Saturday, 28 February 2015

Anaerobic digester in Baldock converts food to electricity

A new anaerobic digester has opened in Hertfordshire, turning waste food from restaurants, factories and businesses into electricity.

The £12m recycling plant is between Baldock and Royston, on the A505.

It can process up to 40,000 tonnes of waste, converting it into methane-generated electricity.

see the video here...

Friday, 27 February 2015

Frday Fact

•Elvis had a twin brother named Garon, who died at birth, which is why Elvis' middle name was spelled Aron; in honor of his brother.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Should all landlords install smoke alarms?

Expect laws being introduced to ensure that all private landlords install smoke alarms, say Fire and Rescue Authorities across England and Wales.

Currently, landlords are only legally obliged to install smoke alarms if they are renting out Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs), but that means there are 3.5 million smaller private rental homes which do not have to have them installed by law.

The government passed a Bill in 2013 which would require all private landlords to provide smoke alarms but this has gone out to consultation and has not yet been brought into force. Now, with a general election looming, Fire and Rescue Authorities are calling for this law to be enacted.

The call for action forms a central part of a key report from the Local Government Association ( LGA ), The Fire and Rescue Service: Making our Nation Safer, which was launched on 7 February in collaboration with the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFAO).

The document sets out a blueprint for the next government, with both this proposal and a number of others detailing how fire and rescue services can improve fire safety and save the public purse money.

Latest figures show that more than 200 people die in home fires every year (in both rental and owner occupier properties) and that householders are at least four times more likely to die in a fire if they do not have a working smoke alarm.

The LGA report suggests that more than £6.5m could be saved from the public purse by making smoke alarms mandatory in private rented properties and at the same time reduce the risk of fire and associated deaths and injuries for millions of households.

Fire and Rescue Authorities are already taking the lead by giving out free alarms and launching safety awareness campaigns but they argue that, given the tough austerity climate, it must be down to private landlords to ensure that alarms are installed.

Mandatory smoke alarms is also set to be a key issue at the LGA ’s annual fire conference in March.


Wednesday, 25 February 2015

London's Formula E electric car race track


The route for the London race of the first Formula E season has been announced.
The world's first fully electric motor racing series will finish in London with two rounds held on 27 and 28 June.
A specially created 15 turn, 3km circuit will be created to run through Battersea Park in south London.
British racing driver Sam Bird said the track had "fast straights, high-speed bends, as well as some challenging chicanes and braking zones."
Bird, who competes for the UK-based Virgin Racing team, added: "The track is in the beautiful Battersea Park, right next to the River Thames, just across from Chelsea and with some of the most famous features of London's skyline in the background.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Two companies convicted for NICEIC logo misuse

The NICEIC has been seeing an increasing number of electricians advertising themselves as being registered with the organisation when they are not. In the latest example of this unfortunate trend, two company officials have been ordered to pay over £30,000 for offences concerning mis-selling the Green Deal scheme, failure to provide the appropriate cancellation rights and misuse of the NICEIC logo.

Pretending to be registered with the NICEIC when not actually so is a serious problem, not least because the NICEIC logo is recognised by the public as a mark of excellence and is used by electrical contractors as a way of promoting the quality of their work.

Any person or company abusing the logo is likely to reduce the public’s trust in it, whilst disadvantaging bona fide NICEIC registered contractors. Fraudulent electricians are also far more likely to produce sub-standard or actively dangerous work.

In this latest case, which concerned NICEIC logo mis-use as well as Green Deal scheme mis-selling and other offences, Abdul Muhith and David N Clarke of Becoming Green (UK) were sentenced in January at Cardiff Crown Court in relation to their guilty pleas under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 Act.

Muhith, who is company director, pleaded guilty to six offences related to misleading consumers. Homeowners were led by him to believe they could obtain home improvements under the Green Deal scheme ( for a one-off payment of £299. They were not told that in reality the Green Deal scheme is a loan agreement that is subject to interest payments.

Clarke, head of operations at Becoming Green (UK), pleaded guilty to three offences under the regulations, including misuse of the NICEIC logo.

