Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MagLev Wind Turbine update


Pretty picture artist impression of what is still Science Fiction
and a newish take on the Maglev turbine

Update of sorts on the
“Massive Maglev Vertical Axis
Multi-gigawatt Wind-Turbine”

I first wrote about the notion of a massive vertical axis multi-gigawatt frictionless magnetic bearing wind turbine almost one and a half years ago. To date, AFAIK, there is no visible sign of such a machine on the planet. http://wood-pellet-ireland.blogspot.com/2007/11/maglev-wind-turbines.html

A different take on the Mega Maglev
that is a rail line in front
- there is a play on "not missing the train"
and of course on the "real science" maglev train itself - Oh FGS give us a break guys!!

A helicopter about to land on the Helli-pad on top of the turbine - like Wow!!

There has been a gentle stir in the winds of the maglev turbine world, and a fair bit of You Tube video and other such hoo-ha associated with fishing for investors, but to date, no brick and mortar so-to-speak.

As "seen from above"
Looks like a Greek Temple!!

I have looked at some of the fancy video and include a few screen shots. The MagLev site invites contact but the doorways provided are interesting and tell a story, in as much as no provision for media or academic enquiries is provided.

One of the sites: http://magturbine.com/

Another site: http://www.maglevwindturbine.com/

A bit of a different twist on the subject on both sites. Heavy on the images, light on the science and solid facts.

Am I being way too cynical again here guys?? - I hope I will live to regret the cynical attitude and have to offer an apology. Somehow, I get the feeling that that day will be a while yet coming!


Friday, April 17, 2009

LED lamp Comparison Addendum


I have received a note from Liam Ellis of Vario Lighting regarding my last post. He wants to correct two points of information which I had incorrectly reported on their VX3 lamp.

1. The VX3 Lamp which I tested is NOT rated by Vario Lighting as being a 50 Watt equivalent. They prefer to rate it as a 35 watt replacement. But Liam points out that it is a fair compromise on light intensity in any case.

(That make the already large difference between the Ecopal and Vario Lighting lamps even greater!!!)

2. The transformer for the Vario Lighting lamps which I quoted, is good to supply up to 4 lamps, and not 6 lamps as I reported.

(I am happy to correct these and any other inaccuracies. If I have incorrectly reported the Ecopal bulb, I would also be happy to correct any inaccuracies)


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Led Light Comparison


A Look at Two LED Bulbs
Both Claiming to be 50 watt Equivalent

Today I am posting a very simple comparison between two LED lamps both from Irish companies, both claim to be the equivalent of 50 watt tungsten lamps.

This is the Ecopal Multi-LED GU10 2 watt bulb

Ecopal 2 watt 5mm multi-LED bulb.

The first lamp is a multi LED GU10 from Ecopal Limerick. http://ecopal.ie/led-bulbs.asp The lamp gives a reasonably good account of itself. The bulb is constructed in a standard GU10 glass housing into the front of which is fitted a round piece of circuit board with holes punched for the 5mm LED bulbs. The rest of the bulb looks the same as any GU10 bulb. The lamp colour is very good indeed you could not fault it - slightly on the upper side of warm white, a pleasing colour of light to live with. However, the output on first impression, did not strike me as anywhere near that of a "50 equivalent" as stated on the packaging.

I spoke to a company representative and asked about the useful life of the lamp and the claim that the 2 watt lamp was the equivalent of a 50 watt tungsten bulb. Ecopal will guarantee that the bulb will not lose more than 20% of its light over its quoted life and that it will maintain its colour. As regards output, I did not hear the Ecopal representative actually say that the Lux output matched a 50watt equivalent type of GU10 bulb. What he did say was that the bulb is designed to replace a 50 watt bulb. So I decided to do a few basic tests on output. The Ecopal multi-LED bulb sells for €15.

Vario Lighting VX3 LED bulb.

The Vario Lighting VX3 LED Bulb and Transformer

The second bulb is from Vario Lighting http://www.variolighting.com/. It also claims to replace a 50 watt halogen. The Vario Lighting VX3 is a very high quality piece of engineering, very nice to look at. It is not a standard GU10 or MR16 type of bulb but will fit nicely into most downlighter fittings. It comes with its own little transformer to regulate the current.

Close-up of VX3 showing the Nicely Engineered Heatsink

The first thing to notice about this bulb is the massive aluminium lathe turned heatsink. The purpose of this heatsink is to take the heat away from the light emitters. It is a build-up of heat that, over time, damages the elements in LED lights. The VX3 bulb has 3 emitters and a lens to focus the light.

