Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Vapour Ware from Audi?

Vapour-Ware from Audi?

I apologize for not attending to this blog for some months, or, for that matter, not writing a promised follow-up to the last post. This post is a lesser effort to follow through on the Audi Eco Diesel story.

Last April the media was buzzing with the story that the car manufacturer Audi had succeeded in manufacturing a high quality diesel fuel from essentially nothing more than Air and Water. I was very excited by this news in the belief that a major player like Audi would lend its name to to a publicity stunt or mere vapour ware.

Five months after the hoopla and the WWW, the media, and just about all other sources, have gone deathly quiet on the Audi Eco Diesel from air and water story. When that happens, I have learned that the project is either dead or, at the very least, some major wrinkles have appeared.

It saddens me that 90+% of stories that I have followed over 9 years about new super batteries, new types of generators, super water splitting techniques, super conductors, natty nano science super electronics etc. etc. etc. have all gone down the same road into SILENCE. Elon Musk might perhaps an exception to my above rule, and there are a few other exceptions. Alas they are so few.

I just hope that Audi has enough self-respect to give this story a decent burial or perhaps re-open it with fresh developments. Owners VW are gaining new insight into morals and ethics in business, perhaps the Audi team will follow?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Audi e-Diesel

Alchemy by Audi

Audi's Announcement on its e-diesel has sparked quite a bit of excitement in me and I have written a couple of pieces on it as a result, the main one linked below.


However, years of experience has taught me to be cautious. That cautious attitude set me looking for some more meaty and substantial analysis of Audi's stories.

I have just very recently stumbled upon an article by oil expert and science writer Robert Rapier where he uses his deep knowledge to pick a few holes in the Audi story. Primarily on what realistically it might cost per litre for this magic diesel from air and water.

Robert has kindly given me permission to quote from his article and I am currently preparing a post which I will hopefully publish in a few days time - please watch this space.


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ireland an Oil Producer?


Government of Ireland 
It's Gambling History

In September of 2008 Ireland's Government took the biggest financial gamble EVER in the history of the nation. Under duress, it undertook to guarantee a total of €440 BILLION the which to cover the bad ass banking systems mistakes, its bad judgements, and what amounted to nothing short of its sheer criminality.

That fatal decision caused Ireland countless losses, much depression, and not a few suicides. It directly cost the Irish taxpayer €40 BILLION or €10,000 for every woman, man, and child in Ireland.

It was possibly the biggest single policy decision ever taken by an Irish government. The decision bet the stability, the very future of Ireland and of its people, on the survival of the banks.

If you boil the whole thing down to its bones what the government decided was that those who made and played with millions were to be guaranteed and bailed-out by the struggling masses, by those on welfare, by the sick and by children, and by future generations.

1925 Ireland Gambled and WON

In 1925, the Irish Free State took another very large gamble. But at that time it wasn't putting the nation and its future generations into hock, nor was it guaranteeing the rich at the expense of the poor. The gamble was on new technology to bring Ireland into the industrial age. It was the so called "Shannon Scheme".

On the 13th of August 1925 Ireland awarded the German company Siemens the contract for the electrification of the entire country. The core of the project was the hydroelectric power plant on the river Shannon with three 30 Mega Watt water turbines. The whole project including the distribution grid came to £6,721,000.The decision proved to be one of the best investments in the history of the nation.

Time for Another Bet?

What if Ireland had its very own Green-diesel oil supply?

(1) We would prevent hundreds of millions of Euro leaving the country (in recent years total oil imports averaged around €4 billion a year).
(2) There would be jobs from the refining and distribution of this oil.
(3) We would be less subject to the massive market fluctuations in oil prices.
(4) We could insure minimal supply at times of crisis.
(5) It would give Carbon Credits to Ireland.

