Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hot Air Battery?


Carbon Fluoride Battery
More Important Invention
than the Jet-Engine???

In 1980, Prof. Rachid Yazami of the French National Centre of Scientific Research in Grenoble, France, invented lithium-graphite anode technology, the same technology which forms the basis of all lithium-ion batteries used today in laptop computers, cars, and cell phones etc. Good CV you might say?

In 2008, Prof. Yazami and a colleague Prof. Grubbs were rumoured to have invented a carbon-fluoride battery so ahead of its time that it would completely revolutionize the idea of what a battery is. The discovery was mooted as being so advanced that it could rival the jet engine’s importance in science history.  Professors Yazami and Grubbs started a company called CFX Battery in Azsua, California.   CFX Battery is now called Contour Energy Systems.

Where are the Super Batteries?

Three years of development!!  - - So where is this revolutionary CFX carbon fluoride battery? 
I guess it is in the same place as EEstor’s super battery, and Ecolocap’s super duper battery, and Fluidic-Energy’s special battery.

Hot Air Battery??

It makes me wonder what is really happening here - is this all an illusion?


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Another new type of solar cell?


Perhaps another new way 
to harvest sunlight

Professor Richard Watt ( yes I believe he is a descendant of the great man), at Bingham Young, the Mormon owned University in Utah, along with a team were looking for a “protein”, similar to chlorophyll, that could potentially react with sunlight and harvest its energy.

To shorten the story somewhat, they used citric acid, same stuff as in oranges, along with their unspecified type of protein, and mixed fine gold powder into the solution. They then exposed the yellow mixture to sun light hoping to see it turn colour. Turning colour would mean that the gold particles had received an extra atom. In turn, that would indicate that the unnamed protein had captured sunlight and along with the citric acid had facilitated a transfer of energy.

It did turn colour from yellow to purple after exposure to sunlight - so they had their clear, or rather coloured,  proof of an active protein agent.

So far - so underwhelming!!! - you may well say!

The next phase of this project will, I guess, be the hard bit. The job will be to bind their “protein” to an electrode and actually get the system to generate electrical current with some decent level of efficiency.

The BYU team will work with the National Institute of Aerospace for this next stage of the work.


Monday, January 24, 2011

SEAI Great Window Dressers


Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland
Excellent Window Dressers

I have to hand it to SEAI for presentation and public visibility. I was watching Irish TV RTE the other evening a programme called Eco Eye - it did a lot of pure window dressing in a couple of Irish towns where various public awareness schemes were active.

But what struck me out of the entire programme and "stuck in my craw" - so to speak, was an interview between the programme expert and a pensioner. In the piece the expert set about convincing the elderly gentleman of the benefits of replacing his open fire, the only means of heating he had, with a stove.

It was as if what the man said was somehow totally ignored. He said clearly that he could not afford the cost of installing a stove. It would save him a lot of money each winter and give him a much better level of comfort - BUT - he could NOT AFFORD THE COST OF INSTALLING IT.

SEAI are either Deaf or Stupid or possibly both!

SEAI will provide thousands of Euro in grants to the well off  - who can afford to install very expensive Geo-Thermal or Wood-Pellet heating systems. But they will not consider a loan and grant scheme for elderly pensioners living in very poorly heated houses, costing some 80% less. In other words, for the cost of ONE geothermal system, they would revolutionise the lives of 5 or more pensioners and save way more carbon credits by fitting simple stoves.

I feel sick when I consider the implications of what I have just outlined.


Blacksmith Solid Fuel Stove review


Blacksmith Solid Fuel Stove

As a wrap up on my Blacksmith Anvil solid fuel stove review, I made it my business to contact the manufacturers.

I learned from them that the grates are a high chromium metal and have a very high resistance to heat. According to the makers, this makes them suitable for the constant high temperatures associated with smokeless coals.

In my correspondence with Blacksmith Stoves, I asked for a spare parts price list no less than 5 times. Eventually - I was told that they do not publish a price list of parts and to contact the retailers.

I neglected to mention in my previous posts that the stoves come in both a matt or enamel finish. The enamel is a lot more expensive and offers just one advantage that I can see, they are easier to clean. Enamel though, as it ages and with constant heat shock, eventually does chip, craze and flake off.

Where I bought my stove. 

I bought my stove from McElligotts Hardware in Castleisland County Kerry about a year ago and paid just €400 at the time. This I consider a very good bargain indeed. In the last couple of days, I rang McElligotts to enquire about the cost of spare parts. I received some very helpful advice and information.

