October 22nd

Nobel Prizes in economics may be useful for sustainability

A necessary, but insufficient, condition is that the findings of the researchers can be transferred to common knowledge. One of the main problems in policy design is that the general perception of how markets and economy work is built on simplifications that we all know are wrong, but still prefer to think of as real and true. Some of them are:

  • That information is perfect for all actors, whereas in reality it is asymmetric. Some know more than others and in some cases we prefer to hide our knowledge or to keep our true valuation of an offer secret in the hope of getting a better deal
  • Another is that we act as if every problem were new to us, whereas in reality we act with a memory of earlier or similar experiences. We learn and draw conclusions from our learning.
  • A third is that we are rational and indifferent between options with similar economic outcome. If we earn by hazard 100€ and lose 100€ on the same day, we just shrug it off as if nothing has happened. We are back on zero. Whereas, in reality, we value gains and losses with different scales. Losses give us more grief than the joy we get from our gains.

There are more everyday problems that most economic reasoning and rhetoric tend to forget, but let us stay with these. The Nobel Prize in economics has in the last decade honoured several findings in the areas mentioned, and that may have a great impact on how we handle economics and policy design related to sustainability issues.

Read full article

October 20th

Exhibits at an Eastern European fair (2)

Also this series of installation material, by a supplier from the city of Minsk in Belarus, even though called 'Prestige'...


Read full article

October 18th

Near-future cars

How far away is mass marketing of electric vehicles?

Electric vehicles are being taken more seriously than ever before. And not just by environmentalists and electrical engineers. Some of the world’s biggest car companies are finally seeing the writing on the wall.

Is this a positive evolution? In my opinion, it certainly is. Even if the electricity is produced with coal-fired power stations without carbon capture, a plug-in hybrid car will still emit about 25 per cent less CO2 over its life cycle than a standard gasoline car [1]. Moreover, electricity generation is evolving towards an increasing share of carbon free renewables in its energy mix.

Yet in spite of this, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce is considering subsidizing the production of coal-to-liquid transport fuels. One has to wonder why, since that option results in approximately double the CO2 emissions compared to the coal-to-electricity option.

Does the current interest mean that mass production of electrical vehicles is on the horizon? Yes, but it is not likely to be tomorrow. First of all, the current hype is based more on promises and prospects than any hard facts and proven hardware. The inescapable truth is that there are still no true electrically powered standard cars available on the mass market. Secondly, what will be achieved in the market as a whole in the next few years depends largely on progress in battery technology, and more specifically, lithium-ion battery technology [2].Read full article

October 17th

Ocean Energy

I've wondered lately what amount of energy could be produced if the resources expended in the three Gorges Dam could have been used to construct a waterfall the coast of China, or any nation? How much energy would be developed? It may exceed the total amount of energy expected from Three Gorges, and most dams on waterways now constructed in China. What a wonderful way to eliminate the horrors now visiting China as a result of the damming of the Yangtze River.

Read full article

October 16th

Energy security and critical infrastructure resilience

Ivan Benes
Post date: 
Tue, 10/16/2007 - 15:33

The Czech Republic has a well developed national transmission grid. Nevertheless, several emergency situations occurred last year (2006). The energy security discussion between public and private sector was accelerated. The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Regional Development as well as several Regional Governments sponsored several studies and research projects into how to improve population protection as well as critical infrastructure protection.

Read full story

October 15th

Propagation of Unbalance in Electric Power Systems

Power quality has become an important issue for electric power engineering. Nowadays, the distribution electric networks have unbalanced operating regimes, mainly produced by the great number of single-phase loads. Unbalanced line currents produce unbalanced voltage drops on the three phases of the supply system. Consequently, the voltage system within the supply network will become unbalanced.

Read full article

Insulation and Heating

Buildings account for 40% of energy consumption in Europe, so their inherent efficiency is very important.

Efficient space heating requires a properly insulated and sealed building, together with a correctly sized heating system. The choice of system is also important; best practice includes gas-fired condensing boilers and ground-water heat pumps.

Read full article

October 13th

Exhibits at an Eastern European fair (1)

During the past 40 years death victims of electrical accidents have dropped from 300 to 68 per year in a developed industrial country like Germany. This is largely a consequence of meticulous standardisation work and a steady increase in electrical safety requirements along with implementation mechanisms of these standards.

Read full article

October 10th

Electric/hybrid cars breaking efficiency records!

The Aptera is the newest two-seat car with high fuel efficiency entering the market – the company is accepting orders for delivery in about one year. The producers claim that it can achieve more than 300 miles to the gallon (or less than 0.78 l/100 km) and a top speed of 150 km/h.

Read full article

October 8th

Repenting recidivists

Old habits are hard to break. If you are sceptical about climate change, you may want to cling to that view, but if you prefer to deal with the matter, a habitual approach can be very useful. The repenting recidivist may have an advantage in his mindset! Let us, however, deal with the matters one by one.

The well-known sceptical environmentalist, (as he calls himself,) Bjørn Lomborg, is marketing his new book “Cool it”. He does so in an article with the witty title “Global Warning” in which he repeats his arguments that there are other issues more pressing and important to deal with than the global warming.

As in earlier articles, the stories told are anecdotal and fragmented, and often seem to be taken out of context. It is true that many of us have, in many respects, a better life today than decades ago, but that is certainly not evidence of a continuous development for the betterment of all, worldwide.

Polar bears, too close for comfort

He claims that the polar bear, an oft-used indicator of global warming hazards, is a growing population, and the hunting in Hudson Bay is more dangerous to these animals than global warming. The truth seems to be that the reason for the hunting in Hudson Bay is that polar bears have to retreat and find new habitats when the ice melts. They then come “too close for comfort” to humans in the villages who sometimes have to give an armed response.Read full article


Follow us