Month: March 2009

Resource efficient production to combat recession

Manufacturers should adopt resource efficient production to combat recession, according to EEF/Barclays report

Release date: 30/03/2009

The report Resource Efficiency; Business benefits from sustainable resource management identifies and analyses the positive effects of resource efficiency in UK manufacturing and outlines major benefits and opportunities for companies. It promotes a greater understanding of sustainable manufacturing, offering a handbook of practical solutions applicable for a wide range of factory environments.

The report is the first in a series of publications being launched by EEF as part of their ‘Manufacturing Your Future’ campaign which is offering British Manufacturers advice, guidance and support to help them through the economic downturn………………..

Full story at




Powerdown Toolkit: Deconstructing Dinner

Powerdown Toolkit #6: Deconstructing Dinner March 29, 2009

Posted by Graham in : General , trackback

This is the introduction to  week six of the Powerdown Toolkit 10-week community learning course created by the Cultivate Center in Dublin. It has an accompanying TV show with a 30-minute episode accompanying each week of the course, soon to be aired on Dublin Community TV.

Deconstructing Dinner: Food Miles, Trade and Food Systems


Food is energy. Nowhere is this truth seen more clearly than in the conflict for land and resources between food for the hungry in the developing world and biofuels for the energy-hungry motorist in the industrialised nations. {Murphy, P. Plan C}……………..

For full details visit

The NHS and the ‘resource intensity of wellbeing’

It is almost beyond belief. In just two decades or so, the National Health Service has gone from having virtually no formal management structure, just administrative staff, to this week’s announcement that out of a total staff of 1.36 million, 39,900 are managers. Let me put that in context: there are 5,000 more people now employed to tend to organisation than there are consultants – a mere 34,900 – tending to the sick. And if that were not enough to savour, new figures from the Incomes Data Services show that chief executives of NHS foundation trusts now earn an average of £158,000. Across the board at executive level within the NHS, salaries rose by 7.6 per cent in foundation trusts, and 5.7 per cent in non-foundation bodies. It is the starkest of all illustrations of just how far the pendulum has swung from medicinal to managerial.

Not that I am against management, nor high salaries – far from it. I am a passionate believer in management. In my career, as a former chairman of Granada, Allied Domecq, and the Arts Council, I spent much time analysing, writing about and teaching management skills. But in the case of the NHS, what we need are far fewer – albeit far better – managers…………………….

………………..The experience was both salutary and shocking; the hospital staff, including management and consultants, was eager to make it a better, more efficient place. There was enormous goodwill and huge pools of talent. But there was simply no process to pull it all together in a cohesive, sensible way.

When I meet people in the health service now who saw the BBC series, they say the same thing: how typical my experience was of their own hospital – and how the problems I identified persist throughout the NHS today. …………………..

Full personal view and comments at

BBC ‘A Farm for the Future’ video on Google

A Farm for the Future

Back in February, Chris Vernon wrote a post called “BBC Covers Peak Oil: A Farm for the Future”. The peak oil documentary is now available in available on Google at


information from
Included are some comments from Chris’ original post. The Oil Drum is listed in the credits!

V2G: Vehicle to Grid Power

AC Propulsion Provides Power for 500 New Electric Vehicles

San Dimas, CA – Nov. 19, 2008 – AC Propulsion supplies the electric propulsion and battery technology for the MINI E electric vehicle introduced today at the LA Auto Show by BMW Group. AC Propulsion has delivered more than 500 drive systems to the BMW Group factory in Munich for MINI E production.

“Working with BMW Group on the MINI E project has been a great opportunity,” said AC Propulsion CEO Tom Gage, “The schedule was tight and required a lot of discipline and coordination. We really pushed our manufacturing operation to meet the production schedule. I drove one of the cars in Munich and our drive system delivers the power, I couldn’t stop smiling. We’ve had cars with our drive systems on the road since 1992, and some have well over 100,000 miles on them, so we’ve seen our systems handle the rigors of daily use. This is a big step for electric vehicles.”

AC-150 A

Download a high resolution version of this photo here.