Abdul Muhith was sentenced to pay £2,500 per offence (totaling £15,000) and ordered to pay a £2,500 contribution towards prosecution costs, along with a further £1,794 in compensation to the victims in the case. A victim surcharge of £15 was also ordered. David N Clarke was sentenced to a fine of £2,500 per offence (totaling £7,500) and ordered to pay a £2,500 contribution towards prosecution costs and £598 compensation to the victims – again; a £15 victim surcharge was added.

This case against was brought by Scambusters, a regional Trading Standards team for Wales, with assistance from the NICEIC. Scambusters aims to help homeowners and the general public to avoid being taken in by dangerous Internet scams, frustrating spam, devious identity theft, and other cunning online and offline scams – such as this ‘Becoming Green UK’ case. Since November 1994, Scambusters says that it has helped over eleven million people protect themselves from scams.

These are not the only recent NICEIC logo misuse examples. In a separate case, a contractor in the North East has been sentenced for unauthorised use of the NICEIC approved contractor logo (as well as two other logos).

Martin Coverdale, trading as Coverdale & Sons Plumbing & Heating, was taken to court over nine separate misuse counts under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations Act. He was sentenced to a community order totaling more than 180 hours at Middlesbrough Crown Court in late January.

These, and other, successful prosecutions help emphasise that those thinking about misusing the NICEIC logo will be caught and dealt with appropriately by the courts. Not only that, but contractors caught falsely claiming to be members will be named and shamed on the NICEIC website and their details passed to Trading Standards.

As NICEIC CEO Emma Clancy commented: “These latest prosecutions show how seriously we take misuse of our logo.

“The NICEIC name is associated with quality and we will work with the appropriate authorities to protect those contractors who are legitimately registered with us and have the quality of their work assessed on a regular basis,” she said.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Electrical switches in deadly Perth shopping centre blast 'problematic in UK'

The same type of electrical switch that exploded at a Perth shopping centre at the start of February,  killing two men, has been identified as problematic in the United Kingdom, a supplier says.

Two men died and two others were badly injured when a high voltage electrical switch blew up at Morley Galleria shopping centre on February 3.

Electricity North West in the UK has experienced three incidents in which a GF3 fuse switch unit failed disruptively.

Manual operation of the fuse switches was banned in 2013 when any part of the unit or switchboard was live, after a defect was identified.

Last year, Electricity North West said the defect potentially affected "around 11,000 switchgear units in our switchgear portfolio which have the GF3 fuse switch mechanism".

Further investigation identified 2,200 units potentially needing replacement.

Director of Energy Safety Ken Bowron said the Galleria switch gear was the same type, although he was not aware of the UK problems.

He said the UK's experience would be examined as part of the investigation into the blast.
National switch audit needed: union


Sunday, 22 February 2015

Many Scottish electric car chargers 'not being used'

Almost half of Scotland's electric vehicle charging points could be lying unused, according to a study.

The RAC Foundation said it believes about 1,100 electric cars and vans are now on the road in Scotland.

But it said official data suggested the country's charging network was running below capacity.
The foundation analysed data - which relates to one month only - from Transport Scotland.

The statistics from last August, which were released under freedom of information rules, showed that 217 of the 482 units in the ChargePlace Scotland network were not plugged into at all during that month.

The remaining 265 (55%) were used at least once.

ChargePlace Scotland is the initiative behind Scotland's free charge point network. - There were some notable exceptions to the Scotland average, however, with all the charging units in Edinburgh, Falkirk and Stirling used at least once in August.

Overall that month, there was a total of 2,885 individual charging sessions in Scotland.
Of these sessions, 46% took place in three cities - Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow.
found on the BBC

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Unplug Now and Save Energy

We are urging everyone to turn electrical items off to save money.

Around £65 a year can be saved on energy bills by not leaving electrical items on standby or plugged in.

This is a very simple step we can all take to live a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle.

The simple rule is that anything with a clock or light on when not in use or that gets warm to the touch such as a phone charger plug will still be using energy and costing you money.

