transit.

The stumbling block for AC had been motors. But Tesla's design for an induction motor and transformer cleared the way.

 Thomas Edison tried to discredit Tesla's rival technology

It's enough to justify a fair measure of adulation, says Inman.

"It's his absolute commitment to being a geek. He's more like Steve Wozniak than Steve Jobs. He's this insane mega genius."

Despite Tesla's lack of popular culture presence, the War of the Currents reads like the stuff of Hollywood film.

Edison tried to discredit the rival technology as dangerous. He organised public electrocutions of animals - including an elephant - and secretly funded the development of the first electric chair, which he believed showed the dangers of AC.

The publicity campaign was not enough to overcome the clear advantages of AC.

Long-distance powerline systems like the UK's National Grid, transmitting electricity at 400,000 volts, are a testament to Tesla and his fellow AC advocates.

Tesla and Edison were very different types of genius, says Marc Grenther, chief curator of the Henry Ford Museum in Michigan.

Tesla liked to conceptualise and work things out in his head. He cared more about the idea than its practical exploitation.

Edison started with the commercial potential and would repetitively test things out with physical investigation.

"Tesla was more cerebral. It was like he inhabited the world of philosophy," Grenther says. "Edison was more hands on, it was seat of the pants stuff."

If they were both greats, why is it that Edison's reputation has grown while Tesla's has fallen away?
How we remember scientists isn't always fair, suggests Sir John Pendry, professor of physics at Imperial College London.

Sir Joseph Swann invented a lightbulb in Newcastle at the same time that Edison made his key invention in New York. But it is Edison who gets the credit.

Continue reading the main story Local heroSerbia's main Belgrade airport re-named Nikola Tesla International Airport in 2006, the 150th anniversary of Tesla's birthTesla memorial complex, including museum inside his restored childhood home, opened in Smiljan village, Croatia, in 2006Power plant complex TPP Nikola Tesla about 24 miles (40km) from Belgrade

It is not enough to have ideas, says Will Stewart, fellow of the Royal Institution of Engineering and Technology. "As an engineer you have to understand what is practical. The hard thing is whether it can be done with the technology you can get your hands on."

Tesla was "brilliant" but would relentlessly pursue an idea like wireless energy transfer, even when it appeared unachievable to others. Edison on the other hand was a forceful character who could win people over and turn ideas into a product.

"It's the nature of history that a few people get credited or debited with everything," Stewart adds.
Today it's Albert Einstein not Hendrik Lorentz who is best known, even though some science historians see Einstein as having essentially tied up a series of threads Lorentz had first worked on.

There's also the intangibility of what Tesla did, says Grenther.

Edison's lightbulb, the mass market car developed by Ford, or the computing products of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were things people could touch or see.

Tesla has a unit of measurement for magnetic field named after him. He is celebrated in Croatia and Serbia, where a power plant is named after him. Science "geeks" worship him. He has a rock band and a crater on the moon named after him. His is the classic cult following.

He died a penniless recluse in Suite 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel. The mainstream cultural fame of an Einstein or an Edison still eludes him.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

electric car that charges as quickly

The race to make an electric car that charges as quickly as a petrol

If stopping for petrol took five or six hours, would you rethink that road trip?

When it comes to electric vehicles, topping up the "tank" does indeed take a long time, one of the primary barriers to more widespread adoption of EVs.

So it is no surprise that there is an aggressive push to improve batteries and charging infrastructure, with a goal of making a stop for a recharge no different than a stop for petrol.

pushing a lot of power into a little battery in a short time presents daunting technical challenges. Standard lithium-ion batteries simply aren't optimized to receive a charge quickly; the car, the plug, and even the wiring would likely need to be revamped in order to enable substantially faster power flow. And there are serious questions about whether the power grid is sufficiently robust to allow massive hits from thousands — or millions — of rapidly charging EVs.

