Launching of MV Lochinvar a great day for Inverclyde
Lochinvar, one of only two passenger and vehicle ro-ro ferries in the world to incorporate a low-carbon hybrid system of diesel electric and lithium ion battery power, was launched by Patricia Platten, wife of CMAL CEO Guy Platten.
At 142-ft in length, the diesel-electric hybrid ferry accommodates 150 passengers, as well as 23 cars or two HGVs. It was named in tribute to an 1808 poem written by Sir Walter Scott and is scheduled to operate on the Tarbert to Portavadie route by the end of 2013.
Following completion at the Ferguson yard, the first hybrid ferry Hallaig, which was launched in December 2012, will enter service on the Sconser to Raasay route.
First commercial ship built on the Clyde for five years
Hallaig the first of two cutting edge ‘hybrid’ ferries, and the first of its kind in the world, was launched at Ferguson Shipbuilders, Port Glasgow, earlier this week by Deputy First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. We think this video captures the historic event perfectly.
Green light for Scottish hydrogen hub
Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond today gave the green light for a pioneering clean energy hub in Scotland, including Europe’s largest hydrogen bus fleet, as he announced funding of up to £3.3 million for the EU-backed project.
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise funding will enable Aberdeen City Council, supported by Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, to start the project’s first phase with an order for 10 hydrogen fuel-cell buses – which produce water vapour instead of carbon monoxide and other harmful emissions.
They will be operated on First and Stagecoach bus routes in the city by early 2014 and will be refuelled at Scotland’s first large hydrogen refuelling station, which will also be able to refuel hydrogen-powered passenger cars, as they become available. Scottish & Southern Energy Power Distribution (SSEPD), working with industrial gases and clean energy technologies business BOC, will develop an integrated ‘whole hydrogen’ system which can harness wind energy to produce and store hydrogen that is then used as fuel for the bus fleet, as well as for generating electricity at times of peak demand.
The First Minister said:
“Through our Green Bus Fund, the Scottish Government is already supporting the roll-out of 74 low carbon buses, such as diesel-electric hybrids, to reduce harmful vehicle emissions. Hydrogen buses will produce zero local emissions. Aberdeen is already Europe’s offshore energy capital and this exciting new project can help position it as a leading city for low carbon technology and green transport. With a strong group of project partners, this initiative will boost Scotland’s profile as a key hydrogen technology hub and a world-leading investment location for pioneering low carbon energy and transport systems.”
The Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise have each committed up to £1.65 million to support the project, which has also received funding from the European Commission, and the UK Technology Strategy Board. In addition to the City Council, SSE and the two bus operators, other project partners include Aberdeen Renewable Energy Group, Ballard Power Systems, BOC, Scotia Gas Networks and Van Hool.
Tackling vehicle emissions in Scotland
Visitors to GreenFleet Scotland in Edinburgh will be given the opportunity to touch, taste and experience the latest low emission vehicles, including the Vauxhall Ampera, Nissan LEAF and Citroen C-ZERO. The event is on September 13th at the Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh.
2012 will be the fourth year that GreenFleet, in association with the Energy Saving Trust and O2, has staged the event at Ingliston. Last year, feedback from both the visitors to the event and the organisations that took part has been extremely favourable. Duncan Inglis of Angus Council said: “The seminars were very informative, and there was a good selection of related products and suppliers available.”
Ian Murdoch, EST Scotland, stated: “With staggering results demonstrated by last years Fuel Efficient Driving Experience, people will undoubtedly be interested in taking fuel efficient driver training sessions. In Scotland, the Energy Saving Trust can offer individuals fuel efficient driver training at a heavily subsidised cost of £12 for 50 minutes of training. Average results from this training are 15% of fuel saving. This can equate to two months’ worth of fuel. So for £12 you can potentially save hundreds of pounds. If you are in Scotland and would like to access this training, please phone your local Energy Saving Scotland advice centre on 0800 512 012 and ask about fuel efficient driver training.”
