Sorry Richard, didn´t see your reply as I posted my last two in a row and didn´t realice about your post in between...
richard_leeds wrote:I think something might be lost in translation?
Probably, english is not my native language and I sometimes misread some things, and usually can´t explain my point of view properly
richard_leeds wrote:I read Tommy's comments as meaning the need for clean heat energy and clean water supplies is more pressing than clean vehicles.
Agree, never said the contrary. But I didn´t read Tommy was talking about clean heat energy tough. If that´s the case, then sorry
richard_leeds wrote:I'm not sure how basics such as heat and water can be seen as avaricious?
I never said that Richard, even with my poor english I think you can´t read that on any of my replies. The only mention to that term was when I was talking about the cons of capitalism, and that was after talking about petrol companies, so you can´t seriously say this Richard, I´m afraid you´ve misread it
richard_leeds wrote:Yes clean electric cars would be great for urban pollution, but that's trifling compared to the fuel used to heat buildings. I've only mentioned the point of consumption. It gets worse when we factor in distribution.
Off course Richard, but that works both sides, you can´t compare electricity consumption, distribution and production with just fuel consumption, and if you compare the whole process for both, then yes it get worse... for fossil fuels.
When you compare the final use or consumption: fuel pollute vs electricity don´t
When you compare distribution: fuel pollute (trucks, oil tankers...) vs electricity don´t (HV network may have looses, but don´t pollute)
When you compare the production: fuel pollute (oil wells, refineries...) vs electricity "pollute" (coil plants pollute, nuclear plants pollute, but hydro stations don´t pollute, wind mills don´t pollute, solar plants don´t pollute...)
So when you compare both you´re really tempted to say electricity is 100% clean because the comparison is overwhelming. It´s not true because it depends if it comes from a coil plant or from a hydro station, but the difference is so huge it´s easy to understand electricity is seen as a green energy. And if it comes from an hydro station or a wind mill it´s even true and accurate
Also, electricity does pollute today, but we´re improving and inventing new ways to get renewable energy continuously, so we are replacing polluting plants wich means in the future all of them will be 100% renewable energy, while fossil fuels pollute today, and will pollute in any future. That´s another huge difference and a big reason to defend the change.
So the argument then says we should make generation & distribution more efficient. But when we get cleaner electricity we'd find it would have the greatest benefit if it was used it in our buildings.
Heating buildings is where we burn the majority of a natural resources, so that's where we can have the greatest gains. I can see the cooling plume from the UK's largest power station from where I'm sitting now. Raw material is being burnt and a lot of the released energy is thrown away in those steam plumes, and another load of that energy is thrown away in distribution to my house to power this laptop. In addition the most efficient way to heat my house is to burn even more raw material (ie gas) in my own little power station in my garage. My car is a pimple in comparison to all that waste.
As the ancient mariner might have said "Heat, heat everywhere, but not a joule for warmth
As it happens my house is in a small development of perhaps 30 houses, the ideal size for a small CHP unit that would provide cheap heat in winter and free cooling in the summer. When the house is empty in the daytime that CHP unit can send energy over a very short distance to the nearby town centre. Waste heat from that daytime generation can be stored in my house to see me though the night, or used for cooling in the summer.
Unfortunately UK obsession about owning our own little castles and fear of anything remotely resembling social housing means we'll never get domestic CHP schemes in the UK. Centralised power systems do have a bad press thanks to poor quality social housing in the 60's and 70's.
CHP can't be that bad can it? Look at this lovely residential area with a nearby CHP plant. It has lots of trees, no noise, and zero crime!
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/7 ... ground.jpg
Completely agree Richard. That´s my job (construction engineer) and we can improve that aspect by a really big factor. But that´s another debate, improving energy use. We can do it everywhere, heating buildings, improving the inneficient lights we use everywhere, with a more reasonable use of electric machines, realicing we don´t need a lift to go down two or three floors....
But I think that´s another debate