Still, a wide range of companies — from major EV players like General Motors and Nissan to smaller battery manufacturers like Envia, PolyPlus, and A123 Systems — are all pursuing a durable, rapidly rechargeable battery. This means developing higher energy densities, smaller batteries, and — to reduce charging times — lowering internal resistance to ion flow. All these innovations must be achieved while reducing the chances of catastrophic failure, such as the battery catching fire, and keeping down the costs of manufacturing.

Paul Braun, who works on battery materials at the University of Illinois, said a car cruising down the road uses about the same power as 100 hundred-watt light bulbs. Charging rapidly would mean moving the power through the battery 20 times faster than it discharges — a major slug of power "many times what is supplied to your house," Braun said.

Still, progress is being made, and many think rapid charging is coming within 5 to 10 years. Such improvements are sorely needed: Adoption of lower-emissions electric vehicles has been slow, and President Obama's goal of having 1 million EVs on the road by 2015 may seem overly optimistic at this point.

The longest range EVs on the market now, such as the recently released Tesla Model S, can go up to 300 miles on a single charge, but still cost more than $70,000. The Nissan LEAF, which costs about $30,000, can travel less than 100 miles on a single charge, and the slightly more expensive Ford Focus Electric can travel a similar distance. Tesla's Model S will yield about 60 miles of range per hour of charging with the best home plug-in systems, and even the LEAF's smaller battery takes around an hour to charge.
"Part of the drive for the [Chevy] Volt, or even for the [Toyota] Prius, was to minimize changes in consumer behavior," says Dane Boysen, a program director at the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). "You can buy a Prius and not change your behavior at all." (The Volt and Prius are hybrid vehicles, sometimes running on electricity and sometimes on gasoline.) But at this point, all-electric vehicles still require significant changes in consumer habits.

So what are the main barriers to reducing charge times?

"One of the key challenges is that the batteries have an internal resistance to flow," Braun says. Lithium-ion batteries are charged by moving charged particles from a cathode to an anode; pushing those ions into the anode takes time, and forcing them in faster heats up the battery and causes efficiency losses. And if you push too hard, lithium ions may build up in metallic form on the surface of the anode, a phenomenon known as plating, which can drastically shorten a battery's lifespan. Even without plating, the effects of rapid charging might drop a battery's life from thousands of cycles down into the hundreds.

"In a conventional battery, the pathways for the ion are very random and not always well connected," Braun says. "That increases the internal resistance." His group and others are working on ways to create highly structured internal battery architectures that allow for substantially faster electron and ion transport. Their technology has been licensed by a company called Xerion Advanced Battery Corp.

Gleb Yushin, a materials scientist at the Georgia Institute of Technology, says improving the design of the anode part of the battery, which is most commonly made out of graphite, is an active area of research for both increasing speeds and reducing plating issues. Smaller particles of graphite would enable a faster charge by allowing the ions to move in and out more easily, but small particles also mean lower capacity. Yushin says his lab and many others are trying to make anodes out of materials like silicon and tin that ideally would avoid plating when charged rapidly and would also increase energy density of the batteries.
Others are taking more radical looks at lithium-ion design. Prieto Battery, spun out of research at Colorado State University, uses copper nanowires as the anode and separates them from a cathode array with a polymer rather than the standard liquid electrolyte separator. The three-dimensional structure created by the tiny wires makes the distance a lithium ion must travel much shorter.

These approaches could yield a dramatic cut in charge time. Instead of one mile per minute, Braun says there is a reasonable goal of getting between 10 and 50 miles of driving range per minute of charge. At that pace, even a large battery could top up a 300-mile range in less than 10 minutes.

Braun says that in the lab, at least, very rapid charging is already here. In a paper published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology in 2011, Braun's group reported achieving a charging rate that would yield a 90 percent full battery in only two minutes, using a three-dimensional nanoarchitecture. Prieto's designs, meanwhile, could theoretically yield a 400-mile-range battery that could charge in only 10 to 20 minutes. The company thinks it can commercialize its battery within the next year; Braun says that 30 miles per minute of charge is coming within the next two to five years.

source - the Guardian

Electric car UK speed record bid at Elvington Airfield

A battery-powered car will attempt to beat the UK land-speed record for electric vehicles later this month.
Nemesis, a heavily-modified Lotus Exige body, will be driven by estate agent Nick Ponting, 21, from Gloucester.