This years event will see 4 seminar sessions, with the theme being “2020 Vision – Where Green Becomes Clear”. The focus moves from the combustion engine, driver training and fuel efficient driving technology on to what we can expect from the manufacturers. Another session will look at EV’s, Plugged-in Places (PiP) and Plugged-in Fleets initiative (PiFi), the leasing of EVs and a case study. Following lunch will be a session on hydrogen, followed by the wrap up with the GreenTech Debate. More information on speakers, and general event timings, can be found here .
It is estimated that Scottish organisations could save over £250 million a year through reduced fuel bills by switching to greener company cars. Attendance is free of charge to qualifying individuals in the fleet management and associated industries, but places at the event are limited. Make sure you register now .
Transport is one of the cornerstones of the modern world. Fast, convenient transportation has allowed us to live and work at very different locations, offering us the ability to live where we want to with the minimum of compromise on our work and careers. It’s also one of the three main pillars which make up our energy use: electricity, heat, and transport. In the UK and in Scotland in particular, most of our efforts in reducing our carbon use has gone on the first of these: generating more low-carbon electricity. But that’s only part of the story.
When it comes to transport, walking, running and cycling are probably the most environmentally-friendly forms of transport you can choose. They all run on the food we consume and on the fat reserves we store. But walking is slow, and we’ve set up our road system in the UK so that cyclists share their road spaces with buses and for me, certainly, that makes cycling seem like a dangerous option.
Electric cars are starting to gain a foothold, though. A couple of years ago it was all about the hybrids, but more recently environmentally-friendly vehicles has meant fully electric cars. But they still have their limitations. We have petrol stations available at regular intervals the length and breadth of the country; we don’t yet have electric recharging points (As Top Gear pointed out). That means their range is limited to hopping from one known charging point to another. Similarly even a large petrol car can be fully refuelled after ten minutes at the pump, while electric cars generally require longer. Even their sheer quietness can be a point against them, as pedestrians and cyclists can’t hear them coming.
But every technology has to start somewhere. And it looks like electric cars are starting to get a real foothold, with the opening of the new Power of Now exhibition in Glasgow from Scottish Hydro. I had a look round it today, and it’s a bit of a strange mix between a science centre exhibit and an electric car hire and charging facility.
The exhibition space is smallish, about the size of a standard city centre retail unit, and is split into three displays, focussing on hydro power, wind power and energy savings at home. Then, next door, there’s a car hire and display unit which contains various models of electric vehicles. If I recall correctly, the staff said there’s charging available for up to six cars at a time, and that facility is free. They also had a DC charger which can charge a car in about half an hour, although apparently it only works on electric cars with Japanese engines (because they’re DC, apparently).
My car is a normal small petrol runabout. I don’t use it much because I live near a train station which gets me to work and back with minimal hassle, and those journeys it is used for tend to be short trips for the shopping and so on. I see no reason why an electric car wouldn’t do me, and thousands like me, almost all of the time. Until the technology and infrastructure catches up, it wouldn’t be hard or expensive to simply hire a petrol car for the occasional longer journey. And apparently Glasgow City Council has committed to free parking for electric vehicles within their jurisdiction.
With free car tax, petrol prices through the roof (didn’t you just know that once the £1 a litre barrier had been broached it’d never really go below it again?), and now free parking, it’s beginning to look feasible. To really take off, it does need corporations with a vision to invest in the technology, and the Big 6 energy companies do have both the incentive and the profits to help us get the infrastructure in place.
Of course, most of our electricity isn’t carbon free at the moment. But then, none of our petrol is either.
It feels like a turning point to me. But we’ll have to wait and see what will happen next.
‘Turbinetastic’ is a wind industry professional who has kindly agreed to syndicate their posts to this blog. This post was originally published on turbinetastic’s own blog on 08/03/2012.