Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Trains and Wind Energy


I was in London recently, and while travelling on the underground it struck me how much wind came down the tunnel. I thought that if that wind were to turn a turbine, it could generate a fair bit of energy. Perhaps some small bi-directional turbines fitted in the vent shafts could utilise the energy without presenting too major a technical or cost challenge.

Then I get this e-mail from my son with a link to a really unusual idea, that of using units between the tracks on a high-speed rail line to catch the energy of passing trains, and my London thought didn't seem so daft after all.

Lite-on design award winners, Ale Leonetti Luparinia and Qian Jiang have come up with a gizmo they call the T-Box. The T-Box is a small generator that utilises the wind energy from passing trains. It is designed to be installed into the spaces between the rail tracks. The designers estimate that about 150 T-Boxes could be fitted per 1km of track. The estimate that the T-Box would be able to catch the wind from passing trains and produce some 3.5 KW of power.

Don't know if this one will ever make it from the drawing board to the real world - but it is good to see people thinking about the conservation of energy.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Nuclear Power is just about Profit


Nuclear Plant Operators
about to Sue Germany
over atom plant closure

As if you ever needed proof about the real motivations of Nuclear Power Plant Operators - in Germany the plant operators are about to sue the German Government over idle nuclear plants. They feel justified in operating their outdated and potentially dangerous plants - and are very annoyed about their loss of earnings.

But it does not work the other way around does it??

On the other side of the coin - the nuclear operators will not take full and complete responsibility for the consequences of all and any radiation, contamination, or explosion which might emanate from their dangerous and dirty plants. They do not hold full and proper liability insurance against ALL and ANY damages that might occur.

Nuclear Power is about PROFIT

And F**K the public if there is an accident.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Insurers HAPPY about Fukushima Disaster


Fukushima Disaster Makes for
Happy Insurance Companies

Isn't it nice to know that insurance companies are quite happy about the outcome of the Japanese Nuclear Disaster.

Pray tell us, why are the Insurance Companies happy? The insurers are happy for TWO reasons:

1.  Because "from an insurance perspective the perils of earthquake and tsunami are specifically excluded from property and liability insurance where provided".

Nuclear Operators NOT Liable
2.  Now the REALLY INTERESTING BIT; "under the Japanese Nuclear Act of 1961, the operators are not liable for any nuclear damage arising from a "grave natural disaster of an exceptional nature".  Therefore, the insurance companies do not anticipate any significant losses from this biblical level disaster. It is the Japanese people that have to pay instead of the bastards who allowed this to happen.

I think this is nothing short of CRIMINAL - and all those responsible for this bit of law making should be locked up for life!!!

The above item was informed by information on the "Nuclear Risk Insurers Ltd" website. Here is the link to that website:


The Nuclear Option as an Insurance Risk


Insurance and the
Nuclear Industry

I drive a 2 litre diesel car and by law I have to pay around €430 a year to insure against all the possible damage I might cause in an accident.

Lets just say I could cause €3,000,000 in damage, that would be roughly an insurance figure of €143 per million of insurance.

Do the same Insurance laws apply to the Nuclear Industry?

If the same basic laws were to apply to the nuclear industry in Japan, and the rest of the world, where just one accident could easily permanently displace 200,000 people or more from their homes, lets say 60,000 households. A nominal figure to compensate per household put it at €1,000,000 per home.

Lets lets say the actuaries put the risk cost rates at half the motor industry rates at €70 per million of cover, that would put an insurance figure of €4.20 Million a year on that one reactor complex. Now add to that the medical claims of say 5000 people at and average of €2,000,0000 per person, at €70 per million, that's another €700,000 per year to cover medical claims. Now add in industry and agriculture claims. Lets just say 2000 farms at an average of €4,000,000 each by €70 per million premium, that's another €560,000 in premiums. Then add in another €10billion for industrial claims, and that gives a premium of €700,000. Finally add in an international claim for compensation against contamination of another €10 billion, that give yer another €700,000 in premium.

If International Law dictated that every nuclear installation had to have full liability insurance to cover full compensation of all claims in the event of an accident, including full and comprehensive cover for international liabilities, it would no doubt shift the emphasis on how valuable nuclear energy actually is.

$10 million Insurance premium for Nukes!

The total insurance premium per year could be some €6.9 Million Euro or more per installation. Would a compulsory insurance premium of $10,000,000 per year put manners on the nuclear industry??