Dale Vince said he had built the car to "smash the stereotype of electric cars as something Noddy would drive - slow, boring, not cool".

The record attempt is due to be made at Elvington Airfield, near York, on 27 September.
Nemesis was designed and built in under two years by a team of British motorsport engineers in Norfolk.
Mild whiplash

It can travel from 100-150 miles between charges, depending on driving style, and can be charged from empty in about 30 minutes using a rapid-charger.

The team believes theoretically the motors are capable of about 200mph but "real world" constraints like aerodynamic lift have to be addressed before the attempt.

Mr Vince, who runs the electricity company Ecotricity, said he was quietly confident the team would break the record.

The current record of 137mph (220km/h) was set by Don Wales, from Addlestone, Surrey, in 2000.
A separate attempt to beat the record last August was thwarted after the vehicle's suspension was damaged by a pothole.

The Bluebird Electric was being driven along Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire by Mr Wales's son Joe, who suffered mild whiplash as a result.

Frankenstein's dream

Frankenstein's dream brought to life as scientists say electricity could be used to regrow limbs

Experiments with echoes of Frankenstein suggest electricity could one day be used to regenerate tissue and regrow lost limbs.

Scientists believe electric currents and fields hold the key to major advances in tissue engineering.
In the distant future they may even help people with severed limbs, such as victims of industrial accidents or soldiers, to grow new arms and legs.

Electrical stimulus has already shown some success in stimulating sensory nerve regrowth in people with damaged spinal cords.

There is also evidence that bio-electric fields play a role in regenerating lost fingertips, especially in children.
But the importance of electricity in wound healing and tissue repair has been largely overlooked because of its association with Victorian quackery and Frankenstein, according to Dr Ann Rajnicek.

'Electricity is key; its something that has been under-appreciated,' she said. 'But people still think of Frankenstein and the Victorian age. Even when you try to sell the idea to a research funding agency, they say 'oh no, I'm not sure about that'.'

Monday, 10 September 2012

plans to cut thousands of health and safety inspections

Hundreds of thousands of businesses are to be exempted from health and safety inspections under moves announced by the Government today.

Legislation will be introduced which ministers say will protect business from "compensation culture" claims.
More than 3,000 regulations will be scrapped or overhauled, so that shops, offices, pubs and clubs will no longer face "burdensome" health and safety inspections.

Officials described it as a "radical" plan to curb red tape.

From next April, the Government intends to introduce binding new rules on both the Health & Safety Executive and local authorities that will exempt hundreds of thousands of businesses from regular inspections.

Firms will only face health and safety inspections if they are operating in higher-risk areas such as construction or if they have an incident or track record of poor performance.
The Government also said it will introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently.

Controlling superconductors with light

A superconductor, which can move electrical energy with no wasteful resistance, is the holy grail of cost-effective, efficient, and "green" power production. Traditional conductors such as copper or silver, which waste power resources and lose energy when they heat up, an ideal superconductor would continuously carry electrical current without losing any power.

Creating a true superconductor is tricky. Though the concept of high temperature superconductors is more than two decades old, finding and controlling the right materials has been a challenge.

Temperature is a crucial element for superconductors, each material has a critical temperature when it becomes superconducting. But by manipulating different types of light, including UV and visible light,  researchers are able to alter the critical temperatures of superconducting materials. This finding adds to a growing toolbox for controlling and improving the technology.

Scientists have long sought ways to alter the temperature of superconducting materials, making them more practical. One of these methods includes chemical doping, removing or adding ions such as oxygen to alter the critical temperature of the material. But Prof. Dagan said that he and his fellow researchers were inspired to find a simpler way.

In the lab, they put a thin layer, one organic molecule thick, atop a superconducting film, approximately 50 nanometers thick. When researchers shined a light on these molecules, the molecules stretched and changed shape, altering the properties of the superconducting film -- most importantly, altering the critical temperature at which the material acted as a superconductor.

