7 posts categorized "Transport & Travel"

Thursday, 08 March 2012

Hybrid Cars 2012 – What’s The Story?

Decorated But Not Appreciated?

There are as many prize-givings as stars in the sky. They range from the bombastic Annual Academy Awards, also known as The Oscars, to the Employee of the Year at a small company in a remote backwater. One example amongst them that is recognised as a true accolade in many countries is the Car of the Year award. Since its inception in 1963 on the initiative of Dutch motor journalist Fred van der Vlugt it has graced many an iconic vehicle from Rover 2000 (1964), via Citroen CX (1975), to Fiat Uno (1984). How happily petrol-swilling the Swinging Sixties were was demonstrated by delectable offerings such as Rolls Royce Silver Shadow, Oldsmobile Toronado or Jensen FF occupying places in the top three.

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Friday, 20 January 2012

Fuel out of Thin Air – Science Fiction or Carbon-Neutral Future?

An Old Lodger

Nowadays even toddlers know carbon dioxide (CO2). Open a newspaper and you can’t help falling over it. As an Earth dweller it has ancient rights. Scientists reckon it arrived here with comets and other celestial bodies that ploughed into our young planet.

It has had some bad press lately but to see it only in a negative light is unfair, dangerous even. CO2 has many uses. For a start it helped to stabilise a liveable atmosphere at a time when things were too toxic for anything but a few algae. Plants could not survive without it, and neither could anything that depends on them, which includes us. Dough rises because of CO2, it is used to decaffeinate coffee and can extinguish fires. It being a normal component of human blood, too low a concentration is even harmful.

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Friday, 13 January 2012

The Environmental Account of Rail Travel

Dirty Pleasure

‘Murder on the Orient Express’, ‘Some Like it Hot’, ‘The Lady Vanishes’ – some of the greatest movies featured trains as settings for romance, mischief and mystery. No wonder, the confinement of the enclosed space while thundering along adds a sense of inescapability and tension. Accompany that with a steam engine and it’s heaven for those with a fondness for nostalgia.

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Friday, 30 December 2011

The Sustainable Future of Aviation – Biofuel at 38,000 Feet

The ambition to be able to go from anywhere to everywhere probably is as old as mankind. Thanks to technological advances it has turned into more than just a fantasy. Victorian traveller Phileas Fogg still used ships for long passages, but the transformation from journeys for those blessed with infinite patience into global accessibility was down to the aeroplane. Mind you, if you ask people stuck in a queue for security checks at an airport now, they will tell you that everything has gone into reverse and endurance is a desirable trait once more if you want to get farther than the end of your street.

Not that this seems to discourage too many people. Even in these commercially difficult times for airlines some might fail but many survive and the next growth phase for air travel is said to be on the horizon. At the moment the five percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that aviation is responsible for looks small in comparison to heating and electricity generation. Once the financial problems in Europe and America will be over, buoyed additionally by demand in growing economies, this will increase, though. So what is someone supposed to do who wants or needs to travel and is concerned about the environment?

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Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Rise and Fall of Biodiesel

Do you think defining biodiesel is easy? After all, it seems logical to see it simply as a fuel that is derived from renewable oils in contrast to fossil sources and be done with it. Of course, things are not quite that simple. The substances that a diesel engine can use vary in terms of their natural base material and the processes to manufacture them. This is not to make it more complicated. On the contrary, it gives me the opportunity to lay down a couple of ground rules so we all have the same starting point from which to tackle this subject. Especially, since the terms biodiesel and biofuel are sometimes used interchangeably. Therefore

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Thursday, 10 November 2011

Electric Cars - Concepts, Practicality and Future – Part Two

After setting up historical and technical backgrounds in Part One this return to the subject gives us the opportunity to look at the current developmental status of the various technical solutions, a selection of vehicles and what the future might hold. An in-depth investigation of political support around the world linked with the development of an infrastructure for electric vehicles will follow at a later date.

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Thursday, 27 October 2011

Electric Cars - Concepts, Practicality and Future – Part One

The electric vehicle (EV) is at a decisive point. Despite major manufacturers within and outside the car industry working on various systems and governments professing their support, there are considerable obstacles ahead. Many challenges, particularly in terms of infrastructure, remain. Yet, there was a time when electrons as the driving force had the upper hand.

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