Solar Impulse 2 Flight-Around-The-World “Without A Drop Of Fuel” In Fact Will Burn Tens Of Thousands of Liters!


Sun-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft is to circumnavigate the globe “without a drop of fuel”. However it will in fact need thousands of litres of fuel from support planes. Photo credit: Brussels Airport, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

There’s been a fair amount of hype surrounding the Swiss Solar Impulse 2 project where it is being attempted to go around the world in a purely solar-powered aircraft, “without using a drop of [fossil] fuel“. It is being billed as a landmark flight, signifying a milestone in green aviation. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Hat-tip: Reader Konrad.

The fixed-wing aircraft departed Abu Dhabi on March 9 and has since landed in India. From there it will continue to China, Hawaii, Phoenix, New York, Morocco before finally coming full circle back to Abu Dhabi sometime in August, 2015 – “without emitting any climate gases”. Full planned route here.

The pilots Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg will alternate as the craft makes a series of stops along its journey. The plane is able to carry only a single pilot and no passengers. The aim: “We want to show what’s possible with innovative technologies,” Piccard boasted.

The 2200-kg pioneering aircraft has a wingspan that is comparable to that of an Airbus A340. According to Wikipedia lithium polymer batteries will store and power 10 hp (7.5 kW) motors with twin-bladed propellers. The upper wings have 11,628 photovoltaic cells. The major design constraint is the capacity of the lithium polymer batteries. See plane specs here.

Of course the entire flight is supposed to be done “solely” using renewable energy from the sun, and not use a single drop of aircraft fuel. But when one examines the flight more closely it turns out that mission indeed involves a huge fossil fuel carbon footprint.

According to an audio report by SRF Swiss Radio and Television the Solar Impulse 2 mission involves the substitute pilot, a technical ground crew “of dozens of people” and tonnes of equipment and logistical supplies that have to be flown behind using conventional charter flights. The “fossil fuel-free” Solar Impulse 2 journey is in fact being made possible only with the use of tens of thousands of litres of aviation fuel. This is a fact that is being almost entirely ignored by the media.

The SRF reporter tells listeners:

It is so that the entire group, the team members, are multiple dozens of men and women, have to fly behind in charter planes. This naturally is the less sustainable aspect of the entire project, but it just isn’t possible any other way. This involves one cargo plane for transporting all the equipment, and a small passenger plane on which the entire group travels to the destinations.”

A promotion video here shows how the aircraft was transported from Europe to its start point in Abu Dhabi earlier this year: With a Boeing 747!


Energy-Wasting Internet…IEA Describes “Range Of Policy Options” For Curbing Wasted Power

Press release from the International Energy Agency

Around $80 billion wasted on power for online devices in 2013

Simple measures can keep problem of inefficient ‘network standby’ from worsening in years ahead, IEA report says
2 July 2014 Paris

Today, the world’s 14 billion online electronic devices – such as set-top boxes, modems, printers and game consoles – waste around USD 80 billion each year because of inefficient technology. By 2020, the problem will considerably worsen, with an estimated USD 120 billion wasted. But a report by the International Energy Agency points to a different path, identifying simple measures that can be implemented now to improve energy efficiency in networked devices, resulting in massive savings of energy and money.

The report, More Data, Less Energy: Making Network Standby More Efficient in Billions of Connected Devices, shows that electricity demand of our increasingly digital economies is growing at an alarming rate. While data centre energy demand has received much attention, of greater cause for concern is the growing energy demand of billions of networked devices. In 2013, a relatively small portion of the world’s population relied on these devices to stay connected. But energy demand is increasing as a growing share of the world’s population becomes wired and as network connectivity spreads to devices and appliances that were previously not connected, such as washing machines, refrigerators, lights and thermostats.

‘The proliferation of connected devices brings many benefits to the world, but right now the cost is far higher than it should be,’ said IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven. ‘Consumers are losing money in the form of wasted energy, which is leading to more costly power stations and more distribution infrastructure being built than we would otherwise need – not to mention all the extra greenhouse gases that are being emitted. But it need not be this way. If we adopt best available technologies we can minimise the cost of meeting demand as the use and benefits of connected devices grows.’