The Secret of LED Bulbs is Keeping things COOL

The secret of LED bulbs lies in keeping them cool. When they heat up the LEDs lose their power and change colour over time, keep them cool and they last much longer and maintain the original colour of light. That is why I think, of the two bulbs in discussion, the Vario Lighting bulb is more likely to maintain its output and colour over time.

The VX3 bulbs costs €25 plus a transformer to operate up to six bulbs costs €17. That would make a unit cost of €28.

The Ecopal bulb gave a reading of 7 on the Lux Meter

So I have two LED bulbs each claiming to have a light output equivalent to a 50 watt halogen. So I rig up both lamps and measure the Lux output from a given distance. The readings speak for themselves. Vario Lighting bulb has many times more light output than the Ecopal bulb.

The Vario Lighting Bulb gave a reading of 27 on the Lux Meter

At first I thought that the reading was influenced by the fact that the Vario Lighting bulb has a narrower beam of focus.

At 50% increased distance to target to compensate for light spread
The Vario Bulb still gives a reading of 27!!

I then move the bulb back 50% further from the target and so as to achieve a pool of light of a similar size as the Ecopal bulb. Still the Vario Lighting bulb showed the much higher reading.

The light meter does not lie. The Ecopal bulb output gives a reading of 7. The Vario Lighting bulb gives a reading of 27. That is a big difference to say the least, so it is quite clear that both bulbs cannot be giving the equivalent of a 50 watts tungsten bulb. No competition on light output here, the Vario Lighting bulb wins the game hands down.


Monday, April 06, 2009

Gov. Departments Studying my Blog


Irish Government Departments
"Studying" My Blog?

While checking my stats recently, I have noticed a trend where Irish Government Departments have been spending quite a bit of time reading my blog.

Now that might be simply some employee wasting time surfing the Internet, but I like to think it may be someone acting on behalf of a Minister or Department keeping an ear to the ground.

Focus of Attention?
One post that has got a good old looking at is my post on Fireplace Doors:


This is a pet hobbyhorse of mine. I really believe that the fitting of fireplace doors to all open fires in the country would achieve a greater energy saving than most other efforts and for a very small investment.


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Minister Ryan's Electric Car


230,000 electric cars in Ireland by 2020
says Minister Ryan

According to a news report in the Irish Times “More than 200,000 Irish motorists will be driving electric cars in just over a decade” Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan said that his department plans to have 10% of all the vehicles on the roads electrically powered by 2020.

Minister Ryan announced an agreement between the ESB, the Irish Government and the car makers Nissan and Renault. The “idea” is to “promote the introduction” of electric cars in Ireland. “This historic agreement is proof of the Government’s firm intention to act on the electrification of transport”

[It might unfortunately also be proof of the Governments lack of research into electric cars and their current severe limitations.]

Nissan and Renault bigwigs were in Dublin for signing of the agreement. Thierry Koskas of Renault, said the cars would cost about a tenth to run as compared with petrol and diesel cars, and that they can reach about 130km per hour, or about 100mph.

[ What Mt Koskas did not clarify was how much time it takes to charge the battery when it runs down, 8 to 10 hours currently. Nor did he say how much a replacement battery costs when you have to replace it at regular intervals every couple of years – currently almost 25% of the cost of the car. And - how will Ireland deal with 230,000 dud electric car batteries in a few years time??] [correction: some batteries could cost as much as 40% of the cars total cost!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wow!!!!!!!!]

Eric Nicholas of Nissan, said Ireland was ideal as a country in which to develop the introduction of electric cars because of its size and the “political will” here.

[Oh -Yes – because Ireland is desperate and gullible right now, and we are willing to take long shots – but what he did not say is that electric cars still have some very major failings mainly in the batteries and in the charging times and that the cost of batteries is sky high.]

He said a fully charged battery would enable a car to travel about 210 km, the equivalent of Dublin to Galway – and in Ireland 80 per cent of journeys were under 50km. Batteries can be charged in six to seven hours.

[ What he didn’t say was how were you going to get around in the Galway area with a flat battery? And that while charging the battery you probably would need to stay the night in Galway before making your return journey to Dublin – how useful is that?????]