The MINI E uses a specially-developed version of AC Propulsion’s proprietary tzero™ technology to provide high performance, high efficiency, and fast charging. AC Propulsion’s air-cooled copper-rotor induction motor produces maximum torque from zero to 5,000 rpm and spins all the way up to 13,000 rpm. The IGBT inverter drives the motor to produce peak power of 150 kW. Even with this high power rating, the AC Propulsion drive system operates with high efficiency in normal driving. Powerful regenerative braking adds to the efficiency and driving appeal. When the car decelerates, the kinetic energy of motion is converted back to electrical energy in the battery………………….

………………………………………..The charger can discharge the battery as well as charge it. In effect, the charger can serve as a regulated power source with many possible applications including, battery pack self-diagnosis, back-up power, car-to-car charging, and, perhaps most importantly in the future, providing ancillary services to the power grid. Engineers have a term for this – vehicle-to-grid or V2G – and it promises to make smart grids of the future more efficient in providing electric power for cars as well as buildings.

V2G does not discharge the battery, so the car is always available for driving. But with each vehicle sourcing or sinking small amounts of power while plugged in, a fleet of V2G-capable vehicles can buffer natural variations in supply and demand on the grid, and even allow for higher utilization of solar and wind power.

AC Propulsion is working with V2G research and development programs throughout the US to supply V2G-capable vehicles, evaluate V2G functionality, and develop the communications and control systems that will necessary to enable electric vehicles to support the power grid.

Full details at

see also–v2g—-guiding-the-next-big-energy-solution.html

Towards an accountable capitalism

Towards an Accountable Capitalism


Author: Stephen Davis, Jon Lukomnik and David Pitt-Watson
Price: Free
Publication Date: 26 March 2006

The credit crisis has been a systemic failure. Though the press primarily blames the bankers for our problems, the failure was not that of one single set of agents.

In this paper, the authors set out some of what went wrong, and how we can develop a framework of policy and institutions needed to ensure a vibrant and stable financial system in the future. This will require new thinking about the type of institutions on which a successful modern financial economy depends. In particular, the paper focuses on the relationship between each of these institutions and how it is possible to get them to work in a way that will support open and effective capital markets.

The paper’s aim is not to lay out a detailed framework for bank solvency or accounting regulation though we will touch on many examples of reform. Rather, it is to try to clarify the principles on which any responsible Bretton Woods-style remaking of the market system will rest, and how these might be applied to the banks and other institutions where finance is raised to keep the economy going.

This paper is part of our Tomorrow’s Capitalism programme.

Resource Efficiency 2.0

 The article below  is essential reading and largely echos the premise of this Blog, which can be read at

This Blog uses the concept of Resource Intensity, the resource use, per capita, per unit of consuption; rather than resource efficiency, which is normally viewed as a percentage of 100, of the ratio of output to input. A value that does not easily integrate into the ‘One Planet Equation’

In addition it is being effective, doing the right thing, that is critical. We can so easily be using resources ‘efficiently’ in the wrong or an unecessary process.

Its too easy to be ‘ineffectively efficient’


Resource Efficiency 2.0

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

………………….CK Prahalad suggests that government, civil society and companies collaborate to tackle this new phase of resource optimization. The government should contribute with focused investments and regulation, civil society with ideas and grass root approaches and companies with the entrepreneurial and operational capabilities to create commercially viable products. There are big opportunities to improve the supply chains of WalMart (importing over $20Bn in goods from China alone each year) and other large retailers from a green perspective, applying concepts like reverse logistics and extended supplier responsibility. Civil society should look at Walmart as a potential ally rather than a big bad capitalist.

But Sharon Begley writes in this week’s Newsweek: “while you’re doing all that to reduce the world’s energy use and cut emissions of greenhouse gases, keep this in mind: even if we scale up existing technologies to mind-bending levels, such as finishing one nuclear plant every other day for the next 40 years, we’ll still fall short of how much low-carbon energy will be needed to keep atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide below what scientists now recognize as the point of no return.” We need profound breakthroughs. Money should flow to where we have the highest chance of finding these and bringing them rapidly to industrial scale. This should be the number one priority after the financial system is cleansed.

By the way, don’t forget to turn the lights off for an hour on Earth Day

Complete article at