Living on Mars? Who Will Collect the Garbage? PDF Print E-mail


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Malcolm Bates wonders if it wouldn’t it be better for us to look after the planet we already have before we contemplate moving to Mars?

To be honest, I wasn’t really listening to my car radio at the time. After all, the news over recent weeks had been a depressing cocktail of tensions over North Korea, who the latest White House staffer is to have been fired (as if the rest of us really care!) and more recently, the tragic aftermath of both man-made (Like the Grenfell Tower fire in London, England) and natural disasters (From mudslides in South America, floods in Texas and hurricanes in th Caribean) that have befallen our Planet.

So was an item suggesting that in the future, mankind should up sticks and move to another planet designed to lift our spirits? It’s a well-trodden theme of science fiction of course, but from what I gather, this item was serious. It suggested Mars was the best option and...

“Hang on a minute” I shouted out loud while stuck in busy traffic. “Wouldn’t it be better if we looked after the planet we already have?”

Clearly, the worried-looking truck driver next to me couldn’t answer that question. But then seemingly, nor can anyone else in our political elite. For example, we cant even seem to agree on a common system to collect and utilise foodwaste - even though half the planet doesn't get enough of it (food, that is), while the other half wastes it in Industrial portions.

Yet taking foodwaste - and moisture - out of the general waste stream is probably the most useful thing we can do in our industry. But ask three professionals for their idea of ‘Best Practice’ and, chances are, you’ll get four answers.

Come on - how hard can it be?

Here’s another waste-related issue that neither our politicians are seemingly still unable to solve. It’s now normal for motorists and truck drivers mostly, but children and teenagers as well, to eat and drink on the move.

The resulting debris gets thrown by the side of the road without thinking of what it costs to clear up. The answer? ‘Education’ has clearly failed. The threat of greater fines? Unlikely because detection is ineffective. So can ‘technology’ help here?

Instead of relying on manual labour, could a new breed of vacuum machine designed to collect roadside litter and fly-tipped material from verges help? And why cant someone design a truly effective foodwaste collection ‘system’ including the household bins? Sealed ‘vacuum pack’ modules perhaps?

My point? The waste industry is hardly rocket science is it? But call me old fashioned - I wouldn’t want to ride to another planet on a spacecraft built by a civilisation who couldn’t even master the problems of roadside debris or foodwaste here on earth, first. Would you?

Federal utility: $900M to move power plant ash to landfill PDF Print E-mail

NOVEMBER 16, 2017 01:17 PM

UPDATED NOVEMBER 16, 2017 01:19 PM

Hydrogen could replace diesel in 15 years says LNVG, as fuel cell train contract signed PDF Print E-mail


9 Nov 2017

GERMANY: ‘Fuel cell technology has a good chance to prevail in Germany in the next 10 to 15 years, with diesel vehicles being more and more forced out of the market’, said Niedersachsen transport authority LNVG when it signed a 30-year contract with Alstom and gas supplier Linde Group for the delivery, maintenance and fuelling of 14 Coradia iLint hydrogen-fuelled multiple-units.

‘The use of hydrogen for rail vehicles is a milestone in the application of fuel cells for emission-free transport’, said Linde board member Bernd Eulitz at the ceremony in Wolfsburg on November 9. ‘For the first time, the coupling of this sector to hydrogen infrastructure will be realised with a significant scope and in an economically viable manner. This development will push the establishment of a hydrogen society and will create new solutions for the storage and transport of energy.’

The iLint multiple-units are to be built at Alstom’s Salzgitter plant, and will be leased by LNVG to its contracted train operator for use on Elbe-Weser services between Cuxhaven, Bremerhaven, Bremervörde and Buxtehude. The existing two-car prototype unit and a second unit are scheduled to enter service in spring 2018, with the rest of the fleet scheduled to replace diesel multiple-units from December 2021.

The trains will be maintained at an existing depot in Bremervörde where Linde will build a hydrogen fuelling point, with the estimated €10m cost funded by the federal government. The on-site production of hydrogen by electrolysis and wind energy is planned for a later phase of the project.

According to Alstom, the Coradia iLint will be able to operate at speeds up to 140 km/h and cover a distance of up to 1 000 km between refuelling.

