Meeting electricity needs in 2050

Brief notes from the discussion at Imperial College, London, September 18, 2013. Much is verbatim and without referenced sources. Thanks to Imperial for hosting the event. Co-organised by  the Network of Energy Doctoral Training Centres (@energycdtnetwor) and Energy Futures Lab (@energy__YES)

– thanks to the above for their hospitality

Panel Speakers:
Prof. Jim Seka – chair in Sustainable Energy
Dr Paul Fennel – senior lecturere, Clean Energy, Imperial
Dr David Kennedy – CE, Committe on Climate Change
Malcolm Grimston – Assoc Fellow, Chatham House
Steve Hargreaves – Corp Strategy Director, EDF Energy
.. and a room of 100 or so question filled audience

Opening comments:
– Importance emphasised of carbon sequestration, renewables and nuclear
– Commercial markets will not be able to regulate/plan for long term energy management – they typically only plan 4-5 years ahead
– Most nuclear plants small 10-20MW reactors, multiple small units colocated – easier to manage, safer than large monolithic structures
– Uranium proven to be plentiful – fossil reserve estimates have inc 250% (switching to thorium brings other benefits)

Major savings in gradual investment rather than making change in a rush at the end

– ‘prices increase by £100 by 2020 but flatten out after’
– electricity price doubling over past 10 yrs driven by gas increases
– policy costs hit electricity use not gas
– ‘don’t believe prices will ever return to 10 yrs ago’

UK has about 10 major electricity intensive industries we need and dont want to them to relocate

1.2billion people dont have access to electricity, many developing countries have only limited access, but a growing need

CCS (carbon storage) can work today, but is expensive

Energy efficiency – social change?
— hand-holding, area driven approach best for making people change
— may achieve 1/2deg required from the 6deg necessary (climate change)
— to everyone’s advantage, but not to the (competitive) advantage of any single country
— would be great benefit in flattening out prices
— energy efficiency actually increases demand for other energy consumption

1st solar generation in 1883, wind in 1884, whilst Edison’s fossil powerplant started just before in 1882

Development of India or China alone (current estimates), if not low-carbon, is enough to tip the environment and override any savings by the rest of world

Decarbonising industry – industry accounts for 65% of energy use, compared to domestic (35%) upon which the media is focused
— 10% of 35% is only half the saving of 10% of 65%

Any govt that charges an effective carbon tax would be unelectable from hike in energy costs

USA saving carbon by using shale gas, but exporting the coal it would have used itself! – common to other countries that developed an alternative cleaner energy source

Most effective/economical: Energy efficiency, Biomass, CCS

Have a total-view tax system that taxes pollution-creating generation and consumption, rather than domestic consumers or clean industry

Low carbon investment drives economy

Maximum turbine generation limited to 1.5MW by stress forces on the drive train – also applies to marine systems, eg. tidal power

Remote (WIFI) control energy sockets for ‘continuous’ consumption analysis

Thermopiles generating 12v on any 60deg temperature gradient

#Chemicals found in #phones are a no-no for #kids

#Chemicals found in #phones are a no-no for #kids

Home #printing Vs. paying for professional work

sure a small print run is easily done at home:
the question is, if it is inkjet, it wont be rain-resistant. Important for posters that will be exposed to the elements. It used to be a problem only in the winter, ha, ha.

Laser is not so affected but professional dye printing is pretty much immune to water ingress. Obviously not a problem when used indoors.

Professional printing probably costs not that much more than home printing, the average real cost of producing full page full colour prints is still high if you do a lot of them (heavy weight or coated paper costs a fortune, even at trade), and changing/buying inks can cause heart-attacks. Just think about changing all 4 colour cartridges in a laser printer! You’d be lucky to have change from £100.

For volume printing, even 50+, pro printing is almost certainly cheaper. And there might be beneficial options available, double sided, gloss finish, edging/ cutting, etc.

Delivery costs, or having to go out to the print shop could be disadvantageous though: it’s not as convenient as doing it at home.

And some printers dont like short runs – we are more flexible.

Regarding laminating, the other common water-proof method.
I prefer the idea of water resistant printing, then affixing the poster to heavy (recycled?) cardboard to make stiff – really dont like lamination .. To use lamination for eco/ green/ environment organisations work seems so ironic to me, but we’ve done it as we can do 300mm width*, but it doesnt seem quite right.

Another alternative is a reusable plastic sleeve, taped closed.

*(specialty lamination to 210mm width only: banner, adhesive, magnetic, etc.)

You can repair it at the Repair Café.

Books tickets on Evenbrite:

A Community Project to Repair, Reuse, Recycle

[ ahem, we subscribe to ’Reuse Repair Remake Recycle’ that we thought of first? & independently! – Remake (it into something interesting) is more creative 🙂 ]

What do you do with a chair when the leg has come loose? With a light that no longer works? Toss it? No way!

Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). The types of items that can be repaired and reused include clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances and toys.

Why a Repair Café?
We throw away vast amounts of stuff. Even things with almost nothing wrong, and which could get a new lease on life after a simple repair. The trouble is, lots of people have forgotten that they can repair things themselves or they no longer know how. Knowing how to make repairs is a skill quickly lost. Society doesn’t always show much appreciation for the people who still have this practical knowledge.

Repair Café is changing all that! People who might otherwise be sidelined are getting involved again. Valuable practical knowledge can be passed on. Our possessions are being used for longer and don’t have to be thrown away. This reduces the volume of raw materials and energy needed to make new products. It cuts CO2 emissions, for example, because manufacturing new products and recycling old ones causes CO2 to be released.

