Saturday, December 07, 2013

Cheaper Coal


Towards Cheaper Heat
this Winter

Each winter I am sharply aware of the immorally high level of fuel poverty affecting so many of the people of Ireland. I started this blog in order to promote Sustainable Energy, but I have now arrived at the conclusion that the most important energy to sustain is winter heat for the disadvantaged and vulnerable.

Consequently, I have turned my focus to achieving the cheapest form of home heating. This I have found to be solid fuel burned in an enclosed stove.

For several years now, I have tried to find the best value suppliers for smokeless coal, eco logs etc. and to announce my finding for what thats worth.

The details hereunder will be of great interest to smokeless coal users. An old family based supplier in Cookstown Northern Ireland will supply – in ton lots and half ton lots to anywhere in the Irish republic. The ton lots are much better value because the shipping cost is the same for a ton and a half ton.

So here are the details:

Strata Ireland offer 50 x 20Kg bags = 1000Kgs or a metric Ton of a mix of Perto-coke / Calco and Lignite. This will be delivered by a courier on a pallet to the front of your house for only Sterling £310 about €375. I know that some fuel merchants are charging between €18 and €21 for a 40Kg bag of this stuff. So this offer which works out at €15 per 40Kg bag is a good deal.

I know a ton of coal is a lot to pay for in one go, and a lot to hump into a shed etc. but there is a substantial saving to be had for some people. Would be worth getting a loan from the Credit Union in order to finance the purchase. A group purchase with neighbours in another way of splitting the cost.

A little care is needed when burning Calco blend, as it can burn too hot and damage a stove. That said, it offers excellent value in terms of heat output v/s cost. It also is very low ash making cleaning a grate or stove a bit easier.

Strata also offer 50 x 20Kg bags 1000Kgs a metric ton of Smokeless Glow Ovoids delivered price is only Sterling £323. These are great for long burning overnight etc. They are also fairly fool proof in stoves.

You can order on-line and Pay with Credit Card or with Paypal here is the link:

Strata Ireland
153a Morgans Hill Road
County Tyrone
Northern Ireland
BT80 8BW
Tel: 048 8676 2103

In North Kerry, Econ Fuels (Now called National Fuels) Monvalley Industrial Estate Tralee, offer good prices on solid fuels, especially if you can only afford to buy in smaller lots. Calco smokeless mix for a 3 bag purchase sells at €16.20 per 40Kg bag.


Friday, September 13, 2013

Oxfam Report on Austerity, Poverty, Inequality

Hard Talk from Oxfam

Oxfam have issued a report on austerity in Ireland which states that the country will most probably experience a rise in inequality, poverty, and emigration.

The report stated that the austerity programmes; “bear a striking resemblance to the ruinous structural adjustment policies imposed on Latin America, South-East Asia, and sub-Sahara Africa in the 1980s and 1990s”.

It states in a dire warning that “left unchecked, these measures will undermine Europe’s social gains, creating divided countries and a divided continent, and entrenching poverty for a generation”.

Some Stated Statistics

  • The report states that in 2011 there were some 120 million people in the EU were in the poverty trap and the figure could rise by a further 25 million.
  • Women will be the hardest hit by austerity.
  • The report projects an erosion of Trades Unions, collective bargaining, and workplace rights. This will further add to the already established trend in poverty among working people.
  • Cuts to public services will result in people losing their jobs,
  • At the same time voluntary institutions that support people in times of hardship will be weakened or even shut down through declining funding.
  • It could take between 10 – 25 years for poverty to return to pre-2008 levels.

Some alternative strategies suggested by Oxfam;

  • Invest in people and economic growth.
  • Invest in public services.
  • Strengthen institutional democracy.
  • Tax fairly

The Oxfam report also suggested:

  • That the EU needs to tackle unsustainable European public debt
  • Address major flaws in the EU financial system
  • That citizens of Europe ... need to increase their political engagement in order to influence government policy.
  • We need to change course to avoid a lost European decade.

Regarding Ireland

Oxfam’s report on Ireland says that although the programme for recovery is ahead of target, the austerity measures “have had a devastating impact on people already struggling with rising unemployment and levels of indebtedness”.

