Category RSC Clean Technology Monographs
As stated in the Preface, this book makes no attempt to treat energy conservation – this merits a volume of its own. Nevertheless, it would be remiss in looking ahead to 2020 not to mention the role that conservation will play in modifying the demand for energy. There are considerable opportunities for energy savings in almost all spheres of human activity.
* Externality is a terra used in economics to describe costs (or benefits) that are not reflected in the price of the goods or service from which the externality arises.
In temperate climates, many buildings are poorly insulated and wasteful of energy, both for winter heating and summer cooling. Old houses are usually built of stone (a good thermal conductor) or of brick, without any significant insulation...Read More
In considering ‘global warming’, three facts seem incontrovertible:
(i) there are certain gaseous molecules in the atmosphere (including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) that absorb and re-radiate infrared radiation – the greenhouse gases
(ii) the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased steadily since the industrial revolution
(iii) the mean global temperature is rising slowly.
Most authorities link these three facts and conclude that the temperature rise is a consequence of the anthropogenic release of greenhouse gases. While there is compelling reason to make this link, it is by no means proven beyond all doubt. Another greenhouse gas is water vapour, which is more potent than carbon dioxide. The effect of water vapour is well known...Read More
Attempting to predict the future is notoriously difficult and anyone who does so is providing a hostage to fortune. In 1965, Penguin Books published The World in 1984, a paperback that was based on a series of articles that had appeared in The New Scientist in 1964. These articles were written by eminent scientists and industrialists of the day, who were asked to predict the likely developments 20 years ahead in their respective fields of specialization. Re-reading this fascinating book today, two general conclusions emerge:
(i) there was much optimism over how quickly new technology might evolve – almost 40 years on, some of the developments are still awaiting realization, for instance: the widespread use of supersonic jets for long-haul flights and electricity generation by magnetohydrod...Read More
Fuel cells have been described in outline in Section 8.3, Chapter 8, both in the context of stationary power sources for the distributed generation of electricity and as portable or mobile power sources for applications ranging from advanced cellular phones to electric vehicles. The attractions of fuel cells have been pointed out, as well as some of the difficulties encountered in their development. Here, we consider in more detail the situation as it pertains to electric and HEVs.
As power plant for vehicles, fuel cells face particular problems that are not so critical for stationary applications. The principal difficulties are: 
The severity of these problems varies with the type of vehicle: it is most severe for small cars and least severe for buses and trucks...Read More
There are two basic architectures for ICE-battery hybrid vehicles, namely, ‘series – hybrids’ and ‘parallel-hybrids’. In a series-hybrid (Figure 10.9(a)) the drive is allelectric and a small heat engine serves to recharge the battery that powers the electric motor. When used in a purely EV mode (e. g. in cities, with the engine switched off), it may, if desired, be re-charged overnight from the mains. An alternative option is to have a larger engine and a smaller traction battery, such that the power is provided mostly by the engine, which is only switched off for limited urban operation.
In a parallel-hybrid configuration (Figure 10.9(b)), there are dual transmission systems: a mechanical one driven directly by the engine and an electrical one driven by the electric motor...Read More
Given the demonstrated disadvantages of vehicles that are powered by batteries alone, most of the major automotive companies are actively engaged in the development of ICE-battery HE Vs as more practical alternatives. Conventional
ICE Vs are grossly overpowered for steady driving, so as to provide the extra performance necessary for acceleration and climbing gradients. The steady-power requirement is often only 10-20% of the peak demand. ‘Sports’ vehicles, in particular, are highly powered and a prime consideration for many drivers when choosing a car is the time it takes to accelerate to 100 km h-1. This performance is bought at the expense of fuel economy. HEVs provide a solution to this dilemma...Read More
A novel form of electrathon has been pioneered in Australia. This is a contest for EVs that are powered solely by solar energy. The ‘solar cars’ are necessarily ultralightweight and can only be operated effectively in a sunny climate, as exists in central Australia. In 1983, two Australians drove a solar-powered EV across the continent from Perth to Sydney (4084 km) in 172 h. This was a remarkable feat that was the first to demonstrate the application of renewable energy to road vehicles. Building on this success, since 1987 a series of solar-powered endurance events – The World Solar Challenge – has been held regularly in Australia, from Darwin in the north to Adelaide in the south, through 3010 km of barren, largely uninhabited, country...Read More
As long ago as the 1890s, in the very early days of the internal-combustion engine, people were driving electric vehicles and soon an interest in racing them developed. At one stage, a French racing car – ‘Jamais Contente’ (Figure 10.7(a)) – held the world land speed record of 105 km h-1. Over the years, there has been a continuing interest in racing electric vehicles. As the body design of Formula 1 Grand Prix cars developed, so was it was adopted by their electric counterparts.
Another related activity has been EV endurance runs known as ‘electrathons’. These events began in 1979 in England and rapidly became popular elsewhere...Read More