Repair Café teaches people to see their possessions in a new light. And, once again, to appreciate their value. Repair Café helps change people’s mindset. This is essential to kindle people’s enthusiasm for a sustainable society.

But most of all, Repair Café just wants to show how much fun repairing things can be, and how easy it often is. Why don’t you give it a go?

The Goodlife Centre
The Goodlife Centre’s light and airy workspace in Waterloo is an ideal environment for a Repair Café, which is free to attend. Visitors are encouraged to bring their broken items from home for assessment, and if deemed repairable by the organisers, can start making their repairs in the Repair Café. DIY and electrical experts from The Goodlife Centre will be on stand-by to advise and a selection of tools and materials will be made available for use on the day. It’s an ongoing learning process in a friendly social environment with plenty of tea or coffee on hand.

The types of items that can be repaired and reused include clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances and toys. In fact, there is very little that cannot be given a new lease of life. We hope that the Repair Café will help Londoners view all of their possessions in a new light and appreciate their lifelong value. By reducing our dependency on throwing away and starting over and instead focusing on repairing and reusing items, we hope to inspire enthusiasm for a sustainable society.

The Goodlife Centre is about sharing practical knowledge and learning traditional skills for life and this is very much in line with the values of the Repair Café concept. By hosting a regular Repair Café, we hope not only to encourage sustainability in our borough, but to facilitate a community that learns from each other.

Director and founder of the Repair Café, Martine Postma says:
We are very happy to see that our concept is taken up with so much enthusiasm in other countries. We’re very excited about the first Repair Cafe in the UK, in London!

London’s first Repair Café will take place at The Goodlife Centre on Sunday 22nd July from 2pm – 5pm. The Goodlife Centre is just ten minutes from Waterloo, Borough and Southwark tube stations.

For full details of the Repair Café concept that originated in Holland go to

Also follow the independent London group ‘RestartProject’
Twitter @RestartProject

Apple & EPEAT : really green?

So after just a couple of days, in a rather rare change in direct, the fruity firm Apple, returns to EPEAT ‘eco & green recycling certification’ following a substantial customer backlash. Not that this had anything to do with their change of mind of course
[ for the record, we aren’t against Apple or Microsoft, or anyone else, but do object to hypocrisy or sales gumph ultimately designed to do nothing more for the world than improve their profits ]
It is probably worth considering that it is Apple’s success at producing ‘iconic’ products that puts it in the limelight, and that many other companies probably do similar things ..
Long term, probably Linux and open source is the only way to go .. so many devices become obsolete simply because the software is no longer available that supports them.

Maybe its just that to make things thin, they have to be glued together – is that the secret of modern manufacturing?
Perhaps its time to stop this fixation with all things thin and start worrying about a healthy planet

The Register:
.. pulled all 39 of its products from the EPEAT’s registry of “green gadgets” last week.
Teardown website iFixit speculated that the glued-on battery in the Pro is to blame. The EPEAT standards specify that machines must be easy to disassemble in order for parts to be recycled or upgraded [PDF].
iFixit writers described their experience of taking apart the new MacBook Pro:
That’s why it’s such a problem when manufacturers glue batteries into place with industrial-strength adhesive. When we originally tore down the Retina MacBook Pro, we could not separate the battery from the upper case. The next day, after a lot of elbow grease, we were finally able to get them apart—but in the process punctured the battery, leaking hazardous goo all over.
“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake,” writes Bob Mansfield, Apple’s senior veep of hardware engineering
“Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve,” Mansfield writes

– the word ‘evolve’ is worrying

“I am very happy to announce that all of Apple’s previously registered products, and a number of new products, are back on the EPEAT registry,” EPEAT head Robert Frisbee

Mr Mansfield is unlikely to be involved in the effort as he announced last month that he was soon to leave Apple.
“We look forward to Apple’s strong and creative thoughts on ongoing standards development,” said Robert Frisbee.

EPEAT: (for Apple 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display MC975)
– the Macbook got itself ratified within 24 hours of returning to the register
– several of the EPEAT certifications (ending in a GOLD award) are questionable
– several criteria can be obtained by providing extended servicing by ‘the manufacturer’, for 3 years after guarantee, or by 3 ‘approved’ repairers. 4 years lifetime does not seem very eco to us

4.3 Design for end of life
YES Required Easy disassembly of external enclosure
YES Optional Molded/glued in metal eliminated or removable

4.4 Product longevity/life cycle extension
YES Required Upgradeable with common tools
YES Optional Availability of replacement parts
– this could be true though (replaced the fan recently in an older Macbook)

Comments (just some) ..
Over 5 years is “vintage”, Apple has “discontinued hardware service” on them (except in California who apparently told them to go stuff it). Over 7 years is “obsolete” – nothing at all and even service centres can’t get parts.

How is it possible that it has attained this certification when the bloody battery is still glued to the case, has someone tweaked the EPEAT requirements while no one was looking? If the laptop cannot easily be separated into its component parts for recycling whats the point. Looking at the “End of life” requirements on the website, anything glued or requiring manual separation is only an option?
Does that mean they are no longer going to glue the batteries to the laptop casing in a way that makes them completely non-removable and non-replaceable?
Also, does that mean they are going to stop bonding aluminium to glass and plastic in screen assemblies?

That’s the thing with Apple – forced obsolescence. 10.8 is now dropping support for other models so they probably only have a year before they become unsupported. My -2 year old first gen iPad won’t take IOS6