The researchers tested three separate molecules. The first was able to increase the critical temperature of the superconducting film. With the second molecule, they found that shining an ultraviolet light heightened the material's critical temperature, while visible light lowered it. Finally, with the third molecule, they found that simply by turning a light on, critical temperature was raised -- and lowered again when the light was switched off. Prof. Dagan calls this discovery a new "knob" for controlling the temperature of superconducting materials.

The power of this finding is that instead of changing the temperature of the material itself, a more complicated process, the material can remain at the same temperature when the film is altered. This is a small change that results in very large responses from devices, says Prof. Dagan: "It's a strong response for a small amount of light."

One of the potential future applications of this finding might be a "non-dissipated memory," which would be able to save data and run continuously without generating heat and wasting energy.
This research, a collaboration between the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, and the Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, included Drs. Michael Gozen and Shachar Richter, Post-Doctoral Fellow Dr. Itai Carmeli, and graduate student Avraham Lewin on the team.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Home EV charger

if you have an electric car, why now get a  home charging solution for electric vehicle owners with a bit more oomph.

The home charger includes a dedicated circuit – an important safety measure to protect your home's domestic circuits from overload.

A smart meter allows customers to take advantage of the cheaper off peak saver tariff, which means you can recharge when electricity prices are cheaper.

what do you think???

Friday, 7 September 2012

The Greenest pope ever

The 85-year-old pontiff was presented with his first electric car Wednesday, a customized white Renault Kangoo for jaunts around the gardens of the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo.

Benedict - “green pope” for his environmental concerns, has written of the need to protect God’s creation in his encyclicals, and raised the issue on his foreign trips and in his annual peace messages.

Under his watch, the Vatican has installed photovoltaic cells on its main auditorium and joined a reforestation project to offset its carbon dioxide emissions.

Now the pope has his own ozone-preserving electric car, which he used on Wednesday to travel from the helipad at Castel Gandolfo through the gardens back to his palazzo. He was returning to his retreat in the Alban Hills south of Rome after presiding over his weekly general audience in the Vatican.

Earlier this year, Italian automaker NWG donated an electric car to the Vatican, but it was for the press office to use. Renault on Wednesday also turned over the keys to a blue version of the Kangoo for the Vatican gendarmes to tool around Vatican City.

Though Benedict’s Renault is white and carries the papal seal on its doors, it isn’t a popemobile. Mercedes-Benz, which makes the customized popemobile with bullet-proof windows for the pope to use on trips outside the Vatican, has been studying a hybrid, energy-saving model.

The Rev. Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said the pope’s Kangoo isn’t customized with such security features since it’s designed for use inside Vatican territory at Castel Gandolfo.

now it time to bring the church into the 20th century and then see if he can gently ease it into the 21st whithout too many people getting hurt

Next gen Prius

Practical low emissions electric cars have been hampered by severe distance restrictions and the length of time it takes to re-charge batteries while petrol electric hybrids have been great at cutting emissions but nothing special on fuel economy.

But now hybrid pioneers Toyota may have come up with a compromise hybrid battery car that takes the best of both options. Called the Prius Plug-In it is the latest in the Prius family that has sold 2.6 million world wide and 67,000 in the UK since 2000.

The major breakthrough is the development, in conjunction with Panasonic EV Energy, of a compact, lightweight 56 cell 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack that is almost four times more powerful than the battery used in a standard Prius.

It is less than half the size of previous lithium-ion battery packs at 87.2 litres and exactly half the weight at 80kg - which is only 35kg heavier than the nickel metal-hydride battery used in Prius – but, most importantly, takes just 90 minutes to recharge from a standard 230V domestic power supply.

This is used to power a 60 kWh permanent magnet electric motor which works in tandem with a 98bhp four cylinder 1.8-litre petrol engine which gives a total output from the Hybrid Synergy Drive system of 134bhp and results in a zero to 62mph time of 10.7 seconds and a 112mpg top speed.