The contract ‘represents a real breakthrough in rail transport and a big step change towards a clean mobility system’, said Alstom’s Senior Vice-President, Europe, Gian Luca Erbacci. ‘For the first time worldwide, a hydrogen-fuelled passenger regional train will replace diesel trains, generating zero emissions with the same performance as a regular regional train’

The Land of Niedersachsen is providing €81·3m for the project. ‘From now on there will be a real alternative to diesel trains for non-electrified rail transport’, said Niedersachsen Economy & Transport Minister Olaf Lies at the signing event. ‘Hydrogen and fuel cells are an ideal combination for climate protection as well as for the energy and transport revolution. They allow the storage of energy and emission-free travelling on rail. We fund innovative technologies and make a sustainable contribution to the energy revolution in the transport sector.’

The Federal Ministry of Transport & Digital Infrastructure is contributing €8·4m from the National Innovation Programme for Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Technology.

  • The Coradia iLint was described in more detail in the March 2017 issue of Railway Gazette Internationalmagazine, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.
Royal Caribbean to Test Fuel Cell on High-End Newbuild PDF Print E-mail

File image courtesy Ballard Power Systemscell

By MarEx 2017-11-08 15:38:57

Canadian technology firm Ballard Power Systems has delivered the world's first fuel cell power supply for a luxury cruise ship. ABB will integrate the fuel cell module into the electrical system on one of Royal Caribbean's new Icon-class vessels, along with all control, converter and transformer equipment. The 100-kilowatt (130 horsepower-equivalent) device will be used to take up the vessel's hotel load during port calls, with a longer-term goal of evaluating its suitability for main propulsion applications. 

The fuel cell has already been delivered, and before it is installed on board a newbuild, RCL is using it as a demonstration model at company events. It is currently providing onsite power for "Sea Beyond," an RCL event in Brooklyn's Navy Yard this Wednesday and Thursday.

“Our goal is to take the smoke out of the smokestacks,” said Harri Kulovaara, EVP of maritime and newbuilding for Royal Caribbean Cruises. “We are dedicated to innovation, continuous improvement, and environmental responsibility, and using fuel cell technology gives us the opportunity to deliver against all three of these pillars.”

Competitor Viking Cruises has announced plans to build a 900-passenger vessel with hydrogen fuel cells for main propulsion. Several bunkering vessels to carry the fuel to the cruise ship are also part of Viking's project, and the line is working with Statoil to find a local fuel supply solution based at a Norwegian refinery. It will be the first cruise ship to operate on liquid hydrogen, but not the first vessel to run on the fuel: several hydrogen-powered inland tour boats have been in use in Europe for some time. 

Fuel cells generate energy by exploiting an electrochemical reaction at the interface between the anode or cathode and the electrolyte membrane. They involve no combustion, converting hydrogen fuel directly to electricity and heat. Their theoretical efficiency in turning chemical energy into usable power is in the range of 80 percent, potentially exceeding the 50 percent real-world efficiency of advanced large-bore diesels.

95 percent of the world’s hydrogen supply is currently produced by steam reformation of natural gas, oil or coal, though renewable alternatives are possible. A recent study by Sandia National Laboratories found that a hydrogen-fueled vessel’s operating cost and net CO2 emissions would vary depending upon the manner in which the hydrogen is produced. 

Ballard's fuel cells have previously been deployed in hydrogen-powered buses, which have logged over six million miles in service, with exceptional uptime. They are available in power levels ranging from 30kW (for small buses) to 200kW (for light rail and marine applications).

Eco-friendly hydrogen trains to replace ageing dirty diesels PDF Print E-mail

Alstom, which has developed a hydrogen-powered train, above, is in talks with a number of British train operators


Hydrogen-powered trains could be introduced to the rail network under government plans to phase out dirty diesel engines.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said new incentives would encourage companies into using greener trains and indicated that franchises handed to train operators to run passenger services would be rewritten to force them to meet “environmental targets”.

Paul Maynard, the rail minister, said that companies had to consider the use of cleaner energy, including hydrogen and battery-powered trains, as an alternative to diesel.

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