A TV left on standby uses on average 1.4 watts of electricity. This may not sound like much but add to it 2.2 watts for a microwave, three watts for a DVD player and 3.8 watts for a laptop plus other appliances left on, and this can add up over a year to about five per cent of the total electricity being used in your home.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Friday Fact

•Donald Duck comics were banned in Finland because he doesn't wear anything on his bottom half


Wednesday, 18 February 2015


as we said earlier, there is a strong possibility that Apple may be about to build an electric car.

The Wall Steet Journal kicked things off with a report that Apple had been hiring “hundreds” of staff with automotive design skills to work on a project called “Titan” that may be a self-driving electric vehicle configured in a (not-so-exciting) mini-van design.

There are several back-stories to this potential move by Apple. In one, we see continuing competition with rival Google, who has been working on a driverless car for some time and are saying that they will be launching a commercial version onto the market between 2017 and 2020. Google’s
motivation behind the self-driving car has been the development of the artificial intelligence software capable of pulling off this feat. Even if the car is not successful, the AI software will have a range of applications and possibility that would make the project still worthwhile. Increasingly, Apple has shown its willingness to develop its own capability in a range of competitive technologies that it can incorporate into products.

In another back-story, there is electric car company Tesla whose CEO, Elon Musk, has claimed that it will be as big financially, as Apple, within a decade. This will in part be based on the release of the Model 3, an affordable (US $35,000) family car with a range of 200 miles. Part of Tesla’s strategy appears to include the poaching of numerous Apple staff. Although it seems that Apple has been reciprocating by offering Tesla staff large signing bonuses to move to Apple.

found at

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Oh! it went quiet

Sorry I haven’t blogged lately. It’s been really crazy here in the office. The NHS and Woburn estate have been keeping us really busy.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Friday Fact

•Contrary to urban legend, tests show that a duck's quack does echo.

Sunday, 8 February 2015

When do we get the icar?

Only yesterday we were talking about an Apple watch to control your Tesla car. well today we note that Apple might be looking to make their own foray into the EV market...

Apple has long been rumored to be interested in electric cars, so when a patent was granted Tuesday 3rd to "Apple Electric Car, Inc.," that made us at Woolgar Central think that something was going on.

The patent, first discovered by blog Patently Apple, isn't necessarily from Apple, maker of various iGizmos. The patent is for an adjustable mount for a computerized display in a golf cart. Unless Tim Cook thinks the iGolf is the wave of the future, the brand name is likely just a coincidence.

Still, Apple (AAPL, Tech30) and electric cars seem to be inevitable.

There was quite a buzz when the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk had been spotted at Apple's Cupertino, California, headquarters. (Musk later said it wasn't about an acquisition.)

Wall Street analysts have been hinting for years that Apple could be mulling an investment in -- or a purchase of -- the electric car company.

So what's Apple waiting for? IPhones pretty much do everything else.

I am sure it will come out in the wash. The Car Wash :)

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Apple Watch app controls your Tesla

It was bound to happen Apple and Tesla in a strategic partnership..

That seems to be the main idea behind a plan to let Tesla owners be able to control their Model S their Apple Watch.

The Model S is a luxury electric car costing $80kbefore extras but in is turning heads.

The Apple Watch, which is yet to go on sale, is likely to become the hottest new personal tech. the latest must have.

A Ukraine-based software developer, Eleks Labs, says it has created the app that will let Tesla owners tell at a glance how much juice is left in their car's battery and how many miles of range they can expect from it.

It would allow owners to lock or unlock doors or switch on the headlights.

It can tell them the temperature inside the car. It can show them the car's present location.

Eleks says it developed its app from a beta version of the Apple Watch, but notes the watch's expected limitations, especially the requirement that it work in conjunction with an iPhone.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Friday Fact

•Coca-cola has never been patented because to do that they would have to reveal the formula.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Energy bills could be much lower

Recent cuts in consumer energy bills could have been much bigger and made much earlier, research from consumer body Which? has found.

It said energy suppliers had failed to keep standard variable energy tariffs in line with falling wholesale prices over the past two years.

As a result, households on standard energy tariffs were £145 worse off last year, or a total of £2.9bn, it said.

