Sunday, February 28, 2021

As clean as electricity: Porsche to start making synthetic fuel next year that could slash petrol-engined cars' CO2 emissions by 85%

I get the idea. It is to build up a fuel from basic components rather than modifying an existing fuel. It would have to be very expensive

And I can't see how it would help. The fuel will still be a hydrocarbon and burning a hydrocarbon gives off CO2

The whole thing is very light on detail -- probably for good reasons

Porsche has outlined plans to begin trials in 2022 that could save its high-performance petrol cars from extinction.

The German sports car maker has been developing its own synthetic fuel - or eFuel - that it claims would cut CO2 emissions produced by internal combustion engines by as much as 85 per cent.

The fuel would not require any modifications to a car and be compatible with both current and older vehicles - and it could make existing motors as clean as electric cars, when you take into account the carbon footprint created during production and supply.

Porsche has been working in partnership with Siemens Energy and other international companies since last year to develop and implement a pilot project in Chile designed to yield the 'world's first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels'.

Last week, the company's head of motorsport, Dr Frank Walliser, provided an update on the plans ahead of the unveiling of the new £123,100 Porsche 911 GT3.

With a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six engine that can rev to a wailing 9,000rpm and produce a maximum 503bhp, it's no slouch - accelerating from 0-to-62mph in 3.4 seconds and to a top speed of 199mph.

But while it might be quick, it won't be particularly good for the planet when using traditional unleaded petrol. Porsche quotes CO2 emissions of 283 to 304g/km, depending on the car's specification.

With strict carbon targets set for manufacturers to meet and the impending ban on new petrol and diesel cars across various nations - it comes in from 2030 in the UK - it will spell an end to Porsche's internal combustion engine sports cars.

Porsche has already started its own transition to electric vehicles, with the launch of the impressive Taycan - priced from £70,690 in the UK - from 2019.

However, Walliser says the brand is set to begin trials of its own synthetic fuel next year that Porsche believes could make its high-performance petrol cars just as economical as an electric vehicle.

He explained that the company, working with partners in South America, will 'for sure' start trials in 2022, though they will be 'very small volume' initially.

'It's a long road with huge investment, but we are sure that this is an important part of our global effort to reduce the CO2 impact of the transportation sector,' he added.

In December, the company announced a new partnership with energy firms Siemens Energy, AME and Enel and the Chilean petroleum company ENAP.

The aim is to build a plant specifically for the commercial production of synthetic fuels in Chile, which will use the location's blustery environment to produce eFuels with the aid of wind power.

If operational in 2022, Porsche says it could be producing 55 million litres of greener synthetic fuel by 2024, and as much as ten times that amount two years later.

Commenting on the plans last year, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume reaffirmed that 'electromobility' remains the top priority at Porsche but eFuels for cars are a 'worthwhile complement to that' – as long as they’re produced in parts of the world where a 'surplus of sustainable energy is available'.

'They are an additional element on the road to decarbonisation,' Blume said in December. 'Their advantages lie in their ease of application: eFuels can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids, and can make use of the existing network of filling stations.

'By using them, we can make a further contribution toward protecting the climate. As a maker of high-performance, efficient engines, we have broad technical expertise. We know exactly what fuel characteristics our engines need in order to operate with minimal impact on the climate. Our involvement in the world’s first commercial, integrated eFuels plant supports the development of the alternative fuels of the future.'

Speaking last week at the premier of the 911 GT3, Walliser added: 'The general idea behind these synthetic fuels is that there is no change to the engine necessary, unlike what we have seen with E10 and E20, so really, everybody can use it, and we are testing with the regular specs of pump fuel.'

'It has no impact on performance - some horses more, so it's going in the right direction - but emissions are way better; we see less particles, less NOx - so that's going in the right direction'.

Explaining how they work, Walliser detailed: 'Synthetic fuels have around eight to ten components, where today's fuels have between 30 and 40.