The report said that the poorest are hit hardest by the recession, with a “shocking array of welfare cuts and tax increases” being introduced since 2008 “that have driven more and more people into debt and poverty”.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Solid Fuel Stoves


Solid Fuel Stoves
What's up
This Winter?

I had a brief check on what is moving in the world of multi-fuel stoves for this coming winter. One new comer is the County Kerry made Firebird brand range of high output inset stoves.

While not in the running to win a stove beauty competition, at least on the outside, Firebird have managed to squeeze up to 81% efficiency and a very impressive output from stoves designed to fit into most fireplace openings. 

The Firebird stoves come in two sizes: 16” and 18” with nominal outputs of 12Kw and 16Kw.

The 18” stove has a rated output to water and radiators of up to 12.1 Kw with up to 3.6 Kw of the heat output going directly by convection into the room.

These are very impressive figures indeed for such modest size stoves. I had a very brief look at construction. The boiler is standard steel construction. What impressed me was the door construction and the baffling. The quality of build looks very high with the use of stainless steel in the door.

These impressive performance figures however do not come without a price tag they are priced at approximately €1,350 and €1,650 respectively.

If your budget can stretch, these Firebird inset stoves are worth looking at. Not cheap, and they will require some fittings and a fair bit of work to install properly.

The Blacksmith Anvil 6Kw free standing stove is still on the go, and a favourite. It has stood the test of time. I have owned a Blacksmith Anvil for 3 years and it is as good as the day I bought it. It can pump out the heat effortlessly.

Three years ago I paid €400 for it, today it is just a little more expensive at €455. In the meantime it has had an improved firebox liner fitted which justifies some of the price increase, and since I bought it there has also been a bump up in the VAT further adding to the price.

The Olymberyl Gabriel sold by the same company as Horse Flame offers a quite similar stove to the Blacksmith Anvil at the slight cheaper price of €399. Horse Flame have turned out some nice quality cast stoves.

An inset stove by the same makers rated at 5Kw and nicely cast is the Olymberyl Gabriel Inset costing quite a reasonable €595.

I was looking at these stoves at McElligotts Castleisland Co. Kerry, and the prices I have indicated are as marked in the store on the day I visited - these may have changed in the meantime.

The trend in Ireland is that more and more people are turning to solid fuel stoves as a primary heat source.


Thursday, September 05, 2013

Ireland Debt Time Bomb


Ireland's Debt 

The Irish Government is poised to introduce further financial hardship in another coming budget, while at the same time a massive debt time-bomb is ticking. When it goes off it will, no doubt, inflict massive social as well as financial damage.

The time bomb?  Some 20% of mortgages are in serious arrears. Additionally some 20% of personal loans at Credit Unions throughout the country are also in arrears.

I worry for the immediate future.


Friday, August 02, 2013

The Graphene Battery Race - is ON


The Graphene Race
Hotting Up

Monash University in Melbourne have published research on what they describe as a viable graphene super capacitor battery. It has a power holding capability equal to lead-acid batteries. That means size for size, it will hold the same amount of electricity. It will be very much lighter, be able to charge up in minutes, last 10's of years, not go on fire, and cost less to manufacture.

While this super capacitor battery is much less than the storage capacity of lithium-ion based batteries, it represents a really encouraging kick start to development of real-life, as distinct from vapour-ware, viable chemical-based battery replacement.

The MonashDepartment of Materials Engineering say they have developed a completely new approach to making graphene-based super capacitors. The team have created a super capacitor battery with an energy density of 60 Watt-hours per litre, which is about the same as lead-acid batteries.

The team used a graphene gel film sheets and a liquid electrolyte. The graphene gel sheets were made using a method similar to that used in paper making. This makes the process very easy to scale up for industrial production.

The research is funded by the Australian Research Council. Good luck with the development – and good on ya Auz.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Electric Cars with Balls


New form of Graphene
Developed in Korea
Holds promise for Super-Capacitors

Essentially the research team have found a way of making 3D Buckyballs from two dimensional graphene. The graphene balls can be made more easily and far less expensively than graphene sheets. It can relatively easily be formed into various shaped more easily than trying to deal with graphene sheets.