1.    I was told that in some 4+ years of selling the Blacksmith stove, they, McElligotts never once had to order a replacement set of grates.

2.    The front glass from the manufacturer costs approximately €75. However, if you were to contact a glass supplier with the EXACT measurements, you would get this glass for perhaps half that price.

3.    The newer version of the “Anvil” has the “vermiculite” back brick replaced with a cast-iron piece.

4.    The cost of the “Anvil” stove has now gone up to €450 from McElligotts - still a very good price.

5.    McElligotts also most helpfully told me that replacing the firebricks is really no problem with generic firebrick - you just have to have someone cut it properly to size and then seal well the joints with fire cement.

6.    I did not get a price for replacement grates - I will again endeavour to get this nailed down.

7.    McElligotts told me they have replaced flue baffles which tend to warp with heat.

I must say that Blacksmith were not as forthcoming on information as I might have hoped. On the other side, McElligotts of Castleisland were very helpful indeed and I recommend them personally as helpful and responsible retailers.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

My Cast Iron Stove


Blacksmith "Anvil" Review
Part 2

In my post reviewing my new stove, I did neglect to give specific measurements of the stove, and a direct link to the dealers. I am correcting this omission here and now.
Above is a dimensioned drawing of the stove showing all relevant measurements in millimeters. As you can see it is a very tidy stove and will fit in just about any position. It has two possible flue outlets, one on top shown in my photograph above, and the other at the back as detailed in the drawing.

The stove comes with or without a boiler. I have the non-boiler version. The model fitted with the boiler is only good for heating a hot water tank or maybe one or perhaps two small radiators, but certainly not both, as the output to the boiler is just 2 Kw.

I did try to make contact with the dealer but they are so far unresponsive, I hope this does not indicate a general trend. I would like to think they would be helpful to customers but the initial response is not too promising.

I continue to be very happy with the performance of this great little stove. The dealer link is below:


Friday, January 14, 2011

Messages for SEAI


More messages 
of WoodPellet woes for 

WE have a Prosolar Fireline pellet boiler which needs mending....but the company which installed it two years ago is gone bust....The problem is this is an expensive piece of machinery and we don't know how to find a properly qualified serviceman to repair it here in Co. the moment it is looking like a white elephant an expensive one! Any advice welcomed. M.F.

Gwen (who gives no identification) writes: We have a Prosolar Fireline boiler too which has broken down - any help from anyone would be great. GC

You sold them the idea - and officially listed the dealers now go sort these people out SEAI!!


SEAI Promote Toy EV on Aran Islands


SEAI sustainable energy
authority Ireland
A Tiny Electric Car
on a Tiny Island

The news story about SEAI promoting electric cars on the Aran Islands sounds like a joke but as far as I know, it is not a joke, nor is it the 1st of April!!

SEAI are promoting an electric car most inappropriately called the "Mega E- City" with the following statistics:

1.    Maximum Speed of 40 mph or 64 kph!
2.    Maximum range per battery charge of 40 Miles or 64 Km!!
3.    Charging time of 8 to 10 hours!!
4.    Lead Acid Battery over 150 year old technology!!
5.    Battery Life Guaranteed 2 years!!!!
6.    Maximum number of passengers 2!!
7.    Luggage space for??  (a carton of eggs)

The specification sounds more like a golf cart than a car. Even on a tiny island, you would need to keep track of the charge in the battery or you would have to borrow a donkey and hitch him to the car in order to get back home!

Cork to Dublin in just 40 hours

If you were to make a journey from Cork to Dublin, 160 miles, in this little beauty, it would take you an absolute minimum of 36 hours!!!!  Ahhh come on then  - - you must be joking this time?

No really - it's no joke. 

Here is how it works out:

  • Charge the little toy car before the journey    8 hours
  • Travel 40 miles at MAX speed        1 hour
  • Charge the car again                8 hours
  • Travel another 40 miles            1 hour
  • Charge again                    8 hours
  • Travel another 40 miles            1 hour
  • Charge yet again                 8 hours
  • Travel last leg of 40 miles            1 hour

The largest Aran Island "Inis Mor" literally "big island", is a whacking great 3Km 1.86 miles by 12Km 7.45 miles. Just as well SEAI chose this as a testing site - a football pitch or golf course might have been a safer bet!!

If I were the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland I would be greatly embarrassed by this crazy little scheme - but then they, SEAI, have not been embarrassed by several other equally crazy schemes in the past. Great job to be in do you think?? - but I couldn't live with myself playing out the game and acting the complete gobshite!!