As it's an artificial, synthetic fuel, you have no by-products, so it's way cleaner - everything positive for the engine
'As it's an artificial, synthetic fuel, you have no by-products, so it's way cleaner - everything positive for the engine.'

He added: 'At full scale, we expect a reduction in the CO2 impact of around 85 per cent.

'If you consider well-to-wheel, where we have to transport fuel, we have a global supply chain, everything around that - you have efficiency across the whole process. In a well-to-wheel consideration, it is on the same level as an electric car.'


Real Threats to Threatened Species

Paul Driessen

Many activists, politicians and regulators are convinced our Earth and its wild kingdoms are threatened by fossil fuels, conventional farming, modern living standards, and catastrophic climate change resulting from the aforementioned human activities. They promote these fears to gain ever-greater control over energy and economic systems, circumscribe personal freedoms, and silence questions and dissent.

Few of them could likely hunt, gather or grow sufficient food for their families, or be a lucky protagonist in an episode of the Weather Channel’s Could You Survive? series – much less endure Mary Draper Ingles’ harrowing 800-mile walk through the 1755 wilderness to escape captivity by Shawnee Indians.

They are strident in their opposition to synthetic herbicides, insecticides and fertilizers, and unbending in their mistaken belief that organic farmers don’t use pesticides – or at least none that aren’t perfectly safe for people and wildlife. They ignore the widespread use of “natural, organic” chemicals like copper sulfate, which is toxic to humans, deadly to fish, harmful to avian and mammalian reproductive systems, poisonous to sheep and chickens, and highly persistent and bioaccumulative in soil and water.

Their obsession with “dangerous man made climate change” ignores reality. Their computer models run hot, consistently predicting planetary temperatures significantly warmer than are actually measured. The warning they fuss over may have begun around the industrial age, but it also coincides with Earth’s emergence from the 500-year-long Little Ice Age – a completely natural phenomenon.

The extreme weather events they blame on fossil fuels and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are not increasing in frequency or intensity. Above all, no credible science supports their claims that today’s weather and climate are entirely human-driven ... and unrelated to the natural processes and fluctuations that caused glacial epochs, warm periods, and extreme weather events and cycles throughout history.

Their gravest error by far, however, is their insistence that wildlife and their habitats would be saved by eliminating fossil fuel for electricity generation, transportation, heating and cooking. In reality, the biggest threats plants, animals and habitats face are not from climate change. They are from energy policies and programs implemented in the name of stabilizing Earth’s never-stable climate.

The current rush to employ executive orders, Green New Deals and infrastructure bills to shut down fossil fuel production and use – and get all of America’s energy from wind, solar and biofuel power – will result in millions of acres of scenic areas, wildlife habitats and croplands blanketed by huge industrial facilities, to provide the energy that makes America’s jobs, health and living standards possible.

Coal, oil and natural gas now generate over 2.7 billion megawatt-hours of electricity per year. Vehicles consume the equivalent of another 2 billion MWh annually, while natural gas provides an additional 2.7 billion MWh for home, business and factory heating, water heating, cooking and industrial processes.

That’s 7.5 billion MWh, just for the United States. It’s an enormous amount of power – and it doesn’t include oil and gas feed stocks for plastics, pharmaceuticals and countless other petrochemical products (which is where corn, soybeans and other biofuel crops enter the replace-fossil-fuels picture). It also doesn’t include power to charge backup batteries for sunless, windless hours, days and weeks.

“Renewable” energy advocates and lobbyists want us to believe we can do this with very few wind turbines and/or solar panels – on a relatively small swath of the USA. One calculated it would require just 1,939 square miles (1,240,000 acres; Delaware) of solar panels to meet existing US electricity needs; another said 10,000 square miles (Maryland); a third estimated 40,223 square miles (half of Ohio).

Another figured we could replace current electricity generation with just 1,260,000 wind turbines on only 470 square miles of land, assuming a quarter-acre per turbine and all generating power 40 percent of the year.

