* Posts by Peter Drummond

2 posts • joined 23 Mar 2009

nbn™ says nobody needs gigabit internet, trumpets XG-Fast at 8Gbps anyway

Peter Drummond

PatuTessa

My copper connection was installed possibly as long as 50 years ago, already has shorts to earth in half of the incoming wires, and maxes out at 4-8MB/s with current tech, owing to noise on the line. Personally, I'd prefer to have fiber. The dodgy old copper will need to be replaced anyway, and fiber is much more likely to be a useful tech for the fifty years to come.

North East, Nissan to explore e-car promo plan

Peter Drummond
Flame

Not zero emission

Although zero carbon-emission vehicles would be great, so far the world's press coverage of this issue indicates little more than a need for journalists to have a better education in physics. The main candidates covered in the various Reg stories include vehicles powered by electric engines and batteries, hydrogen fuel cells, or hybrid technologies.

Since not one of these has zero carbon emission, it is odd that journalists have adopted this description in ongoing coverage of these vehicles. Given the Reg's reputation as a technology information source, it would be a good idea if their coverage was a little less industry propaganda, and a little more science. After all, someone might think the Reg was telling the truth!

The main point of course is that hydrogen and electric cars merely use stored energy generated elsewhere, while hybrids use internal combustion just like all other cars. There is a point in favor of hybrids, which is that the use of regenerative brakes improves efficiency, but these cars still generate carbon dioxide, and some do more than other, more efficient petrol vehicles.

In the case of hydrogen or electric cars, the only way these could be really zero emission would be if the relevant generating authorities used no coal, gas or oil in their power plants. However, this is not the case in any major industrial country. In fact, widespread use of electric or hydrogen cars would increase baseline loads, and most likely lead to more coal-fired power stations.

The situation is even worse when one considers how expensive these cars are, which makes the scam a little clearer. This is merely a way to persuade conservationist consumers to pay car companies to keep polluting in disguise, but with greater profits. It would be better if the Reg would help matters by clearly pointing out that these are NOT, actually, zero emission.

Is there any hope at all? Well, yes, its not impossible. One could of course actually build zero emission power stations (nuclear, geo, hydro, etc). It has also been long established that biofuels like methanol are perfectly usable in internal combustion engines. Since these fuels do not increase the carbon in the atmosphere, they can legitimately be called zero emission solutions.

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