Above one of the tiny graphene 3D Buckyballs which we hope can be a building block for a range of exciting new materials but especially the development of Super Capacitors.

Super Capacitors, when realised, will fundamentally change the concept of the electric car, They will allow long journeys to be made before re-charging, and recharging with take minutes instead of hours. Also, very importantly, super capacitors will have a lifespan as long or longer than that of the cars in which they are fitted. Also, they are not prone to overheating and going on fire, and they will come in at less that half the cost of current lithium-ion batteries making electric cars much cheaper.

This age, we are now moving into, might yet be termed the Graphene age.

Good luck guys with the development work.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sustainable Cost of Living


Cause Death

One of the more recent public statistical figures to emerge, directly linked to the imposed Austerity programme along with increased taxation in Ireland, is that one - in - six cars on Irish roads are running on over worn tyres. Gee - I wonder why that is the case?

Ireland is largely a rural country. Most of the working population has to use private transport to access jobs, simply because efficient public transport is a mere dream or rather a joke! 

Fuel prices have increased some 50% in recent years, Road Tax or MotorTax even for a modest car is over €500 per year or about €10 per week. Insurance costs have risen, and additionally VAT has been increased. Also a household charge or Poll Tax of €200 per year now applies to modest residences, and food and heating costs have increased. All that taking from disposable income while in many cases, actual wages or income has DECREASED.

Perhaps that is why people cannot afford to keep their cars up to full scratch.

I have a feeling that austerity will go down in history as a very bad strategy.


Sustainable Life for Men

Yes - I am still here!
Back on the Blog!
This Post is about the
Sustainability of Life itself 
in Older Men

Recent studies clearly show that what we consume, by way of food and drink, has a massive impact on our health and well being.

Another aspect of nutrition is also now clearly emerging from studies. When we eat is nearly as important as WHAT we eat.

The studies concentrated on men in middle age and up. The findings are very interesting.

Guys Take Note:

Men who regularly skip breakfast are 27% more likely to have heart problems.

Men who regularly eat late at night had 55% increase in the risk of heart disease.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Crime and Punishment Ireland


Criminals should pay damages
And the cost of their imprisonment

The recent case of a young mother being kidnapped and raped over six days by three men in Limerick, has started me thinking about how such crimes should be redressed.

(1) When a crime involves damage to a person or property, the guilty party should be taken to task on behalf of the victim/s, by the states legal system, and full financial, and or other means of redress, be extracted as an integral part of their punishment and atonement.

(2) On the matter of imprisonment, those who are sent to jail place a huge financial burden on society. They therefore should be made liable for the entire cost of their imprisonment. 

In 2010 a year of imprisonment cost the overburdened taxpayer €77,000 per inmate. This burden on society accrues at the same time as the prisoner is housed, fed, has full medical care, and in many instances is educated, more security and comfort than many members of society enjoy.


Friday, May 03, 2013

World Press Freedom Day and Obscurantism


There are Too Many Examples
of Suppression of Information
and Persecution of the Press

World Press
Freedom Day

Obscurantism: The practice of deliberately preventing the facts or full details of something from becoming known.

Obscurantism has historically been a favoured and frequently used weapon of dictators, tyrants, powerful religious authorities, devious governments, manipulators of people, and all aggressors; business, political, academic, legal, banking and financial.

Obscurantism is in full use still today, not only by dictators and regimes, but by the huge corporations seeking to hide their ethical wrong doings or sell their wares under exaggerated or false pretenses, by churches wishing to escape the fallout of wrongdoings, government wishing to sell their agendas or avoid criticism. Journalists are in prisons or murdered in many parts of the world. North Korea, Russia, and Iran immediately spring to mind in this respect.

Obscurantism seeks not only to hide facts, but to eliminate or limit concepts, human aspirations, and freedom of thought. It takes many forms but here today we consider the censorship and punishment of the press and media in all its forms.

Knowledge is Power

A gift to the world is the Internet, as it is a powerful tool for free speech and the sharing of ideas and concepts. It has triggered the Arab Spring and is currently changing the collective consciousness of the planet. It's power lies not only in the ability to instantly communicate but in the difficulty it presents for the oppressors to completely prevent its use in all forms.