It’s unclear what pixie dust these folks were sprinkling, but these are not real-world numbers. You need space between panels for access and maintenance; you can’t jam them into one enormous array. And bear in mind, Dominion Energy alone is planning 490 square miles of panels just for Virginia, and just for a portion of its electricity market in the state.)

72,000 high-tech sun-tracking solar panels at Nevada’s Nellis Air Force Base cover 140 acres and generate only 32,000 MWh per year: 33 percent of rated capacity. Low-tech stationary panels get far less than that. The 355 turbines at Indiana’s Fowler Ridge industrial wind facility cover 50,000 acres (120 acres/turbine – nowhere near 1/4 acre) and generate electricity only 25 percent of the time.

I calculate it would take over 17 billion Nellis-style solar panels – on 53,000 square miles (34,000,000 acres or half of Nevada) to replace all 7.5 billion MWh of US fossil fuel energy and charge batteries for a week of sunless days, under the Team Biden Green New Deal. Using standard, stationary panels would double or triple the land area and number of panels.

Using Fowler Ridge as a guide, and assuming just 50 acres per turbine, it would take some 2 million 1.8-MW wind turbines, sprawling across 155,000 square miles of scenic, crop and habitat land. That’s all of California. And it assumes every turbine generates electricity 25 percent of the year. Go offshore, and we’d need over 300,000 monstrous 10-MW turbines along our Great Lakes and seacoasts.

We’d also need thousands of miles of new transmission lines to connect all these facilities and cities.

But the more wind turbines we install, the more we have to put them in sub-optimal areas, where they might work 15% of the year; and the more we install, the more they affect wind flow for the others. Land, habitat and wildlife impacts could easily double; millions of raptors, other birds and bats would be killed. The more solar panels we install, the more they must go in low-quality areas, and the more we need.

Energy analyst Willis Eschenbach has calculated what would be required to get the world to zero-emission electricity generation by 2050 – and ensure sufficient peak power for the hottest summer and coldest winter days. He uses solar or wind, in conjunction with nuclear power plants as backup/actual generating capacity, for sunless and windless days, and assumes 35% capacity/efficiency. Adjusting his numbers to account for only US needs, America would require:

* 350,000 square miles of solar panels (Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico combined) plus 1,760 new 3000-MW nuclear power plants. Adding space for access and maintenance would at least double this. Or

* 10.5 million 2-MW wind turbines, on 820,000 square miles of crop, scenic and wildlife habitat land – over one-fourth of the Continental USA, plus 1,760 new 3000-MW nuclear power plants. (Using 1.8-MW instead of 2.0-MW turbines, we’d need 11.6 million turbines on 30 percent of the Lower 48 states.)

Biofuel production to replace all those petrochemicals would require millions more acres.

All these turbines, panels, backup batteries, electric vehicles, biofuel processing plants, nuclear power plants and transmission lines would require millions of tons of metals, minerals, plastics and concrete – from billions of tons of overburden and ores. That will result in astronomical land, air, water, wildlife and human impacts from mining, processing and manufacturing. Most of this will be overseas, out of sight and out of mind, because Team Biden won’t allow these activities in the United States. So a lot of people won’t care and will happily focus on these new energy sources being zero-emission ... here in the USA.

These estimates are not etched in stone. But they underscore why we need full-blown, robust environmental analyses and impact statements on every GND concept, proposal and project – before we head down the primrose path to ecological and economic hell, paved with (presumably) good intentions.

There must be no expedited reviews, no shortcuts, no claiming the ecological impacts can be glossed over because they are “inadvertent” or less important than “saving the planet” from climate chaos.


Here are some issues that need to be included in the equation getting to Biden’s end-state of, “100% clean energy economy and net-zero emissions no later than 2050.”

Excerpt from "GLACIERS IN IOWA"

WIND: First of all, the green folks would have us all believe that wind and sunshine are free. Well, technically yes, but to harness them certainly is not.

There are about 240,000 operating wind turbines in the world, producing about 4% of the required electricity. When it comes to wind turbine construction, there are a lot of numbers out there. I believe this set fairly captures the story.