Would Ireland taking a chance on Audi's e-diesel process be a fair bet at this time? Ireland has tons of spare Green Electricity being generated every night by our increasing number of wind farms. During the night much power is generated when it is not needed and therefore goes mainly to waste. This waste wind energy could be purchased at a cheap price and used to turn our other plentiful resources WATER and AIR into Blue Crude. Stripping Carbon from the air would gain Carbon Credit to Ireland.

1.25% of our BIGGEST Gamble Might suffice?

It would no doubt be taking a chance a gamble, and it would take a fair sized financial investment.

I am suggesting that a mere 1.25% of the size of our biggest gamble, the one we will be paying for far into the future, might buy us a foothold in this new Green Oil technology. I have no idea of what I am talking about in terms of costs but just maybe a half a billion would get us a foot in the door - maybe?


Friday, May 08, 2015

Diesel from Air and Water


Super Clean Diesel Oil
from just
Air and Water

Tesla Cars and Elon Musk have been hogging the Green Lime Light. And I say good luck to Mr Musk I admire his open patent on his battery technology.

Audi, yes the car maker, has recently been sounding trumpets and letting off fireworks in announcing it is a major investor / player along with two other companies ClimeWorks and SunFire in the advanced development of an alchemy to create very high quality diesel from just the air and water.

This is NOT a Spoof

A joke? No, no joke here, it has, to my nose, the smell of something far more substantial. If the hoopla is not overstated, it might just prove to be something REALLY BIG in green technology and in saving the planet.

A pilot plant is already producing approximately 160 litres or 35 Gallons of so called "Blue Crude" per day with a stated 70% overall efficiency figure. Nearly 80% of this Blue Crude can be converted into synthetic diesel.

Very High Quality Diesel 

This fuel – they are calling Audi e-diesel – is totally free of sulphur and aromatics. It also has a high cetane number, which means that it ignites very easily. This means the burn is very good and clean giving excellent results. The chemical properties of this oil facilitate its blending with regular diesel.

The Alchemy Step by Step

(1) Air in motion = wind. Wind turbines generate green electricity,
(2) The green electricity is used to to power the splitting water into it two components Oxygen and Hydrogen,
(3) A separate plant extracts Carbon Dioxide from the air,
(4) The Carbon Dioxide is processed into Carbon Monoxide,
(5) The Hydrogen and Carbon Monoxide are then put through two processes at very high pressure of 25 bar or 363 psi and high temperature of 220C. "Blue Crude" is what comes out the far end.
(6) The Blue Crude can be processed into various fuels etc. 

Not New Science 

The essential process is not a new concept. What is new is that this manifestation takes carbon from the atmosphere and uses water as the basic ingredients. The process was developed by Franz Fischer and Hans Tropsch at the "Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Kohlenforschung" in Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany, way back in 1925.

The 1925 Fischer–Tropsch process is a series of chemical reactions that turns a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen into liquid hydrocarbons. The process has been explored by various researchers over time. It is only now it has gone fully GREEN and left the laboratory and been demonstrated as capable of proving a viable source of low sulphur diesel. 

The Possibilities 

If the Audi - SunFire - Climeworks process can be successfully up-scaled from a shed in the car park to a facility producing tens of thousands of litres a day and those factories replicated all over the world, while continuing to make use of the ClimeWorks extraction process of CO2 from the air as its raw material, it certainly could make an impact on global CO2 and be a major contribution to climate protection. Let's just say I am excited and hopeful that this one is a runner.

SunFire say that their analyses have shown that the synthetic fuel is more environmentally friendly, and additionally has superior combustion qualities when compared to regular fuel. This would possibly mean better starting and better running of the engine, much less pollution from the exhaust, better fuel efficiency, more engine power.

"The engine runs quieter and fewer pollutants are being created," SunFire Chief Technology Officer Christian von Olshausen says in a press release.

Cost of this New Super Eco Diesel?

The Audi announcements suggest that their e-diesel will sell to the public for between 1 and 1.50 Euros per litre, dependent on the price of Green Electricity. That should be able to favourably compete with normal diesel that is if governments don’t tax the ass off it.