The Press and especially the Internet needs to be protected from interference by governments, Tyrants,  Business, and all other powers that would have it neutered.

Please support Press Freedom, Free Speech, Freedom of Thought, the right to express our opinions.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

Prime Energy Solutions and Benekov Problems


A Benekov  Pellet Boiler

Another Unhappy 
Sustainable Energy Customer

This comment came in recently from Matthew Judge County Laois who is very unhappy with the service he has received on his Benekov boiler. I deleted an individuals name from his comment, and made one other edit, but otherwise it is as received. I give voice here to his complaint, and invite the dealers to answer it:

Prime Energy Solutions?? I bought a Benekov boiler from Prime Energy Solutions Co Cavan and from day one have had a lot of trouble with it. And whats worse is they ( Prime Energy Solutions ) don't seem to care. We were left without heating since Christmas day 2012 and still our boiler is not working. Prime Energy Solutions has been anything but helpful. So I would advise anyone to think twice before dealing with Prime Energy Solutions - Matthew Judge Co Laois on Benekov Prime

Matthew if you feel you have a clear case for lack of care, you might consider the Small Claims Courts, they are a great solution for the small guy in dispute with a big business. The registrars are very helpful and the cost is very small in making an entry.

I have long given up completely on pellet boilers - they are both too expensive and have yet to reach a design optimum.



April was the Anniversary
of the birth of
Augustin Mouchot
(1825 - 1912) 
Who was the 1st to demonstrate
the industrial use of Solar Power

Augustin Bernard Mouchot

French Solar Energy Pioneer

"One must not believe, despite the silence of modern writings, that the idea of using solar heat for mechanical operations is recent. On the contrary, one must recognize that this idea is very ancient and its slow development across the centuries it has given birth to various curious devices."

Augustin Mouchot (1878).

"Eventually industry will no longer find in Europe the resources to satisfy its prodigious expansion... Coal will undoubtedly be used up. What will industry do then?"

Augustin Mouchot (1880).


Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Type Flow Battery


Wind & Wave Energy could 
Benefit Greatly
if this new battery 
can be developed.

It works and lights a LED bulb - New Concept Flow Battery

A research team from the U.S. Department of Energy's National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have devised what just might prove to be a relatively low-cost, long-life flow battery based on Lithium.

Flow batteries are currently the only viable type of battery to house the very large amount of energy needed for storing the power from wind turbines.

Current designs are expensive and difficult to maintain because of the chemistry involved.

This new design might just prove to be the best design to date.

The need for grid level electrical storage is growing at a very fast rate because of the rapid growth of wind farms, wave energy etc. These forms of energy are not on demand and therefore a high percentage of the energy goes to waste. For instance, the wind may blow best at night when there is the least need for power. All that excess power goes completely to waste. If it could be stored, it would make the use of clean energy far more efficient.

This new flow battery offers a much simpler and less expensive design, and additionally have the advantage of a long working life – unlike some current flow batteries.

Current types of flow batteries utilise pumps to circulate two different liquids through an interaction tank where the business takes place. The workings involve the use of a membrane that separates the liquids but allows the reaction to take place. The disadvantages are (1) the price of liquids with costly rare materials such as vanadium, and the delicate membrane which is both costly and requires lots of maintenance.

The new design uses only a single stream of liquid, and therefore does not require a membrane. The chemicals involved are relatively inexpensive lithium and sulfur.

The interaction is with a piece of lithium metal coated with a barrier that permits electrons to pass without corroding the metal. On the discharge cycle lithium polysulfides, absorb lithium ions; on charging cycle, they are released back into the liquid. The chemicals are dissolved in an organic solvent, which is much less corrosive than current systems.

The research team leader is quoted as saying that; "In initial lab tests, the new battery also retained excellent energy-storage performance through more than 2,000 charges and discharges, equivalent to more than 5.5 years of daily cycles"

Currently the system is only at the “suck it and see” stage” in a simple glass bottle but it does work.

Next step – the step that sinks 90+% of research projects – is to build a full size version and prove it - in the real world.

