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Etihad’s Bid to Cut Fuel Consumption

9:29 PM Posted by Aaron kinar , , No comments

In a bid to boost efficiency, Etihad Airways is planning to upgrade over half of of its A330 engines in the next two years.

The airline is also experiencing delays to its order of thirty five Boeing 787 Dreamliners. It is planning to upgrade fifteen of its fleet to Trent 700 engines, which will reduce its carbon footprint by over 10,000 tonnes per year and save more than one million gallons of fuel. Chief Operations Officer Richard Hill said in an email statement:

“This means less fuel burn which at current fuel prices should equate to fuel savings of approximately $170,000 per aircraft equivalent to $2.6m per annum for the retrofitted A330 fleet,”

Fuel costs continue to rise and airlines are also facing fines if they exceed EU carbon emissions, and this announcement by Etihad could be an indication that they are taking steps to minimise these effects on their business. They are on track to be in profit next year, despite the current financial situation.

The true cost of CFL’s

9:40 PM Posted by Aaron kinar No comments
Say Goodbye to the 60-Watt Bulb

Now most of you probably have social lives and things to get on with, so you may not be aware that as of September the 1st, the production and commercial distribution of 60-Watt light-bulbs throughout the EU will cease – Astonishing news, I know!

The idea of a ban was first bandied around during the early 90’s, but legislation regarding energy efficiency and the transformation to using CFL’s only became EU policy in 2007/2008. Since then a step-by-step process starting with 100-Watt bulbs and frosted bulbs has been enacted by the EU, with the final step of the plan being the removal of the common 60-Watt bulb. The idea of the scheme was to drive energy efficiency and help households reduce their annual gas and electricity bills.

However, in recent years a number of prominent scientists and environmentalists have raised concerns over whether CFL’s are actually more energy efficient compared to 60-Watt bulbs. The straightforward analysis of electricity consumption would tend to suggest yes; studies by the UK electricity and gas giant npower indicate that one CFL could end up saving the average household up to £100 over the life of a bulb, but recent studies conducted in Denmark suggest that the carbon footprint of a CFL is much, much higher than ordinary light-bulbs.

What are the real cost of CFL’s?

According to the International Association for Energy-Efficient Lighting it takes 1.8Kwh of electricity to assemble a CFL, compared to just 0.11Kwh to create a normal bulb. In addition to this CFL bulbs are heavier and more dangerous to handle, increasing costs to packaging and shipping. CFL’s also pose additional environmental hazards, as each bulb contains sources of mercury which can accumulate in water sources and food chains after the bulb’s disposal.

The environmental factors surrounding the construction of light-bulbs is even more distressing when you consider that most CFL’s and LED’s now contain precious rare-earths which can only be found in remote locations. According to trade statistics, China controls 97% of the world’s rare-earth market, many of which are used to create modern lighting. Ina recent report printed by The Times, medical inspectors discovered that “in Jinzhou, in central China, 121 out of 123 employees had excessive mercury levels” and “35% of workers (in a fluorescent light-bulb factory) suffered mercury poisoning, and industrial discharge containing the toxin went straight into the water supply.”

With such a high cost in both human and environmental factors the question of whether or not CFL’s are more energy efficient, compared to alternatives, must now be asked by governments of the developing world. Thorough investigation into the full cost of CFL’s must now be conducted, otherwise we risk doing more harm to the environment than we intended. To ensure the modern world’s quest for carbon emission reductions, it now appears that we have jumped straight down the barrel of a gun, and as always, our good intentions can often create perilous and long reaching side-effects.

The baths at Bath under ‘fracking’ threat…

Concerns were raised this week at one of England’s most important and well preserved historical sites, as the Bath and North East Somerset Council argued that a new licence granted to Eden Energy and UK Methane Ltd to begin test drilling in the area could cause contamination to the natural hot springs which feed the nearby Roman Baths.