"If we get the first sales order, we will be ready to commercialise our technology", said von Olshausen.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

FreeTrade Ireland

Dumping Rubbish
Costs Dearly

Bin charges increasing? All rubbish is now weighed so it's costing a fortune to get rid of heavy items. At 23+ cent per Kg to get rid of rubbish it is worth thinking about other ways of disposing of unwanted things and materials.

So for instance maybe you have some left over stuff after renovating the kitchen, the old sink and taps, some left over tiles, the old but still good work-tops, and perhaps perfectly good old kitchen cabinets. It would cost you a considerable amount to hire a skip.

Also disposing stuff over time using bin collections will lead to smaller but still significant cost 50Kgs will most likely run up a bill of around €12.50.

Many people will think of placing an advert in the local advertiser etc. and that is even going to cost and you will have the trouble of placing the advert. Local paper adverts will not of course have a photo of what is on offer, so they are likely to have limited effect. 

Totally Free Adverts 

Now, through an innovative bunch of people there is a totally FREE on-line system that offers completely free adverts of stuff you don't want complete with your photos.

The really great news is that you are also saving the environment by re-cycling the goods and additionally helping out a fellow citizen in the process.

This is our Enda promoting FTI (Our Enda the Irish PM)

The effort is called Free Trade Ireland, and is funded through. an Irish Government scheme. The basic idea is you want rid of something - you offer it free - the advert and the service are free. It is an alternative to charity shops and you have almost no restrictions in what you offer. The service has been active since July 2010. The graphic below shows the results for 2013.

In 2013 FreeTrade Ireland announced the following figures:
• Over 14,000 items were reused
• Over €1.4 million in savings made by users of the site
• Over 412,000 unique visitors to the site. 

So What Kind of Stuff is on Offer?

The stuff being advertised and recycled ranges from pianos and furniture down to teddy bears and hair straighteners. As the process spreads wider across the nation, a wider range of goods and materials are being offred. It needs many more people participating in order to really get motoring, consider signing up as a members - it is totally free.

SmartPhone App 

Recently Free Trade Ireland launched a free smartphone app. as part of the EU Week of Waste Reduction. The app works much the same as the website. You can download the app free from iTunes and Android Play Store.

The facility is in its infancy - simply because not enough people are aware of the advantages. However, to date, the website has clocked up over 3 million visitors, and more than 42,000 items have passed hands to new users and been reused. 

Free and Kosher!

The Free Trade Ireland service is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency under the National Waste Prevention Programme.

I recommend you visit the site and sign up as a member. It is Free - it is Kosher - it saves money - it saves the environment. The more people involved - the better it gets.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

The Rip-Off Republic

A Real Bargain at
ONLY Twice the Price in Ireland!

I received a note from Brendan in Donegal recently which confirms my suspicions that Ireland is still leading the field in the race for being the 1st in the Rip-Off Republic Stakes. Brendan has kindly agreed to allow the publication of his letter:

I find your blog very interesting re Irish suppliers prices. in 2013 I bought two Unica Moderator 35kw biomass  heating boilers for my brother and myself direct from Kolty in Poland for less than the price of one of these from an Irish dealer. Local price for one at that time was euro 2200 plus vat the cost of two delivered to Donegal from Kolty was euro 2400 including VAT.
Regards Brendan


Friday, April 03, 2015

Cost of Dumping EXCEEDS cost of buying a Kilo of Potatoes.

DUMPING a Kg of Potatoes
Costs More 
Than Buying a Kg of Potatoes

When the cost of dumping a kilo of rubbish is greater than the cost of buying a kilo of potatoes - what do you think will begin to happen to rubbish??

This week Aldi have a Kilo of white potatoes priced at 26cent. Getting rid of trash now exceeds this cost per kilo.

My prediction is that more such stupid planning by Government and Local Authority agencies will lead to a big increase in people getting rid of their rubbish in places they should not. It might also increase the number of people who choose to burn their rubbish in stoves etc.