Good luck guys.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

President Higgins Address to the EU Parliament


President Higgins' 
Address to the EU Parliament

I have just finished watching a recording of President Michael D. Higgins' address to the European Parliament. The address was both powerfully impassioned and solidly reasoned. President Higgins, in no uncertain terms, called on that intuition to change it's emphasis and re-establish the principles of democracy, ethics, and solidarity with it's citizens, especially those who were suffering and felt dis-enfranchised.

He strongly criticised the austerity programmes which ignored the sufferings of the citizens and were driven by faulty economic thinking, and by unaccountable institutions such as rating agencies.

This was a very inspired and heartfelt address. My hope is that some few of the Members will have heard and understood the essence of the address, and will have the focus to action some of the suggestions.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Solid Fuel Prices, Coal, Smokeless Coal


Solid Fuel 

I have promised to bring to attention the best fuel prices in Ireland as I become aware of them. I recently came across a dealer in Newcastlewest County Limerick that offers reasonable prices, and delivers free of charge.

The business is named, appropriately enough for the times we live in, “Recession Fuels”. The man to talk to is Stephen Carey. Recession fuels carry a wide range of solid fuels and also can supply Kerosene in 20 litre lots - this can be a great help to get people by when they cannot afford a large delivery. 

Recession Fuels will deliver free of charge in a wide circle around Newcastlewest. For larger deliveries like a ton or maybe a half ton, they will deliver to most of county Limerick and into County Kerry. You can ring and arrange delivery beforehand.

Some Prices:

Smokeless Coal Lignite €13.50 per 40Kg bag or €335 per ton.
Cozylite smokeless nuggets €15.00 per 40Kg bag, ring for ton price.
Polish coal in quantity starts from €12.80 per 40Kg bag.
English Coal from €11.90 per 40Kg bag

Recession Fuels Newcastlewest Co. Limerick can be contacted at 069-78561Stephen Carey will make you a deal.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

BitCoin Market Forces Speculators, and Scammers


Already Corrupted
by Value Fluctuation and

Place you bets

If an alternative sustainable system of money, banking and trading is to be arrived at, IMHO it will need to have a fixed value, be free from speculation and manipulation, and gain trust by proven track record.

Otherwise speculation and market forces will quickly destroy value and people's trust in the system. The historical time when the value of coinage was intrinsic in the metals offered a great stability, people trusted the intrinsic value. The pole opposite is now the case with countries printing intrinsically worthless paper money at will. Post war Germany was a clear and painful demonstration of where that behaviour can lead.

Cheaper to burn the money than to buy the wood

Non speculators, Joe Soaps like myself, will not buy into a fluctuating currency driven by greed, speculation, and manipulated by sovereign and market forces. Would you give me $10 now for a 2 year old $5?

I am stretching my old brain around the idea of how money works, so forgive my ignorance on economic fundamentals. My thinking is based more on human psychology and social behaviour.

Collaborative and co-operative efforts using the Internet will IMHO in time produce some innovations in the way the world does business. These progressions will hopefully find a way of taking the process out of the hands of the speculators, the manipulators, the power mongers, and the greedy.


Sunday, April 07, 2013

States Stealing from Savers


Stealing from Savers

With some Governments now contemplating, if not justifying, in the case of Cyprus, the theft of private savings, is it time to consider some other form of doing banking and business?

One such method, which has been around since 2009 is Albeit the WEB based BitCoin is unproven, it is nevertheless a very interesting first draft alternative to a current world banking system which has historically proved itself to be unreliable, unstable, dishonest, badly managed, and interfered with by many governments world-wide.

I would appreciate hearing from readers if they have some knowledge of this system.


Ruth B.... sent me the following link which has some interesting insights into how BitCoin is being used and abused. Thanks Ruth :


Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Social Imbalance, Poverty, and Instability in Ireland


Where is Ireland Heading?