As the report explains, much of the problem boils down to inefficient ‘network standby’ – that is, the maintaining of a network connection while in standby. In many devices, standby is a misnomer: it suggests that the device has gone to sleep and is almost off. In reality, most network-enabled devices draw as much power in this mode as when activated to perform their main tasks.

In 2013, the world’s networked devices consumed around 616 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity, the majority of which was used in standby mode. Of that total, around 400 TWh – equivalent to the electricity consumed annually by the United Kingdom and Norway combined – was wasted because of inefficient technology.

‘The problem is not that these devices are often in standby mode, but rather that they typically use much more power than they should to maintain a connection and communicate with the network,” said Ms. Van der Hoeven. ‘Just by using today’s best available technology, such devices could perform exactly the same tasks in standby while consuming around 65% less power.’

The report describes technologies and technical solutions as well as a range of policy options that are available to reduce energy waste. It projects that if better energy efficiency measures were applied to online devices in the coming years, 600 TWh of energy would be saved. That’s equivalent to shutting 200 standard 500MW coal-fired power plants, which would cut emissions by 600 million metric tons of CO2

In the report, the IEA calls on policy makers, standards development organisations, software and hardware developers, designers, service providers and manufacturers to work together to reduce energy demand. To achieve this, the agency urges an international initiative to enhance standards, as the issue is global.


Boosting Per Capita Prosperity And Energy Consumption Is The Only Way To Care For Our Planet

An honest look at the data allows us to conclude only one thing: The path to protecting the planet is paved with energy and human prosperity. A shortage of either would mean big trouble for the environment.

How Much Power Should We Consume?
By Ed Caryl

There have been many suggestions here on this blog, and elsewhere, that the aim of the CAGW hoax is population control.

It is obvious that the poor people of the world produce more babies; witness Africa with a birth rate much higher than the rest of the world but a very low GDP. The Africans would seem to be the model for what the Greens want the world to be: a low carbon footprint. But with their high birth rate and low production, most of Africa teeters on the brink of famine. Unable to afford energy and sanitation, many burn forests and dump their waste untreated into the environment. This would suggest that the “low carbon footprint” model is only a recipe for disaster.

On the other hand, countries with well developed economies have low birth rates but high carbon footprints. If we are to reach a stable population, one that can be sustained far into the future, a world-wide well developed economy will be required.

A well developed economy requires energy. Producing food, goods, keeping people warm or cool, assuring hygiene, and providing transportation for people, food, and products, require energy.

What are the relationships between population growth, energy consumption, and production? First, here’s a chart of electricity consumed versus GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per person for 202 countries. (Source for all the numbers in these charts is the CIA World Factbook.) Electrical power consumption can be considered a proxy for all energy consumption.

Figure 1: Per person GDP as a function of electricity use.

It is clear from Figure 1 that to have a well developed economy with a high GDP, energy consumption must also be high. A rough trend can be seen: each KW hour produces about $10 GDP per person. The average GDP per kilowatt-hour for all countries is $8.31. The ten highest electrical power users per person are: Iceland, Norway, Kuwait, Canada, Finland, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, Luxembourg, United States, and Australia. Oil production in Africa and the Middle East distort some of the GDP numbers.

What does a high GDP do to birth rate?

Figure 2: As per capita GDP rises, fertility rates (children per woman) fall.

In Figure 2, a fertility rate of 2 is the replacement level. Fertility rates below 2 indicate a declining population. Above 2 there is an increasing population. As you can see, most of Africa is poor and pregnant. African countries that are not poor are oil producers like Libya and Nigeria. Most European populations are in decline. The exceptions are Andorra and Gibraltar. Asian countries with thriving economies are below the replacement value. Singapore is the bottom point on fertility with a rate of 0.78 children per woman. South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau are just above that number.

There is a third leg to our stool: the relationship between fertility rate and electrical power. The next chart shows that relationship.

 Figure 3. The more power people consume, the less children they have.

Again, most of Africa, and some of Asia, is pregnant and powerless. It should be clear by now that there is an optimum electrical power and GDP necessary to result in a sustainable, stable population. Those numbers would appear to be about 3,000 KW hours and a GDP of about $30,000 annually per person. The total population is about seven billion. Therefore:

7 billion X 3,000 KWh = 21 trillion KWh.