The increasing cost of rubbish collection is another form of taxation taking money out of the pocket of those who can ill afford to pay more.

The bottom layer of society, with regard to income, have been squeezed and squeezed, again and again by a range of "stealth taxes" a desperate government have imposed, and they have no more to give. Taxes that include a double helping of Carbon Tax, a VAT increase, Water Charges etc.

Do planners ever consider the law of diminishing returns?


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Losses of Winning

Coming into Money
Can Carry a Very Big Price

Suddenly coming into big money or having a large lottery win may be more of a curse than a blessing. Winnings, for many, have extracted a heavy price. 

Some interesting research projects suggest that we are better off generally staying on even ground. A large upward surge in your finances can give a spike on the happiness scale initially, but over time that effect fades and in fact leaves you much worse off.

Adaptation Level Theory.

The reason the happiness spike fades is because of a psychological phenomenon known as “adaptation level theory.” When something new and exciting happens to us, we feel a surge of pleasure. Our brains release a chemical called serotonin, which is a happy drug, and we feel a glow for a while until the drug fades.

The transient and relative nature of happiness.

Adaptation Level Theory also defines the transient and relative nature of happiness. For instance, with the passage of time, the loss of the use of say an arm generally tends NOT to make you significantly unhappier, once you have had sufficient time to adjust to the new norm.

For Better or for Worse - in the end much the same.

Two interesting studies carried out back in1978 looked at this factor. The studies took 22 lottery winners, 29 people paralysed in accidents, and measured against controls. The experiments in both cases clearly showed that people were not significantly worse off or better off than the controls. When either a positive or negative event begins to fade into the past, the levels of happiness or unhappiness that were initially created tend to go back to a general norm.

Among other interesting factors that emerged from various studies are the following;

(1) The Erosion of Satisfaction.

This one is what I would describe as a sort of Monday-itis or post-holiday-blues, or maybe it is more like drug adaptation? The studies showed that lottery winners, with the passage of time, not only were they no happier than the controls, but they took an additional and negative hit. I call this "the erosion of satisfaction". Ordinary everyday events, activities and chores etc. that previously gave a sense of satisfaction or pleasure no longer gave them that effect.

(2) The Losses of Winning.

This one I would describe as “The Losses of Winning”. A research project in 2009 at Vanderbilt University and the University of Kentucky showed two interesting trends: (a) Individuals who won between $50,000 and $150,000 failed to pay off debts that they had from before the winnings. (b) Lottery winners are twice as likely to go bankrupt.

(3) Sudden Money Shortens Life.

Another bit of research has shown that many individuals who have big wins, or otherwise come into big money, tend to smoke a lot more and increase their social drinking, so they are more likely to die younger and suffer more illness. These findings come from a 2010 study done by Bénédicte Apouey and Andrew E. Clark, who are economists at the Paris School of Economics.

So perhaps you are better off not buying that lottery ticket.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Atonement Redress and Justice

Atonement Redress and Justice

The recent news items about the high level of hidden slavery in the EU and UK has made me very very angry. One item outlined the case of women in the UK have been virtual slaves to very rich families who, in many cases, did not pay them, and did not even provide them with the most basic of necessities.

This news has re-triggered thoughts that have bothered me for some time about how our justice systems operated.

As it exists, our legal and justice systems would appear to be stuck back in time some hundreds of year in the past. The archaic use of wigs and gowns in court, and the sometimes obtuse language of the trade, attest to this fact alone. However, it is not lawyers and judges in fancy dress that concerns me here, it is how the law addresses serious crime.

Our Justice Systems = Punishment not Redress.

The current system of law focusses on PUNISHING the guilty parties, but does little or nothing to compensates the victims and make atonement. Over the centuries, the punishments meted out have become less and less. Prison to some is a holiday, and a time to catch up on their trade from more skilled fellow trades-people. They can get a free education in prison and do not have to worry, like the rest of us, about providing accommodation, food, heating, medical care, etc. etc.

Fine Fines.

