Eco-Car Adverts

This is the start of a new series of posts looking at the newfound environmentalism of car manufacturers. I am going to be scanning in any adverts I find which I find slightly “greenwash-esque”.

Here’s the first from today’s Guardian.

Honda Advert

The theme of adverts I’ve seen recently is “green”. Lots of countryside, flowers, plants, open spaces. Let’s see what happens!

On the theme of cars, I’ve realised I’m not anti-car per se. Cars/Vans are needed to fulfill certain jobs. How would an electrician or a builder ply their trade without a vehicle. We just need to get rid of the majority of car journeys that aren’t actually necessary. I think as the price of petrol increases people will cut back on journeys such as walking the kids to school and moving nearer to their place of work. It will take several years to happen but luckily in the UK we don’t have really sprawling suburbia.

Powered by Pond Scum: Could biodiesel from algae be a viable transportation fuel?

There are over 26 million cars on the roads of the UK and the vast majority of these are fuelled by fossil fuel derived oil. As well as the price of fuel steadily increasing, climate change and geopolitical issues have also hastened the search for more sustainable sources of oil. Biodiesel has the potential to be an alternative as it is derived from pure vegetable oil and can generally be run in conventional diesel engines without modification or as a blend with standard diesel. However there are several environmental and ecological issues such as competing land use especially concerning food crops.

Algae are similar to plants in that they produce lipids through photosynthesis which can be recovered to produce oil. They have the potential for higher yields as they require less surface area to grow and more of the oil is recoverable. They could potentially be grown, harvested and converted into biodiesel on marginal land without displacing food crops. The biofuels lecture given at the A4 module showed that transport energy requirements represent a large proportion of total energy use in the UK which is growing yearly. Alternatives such as algae have the potential of reducing dependence on fossil fuels which may be extremely beneficial both politically and environmentally.

I am going to begin this essay with an introduction to biodiesel and some associated environmental issues. I will then discuss algae, looking at the history over the course of the 20th century. I will also look at current and future technologies before seeing
whether this micro-organism could be the fuel to keep our transport system running.

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World Running Dry: An examination of the concept of “virtual water” in relation to the impending global water crisis

“The lectures during the A3 module showed how water is becoming scarcer even in maritime climates such as the UK. Examples were given on how to adapt both buildings and our own habits to reduce the 148 litres per day (OFWAT 2007) that each person uses. However as important as conservation of domestic supplies is, in actual fact the vast majority of our personal “water footprint” comes from the water used to grow the food we eat. (Waterwise 2007)

Globally one billion people lack a basic supply of clean drinking water and by 2025 two-thirds of the planet will be living in water scarce areas (Waterwise 2007). In developing countries, as people migrate to urban environments, diets are becoming more meat based which places even more stress on domestic and agricultural water demands. Given that a growing population is using the same finite water supplies, it is possible that we will be unable to produce enough food to feed everyone.

As virtual water is a way of quantifying the water used to produce a given product, I am going to look the origins of this method, how trading in this commodity might work and examine how changing diets can affect the consumption of water”

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Back from CAT again

I’ve just spent another week in the fabulous place that is CAT in Wales. The weather was perfect – a little bit different to the flooding that took place last month. We went to a great party at the Corris Youth Hostel followed by some beach antics in Aberdyfi. I’m going to post my latest two essays here for all to read. Comments are more than welcome 😉