EV range - doesn't suit me yet

Westminster and car manufacturers continue to push the line that all-electric vehicle is cost-competitive alongside its petrol or diesel counterpart.

we think they are pushing their luck with this

The pros of electric vehicle (EV) ownership are still outweighed by the cons.
because a high-mileage EV doesn't exist. That's because the batteries will run out of juice in an hour or two – less if it's driven at high speed. I have to drive to Felixstowe on Tuesday, I couldn't have done that in any of the crop of the current EV's and even if I did? where do I charge it to get back?

I dont do a run that far every day, but I need to be able to do it...

It is this combination of one- to two-hour periods on the road then six to eight hours off  (I was only on site for the survey for 3 hours and it was a EH site with no charging facility) it while being recharged that makes electric cars unsuited to anything other than pottering around for a fraction of the day.

Admittedly, this is fine if you never need to drive more than 30 miles outside your neighbourhood. But which car do you choose?

If you shop once a week at tesco, EV is fine for you. I am still waiting for a practical vehicle I can use!!!

Golf E on its way...

Did you know that Volkswagen has got an electric car???

want one? well you cant have it, Yet!!!!

if you can wait till 2014??? you will (probably) be able to buy a production electric Golf, but it will be on the next-gen Golf, based on the all-new version of the preternaturally popular hatchback, riding on the new chassis that will also underpin a bewildering array of Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda and Audi models in the future.

The only external changes compared to a petrol or diesel Golf are the absence of an exhaust system and the positioning of electric charger points behind the usual filter flap and behind the VW roundel on the front of the car. Boot capacity has been reduced from 350 litres to 238 litres, but seating capacity is unchanged for five people. The same as the combustion engine version, the Golf Blue-E-Motion is 4,199 mm in length and 1,786 mm wide.

The Mk VI Blue-E-Motion Golf tested here has been built as a seriously limited production run, merely to demonstrate Volkswagen’s commitment to battery motoring and to give at least a sneak preview of what the production electric Golf will be like. A fleet of five-door, five-seat concept is already on the road in Germany and undergoing extensive testing. These test cars are fitted with an electric motor that delivers maximum power of 85 kW and a continuous power output of 50 kW with maximum torque of 270 Nm for a top speed of 135 km/h.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

What is the difference between a Quantum Theorist and...

Q: What is the difference between a Quantum Theorist and a Beauty Therapist?

A:  The Quantum Theorist uses Planck's Constant as a foundation, whereas the Beauty Therapist uses Max Factor.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Standards for Fast Charging

Prospects for long-distance travel by electricity continue to be limited. Until a mechanism for replenishing a car's batteries, either by charging them quickly or swapping them altogether, is in place, the appeal of electrics will be constrained. Even with cars for sale that offer 300-mile batteries, a cross-country vacation in a purely electric car remains impractical.
Fast-charging solutions -- typically, systems that can restore a battery to 80 percent of its capacity in 30 minutes or less -- are already available, but the connectors and software used in these direct-current chargers are largely incompatible. As standards wars go, the debate over which will become the de facto industry leader is a small-scale version of the epic battle between Betamax and VHS. so please tell me which is VHS NOW!!!
For us, this means that not only must they locate a high-speed charger when they travel, but it has to to be a specific type of charger -- a factor that could hurt already struggling E.V. sales.
That incompatibility appears to be growing. In May, the Detroit Three and five German carmakers, including Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, said they would create a charger with a two-prong connecter that could provide a fast direct-current charge, or a slower alternating-current charge, in a single combined plug.
The announcement angered companies here that have backed a rival technology. For several years, Nissan, Mitsubishi and many charger makers have developed a technology called CHAdeMO, which is installed in at least 1,500 fast chargers globally. Any new standard, these companies say, is unnecessary and ultimately destructive.
watch this space....

Are you being charged too much for electricity

Energy companies have been accused of rigging the electricity market to the tune of £600million and forcing every British household to find an extra £25 each to pay for it.