I was shaken when I looked at some recently published figures from the Irish Central Statistics Office which simply are both frightening and sickening:

CONSISTENT POVERTY rate for Ireland up by 60.87% in 3 years 2008 - 2011
DEPRIVATION in Ireland is up by 56.35% in the 3 years 2008 to 2011

Actual figures from the CSO:

Deprivation rate for 2008 was 13.8%   - - for 2011 it had risen to to a shocking 24.50%
Consistent Poverty rate in 2008 was 4.20% - - it rose to 6.90% in 2011

This is happening at the same time as the well off are increasing their wealth by an average 4%.

Shame on Ireland, and shame on those who have caused it to happen by their greed and recklessness, and shame on those who are not doing enough to re-balance the situation.

In nature, large imbalances ALWAYS cause a flash-over, an earthquake, a flood, a volcanic eruption, or a social revolution.

Meanwhile some judges on the average salary for the profession of €147,900 p.a. or €2,844 per week, are moaning about a reduction in their generous laptop and phone allowances.


Consistent poverty rate for children rose from 6.3% in 2008 to 9.3% in 2011.
That is a 49% increase in just 3 years.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Overnight Continuous Buring Solid Fuel Stoves


Life has been a bit busy lately for me, and the blog has suffered as a result. My apologies to my regular readers, and my sincere thanks to those who contacted me with concern and well wishes.

Tips on how to achieve
Overnight Burning
in a Stove or Closed Fireplace
1st of several posts on the subject

One of the most frequently asked questions about solid fuel burning is: How do I get over-night or continuous burning for 8 hours or more?

A short answer is: Not difficult if you have the correct stove, the correct fuel, and a little know-how.

The Trick to having a Toasty House
The trick to having a really comfortable house is continuous 24 -7 burning. It maintains the fabric of a house at a stable temperature. On off heating never really warms the floors, brickwork etc. it tends just to heat the air. When the heating switches off, the house rapidly cools down again to ambient temperatures. But when a house is heated continuously for several days without a break, the entire fabric of the building takes in heat and - like a great big storage heater - acts to maintain an even temperature.

Fuel and Air Mix

I learned many years ago, while attending training at the Shell BP training facility in Fulham London, that combustion, whether in a boiler, stove, or fire, was dependant on 4 things:

(1) Fuel that is appropriate to the situation,
(2) Oxygen in sufficient quantity to maintain efficient burn,
(3) Mixing, the proper mixing of the Fuel and Oxygen in order to get efficient burn, and
(4) Ignition to start the process in the first place.

However, even before considering combustion efficiency, the first thing to look at is the device or vessel in which the combustion takes place. In this instance, a solid fuel stove or enclosed fireplace.

Stove or Fire

To achieve efficient, controlled, and extended burn, you must have a good stove or enclosed fireplace. An essential defining factor in a good and efficient stove or fire with a fire front door is the facility to fully control the oxygen supply to the fuel.

This is the single most important function. If the air can leak in through damaged doors, seal, air controls, or cracked casings, it will NOT be possible to fully control the combustion rate. This in turn will lead to inefficiency and possibly to the damage of the stove or fire grates.

I will be looking at (1) Fuel, (2)  Ash, (3) Adjusting Burn, (4) stoking etc in further posts. 

Keep a look out for the posts.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Sustainability in Ireland and Trends


What are the General Trends in Ireland?
Is our Economy and our Society
Currently Sustainable?

I am not qualified to interpret figures and trends. I have collected a set of statistics and surveys over the last year and to my uneducated eye, they show a very bleak outlook indeed, both fiscally and for the stability of society in general. I truly hope my observations are incorrect. I would really like to hear from any of my readers who see these figures in a brighter light.

Here is my collection of statistics and reports:

(increased 42% in 5 years 2005 to 2010)
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE up from 2010 to 2011 by 15%
(11,000 women and children sought refuge in 2011 according to SAFE organisation).
UNEMPLOYMENT has increased by 352%
( from 4.2% in 2007 to 14.8% by October 2012)
UNEMPLOYMENT among 15 to 24y group nationally stands at 39%
UNEMPLOYMENT in the 15 to 25y group in some areas is at 74%
HOUSE BUILDING homes built 8,488 has dropped over 90% since 2006 at 93,000, and is 20% down in one year.
BUSINESS INSOLVENCIES Up 13.30% from 2010.
(1,684 companies failed in 2012 alone)
FUEL POVERTY, (the decision to Eat or Heat) estimated to affect 40% of citizens
FOOD POVERTY in 2010 was estimated to be at 10%
FOOD PRICES have risen by an average of 12% in the last two years.
HOMELESSNESS up by as much as 45% in Dublin.
(from 70 in 2010 to a current estimate of as much as 101)
RETAIL SALES are down by 5.50%
SUICIDES are up in 2011 from 2010 by 7%
TRUST in the Irish Government in a recent survey fell to a mere 20%
POLITICIANS are the 2nd least trusted profession in Ireland.
(Only 14% of Irish people trust politicians - I wonder why?  How about 26 TDs, members of the Irish Parliament, each claimed €5,000 expenses for August - when there are no sittings of the House)
DISPOSABLE INCOME SURVEY: 1.60 million Irish have €50 or less left each month after paying for essentials. In other words, roughly 36% of the Irish population have disposable income of €600 or less per year.
DISPOSABLE INCOME in lower income groups effectively down by nearly 19%

By contrast the imbalance in incomes:
INCOME FOR TOP IRISH EARNERS is up on average by over 4%
DUBLIN CITY MANAGER salary €190,000
COUNTY MANAGERS salary €153,260

Compare salaries:


Recently published figures from the Irish Central Statistics Office are frightening and sickening:

CONSISTENT POVERTY rate for Ireland up by 60.87% in 3 years 2008 - 2011
DEPRIVATION in Ireland is up by 56.35% in the 3 years 2008 to 2011

Actual figures from the CSO:

Deprivation rate for 2008 was 13.8%   - - for 2011 it had risen to to a shocking 24.50%
Consistent Poverty rate in 2008 was 4.20% - - it rose to 6.90% in 2011

This is happening at the same time as the well off are increasing their wealth by an average 4%.

Shame on Ireland, and shame on those who have caused it to happen by their greed and recklessness, and shame on those who are not doing enough to re-balance the situation.

In nature, large imbalances ALWAYS cause a flash-over, an earthquake, a flood, a volcanic eruption, or a social revolution.


Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Magdalene the Irish Gulag


The Irish
Gulag Archipelago
Magdalene Laundries

Looking like a scene from Oliver Twist  - an early photograph of these terrible prisons where innocent Irish girls were enslaved and mistreated.

In the above photo, time has passed but the situation remains very much the same - in a harsh, bitter, self-righteous, and largely uncaring Ireland.

More time passes and yet the scene still remains largely unchanged.

Ireland Oh Ireland what have you done?
How blind and self-righteous were you,
Wrapped in an outer shell of religiosity,
While, with hard heart and blind eyes,
You failed your poor, weak and vulnerable.


Friday, February 01, 2013

Irish Government Make Progress on Job Creation


Irish Government
Making Progress on
Job Creation

a painting by Shame-us O Con-man


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Irish Government Taxation Shameus O Conman


Taxation in Ireland
a painting by 
Shameus O Conman


Monday, January 28, 2013

Graphene Research Project for Trinity College Dublin


Ireland to Have a Direct Hand
in the Development of
The New Super Material

I have just been reading some news reports that the Crann (meaning Tree in Irish - and pronounced 'crown')  Research Centre at Trinity College Dublin is to receive major research grants and thus become a significant player in the exciting development of the new super material Graphene.

My previous post expressed my hopes for Graphene as the genesis and major component in the development of a new breed of Super Capacitors.

This news that Trinity College and Ireland is to have a direct hand in the development of this exciting material is most heartening in these times of recession and lots of bad news. Congratulation Crann, Trinity, and Ireland!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Super Capacitors and Super Batteries


New Hopeful
in the Hunt for a
Safe Super Battery

Boeing Dream-Liner Burned-out Battery

I have written fairly extensively over the years about the universal world need for a quantum leap in battery design. The recenty reported battery electrical problems that grounded the entire stock of Boeing's Dreamliner has again brought into sharp focus the urgent need for safer, lighter, and higher-capacity batteries.