21 trillion kilowatt-hours would seem to be a reasonable target. The world currently produces 19 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity. It appears that about 10% more electrical energy, with the accompanying improvement in GDP, primarily in Africa and some parts of Asia, would go a long way toward improving the quality of life and stabilizing population in those areas.

Energy drives civilization. This fundamental should be obvious to all, but apparently has not penetrated the consciousness of Greens, Progressives, and warmist zealots. Man builds cities to concentrate people, jobs, markets, and energy use into more efficient areas. Energy allows more efficient production, including food, technology, housing, and transportation. Cities and energy encourage creativity and innovation. More energy means a higher Gross Domestic Product.

Figure 4: GDP as a function of electrical power usage, for Europe and the Americas.

Figure 4 shows a clear relationship between GDP and electrical power consumption. If less electricity is generated, the cost of electricity will go up (due to the economic law of supply and demand), less will be used, and GDP will go down. The converse is, of course, more desirable: more power and reducing the cost, will result in a higher GDP. High priced wind and solar is not the answer. Let the market decide how to generate more power efficiently.

For those that are screaming “what about carbon footprint!”, the market will very soon take care of that non-problem. We are currently passing the “peak oil” point. Fossil fuels, in the long term, will be a declining portion of our power production. Barring governmental stupidity, nuclear power will be an increasing percentage of energy production.

Due to the fact that carbon dioxide is a vital plant food, as well as a minor greenhouse gas, sometime in the not too distant future we will be developing schemes to keep the atmospheric CO2 level above 400 ppm or higher.


Mathematical Computer Models Fail Utterly In The Search For The Wreckage Of Air France Flight 447

Sometimes the old wisdom turns out to be the better one – that is wisdom from the analog world, during a time when there were neither bits nor bytes, nor model calculations to explain the world to people. One of these wisdoms is: The search for missing persons using concentric circles around the last known position. Had the French aviation authority BEA followed the old wisdom, the wreckage of Air France Flight 447 would have been located within just a few weeks after it crashed off the Brazilian coast on June 1, 2009.”

This is how an online story here appearing in Germany’s flagship daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) began its story on the recent discovery of the wreckage of doomed Air France Flight 447, an Airbus 330-200 with 228 on board, which crashed into the ocean en route to Paris – almost 2 years ago.

Hat tip NTZ reader: Marcus K

So why did it take so long to find the wreckage in the Atlantic Ocean, in an area where the water is 4000 meters deep? The FAZ explains why. Instead of using the old concentric circle search method, authorities opted to rely on mathematical models from oceanographers and mathematicians. The result: they searched in the wrong area for almost 2 years.

In this case here, claiming the methodology was flawed but the answer is correct isn’t going to wash. Officails still don’t know why Flight 447 crashed. To find out, it is important to recover the flight data recorder. The sooner it is found, the quicker you can find the cause of the crash and implement possibly crucial technical modifications to the rest of the fleet in order to prevent the accident from happening again.

Unfortunately in this case, although the plane was found just recently, almost 2 years time was wasted – thus possibly put passengers in subsequent flights at needlessly higher risk.

The FAZ story writes that once a plane crashes, the flight recorder’s beacon sends out a signal for 30 days to make it easier to pinpoint its location. Already on June 10, 2009, an entire fleet of ships was searching an area, one was even equipped with Towed Pinger Locator, but there was no success. After 30 days, i.e. around July 1st, the flight recorder’s power ran out and the signal stopped. The first attempt to find the wreckage failed.

A second search attempt began on July 27, 2009, and included a French oceanography ship of the Ifremer Research Institute which used an ROV to search the ocean depths. But that search attempt also ended in failure on August 17, 2009.

Computer models send searchers on a wild goose chase

So what next? According to the FAZ (emphasis added):

Still in the summer of 2009, the French BEA contracted renowned oceanographers and mathematicians from France, Great Britain, USA and Russia to calculate the probable crash area. The task was to back-calculate the drift of the bodies and pieces of the wreckage that had been found north of the Last Known Position (LKP) on June 6, and trace it back to the time-point of the crash, taking currents, wind and waves into consideration. The highly complex calculations of the Drift Group were then summed up in a 2000 sq km probable crash area and presented in January 2010. The calculated area extended 60 km north of the last known position [LKP]. The 3rd phase of the search began on April 2, 2010.