The Government believes some providers are using a scam to 'overload' the national grid so they can claim back 'unduly high' sums of lucrative compensation.

Since 2007 energy companies have been pocketing an average of £125million per year by claiming they have had to shut down their power stations and wind farms because the electricity network is full to capacity.

But experts say they can 'exacerbate or create' too much energy for the national grid in areas where the capacity is poor, like the border of England and Scotland.

 The Government has said that some energy businesses are 'profiting unfairly from the consumer' while continuing to rake in massive profits on top of these compensation payments.

Energy Minister Charles Hendry wants to ban the 'exploitative behaviour' of those who run power stations and wind farms saying compensation claims are 'out of control'.

It came as British energy companies are pocketing record profits while consumers are paying record amounts for their gas and electricity.

Profits at E.on’s UK operation rose by 23.7 per cent, up by £47million to £245million for the first six months of the year, boosting those of E.on’s German parent company, where the total for the first half of the year trebled to £2.45billion.

Recently the UK’s biggest supplier, British Gas, revealed profits rose almost 23 per cent in the first half of the year to reach £345million.

time to sort this out we think. looks like we are being ripped off

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Bucks turns street lights off permanently

Buckinghamshire County Council (BCC) is upholding its decision to turn streetlights off permanently in 40 locations in the county.

The decision has been made off the back of a three-year trial, during which streetlights across 46 locations countywide were switched off. Overall a total of 1,627 lights will remain switched off as a result of the decision.

The council openly admitted that the trial “was not intended to look at or use any alternative ways of keeping the lights on, even if, after initial additional capital expenditure, these might have resulted in future savings both in terms of energy used and ongoing costs. Instead the trial was intended to switch off lights which were no longer seen as an essential requirement for road safety or traffic management reasons”.
The council further justified its decision by stating that: “The lights that have now been switched off were provided many years ago for a variety of different reasons when alternatives to lighting were limited and these sites would not be considered a priority or necessity for street lighting today.”

However, resident comments that were submitted as part of the consultation suggest that the trial was not met with universal approval. One resident wrote in to say:  “I work in Oxford Road, Denham and use public transport. It is pitch black at 5pm when I leave the office and the bus driver can’t see us standing at the bus stop unless we wave our mobile phones. [It] feels unsafe if there alone. Why not switch the lights off at, say 9pm, when most people will have reached their destination?”

Hazelmere Parish council responded to the consultation by saying that it “strongly and robustly” challenged any plans to keep lights switched off. “[The] road has seen a number of fatal accidents over the last few years and is well known to local people as an extremely dangerous stretch of road. Local people rely on street lighting for a variety of reasons – not simply road safety and the safety and comfort afforded by street lights is highly valued. Views should not be ignored, discounted nor underestimated.”

Get an electric car charger for free

One of the drawbacks of buying electric cars is their prohibitive costs: with the price of home charging systems putting many potential customers off joining the electric revolution.
However, now you could pick one up for free.

Readers in the East Anglia, East and West Midlands, could get a free home charging unit from POD Point, the UK’s leading electric vehicle charging company.

Its charge point, known as Solo 2 (pictured), features the latest in “smart” communicating – including in-built GPRS technology that allows for two-way communications between an online account and the charge point. This means that you can monitor how much energy you use, remotely lock the charge point, or even set up charging schedules using a mobile phone, laptop or PC.

The charge points, which are worth more than £1k, can be installed as part of the government’s Plugged-In Places scheme – with the offer available to electric and plug-in vehicle owners in the Plugged-in Midlands and Source East areas.

Monday, 3 September 2012

loophole to flaunt incandescent phase out

Several lighting manufacturers and retailers are reported to be getting around the phase out of the incandescent lamp by marketing industrial lamps as suitable for domestic use.

With the ban on the production of all of the remaining types of domestic-use incandescent lamps coming into effect on 1 September 2012, at least two manufacturers have taken to mass producing more ‘rough service’ incandescent lamps to tap into the market of customers reluctant to move to more energy efficient lighting.