The American Wind Energy Association says it takes somewhere in the range of 200 to 230 tons of steel to make a single wind turbine. The steel tower is anchored in a platform of more than a thousand tons of concrete and steel rebar, 30 to 50 feet across and anywhere from 6 to 30 feet deep. Add to that 45 tons of nonrecyclable plastic blades and 2 tons of rare-earth elements. Then after a life-cycle of around 20 years, start over.

If we want wind to produce half the world’s electricity, we will need to build about 3 million more turbines. Three million turbines at 230 tons of steel each equals about 690 million tons of steel. To produce steel for one turbine requires about 150 tons of coking coal and about 300 tons of iron ore, all mined, transported and probably producing hydrocarbons.

More bad news. It should be pointed out that cement is the number one carbon contributor in the world. The production of one pound of cement also produces one pound of CO2. Then there are the emissions from all the trucks, trains, ships, bulldozers, cranes, and other equipment involved in turbine construction.

We are constantly being fed unattainable projections about power production from wind turbines. Wind proponents describe capability in terms of “capacity.” That is, if the turbine was fully active 24/7 it would produce X amount of power. The truth is that because of varying weather conditions, a turbine’s output averages barely a quarter of its “capacity.”

That fact brings us to another disturbing question; what do we do for power when the wind doesn’t blow? The most obvious answer is that we must maintain, at all times, a fully operational backup power source. Or do we just heat half the houses, run half the manufacturing plants, recharge half the cell phones? Because of the requirement for near 100% backup, some experts predict a wind farm’s power will actually cost around $25,000 for every home it powers.

Another downside to wind is that the turbines are so preposterously expensive that no one would dream of building one unless they were guaranteed a huge government subsidy, also known as tax dollars.

After we dig out of the earth millions of tons of raw materials, transport it, manufacture and construct the turbines all of which will likely cause huge carbon emissions, what is the net carbon reduction? Researchers believe the actual CO2 reduction is so insignificant that one large windfarm saves less in a year than is given off over the same period by a single jumbo jet flying daily between the U.S. and England.


No matter how many wind turbines and solar panels we build for the world, there will always be the need for substantial on-call backup around the world for when the sun doesn’t shine and/or the wind doesn’t blow. Right now, battery backup would fall woefully short and may never be a feasible alternative. The U.S. is successfully converting coal-fired production to clean burning natural gas because we have the greatest supply of natural gas in the world which makes our backup doable, albeit very expensive. What do the nations that have zero natural gas do?

I am a proponent for wind, solar, electric vehicles and whatever science can come up with to produce power. What I am not for is false hope. I get frustrated with the “well, let’s get on with it and just hope for the best” crowd. Hope is not a process. False hope is demoralizing and destructive. Our environment and the future of this planet is too important to be toyed with by political sound bites and unfathomable green fantasies.


A record dry in Australia

Suggesting global cooling. Warming would produce MORE rain, not less

Overlooking the old family farmhouse on Gerard Walsh's farm is a hill covered in hundreds of dead ironbarks.

"Two years ago, they would have all been alive and flourishing. Basically every tree has died," Mr Walsh said.

Across all of 2019, his property at Greymare in southern Queensland recorded just 144 millimetres of rain — the driest in 100 years.

"Certainly the rainfall has changed, all for the lesser," Mr Walsh said.

For more than a century, the Walsh family have been recording rainfall on their farm Coolesha for the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). "My mother Margaret Walsh, she would have done the weather for some 60 years, her parents before that," Mr Walsh said.

The long service was recently recognised with an award from the BOM.

The voluntary role has meant the Walsh family have been able to observe up close those effects of climate change on the Southern Downs region.

Rainfall at Coolesha has been below average for seven of the past 10 years, consistent with the BOM's most recent State of the Climate report.

"Income was more than halved during most of that period of time," Mr Walsh said.

Like many in the region, less rain has meant less feed for cattle and the Walshes have had to reduce cattle numbers.

Farmers in the Southern Downs are dealing with declining winter rainfall and the prospect of back-to-back droughts.




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