Energy Supply and Demand to 16 March 2012
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Custom byline text: DAMIEN HENDERSON Transport Correspondent An analysis published yesterday by its agency Transport Scotland predicted that Government transport policies would lead to an additional 71 kilo-tonnes of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere by 2022, compared to 1990 levels.
Jonathan Watts reports from the Chinese desert province of Gansu, the frontline of China's efforts to invest in renewable energy Link to video: China builds windfarms in renewable energy boom The remote, wind-blasted desert of northwestern Gansu could be the most unloved, environmentally abused corner of China . It is home to the country's first oilfield and several of the coalmines and steel factories that have contributed to China's notoriety as the planet's biggest polluter and carbon dioxide emitter. But in the past few years, the landscape has started to undergo a transformation as Gansu has moved to the frontline of government efforts to reinvent China's economy with a massive investment in renewable energy . The change is evident soon after driving across the plains from Jiuquan, an ancient garrison town on the Silk Road that is now a base for more than 50 energy companies.
UK's renewable energy sector has already suffered a series of blows with Tory MPs attacking subsidies, including those for wind farms. Photograph: Haydn West / Rex Features The UK government wants nuclear power to be given parity with renewables in Europe, in a move that would significantly boost atomic energy in Britain but downgrade investment in renewable generation, according to a leaked document seen by the Guardian. The move would in effect remove the most important prop from the beleaguered renewable energy sector – the Europe-wide targets stipulating that a proportion of each member state's energy must come from renewable sources. That target should be scrapped when its current phase – requiring member states to generate 20% of energy from renewables – runs out in 2020, according to a secret submission to the European commission.
Sir David King predicts global supplies of uranium will begin to run out in 2023 so the UK will need to rely on a domestic supply of nuclear fuel. Photograph: Robert Brook/Alamy/Alamy It will be impossible for the UK to meet its long-term carbon reduction target without reusing the nation's stockpile of plutonium, the former government chief scientist has warned. He predicts that global supplies of uranium will begin to run out in 2023 so the UK will need to rely on a domestic supply of nuclear fuel. Sir David King told the Guardian: "You have to look at our stretching long-term targets, and we will need to generate more electricity while reducing emissions – you will need to look at plutonium in order to do that. I don't see any other way."
29 February 2012 Last updated at 01:22 GMT Donald Trump is opposed to plans for a wind farm near his golf resort Scotland's renewable energy targets must not be "blown off course" by US tycoon Donald Trump's protests, environmental group WWF Scotland has said. Mr Trump is against proposals for 11 turbines off the Aberdeenshire coast, near his golf resort.
"We’ve already gotten the easy oil, the oil that can be produced cheaply," says oceanographer James Murray. "It used to be we’d drill a well and the oil would flow out, now we have to go through all these complicated and expensive procedures to produce the oil." (Credit: iStockphoto ) U.
"What this work suggests, in very broad terms, is that it is possible to modify cellulose structure by genetic methods, so that potentially one can more easily extract cellulose from plants as energy sources," says chemist Mei Hong. (Credit: Iowa State University) IOWA STATE (US) — Genetic mutations to cellulose in plants could improve the conversion of cellulosic biomass into biofuels.
A BQM-74E aerial drone is launched from the USS Thach. The US Navy has flown drones using a 50-50 mix of biofuel and jet fuel. Photograph: MC3 Stuart Phillips/U.S.
Jet fuels made from plants such as jatropha or camelina, or from pyrolysis of cellulosic feedstocks, are likely to be the first alternative jet fuels to become cost-competitive. Image: Manufacturing Digital The cost of some aviation biofuels produced from non-food vegetable oils could reach parity with conventional fuels by 2018 if production efficiencies continue to improve, analysts have said.
Most commonly used raw materials in butanol production have so far been starch and cane sugar. In contrast to this, the starting point in the Aalto University study was to use only lignocellulose, otherwise known as wood biomass, which does not compete with food production. Another new breakthrough in the study is to successfully combine modern pulp - and biotechnology. Finland's advanced forest industry provides particularly good opportunities to develop this type of bioprocesses. Wood biomass is made up of three primary substances: cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin.
Neurobat thermal controller (credit: Neurobat) A thermal regulator that uses neural networks to learn about your house as the seasons change has been developed by a spinoff from École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM). Most home thermal regulators only react to a single parameter — the outside temperature — in regulating their output. EPFL researchers developed a system, called Neurobat (Neuron + Batiment, French for building), that allows for savings of up to 65% on fuel. It monitors multiple parameters and learns what is best for your house by imitating the brain.
Hywind floating windmill being towed to its trial site in deep water off Norway. Photograph: Oyvind Hagen Six miles off south-west Norway, the first full-scale demonstration of a floating wind turbine heaves and sways in the North Sea.
The ICM/Guardian poll shows that 60% of Britons would now support the building of a windfarm within five miles of their home Local opposition to onshore windfarms has tripled since 2010, a new Guardian poll reveals, following a series of political and media attacks on the renewable technology. However, a large majority of the British public (60%) remains firmly in favour of wind power , while also opposing the building of new nuclear or coal power plants in their local area. The poll shows that the national debate over wind energyis becoming sharply polarised, with the percentage of Britons strongly supporting the building of a new windfarm in their area going up by 5%, and the percentage strongly against rising by 14%.
How can fossil fuels and uranium be kept in the ground and agrofuels off the land in ways that do not inflict suffering upon millions? Mainstream policy responses to these issues are largely framed in terms of "energy security". Yet far from making energy supplies more secure, such policies are triggering a cascade of new insecurities for millions of people.