This calculated search area is shown on the diagram, click here. Note how the mathematical computer model calculation produced an area all around where the wreckage was actually located. The last known position (LKP) is denoted by the green dot. The actual site of the wreckage is marked with an “X” and is only 10 km from the LKP!  The initial search area of 2009 is denoted by the light blue box at the top of the graphic. Finally, the computer modelled mathematical calculated search area is denoted by Phase 3.

Needless to say, the models sent the rescue efforts on a wild goose chase from April 2 to May 24 2010. The computer-model guided Phase 3, too, ended in failure.

Eventually, it wasn’t until officials had spent €30 million and almost 2 years time (and gotten a stroke of luck) that they were able to claim success in late March 2011. The French Marine had placed electronic buoys and monitored them for weeks and found out that currents behaved unpredictably and changed very often. The modelers had made wrong assumptions.

They couldn’t even model a 2000 sq km area for 5 days

Keep in mind that the modellers here only had to calculate the dynamics of one grid cell on the planet – and that for only a period of 5 days – and not the entire planet for 100 years (which climate modellers now claim they can do). A relatively small area for a only few days – and they still got it all wrong! (I’m not making fun of the mathematicians here – I’m just saying the task is extremely complex, and so you have take results cautiously).

This really ought to be a lesson for people and policymakers who rely on computer models to tell them what the climate is going to be like for the entire planet 10, 50 or 100 years into the future. Folks, it’s nothing more than wild guessing.

“Climate Saving” CFLs Now Found To Emit Deadly Cancer-Causing Vapours

I don’t have a single one of these damn things in our house, and I’m glad. Now the German online DIE WELT has a report here called: Energy Saving Lights Emit Toxic Substances.

Hat-tip DirkH

It was already widely known that CFLs released deadly mercury, but only if they broke, see here for example, or here onwhat to do if one breaks. Now, according to the German television news show “Markt“, which will air tomorrow evening at 8:15 pm, CFLs also emit cancer-causing fumes during their operation, principally phenol, which is highly toxic even in small amounts.

DIE WELT reports that the NDR news magazine selected a random sampling of CFLs from various manufacturers and had them tested by an independent laboratory.

DIE WELT writes:

The official expert for lighting, Peter Braun, confirmed the magazine’s claims that substances can find there way in the air in a room. ‘Of special concern was that all lights that were tested emitted cancer-causing substances while they operated, and these happened to be the substances that occurred with the highest concentrations,’ Braun told the network.”

One manufacturer said they would look into it, while another said they know of no concentrations that are a threat to anyone.

Great! Now we are creating a global Love Canal to make believe we are rescuing the behavior of the atmosphere.

UPDATE: Further recommended reading:

“Record-Setting” Electric Car Maker Refuses Independent Testing. Was It Just A Hoax?

Back in late October it was all over the media; the jubilation was huge. A German retrofitted Audi A2 equipped with new high-tech batteries was driven 605 km from Munich to Berlin on a single charge with an average speed close to 90 kilometres per hour, read here. It was a new record. The Mayor of Berlin, Klaus Wowereit, even welcomed the electric car at the Brandenburg Gate – a national landmark. The symbolism could not have been more poignant.

Driver Mirko Hannemann even joked that there was still enough power left to charge the iPhones of the reporters, who had flocked behind the car in a media spectacle along the route. The record-setting trip represented the breakthrough that would herald in a new age of environmentally friendly mobility, and it became a symbol of German engineering prowess.

 The 605 km distance smashed all records. Typically an electric car can travel around 70 km on a single charge, and so the 600 km distance represented a quantum leap. Electric mobility was no longer just a utopian dream. It was now reality.

According to the German Information Centre Pretoria:

In Japan, a battery-powered car has run 1,000 kilometres on one charge. That May feat was the work of Japan Electric Vehicle Club. The German engineers said their car was special because the battery was not installed inside the luggage area, but under the luggage area, meaning the full interior space of the car was still available.