They claim that poor drafting of the EU directive means that shops can continue to supply lamps intended for ‘industrial use’ while manufacturers are allowed to make and sell the incandescent lamps if they are described on the box as ‘rough-service lamps’ that are not for domestic use.

Several retailers have begun to market rough service lamps as ‘ideal’ or ‘suitable’ for home use, with online retailer Lamps2udirect ending the description of a 100 watt pearl rough service lamp with the sentence: ‘Also, commonly used domestically around the home as general lighting!’

News sources such as the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph, which have long opposed the phase out, have also been quick to alert their readers to the similarities in performance characteristics between industrial and domestic incandescent lamps. An article on the Daily Mail website said: “The rough-service bulbs come in both screw and bayonet versions, and will cost around £1 – not much more than the household bulbs they will replace and half the price of energy-saving alternatives.”

India's mobile phone going green

Nearly a billion people use mobile phones in India and all the mobile masts consumes a lot of energy.

Towers that are located in urban areas are usually connected to the main grid to get electricity.
But most locations in India do not get a continuous or even good quality grid supply, and more than 60% of the towers depend on diesel-powered generators.

Each mast requires about the same amount of energy as the average urban household.

400,000 across the country - and many more planned - the total is huge, and it is perhaps no surprise that India is asking if they can switch to cleaner energy.

The telecom industry one of India's largest consumers of diesel fuel at nearly two billion litres every year, which is both expensive and polluting.

The local telecom regulator has recommended that companies reduce their dependency on diesel and cut carbon emissions by 50% at all rural towers and 20% at urban towers.

Their solution is to run these towers on hybrid power, a combination of renewable and grid power.

solar is the most efficient source currently, but even that does not come cheap.

The company has begun the shift to sustainable sources of energy at more than 1,000 tower sites. This has led to savings of nearly seven million litres of diesel a year.

The paradigm is of having very large power plants and inefficient transmission networks,

The biggest challenge remains the commercial viability of green power.

In an attempt to further develop the market, the country is expected to add another 300,000 towers over the next five years.

Unless an effective clean energy model is developed soon, many fear that fuel costs will bleed an industry that is already heavily in debt.

watch this space

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Nickel Oxide conducts....

Carnegie scientists are the first to discover the conditions under which nickel oxide can turn into an electricity-conducting metal. Nickel oxide is one of the first compounds to be studied for its electronic properties, but until now scientists have not been able to induce a metallic state. The compound becomes metallic at enormous pressures of 2.4 million times the atmospheric pressure (240 gigapascals). The finding is published in Physical Review Letters.

"Physicists have predicted for decades that the nickel oxide would transition from an insulator -- a compound that does not conduct electricity -- to a metal under compression, but their predictions have not previously been confirmed," remarked team leader Viktor Struzhkin of Carnegie's Geophysical Laboratory. "This new discovery has been a goal in physics that ranks as high as achieving metallic hydrogen, but for metal oxides."

The outer shells of atoms contain what are called valence electrons, which play a large role in electrical and chemical behavior. Metals generally have one to three of these valence electrons, while non-metals have between five and seven. Metals are good conductors of electricity because the valence electrons are loosely bound, so the electrons are free to flow through the material.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Charge Your Electric Car At Prague McDonald’s

Czech power company CEZ opened its 1st charging station for electric cars located at a fast food outlet of McDonald’s Corp. in the Czech Republic. hey chips n zips

McDonald’s restaurants aren’t only in cities but also on highways and often within distances reachable by most electric cars

hopefully 50 stations within two years.

Most charging stations the company has opened so far are located inside compounds of other companies which began using electric cars for their employees.

The charging station at the McDonald’s Prague outlet is equipped with two standard home-type power plugs which allows two cars to recharge fully their batteries in between two and six hours. The station can also be used for a quick charge for a limited driving distance.

The sector is tiny in the Czech Republic, with some 200 electric cars

Opening additional charging stations at McDonald’s restaurants should help grow the market by making electric cars more easily accessible for individual use,

wathc this space