Friday, March 18, 2011

3 Mile Isl. - Chernobyl - Fukushima


A Nuclear Fission Lesson:
If at First you 
don't Succeed,
Try - Try -Try Again!!

1. Three Mile Island

2. Chernobyl

3. Fukushima


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan = Chernobyl times Four?


Chernobyl - Japan?

They said 
It Couldn't Happen
But it Did and
It Happened FOUR Times!!

Right here on this blog, I, and many like me, have been derided, by those that think they know better,  for stating that nuclear power is just TOO much of a risk to take in our world.

I believe fully in "Murphy's Law" and the world now has yet another proof of that law in action. I only hope that the fall-out this time is limited and that poor Japan does not have to permanently evacuate vast areas of the country - they have enough trouble to contend with! 

We have yet another good argument for investing in clean, natural, and fully sustainable energy, and totally avoiding nuclear fission energy.


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Electric Cars and Nucear Power


Interesting Letter from "Mark"
Electric Cars and Nuclear Power

I received the following letter as a comment on one of several pieces I wrote some time ago on Electric cars. The author goes on to discuss the nuclear option - interesting discussion in the light of the world's latest nuclear accident in Japan.

Mark has left a new comment on your post "Minister Ryan's Electric Car Scheme":

Excellent write up, shame I'm only seeing it now. I found it while searching for the possibility of a grant to convert my Purus to plug in. Of course there isn't any!

The Government could give something back for all the tax they rake in on v.r.t, excise, vat etc. They won't do it though because they have no money as it has to go to the banks!

Check out this site: These kits backup the existing battery in the Purus it doesn't replace it keeping everything stock. With a grant it would pay back itself in no time at all !

I am in favour of green technologies, however we still need an energy source other than fossil fuels. Renewables can't provide the energy required for our energy demands, especially when E.V's become more popular.

NUKE an Option for Ireland?

Nuclear is an option Ireland sooner or later will have to decide on and these days it is a relatively safe technology, it's not the dooms day energy we came to fear.

Thorium is a nuclear fuel that can be used and is far safer because there is no possibility of a melt down. It's less radioactive and produces half the waste or less than that of uranium. Thorium never got researched enough because the U.S and Russia lost interest in it because they could not use the waste to make atomic bombs, so they chose uranium instead !

When Thorium is more researched and developed we should seriously debate it in Ireland as we could be almost 100 % energy independent.

Fuel Cells and Hydrogen driven cars.

The other thing is battery cars are only a stepping stone to hydrogen, however they should still be offered to people who do short distance driving and can charge up on cheap electricity because hydrogen will never be as cheap to drive on as electricity, the government will tax it and it has to be produced, but in the future I believe we will see hydrogen electric where the fuel cell will top up the battery for long distances (which is the way they work anyway)but with the option to plug in will be an option too ! 

The Mercedes fuel cell will be available in 5 years at a price according to Mercedes to a diesel hybrid, the only thing in Ireland we have no Hydrogen infrastructure and that will be a major problem, it isn't even been thought about !

Instead the Irish Government and the E.S.B of course, are betting on electricity and that is a very bad bet to make in my opinion, charging should be kept to home use for short range and they should be setting up a hydrogen infrastructure, but they are betting on pure battery vehicles winning against any other technology. It's not going to happen. Batteries are developing very fast these days helped by President Obama's investment of over 2 Billion USD. In about 5 years we will be at 200 miles range. 

The problem is this, as batteries grow in capacity so does the length of time required to charge them and there will come a point when fast chargers will be too slow. That's why I believe the Fuel cell will win over pure electric ! 

Again that goes back to my point about Thorium nuclear power, Nuclear is the only practical energy source required to make it, it's very inefficient process and yes it's better put into batteries but again battery cars will never be as practical as Hydrogen fuel cell cars that you can refill in 5 minutes or less for a range today of around 350 miles V 100 miles max for battery cars and charging in 8 hours. 

Again putting bets on a complete electric charging infrastructure is a very bad and expensive idea and typical of the short sighted minds in the Irish Government !


Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Minister Brendan Howlin


Brendan Howlin
New Minister for 
Public Expenditure and Reform

Dear Minister,

Congratulations on your appointment. You have an honest face and come across as a sincere individual. You have spoken many times of the need for Reform of our Public Bodies and Authorities. I guess now you have your chance to show what can be done. May I wish you great success in your endeavours.