German Economic Minister Reinhard Bruderle made sure to be photographed sitting in the car, indulging in its success.

According to the manufacturer of the batteries and electric motors, DBM Energy, the car has a lithium-metal-polymer battery and can function for 500,000 kilometres.

Hannemann, 27, the chief of DBM energy, said 50 experts spent six weeks adapting and tuning up the car for the run.

It was the long awaited feat needed to launch the German government’s ambitious goal of having five million electric cars on its streets by 2030, and by 2050 most urban transport would do without fossil fuels. Germany was on its way to becoming a world leading climate hero.

Is it all just a fraud?

Yesterday leading German newspaper DIE ZEIT wrote a report titled Dubious Record, raising serious questions about claims made by the heavily subsidized manufacturer. What has really raised eyebrows in particular are DMB’s claims that, as DIE ZEIT writes:

Its battery technology is ready for series production and is already affordable in niche markets, like forklifts. It allows 2000 charging cycles and 500,000 km of travel in an automobile. And that with unprecedented reliability. Even shooting through the batteries with live ammo neither led to a fire nor the release of poisonous gases. The wonder rechargeable battery “was able to maintain a constant power output”.

Those are awfully impressive claims. This led DIE ZEIT to ask: If that is so, then why all the future billions for further development? DIE ZEIT:

If that were the case, the auto industry would be at the start of a technological revolution, the military would have to convert over to this new munition-proof energy source. DBM managing director Mirko Hannemann has already received a top offer for its technology from Samsung for € 600 million – and turned it down. Why?

Independent testing refused

Die Zeit points out that when you’re playing with such high stakes, eventually you have to show your hand and become transparent. Potential investors want to see what’s really behind the mainly tax-payer financed record-setting Munich to Berlin trip. DIE ZEIT probes deeper:  

Hannemann drove the car alone while journalists had to tag along behind.”

And in order for the 600 km trip to be recognised as an official record, it was supposed to be certified by a notary public. And the manufacturer refuses to subject the technology to independent testing. DIE ZEIT:

An invited notary public never showed up. German automobile club ADAC offered to test the super-car and its potent batteries, yet the company declined. Concerning an offer to organise an independent test, no reply came to DIE ZEIT by the press deadline. That’s not a good omen! The “breakthrough” in battery technology could very well turn into a PR disaster.”

Shall we call it electric-car gate? The “record”, which probably led to hundreds of millions more being approved for research, could very well turn out to have been just a hoax. If so – fooled again!


Update: hat-tip Dirk:

DBM technology “old and unsafe”. Financial Times Deutschland reports:

A packaging manufacturer had bought a DBM Energy battery for the forklift. Just two months later ‘incompatibility between the battery and the charging unit occurred,’ confirms Papstar-Logistik director Gregor Falke. 100 firemen were mobilized, 7 people had to be hospitalized.

Low Energy Cement Production – New Development

Researchers at Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute for Technology have laid the cornerstone for a pilot plant that will produce a new kind of cement called Celitement®. Read here. This new cement developed by KIT researchers can be produced at far lower temperatures and with less lime than conventional cement. It has the potential to save 50% of the energy used during manufacturing.Manufacturing cement, like glass, is a highly energy-intensive process. Cement is an indispensible building product which has made an enormous contribution to civil engineering and to our standard of living. Our prosperity and modern standard of living as we know it would be unimaginable without it. The cement industry consumes about 2 to 3% of the world’s energy and emits more than 5% of manmade CO2, approximately 3 to 4 times more than air traffic.

Not only does the process involve the mining of limestone as the raw material, but also includes transport, handling, processing in rotary kilns, stocking and distribution.

Conventional Cement Production Process

The Celitement® process was developed by KIT researchers and uses new chemical processes during the curing of concrete, according to Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association, to which KIT is a member.

Beginning in 2011, the pilot plant will deliver about 100 kilograms per day. By 2014 an industrial plant will be put into operation and have the capacity to produce 30,000 tons per year. The target is to bring an environmentally friendly, energy-saving product to market as soon as possible.

More information is available at here.