Batteries are essentially CHEMICAL FACTORIES. Electricity is both stored and retrieved by changing the chemistry of the substances inside the battery. These chemical reactions cause the release of both heat and gasses. As Boeing have to their great expense now fully realised, heat and gasses are very much not wanted in an enclosed space.

Another disadvantage to batteries is that they take a long time to charge up, and cannot release the charge very quickly either. If you try to charge or discharge a battery too quickly - they go on fire or blow up, as Boeing are only too painfully aware.

The reason the all-electric car has not taken off is because the batteries are:

(1) Way too expensive.
(2) Don't hold enough electricity for long journeys.
(3) Take WAY too long to charge.
(4) Are too bulky and heavy.
(5) Are too Short lived - a few years - where a capacitor could out-live the car twice over.
(6) Are prone to overheat or blow up.


By contrast, capacitors, to date, have only TWO of the above disadvantages - bulk and weight, and charge capacity.

The other way to store electricity is by the use of a CAPACITOR. A capacitor stores energy in a very different way to a battery. It is a charge device - meaning it does not generate ANY chemical reactions, heat or gasses. This is a huge advantage.

The problem with capacitor storage has been the charge capacity to size/weight ratio. In other words, you needed tens if not hundreds of times more space and or weight to hold the same amount of electrical charge.

In recent years nano technology has made great advances in the development of Super Capacitors. But till now they still need to be too large for many uses, for instance, as a main power source in electric cars.


In posts to this blog ranged over years, I have outline some of the many hopeful contenders in the race for a better battery. To date all have failed to produce the holy grail of energy storage, and many would appear to be no more than "vapour ware".

There are lots of hopefuls out there ferreting away trying to develop viable batteries but nothing much has actually been delivered in more than 5 years of development.


Now on the horizon appears a new hopeful, it is based on a cheap, natural, safe, non toxic, and plentiful substance. The form of this substance was only discovered some five years ago.

Graphene, a form of carbon, is what I speak of. The above picture is the form of graphine first produced using almost a school boy low tech method of Scotch Tape to peel and peel and peel layer after layer of graphite to arrive at the all important single layer.

Graphene is a matrix of carbon atoms in a single layer - looking something like chicken wire. It has some truly amazing properties, one of these properties may lend it to the development of a compact and efficient Ultra-Capacitor. Developers have come up with new ways of producing graphene in usable quantities.


Graphine is known to have amazing electrical properties. A tiny but viable capacitor has been demonstrated that can hold electrical charge many many times greater than anything previously demonstrated in a capacitor.

Now the development chase is on full-speed - to learn to produce industrial quantities of graphene and turn it into amazingly high capacity capacitors.

Mobile phones that would charge in seconds and last a week, electric cars that could re-charge in 10 minutes and travel 300 - 400 miles before re-charging. We will hopefully wait and see.

This - at last - is looking hopeful.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Chinese LED Lamps Good and Bad


Good Chinese LED Lamps
Rubbish Chinese LED Lamps

The above Chinese LED lamp is an example of some utter and complete rubbish being exported from China. If the Chinese government or trade bodies had any cop-on, they would ban the export of this sort of trash. It can do nothing but get Chinese industry a bad name.

I am a sucker for a bargain and for trying out different things. I bought several lots of 3 watt GU10 lamps on EBay. On average they lasted about 3 weeks before dying, some died after 5 days in use, and a few hang on. Do yourself a big favour and skip this particular rubbish if you are trying for a bargain on EBay.

Not all Bad News

Another purchase that I made turned out very differently. The above GU10 lamp is a 12 Watt 3 emitter lamp. It cost about $10US including postage. There is very good light output and it has been going for 2 months 14 hours a day so far. The only negative comment I have is that the light is a little bit too warm or yellowish.

It claims to have Cree emitters, and as you can see the heat sink is fairly massive - that is a good point because what tends to kill LED lamps is heat. If there is a good heat-sink, that means - big in size and plenty of metal, the lamp has a greater possibility of longer life.

In the crappy Chinese LED lamp exports, another cause of failure is poor quality driver circuits, some makers use cheap and nasty quality capacitors and other components.

The Chinese lesson for today with regard to LED Lamps is "Caveat Emptor"