Mr Ryan said he thought electric cars would be “very popular here” and were the “perfect transport solution” to the energy crisis. He said there were already tax allowances in place for companies that would choose to buy electric vehicles over petrol or diesel ones.

[ Maybe as popular as WoodPellet boilers are now after 3 years of massive grants??? Will the Minister provide free accommodation overnight for electric car travellers – while their electric cars are being re-charged??]

ESB chief executive Pádraig McManus said this was a chance for Ireland to demonstrate its leadership in the green revolution.

[Unless a fast, inexpensive, and efficient battery swap facility is provided every 50Km in Ireland, or alternatively, a much more efficient type of battery than currently available is invented, this is going to be just another hair-brained, money wasting, and doomed to failure, but well meaning project.]


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Airtricity Double Savings


Save Money
Save the Planet

It is not too often that one gets the chance to gain two major benefits from a very simple act. The opportunity to do just that presents itself right now - at this very time. In the form of the Airtricity offer, it is possible to make a 13% guaranteed saving over ESB energy prices, while at the same time supporting a company which primarily promotes sustainable energy.

It is true that Bord Gais (the Irish Gas Board) has a similar offer, however, a gas supply company isn’t exactly clued-in in electricity generation, nor is it in the Eco friendly business.

That is why I personally am opting to go with Airtricity and save myself a bundle of money. The other factor driving my decision is that by doing so it would additionally give me the smug feeling that I am doing something for the environment by supporting an Eco friendly company.

The Company

I have been speaking to Peter Lord who is the media officer at Airtricity Ireland. I asked him about the company and how they generate electricity. Irishman Mr Eddie O’Connor founded Airtricity. He later sold the company to Scottish and Southern Energy and made a cool €45 million on the deal!!

Scottish and Southern Energy are bigger by far than ESB and Bord Gais put together. The company is very active in investing in renewable sources. Just do a search on Google news and you will get the picture!

Airtricity derive 79% of their energy from renewable, planet friendly, sources like wind and wave energy. That is in stark contrast to ESB with only a disgraceful 9%, and Bord Gais not a lot better at 16%. Shame on ESB!!!

The Price

Vive la Concurrence” (hope I got it right) - I asked Peter Lord about the price guarantee. The 13% discount on ESB prices will hold good until January of next year. What about after that? Airtricity will always be competitive and offer a discounted price; the level of discount for next year will be decided at a later stage. The way I look at it, it is easy enough to make a change, and if you are unhappy with the price or anything else, it does not take much effort to change over again.

A Worry

As ESB will still be responsible for the maintenance of the supply system, I asked Peter if Airtricity had any direct strategy for handling ESB maintenance or supply issues should they arise.

My question was prompted because I am aware of some telephone customers who switched their accounts to providers other than Eircom have experienced difficulties and delays when having line faults dealt with.

Essentially, I was enquiring if Airtricity was prepared to take direct action if maintenance or supply delays or disputes arose between ESB and domestic customers of Airtricity.

I first asked Peter this question several weeks ago but he was not then able to give me any direct or definitive answer. It was the one area of niggling worry that delayed my switch over to Airtricity.

This morning I received the following statement from Peter:

‘Customer Service is a huge focus of the Airtricity business and we will ensure a seamless customer experience when changing over and right throughout your time as an Airtricity customer.’

The Airtricity statement has a very business-speak sound to it, and, as many of you know, I don’t like corporate jargon too much. However, attempting to translate it into English, it does seem to say, that Airtricity will take an active part in making sure that the customer is well served and kept happy.

I put a straight question to Peter on the phone, if I sign-up to Airtricity then next week my electricity supply fails and ESB drag their feet in sorting the problem – will Airtricity handle the situation and make the calls if necessary? The answer was a definitive YES.

I am happy with that answer. If I got it wrong I would expect a correction from Airtricity.

How Does One Connect?

It took only 20 seconds to get connected to the Airtricity call centre at 1850 258 158. I was pleasantly handled by a young lady who told me that all I need to have in order to make the switch over was,

1. My ESB bill,
2. My bank details in order to set up a standing order, and
3. A current meter reading that I can get from the meter myself.

They will do the rest, and in three weeks my account will be with Airtricity and I will be saving 13% over ESB prices.

My Decision

So I collected my ESB bill, my bank statement, and my meter reading, rang 1850 –258-158 and had the job done in about 4 minutes. In three weeks I will be saving 13% on my electricity and supporting an Eco friendly company. I am suggesting to family and friends that they do the same.