I would dearly like to see you add two of our "Authorities" to your priority list for investigation and reform. There is no prize offered to my readers for guessing that I will be suggesting that the SEAI Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland goes on the list, for their poor handling of the grant schemes, and for their questionable spending on spin-doctored publicity, and for their lack of responsibility to their "customers".

I would also be most grateful if you would add the EPA The Environmental Protection Agency to your list. Why I would like to see the EPA investigated is because they have a list of Tariffs for Licencing, with fees massively greater than those in the UK.

I am aware of some advanced R&D work on waste oil burning heating systems that is essentially going to be scrapped because the EPA are looking for a fee in the region of €22,000. That is a really good way to promote Irish enterprise is it not? 

I am also interested in seeing machinery brought into Ireland for turning our mountains of waste plastic into oil. Again here, the EPA could present a major obstacle with their fee scale.

Some of our "Authorities" seem to be abusing their authority, and growing fat in the process.

I look forward to seeing your New Department at work.

Yours Sincerely,

Tony McGinley


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Tweaking Cheap Chinese LEDs


In order to temporarily (I'll be back) move away from having-a-go at SEAI, I am starting a series (again) on LED lamps.

I have written that I am trying some inexpensive, around $6 US including shipping, Chinese LED lamps AGAIN!!  I have purchased a total of fourteen lamps which are 4 watts, with 4 LEDs warm white and are a mixture of GU10 and MR16 capsules.

I also wrote that I am quite pleased with both the light colour and the light output of these lamps. However, to date 3 of these lamps have failed. Being a tweaker and fiddler, I opened them up to take a look and thus educated myself about this type of LED lamp. I think that I have discovered the reason of failure AND the way to prevent it!!

As you can see from the above photo, the front rim screws off - in most of this type of lamp. That allows the lens to come out and reveals the 4 x LEDS on their mounting plate. The mounting plate is metal about 28mm in diameter and about 2 mm thick.

Tune in again for part two.


Saturday, March 05, 2011

Minister for Public Sector Reform


SEAI Badly in Need
of Reform

The new Irish coalition Government have a plan to introduce badly needed reform of the public sector. They intend to do this by appointing a new Minister for Public Sector Reform, who hopefully will herself/himself have, prior to taking office, been reformed, especially in matters of integrity, honesty, openness, salary, expenses, and pensions.

Dear New Minister,

May I suggest that you please put SEAI high on your list for immediate reform and investigation.

As part of your investigation and reform package for SEAI, you might consider;

(1) how money is spent by SEAI.
(2) you might also look at the way grants are structured - favouring the well-off and ignoring those at the bottom of the barrel.
(3) Also, you might look at how the SEAI accepts suggestions and criticism, and why they are so sensitive to any form of criticism - that they would spend millions of Euro of our money on spin-doctoring their publicity?

Thank you Minister.



Thursday, March 03, 2011

Eamon Ryan Green Party and SEAI


The Green Party are History
Time Now to 
Re-Examine the Role of SEAI

SEAI the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, is costing the Tax Payer a great deal of money. Just like the HSE Health Service Executive and Fás, the Irish National Training and Employment Agency, there are some serious questions to be asked about policy decisions, and about how money is spent.

SEAI has done some good BUT it has also made some horrible mistakes. Like spending, in just ONE INSTANCE,  €900,000 of our money on dry-cleaned and spin-doctored publicity. Money that could have fully paid for 1500 small stoves for pensioners, or given a 50% grant to 3000!

20,000 Stoves or Publicity?

You could multiply that publicity fund many many times over to get to the total figure. So - look at it this way - the spin and publicity could have fully funded perhaps 20,000 stoves for the less well off.

One Geo-thermal grant or 12 Stoves

Now look at the grants for fancy and VERY expensive geo-thermal, solar, and bio-mass heating systems. For a geo-thermal system the grant is up to €3,500. That is for ONE heating system in one home of a well off family that can afford the €15,000 or so for the system. That same ONE grant would fully fund 6 stoves for the less well-off, or it would give a 50% grant to 12 homes.

Time to Re-Examine SEAI's Funding, Strategy, and Role!!!!!


How is SEAI Publicity Funding Spent?


Would You Bend Over
for SEAI Money?

I am just wondering how exactly SEAI pick the media they do business with. There are lots of media companies and journals, that work in the sustainable energy field, that would appear not to get business from SEAI.

I wonder could it be that, in journalistic integrity terms, they are not prepared to bend over and take it from the SEAI bosses? Play only the SEAI preferred tune - so to speak?