A spokesperson for the local council suggested: “Bath and North East Somerset Council has obtained the very best expert advice on this matter and there is little to suggest that any thought has been given to the potential for damage to the deep water sources that supply the springs in Bath. Given the fact the hot springs are a crucial part of the tourist attraction that sustains thousands of jobs in the city, the Council must stand-up against these drilling proposals in the strongest possible terms”

The Roman baths at Bath

The baths themselves have been an integral part of the town since their construction in 60-70AD. During the Roman occupation of Britain, the baths were built-up over a period of 300 years and may have originally been commissioned by the Emperor Claudius. In 1591 Queen Elizabeth I charged the town with preserving the natural hot springs; the royal charter has now been passed on to the Bath and North East Somerset Council.

The centre of the dispute revolves around a process known as ‘fracking’ – a technique used to investigate underground sources of methane gas, which involves drilling a bore hole and using either explosives or pumping water into the ground to obtain relevant data. Local planning permission must first be approved before the DECC will consent to further tests and drilling.

Should the United Kingdom switch to using Nuclear power?

Would switching to nuclear power be the right choice for the UK?

In recent months the UK government announced that it would go ahead and invest heavily in a new wave of nuclear power stations. As part of the coalitions’ UK energy roadmap, the government stated that it had confirmed a list of eight sites around the country which are deemed suitable for the construction of new power plants. The government and UK energy suppliers

.have suggested that the majority of the sites would be operational by 2025

In a statement, RWE the corporate owner of npower, one of the UK’s leading electricty and gas suppliers, said: “As part of these ambitions, a joint venture between RWE and E.ON UK – called Horizon Nuclear Power – has secured land at Wylfa, on Anglesey, and Oldbury-on-Severn, in Gloucestershire, which was sold for nuclear development by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). Our objective through – the joint venture – is to deliver around 6GW of new nuclear build, with the first station coming online at around the end of the next decade.”

The recent events in France and Japan have caused concern over the building of new power plants, but in reality the debate over nuclear power has been waged for many years and the issue is not an easy one to untangle, as there are many ethical and political concerns involved. There are many advantages to using nuclear power, but there are also serious disadvantages to be considered. It is important to know the entire story and gather as much information as possible before making a decision, as it is a very complicated subject.

Here are the major arguments for and against nuclear power:

Advantages of Nuclear Power

Here are some the advantages of nuclear power that are argued by those who are in support of establishing nuclear power plants in the UK:

• Nuclear power produces almost no greenhouse gas emissions, making it very easy on the environment.

• The nuclear power plants can be situated almost everywhere, unlike other resources such as oil.

• The technology to build and run these plants is already available.

• A single nuclear power plant can generate a huge amount of electrical energy which can be used all throughout the UK.

• Nuclear power has the possibility for long term production because new reactors can be made when the old reactors wear down and need to be replaced. Oil reserves and other fossil fuels will not be replaceable in this way.

• An aircraft carrier running on nuclear fuel can circle the earth for 30 years without having to refuel. Compare this to a diesel fueled carrier which can only travel for 3000 miles before having to refuel.

Disadvantages of Nuclear Power

Here are some of the dangers of nuclear power that those who are opposed to the UK going nuclear state in their arguments

• Nuclear power generates a dangerous form of radiation, which can cause illness and even death in those who are infected with it.

• If a nuclear power plant experienced a spill, it would be very expensive and dangerous to clean up afterwards.

• A nuclear meltdown, such as the one recently witnessed at Fukushima Power Plant after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, could possibly release an enormous amount of radiation into the atmosphere.

• Nuclear power plants produce a waste by-product which is very toxic to humans, and nuclear waste dumps have been known to explode without warning.

• Nuclear reactors also product plutonium which can be used to create incredibly destructive nuclear weapons.

• Nuclear power uses the natural resource of Uranium, which is estimated to only last for the next 3-6 decades.

• Nuclear power stations are very expensive to build and to safely dismantle afterwards.

Now that you have heard both sides of the story, what do you think? What is your opinion on whether the UK should go nuclear or not?