Month: November 2009

Using standby diesel generators for short term reserve

Using standby diesel generators for short term reserve to support main power grids – potentially good news from National Grid

by Claverton Energy Research Group: admin Thursday, November 26th, 2009 Using standby generators for short term reserve. (emails published with permission of authors from Quigg Associates and National Grid)


I was delighted to see you last week. The topic I mentioned, using standby generators for short term reserve is one in which I am not currently involved but it does strike me as a useful technique for reducing CO2 emissions. There are a few ‘fleets’ of standby generators arranged to quote the National Grid for this service but the short term nature of the contracts offered are I think a deterrent to the potential which could be exploited. I was involved with the Wessex Water operation which was heading towards 20MW when I left. This, together with some sewage gas generation has now been changed into a separate company. Another successful operation is run by Alastair  

Alastair is a contributor to Claverton Energy Group.  He became interested in the short term reserve potential and was one of those who wrote a paper for government which shows that there is a potential saving of 90% in the emissions to provide this service.

His paper is the first on the list at – As you might guess he trades under the Flexitricity name. However the conclusions in the paper seem sound enough.

When I was with Wessex Water the obstacles to a larger expansion of the technique were:-………………………..

Kind Regards

Bernard Quigg

Quigg Associates

Full story at


What keeping ahead of the Oil Curve can do for Climate Change

What Peak Oil Can Do for Climate Change

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

By Chris Nelder
Friday, November 20th, 2009

With all eyes focused on the Copenhagen climate summit in less than three weeks, perhaps it’s time for the peakists to find a new purpose.

The reason is simple. Money isn’t interested in problems; it’s only interested in solutions. And wherever capital goes is where the changes will be made.

The public also has little appetite for unpleasant stories, even true ones. The message is: Don’t tell us what we can’t consume — tell us what we can consume. Tell us our grid power costs are going to go up because of climate change and we’ll fight it. But help us buy efficiency improvements and renewables that will pay for themselves in fuel savings, and we’ll support it all the way.

A new Pew study on “apocalypse fatigue” highlights the problem nicely. The public’s confidence in the global warming problem has fallen sharply this year, even as momentum built toward Copenhagen.

Guilt and deprivation simply don’t sell like opportunity does.

That’s why trillions of dollars are pouring into cleantech annually, while the peak oil community continues to go begging for a few dollars to staff a small office and keep a web server running, all while battling a constant onslaught of misinformation placed in the top mainstream media by very deep-pocketed vested interests.

That’s why I said last week that the IEA was shrewd to turn its annual World Energy Outlook into a stalking horse, masquerading its alarm about peak oil as an earnest appeal to address climate change…………………………..

Solar-powered aeroplane makes runway debut

sustainable design, green design, solar powered airplane, alternative energy, renewable energy, solar impulse, solar power, aircraft, airplane

Biofuels are often touted as the next big thing in airplane fuel technology, but solar power shouldn’t be discounted — as was recently proven by the team behind the Solar Impulse. The solar-powered plane just took its first test down the runway, and eventually the plane is expected to take a 20 to 25 day trip around the world.


Researchers develop machine to recycle carbon dioxide

23 Nov 2009:

  Researchers Develop Machine To Recycle Carbon Dioxide Into Fuel

U.S. researchers have demonstrated a technology that uses the sun’s heat to convert carbon dioxide and water into the building blocks of traditional fuels, a reverse combustion process that may emerge as a practical alternative to sequestration of CO2 emissions from power plants. The prototype “Sunshine to Petrol” system, developed by Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, uses concentrated solar energy to trigger a thermo-chemical reaction in an iron-rich composite located inside a two-sided cylindrical chamber.

The iron oxide is designed to lose an oxygen molecule when exposed to 1,500 degree C heat, and then retrieve an oxygen molecule when it is cooled down, essentially converting an incoming supply of CO2 into an outgoing stream of carbon monoxide. Additionally, when researchers

at Sandia National Laboratories pump water into the chamber rather than CO2, the machine produces hydrogen. Combining those retrieved gases — hydrogen and carbon monoxide — they are able to create syngas, which can be used as a fuel. While researchers say the technology likely will not be ready for market for 15 to 20 years, it could one day become a practical way to recycle CO2. “It’s a productive utilization of CO2 that you might capture from a coal plant, a brewery, and similar concentrated sources,” said James Miller, a Sandia chemical engineer.

Resource Intensity reduction and the ‘Critical Chain’

Critical Chain Project Management

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“Critical Chain” redirects here. For the novel, see Critical Chain (novel).

Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) is a method of planning and managing projects that puts the main emphasis on the resources required to execute project tasks. It was developed by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. This is in contrast to the more traditional Critical Path and PERT methods, which emphasize task order and rigid scheduling.

A Critical Chain project network will tend to keep the resources levelly loaded, but will require them to be flexible in their start times and to quickly switch between tasks and task chains to keep the whole project on schedule.


Resource efficiency or resource intensity?

It is imperitive that the aim is to reduce the Resource Intensity of systems, not the ‘efficiency’ of individual processes


IBM Launches Consulting Service for Sustainable Assets

ARMONK, N.Y. – 18 Nov 2009: IBM (NYSE: IBM) has introduced a consulting service to reduce the costs and environmental impact associated with managing property, equipment and business activities.

Sustainable Asset Analytics is designed to help clients manage real estate, supplier performance, carbon data collection and analysis, asset lifecycle maintenance, and all processes and systems used to support these activities. The service can be applied to everything from buildings to information technology and other office equipment to manufacturing tools and warehouse machinery to business travel. 

Property, other assets and business activities of all types can be areas of waste and unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. Culprits include poor planning and maintenance, inadequate energy management, the heating or cooling of unused space, and the inability to collect and analyze operational information. But by creating a comprehensive plan to manage and measure these activities and assets, clients can reduce energy and water use, lower greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and improve efficiency. ………………

Full press release at

More reasons to worry about Asia’s Clean-Tech push?

More reasons to worry about Asia’s Clean-Tech push?

By Keith Johnson

What do you get when mix a group that passionately believes technology holds the answer to our energy future with angst about Asia’s clean-tech irruption? “Rising Tigers, Sleeping Giant,” a new report out today from the technophile Breakthrough Institute that makes the case that the U.S. is losing ground in a hugely important race.

Flickr So cute when they’re little

The idea that the U.S. is falling behind in Asia, and especially China, when it comes to clean tech isn’t new. It keeps Tom Friedman in business, for starters. And it keeps cropping up in congressional hearings in Washington on energy and climate legislation.

The U.S. hasn’t actually fallen too far behind yet. It’s the future that the Breakthrough Institute is worried about. Specifically, the next five years, when China, Japan, and South Korea are expected to spend about $500 billion to directly promote clean-technology development and depolyment, compared with about $170 billion in the U.S.—and that’s including energy legislation that passed the House and shoaled in the Senate…………………

…………………..At the end of the day, all the worries about the clean-tech race boil down to a much broader question: Does America’s energy and economic future depend on retooling its ailing manufacturing sector, or does the future of manufacturing depend on retooling energy policy?

Full story at