When a fine is imposed it usually is not linked to the resources of the guilty party. If a person on £10,000 a year is fined £5,000. By all justice and fairness, a person on £2,000,000 a year should receive a fine of £1,000,000. The funds from these fines should go, at least partially, into victim redress and compensation funds. It should be possible nowadays to operate such a system by linking with the taxation system etc.

Victims and the Law.

Meanwhile our justice systems generally leave the victims of crime to fend for themselves, except maybe in cases where the victims have their own resources to take actions, or where some agency or charity initiates a civil action on their behalf. This part of the law is at best ad-hoc and in most cases not successful in redressing the injury or loss.

I believe that the justice system should first and foremost redress the harm done or loss sustained, and put punishment into second place. The State or justice system should, without being requested initiate a civil action, using all the Justice Department and the States resources, including tax and revenue systems, to secure redress.

In the case of rape, redress should include payment for full medical and psychological treatment over a period of at least 5 years, a lump sum, and a pension to the victim.

In addition to the Law seeing to redress and atonement on behalf of victims, IMHO individuals guilty of serious crimes, who own resources, should be made to pay the full cost of their own prison upkeep in addition to the costs of redress and atonement. Those on welfare should at least have a deduction made from their future welfare payments to pay back some of their prison upkeep.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Return of Medieval Feudalism

Reset your Calendar 2015 to 1015 
The Immanent Return of Medieval Feudalism
or if you like, you can call it Economic Apartheid

There was a time when more than half of the world's wealth was owned by a tiny percentage of super-rich kings, dukes and lords etc. 1000 years on, and history is about to repeat itself!

Oxfam has projected figures which show that the wealthiest 1% will by next year own more than the rest of the world's population put together.

The figures show a clear rapidly rising trend - indicating that we are heading back into Medieval times.

The Figures.

In 2009 the very rich, who represent just 1% of the world's population, owned 44% of the entire wealth. By 2013 that figure had inflated to their owning 48% of everything. On that trend any forecaster would easily pitch the figure at 50%+ by 2016.

In 2014 the global elite had average personal wealth of $2.7m per adult.

Davos Talking Shop.

No doubt the talk shops like Davos will table some well meaning spin-doctored stuff, and no doubt the well meaning projections will most probably never be reached - going on past performance.

Bono, an Irish musician, didn't put a tooth in it when he told the assembled Davos elite “Some of the criminals around here are not wearing ski masks, they are wearing skis.”


Oxfam have warned that this virtual explosive widening of the gap between rich and poor is "holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than $1.25-a-day".

* Allowing extremes of wealth and poverty to exist is simply morally wrong.
* The imbalance undermines economic growth,
* It threatens the national security as well as economic stability.
* It leads to revolt and revolution and promotes extremism.

Oxfam is advocating 7 point plan to tackle inequality:
(1) Clamp down on tax dodging by corporations and the rich,
(2) invest in universal, free public services health, education etc.,
(3) Fair tax laws to shift taxation from labour and consumption towards capital and wealth,
(4) Enforcing minimum wages and a living wage for all workers,
(5) Equal pay and conditions for women,
(6) Adequate safety-nets for the poorest,
(7) And a global goal to tackle inequality.

Some Interesting Quotes.

In 2013 Economics Nobel prize winner Robert J. Shiller said that the economic stratification of society into "elites" and "masses", is a major danger to world stability. And that it played a central role in the collapse of other advanced civilizations such as the Roman, Han and Gupta empires.

Oxfam made a bold assertion in 2013. It stated that worsening inequality is impeding the fight against global poverty. The 2013 report stated that the $240 billion added to the fortunes of the world's richest billionaires in 2012 was enough to end extreme poverty four times over.

Oxfam Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs said that "We can no longer pretend that the creation of wealth for a few will inevitably benefit the many – too often the reverse is true."

Jared Bernstein and Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute suggest that poverty in the United States could have been significantly mitigated if inequality had not increased over the last few decades.