Industry body Energy UK said firms had cut prices as soon as they could.

Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Our analysis places a massive question mark over how suppliers have been setting prices over the last two years.

"They now need to explain to their customers why bills don't fall further in response to dropping wholesale prices."

Currently the big six energy firms - SSE, Scottish Power, Centrica, RWE Npower, E.On and EDF Energy - together account for about 95% of the UK's energy supply market.

Which? said the presence in the market of a range of smaller suppliers offering lower prices did not appear to be exerting sufficient competitive pressure on these major suppliers to cut energy bills faster and further.

"In a genuinely competitive market suppliers would be forced to be more efficient and to keep their prices in check as wholesale costs fall," it said.

However, Energy UK chief executive Lawrence Slade told the BBC that because suppliers bought wholesale gas on the futures market, to try to hedge - or protect - themselves - against future price rises, they didn't immediately benefit from falls in wholesale prices.

"As prices are falling, as companies can actually afford to pass those savings on, they are doing so.

found on the bbc

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Software hack makes electric cars faster

But don't expect the battery to last as long...

The Tesla P85D electric car—already a speedster, even petrol engine car standards—has been tweaked to accelerate faster via a software hack, aptly dubbed "Insane Mode."

 "Insane Mode," a software upgrade delivered via the car's Internet connection, sliced the 0-60 acceleration time from 3.2 seconds to just 3.1. said the 3.2 second time was "already faster than a Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a Porsche 911 Turbo."

"One tenth of a second might not seem like much, but when you’re comparing 0-60 times it’s huge," it said.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A business having its consumer unit upgraded - earth trip protected

BS 7671 Regulation 411.3.3 sets out the requirements for additional protection to socket outlets for use indoors. There are exceptions depending upon the level of supervision, and also for socket outlets that are provided for a specific item of equipment - as opposed to those for general use.

Ensuring that the outlet, socket or connection is identified to the equipment it has been designed to serve (exception (b) of 411.3.3.).

Any outlets intended for general-purpose use by ordinary persons should be additionally protected at 30mA by an RCD, unless the use of them is effectively supervised.

The question of supervision should be discussed with the practice management to establish whether any such supervision is achievable and sustainable.

The same discussion should also include any supervision required by Regulation 522.6.101 with reference to cables concealed in walls and partitions, as a consumer unit replacement is effectively an alteration as defined by BS 7671 and hence the requirements of 522.6.101 should be considered.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Electric eel

A zap from an electric eel acts like a natural Taser. It gives the creature the power to stop prey in its tracks. This gives the eel the upper hand — er, fin — that allows it to prevent dinner from swimming away. And that zap acts directly on the prey’s nervous system, scientists now show.

But that’s not all. This species (Electrophorus electricus) can release different types of electric discharges, the new study finds. The eels, which hunt at night, sometimes send out just two or three short pulses. These cause nearby fish to twitch against their will. The eels detect those involuntary movements — which shows them where their dinner had been hiding.

The new finding, he says, “elevates the eel’s strategy from a simple, reflexive stun-and-strike behavior to a more deliberative process.” (Deliberate, as a verb, means “to consider carefully.”)
Better understanding of those zappers

Researchers have long been fascinated by the electric eel. This species can release bursts of electricity measuring up to 600 volts. That’s enough to stop a fish cold in about three thousandths of a second. However, little research has been done on the details of how the eel’s body reacts to that electricity.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

More Electric Cars Coming from Audi

VW Group is planning to spend €24 Billion over next four years on its premium Audi line, including the introduction more electric hybrids and two new all-electric cars.

Audi's e-Tron quattro LMP-1 hybrid-electric race cars have dominated LeMans for the last three years running, apparently giving the premium German carmaker and its parent Volkswagen Group, the confidence to begin investing even more in the electrification of its carline over the next four years.

Of the €85.6 billion ($103 billion USD) Volkswagen plans to spend in plant expansion and upgrade, €24 billion of it will be invested in Audi, including the expansion of its two assembly plants in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm, Germany. The company is also upgrading plants in Mexico and Brazil.