I really do believe that SEAI should be investigated on their policies and on their spending of your money and my money.


Wednesday, March 02, 2011

SEAI Grants for Spin Doctors


the Irish Sustainable Energy Authority

I said, some few posts back, that SEAI were good window dressers.  I would now like to revise that statement by saying that SEAI might turn out to be the masters of SPIN.

The last Green tinged Government were not great at spin - as the recent election proved so dramatically. The brain-child of that government, the SEAI, would seem to have more SPIN in it's genes - the child outstrips the parent.

Now that the progenitor of SEAI is dead, my hope is that the offspring will also be allowed to die a natural death - or at least be re-born as a much cut-down and greatly more open, ethical, and honest organisation - open to fair criticism and to suggestions. Suggestions like:

Don't you dare spend my money on Spin-Doctoring!!


Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Enquiry into how SEAI spends funds


Public Enquiry Needed
into SEAI Activity

I believe we need an enquiry into how SEAI spends public funds. We also need to know exactly how the SEAI is managed, who makes what decisions, how strategies are planned, and essentially who pulls the strings.

SEAI has not proved to be "Kosher" in it's dealing with the public or with it's spending of public funds. It is time for the gravy train to be stopped. SEAI has had it too much it's own way with RTE the public broadcaster and the Irish Government dancing to it's tune.

Time to stop the merry-go-round.


Duncan Stewart SEAI and RTE


Duncan Stewart the Public Face of Sustainability in Ireland 
Who  owns a Private TV Production Company

I am still reeling from learning that SEAI (the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland) paid Duncan Stewart's TV production company €900,000 to produce spin-doctored material that only showed it in a good light. Thus suppressing all criticism of it's lack of "joined-up-thinking" especially in the Wood-Pellet Grant scheme where it didn't even bother to check the availability of the fuel before launching a massive campaign to promote domestic installations.

SEAI Afraid of Publicity - Something to Hide?

Was SEAI that afraid of bad publicity?  Has SEAI that much to hide?  A million Euro would have put a lot of stoves in for poor pensioners around Ireland.

I am very pissed off that my money and your money was spend for spin-doctoring purposes instead of going into grants and services to the public.

I am on an all-out campaign to have the SEAI, as it now exists, SCRAPPED forthwith, and a public enquiry into the spending of funds within the organisation. We have had enough of our money wasted by Fás and other "authorities" with unleashed funds at their disposal.


SEAI RTE TV The Sunday Times


Message to the
New Irish Government
Please - Please
Scrap the disgraced SEAI

My readers will know that I have no love lost on the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. I have dug into that organisation on the basis of (1) the foolish, badly planned and unwise strategies they have adopted. Their complete lack of "joined-up-thinking".  (2) their closed door to all critics and suggestions,  (3) and their total lack of consideration and after-care for their "customers".

But I am greatly angered and totally appalled by coming on a "Sunday Times" story about SEAI spending my money to make themselves look good. They are no better than the crooked bankers and developers, or crooked politicians paying spin-doctors. Nothing justifies a public body spending public money on spin-doctors to cover it's errors and make it look good.

New Irish Government - are you listening????  Please scrap the SEAI immediately!!

It knocked me sideways and appalled me to read the "Sunday Times" article by Colin Coyle from last April, reporting that SEAI paid out almost €1,000,000 of our money to Duncan Stewart's TV production company for "favourable publicity".

"The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), a state agency “promoted” on About the House, a home improvement show, has paid Stewart’s production company almost €900,000 since 2003, including €243,000 last year."  Sunday Times 4th April 2010

The Sunday Times article quotes an SEAI stipulation in an agreement with Stewart's company from documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

“interviewees [on the TV show] must be selected and presented in a way that are both beneficial to the profile of SEAI and also don’t have an editorial or advertorial feel”.

And good old State Broadcaster RTE is complicit in this cozy little spin-doctoring arrangement  between a statutory body and a publicity company. Where is the balance and fairness?, where is the open debate?, where is the service to the public?

Who gives a F**k about morals and ethics in Ireland? Not the State Broadcaster, or the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland.

I just knew something stank of rotten fish at SEAI. My nose kept insisting that this State Authority did not smell quite fresh enough to be wholesome.

Here is the link to the Sunday Times article please read it for yourself.

Thank you Sunday Times - I am just sorry I did not come upon this piece sooner!!!